Braving Ebola

Photographs and interviews by DANIEL BEREHULAK, nytimes.com

"I have dreams in the middle of the night, waking up in the Ebola ward as a patient. I’ve had dreams where I’m in the ward without any gear, just standing there in my pants and shirt. But I like getting up in the morning, and I like coming here. I think we’re actually making a difference for these people." Steven Hatch, 45, physician from Boston

“I have dreams in the middle of the night, waking up in the Ebola ward as a patient. I’ve had dreams where I’m in the ward without any gear, just standing there in my pants and shirt. But I like getting up in the morning, and I like coming here. I think we’re actually making a difference for these people.”
Steven Hatch, 45, physician from Boston

"I came here to look for a job to help my family. Some were afraid to come here, and I took the chance. I focus on my work. I can’t feel nothing when I’m working." Otis Bah, 41, gravedigger

“I came here to look for a job to help my family. Some were afraid to come here, and I took the chance. I focus on my work. I can’t feel nothing when I’m working.”
Otis Bah, 41, gravedigger

The patients arrive, at first fearful of the people in spacesuits whose faces they cannot see. They wait for test results, for the next medical rounds, for symptoms to appear or retreat. They watch for who recovers to sit in the courtyard shade and who does not. They pray.

The workers offer medicine, meals, cookies and comfort. They try to make patients smile. Very, very carefully, they start IVs. They spray chlorine, over and over, and they dig graves. They pray.

These are the people of one Ebola clinic in rural Liberia. Run by the American charity International Medical Corps, the clinic rose in September out of a tropical forest. It now employs more than 170 workers, a mix of locals and foreigners, some of them volunteers. There are laborers trying to make money for their families, university students helping because Ebola has shut down their schools, and American doctors who, after years of studying outbreaks, are seeing Ebola’s ravages in person for the first time. A mobile laboratory operated by the United States Navy has set up shop at a shuttered university. Now, test results come back in a matter of hours instead of several days.

Some of the workers will stay a few more weeks, or until the end of the year. Many of the Liberians vow to remain until the disease is gone, when they can go back to their old jobs or resume their former lives. They work toward a time after Ebola.

"I got up in the morning, I prayed. In the evening, I prayed. At dinner, I prayed. Prayed to get well. Yesterday they said, 'You, you’re free.' I danced, I jumped." George Beyan, 34, Ebola survivor

“I got up in the morning, I prayed. In the evening, I prayed. At dinner, I prayed. Prayed to get well. Yesterday they said, ‘You, you’re free.’ I danced, I jumped.”
George Beyan, 34, Ebola survivor

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Chadwick Boseman Is Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’

Chadwick Boseman arrives at the premiere of Get on Up during the 40th Deauville U.S. Film Festival Sept. 12, 2014, in France.

Chadwick Boseman 

concept art

BY: , theroot.com

On the heels of his breakthrough performance as James Brown in Get on Up, Chadwick Boseman has been cast as Marvel Studios’ first solo lead of color (not to be confused with Blade, which was co-produced with New Line Cinema). He will take on the role of T’Challa, the head of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, in Black Panther.

Many fanboys of Marvel Comics thought this day would never come. Some wondered if Black Panther, which was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, would ever get the big-screen attention it deserved.

“It’s about how this isolationist country of Wakanda needs to meet the world,” said Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige.

“I’m blessed to be part of this Marvel Universe, and I look forward to making magic together,” said Boseman.

Black Panther is slated to be released on Nov. 3, 2017. 

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Search Resumes in DC for Missing 8-Year-Old Relisha Rudd

BY: , theroot.comRelisha_Rudd_page-bg_41174

Volunteers resumed searching Saturday for 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, who went missing seven months ago after her mother entrusted her in the care of a janitor, who worked at the homeless shelter where the family lived in Washington, D.C.

Four teams scoured three areas near Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast D.C. for Relisha, including search and rescue workers from Maine, who arrived in the area Thursday to help out,according to NBC 4 Washington.

