LONDON — Britain has tried to make good by one of its most famous sons, posthumously pardoning Alan Turing for a gay sex conviction which tarnished the brilliant career of the code breaker credited with helping win the war against Nazi Germany and laying the foundation for the computer age.
One author said he hoped today’s symbolic act — the famous mathematician committed suicide more than 50 years ago — would send a message to countries such as India and Russia, where gays can still be prosecuted for expressing their sexuality.
Others say the pardon doesn’t go far enough, noting that thousands of others shared in Turing’s humiliation in the years during which Britain criminalized homosexual behavior.
For lawmaker Iain Stewart, one of many who campaigned for the pardon, the act helped right a massive wrong.
“He helped preserve our liberty,” Stewart told The Associated Press. “We owed it to him in recognition of what he did for the country — and indeed the free world — that his name should be cleared.”
Turing’s contributions to science spanned from computer science to biology, but he’s perhaps best remembered as the architect of the effort to crack the Enigma code, the cipher used by Nazi Germany to secure its military communications. Turing’s groundbreaking work — combined with the effort of cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park near Oxford and the capture of several Nazi code books — gave the Allies the edge across half the globe, helping them defeat the Italians in the Mediterranean, beat back the Germans in Africa and escape enemy submarines in the Atlantic.
Today’s pardon, which caps years of campaigning by gay rights activists, lawmakers, scientists, and others, was officially granted by Queen Elizabeth II, although in practice such pardons are an executive decision taken by the government.
Saxophonist Yusef Lateef dies at age 93 in Mass.
SHUTESBURY, Mass. — Grammy-winning musician and composer Yusef Lateef, one of the first to incorporate world music into traditional jazz, has died. He was 93.
Lateef died Monday at his home in Shutesbury in western Massachusetts, according to the Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst.
Lateef, a tenor saxophonist known for his impressive technique, also became a top flutist. He was a jazz soloist on the oboe and played bassoon. He introduced different types of flutes and other woodwind instruments from many countries into his music and is credited with playing world music before it was officially named.
He became a fixture on the Detroit jazz scene in the 1950s leading his own quintet. In 1960, he moved to New York and joined Charles Mingus’ band. Lateef would go on to perform with some of jazz’s best talent, including Cannonball Adderley, Donald Byrd and Miles Davis.
In the 1980s, he taught at a university in Nigeria, where he did research into the Fulani flute.
Lateef formed his own label, YAL Records, in 1992, which released an extended suite, “The World at Peace,” co-composed with percussionist Adam Rudolph. He also wrote a four-movement work for quintet and orchestra, “The African American Epic Suite,” which was commissioned and performed by the WDR Orchestra in Germany in 1993.
He is survived by his wife, Ayesha Lateef; son, Yusef Lateef; granddaughter and great-grandchildren.
Arsenio Hall uninjured in minor car accident
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police say talk show host Arsenio Hall drove off a road in the San Fernando Valley but he’s uninjured.
Sgt. Russell Carr tells City News Service that Hall lost control of his Porsche and drove into a dirt shoulder at around 7:15 p.m. Monday in West Hills.
The car had to be towed.
Carr says it’s unclear why Hall lost control of the car but police have ruled out driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.