World Tour: The Trudeau crisis, and Russian internet restrictions

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Algerian president to step down—We begin today here in Africa. Protests recently rocked the northern country of Algeria after its long-time president announced he would run for a fifth term.  

AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

Abdelaziz Bouteflika took office in 1999 and suffers from poor health. He has not addressed the country publicly since a stroke in 2013.

But in a surprise public letter this week, Bouteflika praised the protests and said he would not seek a fifth term in office. The news sparked cheers in the streets:

AUDIO: [Cheers]

Algeria is geographically the largest country in Africa, but it has a stagnant economy. That stoked discontent and helped drive demonstrations.

Algeria’s Constitutional Council meets today to determine which candidates can participate in next month’s presidential election.

Sen. Graham backs Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights—Next, we move to Israel—another country facing an election next month. With embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embroiled in a corruption scandal, his U-S allies have sought to boost his standing.

In the latest move, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham appeared alongside Netanyahu in Israel over the weekend. He vowed to fight for the U.S. to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and officially annexed it in 1981. But the U-S has continued to designate it a disputed area.

Trudeau crisis deepens—And speaking of embattled presidents, we now go to Canada. There Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains under siege amid a corruption scandal.

Last week a second high-profile minister resigned in protest. Treasury board president Jane Philpott said she lost confidence in the government’s ability to investigate the matter.

Trudeau is under fire for allegedly interfering in a criminal probe of a major construction company. Trudeau admits to discussing the matter with his former attorney general, but denies pressuring her to fine the company in lieu of criminal prosecution.

TRUDEAU: In regards to standing up for jobs and defending the integrity of the rule of law, I continue to say there was no inappropriate pressure…

The domestic trouble comes at an inopportune time for Trudeau: Canada is facing stalled economic growth and a diplomatic crisis with China—with a national election looming in October.

Russian internet bill sparks protests—Next we move to Russia, where new internet restrictions have sparked widespread protests.  

AUDIO: [Sound of protests]

Last month Russia’s parliament passed a bill that will ban certain websites and funnel all web traffic through government servers.

Russian authorities say the legislation is necessary to prevent foreign meddling. But many Russians aren’t buying it.

RULAN: [ENGLISH TRANSLATION] I’m not ready to renounce internet anonymity and the right to express my opinion…

Protesters said the law harkens back to the Soviet era and will be used to muffle dissent.

U.S. honors courageous women—Finally, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and first lady Melania Trump recently recognized nine women around the world for making a difference in their communities.

TRUMP: Women continue to influence the world in so many powerful ways. The women we are honoring today are symbols of courage. They are role models to the next generation. Through their work, they empower women everywhere, and I for one am grateful for their work…

The awardees include Marini de Livera, a Sri Lankan lawyer who works pro bono for women and child victims of crime and abuse; and Sister Orla Treacey, an Irish nun who helped start a clinic and two schools for disadvantaged children in South Sudan.

That’s this week’s World Tour. I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.

(Photo/Associated Press, Toufik Doudou) Algerians celebrate in the streets of Algiers on Monday.

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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