Pope says: 'Catastrophic' if climate deal derailed

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN15128aa001.jpegNAIROBI, Kenya — Pope Francis, speaking in Africa days before critical climate change talks in Paris, warned Thursday that it would be "catastrophic" if world leaders let special interest groups get in the way of a global agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions

Francis spoke to the U.N.'s regional office in Kenya after celebrating his first public Mass on the continent.

Read more at USA Today 

Pope Francis: Africa visit generates excitement, unrealistic expectations


NAIROBI, Kenya — When Pope Francis begins his first journey to Africa as pontiff Wednesday, he will face a long laundry list of requests, many of them having nominally little to do with his role as spiritual head of the Catholic Church.

Peace will be among the items that locals in Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic want Francis to address during his six-day visit. Good governance is a second one. Respect for human rights and a condemnation of Islamic violence are others, in addition to staying safe in a time of soaring tensions around the world with violent and spectacular terrorist attacks.

Read more at The Washington Times 

African Catholics: Call on pope to let priests marry


KAMPALA, Uganda (RNS) Throngs of Roman Catholics are expected to greet Pope Francis when he visits East Africa this week.

But the Rev. Anthony Musaala won't be a part of the official welcoming delegation.

Read more at Religion News Service 

Boko Haram: Nigerians relish new freedoms after reign of terror by militants ends

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_NIG151119AA001.jpegMALARI, Nigeria — A year after Boko Haram terrorists ravaged this tiny community, life is returning to a semblance of normalcy as the Nigerian military makes gains against the Islamic extremists.

Schoolchildren shout and play before school begins. Ululating — a high-pitched trill — fills the air as women give thanks for the start of a new day.

Read more at USA Today

Ugandan children: Of women raped by LRA fighters face threats

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_Africanwomen130318AA001.jpegJessica Agutu spits through the gap between her two front teeth, then brings her son to her breast. “This baby has brought me problems,” she says.

Agutu, in her early 30s, is one of many Ugandan women who bore children fathered by soldiers in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that many compared to a cult, not without good reason. Led by mass murderer and self-styled religious prophet Joseph Kony, the group abducted and raped thousands of women from its formation in 1987 through the late 2000s.

Read more at Newsweek

Skin-bleaching products: Popularity skyrockets in Africa

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR15141211001.jpegABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Aaliyah Kouman brags about her daily skin care regimen, one the 29-year-old has followed since she was a teenager.

“Every night I use a bedtime oil called Body White,” she explained, proud of her pallid skin tone. “And in the mornings I mix cocoa butter with a whitening lotion.
“If the products ever begin to bother my skin, then I’ll stop,” she added. “If not, then I’ll continue to use them every day.”

Read more at The Washington Times

Nairobi embassy: Attack victims feel betrayed by the U.S.

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_Africanwomen130318AA001.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 Newsweek

Mugabe’s plan: Export highly educated workers from Zimbabwe

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515aa001_10.16.00_AM.jpegHARARE, Zimbabwe — After presiding over this impoverished country in southern Africa for more than three decades, 91-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe has a new plan for prosperity: exporting highly educated workers.

Authorities here recently asked millions of unemployed citizens with college degrees to register their skills with the government so that officials might secure them jobs elsewhere in the region.

Read more at The Washington Times

Urban renewal: Mogadishu comes back to life

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150315aa002.jpegMOGADISHU, Somalia — Streetlights now line this city’s main street, Mecca Avenue. Kids run around, weaving between food stalls, free-range chickens and mangy dogs. Record stores play loud music out of speakers, advertising their selections.

Residents stand in lines at local banks. Pharmacies, butchers, restaurants, grocery stores and mobile phone shops abound. Traders who have trekked into the city from the countryside carry baggage filled with goods to sell at street markets.

Read more at Global Post

Cecil's death: Causes tourism drop in Zimbabwe

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150801aa001.jpegHARARE, Zimbabwe — The global outcry over the killing of Cecil the iconic lion has already caused a drop in badly needed tourists to this impoverished African nation, government officials said Thursday.

"Our tourism sector, which was booming, has recorded a significant drop in arrivals in the Hwange National Park, where Cecil was being kept,” Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief Karikoga Kaseke said Thursday without giving exact figures. “The culprits have painted Zimbabwe with a dirty brush. We are now seen as people who do not promote and protect animal rights.”

Read more at USA Today

Obama buzz: Boosts Ethiopia's growth

AFR130629aa001 ADDSS ABABA— As weavers in the Shiro Meda textile market work busily at their traditional looms, this ancient city is changing fast around them.

"Ethiopia is growing," said Vana Tenkir, 42, an Internet café owner who said the market today would be unrecognizable to visitors from 10 years ago. "New buildings are coming up and locals are investing."

Read more at USA TODAY 

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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

Read more at USA TODAY

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.”

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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).”

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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."

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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.”

Read more at USA TODAY

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.

Read more at USA TODAY

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