March 3rd, 2013
12:34 AM ET

Main players in Kenyan presidential election

wo Kenyan presidential frontrunners will face off Monday, bringing back memories of a political dynasty that dates to the 1960s.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga are the sons of the nation's first president and vice president, respectively.

About five decades later, it is the sons' turn in the spotlight.

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Filed under: Kenya • World
March 2nd, 2013
06:17 AM ET

Russia concerned over adopted boy's cause of death

Russia's foreign minister said Saturday it was concerned by a Texas coroner's report declaring the death of an adopted boy from the nation as accidental.
The 3-year-old lived in Texas with his adoptive parents.
The announcement of the accidental death came after an autopsy was completed on the boy, Max Shatto.
The foreign ministry said it did not receive the information on cause of death from U.S. officials, but from the media.

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Filed under: Adoption • Russia • World
February 14th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Oscar Pistorius charged with murder in death of model girlfriend

[Updated 10:30 a.m. ET] Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his South Africa home early Thursday.

Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year. Check our full story for the latest.

[Updated 8:03 a.m. ET] The suspect will appear in court Friday rather than today because the public prosecutor needs time to prepare the case, police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale told CNN.

The state will oppose bail, police spokeswoman Denise Beukes told reporters.

[Posted 2:45 a.m.] A woman was found fatally shot in the upscale Pretoria home of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, police said Thursday.

The victim was model Reeva Steenkamp, according to Capacity Relations, the agency that represents her. Steenkamp was Pistorius' girlfriend.

Police said they have arrested a 26-year-old man - the same age as Pistorius - in connection with the shooting, and that he will appear in Pretoria magistrate court sometime Thursday.

Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year.

Police said Pistorius was cooperating with them.

February 8th, 2013
06:50 AM ET

5 must-reads from around Africa

Every week, we bring you some of the most interesting stories from around Africa. Here are the five you need to know.

New smartphones for Africa

Africans in select cities will have more choices when it comes to smartphones.

In a move targeting the world's fastest-growing mobile market, Microsoft is teaming up with Chinese company Huawei to sell a Windows smartphone in seven countries.

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Filed under: World
January 30th, 2013
03:59 AM ET

Raging floodwaters kill dozens in Mozambique

Torrential rains sent rivers raging through towns in Mozambique, ripping up homes and killing at least 36 people over the past few days.

Tens of thousands fleeing affected areas remain stranded without food and water as fears of a humanitarian crisis grow.

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Filed under: World
December 7th, 2012
02:28 AM ET

Ghana votes in another test of its stable democracy

Ghanaians vote Friday in a general election that pits the incumbent against the son of a former president in one of Africa's most stable democracies.

The west African nation is hailed as a beacon of peace and democracy in a region beleaguered with coups, conflicts and civil wars.

Incumbent leader John Dramani Mahama, a former vice president who took over after his predecessor died this year, is one of eight contenders vying for the top position.

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Filed under: World
December 6th, 2012
02:28 AM ET

Military plane crashes in South Africa

Rescue crews searched for survivors Thursday after a South African military plane crashed in the mountains as it headed to an airport near the rural hometown of Nelson Mandela.

A military spokesman declined to comment on the plane's mission or the number of people aboard.

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Filed under: World
November 25th, 2012
05:31 AM ET

Spain's Catalonia region votes; move for independence remains major debate

The northeast Spanish region of Catalonia is voting for president and a regional parliament Sunday in elections considered a barometer of rising independence sentiment.

Independence is not on the ballot Sunday, but the incumbent Catalan president, Artur Mas, is expected to be re-elected and has vowed to hold a referendum on self-determination in his next term.

The Spanish government in Madrid vows to block any referendum, arguing that the constitution does not permit a region alone to decide its independence.

Amnesty: Malawi suspends anti-gay laws
President Joyce Banda pledged to review Malawi's anti-homosexuality laws earlier this year.
November 6th, 2012
01:17 AM ET

Amnesty: Malawi suspends anti-gay laws

Malawi is shelving its laws against homosexuality pending a vote on whether to repeal them, a rights group said, a bold move in a continent that mostly  criminalizes such relationships.

The justice minister said the laws are suspended and police cannot arrest or prosecute homosexuals until parliament votes, Amnesty

International said in a statement Monday.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in the southern Africa nation and carry a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

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Filed under: World
November 3rd, 2012
11:52 PM ET

Atlanta police helicopter crashes on city street

Editor's Note: An Atlanta police department helicopter crashed late Saturday night on a city street just a few miles from downtown, killing both officers on board.  See full story.

