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October 31, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- It's a long, arduous and well-worn route. Hopeful Africans travel north through Niger, Mali and Algeria, crossing the Sahara desert to reach Europe, find work and send money home to their families. The exodus often goes nightmarishly wrong for the migrants. They must trust their lives to unscrupulous smugglers. If someone hasn't been paid along the route, they are sometimes abandoned by their driver. If a vehicle breaks down in the desert, there is no guarantee that help will ever come.
May 8, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
The aid organization Save the Children released its annual State of the World's Mothers report Tuesday. Once again, conditions for moms in the U.S. trailed that of many other developed nations. The country's position climbed six places to 25 th , sandwiched between Belarus and the Czech Republic.  Save the Children's 2012 rankings compare 165 countries - 122 in the developing world - examining maternal health, education and economic status alongside the health and nutrition of children.
July 27, 2011 | By Andrew Gilbert, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When the Tuareg people of northern Niger once again decided to take up arms in the face of government neglect and repression in 2007, Omara "Bombino" Moctar joined the fight with his guitar. Like the sinewy desert blues of Mali's Tinariwen, a band launched by an earlier generation of Tuareg rebels seeking self-determination, Bombino's reedy voice and lithe, incantatory guitar riffs added fuel to the Tuareg struggle. Guitars, alas, aren't much of a match for machine guns, and Bombino ended up fleeing for his life.
February 22, 2013 | By David S. Cloud and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - About 100 U.S. troops have deployed to the West African country of Niger to help establish a drone base for surveillance missions, in the latest step by the United States to aid French forces battling Islamic militants in neighboring Mali. In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Obama said the deployment would "provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region.
June 10, 2009 | Robyn Dixon
In Nigeria's oil-rich Niger River Delta, where Royal Dutch Shell has a tense relationship with communities, activists Tuesday welcomed the company's agreement to pay $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit that accused it of complicity in the 1995 executions of environmental and human rights advocates. But the activists saw it as a starting point, not the end of the struggle of the Ogoni people and other communities in the region for compensation over Shell's activities.
September 7, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
More than a dozen high-ranking loyalists of Moammar Kadafi made a desert getaway into neighboring Niger, U.S. officials said Tuesday, but there was no indication that the former Libyan leader or his sons had escaped. "We're confident that Kadafi didn't get out," said Jalal Gallal, a spokesman for Libya's transitional government. News that as many as 250 vehicles carrying members of Kadafi's inner circle, including his security chief, had crossed Monday into Niger added a dramatic twist to the manhunt for the strongman who ruled Libya for more than four decades.
August 6, 2005 | From Associated Press
The United Nations appealed Friday for $80 million to fight a food crisis threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands in this West African nation. The appeal was made at Garin Goubli village, 20 miles south of the eastern town of Maradi during a visit by Canadian International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah. "We launch an appeal for $80 million immediately to the world to help Niger," said Michele Falavigna, the U.N.
November 11, 1987 | Associated Press
President Seyni Kountche, who seized power 13 years ago from a corrupt civilian regime, died Tuesday in Paris. His cousin, Col. Ali Seibou, the army chief of staff, was named acting president of Niger. Seibou announced the death in a communique read on state-controlled Niger radio but gave no cause. It is believed that Kountche, 56, suffered from a brain tumor. The radio said Tuesday morning that Seibou, 47, took control because of Kountche's poor health.
February 7, 1988 | SYDNEY RUBIN, Associated Press
An estimated 1.3 million people in Niger could go hungry by spring because of the nation's worst grain harvest since the famine of 1984, the government says. The government is reporting a grain shortage of 274,000 tons, meaning that about 20% of Niger's 6.7 million people will not have enough to eat. Donor agencies, however, contend that the shortage is less than half the amount reported by the government.
July 26, 2005 | From Associated Press
The thatched-roof huts where villagers store grain for the lean season are empty. The only meal of the day is acacia leaves boiled into a thick paste, eaten in the evening in hopes it will lull the children to sleep. After months of repeated pleas from the United Nations, international aid is starting to trickle into the West African nation of Niger.
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