Mandela out of hospital
Former president Nelson Mandela was released on Wednesday from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection and having gallstones removed, a government spokesman said. The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon will continue to receive medical care at home. Mandela had been in the hospital since Dec. 8. In recent days, officials have said he was improving and in good spirits, but doctors have taken extraordinary care with his health because of his age. Mandela was released on Wednesday evening and will receive “home-based high care” at his residence in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton until he fully recovers, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.
Fireworks factory explodes
A massive explosion ripped through a warehouse full of fireworks in Lagos on Wednesday, sparking a fire that threatened surrounding city blocks and sending a plume of thick smoke high into the sky. At least one person died and 15 others were wounded, emergency officials said. The blast occurred around 9am in the Jankara area of Lagos Island. The force of the explosion echoed kilometers away and shook windows. A journalist saw members of the Nigerian Red Cross treating people with minor cuts and bruises a few blocks from the site. Later, rescuers pulled out a badly charred corpse from the still-smoldering structure. Many people were injured when they stampeded through the area’s narrow alleyways, National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib said. A half-dozen firefighters arrived at the scene with two trucks and locals also ran fire hoses from the trucks to nearby buildings to try to beat back the flames. The trucks quickly ran out of water. One man even scooped up water from a puddle with a bowl in an attempt to fight the blaze.
Hiroshima survivors honored
Hiroshima University yeterday said it would bestow honorary doctorates on three former students from Southeast Asia who survived the 1945 atomic bombing of the city. The degrees will be given to former Brunei prime minister Pengiran Yusuf, 91; Hasan Rahaya, 91, a former Indonesian parliamentarian; and Abdul Razak, 87, who taught Japanese in Malaysia, the university said. The three were among a group of students from Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia studying in the country during World War II under a program designed to provide young foreigners with pro-Japanese education. According to the university, they were forced to stop their studies after Hiroshima was hit by the atomic bomb dropped by US forces, killing an estimated 140,000 people instantly. They were among nine foreign students at the university who were exposed to radiation from the bomb, a university official said.
Latecomer storm kills six
A late season storm has left at least six people dead in separate incidents in the central part of the country, but has spared a southern region that was devastated by a typhoon that killed more than 1,000 people weeks earlier. The national disaster agency said in a report yesterday that three people died when a tree fell on their house in Eastern Samar province, where Tropical Storm Wukong made landfall on Christmas Day. Another person was killed in a landslide in Iloilo province. Officials say heavy rain on mountains surrounding Kalibo, the capital of Aklan province, triggered a flash flood late on Wednesday. It was the 17th storm to hit the country this year.