Investigators say it is unlikely that she is still alive, but volunteers told the station they want to find out what happened to Relisha, who was last seen on March 1 at a motel with 51-year-old Khalil Tatum. He worked as a janitor at the homeless shelter where her family lived.

A missing report was not filed in the case, but police became involved on March 19 after inquiries from the child’s school. They discovered the body of Tatum’s wife in a hotel room in Oxon Hill, Md., and police found Tatum’s body on March 31. He is believed to have committed suicide, reports say.

Police say Tatum bought a shovel, lime and contractor sized trashbags at a Home Depot, and spent a lot of time at the park about the time the child was last seen, the news station reports.

But volunteers did not report any new finding late Saturday.

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Black Teen with White Parents Mistaken for Burglar, Assaulted by Cops in His Home

By John Vibe, FreeThoughtProject.com

DeShawn Currie was feeling comfortable and cared for by his foster parents, and then he was assaulted by police in his own home.

DeShawn Currie was feeling comfortable and cared for by his foster parents, and then he was assaulted by police in his own home.

A North Carolina teen was recently assaulted and pepper sprayed by police in his own home, after he was mistaken for a burglar.  18-year-old DeShawn Currie has been living with foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler in Wake County, North Carolina for about a year.

The Tylers love DeShawn as their own son and they have taken him into their home, in hopes to provide him the safe and loving environment that he needs to thrive in the most important years of his life.

Unfortunately, some of the Tyler’s neighbors were not familiar with the family dynamics of the home, and decided to call the police to report a burglary when they saw the young man entering his home after school one day.  DeShawn did not climb through a window or struggle to get inside, but simply walked through the unlocked door of the home.  The only thing that actually made his neighbors suspicious, was the color of his skin.

When police arrived on the scene they treated DeShawn like a criminal without asking any questions.

“They was like, ‘Put your hands on the door, I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ I was like, ‘Why are y’all in here?” DeShawn said in an interview.

When DeShawn asked the officers why they were in his home, they pointed at photos of white people hanging on the wall and told him that he was lying.

“I’m feeling comfortable, I had moved into my room, and I’m feeling like I’m loved. And then when they come in and they just profile me and say that I’m not who I am. And that I do not stay here because there was white kids on the wall, that really made me mad,” DeShawn later told reporters.

During the entire altercation, police were shouting profanity at the young man, and pointing multiple guns at his face.  When DeShawn stood firm and insisted that he was in fact in his own home, police attacked him with pepper spray.

When Stacy Tyler came home from work she saw her son DeShawn in the driveway being treated by paramedics for the injuries that police had inflicted.

“Everything that we’ve worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments,” father Ricky Tyler added.

The police department has defended their actions, saying that that DeShawn did not obey the officer’s orders to the letter, despite the fact that they were intruders in his home and had no right to be there barking orders at him.

Watch this Young Turks commentary about how DeShawn’s case involves white privilege.

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NAACP and Family Lawyers Are Looking Into Lennon Lacy’s Hanging Death

Lennon Lacy

Lennon Lacy

BY: , theroot.com

On Monday night, lawyers Al McSurely and Allen Rogers met with Claudia Lacy and Larry Walton to discuss the next step in the investigation into what McSurely called “the probable murder” of Lacy and Walton’s 17-year-old son, Lennon Lacy.

While the parents of boys like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis waged uphill battles hoping to see their sons’ killers put behind bars, the biggest obstacle for Lennon’s family is the fact that police in their small North Carolina town insist that their son took his own life.

In August, Lennon was found hanging by his neck from a swing set in the middle of a trailer park near his home in Bladenboro, N.C. Authorities quickly ruled out foul play in his death and have since labeled it a suicide. But Lennon’s parents have met the reports with disbelief, as have many of Bladenboro’s black residents.

McSurely, an attorney working with the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter and Lennon’s family, told The Root that he and the family are looking to find out who killed Lennon and that they “have a rough idea of who some of those people might be.”

