World Tour – Protests in Lebanon and ash bricks in the Philippines

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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Violent protests rock Lebanon—We start today in the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Lebanon protesters]

Police in Lebanon used rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse protesters over the weekend. Two nights of violence left the streets of Beirut littered with shattered glass and rocks. Hundreds of people were injured.

The protesters are angry over political gridlock and an economic crisis that keeps getting worse. About one-third of Lebanon’s people live in poverty. But the World Bank warns that number could climb to half as the country’s economy nears collapse.

The mostly peaceful protests began in mid October with demands for a new government. Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his cabinet resigned not long after the protests began. But the new leaders cannot agree on who should join the new government, leaving the country in political limbo.

World powers seek peace in Libya—Next to Africa.

World leaders met over the weekend to discuss solutions to end the long-running civil war in Libya. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres led the meeting of 11 nations.

GUTERRES: Today all participants committed to refrain from interferences of the armed conflict or internal affairs in Libya.

Meeting participants agreed to respect an arms embargo, stop military support for the warring parties, and push them toward a cease-fire agreement.

Libya has been divided since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The United Nations recognizes the government in Tripoli. But military commander Khalifa Hifter maintains control over a large swath of the country.

Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates back Hifter’s forces, while Turkey supports the government in Tripoli. Russia and Turkey brokered a truce between the rival leaders earlier this month. But it didn’t last.

Boko Haram executes pastor—Next to Nigeria.

Boko Haram has reportedly executed a pastor held captive since early January. Lawan Andimi was chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria. In a video released by his captors earlier this month, Andimi urged supporters to pray for his release. But he also said he trusted the will of God over his life.

A local journalist reported Andimi’s death, but it remains unconfirmed.

AUDIO: [Jihadists attack]

Meanwhile, militants armed with machine guns and explosives attacked a UN aid facility in northeast Nigeria over the weekend. No UN workers died in the attack. But the militants made off with food, medicine, and other supplies.

From ash to bricks in the Philippines—And finally, we end today in the Philippines.

AUDIO: [Filipinos turn ash into bricks]

The Taal volcano continues to spew smoke and ash, leaving a big mess for local cities to clean up. But officials in Binan are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

AUDIO: [Sound of Binan brick plant]

Workers at a local brick factory are mixing the volcanic ash with plastic waste to make bricks for building projects. So far they’ve been able to produce about 5,000 bricks a day.

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

(AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Anti-government protesters wave a Lebanese flag and hide behind a wood barrier from a water cannon as they clash with the riot police during a protest against the new government, near the parliament square, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. 

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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