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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.

Around the world, countless communities are already feeling the impacts of coastal erosion and rising seas. And it’s likely to get worse.

Sea levels, which have risen globally an average of 3 millimeters a year over the past 25 years, are projected to rise faster as the planet warms.

One of the communities feeling the impact is the village of Happisburgh, on the eastern coast of England, where the soft clay and sand cliffs are slowly crumbling into the North Sea.

As evening approached Saturday, the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma had been under shellfire for three days in a row.

The Syrian government was in the final stages of a large-scale operation to recapture the suburb of eastern Ghouta, on the edge of Damascus. Douma was the last holdout.

Dozens in the town were reported killed by government airstrikes, conventional weapons that elicited little response from the international community.

Daniel Vega knows about the Central Americans moving through Mexico. He’s been one of them many times.

He was just 11 years old when he left Guatemala. He says that his parents died in a car wreck off a winding road near their home in the tropical highlands.

“I stayed with relatives for a time, but felt distant from them. We clashed, and I know there was something better somewhere else,” he says.

Growing up in Michigan as an undocumented immigrant, Nejvi Bejko says few people outside of her inner circle knew about her status. She thinks that being white had a lot to do with it.

“No one’s really looking at me and thinking, ‘She should be deported,’ or all these hateful words that don’t necessarily apply to me because of what I look like,” says Bejko, who came to Sterling Heights, Michigan, from Albania at 9 years old with her parents and younger brother.

Nancy Polanco Najera worries that her 4-year-old son, Alexis, has started to figure it out. “He’ll be watching TV, the news, and they’ll talk about someone who is being sent to Santa Martha prison. And he’ll say, ‘We live there!’ And he’ll ask, “Why do we live here?””

He’s beginning to realize that they are locked up, that they live in Santa Martha Acatitla, a maximum security prison on the outskirts of Mexico City.

It’s a blustery winter day on the English coast and Nicola Bayless is walking along the Happisburgh cliffs with her daughter Darcy, surveying the damage after a recent storm.

“My God. I haven’t seen it for a few days,” she says, and points to a cascade of orange clay that had recently sheared off the cliff and onto the beach below.

“All this is part of the cliff that used to be,” she says. “It’s taken away quite a lot.”

On June 27, 2015, Cheyenne Sharma landed at Pearson International Airport, outside of Toronto, on a flight from Trinidad.

Canadian border agents inspected Sharma’s suitcase on her arrival and found more than 4 pounds (1.971 kilograms) of cocaine in the lining. The cocaine had an estimated street value of almost $100,000 (or $128,000 in Canadian dollars).

Sharma was arrested. She admitted to authorities that she had been offered $20,000 Canadian dollars ($15,562 US) to transport the suitcase into the country.

I meet Lewis Lee on a cold Saturday afternoon in Chicago. He’s standing in front of a gold spray-painted shipping container. It's called a portal.

Lee is a portal curator. The door is open and these eerie, underwater sounds are floating out.

“Those sounds are coming from Mexico,” Lewis explains.

There are more than 20 portals in about 15 countries. At designated times they connect. The point is to allow people from different communities — who would otherwise never meet — to get to talk to each other.

Laying an American saint to rest

Apr 4, 2018

As the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death is reached, the photos of Flip Schulke highlight the anguish of those who attended the funeral a few days after the legendary civil rights leader was killed April 4, 1968.

Through his close friendship with King, Schulke became known as one of the leading chroniclers of the civil rights movement and King’s involvement in it. Schulke’s photography throughout the funeral brought to a close his coverage of both a friend and American legend.

“What did you come to buy? Love or fear?”

That’s what Carmela Rodríguez Reyes used to ask people who approached her on the street she worked on. When asked what she means by “love,” she answers: a friend with whom to hang out, chat, grab a bite. But most people came for the “fear,” miedo, she says. That’s slang for crack cocaine — that’s what she was selling. It’s called that because you constantly feel “afraid of running out. Afraid of not knowing how to keep ‘scoring.’ Yeah. That’s the fear.”

How Alabama is becoming the auto capital of the South

Apr 3, 2018

Back in January, President Donald Trump put the national spotlight on Alabama's manufacturing economy with a boast in his State of the Union address.

“Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama — a big one — and we haven’t seen this in a long time. It’s all coming back,” the president said, eliciting applause.  

He also said the US hasn’t seen expanding auto plants in “decades.” That’s not true. And certainly not true in Alabama.

My cousin, Dean Huang, is an American citizen who was born in Taiwan, like me. Unlike me, Dean is male. And in Taiwan, men have to serve in the military before they turn 36.

Dean was 32 — and on vacation with his girlfriend — when he got the news: His parents had received an official letter from the Taiwanese military summoning him to service.

But Dean had his dream life in America. He'd worked really hard for it.

There are more women in prison than ever before

Apr 2, 2018

The substances are different: in Thailand, it’s meth. In Ohio, opioids. In Mexico, women help their husbands, boyfriends and fathers run their drug businesses peddling pills, crack, heroin.

But all over the world, countries are imprisoning women at higher rates than ever before. The reason? Mostly, it’s drugs.

“It’s just good water to drink,” Sabine Heckscher says.

It’s a simple, straightforward statement, but one weighted with relief in Cape Town in 2018. The city is deep into a years-long drought, and water use has been severely limited.

But water flows freely at this spring in Newlands, a suburb near the city’s landmark Table Mountain at the end of a dead-end road lined with homes behind white walls topped with purple flowers. 

