The World

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  • Hosted by Marco Werman

The World brings international stories home to America. Each weekday, host Marco Werman guides listeners through major issues and stories, linking global events directly to the American agenda.

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Just say the name of the second biggest city in Northern Ireland, and you might also be revealing your sympathies. 

Call it "Londonderry" and people here could suspect that you're on the side of the Protestant loyalists. And if you say "Derry," well, that's what the Catholic nationalists call the city. 

In an attempt at evenhandedness, the dual name of Derry/Londonderry came about.

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.

Digital rights and civil society groups in Myanmar say they welcome a pledge by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to better address hate speech and other content inciting violence, but said the platform could do more to stop the spread of content that violates the platform’s Community Standards.

Every Friday for the past three weeks, thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have taken part in demonstrations at several different locations alongside the Israeli border fence.

Israel’s military says the protests are not just peaceful demonstrations, and its soldiers have responded with deadly force, including rubber bullets and live ammunition. 

Hundreds of Palestinians have been shot and wounded since the end of March. At least 33 have been killed so far. And the demonstrations are expected to continue for several more weeks.  

Teklit Michael started running with Eritrea’s fastest athletes when he was just 14 years old. His plan: to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. 

Michael burned through a pair of sneakers nearly every month, so he went to work at a government textile factory to foot the bill. One day after hours of labor, he went to collect his earnings. But he says his supervisor, a government employee, refused to pay him. When Michael pushed back, the man threatened him. 

“He told me, 'You are a son of a bitch, and you are talking against the government,'” Michael recalls.

At a sunny cafe terrace in the Paris neighborhood of Aligre, I am trying to finish a giant croque-monsieur — a typical French ham and grilled cheese sandwich   but it’s just atypically too big. So I get up to ask the manager if I can have a doggy bag for my leftovers.

“Un doggy bag?” he says. “No we don’t have any containers.”

This artist wants to make you smile

6 hours ago

Bren Bataclan is an artist whose goal is to make you smile. Read on to learn exactly how he does that, but here's some background first.

Bataclan was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States with his family in 1981. He was 12 years old when they arrived, and together they all settled in Daly City. That's a section of San Francisco with a large Filipino population. The excitement of their arrival is depicted in Bataclan's painting "Daly City, Our New Home."

I moved to Minneapolis for Prince

Apr 22, 2018

I moved to Minneapolis, sight unseen and without a friend in the city, in the fall of 2012. When people asked me why, the running joke was: "For Prince."

Except, it wasn't a joke.

The town of Santa María del Mar, Mexico, hasn’t had electricity for more than three years. At night a generator hums in the town plaza, powering a few pale streetlights. 

Santa María, population 800, rests at the end of a skinny peninsula sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and a shallow lagoon that locals call the Dead Sea. Most days tempestuous winds drawn off the hot plains of Mexico’s Oaxaca state billow across the peninsula out toward the cool Pacific. 

Up a narrow flight of stairs in northwest Tokyo is a cafe where 10 people sit around a table. For some of them, it's the first time they've been out of the house in weeks.

In a small room on a quiet street in the north of Amsterdam, a handful of older women are swaying to a few well-chosen classics, from Nat King Cole to Claude Debussy.

Rie van der Mueren, 93, says she and her husband used to dance professionally and competed in major ballroom competitions. But she stopped when he died 30 years ago. This is her first time at the Music Salon, a neighborhood music and dance club for the elderly. She says she finds the dancing space a bit small compared to what she’s used to.

Puerto Rico's power company said it had restored power to more than 1.1 million homes and businesses by Thursday morning after a transmission line failure cut service to almost all of the island's 3.4 million residents the day before.

The Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, was working to restore power to the less than 30 percent of customers in the US territory still without power after Wednesday morning's blackout.

Castro steps down as Díaz-Canel assumes Cuban presidency

Apr 19, 2018

A page of history turned yesterday as Raul Castro, Cuban president and brother of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, stepped down from office to make way for a new generation of leadership and an uncertain future for the embattled archipelago.

