When US Senator John Kerry received the endorsement last week of US Representative Jim Clyburn, South Carolina's only black congressman, he was anxious to portray his latest prominent supporter not just as an ally but a friend. \n"I've gotten to know Jim over the last couple of years," said Kerry, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. \n"I learned how to talk over the loud noise in the garage at a fish fry. And to dance a bit late at night, and have some mighty good fish." \nClyburn interjected with a playful putdown: "I wouldn't call that dancing." \nLike half of a double act Kerry waited for the laughter to subside and responded: "I thought for a white guy I showed some rhythm." \nWelcome to electioneering Southern style, where talk of what unites most Southerners -- food, religion, geography -- is evoked to mask the issue that divides them: race. \nAnd in few places is this more true than in South Carolina, the first state to leave the union and help spark a civil war in the 19th century, and the last to keep the Confederate flag flying on the lawn of its capitol building, in Columbia. \nIn a primary where half the electorate is black, a candidate cannot avoid the issue. \nIn a state where Republicans use racism as a wedge to appeal to poor whites, it is the last thing Democrat candidates who want to get elected will talk about honestly. \nToday's vote in South Carolina is one of seven across the country; there are also primaries in Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri and Delaware and caucuses in New Mexico and North Dakota. \nSouth Carolina may not send the most delegates to the national convention which will ultimately anoint the presidential nominee, but all the candidates acknowledge that the state has huge symbolic importance. \nIn the past week the candidates have weaved through black churches and white neighborhoods talking about healing the nation without ever addressing the gaping wound before them. \n"They're not going to talk about it unless they absolutely have to," says Kymm Hunter, who works at Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia. \n"Racism's still strong here so they just won't tell it like it is." \nHunter is voting for the Reverend Al Sharpton, the only black in the race, who breaks the race taboo, sometimes with frustration but more often with humor. \n"I'm the son of a man who couldn't be a mill worker because of the color of his skin," he told John Edwards, the North Carolina senator and Democratic hopeful who makes much of his humble upbringing, at a recent debate. \nTwo days later he said: "If he thinks it's a long distance from a mill house to the White House he should think about how far it is from the outhouse of the mill house to the White House." \nIf race describes a difference between the voters, economics and electability define the issues motivating them. Sharpton has coined the best lines of the campaign as he has been working through the churches and black colleges of South Carolina for several months. \nBut the latest Zogby tracking poll puts him fourth among black voters. The erratic polls nonetheless tell one essential story. \nWhatever the differences between the South and the rest of the country and within the South itself, when it comes to this primary race Democrats share one overriding concern: they loathe US President George W. Bush with more intensity than they love any of the candidates. \n"I connect with Al Sharpton on an emotional level," said Wayne Smith, a black Vietnam veteran. \n"He's an important voice. But at the end of the day he's not going to make it happen. Senator Kerry has reached his stride. He can get rid of George Bush and that's what I want more than anything else."
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies