PRI's The World on RADIO IQ

Weekdays at 4:00 pm on RADIO IQ.
Marco Werman

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.

The World's coverage is provided by a global network of international journalists. The program also has access to the 250 BBC correspondents located around the world. Unique in public radio, this network works in concert with the program's multinational team of producers and editors, and brings an exceptional depth of understanding and freshness of perspective to the program content. The result is an award-winning hour of breaking news, in-depth features, hard-hitting commentaries, and thought-provoking interviews found nowhere else in U.S. news coverage.

PRI's The World -- international news for an American audience -- weekdays at 4:00 on ourRADIO IQ With BBC News network of signals and streaming live on the web.

Program Headlines

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015 12:54pm

    It's a winter wonderland in Boston, but that just means a more interesting commute for the team at PRI's The World.

    Large parts of the northeastern United States are being battered by blizzards and near hurricane-force winds as winter storm Juno makes its way up the coast. So the journalists in our newsroom laced up heavy winter boots and strapped on cross-country skis and snowshoes to come in for today's show.

    Marco Werman made it in with his cross-country gear...

     

    Charming #StorrowDrive #Boston

    A photo posted by Marco Werman (@marcowerman) on Jan 27, 2015 at 7:01am PST

    And producer Bradley Campbell "summited" the Mass Turnpike overpass on the way to work.

    Producer Bradley Campbell walking to work
    Credit:

    Nina Porzucki

    By the time we all made it to work, there was an impressive collection of skis and boots at the door.

    Engineer Michael Wilkins documented the storm and put together this short video.

    But hey, it could be worse.

    “It's not too bad today. It's into the minus-40s, so pretty typical for Yellowknife,” says CBC North meteorologist Christy Climenhaga, who's in northern Canada. “I have a little cocker spaniel and she loves it up here. We have a good winter jacket for her; you need little boots so their feet don't get too cold. All the dogs seem to love getting outside and running across our frozen lakes and all that fun stuff.”

    Climenhaga's best advice? Bundle up: "The bigger you look, the better you are," she says.

    And maybe leave the street snowboarding for another day.

  • Monday, January 26, 2015 10:38am

    Call it the calm before the storm.

    Canadian underwater photographer Keri Wilk was diving off the coast of Dominica last March when a sperm whale approached him and his fellow divers.

    Photographing a sperm whale off the coast of Dominica.

    Photographing a sperm whale off the coast of Dominica.

    Credit:

    Keri Wilk

    What happened next came as shock to Wilk. He says the whale stopped “and unleashed what’s been called a poo-nado or poopnado.”

    The whale began defecating next to Wilk for a number of minutes.

    Sperm whale defaecating near photographer Keri Wilk
    Credit:

    Keri Wilk

    “After it unleashed its bowel movement, it proceeded to bob up and down in the water, splash its tail around and basically, make the poo-ball as large as it could to hide itself," Wilk says. "Then it burst out of the ball and into the depths once it was finished.”

    Wilk says he's seen whales defecate as a form of defense before, but not to this extent. “It was several orders of magnitude larger than a normal defecation event," he says. "It would just come out in bursts — burst after burst after burst."

    Sperm whale defaecating near photographer Keri Wilk
    Credit:

    Keri Wilk

    Wilk continued to photograph the scene, even though he had whale waste inside of his wet suit and on his mask.

    Sperm whale defaecating near photographer Keri Wilk
    Credit:

    Keri Wilk

    “As strange and gross and disgusting as the event actually was, I really do feel privileged to have been able to encounter this … it was actually a really wonderful experience," Wilk says.

    Sperm whale defecating near photographer Keri Wilk
    Credit:

    Keri Wilk

     

    Sperm whale defaecating near photographer Keri Wilk
    Credit:

    Keri Wilk

    Wilk also captured this dramatic drone footage of sperm whales on the move:

  • Thursday, January 22, 2015 2:16pm

    It may seem ironic, but nuclear weapons provided one of the few consistent bright spots in US-Russia relations over the past two decades. But now the two countries' cooperation on nuclear security may be coming to an end.

    The Boston Globe reported on Monday that Russia indicated during private diplomatic meetings held in Moscow in late December that they will refuse ongoing American help and money in securing their nuclear stockpiles. That program was one of the longest-running and most successful collaborations between the two countries.

    “It was no longer politically sustainable in Russia, with the kind of deep freeze in US-Russian relations, with the crisis in Ukraine, to say ‘Russia is a weak country that needs US help to manage its material,’” says Matthew Bunn, a nuclear security expert who directs the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard's Belfer Center.

    Both sides have actually pulled out of joint programs in recent months: The US cut off cooperation on nuclear energy and science last year, part of sanctions levied after Russia invaded eastern Ukraine.

