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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 Czech Republic's Trump is in the lead for Prime Minister

Oct 19, 2017
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David W Cerny/Reuters

Dubbed the "Czech version of Trump" by Forbes, the wiry, gray-haired, Slovak-born farming, media and chemicals mogul is the Czech Republic's second-richest man.

Andrej Babis set up the populist ANO (Yes) party in 2011 as a political outsider determined to lure voters with promises of clean politics in the EU country of 10.6 million ranked more corrupt than Botswana by Transparency International.

ANO entered parliament two years later, but Babis himself has since been dogged by allegations of wrongdoing, something he flatly denies.

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Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Flying insect populations dropped by more than 75 percent during the last three decades in dozens of protected areas across Germany, researchers have found.

A club of mostly amateur entomologists used traps to capture insects and measure their biomass at 63 nature protection areas in Germany since 1989.

One month ago, on the afternoon of Sept. 19, a massive quake struck Mexico City and surrounding areas. That day, The World's Monica Campbell was in the Boston newsroom, far from her home and family in Mexico City. She watched footage of buildings collapse and waited as death tolls rose.

"I couldn't believe it," she says. "The quake struck 32 years to the day since the massive 1985 quake."

The first wave of university students displaced by Hurricane Maria has arrived to study in the mainland US, taking advantage of tuition discounts offered to Puerto Rican students whose home institutions remain shuttered.

“Coming here was a big relief,” says Rosamari Palerm, 23. She was the first student from Puerto Rico to arrive at St. Thomas University, a private Catholic school in Miami Gardens, Florida with over 5,000 students.

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Erik De Castro/Reuters

Mohammad Othman watched through a hole in the wall as the last ISIS fighters filed out of the Syrian city of Raqqa in a convoy of trucks and cars.

Exhausted, beaten and bedraggled, like the city itself, their departure marked a symbolic end to the self-declared caliphate — the fall of ISIS’ de facto capital was complete.

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Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

A Maltese journalist once described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks” was killed in a car bomb this week.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was perhaps the most famous journalist in Malta, known for her fearless reporting on crime and corruption that reached into the upper echelons of the government.

Refugees to be assessed on ability to 'assimilate'

Oct 18, 2017

Immigration experts are trying to get clarification of a new presidential directive on refugees. One issue of concern is language buried deep in the document about the need for refugees to be “assimilated.”

Usually, when we talk about Japanese prison camps during World War II, the story centers around Japanese Americans. But there was actually another group whose story intertwines with the Japanese Americans' during the war.

Ron Moore knows this firsthand.

At the age of 11, he moved with his family to Poston, Arizona in 1949.  “We moved into one of the barracks,” he says.  

Those barracks were at the Colorado River Relocation Center, which is known as the Poston internment camp.

Barbara Dane just can't recall any good fascist songs

Oct 18, 2017

"Can you recall any good fascist songs?" Barbara Dane, the founder of Paredon Records, asks.

Unlike fascist music, Dane recalls protest and struggle songs as having a rallying effect. Songs like "Deutschlandlied," which was chosen as Germany's national anthem in 1922 (today only the third stanza is used in the national anthem), can be pointed out as nationally successful. But fascist songs just don't seem to bring people together the way that protest music from folk culture does. 

Two US judges order a freeze on Trump's third travel ban

Oct 18, 2017
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James Lawler/Reuters

US federal judges ordered a freeze on President Donald Trump's newest travel ban this week, saying it was essentially targeted at Muslims in violation of the US Constitution.

Maryland District Judge Theodore Chuang said Wednesday the ban on travelers from over half a dozen countries essentially had not changed from the first two versions, which were shot down in lower courts as discriminating against a single religion.

It was exactly one year ago today when Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched an offensive against ISIS in villages in the outlying areas of Mosul to pave the way for the Iraqi army to enter the city. I was there.

