World Tour: Mugabe returns home, and Algeria sets election date

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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Mugabe returns home—We start today here in Africa.

The body of former President Robert Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe over the weekend. He died last week in Singapore.

Members of the Mugabe family held a wake in his home village on Sunday.

MUGABE: The whole of Africa, particularly Southern Africa has your signature engraved on it. A peace broker, a unifier, the whole of Africa celebrates you.

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years. He died nearly two years after a coup removed him from office.

AUDIO: [Sound of Mugabe State Funeral]

African leaders paid tribute to the former strongman at a state funeral on Saturday. But his supporters only filled about one-third of the National Sports Stadium where the funeral was held.

Mugabe’s burial will be delayed for about a month while the country builds a special mausoleum requested by his family.

Algeria sets election date—Next we go to Algeria.

AUDIO: [Algerian interim president Abdelkader Bensalah]

The country’s interim president announced the date for the next presidential election. It will take place on December 12th.

Pro-democracy activists have held weekly marches to demand new elections. Friday marked their 30th consecutive week of protests.

AUDIO: [Algerian protests]

The unrest started as a demand for the country’s longtime president to step down after 20 years in office. Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April and dropped his bid for a fifth term in office.

Several members of Bouteflika’s inner circle are jailed on corruption charges. But others remain active in the government. That has some activists worried the new election won’t bring about the change they want.

Strikes in Paris over pension reform—Next to Europe.

AUDIO: [Paris strike protests]

Lawyers, nurses, and airline pilots marched through Paris on Monday to protest government-backed pension reforms. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to consolidate 42 separate pension plans into one nationwide system.

AUDIO: [French worker]

Workers say the changes will cut their benefits and raise their taxes. It will also encourage them to work longer. But the government insists the legal retirement age of 62 will not change.

Public transit workers went on strike over the reforms on Friday, causing major disruptions throughout the capital. It was the biggest strike to hit the public transit system since 2007.

Pakistani PM addresses rally in Kashmir—Next to Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan held a rally in the Pakistani-administered region of Kashmir last week.

AUDIO: [Kahn supporters]

Area residents want Kahn to take a strong stand against India. The government in New Delhi announced plans last month to annex the portion of Kashmir it controls. The region previously operated as a semi-autonomous state.

Kahn vowed to raise the issue at the United Nations later this month.

AUDIO: [Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan]

He plans to urge the international community to pressure India to grant Kashmir autonomy. And he warned that restricting the rights of the region’s Muslim majority would only push them to violence.

Pakistan and India have battled over control of Kashmir since 1947, when both countries gained independence from British colonial rule.

Top meteorologist not worried about climate change—And finally, we end today in Finland.

The head of the World Meteorological Organization issued a strong rebuke to climate change alarmists during a recent interview with a Finish magazine.

He said climate change, quote—“is not going to be the end of the world.”

Petteri Taalas said radical climate alarmists are trying to hijack the mainstream scientific community. And he urged everyone to stay calm and ponder practical solutions to the problem. He especially dismissed suggestions that couples should limit the number of children they have.

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

(AP Photo/Ben Curtis) The casket of former president Robert Mugabe is carried into an air force helicopter for transport to a stadium where it will lie in state, as his widow Grace Mugabe wears a black veil, far right in background, at his official residence in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. 

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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