Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 8:26 am
By Tamasin Ford
The 150 passengers aboard the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship arrive in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on April 16. It's reportedly the largest group of tourists to visit the country since the 1970s.
Liberia has been better known for conflict than tourism the past couple of decades.
But this week, a group of 150 tourists, many of them Americans, arrived for a brief stay in the small nation on Africa's West Coast. When their cruise liner docked in the capital of Monrovia, they became the largest group of tourists to visit the country in many years, probably since the 1970s.
Dock workers in Monrovia usually unload cargo ships full of secondhand clothes or rice — not a cruise ship full of American tourists.
The crisis between Sudan and South Sudan has intensified with the north branding its recently independent southern neighbor the enemy. This follows two weeks of bitter fighting in the disputed oil-producing border area between the two Sudans. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is monitoring developments from her base in Dakar, Senegal and joins us now.
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Good morning, Ofeibea.
NEARY: Now, Ofeibea, just bring us up to date on what is happening in Sudan and South Sudan right now.
Omar Suleiman (right), who was intelligence chief and vice president under former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, leaves the presidential elections committee headquarters in Cairo on April 7, after submitting his candidacy papers.
In Egypt, next month's presidential election has undergone a wrenching several days.
First, leading Islamist candidates faced possible disqualification on legal grounds, and then, hours before the deadline to register, a leading face from the regime of Hosni Mubarak jumped into the race.
The appearance of 75-year-old Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's former intelligence chief, has sparked fears that the military council running the country is maneuvering to bring back the old regime.
Andreas Derleth of New Zealand was named Mr. Gay World 2012 on Sunday in Johannesburg. It marked the first time the competition was held in Africa, where being gay is a crime in many countries on the continent.
At a golf resort in suburban Johannesburg, a group of men lounged by the pool. They cheered as five competitors sprinted around a grassy field — in Speedo swimsuits — to the sounds of "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."
This was sports day at Mr. Gay World 2012.
Gay men from 22 countries took part, and this year's competition was noteworthy because it was the first time it was held on African soil. It addition, it also marked the first time that black African men participated, though there were just two.
Joyce Banda has become Malawi's first woman president after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Credit Amos Gumulira / AFP/Getty Images
Malawi's first female president takes office with a personal history of women's rights advocacy and a long fight ahead. For Joyce Banda, economic empowerment is crucial for women's progress. It is also a nationwide struggle now resting on her shoulders.
Banda, who had been the country's vice president, was sworn in Saturday, following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday.