London – James Murdoch, his credibility diminished and his future at the helm of his father’s media empire in doubt, stepped down Wednesday as executive chairman of News International, the troubled British newspaper subsidiary embroiled in a deepening phone hacking scandal.
The move – which the company cast as allowing Rupert Murdoch’s younger son to focus on News Corp.’s international TV holdings – plucks the one-time heir apparent out of the cross-hairs of the crisis that has spurred judicial and police inquiries and claimed the careers of several top executives.
James Murdoch, 39, will remain deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., and experts said removing him from the firestorm over News International doesn’t just help with damage control. It also leaves the embattled executive in a key position at the company and places him back into the role of TV executive, where he has shone in the past.
Boastful Senegal president now facing runoff election
Dakar, Senegal – Presidential election results published late Wednesday dealt a humiliating blow to Senegal’s aging leader, who had boasted that he would win the race outright and instead will have to face his former protege in a runoff election next month.
President Abdoulaye Wade, whose decision to seek a third term at age 85 has infuriated many Senegalese, got 942,546 votes, or 34.82 percent. That’s far short of the 50 percent that he needed to win the contest outright, as he did five years ago when his campaign was run by his former Prime Minister Macky Sall.
This time, Wade will face off against Sall in the second round. Sall came in second with 719,369 votes, or 26.57 percent, according to the provisional results read by the head of the country’s appeals court, Demba Kandji.
Castro sister Angela, 88, dies after long illness
Havana – Angela Castro, the eldest sister of Cuban revolutionary leaders Fidel and Raul Castro, has died following a long illness, another sibling who lives in exile confirmed Wednesday.
At 88, Angela was the first of the seven Castro brothers and sisters to die, and her passing served as another reminder of the looming mortality facing the entire clan. Fidel Castro, who stepped down in 2006, is 85; brother Raul, who took his place as president, is 80.
Angela’s death was confirmed by Juanita Castro from her home in Miami.
She told the Associated Press that her elder sister, known to close friends and relatives as “Angelita,” had suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years.