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North Korea soccer team cancels Zimbabwe stay

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s government is busy planning for spinoffs from the 2010 soccer World Cup, just three weeks away. Zimbabwean officials are hoping that the huge soccer tournament hosted this year by South Africa will boost this neighboring country with tourists and training camps. But the benefits do not appear to be coming. Already one of the planned visitors, North Korea, has pulled out. 

Chatter: What we're hearing

Need to know: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that North Korea must face consequences for sinking a South Korean ship. Citing "overwhelming" evidence that North Korea sank the warship, Clinton warned the communist state of international repercussions. After discussions in Tokyo, Clinton planned to consult with counterparts in Beijing and Seoul on appropriate measures.

Opinion: Ethiopia looks increasingly autocratic as it votes

WASHINGTON — Ethiopians are understandably offended that their country is known mainly for horrendous recent famines, and not for its sophisticated culture and ancient civilization.

Malawi gay jailing sparks global protests

No sooner had Malawi's courts jailed two men to 14 years of hard labor for having a gay relationship than human rights groups around the world issued protests charging the sentence was harsh and unwarranted. Hundreds jeered Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, handcuffed together as they were driven away in a police van from Blantyre court to jail. Other Malawians, however, protested against the sentence and held up a rainbow banner representing gay rights.

South Africa launches world's biggest anti-AIDS drive

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — As South Africa ramps up a high-profile campaign to test 15 million people for HIV in the next year, experts are questioning whether the country’s struggling health care system can support this massive new undertaking. The world’s most ambitious HIV testing campaign is appropriate for South Africa as it has more people with the AIDS virus than any other country. But until recently South Africa's fight against the disease was held back by the denialist policies of the government of former president Thabo Mbeki.

Rappers make Afrikaans hip

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Afrikaans, the guttural, gruff language that originated with the Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa in 1652, has symbolized many things. At first a patois spoken by white farmers, centuries later it became the voice of apartheid and inspired an uprising after being forced on black schoolchildren. These days Afrikaans is one of the country’s 11 official languages, but some Afrikaners say it is being increasingly marginalized to the point where they fear for the survival of their language and culture.

Slideshow: South Africa's "black diamonds" move on up

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa's "black diamonds" are the upwardly mobile blacks who are overcoming decades of apartheid oppression to join the ranks of the country's middle class.

Opinion: Stop human trafficking before World Cup

NEW YORK — With the start of the FIFA World Cup Finals quickly approaching, it’s easy for soccer fans to get caught up in the excitement of the matches, the grandeur of new stadiums and the rush of people visiting South Africa from around the world. But the influx of half a million tourists will have the unintended consequence of creating new opportunities for human trafficking — a practice that is unfortunately found in nearly every country around the world.

Africa's ambitious go overseas

NEW YORK — John Mumo and Al-Amin Kheraj sit in a bustling cafe in lower Manhattan talking about their futures. As recent college graduates, their excitement is tempered by the slow economy. “I want a legit gig at home but in order to do that I need more school,” said Kheraj, a witty 23-year-old from Tanzania.

Sierra Leone’s middle class gains traction

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Here in Sierra Leone and across Africa experts struggle to define what it means to be middle class. But many people know they want to be part of that group. “It’s my education [secondary and vocational school] and experience,” said Michael Tommy, a generator mechanic for one of the United Nations’ compounds here. “With the money they pay me I’m able to sustain myself and my family, but I’m not able to save for a house.”
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