Joshua Landis and Suzette Grllot discuss the situation in Yemen after rebel groups fired missiles at a U.S. naval vessel.

Then Rebecca Cruise talks with Lucio Bianchi. He's an activist and supporter of Italy's Movimento 5 Stelle ("Five Star Movement"), and will explain the country's growing populism.

Activists of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement gather in front of the ancient Colosseum in Rome, Sunday, April 21, 2013.
Gregorio Borgia / AP

In an election cycle fraught with uncertainty, inflammatory rhetoric and vicious partisanship, it can be easy for Americans to forget about the political spheres outside the United States. While parliamentary systems are often similarly constrained by deep party divides, some new players have entered the field to shake up European domestic politics.

University of Oklahoma political scientist Paul Goode joins Rebecca Cruise to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Italy this week.

Then we’ll hear Suzette’s conversation with journalist Barbara Slavin. They’ll discuss what the ongoing nuclear talks mean for U.S.-Iranian relations and the possibility for diplomacy.

Italian newspaper reporters speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin
Press Service of the President of Russia / Wikimedia Commons

Russia may have been excluded from this week’s G7 summit in Germany, but with EU sanctions against Russia up for renewal this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin used a visit to Italy on Wednesday as a platform to speak out.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the former military dictator who’s about to take over for Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria’s new president, and two dozen looted religious artifacts recently returned to Italy.

Then, Rebecca talks with war photographer Ashley Gilbertson. His most recent book, Bedrooms of the Fallen, depicts the homes of men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan to remember how they lived, rather than how they died.

The Euphronios krater, repatriated to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2006.
Jaime Ardiles-Arce / Wikimedia Commons

Last week, 25 stolen archaeological artifacts – some dating back to the first century – were repatriated to Italy. Italy’s Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage worked in cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit to track down and return the items, which had been sold to museums, auction houses, and private collectors throughout the United States.

As President Obama and world leaders convened in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Suzette Grillot spoke with Italian citizen Katia Girotto about Italy's memory of World War II. June 4 marked the 70th anniversary of the fall of Rome.

Later, a conversation with University of Oklahoma anthropologist Erika Robb Larkins about Brazil's favela neighborhoods ahead of next week's opening of the World Cup, and the 2016 Olympics.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

President Obama and other world leaders paused Friday to somberly mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France. But like in 1944, the D-Day anniversary overshadows another important milestone in World War II history – the June 1944 fall of Rome.

Suzette Grillot talks with Italian citizen and lawyer Katia Girotto about the outcome of European parliamentary elections, and how Italians feel about the elections' impact on the future of EU politics and economics.

Rebecca Cruise and Joshua Landis discuss television and social media in Lebanon with University of Balamand journalism department head Ramez Maluf. He says Beirut's position as a major entertainment production hub is controversial among conservatives and Arab intellectuals.

The European Union is now pledging to help Italy after a boat capsized last week and killed hundreds of African migrants. Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss how European governments are struggling with refugee and asylum policies.

Richard Clarke is famously known for criticizing the Bush Administration for not doing enough to stop 9/11.  But he now focuses on issues of cybersecurity and intellectual property theft, especially by the Chinese government.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise talk about the righting of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the coast of Italy, and the two-hour outage of Iran's internet firewall that allowed citizens access to social media. 

Later, a conversation with New Zealand filmmaker Costa Botes. He’s directed documentaries about Canadian sled dogs, a cross-dressing attorney, and the inventor of the Jelly Belly jelly bean.

Lwp Kommunikáció / Flickr Creative Commons

Engineers are declaring success after the Costa Concordia cruise ship was pulled upright during a 19-hour operation to wrench it from its side where it capsized last year off Tuscany.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the project now allows for a renewed search for the two bodies that were never recovered from the 32 dead, and for the ship to eventually be towed away.

“For the families of the victims to move beyond this, there is some hope that they will be able to find some of these remains,” Cruise says.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the banking crisis in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, and the decision to re-try American student Amanda Knox in Italy.

University of Oklahoma Italian language and literature professor Jason Houston joins Grillot from Arezzo, Italy. He's been following the Catholic Church's transition of power in the Vatican, and speculates what the last voluntary papal resignation in 1294 could teach us about 2013.

vatican / YouTube

The world’s 1.2 billion Catholics are celebrating Holy Week, and Pope Francis is preparing for his first Good Friday and Easter Mass as pontiff. It’s been exactly a month since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from the office of the papacy, which has given observers time to reflect on the historic transfer of power.

“This will stand out as a moment that Church historians will talk about for the next 600 years,” said University of Oklahoma Italian language and literature professor Jason Houston. He says if Benedict set a precedent for resignation that future pontiffs would follow, “he has changed the papacy in a way that no one has since probably the 11th Century. [But] I don't think that's going to happen.”