President appears in public
President Daniel Ortega reappeared in public on Monday after a 10-day absence that had sparked rumors he was sick or even dead. He did so at Managua Airport as he received Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, arriving from the Vatican after a visit with Pope Francis. “You have carried out the miracle of resurrecting me, because a lot of people thought I was dead,” said a smiling Ortega, 68. Rumors had been flying in the Central American country because of Ortega’s 10-day absence from official ceremonies. These were accentuated on Thursday last week when Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa canceled a planned visit to Managua. Reports has said Ortega had health problems and received treatment in Cuba.
State seizes minerals
More than 119,000 tonnes of minerals suspected of being part of illegal export operations have been seized in a port where a powerful drug gang allegedly has been shipping iron to China, the government said on Monday. More than 400 federal agents, police and military personnel raided 11 sites around the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas in the state of Michoacan, and troops seized minerals without proper documentation, Michoacan Federal Government Commissioner Alfredo Castillo said in a statement. The navy took over the port in November to combat an illegal iron ore exporting business to China allegedly run by the Knights Templar drug cartel.
Thousands flee Darfur
Almost 40,000 people may have been displaced by militia arson and looting in the Darfur region, according to new data obtained yesterday. More than 19,000 arrivals have been recorded at two camps for displaced people near the South Darfur state capital, Nyala, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. That is in addition to an estimated 20,000 who the UN’s World Food Program on Monday said fled to safety at Saniya Deleiba, a village about 35km from Nyala. Mario Lito Malanca, the IOM’s chief of mission in the country, said his agency registered 5,473 displaced in Kalma camp and 14,015 in al-Salam camp.
Official heads to India
A senior official headed to India yesterday, admitting that the two countries had “real challenges” to overcome as they try to move on from an ugly diplomatic dispute earlier this year. The Indian-born US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal is to be the most high-profile visitor to New Delhi since a row over the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York in December. Several planned trips between Indian and American officials have since been cancelled and a fresh trade dispute has further complicated their relationship.
Maori king snubs prince
The Maori king has refused to meet Prince William during a royal tour next month, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday, expressing disappointment at the snub. Key said Kensington Palace had hoped Prince William would visit King Tuheitia at the Turangawaewae marae, or meeting place, during his April 7-16 trip to New Zealand with wife Catherine and baby Prince George. However, he said King Tuheitia’s office rejected the offer, arguing that the 90 minutes allotted for the visit to the Maori leader’s base on the North Island was not long enough for proper protocols to be observed.