Pakistani PM to visit shrine
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will visit India for the first time this week for a day-long pilgrimage to an Islamic shrine, a senior government official said in New Delhi yesterday. “Pakistan’s prime minister will be in India on Saturday. This is a private visit and he will be accompanied by his family and other officials,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “He is not expected to meet any Indian political leaders. This is clearly a religious and spiritual trip.” Ashraf and his family are expected to pray at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer Sharif, about 400km west of New Delhi. It will be the most senior visit from a Pakistani official to India since April last year when Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari embarked on a similar pilgrimage and had a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Oldest woman turns 115
The world’s oldest woman celebrated her 115th birthday yesterday in a nursing home with her favorite mackerel sushi dish. Misao Okawa, a descendant of Osaka kimono merchants, told a broadcaster she had never expected to live to such a great age, but had managed it “thanks to everybody.” Late last month, Okawa received a certificate from Guinness World Records confirming her status as the oldest living woman. Okawa was born on March 5, 1898, and married in 1919. She had three children, two of whom are still alive and in their 90s, media reported. The centenarian, who has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, has reportedly never had major health problems, but broke her leg when she was 102. The world’s oldest living person is a 115-year-old man who lives in Kyoto.
Shiraz gets wine ‘Oscar’
Influential journal Wine Advocate has awarded the nation’s 2008 Penfolds Grange shiraz an unsurpassable 100 points, a score chief winemaker Peter Gago yesterday said was like winning an Academy Award. The US-based Wine Advocate, which is considered the pinnacle of wine reviewing and rarely hands out a perfect score, described the Grange shiraz as “clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label.” “The 2008 Grange puts forward a very complex nose packed with aromas of mulberries, layers of baking spices, cloves and cinnamon with nuances of minced meat, anise, potpourri and whiffs of dried mint and chocolate,” it said. While Grange wines have been consistently rated highly, it is the first time in more than 40 years that one from the Australian vineyard has been deemed perfect. “In terms of ratings in the world of wine, it really doesn’t come any better than such a score in the Wine Advocate,” Gago said. The wine will be released to the public in May at about A$685 (US$701) a bottle.
Fire kills nine children
Nine children were burnt to death in a fire that broke out while they were sleeping in a crowded room at a Koranic school in Dakar, witnesses said on Monday. The fire occurred late on Sunday while about 40 children were asleep in a single room inside a decrepit building with wooden walls and zinc roofing in Medina District, locals said. “When the fire started, a fire brigade truck came, but could not get access to the site because of the narrow road leading to the house,” restaurant worker Saliou Gano, 45, told reporters. Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall told RFM radio that the ramshackle development of the capital made it impossible for emergency services to operate.