The study was made possible when he allowed his genome - the map of all his genes - to be published on the internet in the interests of science. "This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African," said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis. "It was very surprising to get this result for Jim."

Debts are bought and sold all the time, and Western courts have awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments to debt investors. Peru is the best-known example: In 2000, Elliott Associates, whose founder, Paul E. Singer, is a top Republican donor and a backer of Rudolph W. Giuliani's presidential campaign, won a $58 million judgment on debt it had bought in 1996 for $20 million. Now African countries are in the sights of debt investors. In 1979, Zambia borrowed $15 million from Romania to buy agricultural equipment. Twenty years later, the two governments agreed to settle the old debt for about $3 million. But a hedge fund, Donegal International, bought it first and sued for about $55 million. This year, a British court ruled that Zambia must pay Donegal $15 million.

The pernicious effects of this kind of theology are all too evident in Nigeria today: all manner of criminals claiming to be men of God, dangerous armed robbers, thieving governors and political leaders who have wasted our common wealth and even lives suddenly converting and clutching the bible while they wait to 'enjoy' their loot and receive more local and national honours; many millions of Nigerians who fill the churches and revival grounds believing that after a few hours of 'repentance' they will obtain the redeeming grace of God's mercy that instantly gives them the insurance cover for greater future 'risks'.

City election officials said they were convinced that there was nothing sinister to account for the inaccurate initial counts, and The Times's review found a handful of election districts in the city where Mrs. Clinton received zero votes in the initial results. "It looked like a lot of the numbers were wrong, probably the result of human error," said Marcus Cederqvist, who was named executive director of the Board of Elections last month. He said such discrepancies between the unofficial and final count rarely affected the raw vote outcome because "they're not usually that big."

Let’s be clear. American democracy has always coexisted with vicious, state-sponsored racism. The nation’s first presidents worked to establish an innovative, flexible, radical democratic republic while simultaneously codifying enslaved blacks as a fraction human and relegating them to intergenerational chattel bondage.After emancipation, as blacks helped make America the greatest industrial and military power on earth, the country stripped blacks of the right to vote, segregated public accommodations, provided inferior education to black children, and allowed and promoted the terrorist rule of lynch-mob violence.  This week Barack Obama was pressured to denounce Jeremiah Wright.  But in the hundred years following the end of the Civil War more than five thousand African Americans were lynched and not a single president denounced the atrocities. Because of this history, black patriotism is complicated.Black patriots love our country, even though it has often hated us. We love our country, even while we hold it accountable for its faults.

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety — the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America. And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions — the good and the bad — of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

In mature democracies elsewhere and even in some young democracies in Africa, elections are the central institution of democratic representative governments. Why? Because, in a democracy, the authority of the government derives solely from the consent of the governed. The fundamental rationale for translating that consent into governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections. This is contrary to staged managed elections held by dictatorships and one-party governments to give their rule the aura of legitimacy in the face of public decent. In such elections, there may be only one candidate or a list of candidates, with no credible alternative choices. Such elections may offer several candidates for each office, but ensure through intimidation or rigging that only the government-sanctioned candidate is chosen. These are not democratic elections but a mere academic process of legitimising autocratic and repressive regimes.

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