This is Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
Senegal, on the coast of West Africa, has been something of a model of stability for a region known for its volatility. But this past week has brought protests and violence to Senegal after demonstrations over a presidential election this coming weekend led to clashes with riot police. We've got NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on the line from the capital Dakar to tell us what is going on there.
With less than two weeks to go before Russia's presidential elections, the country's independent journalists are in a state of anxiety. Government-run media seem more open than ever to divergent viewpoints — but officials may be cracking down on independent outlets that go too far.
Two incidents last week suggest that the Russian government is prepared to lean on journalists — both domestic and foreign.
A light mist of cold rain started falling on us from the moment we reached the cemetery. If I hadn't felt it on my face, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it, as the hardscrabble stretching throughout the grave yard appeared just as parched as one might expect in a desert country.
The offensive started on the city of Homs, where neighborhoods that have seen some of the largest protests and armed resistance to the government are now under constant fire from tanks, rockets and mortars.
Homs is in central Syria, and it is thought that if the regime lost it to the opposition, that would cut the country in half. The offensive continued in the city of Zabadani, a mountain resort town just outside of Syria's capital of Damascus.