World Tour – A genocide arrest in Paris, and gondoliers in Venice

BRIAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour. We had some technical trouble connecting with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere today, so we’ll be taking you on today’s tour of international news.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Iran oil tankers head to VenezuelaWe start today in the Middle East.

Five Iranian oil tankers are on their way to Venezuela. The ships likely carry at least $45 million worth of gasoline products. Iran is under heavy sanctions from the United States. The tankers are a way to bring money in around those sanctions.

Venezuela is also under U.S. sanctions and starved for usable energy. The socialist country has little to lose by accepting the shipments.

But the strategy also could trigger renewed conflict between Iran and the United States. On Thursday, Washington issued an advisory notice to the maritime industry. It said to watch out for illegal shipping and tactics used to dodge sanctions.


Iran’s Foreign Ministry replied that “if the U.S. does not like this trade, that is their problem.” The spokesman warned that Iran will retaliate if the United States intervenes and called any potential U.S. action “piracy.”

BASHAM: Rwandan genocide arrestNext we go to Europe. 


One of the last key leaders of the Rwandan genocide was arrested in France on Saturday. Felicien Kabuga was living under a false identity in a Paris suburb. 

The 84-year-old used to be one of Rwanda’s richest men. He is accused of bankrolling the ethnic extremists who killed 800,000 people in 1994. Kabuga also imported hundreds of thousands of machetes and helped create a radio station that encouraged the slaughter.

In 1997, he was indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity. Kabuga will stand trial before a UN criminal tribunal. Officials said his arrest is a reminder that “those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even 26 years after their crimes.”

EICHER: Albanians protest theater demolitionNext, to Albania.


Hundreds of protesters gathered in the nation’s capital on Sunday to protest the demolition of a historical theater. They waved red and black Albanian flags and chanted “Down with the dictatorship.”

The National Theater was built by Italians when they occupied Albania during World War II. In 2018, the government decided to demolish it and build a new theater. That sparked heated political debates between the ruling party and the opposition.

Heavy machinery toppled the building early Sunday morning, but the protests continued.

Albania’s Prime Minister called the protests “hysteria.” He said the people who oppose the plan for a new theater “don’t love development.”

Venetian gondolas back in serviceAnd finally, we end today in Italy.


Gondolas are back on the canals of Venice. After months of coronavirus shutdowns, Italy took another step towards reopening on Monday. Most businesses are now open. And gondoliers are once again transporting passengers. The boatmen wear masks and gloves, and the gondolas are marked with tape to keep passengers 6 feet apart. There aren’t many customers yet, but the gondoliers hope that will change soon. Italy plans to open its borders to European tourists on June 3rd.

And that’s this week’s World Tour.

(AP Photo/Gent Onuzi) A protester gestures in front of the police cordon in Tirana, Sunday, May 17, 2020, during the demolition of the country’s National Theater building. 

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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