World Tour – Ambassador assassination, and Israeli oil spill

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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Italian ambassador killed in DRC—We start today here in Africa.

The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo died Monday when attackers ambushed a World Food Programme convoy.

AUDIO: [Sounds of truck engine, talking]

UN peacekeepers and Congolese troops are searching for the attackers in the eastern part of the country. No group has claimed responsibility, but officials are blaming a Rwandan Hutu rebel group. It has plagued the region with violence for more than 25 years.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio was shot in the stomach and later died at a local hospital. An Italian policeman traveling with him and their Congolese driver also died in the attack.

AUDIO: [Woman speaking French]

Marie Tumba Nzeza is foreign minister for the Democratic Republic of Congo. She vowed the government would do everything it could to find those responsible.

Congo’s eastern region is remote and rich in minerals. A US-based monitor says more than 120 armed groups operate in the area. More than 2,000 civilians have died in attacks there since January 2019.

Oil spill blankets Israeli beaches—Next to the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Sounds of tractor, bags, voices]

Thousands of volunteers and soldiers converged on Israel’s coast Sunday to help clean up tar from an oil spill.

AUDIO: For now, it’s the manual labor. We can pick up the big chunks and maybe the first layer of sand. As long as it’s cold, it’s okay. When it’s going to be warm, it’s going to stick, it’s going to liquefied. It’s going to be inside everything.

The sticky globs spread out over about 100 miles of beaches. Israel’s environmental protection ministry says the oil is coming from an offshore ship, but they have not identified the exact source.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the disaster proved the need to switch cargo ships from fossil fuels to natural gas.

China announces changes in Hong Kong—Next we go to Asia.

Chinese officials have announced sweeping changes to the way Hong Kong selects its government representatives.

AUDIO: [Woman speaking Cantonese]

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that political strife and unrest in the semi-autonomous city showed the need for reforms. 

Under the current system, voters are allowed to pick some of the representatives on the Legislative Council. That has enabled pro-democracy opposition leaders to maintain a presence in the political process.

But under the new rules, only representatives who pledge allegiance to Hong Kong as a special region of China will be allowed to run for office. 

New Zealand marks earthquake anniversary—And finally, we end today in New Zealand.

AUDIO: [Sound of bell tolling]

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led a memorial service Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake.

ARDERN: The toll could not have been more significant, and daily reminders made it harder, a fractured landscape, aftershocks, struggling friends and neighbors, and children with deep and unseen scars. Ten years on there will be people still living their daily lives with the long shadow of that day.

185 people died in the disaster that destroyed much of downtown Christchurch. The city’s iconic cathedral, built in 1904, remains in ruins. But work to repair the structure has begun. And like other new buildings in the city, the rebuilt cathedral will be much more resistant to earthquakes.

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

(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) An Israeli soldier wearing a full protective suit holds a piece of tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea during a cleanup operation at Sharon Beach Nature Reserve, near Gaash, Israel, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. 

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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