“What we’re trying to decide now, after talking to several witnesses who have come forward to us, is how we’re going to play that with the DA,” said McSurely, adding that the family may take the case to the FBI or U.S. Department of Justice. “It’s not like Ferguson or Trayvon’s case in the sense that here, we don’t know who shot him. In this case, somebody strangled him and took his body over there and … hung him up there in the middle of the night.”

Lennon’s autopsy was released last week by Chief Medical Examiner Deborah Radisch, and all signs pointed to suicide. But far from assuaging his family’s concerns, the autopsy, like every part of the investigation so far, has made them more suspicious.

Radisch noted in the autopsy’s “summary and interpretation” section that Lennon had attended the funeral of his uncle the day before his death, indicating that Lennon “had been depressed over the recent death of his uncle.” This finding confused and upset the family because they say it has no relevance to physical and forensic-analysis findings.

“An autopsy cannot determine whether a person was depressed—you can’t tell that from physical signs, so why was it put in the report?” Lennon’s brother, Pierre Lacy, told The Guardian. “That’s a red flag to me—it’s not factual.”

The family also noted that missing entirely from the autopsy was the fact that Lennon was wearing white shoes, with the laces missing, that were a size-and-a-half too small for him. His family insists that on the night of his death, Lennon was wearing a pair of black Jordan sneakers that he had recently purchased for the start of school. Though the autopsy carefully notes that Lennon was wearing “black socks, a pair of navy blue nylon sports pants, a navy blue nylon short-sleeve shirt and multicolored boxer shorts,” it makes no mention of his shoes.

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“A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story”– Excerpts from Dr. Cameron’s Memoir

By Dr. Fran Kaplan, Editor, A Time of Terror by James Cameron

 

Winner of the 2016 IPPY Silver Medal for Non-Fiction, Great Lakes Region

LifeWrites Press, a division of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, released a new, expanded edition of Dr. James Cameron’s memoir on February 25, 2016. In May 2016 book received a Silver Medal for Best Nonfiction, Great Lakes Region in IPPY’s (the Independent Publishers Association) international competition.

The new 3rd edition contains five never-published chapters by Dr. Cameron, fifty vintage photographs, and annotations to help younger readers understand the era’s slang expressions and historical references.

A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story is an uplifting story of a black boy’s coming-of-age during the Jim Crow Era in the North. It is a one-of-a-kind historical document full of anecdotes, written in an engaging, often humorous, conversational style. These stories reveal Cameron’s courageous journey from his careless immature youth through an unspeakable trauma to a most admirable manhood as courageous early civil rights activist and loving husband and father.

 

 • Excerpts •

Chapter 11: Big Emotions

John Dillinger, an infamous Depression-era gangster, with his machine gun. The press painted him as a brave and colorful celebrity. Like many teenagers today who are understandably angry about their situations, Jimmie imagined his life would be better as a powerful “gangsta.” Photo: Indiana Historical Society.

I did pray at times. But hate had been growing in me so much that it seemed all I could do was hate. That hatred was for white people in general. No doubt, that poison in my system added to the aches and pains in my head.

I imagined myself out of prison paying back white people for every crime they had committed against me and other black people. I wanted to kill the white bastards for using force, violence, fraud and deceit; for channeling black people’s lives into narrow choices, deliberately creating a way of life outside the pale of American society; for not regarding black people as human beings or an integral part of the community group as they did other ethnic groups. I was nurturing an urge to kill and keep on killing white people. 

[Editor’s Note: Clearly James never acted on these feelings. Later he would come to believe that hate was a poison that destroys the body and soul. In revising the original manuscript over many many years, he inserted the insights he came to as a grown man who looks back at the emotions of his youth.]

JC in Beloit 1974_Troy Freund cropped

Museum founder Dr. James Cameron and colleagues protest the Ku Klux Klan’s appearance in Beloit, Wisconsin, during the winter of 1997 or 1998. Photo courtesy of Tony Freund.

 

 

Chapter 7: Say It Isn’t So!

