CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2010 |
Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died Wednesday night at 58, was a leader with the giant ambition of dragging Africa's most populous nation from a backward, corrupt state to an advanced global power. He was too ill and politically weak to attack the entrenched corruption of a venal political elite – or to solve Nigeria's severe infrastructure problems, particularly in the electricity sector. Yar'Adua, who had suffered a kidney ailment since the 1990s, had not been seen in public since travelling to Saudi Arabia in November for treatment for pericarditis, or inflammation of the sac around the heart.
April 6, 2010 |
The palace, under a rusted corrugated roof, looks mostly like a shed. Only one delicate pair of feet in its single room is shod, and they are in black rubber flip-flops. This is the genteel court of Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed. The queen's henna-dyed fingers are childlike and slender, her smile girlish and her voice soft. Whenever she speaks, the men who are her courtiers listen, enraptured. Whenever she giggles, they laugh loudly. Whenever she explains some point, they nod solemnly.
March 29, 2010 |
In the code of the taxi motorcyclists of northern Nigeria, only weaklings and losers refuse a heavy load. But it takes a real man to handle the unbearable lightness of eggs. Baba Isa can carry a tower of egg cartons, 100 eggs per layer, stacked right up to his chin. Behind, his passenger carries two similar fragile towers, one on each leg. It's a feat worthy of Nureyev, weaving lightly through the potholes, delicately nudging through a tangle of honking cars, not to mention the other motorcyclists with equally unwieldy loads.
March 12, 2010 |
Nearly 3,000 people have fled to a neighboring state since hundreds were slaughtered in several mostly Christian villages over the weekend, aid officials said Thursday. Residents have accused the Nigerian police and military of failing to provide adequate security to the villages in Plateau state, where attackers managed to violate a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Police said they had arrested about 200 people. On Thursday, thousands of women took to the streets, singing and waving branches, a traditional sign of protest.
March 8, 2010 |
Reporting from Ratsat, Dogo Nahawa, Nigeria, and Lagos, Nigeria -- The victims of Sunday's sectarian massacres were buried in mass graves in central Nigeria on Monday as survivors told horrific stories of Christian villagers being trapped in nets and hacked to death by Muslim herdsmen. Reports on the death toll differed wildly, with some placing it at about 200 and others reporting 528 killed and thousands injured. Casualty figures in the recurrent Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria's volatile Plateau state are often difficult to ascertain, as each side inflates its losses.
March 4, 2010 |
Nigeria's ailing president may still be flat on his back in the ambulance that rushed him from the airport to his residence after his secretive return last week from Saudi Arabia, where he was treated for heart-related health issues. Or sitting in a hard-backed chair in his official residence, while nieces, nephews and grandchildren tear up and down the stairs. Or working out daily on an exercise bike and walking up and down stairs. Any of the scenarios, reported by Nigerian newspapers or by President Umaru Yar'Adua's supporters, could be true, false or somewhere between, but they're all that Nigerians have to go on: The president has not addressed the public since he left the country for treatment in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, for pericarditis, inflammation of the lining around the heart, in November, not even after he returned Feb. 24. One thing that does seem clear is that since the president's return, acting President Goodluck Jonathan has been unsuccessful in several attempts to see him. Yar'Adua's supporters put this down to the president's introverted personality and insist that he's on his feet and doing well.
January 21, 2010 |
In a tacit admission that the U.S. squandered a chance to gain valuable information after the failed Christmas Day airliner bombing, the nation's intelligence director testified Wednesday that authorities had been too quick to read the suspect his Miranda rights and grant him access to an attorney. Dennis C. Blair said that a newly created team of elite interrogators should have been called in to question Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and that top officials in Washington should have been consulted.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 5, 2010 |
Some international travelers faced increased scrutiny Monday from airport security officials before boarding flights bound for Los Angeles and other destinations in the United States. Flying from Saudi Arabia, a UC Irvine student and his father, both Bahraini, said they encountered more security than usual at London's Heathrow Airport, where they passed through metal detectors and, like other passengers, underwent pat-down searches. Then, after arriving at Los Angeles International, they were questioned by authorities as they claimed their luggage at the Tom Bradley terminal, and officials searched a book bag the student was carrying.
January 2, 2010 |
An interesting Thursday story in the Styles section of a certain American newspaper (Hint: It's located on 8th Avenue, near Times Square in New York) opined that Africa was going to be "The In Continent" of 2010. The paper went on to list various recent examples of this trend in design, fashion, music and cinema, from African-patterned haute couture to the hit Broadway musical "Fela!" and the blue-hued aliens in James Cameron's "Avatar." That news may come as a surprise to the owners, patrons and sonic talents that assembled, sweatily and joyfully, on New Year's Eve at Zanzibar, the Santa Monica club where Africa has been "in" since, oh, roughly some time around 2002.
December 31, 2009 |
The federal government's no-fly list has come under intense scrutiny from congressional leaders and President Obama after last week's attempted bombing aboard a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit. The list is intended to keep known or suspected terrorists from boarding airplanes within or headed for the United States. It includes about 3,400 people, roughly 170 of them U.S. residents. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to detonate an explosive on Flight 253 on Christmas Day, was listed on a broader database of about half a million names.