Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson dies at 87
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Kanu Gandhi died at the age of 87 late Monday, two weeks after being admitted to hospital in western Gujarat state following a stroke. One of several grandchildren of India’s famous independence leader, Kanu was a scientist for NASA but spent the final months of his life living an ashram in Surat, Gujarat. “Kanu kaka had suffered from (a) stroke and had been in hospital since October 26. Since (the) last couple of days he was on ventilator support,” Parimal Desai from the ashram said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences, saying he was “pained by the demise of Kanubhai Gandhi”. Kanu was born in 1928 to Ramdas Gandhi, Gandhi’s third son, and was 17 years old when his grandfather was assassinated in Delhi. He appeared in a famous 1937 photograph of Gandhi, showing a then nineyear-old Kanu running ahead of his grandfather, holding his walking stick.
Snake on a plane a first-class surprise
First class passengers on a recent Aeromexico flight were confronted by a slithery stowaway, in a jaw-dropping scene reminiscent of the tongue-in-cheek action film “Snakes in a Plane.” A university rector from Torreon posted video on Twitter of the unwelcome passenger snaking its way out of an overhead bin and dropping into the cabin. “The flying viper, HA HA HA,” he joked. The mile-high stir was enough for air traffic authorities to give the jet a domestic flight from Torreon to Mexico City-a priority landing. Animal expert Juan Carlos Gomez Juarez said it was clear from the video that the passengers were not dealing with a poisonous species. Nobody was hurt but a few passengers were upset. “It is just really common for people to panic when they see snakes,” said Gomez Juarez. Aeromexico said it was investigating how the snake wound up on the jet.
Nicaragua’s Ortega wins third term, with his wife
Nicaragua’s leftist President Daniel Ortega has won a third straight term, with his colorful wife Rosario Murillo as vice president, results showed Monday, but the opposition and the United States condemned the election. With 99.8 percent of ballots counted, the 70-year-old former Marxist rebel had 72.5 percent of the vote, the country’s Supreme Electoral Council said. His nearest competitor, Maximino Rodriguez of the right-leaning Liberal Constitutionalist Party, had just 15 percent. Ortega, who has ruled Nicaragua for 20 of the past 37 years, has been accused of using the courts to limit the power of the opposition. His opponents branded the election a “farce”-a criticism echoed by the United States, which said the “flawed” process had made free and fair polls impossible. “The Nicaraguan government sidelined opposition candidates for president, limited domestic observation at the polls... and took other actions to deny democratic space,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
Investigators name plotter of Paris and Brussels attacks
French investigators have identified a Syriabased extremist of dual Belgian and Moroccan nationality who is thought to have plotted the attacks in Paris and Brussels, sources close to the case said yesterday. Oussama Atar, a 32-year-old believed to be a member of the Islamic State group, was already a suspect in the March 22 attacks on Brussels but has now been linked to the November 13 atrocities in Paris last year. “He’s the only coordinator from Syria to have been identified during the investigations,” one of the sources said. French investigators have long suspected that the Paris attacks, in which teams of jihadists killed 130 people, were coordinated by one or several people from Syria, but have never named anyone before. Atar, believed to go by the pseudonym Abou Ahmad, is a cousin of the El Bakraoui brothers who blew themselves up in the Brussels airport and metro attacks.
Five soldiers killed, four missing in Niger attack
Five soldiers were killed and four were missing following an attack in southwest Niger close to the border with Mali yesterday, a security source said. “This terrorist attack against the area of Banibangou killed five soldiers, injured three and four others were reported missing,” said the source, who requested anonymity. Niger’s long, porous borders make it vulnerable to the armed violence plaguing its neighbors. A Niger official also confirmed the attack which happened around 4:00 am. Twenty-two of Niger’s soldiers were killed last month when armed men who had travelled from Mali launched an attack on a refugee camp in the western Niger town of Tazalit.
MANAGUA: Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and his wife, vice presidential candidate Rosario Murillo show their marked thumbs after voting at a polling station. — AP