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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.

For the last 35 years, movie theaters have been banned in Saudi Arabia. That changed on Monday when Saudi Arabia announced it would allow cinemas to open as early as March.

It's the latest gesture towards modernization by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also behind measures to permit women to drive and to bring back concerts.

When Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour heard the news, she excitedly took to Twitter:

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Mark Makela/Reuters

Akayed Ullah, 27, is accused of setting off a pipe bomb in New York City on Monday, injuring five people, including himself.

He came to the US from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa for relatives of a US citizen.

Related: Investigators search for clues in attempted New York subway bombing

When you step inside artist Kalman Aron’s modest apartment in Beverly Hills, a lifetime of creation surrounds you. The walls are covered in paintings and finished canvases are stacked on the floors, a dozen deep. The paintings range from portraits to landscapes to abstract works. They’re just a fraction of the roughly 2,000 pieces Aron says he’s created over the decades.

Alejandra Hilbert is spending a Saturday morning in November applying for CalFresh, the California program that used to be called “food stamps.” She is one of 8,000 students at the University of California, Berkeley who have been notified that they may be eligible for government assistance of up to $192 each month to help pay for groceries.

For most people, the top of the mine shaft at the Prosper-Haniel coal mine in Bottrop, Germany, just looks like a big black hole. But Andre Niemann looked into that hole and saw the future.

  Part 1: No regrets from this soon-to-be-ex-miner

First-ever bitcoin futures trading is now underway

Dec 11, 2017
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Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The virtual currency bitcoin is now trading on a major global exchange for the first time.

The first-ever bitcoin futures started trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday.

The price of the virtual currency has soared in recent weeks. And so far, it appears investors believe bitcoin will continue to rise in value, the BBC reports.

Some also see futures trading as a sign that bitcoin is creeping into the mainstream.

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Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

In the late 1970s, Ireland’s economy was struggling. So they decided to cut business taxes dramatically while also increasing individual taxes including on the middle class. The idea was that stronger businesses would benefit everyone.

It worked.

Can kids recognize fake news? Sort of.

Dec 11, 2017
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Thomas White/Reuters

Sometimes a story is so outrageous that it’s easy to recognize as fake news.

But it can also be much more subtle: It can be hard to flag a story with just one incorrect statement or opinion masquerading as a fact.

And if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news, can children do it?

The University of Salford teamed up with the BBC Newsround for one year to study how well children ages 9 to 14 can spot false information.

Poland's ruling party has used the term "fake news" to attack its critics in the media. Monday, the government took its attack a step further. It levied a $415,000 fine on TVN24, a US-owned independent Polish news channel, saying the broadcaster's coverage of anti-government street protests had encouraged illegal activities.

How hate and debate came to a Connecticut mosque

Dec 11, 2017

The night of Nov. 14, 2015, was not the first time Ted Hakey, 50, went into his backyard in Meriden, Connecticut, and fired guns to let off some steam. It was the night after a deadly terror attack in Paris, and Hakey was furious.

So he shot his Springfield Armory M1A .308-caliber rifle into the air. Some of those shots hit the Baitul Aman Mosque next door. Luckily, no one was in the building at the time.

Last week, German media reported that some pilots have refused to carry out deportations of Afghan refugees.

"Following an information request from the Left party," reported Deutsche Welle, "the government said that 222 planned expulsions were stopped by pilots."

While it may seem the pilots are refusing to fly Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan out of sympathy, that's not the only reason.

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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

President Vladimir Putin, during a surprise visit to Russia's Hmeymim air base in Syria, ordered "a significant part" of Russia's military contingent in Syria to start withdrawing.

Putin made the announcement adding that Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying ISIS in just over two years.

The Russian president was in Syria to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad and to address Russian forces.

Listening to the Deep Ocean

Dec 11, 2017

Benoit Pirenne walks down a winding rubble path in a fjord on Canada's Vancouver Island.

He points toward the water, to a sign that reads, "WARNING: CABLE.

"The cable is going underneath here, and it's going out 800 kilometers in a big loop in the ocean," he says.

The cable connects to a network of scientific instruments deep in the Pacific Ocean. The network is called NEPTUNE Canada. (NEPTUNE stands for North East Pacific Time-Series Underwater Networked Experiments.)

How good is H&M’s clothing recycling program?

Dec 8, 2017
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Regis Duvignau/Reuters

The clothes we wear come with their own environmental baggage.

Consider that a cotton T-shirt requires roughly 700 gallons of water to produce. Each year, the production of polyester emits roughly 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases.

As the fashion industry faces more scrutiny for the environmental impact of its operations, some fashion brands are trying to be more sustainable — and are advertising that to their customers.

Chief among them is global fast-fashion giant H&M, which is aggressively positioning itself as a leader in sustainability.

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Alkis Konstantinidis /Reuters

Overcrowding at a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos is causing an increase in illness among children living there, say aid workers.

Doctors working at Moria camp have seen a rise in upper respiratory tract infections, colds, coughs, diarrhea and other illnesses associated with cramped and unsanitary conditions.

