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April 10, 2011 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
Akata Witch A Novel Nnedi Okorafor Viking: 352 pp., $17.99, ages 12 and older The protagonist at the center of the young-adult novel "Akata Witch" lives in many worlds. She is, in the truest sense, African American: Nigerian by ancestry, American by birth. Born in New York, she moved to West Africa with her parents and brothers when she was 9. But Sunny Nwazue is also albino, with skin the color of "sour milk" and "hazel eyes that look like God ran out of the right color.
February 6, 2011 | By Suzanne Muchnic, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Marla C. Berns wants to take you on an African river trip. No passport, sun hat or insect repellent is required. You won't even get your feet wet. Just follow an undulating path through "Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley," an international traveling exhibition opening Feb. 13 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Surprises appear at every turn: a strikingly abstract buffalo mask carved of wood; an ax with a tongue-like blade that emerges from a metal figure's mouth; an ominous ceramic spirit vessel with spiky outgrowths designed to heal a nasty skin disease; films of energetic, fabulously costumed masquerades.
June 30, 2010 | By Kevin Baxter and Grahame L. Jones
Reporting from Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa And you thought George Steinbrenner was tough to please. Goodluck Jonathan , the apparently ill-named president of Nigeria, has suspended his country's national soccer team from international competition for two years after its poor performance in the World Cup. Playing in the first World Cup on African soil, Nigeria was knocked out in the first round, losing twice and...
May 7, 2010 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
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 | By Robyn Dixon
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 | By Robyn Dixon
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 | Times Wire Services
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 | By Robyn Dixon and Aminu Abubakar
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 | By Robyn Dixon
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 | By Greg Miller
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.
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