NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Protests and fallout in Iraq—We start today in the Middle East.
AUDIO: [Sounds of chanting, police sirens]
Masked gunmen attacked protesters in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala on Tuesday. Security officials said at least 18 people died and hundreds were wounded. Protesters said they did not know whether the attackers belonged to riot police, special forces, or militias linked to Iran.
The Iraqi government is not above using violence against protesters. It deployed elite counter-terrorism units to the streets on Monday. They had orders to end the protests by any means necessary.
But the threat of violence didn’t deter thousands of protesters from filling the streets of Baghdad for a fifth day.
Students even joined in despite government orders for universities to remain open.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]
This man says students could be key to the protests’ success. He noted young people have led many revolutions in both the Arab and Western worlds.
The protesters are angry over corruption, economic stagnation, and a lack of basic services in Iraq. And their calls for reform are increasingly aimed at Iranian-backed politicians and militias operating in the country.
Conclusion of pope’s Amazon meeting—Next we go to Europe.
AUDIO: [Sound of singing from mass]
A three-week-long Vatican assembly concluded with recommendations that could radically change the Catholic Church. Bishops from the Amazon had gathered to discuss issues facing their region. It’s an isolated area with very few priests. Some Catholics don’t see a priest for months or even years.
The bishops want to address that shortage by ordaining married men as priests. Right now, only celibate men can enter the priesthood.
Pope Francis said he will review the bishops’ recommendations and make a decision by the end of the year.
FRANCIS: [Pope speaking in Italian]
In his closing remarks, Francis said he felt encouraged to “leave comfortable shores,” and that he wanted to open new roads to proclaim the gospel.
The gathering also discussed the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. Francis said he would reopen a commission to study that question.
Presidential election in Argentina—AUDIO: [Sounds of cheering]
Voters in Argentina celebrated a presidential election victory for Alberto Fernández on Sunday. He beat out conservative incumbent President Mauricio Macri.
Fernandez vowed to rebuild what he called “the egalitarian and supportive Argentina” that voters want.
FERNANDEZ: [Man speaking Spanish]
On the campaign trail Fernandez blasted his opponent’s unpopular austerity measures. He blamed them for the country’s economic woes. But investors fear the center-left policies of the Fernandez government won’t be much better. Stock markets tumbled after Fernandez won his party’s primary election in August.
Sunday’s election victory also sends former President Cristina Fernandez back to power, this time as vice president. She maintains a strong base of support despite still facing a string of corruption investigations from her time as president.
Taliban peace talks—And finally, we end today back in the Middle East, this time in Afghanistan.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Pushto]
The country’s national security adviser called on the Taliban to join a one-month ceasefire amid American attempts to restart peace negotiations. The Afghan government has yet to participate in peace talks with the terror group.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan this week to persuade regional players to help end fighting in the war-torn country.
That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.