But the more I tried the more my mind kept racing back over the countless stories about Ku Klux Klan treatment of black people, stories that every black person knows by the time he or she is five years old. By the time you were sixteen, you were well versed in what a “nigger” was in America.

[Editor’s Note: Today, even though the Ku Klux Klan is relatively toothless, most black sixteen year olds are just as well-versed in the place of black boys in American society.]

Epilogue

JC3 small copyThrough reflection on life-experience and participation in a healing community, the individual arrives at a new awareness, a new sense of self, a feeling of “I can” when others say “I can’t.” The ability to fly, even soar, has been revealed. Perhaps, if this newly discovered inner source of power is fully unleashed, the horizon for future growth toward liberation is suddenly available….

I forgive those who have harmed me and Abe and Tom, realizing I can never forget the traumatic events that took place that night.

[Editor’s Note: Despite the unspeakable traumas of the lynching night and the five years of incarceration with grown men, young Jimmie emerged determined to do something positive and “God-like” with his life – to become better, not bitter.

Dr. Cameron was aware of how holding onto to hate destroys the hater. He used to say, “Hate eats into the body and poisons the body from within. But if you have love in your heart, you can blossom like a flower in the sun every day.” At the same time, he believed that “the truth shall set you free,” that “stories give a context to our collective pilgrimage.” Therefore, he taught that we must “forgive but never forget” our history.

Chapter Eight: Demonic Terror

Marion prepared for the lynching on August 7, 1930. Interurban trains brought spectators from around north central Indiana. Extra trains were scheduled to handle the load.

Marion prepared for the lynching on August 7, 1930. Interurban trains brought spectators from around north central Indiana. Extra trains were scheduled to handle the load. Courtesy of the Marion, Indiana, Public Library.

Earlier in the day, I later learned, the only black physician in Marion, Dr. Bailey, had received word from his white friends in the town that three black youths in the Grant County jail would be lynched that night. They would be taken from the jail and lynched by a Ku Klux Klan mob. His white friends told him of the general plot that had been planned with the precision of a military coup….

News of the impending lynching in Marion was broadcast over the radio stations in the state and heard throughout the Midwest.

[Editor’s Note: James Cameron narrowly escaped being hanged with two other black teenagers in Marion, Indiana, in 1930. That lynching, while it took place outside the South, was typical of the thousands of “spectacle lynchings” that were held in the former Confederacy from the 1880s to the 1940s. A spectacle lynching followed a certain ritual:

Photographer Lawrence Beitler was called from his studio after the second teen was hanged. He apparently lit the nighttime scene. It appears that tree limbs were removed from the spreading maple, so that the bodies of Abram Smith and Tommy Shipp could be seen. Jimmie Cameron was to be the next victim.

Photographer Lawrence Beitler was called from his studio after the second teen was hanged. He apparently lit the nighttime scene. It appears that tree limbs were removed from the spreading maple, so that the bodies of Abram Smith and Tommy Shipp could be seen. Jimmie Cameron was to be the next victim. Courtesy of the Marion, Indiana, Public Library.

Indeed, Cameron’s lynching was initially planned in the morning by workers at the Superior Body factory. Members of the Ku Klux Klan were also a part of the Marion lynch mob, though they did not wear hoods and robes. Incendiary newspaper articles were distributed around the region.

Spectators streamed into the town from around north central Indiana, coming by car and by interurban train. The Marion Flyer put extra trains on for the day. A studio photographer, Lawrence Beitler, was called in to take this iconic photo, hundreds of which he sold the next day for a good profit.

Dr. Bailey’s wife, Flossie, who was the head of the NAACP local branch made repeated calls to the governor and other officials to stop the impending murder – to no avail.]

Souvenir Portrait of the Lynching of Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp, August 7, 1930, by studio photographer Lawrence Beitler. Courtesy of the Indiana Hisorical Society.

Souvenir Portrait of the Lynching of Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp, August 7, 1930, by studio photographer Lawrence Beitler. Courtesy of the Indiana Hisorical Society.

