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The World

Monday - Friday, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on KUOW2

The World brings you award-winning coverage of breaking news, in-depth features, hard-hitting commentaries, and thought-provoking interviews found nowhere else in US news coverage.

Why did ISIS target Spain? The answer may lie in history.

22 hours ago
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Sergio Perez

On Thursday, a van ran over pedestrians on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas strip. It took a very short time for ISIS to claim responsibility for the attack.

At least 13 people died and around 100 people were injured.

But why did ISIS target Spain, now, for practically the first time? 

Related: See all the terrorist attacks around the world from 2016

There could be many answers to this question.

The aftermath of the deadly attacks in Barcelona

22 hours ago

Thousands of people marched to the Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona Friday, chanting “I'm not afraid” in Catalan. It was a show of solidarity after a series of terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS rocked Spain. About 14 people were killed and several more were injured in the tourist-heavy Las Ramblas area of Barcelona when a van plowed into pedestrians. Liz Castro, a writer and longtime resident of Barcelona, witnessed the march on Friday.

Here's a question many of us have been debating since the deadly protests in Charlottesville last weekend: What should be done with a monument dedicated to a Confederate figure? Should it be taken down? Or should it be recontextualized? 

It's a question similar to one Paraguayans had to answer not long ago. The debate in that South American country revolved around a statue of longtime dictator General Alfredo Stroessner.

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Joshua Roberts/Reuters 

Peter didn’t want to use his real name because he’s afraid of becoming a target for white nationalists.

He was one of the counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday — the ones President Donald Trump on Tuesday referred to as “very violent” and “charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs.”

I first reached out to Peter in July, over Skype, when I was doing research on a movement called antifa, short for anti-fascist.

Beloved Yemeni activist abducted by government security

Aug 18, 2017

You've seen and heard Hisham al-Omeisy. The friendly Yemeni observer who has told news services around the world about conditions in his war-ravaged country was abducted by three carloads of armed men in Sanaa on Monday afternoon. He is being held at the government's National Security Bureau in the Yemeni capital. 

His family cautioned reporters, many of whom count Omeisy as a friend as well as a source, to remain silent while negotiations were conducted through back channels. The family lifted its embargo today.

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Brenna Daldorph

On Saturday, Aug. 12, four days after Kenya’s elections, Octopizzo had some tea with his cousin Oloo in Nairobi. Octopizzo is a well-known hip-hop artist in Kenya. When the cousins were done, Octo walked Oloo to a taxi stage where he could get a boda boda — a motorcycle taxi — back home to Kibera, the slum where they both grew up.

Octopizzo went home and flicked on the news.

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Andrea Crossan/PRI

We just finished our POSITIVE series — stories of women and girls under the age of 24 living with HIV in South Africa. We called our Series POSITIVE not only because it centers on the stories of HIV-positive women and girls, but also because it was important to us to highlight stories of people who do not see such a diagnosis as an ending.

Back in the mid-2000s, when producer Roy Lee was pitching an American remake of the Japanese horror film “Ju-On: The Grudge,” the original movie didn’t even have English subtitles. In order to shop it around, he and his team inserted their own subtitles based on what they thought was happening in the movie.

“I remember there was a meeting with the original director [Takashi Shimizu] where people were asking him about the storyline, and he had no idea what they were talking about, because we had gotten some of the details wrong,” says Lee.

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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters 

America's standing in the world is dwindling fast under the Trump administration. The White House appears in chaos, and the failure to confront neo-Nazis has alarmed Europe. Europeans are giving up on a US that can't get anything done and refuses to provide leadership on the world stage.

These are the impressions gleaned by the BBC's Katty Kay after four weeks in Europe. Kay is an anchor of BBC World News America in Washington.


From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI

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Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

On March 10, 2015, a student threw excrement at the statute of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

It was a symbolic gesture of protest against the British imperialist and avowed white supremacist who some call the “architect of apartheid.”

Donald Trump is not known for his strong grasp of history. But in controversial unscripted remarks this week, Trump claimed "leftists" were trying to rewrite history by destroying monuments.

“This week it's Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson is coming down,” he said on Tuesday, referring to the top two generals of the Confederacy in the Civil War. “I wonder,” he continued, “is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

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Joshua Roberts/Reuters

I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, in September 2003. The beautiful college town was heaven that month. Gorgeous leaves. Blue skies. Gentle breezes.

I fell in love with Charlottesville. I lived there for eight years and it remains my favorite city.

But my heart broke to see the streets there filled with anger and hate just a few days ago.

Braunau am Inn would like to be an ordinary town, like its neighbors in this river valley on Austria's border with Germany. But it's not, thanks to an unwanted native son — Adolf Hitler. Hitler was born here in 1889 and was still in diapers when he left. But that's enough for Braunau to still be known as Hitler's hometown.

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Courtesy of Jessica Jinn/Advancing Justice

Jason Fong is at the age when affirmative action programs could make a crucial difference in his life. He’s 17 and often uses social media and his blog to speak out about college admissions policies that consider race as a factor to create a diverse student body.

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Justin Ide/Reuters 

Wajahat Ali is an author, attorney and son of Pakistani immigrants. He believes that what happened this week in Charlottesville is a crucial turning point in our country.

And it's that moment when, as an American, you have to take a stance.

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Alejandro Alvarez/Reuters

On Saturday, a white nationalist rally erupted into deadly violence as a car plowed into a crowd. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence, in effect equating neo-Nazis and white supremacists with counter-protesters speaking out against racism.

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Courtesy of the Partition Museum

India and Pakistan both celebrate an Independence Day. In Pakistan, it’s Aug. 14; in India, a day later. Each national holiday marks the end of British rule, and the creation of two, independent countries.

