World Tour

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour. Here is Senior Editor Mindy Belz.

Asia Bibi still in Pakistan » We begin this week in Pakistan, where Asia Bibi remains in hiding. Last week rumors that she might soon be allowed to leave the country began circulating, but her status did not change.

Although Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted her of blasphemy, a Muslim lawyer filed an appeal that prevents Bibi from leaving the country. A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign office painted the situation in a positive light.

FAIASAL: She has not left the country. She is at a safe place in Pakistan. She is a free woman now, a petition about her is pending, she will be able to go wherever she wants when the decision comes. She is a free national, it is up to her to go, wherever she wants. There is no objection. As a citizen, she can go after getting visa to anywhere she wants. It’s not a problem.

Several Western nations have said they would offer Bibi and her family asylum. But Muslim extremists continue to call for her execution. The leaders of violent protests have vowed to return to the streets if she’s allowed to leave the country.

Yazidi remains found in Iraq » Next we go to Iraq. There search teams over the weekend found the remains of Yazidis killed by ISIS in a village south of Sinjar. The teams discovered more than 200 mass graves containing an estimated 12,000 bodies.

Last week U.S. officials visited nearby Alqosh, a historically Jewish and Christian town in Nineveh province that became the front line in the battle to hold back ISIS in 2014. The Americans pledged to help preserve the area’s religious sites.

Bangladesh refuses to repatriate Rohingya » Next to Bangladesh, in South Asia. Officials there canceled plans to begin repatriating some of the 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled the military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar.

AUDIO: [Sound of protests]

Thousands of Rohingya refugees protested repatriation plans, and some fled to avoid going back. Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner said he canceled the voluntary program because none of the refugees wanted to return.

But Myanmar’s foreign affairs secretary blamed Bangladesh and international aid groups for the delays.

AUDIO: [Sound of man speaking in Burmese]

Refugees say they fear returning home to the same conditions they fled last year. A member of the International Committee of the Red Cross noted many of the Rohingya villages in Myanmar are destroyed. The UN has classified Myanmar’s crackdown on the Rohingya as genocide.

Russian Interpol chief » Kremlin critics are sounding the alarm over the possibility of a Russian police officer heading Interpol. That’s the International Police Agency, based in France.

Critics fear Russian leadership could give the Kremlin better access to opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

BROWDER: There is probably no more inappropriate person than this person, and there’s no more inappropriate country to have any type of leadership position at Interpol than Russia.

That’s William Browder, a U.S. born businessman and vocal Putin critic. His story well illustrates the concerns about Russian justice.

On Monday, Russian prosecutors announced criminal charges against Browder over the death of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky was an anti-corruption lawyer who died in a Russian prison in 2009.

Browder blames prison officials for failing to give Magnitsky medical care after severely beating him. Browder successfully lobbied U.S. lawmakers to impose sanctions on top Russian officials in response to Magnitsky’s death.

High speed rail in Morocco » And we end today’s tour in Africa, where Morocco unveiled the continent’s first high-speed rail line.

AUDIO: [Sound of trumpets and clapping]

The line connects Tangier and Casablanca, two economic hubs. It will make the trip in about 2 hours and 10 minutes—traveling at nearly 200 miles per hour. That shaves nearly 3 hours off the time it takes by regular train.

France financed 51 percent of the train’s $2 billion cost. The rest of the funding came from Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

That’s this week’s World Tour. I’m Mindy Belz.

(AP Photo/Michael Probst) Saiful Malook, lawyer of Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, is photographed prior to a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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