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Beyond twists and dreadlocks: The military and the African predicament

Women of the Congressional Black Caucus recently asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to reconsider guidelines concerning hairstyles for military personnel. They were reacting to rules that, among other things prohibit dreadlocks and twists and styles that are “unkempt” or “matted.” In a letter, the Congresswomen said: “The use of words like ‘unkempt’ and ‘matted’ when referring to traditional hairstyles wor ...

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Hopes of quick and easy victory fade for the embattled ANC

As the May 7 election in South Africa nears, former friends and allies of the ruling African National Congress are betting voters will follow them out of the party or at least send a strong message the country’s current direction is not good enough. A number of veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle and former government leaders have even launched a “Vote NO!” campaign that could dash ANC hopes for a quick ...

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Long lines of voters in Guinea-Bissau could favor a newcomer

Thirteen candidates are in the running for the presidency in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, which has yet to have an elected leader serve a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974. Reporters saw long lines at the polls last week with no reported problems or incidents. Politicians with the largest war chests include former finance minister José Mário Vaz of the African Party for the In ...

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West coast ‘Black Commentator’ and social justice activist passes

Longtime editorial writer, poet and political organizer Carl Bloice was remembered by friends and comrades at a gathering in San Francisco last week. The West Coast writer succumbed suddenly to a years-long battle with cancer. Bloice was known for his many widely-published columns on U.S. and international issues. He was on the editorial board of the Black Commentator. ...

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‘Blade runner’ tells court of nightmares on trial’s day 17

Former Olympic champion Oscar Pistorius told the South African courtroom he suffered from “terrible nightmares” leaving him unable to sleep since the day his gun went off, shooting his girlfriend as she hid from him in the couple’s bathroom. “I can smell blood. I wake up to being terrified,” testified Pistorius April 7, his first day on the witness stand. He confessed to taking antidepressants and sleeping ...

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Rwandan ‘genocide hunters’ still searching for perpetrators

Former Olympic champion Oscar Pistorius told the South African courtroom he suffered from “terrible nightmares” leaving him unable to sleep since the day his gun went off, shooting his girlfriend as she hid from him in the couple’s bathroom. “I can smell blood. I wake up to being terrified,” testified Pistorius April 7, his first day on the witness stand. He confessed to taking antidepressants and sleeping ...

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Nigeria claims Africa’s highest GDP

News headlines worldwide are trumpeting the startling news Nigeria has now surpassed South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy. According to newly “rebased” statistics, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product or GDP of $509.9 billion — being the total value of the nation’s goods and services over a period of time — now tops South Africa’s and makes the West African nation’s economy the largest on the contine ...

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Rural clinics face closures as a private hospital drains funds

The health budget of one of Africa’s poorest and least healthy countries could be bankrupted by a privately-run hospital envisioned by the World Bank’s private sector arm as the future of African health care. According to a newly-released report by the development watchdog Oxfam, the operation and loan costs of the three-year-old hospital complex in the capital Maseru have exploded to $67 million a year — o ...

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Popular editor in leg irons for offending judge in an editorial

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists is protesting the “degrading” treatment of a newspaper editor whose editorial criticizing the Chief Justice of Swaziland angered the top judge. Editor Bheti Makhubu and human rights attorney Thulani Maseko were both called into court on contempt charges by Michael Ramodibedi, the justice spotlighted in separate pieces that appeared in the independent newsp ...

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