Uphold democracy: Requests Obama of African leaders

Africanwomen130318AA001ADDIS ABABA —President Obama ended a historic visit to Africa on Tuesday with a call for leaders across the continent to uphold democratic freedoms and fight corruption.

Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to address the 54-nation African Union, which is headquartered here in Ethiopia's capital.

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In Ethiopia: A cry for basic freedoms and human rights

AFR130705AA002ADDIS ABABA — Primary school teacher Hikma Lemma, 30, is pleased that President Obama is visiting his country and making an issue of the government's crackdown on free expression. Lemma's only regret: "He took too long to come.”

On the streets of this capital, many like Lemma hope Obama's visit to Ethiopia, the first by a sitting U.S. president, will lead to greater political freedom.

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In Ethiopia: Obama talks security and human rights

AFR150315aa001ADDIS ABABA— President Obama pressed the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday to ease restrictions on free speech, the press and political opposition in the impoverished East African nation.

“When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Desalegn

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Obama visit: Highlights Ethiopia's role in fighting Islamic terrorists

USA130426AA001NAIROBI — President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia on Sunday, highlighting the East African country's increasing value to combat Islamic extremism despite a poor human rights record.

“Obama’s visit means our country is a safe place to invest and do trade,” said Dawit Betty, 25, a student in Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa. “Ethiopia has been forgotten for so long. The coming of the U.S. president will bring a new beginning for this country.”

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Kenyan lawmaker: Wants terror suspect released

KEN240913aa001NAIROBI — When President Obama returns to the United States after his visit to East Africa, some Kenyans hope he’ll consider releasing one of their countrymen from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

Sen. Hassan Omar, a Kenyan lawmaker who represents the largely Muslim city of Mombasa on the coast of the Indian Ocean, wants Obama to set free alleged al-Qaeda-linked terrorist Abdul Malik.

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Human rights: Obama addresses ethnic divisions in Kenya

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515aa002.jpegNAIROBI — President Obama spoke out Sunday about corruption, ethnic divisions, terrorism and human rights in a rousing televised speech on his last day in Kenya, his father's homeland.

Speaking to thousands at the Kasarani National Stadium, Obama encouraged Kenyans to “choose the path to progress” by fighting corruption and terrorism and by treating women and girls as equal citizens.

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Baby boom: Obama has become a popular baby name in Kenya

USA140724AA001NAIROBI — President Obama is leaving a lasting legacy in this East African country: a bumper crop of babies bearing his name.

Many families have been naming boys born during the president’s visit after Obama, said Eunice Omolo, the maternity ward direct at Avenue Group hospital, one of the biggest in Nairobi.

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Souvenir sellers: Cash in on Obama's visit to Kenya

NIG150710aa001NAIROBI — Dorothy Achieng wished President Obama would have extended his stay in Kenya, not because of the U.S. president's roots here but because he's been a boon to her souvenir business.

“I have made so much money,” said Achieng, 48, who hawked portraits of Obama to hang in their homes, businesses or cars. “I’m disappointed because he is leaving (Sunday).”

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Kenyan embassy: Victims demand U.S. aid during Obama's visit

KEN151515aa001NAIROBI — Cheering crowds at the memorial for victims of the 1998 Kenyan Embassy bombing welcomed President Obama on Saturday as police and the president's security detail pushed back onlookers trying to catch a glimpse of him.

Thousands of residents lined the streets as they waved Kenyan flags, chanted Obama's name and sang traditional songs. But victims of the August 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing who say they have not been compensated for the attack were not satisfied.

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Kenyan disappointment: As Obama skips visit to ancestral home

USA121108AA001NAIROBI— As it became evident President Obama would not visit his ancestral home, disbelief and disappointment raged among residents in the small village of Kogelo.

"I am very disappointed that Obama is not coming," said Kennedy Ochieng, 35, who lives in Kogelo, where expectations and excitement had been running high for weeks. "I have been waiting to see him since the last time he visited as a senator. I wonder why he should visit the village as a senator and not as a president."

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Ivory trade: Activists hope U.S. support will help

MAL130524aa001NAIROBI — In a small workroom in this sprawling capital city, Caroline Kania hammers and carves to create necklaces and bracelets from animal bones. Across the city, Harriet Wilson cares for baby elephants orphaned by ivory poachers.

Both women are hopeful President Obama's announcement of new measures to suppress illegal ivory trade will turn the tide against the widespread practice that's driving the elephant population across the continent to the brink of extinction.

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Kenya visit: Obama calls for equal rights for gays

KEN150410aa003NAIROBI — President Obama called on African nations Saturday to confer equal rights to gays and lesbians, kicking off his first full day in the nation by undertaking a topic that remains highly sensitive on the continent. Kenyan President Kenyatta dismissed the importance of gay rights, calling it a "non-issue" in the nation.

Speaking at a joint news conference after bilateral talks between the two leaders, Obama said he is "unequivocal" on the question of treatment of gay and lesbian citizens. "The idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong," Obama said.

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Kenya's greeting: Asks for change from Obama

KEN151515aa001NAIROBI — Florist Joshua Onyango arranged blooms in his flower shop and talked about what better connections with the USA could do for Kenya, which supplies a third of the world's cut flowers, especially roses.

“We expect the American president to allow direct flights between Kenya and the U.S. to increase trade between the two countries,” he said. “This will help Kenyans to reap big from his visit.”

