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African Union to campaign against child marriages

The West African nation of Niger has one of the highest rates of child marriage. About a quarter of all girls are married by 15 and on the road to child-bearing. That rises to nearly 80 percent by the age of 18. Prominent clerics in Niger staunchly defend the practice. Sheikh Abbas Yahaya at the Koranic school in Agadez, for example, told the BBC marriage depends on the body of the girl and the man. “If the ...

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Africans share in grief over passing of Dr. Maya Angelou

Legendary poetess Dr. Maya Angelou was renowned in Africa much as she was beloved in the country of her birth. Comments on the Mail and Guardian website were already posting the morning of her death, as the news of her passing went worldwide. “Rest in peace daughter of the soil,” wrote “Hlambamanzi” on the M&G website. “You will forever live in our memories and consciousness. We thank God, our ancestors for ...

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Malawi’s first woman president faces ouster in disputed vote

President Joyce Banda’s legacy may be cut short if a court fails to uphold her annulment of last week’s poll and schedule a new election in 90 days. Banda, the second woman leader on the continent after Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, said the election was so deeply flawed she would not inflict its results on the Malawian people. ...

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Nigeria claims to know location of kidnapped girls

A month after more than 200 boarding school girls were kidnapped by a militia group dressed as soldiers, a top Nigerian officer claimed to know exactly where the girls were being held. But he downplayed prospects for a rescue. “We want our girls back,” insisted Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. “But where they are held, can we go there with force?.. We can’t kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back ...

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Disturbances mar Niger’s deal with French mining company

Students and police clashed in the capital city of the West African nation of Niger last week over essential stipends held up by a school official. Police threw tear gas bombs at the students who set up barricades and burned tires, according to news accounts. Younous Abdouramane, student union leader at Niamey University, estimated the toll of injured at 30 with over 60 detained by police. The disturbances ...

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Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race and African Migration

The eyes of the world have turned to Ukraine recently where protests led to the secession of some regions, and Russian troops claiming Crimea. Debate rages: Is this about ethnicity — some believe the Ukrainian nationalists are fascist white supremacists — or natural gas resources and the conflicting financial interests of Russia and the European Union? Despite these history-making events, normal life contin ...

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South African short-story writer to be reburied after long exile

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the final resting place for Ndazana Nathaniel Nakasa, a South African short-story writer, now buried in Ferndale Cemetery, Queens, New York. Born May 2, 1937 in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, he moved to Johannesburg to work as a journalist for Drum magazine. He was the first Black journalist to work at the Rand Daily Mail where he provided a Black perspective for th ...

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10-year old rape victim delivers two infants prematurely

Abiding by Senegalese law, a 10-year-old girl who had been raped was compelled to complete her pregnancy. The girl, who just turned 11, told The Guardian newspaper she did not even realize she was pregnant. “My mother saw my body changing, and because I was vomiting, she took me to the hospital. In the last few months, my head ached and I could hardly stand up.” Fatou Kiné Camara, president of the Senegales ...

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African leaders pledge ‘total war’ against Islamist group

Unable to account for the over 276 teenage girls kidnapped in Nigeria almost a month ago, the government of Pres. Goodluck Jonathan has agreed to step up the fight against the Boko Haram militants with regional and international support. At a summit last week in Paris, the Nigerian president met with African leaders and where they agreed to wage a “total war” against the rebel group now said to be overrunni ...

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As troubles in Mali mount, new president goes shopping

With a new outbreak of fierce fighting reported in northern Mali’s contested Tuareg lands, reports that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has purchased a $40 million presidential jet have not gone down well with aid donors. Purchase of the Boeing 737 stunned the foreign donors who were attending a meeting in Bamako last week — a year to the day after Mali received a massive $4.1 billion grant from 55 countri ...

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