Africa

The Kenyans vs. the Ethiopians.

Like many distance events at the Rio Games, and Olympics past, it often boils down to a race featuring the indefatigable runners from these two African neighbors.

And that's a likely scenario in the women's marathon this Sunday, and the men's next Sunday, the final day of the Summer Olympics.

In every men's and women's marathon since 1996, at least one Kenyan or Ethiopian has made it to the medal stand, with one exception. And that exception proves the rule.

Charlie Jane Anders / Flickr

Author Ben Winter's latest work of alternative History, Underground Airlines, has been getting lots of attention in the short time since its release. Taking on themes such as institutional racism, social responsibility and personal redemption, the novel's relevance to today's top issues can't be denied.

Kenyan rescue workers freed a woman from the rubble of a building in Nairobi on Thursday, six days after its collapse.

Then, just hours later, the Kenya Red Cross said three more people — a man and two women — were rescued alive.

NPR's Gregory Warner in Nairobi tells our Newscast unit that the collapse of the six-story building on Friday killed at least 36 people. He adds that dozens are still missing. Here's more from Gregory on the first rescue Thursday:

Nick M / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we feature stories and sounds from the West African country of Nigeria. 

First, WSHU reporter Ebong Udoma checks in from Abuja, Nigeria, where he's helped launch a brand new multimedia project called Gotel Africa. When completed, Gotel Africa will become the continent's first-ever pan-African news service. We learn more about it. 

After an airplane passenger set off a bomb last week, the pilot managed to land the plane safely in Mogadishu, Somalia. Now CCTV footage released by the Somali government indicates airport workers may have been in on the attack.

The only casualty of the attack was the bomber, who apparently was sucked out of the hole in the side of the plane.

NPR's Gregory Warner tells our Newscast unit that the bomber was originally scheduled to fly on a Turkish Airlines flight. Here's more from Gregory:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For his latest book, Michael Robinson journeyed to the mountains of East Africa with a particular mission in mind: to search for explorer Henry Morton Stanley's so-called "white tribe." This hour, Robinson talks about his experience, and how it helped inform The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent

An hours-long attack by militants on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso's capital has left approximately 20 victims dead. An early-morning assault by security forces killed four attackers and freed 126 hostages, officials say.

Among the victims killed was an American, identified by the U.S. State Department as Michael James Riddering, according to Reuters.

Nick M / Creative Commons

This hour, we feature stories and sounds from the West African country of Nigeria. 

First, WSHU reporter Ebong Udoma checks in from Abuja, Nigeria, where he's helped launch a brand new multimedia project called Gotel Africa. When completed, Gotel Africa will become the continent's first-ever pan-African news service. We learn more about it. 

At least 16 people were killed and several others injured at a Cairo nightclub, after Molotov cocktails set fire to the club and restaurant early Friday morning. Police say the attack followed a dispute between club employees and some young men.

NPR's Leila Fadel reports:

"A statement from Egypt's Ministry of the Interior says following the argument, the young men threw Molotov cocktails into the club out of anger.

Cameroon's military says it has killed more than 100 members of Boko Haram and freed more than 900 people who had been held hostage by the militant Islamists.

The news, which is difficult to independently verify, came in a statement from Cameroon's defense minister, Joseph Beti Assomo.

"The statement says during the sweep last week, from Nov. 26 to 28, Cameroonian troops also ... recovered a large stock of weaponry and black and white Islamic State flags," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit. "Few details were forthcoming about those reportedly freed."

A half-century ago, 40 bishops from around the world gathered in an ancient Roman church and signed a pledge to forsake worldly goods and live like the neediest among their flock.

They were in Rome for the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the deliberations that opened the Catholic Church to the modern world.

The bishops' all but forgotten pledge, known as the Pact of the Catacombs, has gained new resonance with Pope Francis' vision of a church for the poor.

AmistadVoyages.org / Amistad America

A Connecticut judge has ended state receivership over the Amistad schooner and dissolved the embattled organization that had operated the vessel.

