The World on WCAI

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

Photo courtesy of Macer Gifford. 

In the battle to expel ISIS from Raqqa, at least one Western volunteer faced off against the extremists on the front lines with Kurdish troops. 

He's a 30-year-old British former currency trader who goes by the pseudonym Macer Gifford. 

"We were the ones in the city taking the ground, taking the buildings, fighting in the stairwells, fighting in the cellars, whereas the Americans and Brits were mostly the ones flying the drones," Gifford says. 

Children in Juchitán sing the national anthem and onlookers cry before bulldozers rake at what was once the largest school in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico's narrowest point. 

The area suffered the brunt of the damage from the 8.2 magnitude earthquake on Sept.7, the most powerful seismic event registered in Mexico in a century. A powerful 6.1 magnitude aftershock that hit the same region weeks later dealt a death blow to other buildings that had remained standing.

Christian Hartmann/Reuters

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has sparked conversations about sexual harassment around the globe — including in European Parliament.

Several women spoke up during a debate Wednesday about sexual harassment in the European Union, taking the opportunity to call in to question the European Parliament’s workplace policies and culture.

Victoria Barrett was really looking forward to her high school’s retreat junior year, but she got there late — right in the middle of the talent show, and in no mood to party.

“I’m in a room full of screaming, dancing girls,” Barrett says, “and I was [thinking], like, ‘Does nobody know what's happening in the world? Like, how is anyone happy right now? How is anyone having a good time?'"

Vladimir Putin's grudge with Hillary Clinton

Oct 25, 2017
Yuri Kochetkov/Reuters

While investigators dig into reports about Russian hacking of the 2016 US presidential election, filmmaker Michael Kirk profiles the Russian leader who may have had the motive and opportunity to pull it off.

Kirk's new, two-part Frontline documentary Putin’s Revenge centers on Vladimir Putin's clash with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 over her condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections.

Last year, more than half a million people who visited the US overstayed their visas, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Overall, it's a small percentage, just a bit over 1 percent of the millions of visitors who arrive annually. Yet, it is a group of people, often entering legal limbo the day their permission expires, who are increasingly nervous about deportation as the Trump administration's broad immigration crackdown continues.

Every federal employee knows the rule: You don't keep any valuable item given to you by a foreign government official. When my former boss, Mike Mullen, retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his French counterpart brought a thoughtful gift: an 18th century engraving of the British surrender at Yorktown that he and his wife found on a weekend in Normandy.

It, and dozens of other presents Mullen received that day, are property of the United States. Unless Congress expressly approved, or he bought it back at market value, Mullen could not keep any of them.

Jason Lee/Reuters

He’s known as Uncle Xi. But Xi Jinping has a long list of official titles and Chinese president isn’t even the most consequential of them. President Xi is the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. He is the chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi has been formally recognized by the party as a “core leader,” and sometimes he’s referred to as the “Paramount Leader” of the People’s Republic.  

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, nearly 80 percent of the island remains without power.

Typically, power companies rely on “mutual aid” agreements with other utilities following natural disasters — both Texas and Florida recently activated those agreements to help residents get power back.

But the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, has opted out and hired a tiny contracting firm from Montana instead.

Jason Margolis/PRI

Steve Lorch is a surgical nurse by profession. His other job is running a tea farm.

When you think of the world’s great tea-growing regions, you might think of parts of India, Sri Lanka, China or Kenya. Odds are, though, you don’t think of Lorch’s adopted hometown of Pickens, South Carolina — a small, economically depressed place in Appalachia. But Lorch is on a mission to change that.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

When Micah White, the co-creator of the Occupy Wall Street movement, received an email from a freelance reporter requesting an interview for the website BlackMattersUS, he didn’t think much of it.

On its website, BlackMattersUS describes itself as a “nonprofit news outlet that delivers raw and original information on the most urgent issues important to the African-American community in America.”

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

People all over the world have responded to the Harvey Weinstein scandal with a mix of shock and dismay. 

Not so in Russia.

Foreign Policy's Moscow correspondent, Amie Ferris-Rotman, writes that people there have responded with a "mixture of incredulity and bemusement."

Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The controversy surrounding four fallen US soldiers in Niger shows no signs of winding down. 

Neither does the debate about retired Marine Gen. John Kelly's remarks in the aftermath of the tragedy. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did little to quell the row Friday, when she admonished CBS reporter Chip Reid, telling him, "If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that's something that's highly inappropriate."

Max Whittaker/Reuters

More than 80 wildfires have raged across northern California this year, killing 42 people and causing nearly $1 billion in damage.

Fire crews from all across the country are deployed to help during peak wildfire season each year.

Amid the debate over whether the Spanish region of Catalonia should be allowed to gain its independence, a heavy metal band from the Washington, DC, area has found an unlikely new audience: Catalans.

In early October, Catalan leaders held a referendum on whether the region should separate from Spain. The Spanish government called the vote illegal. National police cracked down hard, shooting rubber bullets and using batons to beat back people trying to vote. Nearly 900 people were injured.