Stop the Presses: No More Sex in Togo

Article excerpt

Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

Party Poopers

The summit meeting in Tehran of the Nonaligned Movement--yes, it still exists--was supposed to be Iran's opportunity to cackle at the West. After all, how much of a pariah can a place really be if delegations fly in from 120 countries? As Newsweek went to press, however, the Iranian mood at the jamboree was far from jaunty. Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, used the podium to express impassioned support for the uprising in Syria, painting the Assad regime--with which Iran has intimate ties--as "oppressive," one "that has lost its moral legitimacy." (Syria's foreign minister walked out in protest.) To make matters worse for the hosts, Ban Ki-moon, the normally tepid and emollient U.N. secretary-general, censured Iran in his speech for threatening to destroy Israel and for its "outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust."

Lysistrata in Togo

Isabelle Ameganvi, a prominent civil-rights lawyer, has sown consternation among the menfolk of her country by calling on her fellow Togolese women to withhold conjugal sex for a week. The object of her scorn is one man in particular, President Faure Gnassingbe, who took power in a fraud-ridden election in 2005 after the death of his father (who had ruled the country for nearly four decades). Ameganvi has said that an end to the sex strike is conditional on Togo's men launching protests in demand of the president's resignation. Ominously, she told a rally of many thousands of women that "if men refuse to hear our cries we will hold other demos that will be more powerful than a sex strike." Not everyone in Togo is impressed. A local journalist told the Associated Press that Ameganvi's rallying cry was "not serious at all. It is easy for her to say because she is not married herself. She does not live with a man at home."

Chinese Checkers

Chinese defense ministers do not, normally, pay visits to India, a country with which China fought a brief and bloody war in 1962, and with which it has a full quiver of seemingly intractable territorial disputes. …