Family grateful for support
Former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, expressed gratitude for the global outpouring of support since his grandfather’s death on Thursday, saying his family had been “overwhelmed” by the response. “The messages we have received since last night have heartened and overwhelmed us,” he said.
Dalai Lama misses friend
The Dalai Lama yesterday said he would miss his “dear friend” Mandela, who he hailed as “a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity” in a letter sent to the Mandela family. In a statement on his Web site, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said “the best tribute we can pay to him is to do whatever we can to contribute to honoring the oneness of humanity and working for peace and reconciliation as he did.” The two Nobel Peace Prize laureates last met in 2004 in Johannesburg.
Aung San Suu Kyi mourns
Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday paid tribute to Mandela as a “great human being” who inspired others to change the world. “I would like to express my extreme grief at the passing away of a man who stood for human rights and for equality in this world,” she said. “He made us all understand that nobody should be penalized for the color of his skin, for the circumstances into which he is born. He also made us understand that we can change the world — we can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this reason I would like to pay him tribute as a great human being who raised the standard of humanity.”
Praise from Gorbachev
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev described Mandela as “great man” whose life was an “example” to state leaders. “His whole life is an example for those who think about their country, the people,” he told the ITAR-TASS news agency. “A great man has departed, one respected by me and others for his dedication to freedom and revolution, which is necessary for that freedom.”
Death raises questions
Many Chinese mourned Mandela yesterday, but took to the Internet or the Sina Weibo microblogging site to ask questions about their own human rights leaders. “We are remembering a person who respected and struggled for human rights, freedom and equality, but China’s Mandela, who has done exactly the same kind of things, has been jailed,” wrote one user, making an apparent reference to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波). “It’s totally ironic.” Another wrote: “If Mandela had been Chinese, he’d have been beaten to death.” A third Weibo user wrote: “China does not lack people like Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi. The difference is that they both eventually ended up being freed. People like this, in China, once they go into jail, they vanish.”
US teacher shot dead
An American chemistry teacher was shot to death as he was jogging in Benghazi on Thursday. There were no credible claims of responsibility, but suspicion was likely to fall on Islamic militants active in Benghazi. It came five days after al-Qaeda’s American spokesman called upon Libyans to attack US interests as revenge for US special forces snatching an al-Qaeda suspect off the streets of Tripoli in October. The US State Department identified the teacher as Ronald Thomas Smith II. Smith, 33.
Radioactive item recovered
Mexican authorities on Thursday recovered dangerous radioactive material from a cancer-treating medical device that was on a stolen truck and abandoned in a field, the Ministry of the Interior said. It was in a capsule 2cm in diameter and authorities are now trying to isolate it safely before taking it to its original destination at a waste storage facility, the ministry said in a statement. Authorities have warned that whoever removed the radioactive material by hand was probably contaminated and could soon die.