Country singer found dead
Troubled country music star Mindy McCready, whose platinum singing career was shadowed by substance abuse and suicide attempts, was found dead on Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, an Arkansas sheriff said. She was 37. McCready’s body was found on the porch of a house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, on Sunday afternoon.
Sarksyan victory very likely
Armenians voted in a presidential election yesterday that is likely to hand President Serzh Sarksyan a new five-year term, but the lack of any serious opposition and an assassination attempt on one of his rivals cast a shadow over the election. Opinion polls suggest Sarksyan’s victory is all but certain. He is on target to win more than 60 percent of the votes, with the next of the other six candidates barely in double figures. Sarksyan’s supporters hope an election free of the violence and fraud that marred the last presidential poll in 2008, when 10 people were killed in clashes, would show the world the former Soviet republic is on the path to economic recovery after years of war and upheaval.
Morsi’s son forgoes job
One of President Mohamed Morsi’s sons withdrew from taking up a job with a firm affiliated to the civil aviation ministry on Sunday amid media accusations of nepotism. The decision by Omar Morsi to forgo a human resources post at the Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation showed the role of independent media in holding leaders to account following the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
CIA movies claim honors
The CIA thrillers Argo and Zero Dark Thirty have won top screenplay honors from the Writers Guild of America. The guild’s adapted screenplay award on Sunday went to Chris Terrio for Argo, director Ben Affleck’s tale of the CIA’s daring masquerade of six US diplomats as a Hollywood film crew to rescue them from Iran during the hostage crisis there. Mark Boal won the prize for original screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow’s chronicle of the CIA’s manhunt for former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Chavez tweets he is back
President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba yesterday, more than two months after cancer surgery that threatens to end his 14-year rule. The 58-year-old Chavez underwent a six-hour operation in Cuba on Dec. 11 and had not been seen or heard in public since then until photographs were published of him on Friday. “We have arrived back in the Venezuelan fatherland. Thanks, my God! Thanks, my beloved people! Here we will continue the treatment,” Chavez said via Twitter.
Runoff vote set for weekend
The nation heads into a runoff presidential election this weekend, with voters called on to select who will lead the country through a severe financial crisis after no candidate won an outright majority in Sunday’s vote. Democratic Rally party leader Nicos Anastasiades, a right-winger who presented himself as the most capable to negotiate a bailout with the country’s European partners and who went into the election a strong favorite, won the first round with just over 45 percent of the vote.