Dearborn, Michigan is a city thriving with Arab culture. For decades, thousands of immigrants from the Middle East have settled there, creating what some call the “Arab Capital of North America.” Restaurants, markets, coffee shops and hookah bars dot the city’s landscape, where people from Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Yemen and Iraq live. And in the distance, five times per day, you can hear a call to prayer at the Islamic Center of America, one of the largest mosques in the United States.

This week, Russian officials began implementing a planned ban on the popular messaging platform Telegram after the company refused to hand over access to its users’ encrypted messages. But it appears the implementation of the ban is not going as smoothly as Russian authorities had hoped.

The neighborhood of "Little LA" doesn't jump out to you at first. It’s located next to a large plaza in Mexico City, in the center of which is a historic arch commemorating the Mexican revolution. In the evening, people often gather in the plaza for outdoor exercise classes while teenagers compete in rap battles.

Asia Argento was one of the first women to speak out about the alleged sexual assault by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

The Italian actress and activist inspired other women to come forward and tell of their own experiences of sexual crimes done by powerful men in show business, news media, politics, sports and other industries.

<a href="https://twitter.com/MarianKamensky1?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Marian Kamensky</a>, Slovakia

The news these days reads like satire: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns over his pre-inauguration contact with the Russian ambassador. The New York Times reports that the Trump presidential campaign had frequent contact with Russian officials. And the President takes to Twitter.

Bassem Youssef likes to swear.

In his new book, "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring," he uses the F-word as any number of parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, even a command.

Some advice from an Arab son. If your career choice is to become a comedian, don't expect your dad to be very excited.

Here's how Lebanese American Nemr Abou Nassar's dad responded: "You want to become a clown?" No, explained Nemr, a stand-up comedian. His dad remained skeptical. "Oh, you're going to stand up and be a clown!"

<a href="http://@kapdigital">Jaume Capdevila</a> (Kap), Spain

A terror attack in Paris nearly on the eve of France's presidential election has political prognosticators even more flummoxed than before.

Could it propel extreme right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen to victory? Or will it mobilize disaffected voters to get to the polls for Sunday's first round of voting to keep an anti-immigrant, anti-EU candidate in check?

Cartoonists from across Europe have already weighed in. Here's our selection of their best work.

Courtesy <a href="http://www.armcomedy.com/category/english/">ArmComedy</a>

Narek Margaryan and Sergey Sargsyan want their fellow Armenians to know that it's OK to make a joke. It's not personal.

The two academics-turned-comedians are the creators, writers and co-anchors of ArmComedy, Armenia's first satirical news program — and yes, it's compared to The Daily Show, like, all the time. Sargsyan says the format took a while to find an audience in Armenia.

This is what a complete lack of freedom looks like

Apr 18, 2018

How do you capture the loneliness of being kept in a locked room? The shades are pulled. You have no books, TV or smartphone, and you're handcuffed to a radiator. Oh yeah — it's also been months, and you have no idea if you'll ever be released.

For Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh, words matter.

"Most people say the 'Palestinian and Israeli conflict,'" he says. "It's not accurate. It's not a conflict. It's an occupation." 

Sabaaneh's new book is "White and Black: Political Cartoons from Palestine." The title is partly a reference to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. 

"What's happening there is an occupation," Sabaaneh says. "When you deal with an occupation you should end the occupation. It is black and white. There is no middle area between black and white."

Like many others, cartoonists are reacting to the anti-#MeToo manifesto signed by 100 notable French women, including film star and sex symbol Catherine Deneuve.

Editor's note: Cartoonist and blogger Ramón Esono Ebalé was released from prison on March 8 after serving more than five months in jail in Malabo. Ebalé, who has lived outside of Equatorial Guinea since 2011, was arrested and charged with money laundering and counterfeiting last September while on a trip home to renew his passport. He was aquitted on Feb. 27 after a policeman, the state's main witness, recanted his story under cross-examination and said he was only following orders when he accused Ebalé of criminal activity. 

After more than four years in immigration detention in the middle of the South Pacific, the Iranian cartoonist known as "Eaten Fish" has a new view: the fjords of Norway.

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