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The World

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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.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

International trips are a ritual for every White House administration. They're supposed to showcase American leadership and influence, and are meant to reassure our allies that America is engaged with the world.

President Donald Trump's 12-day trip to Asia was no doubt meant to do the same. The president told reporters aboard Air Force One that "we've had a tremendously successful trip" that netted the US "at least $300 billion worth of deals."

No doubt a significant portion of Americans agree with him, says The Economist's David Rennie.

Paul Manafort's indictment made headlines in Ukraine too

Nov 15, 2017
James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted last month.

It was a big deal here in the US — the charges against Manafort, which included conspiracy and money laundering, were the first criminal allegations to come from the investigation into Russian meddling in US politics.

But it also made headlines in Ukraine. Manafort made millions of dollars as a political consultant to former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

Courtesy of Spike TV

For the first time in his career, Desmond Chiam, an Australian actor of Chinese-Singaporean descent, is playing a villain. And he’s having a blast.

In a recent episode of “The Shannara Chronicles,” a Spike TV drama, Chiam’s General Riga has captured two heroes. He’s torturing one of them into cooperating by sticking a thick, unhygienic-looking needle in his neck and blood is pumped through a tube into a gigantic rectangular glass container.

Italy's soccer apocalypse is served

Nov 14, 2017
Max Rossi/Reuters

The agony of defeat. That's one way to describe the mood in Italy right now, after the Italian national soccer team failed to qualify for the men's World Cup in Russia next year.

It’s the first time in 60 years that Italy won’t be represented on soccer’s biggest stage. Generations of Italian fans have never experienced this. And they’re taking it hard.

The president of the Italian soccer federation said weeks ago that it would be an “apocalypse” if Italy didn’t qualify. He meant that in a reassuring way. But his choice of words proved prophetic.

Alister Doyle/Reuters

The Trump administration on Monday used its only event at the United Nations climate talks to promote the use of “cleaner” coal and other non-renewable energy sources, prompting an outcry from participants working to reduce the use of fossil fuels and halt climate change’s most catastrophic consequences.

From "Silent Spring" to "An Inconvenient Truth," the environment beat has changed the way we understand our relationship to the world around us, and often changed the way we live in it.

We can’t make sense of where we are as a global community — and where we might be going — without exploring how people are changing the natural systems we rely on, and how those changes often come back to haunt us. That’s why PRI’s The World established its environment desk in 2008: To bring a dedicated focus on this crucial beat to a program that takes a daily pulse of the world.

Alister Doyle/Reuters

The official US delegation to the United Nations’ climate talks this year in Bonn, Germany, cuts a confusing profile.

It’s small and nearly invisible, delegates refuse to talk on the record and the team’s office door is often closed.

More than halfway through the two-week meeting, the only official US event has promoted fossil fuels as a solution to climate change, including a big push for so-called clean coal.

Wilmot Collins thought he was running for mayor of a small city with challenges he had a plan to address. What he didn't realize is that by actually winning the election he would also become an overnight symbol of what refugees can achieve in America.

Collins, who arrived in the US with his wife as refugee of the Liberian civil war, was elected the first black mayor in the history of Helena, Montana, on Nov. 7, unseating James E. Smith, a 16-year incumbent. Since then, Collins and his family have given dozens of interviews to new media.

This Mumbai lawyer inspired a massive beach cleanup

Nov 14, 2017
Chhavi Sachdev

Mumbai has 72 miles of coastline, some of it covered in mangroves and some of it sandy or rocky — but none of it is clean.

Tasnim News Agency/Reuters

How can I help?

That's usually the first of many questions we have after a natural disaster.

And this is the question many have been grappling with over the past three days, after a devastating earthquake jolted an area near the Iran-Iraq border.

Official estimates put the death toll at more than 500. Most of the victims are Iranian.

Related: Iran hunts for survivors as quake kills more than 300 near Iraq border

Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

ISIS has suffered losses in recent months as large swathes of their territory in Iraq and Syria have been retaken.

And it’s not just on the ground — ISIS’s once robust online presence and propaganda efforts have also slowed dramatically.

That may be due a growing number of cyberattacks on its “virtual caliphate.”

"May you live in interesting times."

You may have heard that saying. And depending on your point of view, the times we're currently living in are either a blessing or a curse. Maybe a little bit of both.

That's how British musician Nick Mulvey feels. His new album, "Wake Up Now," is a "response to these crazy times" we're living in. 

Gilles Soubeyran

On Monday, France marked the second anniversary of the attacks that killed 130 people in and around Paris two years ago. French president Emmanuel Macron and Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, stopped at commemorative plaques in the places that were hit — a stadium, cafés and the Bataclan theater — where victims' names were read aloud.

But for some families across the country, more personal tributes were called for. And in the past year, a number of creative projects to honor the dead have emerged. 

Fiji is on the front lines of climate change, one of many tiny island nations that could be wiped out by rising seas and more intense storms. And to draw attention to the urgency of their plight, the country is presiding over this year’s global climate summit in Bonn, Germany.

We asked half a dozen Fijians about the threats to their country and their moment in the international spotlight.

Maria Nailevu:

During this year’s Miss Peru pageant, the 23 contestants made a collective decision to take a stand against the violence faced by women in their country, and around the world.

Rather than provide their measurements, as is common in pageants, they decided to share information on gender-based violence.

One by one, they introduced themselves and then voiced some staggering statistics: 2,202 cases of femicide were reported in the last nine years in Peru, while more than 25 percent of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools, they said.

