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Black, gay and indisputably African

Los Angeles Times

When word began to whip around the world that the Ugandan parliament would take up a bill making lesbian or gay sex a capital crime, my thoughts went first to a nightclub I frequented when I lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, a few years ago.

It was always a revelation to spend an evening at Simply Blue. The club was a collecting spot for Africa's gay diaspora, and its patrons came from every part of the continent. The age range was wide, class lines were smudged, and there was a symphony of languages. The

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An opposition manifesto in Iran

Iran's so-called green movement is not yet a counterrevolution, but recent developments make clear it is heading in that direction. Seven months after the uprising began, an opposition manifesto is finally taking shape, and its sweeping demands would change the face of Iran.

Three bold statements calling for reform have been issued since Friday, one by opposition presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, one by a group of exiled religious intellectuals and the third by university professors. Taken together, they suggest that the movement will not settle for anything short of radical change.

The statements set

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A year of war -- and progress

The United States spent 2009 at war again -- with its own troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and as a major, indirect supporter of Pakistan in its internal counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism campaign as well. On balance, I would judge it a moderately successful year in all three places to varying degrees. But that is admittedly a subjective judgment and also obviously requires a great deal more discussion.

First, the basics: The year was one of gradual drawdown in Iraq together with intensification of operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet it was still Iraq that occupied

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