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.

The 'Queen of the Marathon' doped her way to victory

1 hour ago
Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Sports fans here in Boston got some disappointing news today. And no, it has nothing to do with the Patriots this time. Or Tom Brady's under-inflated footballs. It deals with another sport Boston holds dear: running.

Three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, often dubbed the queen of marathons, has been banned for two years for doping. The reason? Two recent samples of her blood testing positive for the blood booster EPO.

For Kenyans, it's Lance Armstrong-type news. Jeptoo is a star.

A rising tide lifts Iceland — literally

1 hour ago

What happens when sea levels rise? Things — lots of things — sink. Unless you're in Iceland.

A team of geoscientists has detected evidence that Iceland is literally rising along with sea levels.

Phil Noble/Reuters

Men's and women's clothing departments? That's so passe. The word for today is unisex.

Selfridges, the big British department store, announced new lines of gender neutral clothing and three floors of unisex apparel at its flagship store in London. With gender neutral mannequins.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

On January 25, 2011, enourmous crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, kicking off the uprising that would eventually force then-President Hosni Mubarak from office after 30 years of autocratic rule.

Luke Quinton

One summer day in 2008, Jack Matthews and Alex Liu took their supervisor from the University of Oxford on a tour of their fossil finds on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula, on the eastern edge of Canada.

Their demonstration didn’t quite go according to plan.

"He stepped down onto the surface, sat down, turned to his side and said, ‘Well, what's this?’" Matthews remembers. The supervisor, the late Martin Brasier, noticed something in the rock beds that Matthews and Liu had completely missed. “He picked up what has turned out to be a very important fossil.”

Doctors become targets in Sudan's forgotten wars

3 hours ago

Aid groups like Doctors Without Borders aren't just health care providers in war zones. They're also sometimes targets.

Last Tuesday, a hospital in Sudan run by the group, which is often known by its French initials, MSF, was bombed by a Sudanese government warplane.

"At the height of our mid-day operations, a fighter jet came in at low level and immediately dropped, on its first run, a cluster of 13 small bombs onto the compound," says MSF's Marc Van der Mullen. “We understand the same jet fighter attacked a church in the village just before.”

Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Things always get lost in translation. Sometimes, words or phrases just cannot be converted word-for-word from one language to the next. But in most places, the date and the time works pretty much the same all over the world.

Not in Ethiopia. There, it’s currently the end of the fifth month of 2007. It isn’t so strange for countries to have different calendars — Israel officially works according to the Jewish calendar and Saudi Arabia has an Isalmic calendar. But, what about having your own time? That’s the case in Ethiopia.

Monica Campbell

Quick — when you think of Cuba, what’s a typical image that comes to mind? Maybe it’s one of those vintage Chevys or Pontiacs from the 1950s in all the tourist photos. But if you go to the island, keep your eyes out for the other car — the Russian Lada. It’s the boxy, no-frills, Soviet-era vehicle that looks like an old Fiat.

It's rare to see one in the United States, but Fabian Zakharov has one in Miami. And when he needed a new brake pump for it a few years ago, he couldn’t find one—and had to go through the cumbersome process of ordering it from Russia.

Daoism gains a foothold, again, in China

7 hours ago
David Gray/Reuters

The officially atheistic People’s Republic of China has five official religions. Buddhism, Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism and Daoism. In one sense, Daoism — it also gets translated into Taoism — might be the most prevalent religious practice in modern China, a half-century after it was nearly stamped out under Mao's Cultural Revolution. But Daoism is also hard to really put your finger on. And that’s because the 2,500-year-old traditions are closely wrapped up with Chinese folk religion. To get a short assessment on Daoism’s place in China today, I spoke with Ian Johnson.

Luke MacGregor/ Reuters

Matthew Barzun confesses. Yes, he grooves. Yes, he's a straight-up audiophile.

He also happens to be the US ambassador to the UK.

A poster of Johnny Cash shares space on his office walls with portraits of President Obama and Winston Churchill. Since being appointed ambassador in 2013, he's plopped a turntable and a swelling record collection front and center, removed the conference tables and name cards, and brought in indie bands like Belle & Sebastian, Damien Jurado and The National to mingle with guests such as Prime Minister David Cameron.

Global elites turn a blind eye to Chinese dissent

Jan 29, 2015
Petar Kujundzic/Reuters

The Chinese government deserves credit of a kind. It may be running an authoritarian one-party state that limits basic freedoms for its people, but Beijing has made some progress since China's new leadership assumed power in March 2013.

Right now, there's a giant, helium-filled balloon soaring high over the Pacific Ocean.

Troy Bradley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Leonid Tiukhtyaev, from Moscow, are at the helm. The international duo, known as the Two Eagles Balloon Team, launched from Saga, Japan, on January 24. They've been riding the wind ever since.

"Right now, they're at 25,000 feet," reports Steven Shope, the director at Two Eagles mission control in Albuquerque. "A couple of days ago they were upwards of 75 miles an hour."

If you happen to be in Miami and hanker for a taste of Russia, head northeast to 79th Street and look for Marky’s Gourmet. But don't look for a crowd of Russian expats to point the way.

Instead, you'll find a steady stream of Cuban Americans shopping there for things like canned meat, bonbons and Russian crafts.

That’s what happened when I headed to Marky’s and ran into Yudilennis Caneda, a 29-year-old who grew up in Cuba. It was her dad’s birthday, and she was buying him a matryoshka, a Russian nesting doll.

Matt MacGillivray/Wikimedia Commons

Canada is home to more than 450 species of birds, and not one of them has ever been chosen as a national symbol. But don’t despair, amateur ornithologists: There’s a plan to change that.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is asking Canadians to vote online to finally choose a national bird. The society will then lobby the Canadian government to make the winged winner part of the country's sesquicentennial celebrations — that's 150 years of Canucky goodness — in 2017.