U.S. urges devolution of power in Cameroon

Washington (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday urged Cameroon to devolve power in its troubled anglophone region, saying the government's military response was only strengthening separatists.

The warning came weeks after the United States ended certain preferential trade benefits for Cameroon, citing human rights violations including arbitrary killings.

Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, said he believed advisors to Cameroon's veteran resident, Paul Biya, were telling him "you can win this militarily."

U.S. blacklists former Kenyan attorney general over corruption

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Kenya's former attorney general, Amos Sitswila Wako, accusing him of involvement in "significant" corruption, according to a statement from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Wako, who was attorney general during Kenya's rocky transition from one-party rule to democracy, is barred from entering the United States under the sanctions, as are his wife and son.

Washington criticized Wako several times during his tenure as attorney general from 1991 to 2011 for not doing enough to crack down on corruption.

Sri Lanka’s new president, Rajapaksa sworn in after record victory

SRI Lanka’s former defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, was sworn in Monday as the country’s new president after a record election victory, officials said.

The swearing-in took place before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya in front of a historic Buddhist temple in Anuradhapura, 180 kilometres north east of the capital.

Rajapaksa, the candidate for the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (Peoples’ Party), recorded a comfortable victory with a majority of more than 1.3 million votes in the country’s presidential polls, according to election results.

Cameroon plans February polls under shadow of violence

Cameroon is poised to hold parliamentary and municipal elections in February but a bloody separatist conflict and political tensions are set to cloud the vote, experts say.

Anglophone separatists are fighting government troops in western Cameroon while the north of the country has come under attack from Boko Haram jihadists.

"These elections will not have optimum credibility," Cameroonian academic Richard Makon told AFP, contending that in the present climate, "peaceful" polls were impossible.

Why Japan's ageing 'Hidden Christians' are afraid

By Reuters

South African Airways cancels flights ahead of strike

South African Airways (SAA) said Wednesday it was cancelling all its flights as thousands of workers vowed to press ahead with an indefinite strike the following day, after the troubled national carrier announced a major retrenchment plan.

Around 3,000 workers, including cabin crew, check-in, ticket sales, technical and ground staff, are expected to take part in the open-ended strike starting Friday, their unions said.

Japanese emperor begins last major accession rite: spending the night with a goddess

By Reuters

Pastor whose church held Kanye West's Sunday service slams rapper over comments on slavery

An Atlanta pastor, whose church previously held Kanye West's Sunday Service, is slamming the rapper for his controversial views. On Sunday, Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant — senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia, spoke to the congregation about West, condemning his previous comments on slavery and his support of President Donald Trump, Complex reported. Bryant reportedly began his sermon by praising West's gospel album Jesus Is King, but criticized the rapper for his behavior outside of the music.

Still teaching at 95, Jimmy Carter draws devotees to church

The pilgrims arrive early and from all over, gathering hours before daybreak in an old pecan grove that surrounds a country church. They come, they say, for a dose of simple decency and devotion wrapped up in a Bible lesson.

The teacher is the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

Russia professor admits murder after woman's arms found in bag

A well-known Russian historian has confessed to murdering his lover, his lawyer says, after he was found in a river with a backpack containing a woman's arms.