Author: Clark Scally
Mali. French President Francois Hollande was informed by embarrassed Malian authorities on April 9 that his pet camel was eaten by the family he left it with in Timbuktu. The camel was a gift from the Malian government given to President Hollande during his visit in February, as thanks for French military aid in defeating Islamist rebels. Hollande joked the camel could be used in Paris to get around traffic jams. Unfortunately, the camel seemed to dislike him, screeching constantly in the President’s presence and recoiling when he tried to pat its head. Upon the President’s return to France, he left it in the care of a family in Timbuktu. They apparently misunderstood the purpose of the camel, and the family slaughtered it to make tagine, a Malian type of slow-simmered stew.
“As soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel,” an official in Timbuktu told the Reuters news agency. “We are ashamed of what happened to the camel.” The official asked Reuters not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. “The new camel will be sent to Paris. It was a present that did not deserve this fate.” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was put in charge of giving President Hollande regular updates on the replacement camel’s status and is overseeing the delivery of the new camel directly to Paris.
New York Times and Reuters
United States. Scientists successfully grew a functional kidney in a lab and transplanted into a living rat’s body, making it the most complicated organ ever constructed outside a living body. The new grafted kidneys have been found to be less effective than natural kidneys, and research is far from discovering how kidneys can be engineered and transplanted into human patients. Kidneys are the most in-demand organ for human transplant. “If you think about the United States alone, there’s 100,000 patients currently waiting for kidney transplants, and there’s only around 18,000 transplants done each year,” Harald Ott, the study’s lead researcher, said. Scientists hope that laboratory-grown kidneys will be able to fill this void in the future.
Venezuela. The former deputy of the late Hugo Chavez, Socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro, won the presidential election on April 14. Maduro won 50.7 percent of the vote against Henrique Capriles, who won 49.1 percent of the vote. Last week Nicolas Maduro invoked a shamanic hex upon anyone who would vote against him, cursing those who voted for Henrique Capriles with the curse of Maracapana, but Maduro assured his supporters that he won a just, legal and constitutional victory. Almost 80 percent of eligible voters voted in the nationwide election.
BBC World Service and Al Jazeera English
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