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Gary Celebrates Indiana's First Black Mayor

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Special to the NNPA from the Florida Sentinel Bulletin –

GARY – Karen Freeman-Wilson was elected the first Black female mayor in Indiana on Tuesday night.

“It’s great to make history,” the Gary attorney said just before the celebration began at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary for hundreds of her supporters.

Freeman-Wilson, a Gary native, received a law degree in 1985 from Harvard University. Ebony magazine named her one of the country’s 50 leaders of the future for the Black community a year after then-Gov. Evan Bayh named her director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the first of many of her public responsibilities involving social and racial equality.

She became Gary city judge in 1994 and Indiana attorney general in 2000. She ran unsuccessfully for Gary mayor in 2003 and 2007.

She now must confront a city government hobbled by high tax rates, declining tax revenues and the need to provide services to a population in which a significant number of people are below the poverty line and unemployed.

U.S. to Head Zimbabwe 'Blood Diamonds' Monitoring Group

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By Fungai Maboreke, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Nov. 8 (GIN) – The United States has captured the chair of the Kimberley process certification scheme, allowing Washington to have a major role in whether Zimbabwe may sell its diamonds on the world market starting in 2012.

The Kimberly Process is an international government certification scheme set up in 2003 to prevent the trade in so-called “blood diamonds” that fund conflicts.

Opposition to Zimbabwe diamond sales came regularly from human rights groups who claimed there were abuses against illegal miners, that smuggling was rife and that certain mines remained in the hands of Zimbabwe's military forces.

But monitoring teams sent by Kimberley concluded the country had met minimum regulatory standards and sales were finally permitted this year.

Zimbabwe is a major exporter with potential to constitute about 20 percent of diamonds traded on international markets. At current production capacities, Zimbabwe could rake in excess of US$2 billion from diamond revenues each year.

Threats of Violence Spark War Flashbacks as Liberian Election Goes Forward

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Nov. 8 (GIN) – Threats of a mass boycott of Liberian national elections by opposition party leader Winston Tubman sparked fears of a return to civil war chaos, prompting voters to stay home in droves, it was reported.

Poll observers in Monrovia reported many fewer voters than in the first round vote last month. Sporadic outbreaks of violence left at least five people dead despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers and a Nobel Peace Prize president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who has been favored to win this second run-off voting round.

Johnson-Sirleaf’s rival for the top spot is ex-justice minister Winston Tubman from the Congress for Democratic Change, with ex-soccer star George Weah as his running mate. Votes are being tallied and the winner could be announced as early as this week.

Tubman had demanded a delay of two to four weeks after finding three ballot boxes he said were tampered. His call for a boycott was rejected and criticized by international observers, ECOWAS and other regional bodies.

Meanwhile, a study by the Liberia Media Center found bias in the majority of the print and electronic media. The study titled “Because Accountability Matters,” covered the period of Sept-Oct 2011, and involved seven radio stations and 11 newspapers.

“The media performed dismally in reporting on political parties, candidates and issues regarding the electoral processes,” the report read. “Programming accounted for the unprofessionalism and biases of the media.”

Journalists must remain non-partisan even if they are in the employ of media owners with partisan agenda," said the Center’s director, Lawrence Randall. “Above all else, media owners should seek to promote diversity and undue monopolization of their outlet by any single political party.”

Gaddafi Planned Retirement in South Africa

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By Fungai Maboreke, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Nov. 1 (GIN) - The late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi believed he was headed for Karoo, a desert-like area in South Africa, where he would live in a tent under the protection of his allies, when he was fatally ambushed by joint NATO-Libyan forces.

Reports of South African fighters hired to guide the fallen Libyan leader have appeared in two South African papers in the Afrikaans language. The South African soldiers of fortune are now stranded abroad but officials of the government, a former Gaddafi ally, are offering no support.

