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.

Now will Cuba get better Internet service?

12 hours ago
Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters

Cuba, your Internet access is crap. You know it. The whole world knows it. But especially your citizens.

And to some degree, it's not a technical issue. You have a somewhat spanking new underwater cable connecting you to the global internet. We heard about it a few years ago when the people at Dyn Research spotted it.

Seth Rogen is far from the first filmmaker to take a pot shot at a notorious world leader.

Charlie Chaplin’s famous portrayal of fictitious dictator Adenoid Hynkel, a thinly-veiled version of Hitler, made waves around the world when he premiered the 1940 comedy, "The Great Dictator."

“Initially, when he proposed the film, there were fears — in Britain, particularly, where appeasement was still very much in the air — and there was talk that the film would be dangerous," says film critic and historian David Thomson.

I tried several times in the late 90s and early 2000s to go to Cuba.

Twice, my visa request fell on deaf ears at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. But then in 2004 — no explanation — I was granted a visa to travel as a journalist to the island. The man on the ground, my fixer, who helped introduce me to a mix of Cubans, was Yuro Leyva Lopez. He's a musician and a photographer. And he's a child of the revolution. His grandfather was a revolutionary. So was his dad.

Kurdish forces in northern Iraq say they have broken the months-long ISIS siege of Mount Sijar, where thousands of Yazidis and other Iraqis have been trapped since August.

The offensive against the fighters from ISIS, which also calls itself the Islamic State, began early on Wednesday with 45 airstrikes by US and coalition forces. It was a full-circle moment for the air campaign; President Barack Obama first authorized strikes this summer in large part to prevent an impending "genocide" of Yazidis on the mountain.

Courtesy of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

When reports about abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison first came out more than a decade ago, Michael Peppard started researching every account of mistreatment and torture he could find. He soon noticed a pattern missed by most journalists: American interrogators were using the religious faith of Muslim detainees as a weapon to abuse them. 

“One of the ex-detainees described 'forced prostration before an idol shrine,'” says Peppard, an assistant professor of theology at Fordham University.

Matteo Ianeselli/Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite songs by beloved Russian rock band Kino is called City:

The chorus goes:

“I love this city,
But the winter here's too long,
I love this city,
But the winter here's too dark.”

Free beer and popcorn — I must admit, that’s what lured me out on a recent rainy evening in Cambridge to see Seth Rogen and a screening of "The Interview."

One day before the Sony Pictures hack, Rogen presided over a Harvard event on the intersection of humor and politics. He joked about the initial response from North Korea when the trailer came out and expressed hope the release would occur without incident. "I would hope they would have better things to do,'' he said.

Can you describe 2014 in five words?

19 hours ago

The month of December is full of "best-of" stories. You've read about the year in outrage and the gawked at 2014 in photos.

Just a few streets away from the blue-doored houses of Sousse’s old town, one alley stands derelict and abandoned. Patches of wild grass have grown in amid the trash and rubble. Graffiti painted on the walls reads “Go away.”

The message was directed at Rathia, and the 90 or so other women working that alley.

“We literally had to run for our lives,” says Rathia, as she remembers the day her neighborhood, and business, went up in flames. “They came here and they just torched the places. We had to run out or we would have been burnt.”

Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

President Barack Obama’s announcement of a "new chapter" in relations with Cuba was made possible thanks to help from a surprising partner in the lengthy secret negotiations with Havana: the Vatican.

According to an official statement from the Catholic Chuch, Pope Francis issued a personal appeal to leaders of both countries, encouraging them to pursue a closer relationship. The Vatican also hosted the discussions that ensued. President Obama specifically thanked the pope for his part in pushing the new policy.

How ISIS uses catchy, violent tunes for propaganda

Dec 18, 2014

ISIS, the militant group that also calls itself the Islamic State, often grabs the attention of the world with shocking videos of beheadings. But it also relies on pro-jihadi songs — called "nasheeds" in Arabic — to spread its message.

"My people, dawn has arrived. Await the expected victory," goes one of the group's best-known songs. It was released at the end of last year, and it has become the soundtrack for so many of the group's videos that some even consider it their anthem.

All too often, war violently intersects with the lives of average people. In Syria, sadly, those people are often children.

This summer, two best friends, we'll call them Mohammed and Omar, were exploring outside — as 9-year-olds anywhere are wont to do — in their Syrian hometown of Daraa. They stumbled upon an electronic device and began to play with it. That device turned out to be unexploded ordnance — which didn't stay unexploded for long. The two boys were critically wounded — Mohammed lost both his legs and his left hand and Omar had severe abdominal and leg injuries.

The US-Cuba thaw is bad news for American fugitives

Dec 18, 2014

For years, Cuba's Castros have provided a tropical hideaway for some of America's Most Wanted.

For this rogue's gallery of cop killers and bank robbers, an easing in relations between Washington and Havana is none too pleasing. The list of fugitives includes the first woman on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list, who carries a $1 million bounty on her head.

Cuba is a gold mine for baseball players. Some lucky ballplayers, like Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes, escape the island and end up making millions in the major leagues. But it remains difficult for players to play outside Cuba, especially knowing they typically can never return.