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Sometimes international news tastes like a dollop of spinach. We think it should taste like a mouthful of chocolate cake. Every month Latitude News’ host, Dan Moulthrop, brings you stories about the rich and unexpected ways in which American lives are linked with the rest of the world.

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Episode 9 — Mexican, undocumented…Mormon?

The Mormon Church could be majority Latin American by 2015, and our newest podcast hones in on one person among those faithful masses. At the young age of 23, Isaac has learned more than most about watching the future slip through his fingers. “When we let fear take over us,” he says, “we lose faith, and when we lose faith, we don’t have a future.” In some ways, this podcast is a small story about a personal journey of faith. But from other angles, it’s much bigger than that. And it touches on an issue making headlines every day—immigration—in what might be a surprising context—the Mormon Church.


Episode 8 — Can the U.S. Keep Conflict Minerals from Congo out of Your Laptop?

Here’s the basic plot line: that electronic gadget you’re using to listen to this story? Chances are, it’s connected to the war in Congo. Laptops, smart phones, tablets—they all need the rare minerals that Congo has in abundance. And that means that our gadgets are helping to fuel child labor—and rape—on a colossal scale. It’s a long journey from here to there, and it’s complicated. But lawmakers in the U.S. want to leverage our consumer power to bring change to the Congo. The question is: Do they stand a chance of making a difference?


Episode 7 — From War on Drugs to Legal Weed, Where Will the U.S. Lead the World Next?

When it comes to marijuana laws, the United States is a basket case. Creator of the “War on Drugs,” the U.S. is also home to two states — Colorado and Washington — whose voters recently approved the world’s most liberal marijuana policies. Because of these two states, prepare for a sea change in relations between the U.S. and Latin America, but with no country more so than Mexico. As it turns out, the U.S. and Mexico have a shared marijuana history. We may have created the War on Drugs, but Mexico started Reefer Madness.


Episode 6 — The Shady Trade in American Horsemeat

Are Europeans eating drugged up American horses? The trade route from the U.S. to the EU is riddled with fraud, shoddy record-keeping, lax enforcement and horsemeat tainted with drugs people should never consume.


Episode 5 — The Mormon and the Muslim

The first time someone told us that Salt Lake City reminds them of Baghdad, we were surprised. The second time we decided to take a closer look. Islam and Mormonism may be a surprise pairing, but they do have at least one thing in common: both are marginalized in American society. Latitude News asked two Utah residents, an American-born Mormon and an Iraqi-born Muslim, to sit down for a conversation on Baghdad and Salt Lake City, cultural perceptions and faith. Margaret Young and Mohammed Mushib are eloquent, funny, sharp and, frankly, a little tired of being seen as “fringy.”


Episode 4 — Channeling Venice in Cleveland

Could Cleveland, Ohio become the American Venice, a global art hub on the shores of Lake Erie? That’s the Big Idea of Italian-born artist and businessman Giancarlo Calicchia. He admits that his home town, like many in the Rust Belt,  has a “serious lack of self esteem” but argues an art Biennale could revitalize the city. So what do people in Italy make of this plan? And what do they know about Cleveland itself? Prepare for a thought provoking and sometimes hilarious international mash up in our latest podcast.


Episode 3 — Black in China

When Jo Bai applied for English-teaching jobs in China, she confronted signs reminiscent of the Jim Crow South: “Whites Only,” the school websites read. But Jo quickly landed a job in the industrial city of Yuyao. Five years later, she is married to a native Chinese, and she is the most recognizable face in Yuyao. This story recounts how Jo overcame institutionalized prejudice in China, and how she deals with the constant attention she receives because of her skin color.


Episode 2 — Two Nations, Under Cod

What’s for dinner? Probably not cod. Cod was once so common in American homes it was simply called “fish.” Now you’ll find cod featured on menus in fancy restaurants. When the cod fishery collapsed in the 1990s, it devastated fishing communities around the world. The American towns still have not recovered; meanwhile, Norway is catching record amounts of cod. What’s so special about Norway? Latitude News investigates.


Episode 1 — Uganda, U.S. export anti-gay pressure

As American evangelicals have lost battles against the gay rights movement in the U.S., some have taken the fight to countries that are friendlier to their agenda. Few countries have been more welcoming than Uganda, and few Americans have been more vocal than Scott Lively. This story traces Lively’s connection to Uganda’s anti-gay movement, and how that movement is tearing the American evangelical community in half.


Hosted by Dan Moulthrop; produced by Jack Rodolico with help from Emily Chou; our Executive Producer is Maria Balinska. This podcast is distributed by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) — additional funding provided by the Open Society Foundations.