Obama election only bright spot in black year for Africa

Nairobi/Johannesburg  - You know it has been a bad year when the only news to cheer is the election of a president in another country.

Unfortunately for many nations in Africa this has been the case this year, with the election of Barack Obama bringing small comfort to countries struggling with conflict and political instability.

While Obama's election may turn out to bring little in the way of concrete benefit to the continent, many Africans felt their self-respect was boosted by the victory of a man whose roots lie in Kenya.

Louisiana voters send first Vietnamese-American to Congress

Washington  - Louisiana voters Saturday sent the first Vietnamese-American to Congress, Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Republican who defeated a nine-term incumbent African-American congressman, the Times Picayune reported Saturday.

Cao defeated William Jefferson, 61, a Democrat who is under indictment on charges of corruption, bribery and racketeering that involved US companies and countries across a wide swathe of Africa, including Ghana, Nigeria, and Botswana.

Cao, 41, a lawyer, emigrated to the United States at age 8 as Saigon fell to the communists.

UN refugee agency: 90,000 Congolese refugees unaccounted for

Nairobi  - Over 90,000 civilians who fled heavy fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo are unaccounted for, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said Friday.

UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said that the agency had taken advantage of a lull in the fighting to enter the Rutshuru area, 80 kilometres north of the Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

The UNCHR team found that three UNCHR-run camps for internally displaced in the area - Nyongera, Kasasa and Dumez - had been forcefully emptied and destroyed.

Three other makeshift camps were found to be empty.

Emirates Airline doubles flights to Nigeria in February

EmiratesDUBAI, Dec.

UN top rights body unable to reach decision on DR Congo

Geneva  - The United Nations Human Rights Council was unable to complete a special session Friday on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and deferred making conclusions until it would reconvene Monday afternoon.

The African Group, represented by Egypt, tried to have the session closed, a move opposed by Western nations led by France who wanted the council to reach a clear decision, the stand ultimately adopted.

African delegates said the session was convened "hastily" and they did not have time to prepare.

UN: Child soldiers still a problem in Central African Republic

Geneva  - Hundreds of children remain soldiers in the service of rebel groups in the Central African Republic, and recent insecurity in the unstable country might harm efforts to ensure their release, UN children's charity UNICEF said Wednesday.

So far, the agency has managed to free about 100 child soldiers through negotiations.

Rebel groups and the government are set to meet in early December to continue peace talks.

The UN's Children Fund warned that two attacks last week could undermine progress which has been made over the last year.