The night before the offensive, I was trying to catch some sleep but despite two coats and a sleeping bag, the cold made me shiver all night. Part of the reason for the sleeplessness was wondering what would happen next, now that the Kurdish army had joined the Iraqi army in a joint operation.

Deadly wildfires ravage Portugal and Spain

Oct 17, 2017
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Miguel Vidal/Reuters

On Sunday night, Rafael Kotcherha Campora posted a series of alarming status updates on Facebook:

 

Kotcherha Campora was staying at his partner's farm in Galicia, Spain, when he spotted a fire on the horizon. Soon, the winds began to whip up, "and the smoke started tunneling down in all directions," he recalls. "The smoke was so dense that we literally couldn't breathe anymore."

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US Air Force/Courtesy of Blaine Harden 

The shelling started on Sunday morning, before sunrise. It was June 25, 1950. A couple of hours later, dozens of Soviet-made, state-of-the-art battle tanks from the Korean People’s Army — along with about 90,000 troops — began moving across the 38th parallel to attack South Korea. 

Suddenly, the Cold War had turned into a full-blown shooting war. 

A day later, from his base in Tokyo, General Douglas MacArthur sent a bleak assessment of the situation in Korea back to Washington. 

“Complete collapse is imminent,” MacArthur told the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

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Erik De Castro/Reuters

As they surrendered the city of Raqqa today, ISIS militants climbed onto 30 buses and 10 trucks for the ride out of town. 

Some fighters even stopped to snap a couple of parting photos.

Then the extremists abandoned the city they'd considered the capital of their so-called caliphate. US-backed Kurdish and Arab militias now say they're "fully in control."

"There were big celebrations in the center of Raqqa where ISIS used to carry out executions," says The World's Rich Hall from his base in Beirut. "It's a very symbolic defeat for ISIS."

Modern shipping containers are a bit like Legos — you can take them off a ship and snap them perfectly onto a truck or train. This relatively simple innovation, which started in the 1950s, has allowed global trade to go gangbusters.   

“It was in 1992 when 100 million containers moved through all the world’s ports, then in 1998, we went to 200 million,” said Stephen Flynn, founding director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University in Boston. “Roughly we’re at a little over 600 million today.

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Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

The Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk has been under Kurdish control for several years. On Monday, Iraqi soldiers reclaimed it for Baghdad, and that's a big deal.

"It is a different Iraq today than it was two days ago," says journalist Ben Van Heuvelen.

"It's a paradigm shift in Iraq akin to what happened in 2014 when ISIS came in," he says. "The territorial boundaries between the Kurdistan region and the federal government have been redrawn, and the control of northern Iraqi oil resources has shifted." 

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, we’ve seen images of the destruction and heard stories about the lack of electricity and basic supplies like food and water in some areas.

But the main way we measure — and understand — the scope of any disaster is through the death toll.

The official count is now 48 deaths. But the news site Vox thought that number seemed off.

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Violet Law/PRI

It’s been 10 years since Anna Takada was in sixth grade, but she still remembers her history class. The World War II imprisonment of her grandfather and nearly 120,000 others with Japanese heritage merited only a few lines in her textbook. And at school, her teacher skipped over those lines.

“I remember being shocked and hurt how it was glossed over,” Takada, 25, says.

At home, her father, who was born in Chicago where his family resettled after incarceration, told Takada not to ask her grandfather about that time in their family’s history, either. And she didn't. 

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Feisal Omar/Reuters

When Jibril Afyare arrived in Mogadishu from Minnesota, just two weeks ago, the atmosphere was one of hope.

“I saw a Somalia [that] had made a lot of tremendous progress in terms of security, the economy, education,” Afyare said. “Everywhere you go, people were jubilant and optimistic.”

Afyare was in the car, on the way to meet his relatives, when Saturday’s explosion happened.

“I was at a place called kilometer 4,” he said. “Where the attack had taken place was kilometer 5.”

The family he was to meet — his uncle, aunt and cousins — did not survive.

