Mauritania Arrests Ex-president
Amid an ongoing investigation into alleged high-level corruption during his time in office, authorities in Mauritania on Wednesday arrested former president Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Aziz, who stepped down in 2019 after serving two five-year terms, was indicted in March and placed under house arrest in May following a parliamentary investigation into suspected graft during his administration.
Mohameden Ichidou, coordinator of the lawyers for his defence said the ex-president was taken into custody on Tuesday for failing to appear before a judge last week, as he was required to do regularly under the terms of his judicial supervision.
“The cause raised in the report relates to the absence of the former president in front of the judge on Friday and Sunday,’’ said Ichidou.
He said Abdel Aziz had stopped going to see the judge because each time he went he was followed by police and civilians along the road who hassled and threatened him.
The former president could not be reached for comment. He had previously denied the corruption allegations.
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A family member confirmed that police appeared at the former president’s home in Nouakchott on Tuesday with a summons from the courthouse.
Aziz followed them, and the family was later informed he had been arrested, he said.
Aziz, 64, came to power in Mauritania, a vast desert country of fewer than five million people, in a 2008 coup and was an important ally of Western powers fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel region.
He was replaced by a political ally, current president Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, but quickly found that his government’s actions, including deals on offshore oil projects, came under scrutiny by parliament.
Former Prime Minister Ismail Ould Cheikh Sidiya and his entire government resigned amid the parliamentary investigation in 2020. (Reuters/NAN)
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How Eight Died In India Temple Collapse
No fewer than eight devotees died and about a dozen rescued on Thursday after about 25 people fell into a well at a Hindu temple in India, police said.
The worshippers plunged into the stepwell – a stair-lined communal water source – after the floor covering it collapsed in the central city of Indore.
“We have recovered eight bodies and rescued nearly a dozen,” police official Manish Kapooriya told AFP, adding that rescue efforts were still ongoing.
Television footage showed emergency workers using ropes and ladders to reach those trapped in the well in Madhya Pradesh state.
Other videos showed the caved-in floor and mangled steel bars, and policemen using ropes to seal the area.
Temples across India were brimming with devotees on the occasion of Ram Navami, the birthday of the Hindu deity Lord Ram.
Police Fine British Prime Minister For Not Wearing Seatbelt In Car
The British Police have fined Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a moving car while on a trip to northern England.
Sunak, who recorded an Instagram video on Thursday, was seen turning in his seat to talk to the camera without a seatbelt on, a video that has now been deleted from the social media site.
The PM’s office at Downing Street said the incident was a “brief error of judgment”, but Lancashire constabulary announced they were fining Sunak for the infraction, The Guardian UK says.
The force said: “You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seatbelt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.
“After looking into this matter, we have today issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”
Reacting, a spokesperson for Sunak said: “The prime minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.”
A fixed penalty means Sunak can pay a fine to avoid a court hearing.
The police did not disclose how much they had fined the prime minister, but according to the government’s safety campaign, any driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt is breaking the law and is liable to be fined up to £500 if the case goes to court, according to The Guardian UK.
Sunak’s transportation habits were already a talking point in the United Kingdom before the incident, a report by AFP says.
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His political rivals have taken aim at his use of a private jet to make multiple short flights in recent days.
This is not the first time Sunak has been slapped with a police fine.
He was fined while serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer for attending a Downing Street party in June 2020 that violated the government’s rules on social distancing, according to an AFP report.
The latest fine makes Sunak the second Conservative prime minister to receive a police fine in less than 12 months. The Metropolitan police, in 2020, issued a fixed-penalty notice to Boris Johnson for attending a party during lockdown. Sunak was fined for attending the same event as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
World’s Oldest Nun Dies At 118
French nun Sister André who was the world’s oldest known person died at age 118 in the southern French city of Toulon, the city’s mayor Hubert Falco said on Wednesday.
Born in the southern French town of Ales on Feb. 11, 1904, as Lucile Randon, Sister André was listed as the oldest person alive by the Gerontology Research Group in April 2022.
The Frenchwoman worked as a home teacher in her youth and did not enter a religious community until she was in her early 40s.
Most recently, Sister André was confined to a wheelchair, and for several years she could no longer see properly.
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She was an honorary citizen of Toulon, where she lived in a retirement home for several years.
Falco praised her as incredibly modern and a nun with a big heart.
Guinness World Records said Lucile, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, was the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded.
More recently, Sister André received the record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor after an infection in 2021.
“It’s difficult to fathom that someone born before the patenting of plastic, zips or even bras were alive well into the 21st century, and robust enough to beat COVID-19’’, the Guinness World Records editor, Craig Glenday said in a statement.
“It’s been an honour to record her story in the pages of the Guinness World Records book, and she will live on in history as the fourth oldest person ever authenticated.’’
With her death, Maria Branyas Morera, who lived in Spain, assumed the title of the world’s oldest person at age 115.
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