Ronald Reagan was laid to rest in the rolling California hills that he loved on Friday in a sunset ceremony that ended a week of national mourning for the 40th president -- the last chapter of what President George W. Bush called "a great American story." \nHundreds of close friends and family paid a final farewell to Reagan, whose passing at age 93 stirred an outpouring of emotion from a nation nostalgic for his warmth, charm and optimism. \nAt the burial ceremony at the Reagan Presidential library, a lone bagpiper played Amazing Grace, US navy jets flew overhead in what is called a "Missing Man Formation" and an honor guard presented widow Nancy Reagan with the flag that had draped his coffin for his last journey home. \nShe dabbed her eyes, hugged the flag to her chest and then walked to the coffin, placed her cheek on the polished wood and began to weep as her children Ron and Patti comforted her. \nThe frail 82-year-old widow placed a single kiss on the coffin and reluctantly allowed herself to be led away so that the burial service could be concluded. \nIn contrast to the formal, state funeral service held earlier in the day in Washington, DC, where President Bush told an assembly of world leaders that "a great American story" had ended, Reagan's burial was a family affair attended by some 700 close friends, many of them people the late president had known since his days as a Hollywood actor. \nIn short but moving speeches, his three surviving children spoke lovingly of the man they knew as a father rather than a world leader and celebrated his humor and odd habits like pulling a stranger's earlobe. \n"He is home now. He is free. In his final letter to the American people, Dad wrote, `I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.' This evening he has arrived," his youngest son Ronald Prescott Reagan said, briefly touching his father's flag draped coffin. \n"History will record his worth as a leader. We here have long since measured his worth as a man," he added. \nMichael Reagan, the son he adopted during his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, told the crowd his father once gave him marital advice: "You'll never get in trouble if you tell her `I love you' once a day. I am sure that he told that to Nancy." \nDaughter Patti Davis told how her father, when she was a young girl, gave such a touching burial service for a pet goldfish that she offered to kill all the other fish in the tank and he had to spend a lot of time dissuading her. \nThe ceremony concluded with the playing of "Taps" and a flyover by US navy jets. \nAmong those in attendance at the burial service were Margaret Thatcher, Reagan's political soul-mate, as well as ex-US Secretary of State George Shultz and such celebrities as Nancy Sinatra, Tom Selleck, Merv Griffin, Bo Derek and Larry King. Also there was another actor inspired to go into politics by Reagan's example -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. \nSelleck, who worked with Nancy Reagan on her "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign, said the national wave of emotion of the past week "would mean a lot to him. ... I think he would be touched in his own self-effacing way." \nCNN's Larry King, a personal friend although at odds with Reagan politically, said "He didn't hate. I think one of the reasons people are acting this way this week is they miss that." \nIn a touch typical of California, many at the burial service wore sunglasses. And many sobbed. \nIn the week since Reagan died more than 150,000 people, in Simi Valley and in Washington, D.C., have filed passed his flag-covered casket as his body lie in state. \nAs the casket carried Reagan home to southern California for the final time on Friday afternoon, throngs of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the motorcade, some waving flags or dabbing tears from their eyes.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big