The last U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents left Bolivia on Thursday, ordered out by President Evo Morales, even as Bolivian police report that coca cultivation and cocaine processing are on the rise.
DEA leaves Bolivia: The last U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents left Bolivia on Thursday, ordered out by President Evo Morales, even as Bolivian police report that coca cultivation and cocaine processing are on the rise. Morales demanded the DEA’s exit in November 2008 as part of a dispute that included his expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg and the Bush administration’s decertification of Bolivia as ineffective in the drug war.
Olive branch: Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana on Thursday promised to put a radio station back on the air after its closure sparked anti-government rioting Monday in Antananarivo that left at least 43 dead. He also said he was open to “dialogue and discussion.”
Tanker hijacked: Somali pirates hijacked the MV Longchamp, a German tanker loaded with liquefied petroleum gas, Thursday off the Horn of Africa. The ship’s 13-man crew was reported safe.
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14 children: The Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets this week has six other children and never expected to have eight more when she took fertility treatment, her mother said Thursday. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, had embryos implanted last year, and “they all happened to take,” Angela Suleman said, leading to the eight births Monday. She said the doctors gave her daughter the option of selectively reducing the number of embryos, but she declined. The mother of the octuplets lives on a cul-de-sac in Whittier with her parents and six other children — ages 7, 6, 5, 3 and 2-year-old twins.
Spitzer madam sentenced: College student Cecil Suwal, 24, who managed the prostitution ring that brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison. Suwal, of New York, pleaded guilty last year to money laundering, conspiracy and conspiring to promote prostitution.
Doctor pleads guilty: Dr. Phil Astin, 54, personal physician to Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler who killed himself, his wife and their 7-year-old son in 2007, pleaded guilty Thursday in Newnan, Ga., to a 175-count federal indictment charging him with illegally distributing prescription drugs and conspiring to distribute prescription drugs.
Texas execution: Ricardo Ortiz, 46, a prison gang member who fatally injected a fellow inmate with an overdose of heroin in retaliation for snitching on him, was executed in Huntsville, Texas, on Thursday.
Odds & Ends
Robinson book: Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother, said Thursday he is working on a book, “A Game of Character,” which will be part tribute to his family and part inspirational guide. Robinson coaches men’s basketball at Oregon State University.
John Martyn, 60, a British singer-songwriter best known for his 1973 album “Solid Air” and whose songs were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, died Thursday.
Hélio Gracie, 95, one of the main creators of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that gained worldwide popularity, died Thursday near his home in Petrópolis near Rio de Janeiro; news reports said he had pneumonia.
Today in history
1933: Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany.
1948: Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi was shot and killed by a Hindu extremist.
1968: The Tet Offensive began during the Vietnam War as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals.
1979: The civilian government of Iran said it had decided to allow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had been living in exile in France, to return.
Actor Gene Hackman, 79. Actress Vanessa Redgrave, 72. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, 68. Singer Phil Collins, 58. Actor Charles S. Dutton, 58. Singer Jody Watley, 50. Pop-rock singer-songwriter Josh Kelley, 29. Actor Wilmer Valderrama, 29.
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