Obama leaves for Africa trip, will visit Kenya, Ethiopia
President Barack Obama left Washington for Kenya on Thursday in a trip that will also include a stop in the Ethiopian capital and a visit to the home of the African Union.
The landmark trip to Obama's ancestral homeland of Kenya, where his father was born, is his first as president and is also the first time a sitting US president will visit Ethiopia and the AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The first African-American president of the United States is expected to address regional security issues and trade, and also touch on matters relating to democracy, poverty and human rights in the region.
Joining him on the trip is National Security Advisor Susan Rice, foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes and White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Before heading off on the trip -- Obama's fourth time to Africa since taking office -- he spoke about the promise, and difficulties, on the continent.
"Despite its many challenges -- and we have to be clear-eyed about all the challenges that the continent still faces -- Africa is a place of incredible dynamism, some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, extraordinary people, extraordinary resilience," Obama said ahead of the trip.
He said Africa "has the potential to be the next center of global economic growth," speaking at an event for the African Growth Opportunity Act, US trade legislation which aims to help bolster Africa's prosperity.
Obama has traveled to Africa more than any other sitting US president, and talked about the "deep" ties between Africa and the United States before setting off on the trip.
"There have been times where there have been misunderstandings, and there have been times where there have been suspicions. But when you look at every survey, it turns out that the people of Africa love the United States and what it stands for," he said.
Obama has not yet been to Kenya during his White House tenure, with a previous trip delayed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
Those charges were suspended last year -- in part, prosecutors say, because the Kenyan government thwarted the investigation.
His trip has also come under fire by rights groups, and more than 50 African and global human rights organizations have called on him to publicly meet democracy activists on the trip.
They voiced concerns about "grave and worsening" rights challenges in both Kenya and Ethiopia.
The charges against Kenyatta, and the fact Ethiopia's government won 100% of parliamentary seats in a recent disputed election, has raised questions about whether Obama should have made the trip at all.
In Kenya, Obama will attend a Global Entrepreneurship Summit, aimed at promoting businesses that promise to lift many more Africans out of poverty and help insulate societies against radicalization.
In Addis Ababa, Obama is expected to address leaders of the African Union, remarks that may touch on Africa's democratic deficit.
There are no official visits scheduled for Obama to see his relatives while in Kenya, officials said.
Obama has said he had "never truly known" his father, was born in Kenya's far west, in a village near the equator and the shores of Lake Victoria.
A pipe-smoking economist, he walked out when Obama was just two and died in a car crash in Nairobi in 1982, aged 46.
Obama has previously made personal visits to Kogelo, the home of many of his Kenyan relatives, most recently in 2006
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga rejected as “null and void” the result of an August 9 presidential election he was declared to have lost, adding on Tuesday that Kenya's democracy faces a long legal crisis. His first comments on the result came shortly after four of the seven election commissioners said they stood by their decision a day earlier to disown the outcome of the presidential poll, saying the final tallying process had been “opaque”.
Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk on Wednesday said he was buying English football club Manchester United Plc. "I'm buying Manchester United ur welcome" Musk, known for his irreverent tweets, posted on the micro-blogging platform. As of Tuesday, Manchester United had a market capitalization of $2.08 billion. Another replied, “United players finally going to be dangerous in Space.” Many pointed to his recent flip-flop over the deal with Twitter.
Kyiv/Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington on Tuesday of drawing out the war in Ukraine, as explosions rocked a Russian military facility on the Kremlin-controlled peninsula of Crimea. The first UN-chartered vessel laden with grain meanwhile left Ukraine for Africa following a hallmark deal brokered by Turkey and the UN to relieve a global food crisis.
She had been vacationing with President Joe Biden in South Carolina when she began experiencing symptoms on Monday. She has been prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and will isolate at the vacation home for at least five days.
Britain's Royal Air Force has been running near-daily flights with a C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft from Romania to an airbase in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi since early this month, data from flight tracking websites have shown. It was not immediately clear what sort of equipment was being airlifted by the massive RAF aircraft. The flights involved a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III of the RAF with the call sign 'ZZ173'.