    “But [the US] said ‘We want you to keep working on the things we value, nuclear security,'" Bunn explains. "And the Russians basically said, ‘Let’s call an end, let’s stop.’”

    Security cooperation has significantly improved the security of Russia's nuclear stockpile over the past two decades.

    “Nuclear security in Russia is dramatically better today than it was in the 1990s," Bunn says. "Now, weapons-usable nuclear material, when it’s not in use, is sitting in a steel vault with an armed guard, security cameras. There are detectors at the door to set off an alarm if a would-be thief is carrying something out in his briefcase.

    But there are still weaknesses that need to be addressed. Bunn is particuarly worried about insider theft and corruption.

    “In 2012, the director and two of the deputy directors of one of the biggest plutonium and highly enriched uranian factories in Russia were arrested for millions of dollars of corruption," Bunn says. They were "not stealing nuclear material, but you can see the weak links in the chain."

    And with Russia holding enough plutonium and weapons-grade uranium for "literally tens of thousands of nuclear weapons,” the threat is no small matter.

    Some of Russia's stockpile was already destroyed over the past two decades as part of a deal in which Russia dismantled nuclear weapons, reduced the potency of the uranium from their warheads and then sold it to the US as fuel for nuclear power plants.

    “So for 20 years or so, almost half of the nuclear-generated electricity in the United States — almost one out of every ten light bulbs — was being powered from a dismantled Russian nuclear bomb,” Bunn says.

    Even with the potential end of US-Russia cooperation, Bunn says the future of nuclear security isn’t entirely hopeless. There are still a handful of nuclear facilities where the two countries will continue to cooperate, and Russian and US scientists and technical personnel can still to maintain a dialogue and exchange ideas.

    “If you go back all the way to the Cold War and ever since, it’s often been dialogue between scientists and technical experts that offered a back channel when the governments weren’t able to talk to each other very well — that allowed us to solve problems," Bunn says. "And maintaining those personal relationships and dialogues is critically important."

  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015 1:33pm

    It was a publicity stunt gone wrong. Now environmental organization Greenpeace is naming the activists responsible.

    The group has provided Peruvian authorities with the names of the four activists principally responsible for vandalizing the Nazca Lines heritage site. The incident happened during last month’s international climate negotiations in Lima.

    Activists positioned giant yellow letters on the ground that read “Time for change! The future is renewable. Greenpeace” near a hummingbird carved in the soil 1,500 years ago.

    The group then shot video of the message from a drone above the site and released the video to the media.

    The stunt outraged Peru’s people and government. Archaeologists say the footprints left by the activists could remain on the desert ground for decades. 

    “This has done a huge amount of damage to the [Greenpeace] brand,” says Bloomberg BusinessWeek journalist Mark Hertsgaard.

    Hertsgaard has been investigating Greenpeace’s decision to name the activists responsible for the Lima protest.

    “Somebody said [to me], it would be a little bit like if there were foreigners who were irritated by US government spying and they came to the United States and spray-painted slogans over the Lincoln Memorial or the Grand Canyon.”

    In previous confrontations with governments and corporations, Greenpeace has generally declined to name its activists.

    “What’s different this time is that it seems like this was a rogue operation from within Greenpeace Germany,” explains Hertsgaard. “It was not approved by higher ups — at least this is what Greenpeace is saying now in its report to Peruvian authorities.”

    According to Greenpeace, the leader of the Nazca Lines action was Wolfgang Sadik, a veteran campaigner with Greenpeace Germany. Hertsgaard says Sadik isn’t explaining his actions.

    “He still hasn’t spoken to the press. He’s been in hiding for over a month now.”

    Two of the other three activists named in the report also work for Greenpeace Germany: Martin Kaiser and Iris Wiedemann. The fourth person named is Mauro Fernandez, a staffer with Greenpeace Argentina who served as an interpreter during the Nazca action.

    UNESCO designated the Nazca Lines a World Heritage Site in 1994. The lines, which were scratched on the surface of the Nazca Desert between 500 BC and AD 500, are among archaeology's greatest mysteries.The geoglyphs depict animals, plants and imaginary creatures, as well as geometric shapes several miles long.

  • Tuesday, January 20, 2015 6:30pm

    First off, the temperature plunges to 100 degrees below zero. And there are five months of darkness.

    But now that he's out, Phil Broughton says there's never a day in his life that he does not think about Antarctica.

    In this animation from our partners with the BBC, Broughton, a onetime Silicon Valley worker, talks of the colors at night at the bottom of the globe — and the adventure of bursting from a steaming sauna to run, naked around the South Pole.

    His job in Antartica was as a cryogenics technician and volunteer barman, he says.

    But, oh, those benefits.