CONGO

U.S. to give $30M

in aid for elections

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday congratulated this desperately poor but resource-rich nation on its commitment to enacting economic reforms and defeating a brutal rebel militia.

Kerry said the administration would increase aid tied to elections in Congo from $12 million to $30 million, but he insisted the nation must stick to pledges to hold on-time elections and continue to prosecute armed groups.

The funds could be cut, however, if President Joseph Kabila fails to schedule elections for 2016 or moves to change the constitutional limit of two consecutive elected presidential terms, as his opponents fear he will do.

"The president's legacy. . . is very important for the country, and that he has an opportunity, which he understands, to be able to put the country on a continued path of democracy," Kerry said after a meeting with Kabila. - Washington Post

YEMEN

More deaths in raids

Fighting and air strikes in an al-Qaeda stronghold in southern Yemen killed six suspected militants and four soldiers Sunday, the military said, part of an ongoing military campaign that had killed 37 fighters overnight. The government's U.S.-backed campaign in Shabwa province against al-Qaeda militants is part of a campaign against the group's hideouts. - AP
SYRIA

2 challenge Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will face two candidates in the June election, the Supreme Constitutional Court said Sunday, a vote he's widely expected to win amid a raging civil war. The court found 21 candidates ineligible, court spokesman Majid Khadra said. Assad will face lawmakers Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri and Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar. Opposition activists and the West have condemned the elections, as voting is expected to be held only in areas the government controls. - AP