Woman reaches US army's top rank

Another glass ceiling has been shattered. Now if only they'd do something about the rapes and murders of military women in the rank and file!
Gen Ann E Dunwoody - 14/11/2008
Gen Dunwoody has been in logistics for most of her army career

An American woman has been promoted to four-star general - the first female to reach the US army's highest rank.

In her acceptance speech, Ann E Dunwoody said she had never expected to rise so high in the ranks in her 33-year career.

She said no one was more surprised than she and her husband. "Behind every successful woman there's an astonished man," she added.

There are 21 female generals, most of them one-star, in the US army.

Women make up 14% of the army's active-service strength of more than 500,000 soldiers.

'Open doors'

Gen Dunwoody comes from a long line of soldiers.

"A Dunwoody has fought in every American war since the Revolution," said army chief of staff Gen George Casey.

Gen Dunwoody is married to retired air force officer Craig Brotchie.

"There is no one more surprised than I, except of course, my husband," she told an auditorium packed with the military's top brass.

"And you know what they say, behind every successful woman there's an astonished man."

Defence Secretary Robert Gates said: "History will no doubt take note of [Dunwoody's] achievement in breaking through this final 'brass ceiling' to pin on this fourth star."

"But she would rather be known and remembered first and foremost as a US army soldier."

She is now head of the Army Materiel Command, in charge of weapons, equipment and uniforms for the army.

Women are barred from combat roles but have been allowed in the last two decades to serve in a wide variety of other positions.

"It's been my experience in my 33 years in the military that the doors have continued to open and the opportunities have continued to expand," she said.

Go to original BBC article

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Heroine: "Mama Africa"

Hundreds bid farewell to Makeba

Mourners at a memorial service for Miriam Makeba, 15 Nov
Mourners paid their respects to the singer known as Mama Africa

Large crowds have flocked to a memorial service in Johannesburg for South African singer Miriam Makeba, who died last weekend after a concert in Italy.

Musicians, poets and politicians paid tribute to the 76-year-old performer.

Arts minister Pallo Jordan described Makeba as "a woman whose name became synonymous with the worldwide struggle for freedom in South Africa".

Her family also attended the service at the Coca Cola Dome concert venue, which followed two days of national mourning.

They are expected to hold a smaller service for her cremation on Sunday.

The singer, who was known as Mama Africa, spent more than 30 years in exile after lending her support to the campaign against apartheid.

Miriam Makeba
Her music reverberated with consciousness about the real conditions of South Africans
President Kgalema Motlanthe

Her memorial service drew hundreds of mourners, both black and white and of all ages.

South African trumpet player Hugh Masekela, once married to Makeba, performed a solo version of her song Welele to the accompaniment of soft clapping from the crowd.

Poet Maishe Maponya spoke of how her "lips touched our hearts with hymns of beauty" and how she had inspired her people with hope for the future.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki and current Deputy President Baleka Mbete were also present.

President Kgalema Motlanthe, in Washington for a G20 economic summit, paid tribute to Makeba in a video message.

"Let us say it loud and clear. Miriam Makeba was not affectionately called Mama Africa for nothing," he said. "Her music reverberated with consciousness about the real conditions of South Africans."

Makeba was the first black singer to win a Grammy award, which she shared with Harry Belafonte in 1965.

She was one of Africa's best known singers, famed for hits such as Pata Pata and The Click Song.

Former president Nelson Mandela said she was the "mother of our struggle" and "South Africa's first lady of song".

Her body was flown home to South Africa on Wednesday; the country began a period of national mourning a day later.

Go to original article

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BBC Radio 4 profile of Michelle Obama

Listening to this, I get the feeling that, along with Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama will be one of the most overqualified First Ladies ever to adorn the White House

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    Colleagues and friends discuss Michelle Obama's influence on her husband's campaign and trace her journey from a childhood in working-class Chicago to the brink of the White House.

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