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Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

You must listen to this: A first-person account by a young woman living under lockdown conditions in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

Yemenis were in shock on Dec. 4, when they learned that their longtime leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, had been assassinated. Saleh had been a moderating influence on the Houthi rebels who control Sanaa. Now that Saleh's gone, Yemenis fear for their personal safety, their liberty and their country's future.

Telmary Díaz is a Cuban rapper in the US right now. She's on a very short tour, and you would think that as a musician with dates lined up months in advance, she would have had an easy time getting here.

That wasn't the case. It was a challenge to get here. Some of her band members couldn't get their visas in time, in part because the US Embassy in Havana is partially closed.

If you have watched the Netflix hit series "The Crown," you may remember its opening credits. It’s visually riveting, as we see tendrils of liquid gold solidifying and forming parts of a crown. The mood is bolstered by a captivating melody that builds into a grand overture.

Keeping the peace on the Israel-Lebanon border

Dec 8, 2017

On a ridge above a shallow valley in southernmost Lebanon, Lt. Alejandro Colado Corzo looks out across the troublesome border that he is supposed to monitor. 

“Everything behind that little hill is Israel,” says the Spanish UN peacekeeper during a brief stop on an armed patrol. “We will wait and see if we can watch some strange movements.”

His job is made all the more difficult by the fact that the border doesn’t really exist. 

More than 100,000 tons of rubber tires are disposed of every year in Argentina. The majority of them are burned, contributing to the country’s already huge air pollution problem. So, when Alejandro Malgor and two of his friends, Ezequiel Gatti and Nazareno El Hom, realized they wanted to start a business, they decided to focus on tackling the problem — and make shoes from the discarded tire scraps.

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Ismael Ferdous/PRI 

Sometimes, Rongmala Begum wonders who wears the sweaters she makes. 

There isn’t a lot of time to stop and think about this when Begum is at the garment factory where she works in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Too many needles and scissors and glue guns around — not exactly conducive to looking up and pondering the irony of global capitalism: that a woman in a subtropical country would spend her days and nights making sweaters. She earns about $70 a month. But Begum says, on occasion, she looks at the sweaters and thinks, who is going to wear this?

Russia wants to build a 'parallel internet' in 2018

Dec 7, 2017
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Steve Marcus/Reuters

Every time you visit a website, you're using the Domain Name System, or DNS.

Think of it as the internet’s directory. Each website has an easily readable host and domain name (PRI.org, for example) that the DNS converts into a unique, numerical Internet Protocol address so you can load the page you're looking for.

The DNS is used around the world, but Russia wants to build an alternative in 2018.

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Deepa Fernandes

You’d be hard-pressed to find a community on Florida’s east coast without at least one hotel. After all, this is the state where visitors flock to long beaches and warm weather, and where hotels eager to put them up blanket the landscape.

But Satellite Beach prides itself on being a little bit different.

“The vibe here is really for the most part long-term residents,” says John Stone, a building official in the small city just south of Cape Canaveral. “[It’s] what we call a bedroom community.”

If someone in Germany calls you a “raven mother,” it's not a compliment. Rabenmutter is a women-only put-down, a reference to the bird notorious for shoving her babies out of the nest.

“This word exists only in Germany, and it means ... no good mother leaves her child very early alone,” says Elke Holst, research director for gender studies at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin.

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Michael Macor/Reuters/File Photo

Some of the facts of the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle are clear: On July 1, 2015, 32-year-old Steinle was shot in the back while walking with her father on a popular San Francisco pier. The man who had the gun was José Inés García Zárate.

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Ismail Ferdous/PRI

What if she hadn’t lost her shoe that day? Arati Baladas wonders about this sometimes.

Baladas is 20, and she sometimes replays in her mind that moment on April 24, 2013,  when she scrambled to find her missing sandal, as the walls and the ceiling around her crumbled.

She was working at her sewing machine when she heard a loud bang. She says the building “shivered.” Her supervisor told everyone to run.

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Gary Hershorn/Reuters

The clock is counting down: Now that tax reform bills have made their way through the House and Senate, Republicans in both chambers are working to iron out the differences between the two bills — with a goal of overhauling the US tax system by December 22.

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Alvin Baez/Reuters

Everyday life in Puerto Rico these days — in the still-ragged aftermath of Hurricane Maria, two months ago — is a test of patience, even for the middle class. 

Few traffic lights function and that slows commutes to a crawl. Electricity is sporadic, so stocking the fridge remains a risky proposition. 

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Jianan Yu/Reuters

It took him 32 years, but scientist Sam Hudson and a team of other researchers have found a way to produce silk without silkworms. 

Unlike fabrics such as polyester or nylon, there’s no petroleum-based plastic. Unlike rayon, there’s no toxic chemicals or deforestation involved. 

It’s a yeast that when you add sugar and vitamins, it grows — secretes, to be precise — a spider silk. 

Many young girls take fashion cues from their Barbie dolls, and I suppose I was no different. OK, I was pretty different. I have spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, and when I was about 10, someone gave me a Share-a-Smile Becky.

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