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.
Experts to address abuse
Pope Francis on Thursday ordered the formation of a team of experts to address the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, to tackle a crisis that has plagued it for two decades. The group will consider ways to better screen priests, protect minors and help people who have been abused. “The commission will be able to advise the Holy Father about the protection of children and pastoral care of victims of abuse,” the archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, told reporters in Vatican City.
Lawsuit over director’s kids
Director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) is facing a 1 billion yuan (US$164 million) lawsuit after violating the country’s one-child policy, the China Daily reported yesterday. Two lawyers filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Wuxi, the hometown of Zhang’s wife. “The rich have become increasingly audacious by violating the family planning policy,” one of the lawyers, Jia Fangyi (賈方義), said in a statement reported by the paper. Zhang has acknowledged that he has two sons and a daughter with his current wife, as well as a daughter with his ex-wife.
Defector in China: media
A man who managed funds for the ousted uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has fled the country and is seeking asylum in South Korea, local media said yesterday. The unnamed aide is currently being protected by South Korean officials in a secret location in China, cable news network YTN said, citing a source familiar with the matter. A spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, Kim Eui-do, said the defection report could not be confirmed.
Bruce Lee’s outfit sold
The jumpsuit worn by martial arts legend Bruce Lee (李小龍) in the movie Game of Death has sold at an auction for US$100,000. The yellow polyester suit with black stripes down the sides went to an unidentified bidder at Spink auction house’s sale on Thursday. It was part of a collection of 14 items of Bruce Lee memorabilia that raised more than HK$2 million (US$258,000). A pair of wooden yellow lacquered nunchaku that match the jumpsuit sold for HK$540,000 to British collector George Philips, an investment manager based in Hong Kong.