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Adeline Sire

It’s no small feat for a French Muslim woman from a disenfranchised suburb of Paris to make it on stage, let alone as a stand-up comedian.  

Enter Samia Orosemane.

At the start of her Paris one-woman show “Femme de Couleurs” ("Woman of Colors"), the 37-year-old comedian of Tunisian descent walks on stage to a mashup of the themes from "Jaws" and "Star Wars." Veiled in black from head to toe, she paces ominously on the dark stage. And then in a stage whisper, she says, “I’m your mother.” The audience roars with laughter.

Aussie eclipse chaser heads to Idaho for 16th eclipse

Aug 16, 2017

Roughly 200 million people live within a day’s drive of next Monday's eclipse.

But eclipse chasers road-tripping to the path of totality will also be joined by those traveling much farther to stand in the shadow of the moon for just a few minutes.

Among them is Terry Cuttle, an amateur astronomer, and photographer, traveling from Brisbane, Australia, to the US to see his 16th total solar eclipse.

He’s been planning this trip for years and is aiming for eastern Idaho where the chances of clear weather are good.  

Before taking action against hate, white people should look inward

Aug 16, 2017

In the aftermath of racist violence like what unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, one visceral reaction is a call to action — a call by outraged activists, by politicians who want to provide moral leadership, and by ordinary people who ask themselves what they can do in the face of extraordinary hatred.

The summer movie season is rapidly drawing to a close. But you've still got two weeks (maybe three, if your summer runs through Labor Day) to squeeze in a couple of new, foreign documentaries. Matt Holzman, the host of The Document, a podcast from KCRW about seeing the world through documentary films, gave The World's Marco Werman a few recommendations.

1. "Barbecue"

It’s a dance that’s been playing itself out for millennia. On average, once every year and a half, the moon slips directly between the Earth and the sun, punching a hole of darkness into the daytime sky. And whenever possible, there have been people below, looking up.

Experiencing a total solar eclipse is revelatory, especially for people who study them.

"Every eclipse gives you new information,” says Shadia Habbal, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii, originally from Syria.

For decades, Red Delicious represented the definition of an of apple. Kids across the nation got them in their lunch bags, and they were ubiquitous on store shelves. But with the explosion in more tasty apple varieties — like Gala, Fuji and Honeycrisp — the Red Delicious has largely fallen out of favor in the US.

Not so in China, though — Red Delicious are huge there. And that’s a big consideration for Washington state growers.

What it was like that day in Charlottesville

Aug 14, 2017
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Lidia Jean Kott 

I knew that things in Charlottesville were going to be intense, but I still was not prepared for what I saw when I drove into town early Saturday morning.

We parked behind a McDonald's and then walked towards the park where the main protest and counterprotest was happening. On our way, we encountered a group of people carrying a huge wooden sign that read, “There is no master race."

I tried to take a picture of them, but they waved me off. Later, I saw them on TV, using the sign as both a shield and a weapon when the fighting got intense.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

If you’ve been talking to people about hate crimes since the election, like I have, you’d know that Charlottesville didn’t come out of nowhere. People have been priming for a fight for months.

The string of hate crimes across the country has people scared, defensive, a little paranoid, and preoccupied with their own safety. And when President Donald Trump initially failed to condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville, instead saying there was violence “on many sides,” that wasn’t surprising either — because there’s a long history of American failure to acknowledge white hate. 

The US far-right is a fan of — Syria's Assad?

Aug 14, 2017

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has some unlikely fans in the US among far-right communities.

In a video that was posted on Twitter, three men who took part in the Charlottesville protests talk about their support for Assad, the notorious Syrian leader accused of killing thousands of his own people. One of the men is wearing a T-shirt that reads “Bashar’s Barrel Delivery Co.”

"Support the Syrian Arab army," one of them says.

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Edgar Su/Reuters

Throughout much of history, witnessing a total solar eclipse would mean one thing above all else. And that is fear.  

For the ancient Greeks, an eclipse was a sign that the gods were angry. The Vikings saw eclipses as a potential apocalypse. And the ancient Chinese apparently believed that an eclipse meant that a giant dragon was trying to devour the sun and that people needed to make as much noise as possible to scare the dragon away.

South African artist Lady Skollie explains why she paints burning vaginas

Aug 11, 2017
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Jasmine Garsd/PRI

Laura Windvogel unlocks the heavy outer door to her studio on a quiet Sunday morning. She climbs the warehouse stairs. And she unlocks the next lock to another metal door. And through that door, she turns the key on yet another lock to get into her work space.

It’s a reminder that this is Johannesburg. And security is everything — especially for women.

At 14, she tested positive for HIV — now she calls herself an HIVictor

Aug 11, 2017
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Miora Rajaonary

It’s a clear winter morning in Pretoria.

On a suburban lawn, under the shade of a tree, a group of young actors is rehearsing for an upcoming production of the play, "My Children! My Africa!" 

Sadie Brown, 22, plays the character of Isabella. Brown is a young actress, but she’s spent a lifetime performing. She started when she was a teenager. She was at a school event, and health workers were doing free HIV testing. Brown thought it would be fun.

"So, I went in there, and I had an HIV test, and ... " she trails off.

Helping the blind 'see' the solar eclipse

Aug 11, 2017
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Carolyn Beeler/PRI

It sounds like the beginning of a riddle. How can someone who’s blind “see” the upcoming eclipse on Aug. 21?

It’s a question solar astrophysicist Henry “Trae” Winter started thinking about several months ago after a blind colleague asked him to describe what an eclipse was like.

“I was caught completely flat-footed,” Winter said. “I had no idea how to communicate what goes on during an eclipse to someone who has never seen before in their entire life.”

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