The World

Weekdays at 3:00pm Central, 2 Mountain
  • Hosted by Marco Werman and 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. Anchored by Marco Werman.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is leading an effort to change the national flag. As a vexillological hobbyist, I couldn’t be more excited. New Zealand has one of the most disappointing national flags — even if you don’t confuse it with Australia’s.

I visited New Zealand when I was 16, just before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy hit theaters. It was my first trip off of the North American continent and if I’m being honest, I was more excited for the second leg of the trip to Australia. However, as day broke on my first day there, I was instantly mesmerized.

Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Since the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, many have conveniently blamed inadequate water supplies and poor sanitation facilities especially in poor and rural areas as the major factors behind the crisis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that large populations of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, “are often associated with poor water supply and inadequate sanitation and waste disposal services."

Ciara Gillan

In Ireland, it’s not only illegal to have an abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal fetal abnormalities, it’s unconstitutional.

We've lost the battle against dengue, is Zika next?

3 hours ago
Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

Look at the chart below and one can easily reach a conclusion — the world has lost the battle against dengue, a vector-borne disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti, the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitos can acquire viruses that cause dengue and Zika while feeding on the blood of an infected person, and pass them to another person through their bites.

Quiz: How much do you actually know about the Zika virus?

3 hours ago
Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Zika virus is no stranger to people. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and outbreaks have been recorded in countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

However, the mosquito-borne virus only caught global attention when the world began seeing images of Brazilian babies with abnormally small heads, a birth defect known as microcephaly — widely attributed, but not conclusively linked, to Zika.

Meredith Nierman/WGBH

The Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary play a key role in every presidential election cycle. Yet these states are remarkable for their comparative lack of diversity.

“The Latino population, for example,” explains Mark Hugo Lopez, Hispanic research director at the Pew Research Center, “in the case of Iowa, about five percent of that state’s population is Hispanic, and in the case of New Hampshire, it’s about three percent. So these are states that have relatively small Hispanic populations. Nationally, Hispanics make up about 18 percent of the population.”

Chart: The alarming rise in maternal mortality in the US

5 hours ago

Number 8.

That's the ranking of the US in the latest Human Development report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). But in terms of gender equality, the survey finds, the US is Number 55. And our ranking is slipping, pointing to some underlying trends that are disturbing for women.

Norway comes out as the best place to live in the world, and Niger the worst, according to factors that include life expectancy and income.

Saul Gonzalez

If you want to see how improved US-Iran relations will play out on the ground in America, head to Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles. There's a stretch there called Little Persia and it’s the commercial heart of LA’s large Iranian-American community—full of Persian restaurants, bakeries and Farsi-language bookstores. 

Laura Spero

Bishnu Pande is 21, with a soft, low voice like a cello.

As we talk in the garden near her house, her 18-month-old daughter Ayusha is playing nearby. Bishnu is telling me how she met Ayusha's father. Their story is emblematic of so many changes that are rippling through this traditional culture.

Three years ago, Bishnu was in 11th grade when she texted a wrong number, and a boy in a village about a day away answered. His name was Dirgaraj. They started corresponding.

Lucy Nicholson

Sometimes you can just look around you and tell whether, just maybe, you might put more time than others in unpaid work like housework.

For many of us, hours of toil for no money could be hurting our bottom line, too. For millions around the world, there's little choice in the matter. Use this calculator to see how your time on unpaid work compares with that of the rest of the world. 

Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

A few weeks ago, Kenya’s most popular morning talk show host, a guy called Maina Kageni, asked his listeners why women “push” men into relationships. He was offered a slew of sexist responses — sexism is basically Maina’s bread and butter — but one seemed to surprise even him.

“We have domesticated human pets,” the caller said, referring to women, “and we have domesticated human pests.”

How does your life stack up against a Kenyan woman's?

5 hours ago
Faye Orlove

The Across Women's Lives team is currently on the ground in Kenya reporting stories about women and entrepreneurship for a special series we're calling #OwningIt.

You might already know that Kenya trains the world's top distance runners, produces some of the most sought-after coffees, and is home to several of Africa's most popular wildlife parks and safari destinations. 

Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

The Westgate mall on Monday feels really normal in some ways. And really abnormal in others.

Normal in that it’s a mall on the equator at Christmas. It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit outside; people stroll around in short sleeves; fake pine wreaths and trees are no competition for the smell of perfume samples wafting through the air.

Sonia Narang

Across India, only 43 percent of women have bank accounts, and most women do not save money at formal financial institutions, according to a recent World Bank study. But that’s slowly starting to change as banks themselves realize what an untapped market they have around them. I saw that dynamic in action in a small farming village, Sorkhi, located off a dirt road 100 miles northwest of India’s capital city, Delhi.

Thanksgiving and Syrian refugees in two ridiculous charts

7 hours ago
Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

How much do you plan to spend in the coming Thanksgiving weekend? According to the latest research from Deloitte, Americans plan to spend $369, almost 25 percent more than last year.