Here are the latest developments:

[Update 1:45 a.m.]  The missing 9-year-old has been found and is in the hands of the police, authorities said today.

[Update 1: 30 a.m.] Atlanta Police Chief George Turner briefed reporters and offered the following details:
- Two Atlanta police officers who were in the chopper were killed.

- The helicopter unit was called in to assist with the search for a missing 9-year-old child.

- The chopper was flying low so that the officers were better able to see.

- There were no injuries on the ground.

- The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating.

[Update 1:01 a.m.] The crash has knocked out power to 1,300 Georgia Power customers, a spokesman for the electricity company said. "We believe the outage is because of the helicopter crash," said spokesman John Kraft. "I don't know specifics of what happened in that crash. We believe it is a result of the helicopter coming in contact with the lines at some point."

 [Update 1 a.m.] The FAA says two people were on board the chopper when it crashed but the agency deferred questions about their conditions to the Atlanta police department.

[Update 12:26 a.m.]

Television footage from affiliates show a convoy of police cars at the site of the crash

[Updated 11:57 p.m.] Police spokesman Carlos Campos just sent out this e-mail, asking that media not report "unconfirmed" information about casualties:

One of our helicopters has crashed near MLK Jr and Hamilton E. Holmes around 10:30 p.m. Public Affairs personnel are on scene and gathering information. We ask you to respectfully refrain from releasing unconfirmed information. We understand you are needing information. You will get it. Just give us time to gather facts. We will announce a briefing location soon.

[Posted at 11:52 p.m.] A helicopter for the  Atlanta Police Department crashed tonight in northwest Atlanta.  Authorities are at  the scene.  More details soon.

November 1st, 2012
06:49 AM ET

Several injured at USC Halloween party shooting

[Updated 6:54 a.m. ET] A Halloween party erupted in gunfire that left several people wounded at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, campus officials said.

The shooting occurred during an argument between two men Wednesday night, according to Capt. David Carlisle of the university's department of public safety. Officials lifted a campus lockdown after a few hours. FULL POST

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Filed under: Justice • U.S.
22 killed in fuel tanker explosion in Saudi Arabia
Rescue workers inspect the scene of Thursday's blast in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
November 1st, 2012
06:20 AM ET

22 killed in fuel tanker explosion in Saudi Arabia

[Updated at 1:51 p.m. ET] A fuel tanker rammed into a bridge and exploded into a ball of fire Thursday, killing 22 people and sending flames sweeping over the Saudi Arabia capital, state television reported.

In addition to the fatalities, at least 111 others were wounded, according to the report.


Colorado judge denies victims access to Aurora theater rampage documents
Police say James Holmes killed 12 people during a shooting at a movie theater in Colorado.
October 31st, 2012
02:49 AM ET

Colorado judge denies victims access to Aurora theater rampage documents

A judge  has said no to a motion that would have allowed victims of the Aurora theater shooting to look at sealed court documents.

James Holmes is accused of opening fire July 20 in Aurora during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." The rampage left 12 people dead and 58 injured.

Victims were seeking access to court documents and 911 calls.

Releasing the information would "jeopardize defendant’s right to a fair trial," a judge in the case said Tuesday.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
October 21st, 2012
01:34 AM ET

What's behind the instability in Mali?

Mali is a ticking time bomb.

Once hailed as a model of democracy in Africa, a coup and an uprising of Islamist militants in the north threatens to create an arc of instability for the continent.

The militants have destroyed ancient shrines, once a major draw for Islamic scholars from around the world. They have banned music.

Reports of human rights abuses grow daily. And international leaders are considering sending troops to Mali soon to reclaim a large portion of the north from extremists.

They're concerned that al Qaeda will capitalize on the chaos and set up a haven there.

Here's a helpful explainer on what spurred the unrest in the country known, among other things, for a world-famous music festival where the likes of Robert Plant and Bono have performed.

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Filed under: World
May 30th, 2012
02:33 AM ET

Girl, 6, is youngest competitor in National Spelling Bee history

When Lori Anne Madison, 6, takes the stage Wednesday, she will be stepping into history as the youngest person to compete in the National Spelling Bee.

The second-grader joins 277 other contestants, marking a milestone as the youngest competitor in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, according to the event's record books dating to 1993.

Since 1993, there have been four spellers who were 8 years old, said Mike Hickerson, the bee's communications manager.

Lori Anne beat out 21 kids in the regional bee in Prince William County in Virginia, earning a spot in the national bee.

She won by spelling the word "vaquero," the Spanish translation of "cowboy" often used in parts of the South.

While she loves spelling, Lori Anne has other interests as well.

