Despite former president Ronald Reagan's reputation for being the "Great Communicator," he made many gaffes during his eight years in the White House -- at times with humorous consequences. \nOne of his most immortal slip-ups was his announcement, while preparing to give a radio address from his ranch in Santa Barbara, California: "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." \nUnfortunately for him, the microphone was on and the message was broadcast. \nThat was not the only diplomatic slip he made. During a state dinner in Brasilia in 1982, he toasted "the people of Bolivia." When he realized his error, he tried in vain to correct it, saying, "We're going there next." The tour continued, however, in Colombia, Costa Rica and Honduras. \nReagan fared no better on domestic matters. \nDuring his 1980 campaign against president Jimmy Carter, the 69-year-old actor made himself look foolish by declaring that "trees cause more pollution than automobiles," prompting a group of sarcastic students to demand a program to cut down national forests. \nOnce elected, the 40th and oldest president of the US declared, "Now we are trying to get unemployment to go up, and I think we're going to succeed." \nAnother time, he stated that the rate of poverty in the US "has begun to decline, but it is still going up." \nMany attributed the mistakes to Reagan's age. He had a reputation for falling asleep in Cabinet meetings. \nBut Reagan always relied on his humor and telegenic qualities to get himself out of trouble. "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience," he quipped during his 1984 campaign against Walter Mondale. \nReagan was also known for having difficulty with names. He once called Princess Diana "Princess David" and declared that "Gerald Ford is a communist."
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
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year