 

 

 

Man gets life without parole for murdering Florida teen over loud music

By Ray Sanchez, CNNmichaeldunn_101714

A Florida judge Friday sentenced Michael Dunn to life in prison without parole for the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

The sentence, imposed nearly two years after Dunn shot and killed Davis during an argument over loud music, also carries an additional 90 years for three convictions of attempted murder and firing a weapon into a vehicle.

“This case demonstrates that our justice system does work,” Duval County Judge Russell Healey said moments before sentencing Dunn.

Dunn, 47, who is white, was convicted of first-degree murder this month for shooting into an SUV full of African-American teenagers at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station after an argument over loud music from the teens’ vehicle.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in the racially-charged case, which drew comparisons to the shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, who maintained that he acted in self-defense, was acquitted last year by a Florida jury.

Dunn claimed he acted in self-defense because he believed Davis was reaching for a gun. No weapon was found.

“Mr. Dunn, your life is effectively over,” Healey said. “What is sad… is that this case exemplifies that our society seems to have lost its way.”

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I raised my sons to be racially neutral

Two mixed-race boys, one lighter skinned than the other. Did I make a mistake telling them they were the same?

By , Salon.com

A photo of the author's sons: Brennan, left, and Colin.

A photo of the author’s sons: Brennan, left, and Colin.

One Saturday night in St. Louis about decade ago my younger son, then a teen, was driving around town with two white friends. I’m black and my husband is white, so our two sons are biracial. This particular son has his father’s straight hair and aquiline nose. His skin is brown like mine.

The friend in the back seat behind my son stuck a paint pellet gun out the back window and shot a stop sign…

As a young family, we usually didn’t talk about race or even acknowledge it, because at the time we didn’t see the need. Then one night at the dinner table I got my first reality check when our younger boy, who was 7 at the time, said, “Dad, I want white skin and braces. And a new first name, like Michael.”…

While raising my boys, I often wondered: Should I have “the talk” with them about being black? The decision was complicated by our older son’s appearance. With his curly hair and rounded nose, he has always looked more like me than his dad, but unlike his brother, his skin appears completely white. This detail had always made “the talk” seem absurd. Should I poison the well of innocence by telling his brother that he was different?…

In bi- and multi-racial families, children's skin color and facial features are expressed in ways that complicate our expectations of "white" and "black." Because these classifications historically carry importance social weight, is it possible for these children to live "race neutral"?

In bi- and multi-racial families, children’s skin color and facial features are expressed in ways that complicate our expectations of “white” and “black.” Because these classifications historically carry importance social weight, is it really possible for these children to live “race neutral”?

Then came the phone call about the paint pellet incident. My husband went to the station and handled everything. About 10 days later, we all appeared in juvenile court to learn what the punishment would be. The white kid with the gun was most culpable and had a later court date, but they all got into trouble.

While my husband and one of the other fathers talked to the lawyer, a different policeman said to my son and me, “If I saw one of these paint pellet guns sticking out a car window, you don’t know how close I’d be to shooting you.”

Editor’s Note: What would you do as the parent of these boys?

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Quvenzhané Wallis Looks Forward To (Hopefully) Being Nominated For An Oscar Again

Wallis attends the "Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet" premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Toronto.

Wallis attends the “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet” premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Toronto.

By , huffingtonpost.com

Quvenzhané Wallis has accomplished more than most kids her age. At 9 years old, she became a household name as the youngest actress ever to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role as Hushpuppy in the 2013 film, “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Now, at age 11, she’s set to star as the titular character in a remake of “Annie,” the iconic 1982 movie adapted from the Broadway musical by the same name.

Directed by Will Gluck, produced by Jay Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, 2014’s “Annie” co-stars Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks (an update of the character Daddy Warbucks). Cameron Diaz will play the cruel and incorrigible Ms. Hannigan.

