The World

Weekdays at 8 PM
  • Hosted by Lisa Mullins

PRI’s The World is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. Hosted by Lisa Mullins in Boston, it is the first global radio news program developed specifically for an American audience.

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It's a classic tale: Immigrants make their way to America to try and create a better life for themselves, and they'll take any job available to do it — often the job no one else wants to do. That's exactly what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The "superstorm" blasted the northeastern US in October 2012, leaving dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions without power.

Then came the clean-up.

Plenty of countries have national birds, national anthems, national dishes — but a national font? There Sweden is almost all on its own. 

Yes, Sweden recently introduced its own font, called Sweden Sans. The idea is that the new national font will replace the many fragmented styles that government agencies currently use.

It's been four long, chaotic and bloody years since the start of the so-called Arab Spring, and many observers now say it was a failure.

The mass movement that began as a fight for freedom and dignity has largely become a series of counter-revolutions and violent sectarian wars. In Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen — to say nothing of Syria — many people, once hopeful that popular uprisings would lead to political and social transformation, have given up.

But that's a big mistake, according to one prominent activist who refuses to call it quits.

What happens in Vegas, stays in a Vegas casino's database

Oct 29, 2014

Don't think for a minute the NSA is the only one monitoring you — plenty of private companies do it, too. And among those private companies, casinos are huge data hoarders.

That's the crux of a new book called "What Stays in Vegas," by Adam Tanner. And Tanner already has plenty of experience with being followed.

"The year was 1988, a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in a single day in Dresden, ten Stasi agents followed me," Tanner says, referring to the East German secret police. "They logged everything I did in minute detail. They put it into a 60-page log."

Thousands of migrants take the treacherous journey from Africa to Europe every year, with the aim of making landfall in Italy.

Many migrants make the journey by loading themselves into crowded and unsafe boats that are unlikely to make the long trip from North Africa to Italy. Some end up stranded at sea for days, and an estimated 3000 people have died while making the journey across the Mediterranean Sea just this year.

Sometimes you shoot for the stars and you land ... well, nowhere.

The unmanned Antares supply rocket exploded shortly after lift-off in Virginia on Tuesday. Its journey to the International Space Station was cut off in a huge fireball just six seconds into the flight, the first such disaster since NASA began using private companies to run cargo to the space station. 

In her grey, two-family home in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Margarida Xavier fixes a pillow on her living room couch before sits down. She fell earlier this year and her back still bothers her. She tells me what she can about it in English.

“I have 86 years old. That’s it!," she says, laughing. "Not too good, broken English." Her English used to be better when she was still working as a housekeeper, she says.

It’s been jokingly called the "end of an error".

Rob Ford is no longer the mayor of the Canadian city of Toronto. John Tory, a moderate conservative, won the mayoral election on Monday with 40 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent for Doug Ford, brother of the outgoing mayor.

Rob Ford's four-year tenure as mayor of Toronto was marked by scandal — including his heavy drinking and crack cocaine use.

Music heard on the air for October 28, 2014

Oct 29, 2014

The tunes played between segment on The World for Tuesday, October 28, 2014 include:

    SONG: Sandansko Oro
    ARTIST: FatDog
    CD TITLE: New Found Land
    LABEL: Riverboat Records


While official results aren't in yet from Sunday's parliamentary election in Tunisia, it looks like the country has booted out its Islamist-led government in favor of a relatively new secular party called Nida Tunis.

Tunisians flocked to some 12,000 polling stations during a smooth weekend of voting. It was an important moment for the nation whose revolution sparked the Arab Spring in 2011.

The results were "a pretty dramatic change," says reporter Naveena Kottoor in Tunis, but the secular and Islamist parties may soon find themselves working together.

In its successful quest to become energy independent, the German village of Feldheim had an ace up its sleeve: poop.

Feldheim is a rural village in former East Germany, not far from Berlin. It only has 130 residents, but many of them are farmers who raise pigs and cattle. And it turns out all of the manure from those farm animals is a valuable source of energy.

Afghan success stories aren't quite what they seem

Oct 28, 2014

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, you've got to dig a bit to find success stories from the past dozen years of foreign occupation. What happened in 2010 in the district of Gizab was supposed to be one of those successes.

Locals there stood up to the Taliban, and even kicked them out with the help of American and Australian forces. That inspired hope that the same thing could happen in other parts of the country.

A Chinese restaurant during the lunch rush isn’t the first place you’d expect to find a campaign event. But here's Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio, working the banquet room at the China Max restaurant in San Diego and answering questions from local Chinese and Vietnamese reporters.

“The Asian community, all communities, want the same thing,” DeMaio tells a small group of supporters. “We should be focused on what unites us, not divides us.”

How to keep farming when God says to stop

Oct 28, 2014

Jewish farmers in Israel are facing a unique challenge this year: How do you follow a Biblical commandment to give your lands a rest, while making sure people have veggies to eat?

The tradition comes from the book of Leviticus: “Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard and gather in the produce thereof. But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest for the land," it commands.

When the foreign troops left Iraq at the end of 2011, the country was relatively peaceful.

But the Americans' departure opened a door for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — allowing him to give "way to his sectarian fears," and leading almost directly to the current crisis in the Middle East. That's according to Martin Smith, writer and producer for a new Frontline documentary called "The Rise of ISIS."

Smith says after the American troops left, Maliki, who's a Shiite, begins to sideline Sunnis.

You have to muster up more than a bit of courage to fly into Liberia these days. Even New York Times reporter Helene Cooper, who was born in the West African nation, had to deal with her own fears when she touched down in Monrovia a few weeks ago. 

"Before I went back to Liberia, I was really really afraid of Ebola," she says. "I had been watching cable news, I had the very American perspective. I understood in my head that it wasn't transmitted by air, that it wasn't airborne, but there's still a part of you that's still afraid."

Kurds threaten dark days for Turkey if Kobane falls

Oct 28, 2014

On the border between Turkey and Syria near the besieged city of Kobane, a group of Syrians are arguing with two Turkish policemen. They have bags of bread, grapes and other groceries they want to pass over to people on the other side of the fence.

The shorter of the two soldiers speaks Kurdish, and he seems sympathetic. They were letting some people cross, he tells the group, but they weren’t taking aid — they were joining the fight against ISIS. His commanding officer put an end to informal crossings.

Last year, I put a sticker over the camera on my laptop. I've known for a while that the computer camera could potentially be turned on without my knowledge. But it took seeing the new documentary "Citizenfour" to finally make me think I wasn't a crazy conspiracy theorist.

"Citizenfour" is the new documentary by Laura Poitras about Edward Snowden, but the film plays more like a thriller than a documentary. Poitras was in the Hong Kong hotel room with Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian's Ewan MacAskill when Snowden told them his story.