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May 12, 1999
Africa represents a land of ancient traditions, great civilizations and a past woven with struggle and conquest. This continent is home to rolling grasslands, mysterious jungles and sprawling deserts, all including fascinating wildlife. Explore the vast dimensions of Africa's people, cultures, geography, wildlife and more through direct links on the Times Launch Point web site: Here are the best sites for getting your schoolwork done or for just having fun.
April 6, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
PRETORIA, South Africa - Johan Gerber is a shy, neat man with iron-gray hair, a ready smile and a quiet voice. But on the streets, he has taken to carrying an open pocket knife with a mean 4-inch blade, concealed in an envelope and ready to use. Last month, three men accosted him in broad daylight, one of whom hit him in the stomach and grabbed his cellphone. A few years back, eight men surrounded him, held a knife to his throat and stole his wallet. His car and two trailers also have been stolen.
February 4, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
A disturbing new law in Nigeria establishes sweeping restrictions on homosexuality and has already led to dozens of arrests. Even before the law went into effect, it was illegal to engage in same-sex relations. But the new law goes further, prohibiting civil unions and same-sex marriages and threatening to slap a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who officiates at such a marriage. The law bans public displays of affection between people of the same sex, outlaws gay support organizations and makes it illegal for gay groups to meet.
March 27, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - When South African airport officials threatened to send Dr. Paul Semugoma back to his native Uganda, he shook with fear. Semugoma, an outspoken gay activist, was determined to remain in this country, where he has lived for two years, rather than be sent back to one of Africa's most homophobic countries. Held by immigration officers after returning to South Africa with an expired visa, he was allowed to stay only after an outcry from human rights groups mindful of new legislation in Uganda calling for life in prison for those who engage in repeated acts of gay sex. The harshness of the law signed days later by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni - and similar strictures in more than three dozen African nations - is triggering a profound reaction in Africa.
August 5, 2013 | By Alan Eyerly
“Unintended Consequences” - the most dramatic episode this season of HBO's “The Newsroom” - focuses on a tragedy in Africa that devastates associate producer Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill) and might, unintentionally, cripple the ACN cable network. First Amendment attorney Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden) believes a multimillion-dollar lawsuit facing ACN hinges on Maggie's fragile state of mind. That's why Rebecca's nervous. “I'm fine,” insists Maggie. But her psyche is obviously shattered, as symbolized by spiky red hair replacing her lovely blond locks.
August 19, 2009 | Robyn Dixon
Even before he became president, Jacob Zuma vowed to "transform" the South African judiciary. Translation: There were too many white male apartheid-era judges and too few nonwhites and women. Now Zuma will appoint four new judges to the 11-member Constitutional Court in coming months, his chance to effect a transformation that will shape the country's highest court on constitutional matters. But the nebulous definition of "transformation" has some people worried. To critics, the term has been so diluted by nepotism and cronyism that it's come to mean appointing your political friends.
August 8, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's seven-nation tour of Africa reaffirms the administration's pledge to keep the long-neglected continent in its sights. On her first stops in Kenya and South Africa this week, Clinton stuck with the message of tough love that President Obama delivered in Ghana last month, balancing trade and development talk with the need to confront lawlessness and impunity. It's a good beginning to an Africa policy still in the making. Africa is an area where Democrats and Republicans have found agreement, although too often what they have agreed is to pay little attention to it. President George W. Bush's support for HIV/AIDS and malaria programs were widely hailed on the continent, even when his global "war on terror" made him personally unpopular.
August 20, 1998
As I read the story of all the young girls being raped and infected with HIV ("Africa's Silent Shame," Aug. 16) in Africa, I was reminded of what a great nation we live in. We are spending upward of 40 million taxpayer dollars to determine if two consenting adults had sex. Imagine what we could do for those girls in Africa with even a fraction of those funds. I'll bet you anything we won't even give that story a second look, as obsessed as we are with the antics of wealthy white folks.
August 4, 1998
Re "S. Africa Frees 4 Killers of Southland Student," July 29: I am highly opposed to South Africa's decision on its law and the four killers. I understand that South Africa is trying to rid itself of violence, but letting killers loose won't help. They may say it was a political act, and maybe it was, but it was still murder. If they want to get rid of violence they should take those four and others like them and put them in a rehabilitation center, not jail. Teach them to deal with society and its many views.
March 24, 2014 | By Laura King
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 | By Robyn Dixon
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 | Bill Dwyre
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 | By David S. Cloud
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 | By Robyn Dixon
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 | By Alice Nkom
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.
February 16, 2014 | By Michael O'Hanlon
For decades, one golden rule has guided America's military involvement in Africa: Stay out. Generally speaking, the reason was a sense that the strategic stakes did not justify the risk. When we deviated from this rule, we often learned lessons the hard way that seemed to reinforce its validity, as in Somalia in 1993. And while presidents often profess a stronger interest in Africa than their actions would imply, they tend to say such things when not in the White House - witness Bill Clinton calling the nonintervention in Rwanda's 1994 genocide his greatest regret as president, or Sen. Barack Obama calling for more assertiveness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, and Sudan six to eight years ago. But, in fact, now is the time to reassess this long-standing American anathema to military involvement in Africa's terrible wars.
February 8, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Documentary filmmakers are known to go to extraordinary lengths to get their stories on film, but few have gone as far as Hubert Sauper. In order to achieve the unusual access to the reality of Africa he provides in his exceptional "We Come as Friends," which premiered last month at Sundance in Park City, Utah, and is screening Saturday at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sauper flew into the continent on a tiny ultra-light airplane he...
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