The World on WLRN

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A one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe.

What's it like inside Riyadh's five-star 'prison?'

Dec 1, 2017
Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters 

When you think detention center, a five-star, luxury hotel is probably not what comes to mind.

But that's exactly what the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been turned into these past few weeks.

Related: White House seen to be 'hands off' as Saudi crown prince grabs more power

Stephanie Keith / REUTERS

Dozens of public defenders gathered for an impromptu protest on Tuesday in Brooklyn, after federal agents conducted a courthouse arrest.

Genaro Rojas-Hernandez was charged earlier this month with assaulting his wife. He was waiting in the hallway of the Brooklyn courthouse for a hearing on Tuesday when he was apprehended by ICE agents. The agency is seeking to have him deported to his native Mexico.

Deepa Fernandes/PRI

Magali Torres peers deep into a tiny mouth, trying hard not to laugh. Preschoolers make the funniest faces when they have their teeth checked for cavities, this nursing assistant says. She also gets regaled with exaggerated stories of doctor’s appointments, dental visits and missed appointments. There are a lot of those in this small community.

In 1925 Josephine Baker debuted in an all-black American musical revue (“La Revue Nègre”) in Paris. The 19-year-old singer and dancer from St. Louis became an overnight sensation.

“On that evening, she shattered notions of what a black artist was,” says José-Louis Bocquet, co-author along with his wife, graphic artist Catel Catel Muller, of the graphic biography, "Josephine Baker."

What it's like to be an undocumented Hollywood star

Nov 30, 2017

Marvel’s forthcoming "Black Panther" movie is about the king of a technologically advanced African society — a society that hides itself from the world, pretending to be agrarian and powerless. Bambadjan Bamba was also hiding — until now. 

“There’s definitely a relief,” says Bamba, who plays a military leader in "Black Panther." “Like, OK, I just let the whole world in about who I am. So there’s really nothing to hide.”

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Finding proof of how Russia was involved in the US presidential election is the Holy Grail for many journalists today.

But for foreign correspondents based in Moscow, chasing the story is often an exercise in futility. 

“So much of its original identity is gone because of the Christianization that has happened. If you look around my house, every book that says Choctaw on it, anything about songs … it’s just Christian hymns being sung in the Choctaw language. There were definitely songs my great-grandpa was singing before they started singing whatever Christian hymns were being [sung].”

Jon Nazca/Reuters 

Mosquitoes are, by far, the deadliest animals on Earth. More than 725,000 people die from mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria each year, and millions are affected by mosquito-borne illnesses, according to the World Health Organization.

As a young adult, Reem Kassis left her Palestinian family behind in Jerusalem. She pursued her education and her dreams in business overseas, including in the US.

But the smell of home cooking knows no boundaries. And now Reem Kassis has written a book, "The Palestinian Table," that's as much a memoir as a collection of recipes.

North Korea’s latest long-range missile test comes after a two-month lull in testing that might have had more to do with the country’s harvest than the Trump administration’s approach.

Here are answers to three key questions you might be asking now:

1. Is North Korea more of a threat today than it was Tuesday?

Simi Afun-Ogidan/WaterAid

We take toilets for granted in the United States. We usually have access to safe facilities when we need it.

So, imagine being afraid every time you need to use the toilet. Afraid of being attacked or exposed to a disease. 

For more than 1 billion women and girls around the world, those fears are real. They don't feel safe going to the bathroom, according to WaterAid, an international nonprofit group that promotes clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

Claro Cortes IV/Reuters

Tensions between the US and North Korea have spiked yet again.

Pyongyang has tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile that it claims can strike the US mainland. President Donald Trump has promised new sanctions in response.

Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

Yemen produces little of its own food and fuel, so Yemenis rely on imports to survive. When Saudi Arabia entered the Yemeni civil war in March 2015, it took strict control over access to Yemen's airports, seaports and border crossings. Food thus became a tool of war.

Near famine conditions developed in many parts of the country.

The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap via Reuters 

For some South Koreans, giving a gift to a co-worker, teacher or business partner is no longer a warm gesture — it’s potentially a crime.

The country’s sweeping anti-graft law puts limits on the monetary value of presents given to people who work in certain professions, including educators, journalists and civil servants. The restrictions are supposed to eliminate acts of everyday corruption and draw a line between a gift and a bribe.

Shaina Shealy/PRI

Faten, 30, lives in a big house perched on a hill in the Arab-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, about 12 miles northwest of Jenin.

She has three young daughters — on this spring day, they are all dressed in matching black pants and lacy maroon tops. Her youngest, who is 4, scoots around the kitchen in a toy car.

Faten, who asked me not to use her real name to protect her privacy, is pregnant. Again.