June 24, 2013

World/Nation Dispatches

JOHANNESBURG

Nelson Mandela
click image to enlarge

Nelson Mandela

The Associated Press

Mandela in critical condition, South African president says

Nelson Mandela's health has deteriorated and he is now in critical condition, the South African government said Sunday.

The office of President Jacob Zuma said that he had visited the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader at a hospital Sunday evening and was informed by the medical team that Mandela's condition had become critical in the past 24 hours.

Zuma also met Graca Machel, Mandela's wife, at the hospital in Pretoria and discussed the former leader's condition.

RAMALLAH, West Bank

Palestinian leader accepts prime minister's resignation

President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of his newly appointed prime minister Sunday, a spokesman said, leaving his Palestinian Authority in disarray at a time when he is focusing on a U.S. push to restart peace negotiations with Israel.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had served only two weeks when he abruptly resigned last week over a conflict of authority with his deputies. Abbas initially asked him to reconsider, but ultimately accepted the resignation and asked Hamdallah to stay on as head of a caretaker government until a replacement is found, an Abbas aide said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.

Bail denied for sex offender accused of killing 8-year-old

A judge Sunday denied bail to a registered sex offender accused of abducting and killing an 8-year-old Florida girl.

Donald James Smith, of Jacksonville, was charged Saturday with murder and kidnapping in the death of Cherish Perrywinkle.

Authorities said Smith befriended the girl and her mother while they shopped at a dollar store Friday night. Smith took them to a Walmart, where he offered to buy them clothes and hamburgers, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Instead of buying the snacks, Smith walked out of the store with the girl, the sheriff's office said. The girl's mother called 911 when she noticed they were missing.

A tip led investigators to the girl's body in the woods near a church Saturday morning. Police arrested Smith after stopping his van on Interstate 95.

PODGORICA, Montenegro

At least 13 tourists killed when bus goes into ravine

At least 13 people were killed and 32 were injured when a bus carrying Romanian tourists swayed off a bridge and plunged into a deep ravine in central Montenegro on Sunday, police said.

Montenegro Interior Minister Rasko Konjevic said the bus with 46 people on board crashed some 18 miles north of the capital, Podgorica. He said the bus was traveling from Romania to Montenegro's Adriatic coast.

DEL NORTE, Colo.

Wildfire called worst to hit Rio Grande National Forest

A colossal wildfire near a popular summer retreat in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday.

The weather has prevented fire crews from making progress on the blaze, which grew overnight to 108 square miles, up from 100 on Saturday.

Pete Blume, a commander with the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Command Team, said the wildfire is the worst ever known to hit the Rio Grande National Forest.

NEW YORK

Hostess to have Twinkies back on shelves next month

Hostess is betting on a sweet comeback for Twinkies when they return to shelves next month.

The company that went bankrupt after an acrimonious fight with its unionized workers last year is back up and running under new owners and a leaner structure. It says it plans to have Twinkies and other snack cakes back on shelves starting July 15.

-- From news service reports

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