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Finally today, so you might not be surprised that a record titled "Preacher's Kid" by a musician whose father was a pastor would take the top spot on the iTunes Christian album chart. That happened last month with the new album by Grace Semler Baldrige, who performs as Semler. But the lyrics on that album tell a different story than the one you might be expecting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JESUS FROM TEXAS")

SEMLER: (Singing) My mom turned 18 in the 1960s, and she doesn't remember Stonewall.

In 2001, Maurine Murenga was pregnant and HIV-positive. She was living in Kenya, and a counselor encouraged her to fill out a memory book. She wrote directions to her village, details about her family so that when she died, someone would know where to bury her and where to send her child.

"It was nothing like preparing," says Murenga. "It was actually preparing us for death."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni arrived at his ranch in Kisozi, about a five-hour drive from the capital Kampala, by helicopter. As the 76-year-old leader walked into an interview with NPR, he was jovial, cracking jokes, eager to show off the 10,000 cows that roam this ranch.

After 27 years as a global pariah, Sudan has been officially removed from the American State Sponsor of Terrorism list.

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum made the announcement in a Facebook post, saying that the statutory 45 days had lapsed since President Trump gave Congress notice of the administration's intent to delist Sudan, so the declaration could now come into effect.

The heat is unrelenting in the middle of a December day in eastern Sudan. It's hard to find any shade in this arid landscape. It's mostly dust and boulders — and, for now at least, it is the temporary home of tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees who have crossed the border to flee the fighting in their country.

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For more than a week, Ethiopian government forces have been fighting against a powerful regional government in the country's north and hundreds are reported to have died.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace laureate, ordered the government offensive after accusing the rival Tigray People's Liberation Front of launching an attack against Ethiopia's military last week.

This morning, human rights activist Rinu Oduala could still hear gunfire outside her house in Lagos, Nigeria.

"I can't even describe it," she said, growing emotional. "It seems like our whole hope is lost."

This past Sunday at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, it was life as usual.

Kids took rides on horses and camels. Families and lovers shared paddle boats in the lake at the center of the park.

Alice Nyambura and Lucy Wahu, both college sophomores, sat on the grass watching the boats. The sun was shining; the lily pads blooming. They had come here to get their minds off the pandemic.

"I don't think there is anything like corona," Nyambura said.

"It is there," Wahu corrected her. "But I think they are exaggerating the numbers."

These days, downtown Nairobi feels almost back to normal after Kenya's lockdown lifted in July. People are back on the streets navigating broken sidewalks — and alongside them are thousands of hawkers.

They're selling face masks and hand sanitizer — and dawa — fruit and herbal juices that Kenyans imbibe to treat all kinds of ailments.

In a somber speech broadcast in prime time on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa painted a worrying picture as the new coronavirus spikes in the country.

"The storm is upon us," he said.

As Zuleika Yusuf Daffala walks across Kibera, one of the big informal settlements in Kenya's capital, she greets dozens of kids on the streets. Some are jumping rope, others chasing each other through the alley and another group is trying to make a tiny cooking pan out of an aluminum can.

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The picture is stunning. It shows One Africa Place, a bullet-shaped glass high-rise in Nairobi, framed by the jagged, snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya.

All of the COVID-19 social distancing measures have reduced pollution so much that suddenly, the second-highest mountain in Africa, with an altitude of 17,057 feet, is visible from Kenya's capital city, about 85 miles away.

Njube Mpofu normally runs a beer garden in Zimbabwe's capital city Harare. Zimbabwe is not an easy place to run a business. Water and electricity are rationed and the dollars are hard to come by.

Almost two weeks ago, and with just eight reported cases at the time, Zimbabwe announced a three-week nationwide lockdown to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Mpofu had to close his beer garden and, he says, the situation in the country has gotten worse.

"To tell you the truth, I really don't understand how we are doing it, but somehow we seem to be surviving," he said.

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Authorities around the world have issued their own guidelines and rules designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. And as they've sought to enforce these rules, some efforts have sparked backlash and concerns about privacy.

I met "Sir" Lucky Samuel Man'gera just days after the Kenyan government had begun shutting down flights and schools and asking people to stay at home. Kenya has reported 31 cases of COVID-19 and over the past two weeks, the government has been rolling out a more and more stringent lockdown, which now includes a curfew.

Dozens of people have been injured in Kenya, as paramilitary police tear gassed and beat passengers trying to board a ferry in order to make a curfew imposed by authorities to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

According to witnesses, passengers were trying to get on the ferry on Friday in Mombasa before the 7 p.m. curfew. Because the ferry was closing early and was running at a lower capacity to encourage social distancing, a huge crowd built up at the dock. As passengers crowded toward the ferry, security forces dispersed them with tear gas and force.

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In Kenya today, some men are boycotting Valentine's Day and going instead to men's empowerment conferences. NPR's Eyder Peralta joined me earlier from Nairobi with some of the attendees.

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Daniel arap Moi, who ruled Kenya for nearly a quarter century marked by repression and widespread corruption before he eventually yielded to multiparty democracy and allowed a peaceful transfer of power, has died at age 95.

His death was announced by current President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the country's founding father and first president, Jomo Kenyatta, whose death in office in 1978 paved the way for Moi's rise.

Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe says his story starts in 1973. He had just gotten his Ph.D. at the Rega Institute in Belgium. He could have stayed in Europe, but he decided to return to Congo, or what was then known as Zaire, which had only recently attained independence from Belgium.

If he had stayed in Belgium, he says, he would have been doing routine lab work. But in Congo, he would be responsible for the "health of my people."

Less than two weeks after Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize and earned plaudits across the world, the Ethiopian prime minister has found himself embroiled in an escalating standoff with a prominent activist back at home.

Every morning, just as the sun rises in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, men, women and children walk miles to collect water.

They walk gingerly into Lake Kivu — its blue waters lapping against the hills surrounding it.

Pascal Bitasimwa, 12, is a boy with a big smile and a small frame. He carries a yellow jerrycan that is half his size and when he walks into the lake, he has to use all his weight to wrestle the jerrycan underwater.

"This takes me much of my time," he says. "Instead of going to study, I come first to take water."

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Marie Gorette piled the broken glass carefully in a corner behind her house.

She had put it on top of a white curtain that was so soaked with blood, it had turned red.

Overnight, armed men had ransacked through her house. They took the TV; they broke the windows and they shot two of Gorette's sons, both of whom are recovering in the hospital.

She picks through the glass. She looks exasperated.

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