March 24, 2014 |
CAIRO - Even by the baroque standard being set by the Egyptian judiciary under the nearly 9-month-old military-backed government, the scene that unfolded Monday in a courthouse south of the capital was extraordinary: 529 defendants simultaneously sentenced to death. The verdict, which drew widespread condemnation and expressions of incredulity from human rights groups and legal organizations, was handed down at just the second session of a mass trial of nearly 550 men. The defendants, described as supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, were accused of acts of violence including attacking a police station and killing a police officer.
March 19, 2014 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - South African President Jacob Zuma personally benefited from a $23-million state-paid “security” upgrade to his private residence in rural KwaZulu-Natal, according to South Africa's public protector, an official with the duties of an ombudsman. Her findings over a scandal known in South Africa as “Nkandla-gate” -- a reference to the name of Zuma's homestead - are highly damaging to the governing African National Congress with less than two months to an election.
March 13, 2014 |
A strange desert wind blew through Indian Wells and its Taj Mahal tennis facility in late afternoon Thursday, turning a women's quarterfinal into Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey. But it disappeared in time for the appearance of the evening's royalty, the Swiss king, Roger Federer. He was the feature of the day, the 7 p.m. match, the one where the ticket scalpers made their hay for the day. His name is legendary in tennis. Most legends build with time, after retirement, when history can be embellished a bit and reality can be retouched.
March 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Amid a surge of Islamic militancy in North Africa, a team of fewer than 50 U.S. special operations troops with a single helicopter arrived at a remote base in western Tunisia last month. Their mission: train Tunisian troops in counter-terrorism tactics. The operation was one of dozens of U.S. military deployments in Africa over the last year, often to tiny and temporary outposts. The goal is to leverage American military expertise against an arc of growing instability in North Africa and many sub-Saharan countries, from Mali in the west to Somalia in the east.
February 25, 2014 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday lost a bid to prevent the live broadcast of his murder trial next week in the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Under a High Court ruling Tuesday, the bulk of the athlete's trial can be televised and audio from all the proceedings can be broadcast. However, Judge Dunstan Mlambo ruled that there would be no television coverage of Pistorius' testimony nor that of his defense witnesses. Evidence provided by expert witnesses will be televised, but the court could refuse to allow other testimony to be filmed, if requested.
February 20, 2014 |
DOUALA, Cameroon - For Cameroonian Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, being gay came with a prison sentence, and ultimately, a death sentence. A few weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to Jean-Claude, my dear friend and client. He died at the age of 35 in his home village of Ngoumou due to complications from a hernia he developed while in prison that never got proper treatment. Jean-Claude was imprisoned after he sent a text message to another man, which read: "I think I am very much in love with you. " In Cameroon, because of homophobic laws that were personally championed by President Paul Biya, that was enough to be considered a criminal offense, punishable with time in prison.