World Tour – Sabotage in Iran and ballet in Nigeria

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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Flooding devastates Japan–We start today in Asia.

AUDIO: [Sound of sloshing footsteps]

Rescue workers in southwest Japan are racing to save people stranded by record flooding over the weekend. The rains started Saturday and are expected to continue through this week.

More than 50 people have died so far, including 14 wheelchair-bound residents in a nursing home. Swollen rivers swept away bridges, forcing rescuers to use boats and helicopters to ferry people out of isolated villages.

U.S. sends aircraft carriers to South China Sea—Next to the South China Sea.

Two U.S. aircraft carriers sailed near the disputed Paracel Island over the weekend. China, Vietnam, and Taiwan all claim a right to the islands. It is the first time in six years the U.S. Navy has sent ships to the area.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Mandarin]

The U.S. show of force follows similar exercises by China’s military. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry defended his country’s action in areas it claims as its sovereign territory.

But the Pentagon warned the United States would continue to defend what it considers international waters.

Iran confirms damage at nuclear site—Next we go to the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Man speaking farsi]

Iranian officials admitted on Sunday that a fire at the country’s Natanz nuclear facility last week caused “significant” damage. Natanz is Iran’s largest uranium enrichment site.

Officials say they have identified the cause of the fire but do not plan to make it public for security reasons. But analysts have speculated sabotage may be involved. The fire was one of several unusual incidents that have taken place across Iran in recent weeks, including explosions near a military base and at a power plant.

Israeli officials have downplayed suggestions they ordered the attacks.

Handover of power in Malawi—Next we go to Africa.

AUDIO: [Band playing]

Malawi inaugurated a new president on Monday after a court-ordered second election. Lazarus Chakwera lost the first election to incumbent President Peter Mutharika last year. But a court threw out the result, citing “widespread and systematic” irregularities.

Chakwera won the second election with 58 percent of the vote. It was the first time in African history that a challenger claimed victory over an incumbent in a re-run election.

During his inauguration speech, Chakwera vowed to fight corruption and end the country’s dependence on foreign aid.

CHAKWERA: So long as I am president I will insist that no new Malawi must be built except that which is built by Malawians. That’s us.

Ballet in Nigeria—And finally, we end today here in Nigeria.

AUDIO: [Sounds from dance class]

Dancer Daniel Ajala has opened a ballet studio in Lagos to teach poor children to dance.

Olamide Olawole is one of his 12 students.

OLAWOLE: My dream is to make children around the world to be able to share the same dance experience. The ones that are interested in learning dance, I want them to be able to express their feelings through dance. And maybe one day I will become a dance teacher too, and I’ll be able to teach children how to dance.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

(Kota Endo/Kyodo News via AP) A boy walks along debris of household items piled up at the side of a road in Hitoyoshi city, Kumamoto prefecture, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, July 7, 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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