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Nairobi lockdown: As Obama arrives for Kenya visit

KEN240913aa001NAIROBI — Residents in this capital city were on lockdown as President Obama arrived Friday evening for a three-day visit, leaving many already chafing under tight security measures meant to reduce crime and minimize terrorist threats.

While his arrival was heavily anticipated because of his Kenyan roots, the streets were unusually quiet in this normally bustling, chaotic metropolis. No groups of young men were hanging on corners, pedestrians were absent, beggars moved elsewhere.

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Obama's visit: To Kenya and Ethiopia

USA130629AA003NAIROBI — Excitement built before President Obama's arrival Friday in the country of his father's birth for a two-nation African tour.

Kenyan and American flags were hoisted along roads, cleaners scrubbed the asphalt clean, and police relocated homeless families from the routes Obama is likely to take. James Bwire, a Nairobi-based sculptor who designed several billboards to celebrate the president's visit, said he hopes to get close enough to deliver a small bust he crafted of Obama.

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Witch doctor: Foretells Obama's visit to Kenya

USA130426AA001KOGELO — President Obama is not officially scheduled to visit his ancestral home when he visits East Africa this week, but witch doctor John Dimo knows better.

After tossing some shells and animal bones on the ground, Dimo is convinced the American president will come to this tiny village, home of Mama Sarah Obama, 95, his step-grandmother, and the burial place of Barack Obama Sr., his father.

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Ebola outbreak: How sex is keeping it alive

Ebola VirusFREETOWN — Love and lust are hindering Sierra Leone’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus.

In recent months, government officials and international health workers have slowed the spread of Ebola, which the World Health Organization, or WHO, said has infected 13,059 Sierra Leoneans, claimed the lives of 3,928 in the country and killed another 7,300 people throughout West Africa since the current outbreak started in late 2013.

Read more at The Global Post

Failed coup: Tests democracy in Burundi

civ120607aa001BUJUMBURA — Circling vultures monitor the shaky efforts to restore peace in the streets — a week after a failed coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza, clashes between police and demonstrators continue, and many of those who returned home are forced to find shelter once again.

Tension and insecurity are running high here in this small, landlocked nation, which many see as a symbolic test of the region’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law in a country that has known brutal political violence in the past..

Read more at The Washington Times

World's largest: Refugee camp in Kenya at risk of closing

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515aa002.jpegDADAAB, Kenya — The world's largest refugee camp is becoming a scene of not only chronic misery but a new and growing confrontation between a Kenyan government threatening to shut it down and occupants vowing to stay.

The government announced April 11 that it wanted the camp closed within three months because it was used as a staging ground by al-Shabab terrorists for the deadly university attack in Garissa earlier this month that killed more than 140 students and staff.

Read more at USA Today

Mali law: Would reserve one-third of government jobs for women

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_Africanwomen130318AA001.jpegBAMAKO, Mali — An unlikely battle in an unlikely place has broken out over a bid to guarantee Mali’s women a seat at the political table in this poor, conflict-ridden and heavily Muslim African country.

If enacted, a proposed law before Malian lawmakers would reserve one-third of government jobs for women, including in elected offices. Currently, only 14 women sit in Mali’s 147-member parliament, three women belong to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s Cabinet of 33 ministers, and men claim the vast bulk of civil service positions.

Read more at The Washington Times

The splintering: Of Somalia has crippled education

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515aa002.jpegSomali universities are beginning to recover from two decades of civil war but a lack of government oversight, an ongoing brain drain and security concerns continue to imperil higher education in the country.

And education analysts don’t expect the situation to change anytime soon.

Read more at Al-Fanar Media

Al-Shabab militants: Create chaos, pain for Somalis

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515AA001.jpegMOGADISHU, Somalia — Sitting under a veranda at the former headquarters of Somali Airlines, Ali Bashir sipped coffee and chewed khat, an African herb, as he recounted 15 years of anarchy fomented by al-Shabab Islamic terrorists.

"Life is very hard here," he lamented. "There's nothing to eat and nowhere to work. But the rebels will come and still ask you for money."

Read more at USA Today

Christian-Muslim conflict: In Central African Republic has refugees afraid to leave camps

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150315aa002.jpegBANGUI, Central African Republic — No matter how safe they tell her it is outside, Bahriyah Abidah insists she won’t leave the St. Joseph Mukassa camp.

The United Nations recently announced that it was dispatching another 1,000 soldiers to bring the total peacekeeping force in this desperately impoverished country to 13,000 troops. However, France is slowly reducing its force of 2,000 soldiers and the European Union pulled out its 750 troops last month. Both said their presence is no longer necessary.

Read more at The Washington Times

Kenyan leader: Warns rogue imams; militants vow 'bloodbath'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN150915aa002.jpegPARIS — A bloody day in the heart of the City of Light left some of France’s best-known journalists dead and police tracking down the native Islamist terrorists suspected of carrying out the murders to avenge what they said were insults to the founder of their faith. One suspect surrendered and two others were missing.

The well-coordinated early-morning attack on the editorial offices of the Charlie Hebdo targeted the editor of the bitingly satiric weekly, Stephane Charbonnier, nine colleagues and a security guard, all murdered in cold blood by masked assailants who reportedly called out the names of their victims as they were shot.

Read more at USA Today

In Kenyan: Town where students were massacred, 'it's not safe'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN150410aa003.jpegGARISSA, Kenya — Tension and anxiety remained high Friday as the Kenyan military launched a campaign to flush out terrorists linked to the Garissa University College massacre.

The campaign came as Kenyan Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett imposed a curfew on the borderlands with Somalia from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. local time.

Read more at USA Today

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