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World Tour: Norway fells a tree for London


WORLD Radio - World Tour: Norway fells a tree for London

Plus, news from Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and China

Oslo mayor Anne Lindboe (right) and Lord Mayor of Westminster Patricia McAllister saw the tree to be donated to London as the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree by the Oslo Municipality, in Oslo, Norway Associated Press/Photo by Cornelius Poppe/NTB

NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Sierra Leone unrest — We start today in Sierra Leone where authorities have tried to calm the public after attacks on the military’s largest barracks and detention centers on Sunday.

OFFICIAL: The public is assured that the government and our state security forces are in control of the situation.

Gunshots rang out across the capital of Freetown as gunmen targeted the military barracks.

Information Minister Chernor Bah said more attackers also hit several detention centers—including the Pademba Road Prisons with more than 2,000 inmates. Bah said the assailants abducted several of the prisoners while others ran free.

Authorities said at least 19 people died, including 13 soldiers and one police officer.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio eased a nationwide lockdown to a nighttime curfew.

BIO: Most of the leaders have been arrested. Security operations and investigations are ongoing. We will ensure that those responsible are held accountable through due process.

The West African country has faced some political uncertainty since June. That’s when Bio won a second term in office by narrowly avoiding a runoff.

Back in August, authorities detained several soldiers accused of plotting a coup. Since 2020, six countries across West and Central Africa have faced military takeovers.

SOUND: [Cheering]

DRC campaign — Over in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, cheering supporters joined a political rally in the eastern city of Bukavu.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Nobel-winning gynecologist, declared he would run for the presidency last month.

He founded the Panzi Hospital in the conflict-hit eastern region to care for rape victims in the ongoing fighting.

Mukwege promised to tackle corruption and conflict, if elected into office.

MUKWEGE: [Speaking Swahili]

He says here that the Congolese have an obligation to develop their nation, gifted to them by God.

Incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi is also seeking re-election. The general vote is slated for next month.

SOUND: [Street noise]

China visa-free travel — Next, to China, where a trial visa-free program for five European countries and Malaysia is set to start on Friday.

Citizens from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can visit China for 15 days with no visa requirement.

MAO: [Speaking Mandarin]

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning says here the pilot program will last for a year.

China is trying to return its international travel numbers to pre-pandemic levels after strict COVID-19 measures.

SOUND: [Tree felling]

Norway Christmas tree — We wrap up in a Norwegian forest where a crowd gathered to watch the felling of a 70-year-old spruce tree.

SOUND: [Clapping]

Viewers applauded as workers felled the 62-foot tree and lifted it using a hydraulic crane.

The tree is headed for London’s Trafalgar Square, continuing a tradition that began more than seven decades ago. Norway sends the spruce as a token for Britain’s support during World War II.

Here’s Oslo Mayor Anne Lindboe.

LINDBOE: We now live in these really really dark times and the Christmas tree symbolizes peace, standing together, friendship between cities and I’m really looking forward to meeting the people in London to stand together around the Christmas tree and see the lights.

London will set up the tree at an official lights ceremony on December 7.

AUDIO: [Children singing Jingle Bells]

That’s it for today’s WORLD Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

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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