World Tour – Treason in Russia, and balloons over Africa

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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Russian space official arrested for treason—We start today in Russia


A top official in Russia’s space agency is facing accusations of treason. Ivan Safronov is a former journalist who covered the military and space industries. In May he became an adviser to the head of the space agency.

Authorities arrested Safronov last week. They claim he was collecting information about Russia’s military and passing it to NATO.

Safronov’s former colleagues denounced the charges and said the government arrested him because of his past work as a journalist. Safronov reported on several accidents during military exercises. Those incidents were embarrassing for the Kremlin.

If found guilty, Safronov faces up to 20 years in jail.

Serbian protests—Next we go to Serbia.


Hundreds of Serbs tried to storm parliament on Friday after days of protests. They threw bottles, rocks, and flares at police.

The protests began Tuesday when the president announced a new round of coronavirus lockdowns. The government swung from ultra-tight lockdowns to a complete reopening, then back to a strict curfew. Some protesters called for the president’s resignation.

AUDIO: We are here to fight the oppression of the government and the tyrant president, and not to destroy things.

The government suspended plans to enforce the lockdown, but gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned.

Azerbaijan and Armenia border skirmish—Next we go to Armenia.


Four soldiers were killed over the weekend as troops from Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed on the border between the two countries. Each country blamed the other for starting the violence. 

The two nations have been at odds for decades. The dispute is over a piece of territory that Armenian separatists seized from Azerbaijan in the 1990s. 

The rival forces clash frequently. In 2016, dozens of troops died in four days of fighting.

Australia ends Hong Kong extradition treaty—Next to Australia.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Today we have agreed…that that national security law constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances in respect to our extradition agreement with Hong Kong. 

Australia’s prime minister announced last week that the country is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The move comes in the wake of China’s new national security law that restricts Hong Kong’s independence. Australia’s prime minister also announced a pathway to permanent residency for any Hong Kong citizens looking to leave the city because of the new law.

China denounced the move, saying it reserves the right to take further action, and that Australia will bear all the consequences. 

Kenyan balloon internet—Finally, we end today here in Africa.

A fleet of balloons has begun providing internet service to remote areas of Kenya.

AUDIO: Hello your excellency. Yes, I can see you very well sir.

Kenya’s president made a video call to a remote corner of the nation last week using the balloon internet service.

AUDIO: We are now on the 4G Loon signal in Raddat Buringo. This is purely all aerial balloons.

The project uses a fleet of 35 balloons floating 12 miles above the ground. They provide 4G internet for vast swaths of central and western Kenya. The company operating the balloons launches them from locations in the United States, then navigates them to Kenya using wind currents.

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

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) Police clashes with protesters in Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday, July 8, 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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One comment on “World Tour – Treason in Russia, and balloons over Africa

  1. John R. Werner says:

    Tell Steve West: The US Navy has sailors, not soldiers.

    (No, I was never one. But my father and son were.

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