The World | KUOW News and Information

The World

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.

This show no longer airs on our station.

The date is set for June 12. And there’s already an advance team on the ground in Singapore making final preparations for a historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. That is, if the meeting actually takes place. The World spoke on Monday with Victor Cha, a former top adviser on North Korea to President George W. Bush, about some of the difficulties ahead of next month’s planned summit. 

It was the middle of April when they showed up at the border, covered in mud. Ana, eight months pregnant, accompanied by her 4-year-old daughter, had just crossed the Rio Grande into Texas.

“We didn’t have shoes on, we stood there in our socks,” she says.

There are 28 other monarchies in the world

May 18, 2018

The world has been consumed by royal wedding fever, as is customary when the British royals do, well, anything. Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne, is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle. 

With so much attention on them, one could be forgiven for not realizing there are actually many other royal families around the world. They’re in charge of 28 monarchies overseeing 29 countries, from absolute monarchies, such as Vatican City and Brunei, to constitutional democracies like those in most of Europe.  

Is the e-bike revolution ready to come to America?

May 17, 2018

I bike to work ... sometimes. I have a series of big hills — in each direction — that just kill me. So when I heard about a new, shiny red wheel born in the labs of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I was intrigued.

“Everything is contained within the red hub: the battery, the motor, all the sensors,” says Megan Morrow, with the company Superpedestrian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the maker of the “Copenhagen Wheel.”

The wheel is named for a challenge by the mayor of the Danish capital to get more people biking.

During their historic summit last month inside the demilitarized zone, Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in grasped hands over the demarcation line that divides their countries.

Inspired by this gesture and the promise of long-awaited peace with their northern neighbor, some South Koreans are now reenacting that handshake at a replica of the Joint Security Area (JSA).

When an anti-LGBTQ candidate won the first round of presidential elections in Costa Rica, Vincenzo Bruno took to Facebook to denounce him.

“We are completely against Fabricio Alvarado, He doesn’t represent us, he doesn’t represent anyone in the LGBTQ community,” Bruno told his followers in Spanish. “No! No more abuse, no more hate, we reject him!”

Curly hair is beautiful. That may not sound like an especially revolutionary or bold statement but it is for many women in Egypt. That's because they've been told all their lives to straighten their naturally curly hair, sometimes by perfect strangers. But that societal stigma against curly hair seems to be easing up now. The World's host, Marco Werman, caught up with the BBC's Dina Aboughazala, who is Egyptian and curly-haired herself.

Marco Werman: Why have Egyptian women been pressured for so long to straighten their hair? 

The visuals were stark: On Monday, as US officials opened the new US embassy in Jerusalem, thousands of Palestinians were injured at the Israel-Gaza border fence as dark smoke filled the sky.

Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians on Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, and injured more than 2,200 by gunfire or tear gas. The violence continued Tuesday as Israeli forces killed one man, while thousands of Palestinians turned out for funerals.

On Nov. 20, 1975, Mari Carmen Egurrola Totorica, gathered her six children around the TV in the living room of their suburban Idaho home to watch the evening news. Longtime Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was finally dead.

“Drink this. I want you to remember this night,” she told her kids as she handed them coffee mugs filled with shots of champagne.

It’s Groundhog Day again on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Last summer was rough for restaurants, hotels and other tourist shops that couldn’t find enough seasonal workers.

Most businesses there rely on foreign workers who come to the US on H-2B visas — those are temporary, non-immigrant visas given to seasonal employees. The US government issues 33,000 such visas each year for summertime workers and 33,000 for the winter months. With record demand, it’s proving to be not nearly enough.

A Mother's Day to end all wars

May 11, 2018

If you haven’t heard, Mother’s Day is this weekend.

And at this point, maybe you’re panicking and trying to find same-day delivery for decadent chocolates and fragrant flowers. Or maybe you’re steeped in the semi-patriotic proclamation of the holiday's origin.

In some ways, it was a relief for Hua Qu when President Donald Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. She had been closely watching the news.

“To wait for his speech, to wait for that uncertainty to fall down on the ground, to be settled so that I can think through what I can do going forward,” Qu says.

Lisa Kum has an endless list of tasks every day. The 41-year-old from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, has a 19-month-old daughter and a high school-aged son. She’s also tending to her health after undergoing elbow surgery earlier this year.