While living in Vietnam in 2010, Erin O’Brien learned to make bánh Tết, a classic dish for the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

“It’s an all-day process,” says O’Brien, who joined a group of elderly women to make the dish in a small Vietnamese village. The process of making bánh Tết (or its cousin, the square-shaped banh chưng) typically involves the following steps: soaking rice, steaming mung beans, slicing pork, wrapping the rice and filling banana leaves, then tying them tightly with string. The banana leaf packages are then boiled in a pot of water over a fire for about 48 hours.

Udoka Azubuike left his native Nigeria six years ago, first to go to prep school in the US and then to attend college and play basketball at the University of Kansas.

He hasn't seen his mother, Florence Azuonuwu, since he left Nigeria. But thanks to his winning ways on the basketball court, a change in NCAA rules a few years ago, and the intervention of a Republican member of Congress from Kansas, the pair are set for a reunion this weekend in San Antonio.

There was a cold, persistent rain that fell on the ancient Roman cobblestones of the Old City in Jerusalem on Friday. Followers of the three Abrahamic faiths — Jews, Muslims and Christians — were tested by the slippery stones as they all observed their prospective traditions. 

The pot of lima beans, coconut milk, sugar and cinnamon simmering on the stove at my grandfather’s apartment signals two things: that it’s Holy Week, and that we will all sit down to a serving of habas con dulce, a Dominican stewed-bean dessert and one of my family’s favorites.

My grandfather, Adriano Manen Campusano, learned how to make the dish while growing up in the Dominican Republic, learning from his mother. Now, I am eager to learn from him.

Braces from home: The next stage in global dental care?

Mar 30, 2018

This idea, braces-from-home, isn’t for everybody. Many of us need the assurance of regularly visiting our orthodontist to ensure everything is going smoothly.

For others, though, there may be a cheaper and easier route. Nick Greenfield hatched the idea for Candid Co. not long after he went to the dentist in 2015 and found out that his teeth had started shifting.

Saya Pierce-Jones got a cactus for Valentine’s Day and she keeps a bottle of treated wastewater on her desk. These are the souvenirs Pierce-Jones has kept as the water reporter for Cape Town’s Smile 90.4 FM over the past year.

It’s lunchtime in the Pali-Kao public garden in northern Paris. More than a hundred teenagers, mostly boys, have come here to eat, meet friends and play games.

For billions of people, opening a tap is a mundane task. But not for Nsoda Bokhilfa.

That’s because until recently, she and hundreds of other women living in the Ait Baamrane tribal region of southwest Morocco didn’t have running water. Instead, they had to walk up to three hours a day to fetch water from local wells. Even with all that effort, it wasn’t always safe to drink.

But now all 1,200 villagers living there have access to safe drinking water. 

On the night of March 20, 1945, a 20-year-old Mexican American soldier named Tony Acevedo lay in the cold barracks of a Nazi concentration camp. 

He pulled out a diary he kept hidden even from his comrades and began to write. 

Lizbeth Mateo was 14 when she moved with her family from Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, to the United States. Mateo says that she only remembers being in a car when they crossed the border illegally. It was 1998, before the DREAM Act was introduced to the Senate, and before the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was introduced in 2012.

Meet Pegg, a gender-neutral robot assistant

Mar 28, 2018

The majority of us use artificial intelligence every day — without even realizing it. Like when Google predicts your search phrase or you issue a command to Siri or you scroll through ads and articles on your Facebook feed. 

And that, says AI technologist, Kriti Sharma, is dangerous. 

“Despite the common public perception that algorithms aren’t biased like humans, in reality, they are learning racist and sexist behavior from existing data and the bias of their creators.

“AI is even reinforcing human stereotypes.”

Cape Town officials have been warning for months of an impending Day Zero, when the city’s taps will run dry after three years of drought. But at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, workers are pushing to make sure Day Zero never arrives.

In the hospital’s underground parking lot one recent day, workers shaved down metal corners and bolted pipes into place in a fast-paced effort to install a desalination plant that would turn sea water into drinking water.

Getting married amid airstrikes in Yemen

Mar 28, 2018

New York-based activist Summer Nasser has coaxed bodega owners into sending aid to Yemen. She’s helped organize rallies against US immigration policies, even flown to Geneva to testify before the UN Human Rights Council about Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

It’s hard to believe she’s just 23 and still a student. 

Consuelo López de Padilla fits the profile of a doctor with top-of-the-line medical training.

She spent 15 years in her native Venezuela studying medicine and working as a doctor. In 2001, she left the Andean hills of her home country for the frigid flatlands of southern Minnesota to spend three years researching at one of the world’s most prestigious health centers, the Mayo Clinic.

But after starting a family in the US, she never returned to Venezuela. She’s also never been able to work as a doctor.

On a late Saturday morning in the Miskine neighborhood of Bangui, the war engulfing the Central African Republic seems far away. There are no militiamen clashing in the streets or eerie, abandoned fields that smell of rot. In Miskine, people are busy living, not dying. Scratchy radios blare music and women call out greetings from doorways. Kids chase each other, sending tiny chicks scuttling after their mother hen.

Alert Bay isn’t exactly a premier destination on British Columbia’s rugged Pacific Coast. On this winter day, there are more crows than people on the town’s wooden sidewalks, and most of the few small businesses near the waterfront are closed for the season. The biggest building is an abandoned salmon cannery, a reminder of what used to be here.

It’s a past that Bill Cranmer remembers well.