Petar Kujundzic

Check the water meter? A river crab? 

China sometimes gets a bad rap for creativity, but few nations can offer up the imaginative array of code phrases that ordinary Chinese have developed to get around the Internet censorship of their ruling Communist Party.

Do you work harder than the average American? Find out with this tool.

8 hours ago
Lucas Jackson

What's the matter with Americans?

They (we?) are working harder than ever. In 2014, Americans spent an average of eight hours and 10 minutes each day on work-related activities, an increase of nine minutes from 2013, according to the annual Time Use Survey results released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month. (How do you compare? Do our poll below.)

Michael Spooneybarger

We know now that America's East and Gulf Coasts will be flooding more in upcoming years because of climate change. But how much? And how do you show that in a way that people can understand?

Obama is visiting Addis Ababa, but do you know where it is?

8 hours ago


Now that you know exactly where Addis Ababa is, let's find out more about the city. 

During World War II, the US Army came up with an idea to boost soldier morale: musicals. 

They were designed for the soldiers themselves to perform in the field.

For the past few days, some of those shows have been performed for the first time since the war. The stage is not on Broadway, but another venue in New York City: a former aircraft carrier, now docked on the Hudson River and known as the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

The US-Mexico border area — especially near the cities of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico — has something of a reputation for crime.

El Paso and Juarez have served as transit points for criminal gangs trafficking in guns and illegal drugs.

"The addicts pull up just after nightfall near a sedan parked along a busy street in this border city best known for murder,” writes Los Angeles Times reporter Kate Linthicum, describing a typical scene in Juarez.  

Shane McMillan

Many towns in the former East Germany have told the federal government that they would prefer not to be asked to resettle refugees, who’ve entered Germany by the hundreds of thousands in the last couple of years.

But not Golzow.

The night I visited the village with a population of about 800, 5 or so miles from Germany’s far eastern border with Poland, the annual Christmas concert was happening. Every seat in the tiny Lutheran church in the town center was filled. 

German Federal Archive

British reporter Clare Hollingworth has a good claim on the title of scoop of the century. For the 20th century, that is. Because it was Hollingworth who broke the story of World War II.

Hollingworth died Tuesday in Hong Kong, where she had lived for the last four decades of her life. She was 105.

In August 1939, Hollingworth was in Poland as an aid worker, but then switched careers and turned to journalism. She landed a job with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

A Syrian family finds sweet success in Canada

23 hours ago
Courtesy of Tareq Hadhad

Antigonish is a tiny town in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a population of about 5,000.

It’s kind of out-of-the-way.

But there’s a chocolate shop here so famous that tour buses line up outside. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even talked about it at the United Nations. This shop — it’s called Peace by Chocolate — is run by a former refugee family from Syria.


One of the first things Ana Maria did when she got her New York City ID card was go to the library — to get books. Information. She checks out CDs and magazines, too, to practice her English.

But she also checks out poetry in Spanish.

I met Ana Maria at a church in Staten Island. She's an undocumented immigrant and she asked me not to use her last name. Ana Maria can’t use her ID to drive — but, for her, it’s nice to have access to all those books in the library, just like other New Yorkers.

FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, has decided to expand the format of its men's World Cup from 32 teams to 48. The change will go into effect with the 2026 edition of the tournament.

So get ready for the debate over the pros and cons of this expansion to continue for the next nine years.

The recent death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani leaves the outspoken women in the reformer's family in a sort of political limbo. 

It's unclear how much clout his once-powerful daughter and wife will retain in an increasingly conservative Iran. 

"We have to wait and see how things are going to unfold," says Nazila Fathi, a former correspondent for The New York Times. 

BBC/Wietske Burema

The BBC’s Lyse Doucet has covered the war in Syria since it began five long years ago. So when happenstance found Doucet in her native Canada, she heard about a picnic being held for resettled refugees from that savage conflict.

The picnic, on Sunday, was in a park in the Leslieville neighborhood of Toronto. Doucet went along with her team, and was doing interviews when a child ran up and asked her name. As soon as she did, a group of children started calling out to her.

Why I’m actually moving to Canada

Jan 9, 2017
Olivier Jean/Reuters

My wife, Hana, emigrated to the United States from Kosovo as a child in the early 1990s. Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia back then, as a province of Serbia. She is Albanian, like most Kosovars.

Sergei Ilnitsky/Reuters/Pool

The Russian Federation inherited a variety of intelligence organizations from the Soviet Union, and has added more. The Russian intelligence community also inherited many techniques from its Soviet predecessors.

“Most of the time,” says Mark Kramer, director of Cold War studies at Harvard, “Russian intelligence focuses on intelligence gathering. That’s true of almost every major intelligence service in the world.”

But Kramer adds there have been many occasions when the Russians have tried to shape events and not just monitor them.