“It was really fun and everybody was really nice,” Wallis told HuffPost

Quvenzhane Wallis, joined by her four-legged co-star, Sandy, reads aloud from Banfield Pet Hospital's first-ever children's book, "My Very, Very Busy Day," at a book launch event at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, on Oct. 15, 2014, in New York City.

Quvenzhane Wallis, joined by her four-legged co-star, Sandy, reads aloud from Banfield Pet Hospital’s first-ever children’s book, “My Very, Very Busy Day,” at a book launch event at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, on Oct. 15, 2014, in New York City.

Entertainment of working with the all-star cast while promoting a new book released by Banfield Pet Hospital, “My Very, Very Busy Day.” “And Jamie Foxx was, of course, very funny. He told me to have fun and always be yourself.”

Wallis is confident that this role will help her — and her puppy purse — make it back on the red carpet during award show season. Asked if she’s hoping to get another Oscar nomination one day, the actress said, “For ‘Annie,’ of course, and yes!”

“It was really exciting because it was a great opportunity and it’s not like it happens every single day,” Wallis said of her experience as a nominee in 2013. As for how she made it this far, Wallis, who wants to be a veterinarian someday, insists it’s all about following your dreams.

“Stay confident and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” Wallis said, “because, trust me, you can. Look at me!”

“Annie” hits theaters Dec. 19, 2014.

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South Africans Battle To Overturn Apartheid Evictions

By: Sofie Ribstein, BBC News

Lily Lawrence and her children have fond memories of their old home. The Red Hill ruins are a daily reminder of The Group Areas Act passed in 1950.

Lily Lawrence and her children have fond memories of their old home. The Red Hill ruins are a daily reminder of The Group Areas Act passed in 1950.

At the far end of the African continent, Redhill was once a village, home to more than 70 predominantly mixed-race (or coloured, as they are referred to in South Africa) families.

But stone walls are still standing, reminders of a precious past for those who were forcibly removed in the late 1960s by South Africa’s white minority regime.

“Here was the lounge and this used to be the kitchen with a fireplace and the small bedroom at the back,” says 78-year-old Lily Lawrence, walking through the old stones which were once her home.

The Group Areas Act, passed in 1950, was a pillar of the brutal apartheid regime.

Among other things, it led to the removal of non-whites from real estate considered desirable by the government. Over the following decades, thousands of families were forced to leave their homes and relocate to barren land.

The effects of this policy have yet to be reversed. Even in post-apartheid South Africa, much of the most fertile territory is still in the hands of a few thousand white commercial farmers.

President Jacob Zuma has given people an opportunity to lodge land claims

President Jacob Zuma has given people an opportunity to lodge land claims.

Just after his re-election to a second term in office in May, South African President Jacob Zuma announced the creation of another window for lodging claims for the restitution of land.

Under the 1950 law, Mrs Lawrence, her husband and their four children had no other choice but to leave their land.

“It was so heartbreaking, tears, tears and tears,” says Mrs Lawrence, recalling the day they left. She says the family had to leave much of their furniture behind – including heirlooms – as it could not be taken up the stairs of the flat they were moving to.

Today, two of her children, Margaret and George, are doing everything possible for this past not to be forgotten. They were only eight and 13 years old when they left Redhill.

But the trauma of the forced removal remains. Margaret is an archivist at the Simon’s Town Museum. She collects pictures, texts, memories from the coloured community and tries to piece together their history.

Margaret (centre) was 13 years old when they were forced out of their home.

Margaret (centre) was 13 years old when they were forced out of their home.

She invites her mother to the museum to talk to schoolchildren. Twenty years after the end of apartheid, she wants the new generation to know what happened.

George, her brother, has embarked on a legal journey, trying to get the land back from the South African state. He says he registered the first land claim in 1998 – but since then, has only been to meetings and offered excuses for inaction.

“The only thing I want in my life is to come back to my land. I was born here, my roots are here. It is not so difficult, the government just has to sign the papers.”

Since President Zuma announced another window for the restitution, another 12,500 new claims have been lodged, according to the government-backed Land Claims Commission.

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