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AOL and Queen Latifah Announce Content Partnership

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Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel –

AOL and Queen Latifah announced a content partnership that Queen Latifah will executive produce and also star in a variety of original video web series to be featured across AOL's network of sites. AOL's Blackvoices.com, a leading website for African-Americans, will showcase the series in a specially created hub designed to enhance the site's current video offerings that are increasingly popular with its audience.

In addition, Queen Latifah's production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, will serve as the main producer of the original web series. The short form, talk show format web series will cover topics ranging from entertainment and sports, to social issues and entrepreneurialism. Viewers will have the ability to influence potential future series that are produced.

"With Queen Latifah's proven track record to create content that resonates with a broad audience, AOL is excited to partner with such a dynamic personality and bring her unique perspective to the digital space," said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AOL.

"Our production company, Flavor Unit is always in search for a perfect partner when we create original content and with this new web series, AOL is certainly it," said Queen Latifah. "It's very exciting to collaborate with them as they are leaders and will help bring our show to the masses."

The announcement follows a number of recent acquisitions and partnership deals from AOL including the agreement to acquire The Huffington Post, the acquisitions of the TechCrunch network of sites, the social software start up Think Labs, Inc., and 5min Media, the Web's largest video content syndication platform.

In the second half of 2010 alone, AOL closed deals with more than 20 premium content partners and digital studios to deliver a mix of high quality programming to AOL's audiences. Video franchises across AOL's owned and operated properties include, AOL Sessions; The Engadget Show; Translogic on AOL Autos; a number of shows on Cambio.com - Cambio Connect, Cambio Style, Cambio Goes Home, and Cambio Cares; and the Secret Millionaire's Club on AOL Kids.

Rapper 50 Cent Inflames Fans with Japan Tsunami Jokes

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Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

With his larger-than-life persona and blossoming music empire growing each day, New York-bred rapper 50 Cent could lend a lofty financial hand to the thousands of Japanese displaced by the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country March 11.

Instead, the 35-year-old superstar took to his Twitter account where he unleashed a barrage of shocking tongue-in-cheek jokes about the disaster.

“Man I hate to say this but the world is coming to a end. Look at Japan tell the people you value you love them… US west coast TUSNAMI (sic) watch f**k this I’m going back to New York,” he tweeted.

The multiplatinum-selling rapper continued, "It's all good, 'til b*****s see their Christian Louboutins floating down da street.”

The G-Unit founder later admitted some of his tweets were “ignorant,” but “I do it for shock value.”

Also under fire for jokes about the natural disaster in Japan – which the country’s government fears may have killed 10,000 people – is comedian Gilbert Gottfried. The 56-year-old actor released several tweets about the dire situation in Japan, among them, “What does every Japanese person have in their apartment? Flood lights.”

Gottfried was later fired from his job as the voice of Aflac’s duck mascot over the incendiary comments.

In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, Japan is now facing a nuclear crisis as radioactive materials continue to seep from four reactors in the Fukashima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Africans Huddle at Libyan Border, Abandoned by All

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Black African men, women, and children, immigrant workers in the country lead by the one-time chair of the African Union, Col. Moammar Gaddafi, remain stranded at the airports and docks as boats from China, Turkey, and many other countries retrieve their citizens caught in the current crossfire.

A Nigerian woman with two children pleaded with a reporter: “Sir, I have been in this airport for three weeks, no food to eat, we sleep on the floor everyday waiting for a plane to come and evacuate us. Please beg Nigerian government to come with bigger planes to evacuate us.”

The U.N.’s refugee agency says there are hundreds of thousands of African migrant workers in Libya. Many have been there for years and U.N. officials are worried about their welfare as alarming accounts are received of their treatment.

According to the Campaign for the Rights of Nigerians in Diaspora, some 7,000 Nigerians are awaiting evacuation, aside from those trapped in Benghazi and other cities outside of Tripoli. Some 10,000 Ghanaians are still in Tripoli, after the rescue of some 684 citizens of Ghana, a minister confirmed.

“Right now, Gaddafi is a big danger to Black Africans,” wrote Cameron Duodu, in the online news journal Pambazuka. “Any Black person found in Libya is likely to be given very short shrift by the White-skinned section of the Arab population, which believes that Gaddafi has imported – or is importing – Blacks from Chad, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Liberia and anywhere else that he has followers, to go and fight for him.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese news wire Xinhua, reports that approximately 32,000 Chinese were "whisked" out of Libya with another 3,000 waiting to be airlifted out of the desert in the country's south. While no Chinese have been killed or injured, Chinese business and construction sites are reportedly looted and projects such as a half-finished public housing development worth $2.67 billion have been halted.

Egyptians in 'Million Woman March' Defy Hecklers

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Hundreds of Egyptian women, inspired by the recent uprising, returned to Cairo’s central Tahrir square recently and faced down a mob of men heckling them and ordering them to go home.

The women’s “Million Woman March” was planned to mark International Women’s Day and demand more women appointees by the new prime minister, who has appointed only one to his cabinet despite the sizeable participation of women in the uprisings that lead to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

"(The hecklers) said our role was to stay home and raise presidents, not to run for president," Farida Helmy, a 24-year old journalist told a reporter.

“I thought we were going to be celebrated as women of the revolution because we were present during the days of Tahrir," Passant Rabie said to a reporter. "Unless women are included now, we are going to be oppressed."

Rabie said she was surprised to find women being verbally abused and groped after the role they played in the citizen revolt. Women had been central to the protests, leading chants, spending cold nights in the square and even fighting during the battle of Black Wednesday, when pro-government henchmen attacked the protesters.

Commenting on the heckling, feminist activist Mona Ezzat blamed it on the old regime. “This is a natural product of the long years of dictatorship," Ezzat told Ahram Online.

“We need to change social and cultural concepts about what women's role is to begin with. That is one of the biggest battles,” says Yasmine Khalifa, a graduate student. “This is a long process and today's event is not a beginning, it's just a continuation of the revolution.”

In a related development, thousands of women in the Ivory Coast taking part in a Women’s Day march while protesting the continuation of rule by President Laurent Gbagbo came under gunfire. Four fatalities were reported.

Will Angola be the Next Libya?

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

More than a dozen protestors including a popular rap artist were arrested recently as the Angolan government attempted to head off a protest against the 32-year rule of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The protest began when an anonymous group of individuals set up a website announcing "a new revolution of the Angolan people."

Government officials rebuked the protest. "Angola is not Egypt. Angola is not Libya. Angola is not Tunisia," said one official. Dino Matross, secretary general of the ruling party, was more blunt. "Anyone who demonstrates," he said, "we're going to get you."

Luaty Beirão, a popular Angolan rapper also known as Brigadeiro Mata Frakus believes the political parties are out of touch with Angolan people. At a recent gig, he called on President Dos Santos to step down while a large audience chanted "Fora!" ("Out!")

Although Angola is the continent's first producer of crude oil along with Nigeria, the majority of its people live beneath the poverty line and the gap between rich and poor is one of the widest in the world. Rafael Marques, a noted journalist, observed: "Opposition is weak, but unhappiness with the ruling MPLA party is overwhelming."

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