Tuesday morning news, February 18, 2020


Mississippi’s Pearl River crests at 37-year high » Mississippi’s Pearl River reached a 37-year high as it appeared to crest in the state capital of Jackson. But with more rain in the forecast, Governor Tate Reeves is warning residents not to let their guard down. 

REEVES: Please do not move back into your neighborhood or into your home until authorities and officials give you the okay to do so, because if not, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way. 

No injuries were reported from the major flooding in central Mississippi and southern Tennessee. But as the high water recedes, Jackson residents expect to find extensive flood damage. 

AUDIO: I’m really worried, you know. And it’s a lot to lose because—those people down there, I know they done lost a lot of stuff in their houses. 

In Savannah, Tennessee, two houses slid down a muddy bluff into the Tennessee River, although its residents had fled earlier.

A near-record rainy winter has forced authorities to release water from swollen reservoirs, potentially worsening the flooding for those living downstream.


More than 300 Americans from quarantined cruise ship back on U.S. soil » More than 300 American cruise ship passengers are in quarantine at military bases in California and Texas today. 

One plane carrying cruise passengers touched down at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California just before midnight Sunday, while another arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas early Monday. 

U.S. officials said they arranged for the evacuation because people on the Diamond Princess were at high risk of exposure to the virus. 

The healthy passengers will remain at the bases for two weeks. Among those quarantined, Tyler and Rachel Torres, the newlyweds from Dallas we talked to on Friday’s program.

At least 13 of the passengers tested positive for COVID-19, and are now in quarantine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The hospital’s executive director Shelly Schwedhelm told reporters…

SCHWEDHELM: We have practiced and trained for this. We actually train others across the U.S. and internationally to do clinical care, as well as infection prevention and control techniques to keep ourselves safe and the individuals safe. 

Health officials say the latest numbers show that COVID-19 has now infected more than 71,000 people globally. More than 17-hundred have died from the virus. 


24 killed in church attack in Burkina Faso » Gunmen have killed more than 20 people in an attack on a Protestant church in Burkina Faso. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: About 20 gunmen attacked the church on Sunday in the West African nation—killing 24, including a pastor. They also kidnapped three others and then looted oil and rice from shops and forced the three youth they kidnapped to help transport the items on motorbikes. That according to a local official. The attackers then set the church on fire. 

It was the latest attack against a religious leader in the increasingly unstable nation. Last week, gunmen killed a retired pastor and abducted another pastor.

Corinne Dufka is the West Africa director for Human Rights Watch. She said analysts are concerned that such attacks are increasing “at an alarming rate.” 

Targeted attacks reportedly killed more than 1,300 civilians last year in Burkina Faso.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen. 


22 killed attack on village in Cameroon » Meantime, just two days earlier in Cameroon, 22 people died, including at least 14 children in an attack on the village of Ntumbo. A major opposition party and a key member of the separatist movement blamed state defense forces for the violence.

The army denied allegations it staged the attack. Unrest has embroiled Cameroon since 2017 when armed separatists in the English-speaking Northwest Region started to push for independence. Since then, the violence has killed more than 3,000 people and displaced at least 70,000.


Pelosi warns allies against business with Huawei » House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House don’t agree on much these days, but they do see eye to eye on at least one thing… 

PELOSI: I do believe that if we were to let Huawei have the information highway dominance, it would be like putting the state police in the pocket of every person.

Pelosi warned NATO allies on Monday to resist the temptation to let Chinese tech giant Huawei into their next-generation cellular networks. Speaking at Allied headquarters, she noted that China monitors everything its citizens and companies do. She insisted such technology was far too sensitive to turn over to Chinese interests—even though they can deliver such technology cheaper.  

Pelosi said China has been reverse engineering Western technology, so—quote—“of course it’s going to be cheaper to put on the market.”

She added “You cannot sell the privacy of the people of your country down the river.”

For months, the Trump administration has been aggressively lobbying Western allies to bar Huawei from their wireless, high-speed networks.


(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Marcus Morris steadies the boat as his neighbor Chris Sharp readies the trolling motor for another trip through their Pearl River flooded neighborhood in Jackson, Miss., Sunday, Feb. 16, 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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