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Filed under: Spelling bee • U.S.
April 6th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

President of Malawi dies after heart attack

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, once hailed as a positive steward for the southern African country, has died after a heart attack, government officials said Friday.

Mutharika was 78.

His body was flown to South Africa, the officials said.

The former World Bank economist first became president in 2004 after campaigning as an "economic engineer," and was re-elected five years later.

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Filed under: Malawi
January 9th, 2012
05:55 AM ET

Amnesty: Middle East protesters not looking for 'cosmetic changes'

Unless governments in the Middle East stop offering "cosmetic changes" to calls for reform, they should brace themselves for another year of protests, Amnesty International warned Monday.

The protests and bloodshed will continue unless governments and the international community ensure the demonstrators' demands are addressed, the rights group said in a new report.

Protesters are not interested in "piecemeal" reforms, it said.

"With few exceptions, governments have failed to recognize that everything has changed," said Philip Luther, director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa.

"The protest movements across the region, led in many cases by young people and with women playing central roles, have proved astonishingly resilient in the face of sometimes staggering repression."

Protesters want accountability and change in governance, according to Luther.

The 80-page report is called "Year of Rebellion: State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa."

It highlights the success of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in removing their longtime regimes, but underscores the need to institute democracy to ensure past actions are not repeated.

"The uprising in Tunisia brought significant improvements in human rights, but one year on, many consider that the pace of change has been too slow, with families of the victims of the uprising still awaiting justice," Amnesty said.

In Egypt, for example, military rulers are yet to deliver on demands of the revolution and are in some cases behind attacks that are "worse than under Hosni Mubarak" regime, the report said.

Amnesty warned that some governments "remained grimly determined to cling onto power" at all costs, citing an example of Syria.

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Filed under: Middle East • World
November 30th, 2011
04:33 AM ET

Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill, defying British aid threat

The Nigerian senate has passed a bill banning same-sex marriages, defying a threat from Britain to withhold aid from nations violating gay rights.

The bill by Africa's most populous nation calls for a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality. Anyone who aids or "abets" same-sex unions faces 10 years in prison, a provision that could target rights groups.

It goes to the nation's House of Representatives for a vote before President Goodluck Jonathan can sign it into law.

"It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else - including friends, families and colleagues - who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria," Amnesty International said in a statement.

The bill passed Tuesday comes nearly a month after British prime minister, David Cameron, threatened to withhold aid from nations violating gays rights, sparking outrage in Africa where leaders interpreted it as "colonial" display of power.

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries based on remnants of sodomy laws introduced during the British colonial era and perpetuated by cultural beliefs.

Punishments across the continent range from fines to years in prison.

"This is something we raise continually and ... we're also saying that British aid should have more strings attached in terms of 'do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity or do you persecute people for their sexuality?" Cameron said in a statement.

"We don't think that's acceptable. So look, this is an issue where we want movement, we're pushing for movement, we're prepared to put some money behind what we believe."

Soon after his remarks earlier this month, a flurry of African governments released defiant statements accusing him of undermining their sovereignty and culture.

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Filed under: Africa • David Cameron • Nigeria • United Kingdom • World
November 4th, 2011
04:52 AM ET

Simulated Mars mission to 'land' back to Earth

Six volunteer astronauts will emerge Friday from a 520-day 'trip' to Mars.

Well, sort of.

The male volunteers have been in isolation in a Moscow parking lot to simulate a 520-day-mission to Mars, part of the European Space Agency's experiment to determine the challenges facing future space travelers.

Scientists placed the six men from Russia, China and Europe in a tight space that mirrors a real space flight in June last year.

During the period, the crew dressed in blue jumpsuits has lived in a tight windowless space, showered on rare occasions and survived on canned food. Messages from friends and family came with a 20-minute lag based on the simulated distance to Earth.

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Filed under: Space • World
October 15th, 2011
03:43 AM ET

Occupy protests spread to cities around the world

The Occupy Wall Street movement spilled into main streets around the world Saturday as crowds chanted and marched in a global movement of discontent.

Protesters took to the streets in Europe, the United States and Asia following online organizers' calls for a worldwide rally.

In Japan, about 200 people marched through Tokyo carrying various signs, including "No More Nukes and "Free Tibet." The crowd included children jumping and skipping behind the adults.

Some protesters wore costumes - including a giant panda.

In the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney, crowds of mostly union workers gathered near a bank in a peaceful protest.

In South Korea, Arthur Fragoso was among a group gathered outside a bank in Seoul.

"We are protesting mostly for economic issues worldwide," he said. "We need to come up with ideas to solve the world problems."

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Filed under: Economy • Justice • U.S. • World
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