Courtesy of Ballets Russes Arts Initiative 

After the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in 1917, one of the many ways they changed the empire was converting a former imperial porcelain factory in St. Petersburg — then Leningrad — into a propaganda plant. They ordered the factory’s artists to start designing Communist Party porcelain.

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

For more than a week, the Lebanese people have been consumed with one question. In shops, in bars, over balconies and online, they have been asking: Is our prime minister a prisoner?

Saad Hariri, who became prime minister less than a year ago, sparked a national crisis when he resigned on Nov. 4 in a televised address from Saudi Arabia.

 Alejandro Bringas/Reuters

Outside, the heat was finally tired of beating on the suburbs. Sore and spent, it let the evening go. My brother-in-law and I were seated at the dinner table in a tiny vacation rental, going at a plate of grocery store fried chicken and a two-liter bottle of Country Time lemonade. It had been a quiet couple of days in El Paso, Texas, waiting to cross into Ciudad Juárez the next morning for his visa interview.

“Mano, esta es tu última cena de mojado,” I said. Bro, this is your last meal as a wetback.

Antonio Ramirez let out a hearty laugh, his eyes twinkling.

Reuters/Tasnim News Agency

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked a border area 20 miles southwest of Halabja near the Iran-Iraq border. The massive quake, which has killed more 300 people and injured thousands, struck at around 9:20 p.m. on Sunday.

The worst affected areas were in Iran's western province of Kermanshah, where the coroner's office told state television that at least 336 people were dead and 3,950 injured.

Across the border in Iraq, in more sparsely populated areas, the health ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured.

The military history behind the Star Wars costumes

Nov 10, 2017
© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. 

The costume designer for Star Wars, John Mollo, died recently, at the age of 86.

Even though he didn’t have any previous costume design experience, he was hired by director George Lucas to design the costumes for the 1977 Star Wars film because of expertise in military history.

“Since he was a little kid, he watched movies and fell in love with costumes," says Laela French, the director of archives for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, “And military costumes really grabbed his attention."

"Think you can get HIV from food?  Bite me." 

That was just one of the slogans on aprons worn by 14 chefs at Canada's first and only pop-up HIV eatery, held earlier this month in Toronto.  

For two days, Nov. 7 and 8, every dish served at the pop-up — called June's HIV+Eatery — was prepared by cooks who are HIV-positive.    

For $125, diners were treated to a menu of northern Thai potato leek soup, roasted heirloom salad, a "surf and turf" main course and a gingerbread tiramisu. 

Both nights were sold out.  

Maya Shiroyama and her husband pull up to a ranch-style tract home in San Jose, California.  An older man waits for them at the screen door.

Tom Kitazawa, 87, is the last surviving son of the founder of Kitazawa Seed Company, a business that opened its doors 100 years ago.

Tom’s father, Gijiu, was a Japanese immigrant who sold vegetable seeds to Japanese Americans hungry for the taste of home, things like Japanese eggplant, shiso leaves and daikon. 

<a href="">Angel Boligán</a>, Cuba/Mexico

Cuban cartoonist Angel Boligán doesn’t draw to make hit-you-over-the-head political points. He draws to make you think.

There are no speech balloons or furrowed brows. In fact, you can barely make out the facial expressions of anyone in his cartoons. It’s their action (or lack of it) that he wants you to ponder. “For all the topics I like to draw, for me the most important thing is to be honest," says Boligán. "All my cartoons come from my heart and my soul. I want them to be authentic.”

Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Lawrence Davidson, a veteran of the Iraq War, and Yaroub Al-Obaidi, admitted to the United States as a refugee, both left Iraq in 2007 and today, both live in greater Philadelphia. The two took part in a project earlier this year that invited members of both communities to share their memories of Iraq.

Murad Sezer/Reuters

In Istanbul, shoppers at the popular retailer, Zara, were recently in for a shocking surprise. Attached to some of the clothing were tags that read, "I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn't get paid for it."

China Daily/Reuters

Take George Orwell’s "1984." Now sprinkle in that episode of "Black Mirror" where characters live in a world in which every aspect of their lives is dominated by ratings.

That’s one way to think about the Social Credit System, a plan that the Chinese government will make mandatory for all its citizens by 2020.

&nbsp;Eduardo Munoz/ Reuters

President Donald Trump has said he’s pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement. But UN rules don’t allow the country to exit the agreement until 2020.

US President Donald Trump promised last month he'd discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping how to stop the “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl “manufactured in China." 

Standing alongside Xi on Thursday during a press conference after the two leaders wrapped up formal talks in Beijing, Trump said he and the Chinese president would focus “very strongly” on curbing the drug trade and stopping “the lethal flow of poisonous drugs into our countries and into our communities."

In the days leading up to Tung Nguyen’s check-in with immigration officials in October, he couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and couldn’t concentrate at work.

In case he got detained, he cleaned the house and made sure his wife knew where to find important financial information so she can take over paying the bills.

“It’s traumatizing,” says Nguyen. “All I think about is that ... this time, I might not come back and see my wife and kid.”

Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

At 93, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is the oldest head of state in the world. But he's not letting age slow him down. He is running again in next year’s elections. But his wife, Grace, 52, is positioning herself to succeed him in the event of his death.

Mugabe has run the country since it won independence from Great Britain in 1980. Before that, he led a long and bloody guerrilla war against the country’s white settler regime.