President wins second term
The president has won a second four-year term, securing a mandate for his efforts to crack down on corruption and further integrate the landlocked North Asian nation into international society. With all precincts reporting, Elbegdorj Tsakhia won 50.23 percent of the vote in Wednesday’s election, with Baterdene Badmaanyambuu of the main opposition Mongolian People’s Party receiving 41.97 percent, the election commission said yesterday. Udval Natsag, health minister and first female presidential candidate, took 6.5 percent, it said. The result is seen as an affirmation of Elbegdorj’s drive against graft in the Alaska-sized nation of 3 million people, whose fortunes are being transformed by a boom in mining for coal, copper, gold and other resources.
Bid to save trafficker’s life
President Benigno Aquino III is asking his Chinese counterpart to spare the life of a Filipino woman facing execution for trafficking 6kg of heroin into the country. The Department of Foreign Affairs says the 35-year-old woman is scheduled to be executed any time between yesterday and Tuesday next week. Spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters that the woman was arrested at a Chinese airport in January 2011 along with a Filipino man. She traveled as a tourist and has been convicted of hiding the heroin in her luggage. Her companion was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. Hernandez said Aquino’s letter asking for the death sentence to be commuted would be delivered yesterday. China has previously ignored such appeals. It executed four Filipino drug convicts in 2011.
Mandela on life support
Nelson Mandela is on life support in hospital, a family elder said, as the president canceled a trip abroad following a visit to the revered anti-apartheid hero’s bedside. “Yes, he is using machines to breathe,” Napilisi Mandela said late on Wednesday after he saw the 94-year-old in the Pretoria hospital where he has been treated for a recurrent lung infection for nearly three weeks. “It is bad, but what can we do?” added the elder, who usually presides over family rituals and meetings. President Jacob Zuma late on Wednesday abruptly canceled a trip to neighboring Mozambique after he visited Mandela, who has been in critical condition for several days. Outside the hospital emotional crowds have been holding vigils, offering their own prayers and remembering the life of one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. Supporters sang hymns for the father of South African democracy and the architect of a remarkable transition from almost half a century of white minority rule to landmark multiracial elections.
Billionaire helps fight polio
Billionaire Sir Emeka Offor is donating US$1.25 million to the Rotary Club’s PolioPlus program to eradicate the paralyzing disease that attacks more people in his country than any other in the world. In a statement on Wednesday the oil and gas tycoon says “polio should have no place in our world.” Nigeria is the sticking point for efforts to rid the world of polio because of opposition from northern Muslim leaders who falsely preach that the vaccinations cause sterility and HIV-AIDS. The project is also opposed by Islamic extremists blamed for the killings of nine women health workers as they were vaccinating children against polio in Kano in February. Offor said the number of cases in Nigeria rose from 62 in 2011 to 122 last year.
Texas had 500th execution
Texas marked a solemn moment in criminal justice, executing its 500th inmate since it resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. Kimberly McCarthy, who was put to death on Wednesday evening for the murder of her 71-year-old neighbor, was also the first woman executed in the nation in nearly three years. McCarthy, 52, was executed for the 1997 robbery, beating and fatal stabbing of retired psychology professor Dorothy Booth. Booth had agreed to give McCarthy a cup of sugar before she was attacked with a butcher knife and candelabra at her home in Lancaster, south of Dallas. Authorities say McCarthy cut off Booth’s finger to remove her wedding ring. It was among three slayings linked to McCarthy, a former nursing home therapist who became addicted to crack cocaine.
Family paralyzed by herb
A family of four was left paralyzed after the grandmother of the household accidentally garnished their pasta with a poisonous plant, media reports said on Tuesday. Carmela Messina, 66, found the poisonous herb Devil’s Trumpet in some bushes near a market. Believing it to be a bitter green broccoli variant, she took it home and planted it in her herb collection. She sprinkled it on the family’s evening spaghetti on Monday and fell ill soon afterwards, along with her husband, daughter and young grandson. They were taken to hospital and put into a medically induced coma after another family member found them collapsing and vomiting. The four are still in hospital, but doctors said they were confident the paralysis would be temporary.
Mom frozen for week
A women kept her dead 83-year-old mother in the freezer for a week because she could not bring herself to say goodbye, police said on Wednesday. A family friend contacted police on Monday, saying they could “no longer live” with the secret of the body in the freezer. Police went to the house in Kamperland, Zeeland, and the 46-year-old daughter immediately confessed. “There was no indication that the mother didn’t die of natural causes, but the body has nevertheless been taken for an autopsy,” police spokeswoman Esther Boot said. The daughter was taken to the police station, interviewed and examined by a psychiatrist and allowed to return home. The two women had lived together for 17 years, during which time the daughter took care of her mother day and night “with lots of love,” police said. “We don’t yet know if there will be criminal proceedings, that’s up to the prosecutor,” Boot said. “Technically it’s a crime to keep a body in the freezer.”
Bieber’s pet moves to zoo
Mally the monkey, Justin Bieber’s former pet, has emerged from quarantine at his new home three months after the pop star brought him to the country. The six-month-old capuchin monkey on Wednesday moved into a new enclosure at the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen. Mally will soon be introduced to the zoo’s other capuchin monkeys. “Mally is a clever little guy and we’re confident that he will settle in quickly,” zoo manager Fabrizio Sepe said. Mally was transferred to the zoo last month from a Munich animal shelter where he had been since being seized by German customs on March 28. Bieber failed to produce the required vaccination and import papers after arriving for a European tour. Mally’s ownership was transferred to the German state on May 21.