Updated 9:55 p.m. ET: American Victim Identified

The family of Anita Datar, an international development worker, has confirmed she was the American who died in Friday's terrorist attack on a hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

The U.S. State Department released this statement on the family's behalf:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Raouf Mama is a beloved storyteller by children and adults familiar with his books Why Goats Smell Bad and Why Monkeys Live in TreesHis love of storytelling stems from a long and honorable oral tradition that goes back to the ancient empire of Mali, when people preserved the lessons of life in memory instead of on the written page.

Raouf says we each have a story of belonging and identity. He uses his stories to entertain, comfort, and most of all as a tool to enlighten students.

Awe ouens, zikhiphani daar?

That's South African slang for "Hey guys, what's up?"

We recently had a chance to find out what's up with the teens of South Africa.

Roman Castellanos-Monfil / Yale University

Yale University senior Emi Mahmoud is the winner of this year's Individual World Poetry Slam Championship.

National Dialogue Quartet, a group that helped preserve Tunisia's dreams of democracy in 2013, has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, with the Nobel Prize Committee citing its "decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia."

"We are here to give hope to young people in Tunisia, that if we believe in our country, we can succeed," said Ouided Bouchamaoui, president of The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, a group that's part of the Quartet.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Raouf Mama is a beloved storyteller by children and adults familiar with his books Why Goats Smell Bad and Why Monkeys Live in TreesHis love of storytelling stems from a long and honorable oral tradition that goes back to the ancient empire of Mali, when people preserved the lessons of life in memory instead of on the written page.

Raouf says we each have a story of belonging and identity. He uses his stories to entertain, comfort, and most of all as a tool to enlighten students.

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of an unusual human-like creature that lived long ago. Exactly how long ago is still a mystery — and that's not the only mystery surrounding this newfound species.

The bones have a strange mix of primitive and modern features, and were found in an even stranger place — an almost inaccessible chamber deep inside a South African cave called Rising Star.

The natural world is abuzz with the sound of animals communicating — crickets, birds, even grunting fish. But scientists learning to decode these sounds say the secret signals of African elephants — their deepest rumblings — are among the most intriguing calls any animal makes.

United Nations Photo / Creative Commons

Officials in Sierra Leone are continuing to abuse aid money sent there to combat Ebola, according to audit reports and a Quinnipiac University political science professor who just returned home from a trip there. 

Some 30,000 African elephants die each year as a result of poaching, and many of their ivory tusks wind up hundreds or thousands of miles away. Investigative journalist Bryan Christy wanted to track the route of the poached tusks, so he commissioned a taxidermist to create two fake ivory tusks, which he embedded with specially designed tracking devices.

"These tusks ... operate really like additional investigators, like members of our team, and almost like a robocop," Christy tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Kicking off a two-day trip to Ethiopia, President Obama called on the country to end its crackdown on journalists and to be more open politically.

Obama spoke Monday at a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

President Obama, wrapping up his three-day visit to Kenya, urged the east African country to "choose the path to progress" by tackling corruption, eliminating income inequality and promoting gender equality.

"I'm here as president of a country that sees Kenya as an important partner. I'm here as a friend who wants Kenya to succeed," he said in a speech at the Safaricom Indoor Arena in Nairobi.

"You can choose the path to progress, but it requires making some important choices," he said in the 40-minute speech that was broadcast on Kenyan television.

Frankie Leon / Flickr Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

Frankie Leon / Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

Banning Eyre

If you listen closely to the music of Thomas Mapfumo, you will hear the pulse of Zimbabwe. It’s a sound unlike any other, driven by decades of struggle, brutality, and cultural sabotage. 

A 110-pound silver ingot thought to be from the treasure of Capt. William Kidd — the notorious 17th century Scottish pirate who was ultimately hanged for his misdeeds — has been brought up from the shallows off Madagascar's eastern coast.

The discovery was made by the American underwater explorer Barry Clifford near the island of Sainte Marie, which itself lies just off Madagascar.

The European Union is holding an emergency meeting Monday about the deadly capsizing of a boat crowded with would-be migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. With 28 survivors reported and 24 bodies recovered, only a fraction of the hundreds of people who were reportedly on board are accounted for.

One day after four gunmen killed at least 147 people in an attack on a university campus in Kenya, police are hunting terrorism suspects, and students are debating whether to return to Garissa University College. A teachers union says the school should shut down.

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