Hello, I'm Neil Nunes with the BBC News.
The UN says more civilians that were killed in Afghanistan last year than in any year since the US-led invasion in 2001. More than three thousand eight hundred people died, an increase of eleven percent on the previous year's figure. There's been a pronounced increase in suicide attacks against civilian targets as the Taliban stepped up its campaign against the government of President Ashraf Ghani.
Voting begins shortly in a presidential election in Senegal. The incumbent Macky Sall is seeking a second term as a modernizer who's helped to boost economic growth to more than six percent a year, one of the highest rates in Africa. But critics say he's done little to improve the lives of ordinary Senegalese. He's also been accused of trying to stamp out dissent.
Pope Francis will later today close the Roman Catholic conference on tackling pedophilia within the clergy. Details for Martin Bashir. More than 150 global leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have heard presentations on accountability, engaged in group discussions on collegiality and heard from survivors on the issue of transparency. But Pope Francis has said that this summit will prove worthless unless there are concrete proposals for the safeguarding of children that can be applied to the church in every continent and culture. In the coming weeks, the Vatican is expected to lay out a road map for handling clerical abuse allegations.
Emperor Akihito of Japan has taken part in the latest in a series of events which culminate in his abdication at the end of April. He's made a short speech and attended cultural performances at the national theater in Tokyo to mark the thirtieth anniversary of his enthronement. Three years ago the emperor made known his wish to give up his position because of his advanced age and declining health.
A school is to be reopened in the US state of Wyoming to educate just one child. The Cozy Hollow School, about a hundred kilometers from the city of Larimer hasn't been used for a decade. Many roads in Wyoming are often impossible in winter and autumn, and state law lays down that pupils affected must be provided with access to a school building.
Eight basketball players from the University of Mississippi have knelt during the playing of the American national anthem in protest at a nearby rally by white supremacist groups. One of the team stars, Breein Tyree said the players are tired of hate groups coming to the university. Kneeling during the anthem has become a popular way for athletes to protest against racial injustice and inequality.
BBC world news.