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The World

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. Launched in 1996, PRI's The World, a co-production of WGBH/Boston, Public Radio International, and the BBC World Service, airs weekdays on over 300 stations across North America. Theworld.org is an online home for the radio content where you can also find additional multimedia offerings such as blogs, photo galleries, and podcasts produced by The World's team.

The Cuban history lying behind an old door in Mexico City

Nov 28, 2016
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Monica Campbell

The morning after Fidel Castro died, it was quiet outside the Mexico City building where the revolutionary once hid and plotted his return to Cuba, where he led an insurrection that would begin one of the longest grips on political power in modern times.

For more than 100 years, the governments of both the United States and Canada forcibly assimilated generations of Native people, taking their children and sending them to English-only boarding schools — a process that pushed the majority of indigenous languages to the brink of extinction.

More than 35 years ago, a small Mohawk tribe in New York decided to fight back by creating a school of their own.

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Can the rebellion in Syria survive?

Nov 28, 2016
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SANA/Reuters

Pro-government forces in Syria have made rapid progress in Aleppo in the last few days. Thousands of civilians are fleeing the city. Some analysts think the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad could be on its last legs, after more than five years of war.

In the past week, forces loyal to Assad have taken at least one-third of the territory held by rebels in Aleppo.

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Adeline Sire

The village of Brienon-sur-Armancon in France holds an outdoor fair every November.

This year, the weather is cold and windy, but some National Front supporters are out distributing their new flier. It reads: “In the name of the People — Marine 2017.”

That's a reference to Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, who is running for president in 2017. 

The once-fringe party has been gaining popularity in France, riding a wave of hard-line anti-immigrant sentiment similar to the one that helped fuel Donald Trump's victory in the United States.

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Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

President-elect Donald Trump has been weighing in on Castro's death via Twitter.

“Fidel Castro is dead!” he tweeted over the weekend. 

And then Monday he followed up with: "If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal."

The hair trade is a billion-dollar global industry

Nov 28, 2016
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Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

You've probably heard of a hair shirt — it's rough, woven out of goats' hair and worn as penance. 

Now imagine a wedding garment fashioned from human hair.

Kishore Kumar donned one to make his nuptial vows. The third generation Indian hair trader is just one of the eccentric characters profiled in anthropologist Emma Tarlo's new book: "Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Human Hair."

Here's a taste of Cuban music in the time of Castro

Nov 28, 2016

Cuba has had a rich musical history, both before and during Fidel Castro's revolution and presidency.

Today, when most people think of Cuban music, they're quick to mention Buena Vista Social Club, and there's good reason. But there's so much more to Cuban music than that all-star group. Here are a few more pivotal artists to check out.

1. 1960s - LOS ZAFIROS: “Cuando yo la conocí”

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NASA

A new report warns that current levels of Arctic ice melting could trigger key "tipping points" leading to catastrophic and uncontrollable climate change. If these tipping points are reached, the effects would become their own drivers of global warming, regardless of human attempts to reduce carbon emissions.

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Elie Gardner/PRI

Bravery has consequences, and 16-year-old Hoor is paying the price.

She escaped a forced marriage in Afghanistan, defied deportation in Iran and crossed the border into Turkey with smugglers, and without her family.

Hoor, who asked not to be identified by her real name, thought she would be safe once in Istanbul, but instead she’s hiding in a Turkish orphanage. She takes cautious excursions on weekends with refugee volunteers.

Fidel Castro: Immortal Until Proven Otherwise

Nov 28, 2016

This is an old joke among Cuban exiles in Miami. And it rings true, once again, now that rumors of Castro’s imminent death have been disproven by the retired revolutionary’s appearance on television this week. Some would say Castro’s got nine lives. I’d say he’s got many more.

Could scientists help defuse a nuclear crisis?

Nov 25, 2016
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Joe Skipper/Reuters

In January, President-elect Donald Trump will take control of America’s nuclear arsenal. In a time when nine countries have nuclear weapons, it’s a massive responsibility.

But historically, it’s not a responsibility that presidents have borne alone. In the height of the Cold War, US leaders like Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy relied on experienced scientists who had witnessed the devastation caused by nuclear weapons.

The best women skiers in the world are going to be in Killington, Vermont this weekend — skiers like Lara Gut, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Tessa Worley. Get ready for cowbells and crowds.

This will be the first time a World Cup Alpine event has been held in the Eastern United States since 1991.

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Emma Jacobs

It has been an eventful political week in France, which has its presidential election scheduled for the spring of 2017. Voting began last Sunday in the two-round primary for the center-right parties. But this year, the French political left has been paying extra attention — and in some cases, participating.

With incumbent socialist President Francois Hollande very unpopular, some left-wing voters believe they will eventually be casting final ballots this spring for the right’s candidate, against the far-right’s Marine Le Pen.

Make American-built roller coasters great again!

Nov 25, 2016

In the 1950s, Walt Disney wanted to build something the world had never seen before: a roller coaster using tubular steel track that allowed for greater twists and turns.

He turned to a local California manufacturing company to build the Matterhorn Bobsleds, an iconic ride still today at Disneyland. Top speed: 27 mph. Height: 80 feet. 

The term "alt-right" has existed for a while, but surfaced more prominently during the US presidential campaign — and especially in the aftermath of the election.

Journalists and social media users apply the label, short for "alternative right," to a broad range of people. Too broad, according to University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde.

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Erika Beras

Much of Erie, Pennsylvania is a food desert — people don’t have easy access to fresh or nutritious food. But in one stretch of Erie, on and around Parade Street on the city’s east side, stores run by refugees are popping up and making a big difference.