“Any South African who is involved in military matters in Libya would do so illegally and at own risk. They are their own responsibility," Siphiwe Dlamini, a defense department spokesman, told the newspaper Beeld. "According to the Prohibition of Mercenary Activity Act of 2006, South Africans are forbidden from entering any conflict area in any part of the world on either side," Dlamini said.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s second son, Saif al-Islam, continues to make his escape through friendly countries such as Niger, although the International Criminal Court which seeks his prosecution says he is making contact for surrender through an intermediary.

Cain Talks Race, Presidential Contest

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By James Wright, Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer –

The leading contender for the Republican nomination for president said that his race should not be a factor in his bid for the White House and he has the support of a wide group of Americans to prove it.

Herman Cain, 65, told a sold-out lunch crowd at the National Press Club in Northwest on Mon., Oct. 31, that he is African-American and that should not deter anyone from supporting his candidacy.

"People should not be uncomfortable with the president because of his race, they should be uncomfortable because of his bad policies," Cain said. "We've become more [racially] divided as a nation because this administration plays the race card with class warfare and talk of a millionaires tax. I have the support of many white Americans and they are sending a message that 'we're not racist'."

He delighted the audience more than once saying that "this many white people can't pretend that they like me," and later singing a gospel song: "He Looked Beyond My Faults (and saw my need)."

Cain is a 1967 graduate of Morehouse College with a bachelor's in mathematics and masters in computer science from Purdue University in 1971. He is the former chief executive officer of Godfather's Pizza based in Omaha, Neb., and his only stint in public service has been as deputy chairman and then chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Cain is in a statistical tie with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa, which will hold their caucuses on Jan. 3, 2012. The poll, conducted by the Des Moines Register, has Cain at 23 percent with Romney at 22.

The Republican Party has never put a black person on its national presidential ticket. In 1888, at the Republican Party convention, Frederick Douglass became the first African-American to receive a vote for president.

In 1996, Gen. Colin Powell was considered a serious possible candidate for the 1996 Republican nomination for president, but decided not to pursue it. Alan Keyes, an African-American diplomat and conservative activist, has run for the 1996, 2000 and 2008 Republican nominations, drawing minimal support.

Cain addressed recent accusations of sexual harassment while serving as head of the National Restaurant Association by denying the charges, saying that "I have never sexually harassed anyone and I am not aware of a settlement."

He said that as president, he will "stand firmly behind Israel" and "stop giving money to our enemies."

Cain made it clear that he is "pro-life" and that he backs legislation on the federal level to outlaw abortion. He explained his 9-9-9 tax plan, which would assess a nine percent rate on business taxes, nine percent on personal income and a nine percent sales tax, as "simple, transparent, efficient and fair."

Cain said that he decided to run for president when President Obama signed into law comprehensive health care reform.

"We don't have a health care problem, it is a health costs problem," he said. "His [Obama] policies show a lack of leadership."

Cain said that he will use the leadership he had at Godfather's Pizza to turn the country around.

"When I became the CEO of Godfather's, I did not know how to make pizza," he said. Cain said that he talked with customers, staff, suppliers, and franchisers to get their perspective on what needed to be done to turn Godfather's around and "I will do the same as president."

While Cain has impressive numbers early in the presidential contest, David Bositis, a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Northwest, said that it might not even matter.

"It is 100-to-1 odds that he will get the Republican nomination," Bositis said. "He has never been elected to public office. He has a crackpot economic scheme."

Bositis said that Cain "is a black face that will make conservatives feel comfortable."

"I don't even see him as a vice presidential pick because he brings nothing to the ticket," Bositis said.

Nevertheless, Crystal Wright, a black Republican in the District, likes what she sees in Cain.

"He is talking as a businessman and with common sense," she said. "His 9-9-9 plan is easy to understand and it is simpler than Romney's 59-page economic development plan. Herman Cain is shattering perceptions about black conservatives among White conservatives and Blacks in general and I think a Romney-Cain ticket in 2012 is doable."

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