Arab governments are in conflict over an island paradise in the Indian Ocean that few people have ever seen. Socotra, the largest island in the Middle East, is one of the most isolated places on Earth, home to an ancient culture and some of the world's strangest-looking plants.

About 700,000 Rohingya refugees to date have fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar.

They're an ethnic minority in the country, and since last year, there have been reports of hundreds of Rohingya villages being burned, and widespread rape and murder.

Twenty Egyptian policemen in plainclothes broke into the home of a young satirist on Sunday morning in the suburbs of Cairo. Authorities whisked away vlogger Shadi Abu Zeid and confiscated his computers, cash and electronics. But he was neither taken to a local police department nor charged in a civilian court. His whereabouts remained unknown for more than a day, until Monday evening, when his sister posted online that he had appeared at a state security prosecutor’s hearing in Cairo. 

The American labor movement is in trouble.

Halfway through the flight, the officers took off Omar Blas Olvera’s handcuffs. He asked why. They had entered Mexican territory, an immigration agent told him. It was July 26, 2017. After they landed in Mexico City, he looked out the window and saw the airport’s signs in Spanish.

Jack Wang remembers an odd new rule written at the bottom of the his high school writing exam in China: no Internet words.

"It's just natural right when we use it," he said. "It's the youth way of expressing ourselves."

What may seem like the petty irritation of an old-fashioned teacher might actually be something bigger. More than 500 million people are online in China. They are microblogging, instant messaging and texting.

And the Chinese language is changing as a result, says David Moser, an American linguist who lives in Beijing.

The mass exodus of the Rohingyas from Myanmar became international news in August of 2017.

But the military’s campaign against the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, actually began years earlier — and since 2012, a small network of citizen activists have been risking their lives to secretly film its impact.

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan, tucked away in the Himalayas between China and India, is known for its innovative Gross National Happiness Index, a measurement tool used to incentivize policies that increase the well-being of its people. When Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy 10 years ago, the index was written into the new constitution as a guiding principle of governance, one deeply rooted in Buddhism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was sworn in to a fourth term in office on Monday, extending his 18-year rule amid promises of continuity in foreign policy and renewed efforts toward building prosperity at home.

In a swearing-in ceremony in the gilded Andreyevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, Putin assured Russians that his rule had “revived pride” in the country. "As head of state I will do all I can to multiply the strength and prosperity of Russia,” said the Russian leader.

Search and rescue workers in Syria say civilian lives are at risk after being hit by a freeze in US funding for their organization.

The US is currently reviewing its support for the Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, and other Syrian assistance programs worth around $200 million.

A State Department official told PRI that the review came at the request of President Donald Trump. They added that the US has provided more than $33 million in financial support to the group since 2013.

Khalida Popal was at the top of her game in Afghanistan. She became the captain of Afghanistan's women's national team and was competing on the international field.

Jorge Ramos has been called "the most influential news anchor in the Americas."

He's the face of Univision's flagship Spanish-language news broadcast. He was front and center during some of the most compelling moments of the last presidential campaign — like a press event in Iowa in 2015 where he sparred with then-candidate Donald Trump over Trump's proposal to use mass deportations to rid the US of criminals.

Boston artist Bren Bataclan often gives away his paintings with a note asking people to "smile at random people more often." He gave us two to give to PRI listeners and readers. Bataclan selected two people who commented on PRI The World’s Facebook page about the random acts of kindness they did for others or someone had done for them.

It's been a rough ride for the State Department since President Donald Trump took office. Under Secretary Rex Tillerson, who was ousted in March, many seasoned diplomats left. Key posts the world over went unfilled and are still unfilled.

Little wonder, then, that the new man at the helm of America's diplomatic corps is trying to rally his charges. Mike Pompeo was sworn in on Wednesday as Trump's new secretary of state and said it's time to reinvigorate US diplomacy.

The population of High Point, North Carolina, is about 110,000. Each spring and fall, though, it nearly doubles in size as furniture buyers arrive to scout the latest and greatest chairs, tables and light fixtures on display at the world’s largest home furnishings trade show, the High Point Market. 

Buyers began coming to North Carolina more than a century ago because much of the nation’s furniture was made in the area.  

Pages