World Tour – Farmers in India, and Israel makes a new friend

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

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Farmer protests in India—We start today in India.

AUDIO: [Sounds of yelling, booms]

Clashes between farmers and counter protesters broke out around New Delhi last week. Police fired tear gas and used batons to separate the groups.

Farmers have surrounded the city for two months, trying to force the government to reconsider unpopular reform measures. They say efforts to deregulate farm produce markets will drive down prices and make it impossible for them to survive.

The counter protesters say they are tired of the ongoing unrest, but the farmers say they aren’t leaving. The farm protests pose the biggest challenge to Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took power in 2014.

U.K. opens visa program for Hong Kongers—Next we go to Europe.

The U.K. has created a new visa program to help people escape China’s authoritarian rule in Hong Kong. The program is open to anyone with a British National (overseas) passport. About 70 percent of Hong Kong residents are eligible to apply.

Winston Wong and his wife Connie Chan decided to emigrate as Beijing tightened its grip over the formerly semi-autonomous city.

WONG: I think literally you can’t win everything, you have to make a choice; so if you want to have a nice life where you can freely speak of everything without being worried or feared, then you have to pay the price for coming over.

After five years, visa holders can apply for British citizenship.

British officials estimate more than 300,000 people will seek a visa in the next five years. Furious over what it calls outside interference, Beijing has vowed to make it hard for anyone to leave Hong Kong.

Taliban vow to continue fighting—Next to the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Farsi]

The Taliban says it will continue its “fight and jihad” if foreign troops do not leave Afghanistan by May. That deadline was part of a U.S. agreement negotiated with the Taliban during peace talks with the Trump administration.

But President Biden said last week he wanted to reconsider that deal. The United States has about 2,500 troops left in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani urged Biden not to recall any more troops and to put pressure on the Taliban to renounce violence. The insurgent group has refused to stop its terror attacks despite attempts to strike a peace deal. The violence resulted in more than 25-hundred civilian casualties during the last three months of 2020, including more than 800 deaths.

Kosovo establishes ties with Israel—And finally, we end today in Israel.

The foreign ministers of Israel and Kosovo met virtually on Monday to mutually recognize each other’s sovereignty.

AUDIO: Kosovo has waited for a very long time to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. On this important day, we mark a new chapter in the historical bond between our countries who have witnessed a long and challenging path to existing as a people and to becoming states.

Kosovo’s announcement follows similar recognitions from several other Muslim-majority countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Sudan. But Kosovo also plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem, something the Arab states did not do.

Israel joins more than 100 countries that recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty, including the United States, but Russia and China do not.

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

(AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File) In this Jan. 30, 2021 file photo, farmers raise their hand as they shout slogans during a day-long hunger strike to protest against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. 

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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