At UK Supermarket, Samantha Dhungel pulls bags of vegetables out of the freezer. In her cart are onions and eggplant, but she pulls out a vegetable she only knows by its Nepali name. It's a leafy green that her Nepalese husband uses in his cooking.

A mundane Thanksgiving can be the ideal holiday gift

Nov 24, 2016
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Courtesy of Grace K. Lee

A banal, predictable Thanksgiving. It can be the ideal holiday gift.

That's Korean American author Marie Myung-Ok Lee's recollection of growing up as part of the only Asian family in a remote Minnesota mining town.

"There was always the Butterball turkey, the cranberry jelly that had the shape of the can, creamed onions that were eye-ball sized that they made every year even though none of us ever ate it," she recalls. She says her father and my mother "just decided we're just going to put all our chips here in America. We declared a love, and we're going for it."    

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Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Have you been tempted to try one of those genetic testing kits, like the ones sold by Ancestry.com or 23andme.com?

Maybe you’ve seen a commercial featuring Kim Trujillo.

In it, Trujillo talks about how she discovered she was part Native American.

So you get the kit, swab your mouth, mail it back and you find out you are Native American. Then what?

That’s what Kathryn Marlow wanted to know. She’s a radio producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 180.

Famed fado singer Mariza is back with 'Mundo'

Nov 24, 2016

The Portuguese fado singer Mariza is back with a new studio album. It's called "Mundo," meaning "World."

It's Mariza's first album in five years. The reason for her absence? She became a mom. 

And like many successful female singers, Mariza had to figure out how to balance two full-time occupations: being a mom and being an international superstar. 

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Handout

In March 1942, a schoolgirl in Amsterdam took out a pen and paper and began copying a poem encouraging her close friend to work hard. "Dear Cri-Cri, if you do not finish your work properly and lose precious time, then once again take up your task and try harder than before ... "

Cri-Cri was a pet name for Christiane van Maarsen — and the girl who wrote to her was 12-year-old Anne Frank. Three months after writing to Cri-Cri, Anne and her family disappeared into hiding from the Nazis. She was eventually killed at Auschwitz. 

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Matthew Bell 

Lots of people are worried that Donald Trump was serious when he said he would ban all Muslims from entering the United States. And that’s especially true for some of the Christians who are helping Muslim refugees resettle in America.

When Luke Keller woke up to the news that Trump would be president, he picked up the phone.

“I immediately called all of my Muslim friends and just reassured them that nothing’s going to happen to them, nothing’s going to happen to their families,” Keller says. 

“The Unites States, we have our problems, but we take care of ours.”

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Courtesy of Far East Movement

Back in the early 2000s, Kevin “Kev Nish” Nishimura of Far East Movement was a high school dropout in Los Angeles who desperately wanted to intern at a major record label. He wanted to learn about how artists got signed and how their albums were developed.

The only internship he could get, though, was in the publicity department of Interscope Records.

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Rayma Suprani, Venezuela/USA

Francisco Marquez wants the international community to understand something about the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro: "You are dealing with a government that currently engages in having political prisoners and systematic torture within their prison system."

Navigating post-truth politics in Russia and America

Nov 23, 2016

Moscow-born author Masha Gessen knows a thing or two about challenging autocratic regimes.

The journalist and author is a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

These days she sees some frightening parallels between Russia's leader and America's president-elect. 

Donald Trump, she says, is intent on using the tools of democracy to unravel democracy. 

“She was an old-school soul singer par excellence, and one of my favorite musicians ... ever,” said The World’s host Marco Werman.

Soul singer Sharon Jones died this month at age 60 after a battle with cancer. Her early career included singing in a wedding band and working at Rikers Island prison in New York. Later, it was her longtime band the Dap-Kings that fueled her high-energy shows.

Documentary filmmaker Matt Rogers followed Jones's career from her lean days to her storybook success. He says the first time he saw her sing was in New York about 15 years ago.

Fortuné’s big dreams and small spaghetti business

Nov 23, 2016
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Brenna Daldorph

The day starts early in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. At 6 a.m., the crossroads called Place Marabena are already bustling. A year ago, rival militias were clashing on these red dirt streets, but now, vendors hawk bunches of overripe bananas and memory cards. Long lines of people wait to pile into beat-up taxis. Men lie in the dust, tinkering with a broken-down jeep.

Take a tour of the 'Home Depot of Soviet past'

Nov 23, 2016

You won’t find it in the Tbilisi guidebooks, and it’s well beyond the tourist trail. But the first time I came to this sprawling open-air hardware market in the Georgian capital, I thought to myself: “I’ve got to draw this place.”

I had come as a customer, to buy some things for a home DIY job. But I found myself in a "Home Depot" for the Soviet past, and the artist in me was fascinated.

Read more from Andrew North's interactive story, "The Big Draw: Selling The Soviet Past."

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Allison Herrera

On a chilly day earlier this week, Brian Yazzie was running back and forth in front of the First Universalist Church in Minneapolis. Wearing a light pair of pants and a short-sleeved shirt, he was too busy to worry about the cold wind whipping around him.

He was gathering donations of food for an epic trip to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The haul is eclectic, ranging from crates of butternut squash to bags of Halloween candy.

On the evening of Nov. 8, after neighborhood shops had closed and ATMs had locked up, the prime minister of India announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee currency notes would no longer be legal tender, effective at the stroke of midnight.

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Tom Bergin/Reuters/File photo

President-elect Donald Trump boasts of his vast business empire. 

His investments span 18 countries, including golf courses in Scotland and Ireland, and major buildings in Turkey, Qatar, Indonesia and India.

But can a commander-in-chief be an honest political broker when he has billions of dollars on the line?

New Yorker staff writer John Cassidy has been considering the question, looking into Trump's possible conflicts of interest.

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