US allies turn their US guns on each other in Iraq

Oct 16, 2017

Iraqi forces took control of the contested city of Kirkuk from Kurdish authorities on Monday, as tensions over last month’s independence referendum in the Kurdistan region erupted into violence between two key US allies.

Thousands of civilians fled in panic from the city, which lies in the heart of a major oil-producing region and which both the Kurds and Iraq claim as their own.

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National Archives/Reuters

A few weeks ago, while mowing the lawn, Clifton Daniel began to recite a monologue in character as Harry S. Truman.

“Which is weird,” he admitted recently, in between bites of a Whole Foods wrap. Truman hated mowing the lawn. “My neighbors probably think I’ve lost my mind.”

As some Puerto Ricans fill flights to Miami, we asked a handful of people in San Juan their thoughts about leaving their homes for the mainland US. About 3.4 million people live in Puerto Rico, and some will choose to leave the island behind and move permanently.

The House passed a $36.5 billion aid package last week and on Sunday, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricard Rosselló said he expected power to be restored to 95 percent of the island’s electric grid by Dec. 15. Currently, 85 percent of the island is still without electricity.

Why people stay friends with their rapists

Oct 13, 2017

Since The New York Times reported about how Harvey Weinstein has been paying off accusations of sexual harassment for decades, more and more women have been coming forward to report abuse, in some cases from years ago.

Writer, journalist and playwright, Natalia Antonova, thinks she understands why some have kept silent for so long.

Acid attack victims reverse expectations on the runway

Oct 13, 2017

It's a fashion show to make a difference.

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Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

In the US there's YouTube, Groupon and Uber. In Iran there's Aparat, Takhfifan and Snapp.

"A couple years ago the tech community in Tehran was just really a handful of [venture capitalists] and a [few] young entrepeneuers," said Aki Ito, Bloomberg's tech editor and co-host of the podcast Decrypted.

But the country's tech sector flourished after sanctions were lifted as part of the Barack Obama-era nuclear deal.

The Republic of Ireland marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara, on Oct. 9, with a commemorative postage stamp. It’s become hugely popular, but it’s also causing quite a stink.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara helped lead the communist revolution in Cuba, in the 1950s, but was later captured and executed for trying to launch a revolution in Bolivia.

He was chosen for the stamp, because — to quote the Irish postal service — Che is the “quintessential left-wing revolutionary.” He’s also of partial Irish descent.

Unpredictable winds continue to fan the fires engulfing huge swaths of land in northern California Thursday. Authorities say more than two dozen people have died and hundreds are still missing, as of Thursday afternoon.

Evacuations in Napa and Sonoma counties have put some 25,000 people out of their homes. Many of these residents only speak Spanish, but most emergency information is delivered in English.

Meet the women combing through Puerto Rico, searching for veterans in need

Oct 12, 2017

It’s early in the morning, and the entire city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, seems to be gazing at the sky with concern. It looks like rain but the island just can’t handle any more flooding.

On the highway, under the dark, heavy clouds, a small car makes its way through traffic. In it are four women, Ghislaine Rivera, Mia Lind, Janine Smalley and Katie Blanker, with whom I'm spending the day — it's Oct. 5. 

Our first stop? A school that’s been turned into a hurricane shelter.

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BeBe Jacobs

Vietnamese American writer Viet Thanh Nguyen describes himself as "numb and shocked" after winning a MacArthur "genius grant."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Sympathizer," his debut novel, was cited by the MacArthur Foundation for "challenging popular depictions of the Vietnam War and exploring the myriad ways that war lives on for those it displaced."

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Phil Noble

Sam Sinai was coming back to the US last month, after visiting family in Iran. When he got to Logan International Airport in Boston, US Customs and Border Protection agents told him he’d been selected for extra screening.

"I was asked for some information about what I did abroad and my address abroad and my address here," he says.

Nothing unusual, he thought. He’d been asked similar questions before. But then the agent said something that made him do a double take.

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