- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 28, 2009

Janet Jagan

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) _ Janet Jagan, a Chicago native who became Guyana’s first white and first female president, has died, a government official said. She was 88.

Jagan died Saturday at a state-run hospital of an abdominal aneurism, Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy said.

Jagan, a Jewish woman and a naturalized Guyanese, was elected president of the English-speaking South American country in December 1997, succeeding her husband, Cheddi Jagan, who died earlier that year.

At 77, she was the first white president of a country whose politics are polarized between its majority Guyanese of Indian descent _ the backbone of her ruling party _ and Afro-Guyanese, supporters of the opposition People’s National Congress.

Opposition leaders repeatedly accused Jagan’s government of racism and took to the streets in sometimes-violent protest. Jagan, in turn, claimed the opposition was trying to destabilize her government.

Citing reduced energy and stamina after suffering a mild heart attack, Jagan stepped down in August 1999, less than two years after taking office.


Arnold Meri

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) _ Arnold Meri, a decorated Red Army veteran charged with genocide for deporting hundreds of his Estonian countrymen to Siberia in 1949, died Friday. He was 89.

Meri, a former communist party official and the cousin of late Estonian President Lennart Meri, died at his home in Tallinn, his family said Saturday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reacted by awarding Meri, regarded as a war hero in Russia, a posthumous medal of honor.

In 2007, Estonian prosecutors charged Meri with genocide, claiming he oversaw the roundup and deportation of 251 civilians on the island of Hiiumaa, 90 miles west of Tallinn, in March 1949. During that month, Soviet authorities organized large deportations in Estonia and its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania of people considered to be enemies of the Soviet Union.

Prosecutors said the Hiiumaa deportees, including women and children, were shipped to the mainland and then by train to labor camps in Siberia, where many of them died.

During the trial, Meri acknowledged taking part in the deportations, but pleaded not guilty to genocide, claiming he was just carrying out orders as a civil servant. The case was adjourned several times due to Meri’s failing health, and had not been completed at the time of his death.

The genocide charges have angered Moscow, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry has suggested the charges against him were fabricated.


Harless Wade

DALLAS (AP) _ Harless Wade, longtime sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, died Saturday. He was 80.

Wade died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the newspaper announced. Wade, who had been in failing health in recent years, covered golf and other sports for the paper from 1956 until 1994.

When Wade retired, local golfers organized “An Evening With Harless Wade _ The Roasting of a Sports Writer.” The honorary planning committee for the event included Byron and Peggy Nelson, Ben Crenshaw, Darrell Royal and Mickey Mantle.

Wade, son of a Methodist minister, was born in Wichita Falls and grew up in Commerce,

He began his journalism career at what is now Texas A&M-Commerce;, where he became editor of the school newspaper before graduating in 1950 with a degree in speech and journalism. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 for “meritorious service.”

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