DAKAR, Senegal

Obama begins weeklong visit to disappointed Africa

President Barack Obama began a weeklong trip to Africa on Wednesday, a three-country visit aimed at overcoming disappointment on the continent over the first black U.S. president’s lack of personal engagement during his first term.

Beside Senegal, the president is also scheduled to visit South Africa and Tanzania.

The president is expected to be greeted warmly during his trip.

Obama’s father was born in Kenya and several of his relatives still live there. But despite his family ties to the continent, Obama spent just one day in Africa during his first four years in office and has focused instead on strengthening U.S. ties with Asia and Latin America.

TUNIS, Tunisia

Three women jailed after topless protest released

A Tunisian court on Wednesday suspended prison sentences for three European feminist activists who were jailed after a topless courthouse protest last month, their lawyer said. The lawyer, Bahri Souhaib, said the women were to be freed immediately and would leave Tunisia as soon as possible.

The two French and a German member of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen maintained during the trial that there was nothing sexual or offensive about their protest and that it was only to support their imprisoned Tunisian colleague Amina Sboui. All three apologized Wednesday during their appeals hearing.

The three women had been convicted and sentenced to four months and a day of prison for public indecency, offending public morals and threatening public order.


Protesters lob tear gas back at police in clash near game

Brazilian protesters and police clashed Wednesday near a stadium hosting a Confederations Cup soccer match, as thousands of demonstrators trying to march on the site were met by tear gas and rubber bullets.

Brazil’s senate voted to increase penalties for those found guilty of corruption, responding to a key demand made by protesters across the country.

Anti-government protesters in part angered by the billions spent in World Cup preparations picked up tear gas canisters and lobbed them back at police, along with a shower of rocks. A dense fog of the acrid gas enveloped the mass of protesters, who were about a mile away from the stadium where Brazil was playing Uruguay in a semifinal match of the warm-up tournament for next year’s World Cup.

— From news service reports