Gregory Warner

A demonstrator holds a sign reading "Black Pete Is Racism" during a 2013 demonstration in Amsterdam.

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The coronavirus has drawn a dividing line between young and old. And in Ireland, that line had a number - age 70. In mid-March, the government of Ireland advised people who were immunocompromised or aged 70 or over to cocoon in their homes, not to leave for any reason, not even to shop or take a walk. As Gregory Warner of our Rough Translation podcast reports, cocooning the elderly became a communitywide project.

Although New Zealand is about as far — in miles, at least — as you can get from Minneapolis, protests have erupted there over the killing of George Floyd. The Indigenous Maori people in particular have pushed back against police use of force, which disproportionately affects them.

Baruch Shpitzer, the reception manager at the Dan Jerusalem Hotel, prides himself on making tourists feel at home in his sprawling 9-story hotel and spa, built into a cliffside and featuring panoramic Old City views.

In March, though, his hospitality skills were put to the test. His reception desk was encased in plexiglass. His new arrivals were sometimes delivered by ambulance. None of them was staying at his hotel by choice.

"We speak to them to get them out from the shock that they're in when they're coming into the hotel," Shpitzer says.

The new coronavirus pandemic felt thousands of miles away, until it didn't. As cases in the U.S. skyrocketed, many noticed a shift — from watching the headlines, to watching what we touch. Listeners wrote in to our podcast, Rough Translation, describing feeling out of sync with their government, their friends, their neighbors.

But what about the disconnect inside one's own home?

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Mohamed Barud was a 31-year-old newlywed when he was sentenced to life in prison in Somalia.

This was 1981. Somalia was ruled by a military dictator, Siad Barre. And Mohamed's crime, if you can call it that, was writing a letter complaining about conditions at the local hospital, a complaint the government saw as treasonous. Mohamed was put in solitary confinement.

"It was strictly forbidden to talk to your neighbors. So you walk forward and backward." Just three short steps.

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Mohamed Barud was a 31-year-old newlywed when he was sentenced to life in prison in Somalia.

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Editor's note: This post is an update of an earlier story, from the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

In what countries are women and men on the most equal footing?

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This story comes from NPR's Rough Translation podcast, which explores how ideas we wrestle with in the U.S. are being discussed in the rest of the world.

Sophia Lierenfeld didn't set out to give dating advice to Syrian refugees.

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Two days before my first trip to Afghanistan, in 2007, I was terrified, speaking no Dari and having never interviewed anyone in a war zone. On impulse, I grabbed my little red travel accordion, mumbling something about using the "universal language of music" to connect with people whose world seemed wholly different from my own.

Michael Sharp believed in the power of persuasion. The 34-year-old Kansan with the round face and a penchant for plaid shirts would walk, unarmed, deep into rebel-held territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sit in the shade of banana trees with rebels and exchange stories.

Inevitably, those stories would turn to the past. "Rebels love talking about the past," Michael once told me.

As part of the project A Nation Engaged, NPR and member stations are exploring America's role in the world heading into the presidential election.

Everyone knew President Obama would say something about gay rights when he visited Kenya last summer. Many American activists were pressing him to publicly condemn Kenya's colonial-era law making homosexuality a crime.

At 16, Roda Hassan was the top scoring girl student in her high school exams in all of Somaliland.

The videos trickled out slowly on social media — slowly, because those posting them had to use special software to get around what seemed to be a government-imposed internet block.

This video showed thousands of people in the streets of the northern Ethiopian town of Gondar. The size of the crowd was significant in a country where civil protests are usually banned.

Even more significant? The location o f this anti-government protest.

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Editor's note: This post is an adaptation of the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

In high school, Mireille Umutoni aspired to be a club president rather than just secretary. And why not? She lives in a country where women seem to face no barriers, no discrimination.

In the parliament, for example, women hold more than half the seats. No country has a better record than that.

What's red and gold and hailed by most economists?

The new African Union passport, unveiled this week at the African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, promises a solution to a major drag on African trade: the red tape that makes it harder for African businesspeople, tourists and workers to travel around their own continent.

More than half of the 54 African countries require entry visas for other Africans, according to the Africa Visa Openness Report.

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In 2010, 12-year-old Nathan Eyasu became one of the first skateboarders in Ethiopia.

He bought an old board off a guy on the street for a dollar, learned some tricks off YouTube, and proceeded to shock his neighbors like Marty McFly in Back to The Future.

"They'd be like, 'Is there a magnet in there?' " Eyasu says, laughing. "Nobody knew what skateboarding is."

The Oromo Federalist Congress, an opposition party in Ethiopia, represents the largest ethnic group in the country, the Oromo.

Yet its office in the capital Addis Ababa is virtually deserted, with chairs stacked up on tables. A chessboard with bottle caps as pieces is one of the few signs of human habitation. In a side office, the party's chairman, Merera Gudina, explains why the place is so empty: Almost everyone has gone to prison.

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