Human-rights activists welcomed the news, alleging gross rights violations committed by the police force under Hussein Ali's command.
U.S. embassy officials say Kenya's former police chief has been denied a visa. Human-rights activists have welcomed the news, alleging gross rights violations committed by the police force under Hussein Ali's command.
On Tuesday the U.S. embassy confirmed that it had denied a request from Hussein Ali for a travel visa. The former police head and now-postmaster general had reportedly sought the visa to visit Los Angeles for official business.
In September, U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger announced that in an effort to speed up the nation's reform process 15 senior Kenyan officials were being threatened with travel bans. Weeks later the ambassador confirmed Attorney General Amos Wako had been barred from entering the United States, and that three others were expected to be banned.
The U.S. envoy refused to say whether Ali had been placed under a full travel ban, nor whether he was on the original targeted list of 15 individuals.
Outspoken Kenyan lawyer Paul Muite says that the former police chief's legacy is not highly regarded within the human rights community.
"Those of us who have been in the human rights fight welcome that [the visa denial] a lot," Muite said. "He certainly aggravated one particular issue regarding human rights - extra-judicial executions."
Kenya's police have come under sustained criticism the past few years. They are accused of being directly responsible for hundreds of deaths during the post-election violence that shook the nation in early 2008 following the disputed presidential poll between President Mwai Kibaki and now Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Human-rights groups have also reported that hundreds of youth were secretly killed during the government's crackdown on the Mungiki sect, originally an ethnic Kikuyu religious movement that became an outlawed gang.
Muite says these killings were not only gross violations of the law but also took the lives of many innocent youth.
"The majority of those extra-judicially executed were not even members of Mungiki," he added. "There appears to have been a 'scorched earth' policy of killing Kikuyu youth."
The police have always denied these charges.
Amid pressure to reform the police, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki in September removed Ali from his post and made him postmaster general, replacing him with the head of the police force's paramilitary arm.
On Tuesday, Ambassador Ranneberger praised Kenya for its reform efforts and its progress towards arriving at a new constitution. But the U.S. envoy said that his nation was not pleased with a faltering will to fight government and judicial corruption and to provide justice for the victims of post-election violence.
Kenyan authorities have acknowledged the government's failure to create a local tribunal to try the orchestrators of the politically-instigated bloodshed. The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has announced his intent to investigate the violence and prosecute those most responsible.
A Nigeria federal court has ordered Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to take over presidential duties in the absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua. The court announcement comes a day after thousands of protesters marched through the streets of the capital city demanding the vice president assume executive powers.
The ruling was in response to one of at least four separate suits filed by groups and individuals in Nigeria seeking to temporarily transfer executive powers to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, and provide the country with interim leadership.
The Nigerian constitution requires the president to write to the National Assembly vesting the vice president with the powers to act as president. President Yar'Adua did not transfer powers to his deputy before traveling to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment in November.
The court accepted the argument that his continued absence and the power vacuum it has created could be a source of instability in Africa's most populous nation and ordered the vice president to immediately assume the position of acting president for the period of Mr.Yar'Adua's incapacitation.
A Nigerian lawyer based in Abuja, Maxi Okwu, welcomed the court decision.
"That is a welcomed relief. At least let somebody be in charge, somebody we can hold accountable. For the past 50 days this nation has been without a leader. You cannot rule a country by proxy. Now Goodluck has enough reasons to take over without appearing to disloyal. He should step in immediately," said Okwu.
The government is facing growing pressure over a perceived lack of leadership, given the continued absence of President Yar'Adua and persistent rumors over his state of health.
The Nigeria Bar Association, a prominent human-rights lawyer and two former lawmakers have all filed a legal challenge against the government, accusing Mr.Yar'Adua of breaching the constitution by staying in power.
The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck Tuesday is most powerful to hit the Caribbean nation in 200 years. It may have killed tens of thousands of people.
Stunned Haitians are digging through the rubble of Port-au-Prince, where thousands are feared dead after a massive earthquake destroyed much of the capital.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told U.S. television network CNN Wednesday he believes more than 100,000 people may be dead.
The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck Tuesday collapsed the presidential palace, monuments, and the city's largest hospital. Shoddily built schools and houses lay in ruins across the densely populated city, leaving homeless survivors wandering the streets.
Working hospitals are overflowing, and bloody bodies are lining the roadways. The International Red Cross says up to 3 million people have been affected.
Bodies were pulled from the collapsed United Nations headquarters in Port-au-Prince. More than 100 U.N. personnel are missing, including the mission chief, Hedi Annabi.
Brazil's army says 11 of its peacekeepers were killed. Jordan is reporting three deaths. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-Au-Prince, Monsignor Serge Miot, also is reported dead.
The Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, is appealing to Washington to send a hospital ship. The U.S. and other countries have pledged to support the devastated nation.
Of the 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti, the 3,000 based in Port-au-Prince are clearing roads to assist search and rescue teams.
The work is difficult, however, as rubble is everywhere and communication and power lines are out across the city and elsewhere. A Haitian woman, Nadeje Pamphile, who lives 19 kilometers east of Port-au-Prince told VOA her brother and nephew are trapped under rubble. She said late Tuesday their voices could be heard but nobody could reach them.
The Red Cross says there is an urgent need for search and rescue volunteers as well as field hospitals, water purification and telecommunications.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Development efforts have suffered severe setbacks because of political violence, lawlessness, corruption and natural disasters.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.