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CAPE TOWN, South AfricaIn South Africa, the government tried to control the COVID-19 outbreak by banning booze to keep people from gathering. Plus, sober South Africans were less likely to violently protest a complete lockdown.

You couldn't sit at a bar; you couldn't order a glass of wine; you couldn't even buy beer at the store.

There was an immediate public health benefit that had nothing to do with COVID-19. Suddenly, emergency rooms were empty, devoid of alcohol-related accidents.

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Finally today, so you might not be surprised that a record titled "Preacher's Kid" by a musician whose father was a pastor would take the top spot on the iTunes Christian album chart. That happened last month with the new album by Grace Semler Baldrige, who performs as Semler. But the lyrics on that album tell a different story than the one you might be expecting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JESUS FROM TEXAS")

SEMLER: (Singing) My mom turned 18 in the 1960s, and she doesn't remember Stonewall.

In 2001, Maurine Murenga was pregnant and HIV-positive. She was living in Kenya, and a counselor encouraged her to fill out a memory book. She wrote directions to her village, details about her family so that when she died, someone would know where to bury her and where to send her child.

"It was nothing like preparing," says Murenga. "It was actually preparing us for death."

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni arrived at his ranch in Kisozi, about a five-hour drive from the capital Kampala, by helicopter. As the 76-year-old leader walked into an interview with NPR, he was jovial, cracking jokes, eager to show off the 10,000 cows that roam this ranch.

After 27 years as a global pariah, Sudan has been officially removed from the American State Sponsor of Terrorism list.

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum made the announcement in a Facebook post, saying that the statutory 45 days had lapsed since President Trump gave Congress notice of the administration's intent to delist Sudan, so the declaration could now come into effect.

The heat is unrelenting in the middle of a December day in eastern Sudan. It's hard to find any shade in this arid landscape. It's mostly dust and boulders — and, for now at least, it is the temporary home of tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees who have crossed the border to flee the fighting in their country.

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For more than a week, Ethiopian government forces have been fighting against a powerful regional government in the country's north and hundreds are reported to have died.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace laureate, ordered the government offensive after accusing the rival Tigray People's Liberation Front of launching an attack against Ethiopia's military last week.

This morning, human rights activist Rinu Oduala could still hear gunfire outside her house in Lagos, Nigeria.

"I can't even describe it," she said, growing emotional. "It seems like our whole hope is lost."

This past Sunday at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, it was life as usual.

Kids took rides on horses and camels. Families and lovers shared paddle boats in the lake at the center of the park.

Alice Nyambura and Lucy Wahu, both college sophomores, sat on the grass watching the boats. The sun was shining; the lily pads blooming. They had come here to get their minds off the pandemic.

"I don't think there is anything like corona," Nyambura said.

"It is there," Wahu corrected her. "But I think they are exaggerating the numbers."

These days, downtown Nairobi feels almost back to normal after Kenya's lockdown lifted in July. People are back on the streets navigating broken sidewalks — and alongside them are thousands of hawkers.

They're selling face masks and hand sanitizer — and dawa — fruit and herbal juices that Kenyans imbibe to treat all kinds of ailments.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita went on state television to announce his resignation after soldiers carried out a mutiny Tuesday. Soldiers reportedly detained Keita after surrounding his residence.

Demonstrators had taken to the streets, tired of corruption and of a government that seemed unable to tamp down an Islamist insurgency in the West African country.

In the morning, soldiers took over a huge army base outside the capital, Bamako. By afternoon, local news reported the soldiers had arrested Keita.

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The U.S. is leading the world in COVID-19 cases - more than 3 1/2 million. Other countries are seeing surges, too. India, for example, just hit a new record - a million cases. Here's virologist Shahid Jameel talking to India Today.

In a somber speech broadcast in prime time on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa painted a worrying picture as the new coronavirus spikes in the country.

"The storm is upon us," he said.

As Zuleika Yusuf Daffala walks across Kibera, one of the big informal settlements in Kenya's capital, she greets dozens of kids on the streets. Some are jumping rope, others chasing each other through the alley and another group is trying to make a tiny cooking pan out of an aluminum can.

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In Kenya's capital, Nairobi, coronavirus is not the only worry. With high HIV rates, it is important that patients stay on their medications. Here's more from NPR's Eyder Peralta.

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When the new coronavirus started spreading around the world, there were dire warnings about what would happen when it hit African countries.

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Uganda has implemented one of the harshest lockdowns in Africa in response to the coronavirus. But now the government is also using it to silence its critics. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

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