The Independent

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Former military ruler of Pakistan dies aged 79

Pervez Musharraf, the four-star general who ruled Pakistan for nearly a decade after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1999, died yesterday at the age of 79. He died in hospital in Dubai after a long illness and years spent in self-imposed exile. Musharraf enjoyed strong support for many years – he oversaw rapid economic growth and attempted to usher in socially liberal values in the conservati­ve Muslim country. His greatest threat

came from al-Qaeda and other militant Islamists, who tried to kill him at least three times. But his heavy-handed use of the military to quell dissent as well as his continued backing of the United States in its fight against al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban ultimately led to his downfall.

Born in New Delhi in 1943, Musharraf was four years old when his parents joined the mass exodus by Muslims to the newly created state of Pakistan. His father served in the foreign ministry, while his mother was a teacher and the family subscribed to a moderate, tolerant brand of Islam. He joined the army at the age of 18, and went on to lead an elite commando unit before rising to become its chief. He took power by ousting the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who had tried to sack him for greenlight­ing an operation to invade Indian-held areas of Kashmir, bringing Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

In his early years in government, Musharraf won plaudits internatio­nally for his reformist efforts, pushing through legislatio­n to protect the rights of women and allowing private news channels to operate for the first time. The later years of his presidency were, however, overshadow­ed by his increasing­ly authoritar­ian rule. In 2006, Musharraf ordered military action that killed a tribal head from the province of Balochista­n, laying the foundation­s of an armed insurgency that rages to this day. In 2008, the country’s first democratic elections in 11 years were held. Musharraf’s party lost and facing impeachmen­t by parliament he resigned the presidency and fled to London. He returned to Pakistan in 2013 to run for a seat in parliament but was immediatel­y disqualifi­ed. He was allowed to leave for Dubai in 2016. Reuters

Argentina issues 2,000-peso banknote as inflation soars

Argentina will issue a new 2,000-peso bank note in response to soaring inflation, the country’s central bank has confirmed. The BCRA will issue the new note – worth $11 (£9) – as customer prices jumped by nearly 95 per cent in the 12-months to the end of December, marking the fastest pace of inflation in the

country since 1991. The largest peso bill is currently 1,000 pesos, with just a $2.75 value in the internatio­nal markets. The BCRA said in a tweet that the new bank note would “commemorat­e the developmen­t of science and medicine in Argentina”. The note will feature pioneering doctors Cecilia Grierson and Ramón Carrillo, the central bank confirmed, although there is no further informatio­n on the circulatio­n date.

Man falls from cliff while filming TikTok video

A man fell 70ft to his death while he was recording a TikTok video near a cliff in Puerto Rico. The US Coast Guard identified the man as 27-year-old Edgar Garay, a resident of Indiana. Garay was sightseein­g with family in Cabo Rojo, on the southweste­rn coast of Puerto Rico, when the tragedy took place on 29 January. His body was found on Tuesday by emergency dive crews. Garay’s brother Carlos Garay told WTHR that a family member who was at the scene with Garay warned him not to get too close to the cliff before stepping away for a moment. When the relative returned to the edge of the cliff, Garay was nowhere to be seen. The coast guard was then alerted and a search was launched.

Oscar nominee says her role was offered to Jackie Chan first

Michelle Yeoh has revealed that Jackie Chan texted her after she received her Oscar nomination for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Chan told her that he had in fact been offered the lead role first, which was originally written to be a man. In the film, Yeoh stars as Evelyn Quan Wang, a laundromat owner who discovers the ability to travel through an infinite number of parallel universes. Yeoh is nominated for Best Actress at this year’s Academy Awards for her role in the film, while Everything Everywhere All At Once is currently tipped to win best picture. “They wrote it that way, with Jackie, and me as the wife. So the roles were completely reversed. I remember Jackie texting me and saying, ‘Congratula­tions! You know your boys came to see

me first. I’m like, ‘thank you bro, you did me a huge favour’,” she said.

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 ?? (AP) ?? Ex - Pakistan PM Pervez Musharraf f l ed his country in 2008
(AP) Ex - Pakistan PM Pervez Musharraf f l ed his country in 2008
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