News In Focus:
A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories

Africa: Former general and military dictator, Muhammadu Buhari beat Goodluck Jonathan to become Nigeria’s next president on 31 March after three successive election campaign failures.

On Tuesday night, jubilant crowds from every part of the country celebrated the election results and the coming of a new epoch under the 72-year-old leader.

The election is significant because this is the first time Nigerians have voted out an incumbent president without resorting to violence.

Buhari has many daunting tasks ahead in putting Africa’s most populous country and the biggest economy back to order again.

But Buhari, as seen by his acceptance speech  below, seems up for the challenge of leading Nigeria “to a better future”:


Middle East: Unrest in Yemen intensifies as inter-fighting among multi-factions with mixed allegiance is driving the country to the brink of a civil war.

Active players in the conflict include loyalists of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi; Iran-supported Zaidi Shi’ite rebels known as Houthis; an al-Qaeda faction who opposes both President Hadi and the Houthis’ forces; and a Yemen affiliate of the Islamic State.

The Houthis already took control the Yemen capital of Sana’a six months ago.  When the rebels advanced on Yemen’s seaport Aden last month, President Hadi called for help from the Gulf Co-operation Council.  The appeal received positive response from the recently enthroned King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who assembled a ten-Sunni state coalition including Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan, to launch air strikes against the Shi’ite Yemen rebels starting from 26 March.

But the eight-day air campaign has not been effective in deterring the Houthi groups as they continued to advance to Mualla near Anden last week.

The widening Yemen conflict draws international concerns because, being located along the main crude oil transport route, it poses risks for global oil supplies if the situation becomes unstable.

How did the Yemen crisis begin? Caspian Report explains:


Europe: Amanda Knox’s conviction of killing a British exchange student, Meredith Kercher, in 2007 was overturned last Friday by the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court.

The acquittal puts an end to a long legal battle over the murder case, and, however unexpected, brings relief to all parties.

Ms. Knox, then a Washington University student, was accused of stabbing to death her housemate, Ms. Kercher, in 2007 in Perugia, a university town in central Italy.

The ensuing legal saga underwent many twists and turns.

Knox was convicted of murder in 2009 following a 12-hour deliberation by a jury of six civilians and two judges.  The conviction was quashed on appeal in 2011, but by that time, Knox had already spent four years in jail.

After her release, Knox returned to Seattle, where she worked as a freelance reporter for the West Seattle Herald, a small weekly newspaper.

But Italian prosecutors appealed against Amanda Knox’s acquittal, and the Italian court again convicted her in 2014 in an absentia re-trial and sentenced her to 28 years and six months’ imprisonment.  This decision was overturned by Italy’s supreme court last week.

The legal drama sparks controversies across the Atlantic as to whether the the Italian justice system is flawed and archaic and has wrongly deprived innocent people of their freedom for many years before justice is restored.

In her memoir, “Waiting to Be Heard,” published in April 2013, Amanda Knox recounts her life as a prisoner in Italy.

She also spoke with ABC News that year about her ordeal:


US: When singer Albert Hammond sang “It Never Rains in Southern California” in 1972, he probably didn’t foresee the difficult decision Governor Jerry Brown now has to take.

It was no April Fool prank when the California Department of Water Resources announced on Wednesday that the state has only 5% of the average amount held on 1 April.

The Governor responded by announcing a $1 billion budget on water infrastructure, and requiring Californians to cut water usage by 25 % by next year through an unprecedented package of water usage restrictions.

California relies on its water supplies from rain and snow melt from the mountain ranges.  But there is hardly any trace of snow, and barely any trace of shower.

The current drought in California began in 2011, and is considered to be the worst in 120 years, and the end is not in sight.  Scientists say that climate change is not the culprit of the drought but global warming might exacerbate rising temperature and causing more rapid evaporation from water sources.  It also reduces snowpacks.

To conclude on an upbeat note, we leave you with Hammond’s classic track:


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Image of a Locked Spigot In California courtesy of Rich Lonardo /