For many, that may seem like a nightmare, but for one elderly French woman living by herself, it was her reality.
On Tuesday, Parisian firefighters broke into the 69-year-old's apartment and broke down the bathroom door to free her, Agence France Presse reports.
Twenty days prior to the rescue, the woman, as yet unnamed by news agencies, became trapped in her bathroom when the lock broke.Continue »
"There is neither way to improve [relations] nor hope to bring them on track," North Korea's KCNA news agency quoted the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea as saying. "The confrontation between the North and the South in the political and military fields has been put to such extremes that the inter-Korean relations have reached the brink of a war."
Considering the large scale death and bloodshed of the war on the Korean peninsula just 50 years ago, statements like this should cause at least a mild panic in the international community.
Yet that kind of rhetoric has become so commonplace that U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark C. Toner said in a press conference Tuesday only that the U.S. and its allies would undertake a "measured and unified" response to North Korean hostilities.Continue »
The 2010 midterm elections were not just big news for all Americans. The rest of the world took notice too. For some, it was yet another sad step down for President Barack Obama, who took office with near rock star-like popularity internationally. For others, it provided a moment to reflect internally on similar political changes driven by the economic downturn. Regardless, an informal survey of opinion articles and reader comments in the world's leading news publications indicates that the rest of the planet seems to agree with President Barack Obama's assessment of Republican gains in the 2010 midterm election. In other words, it was his fault.
An opinion piece in the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, says Europeans might struggle to take the Republican and Tea Party election victories in context:
"Any autopsy of the Democrats' massive defeat on Tuesday shows that the right did not prevail simply due to their own strength. This was a collapse of the Obama coalition; the president has lost the support of America's middle class. In Western Europe Obama still enjoys almost messianic approval ratings of 80 percent. Nowhere else on earth regards Obama's program as more self-evident. Reforms such as health insurance for all, an active state and more environmental and climate protection are seen as catch-up Europeanization, a simple normalization. Millions of Americans, on the other hand, see this as an audacious if not revolutionary agenda to serve the interests of the state."
Bruyn Hospital director Pierre Nuty said she died early Thursday at the hospital, where she had lived in the geriatric ward since 1980.
Cousin Armelle Blanchard, her cousin, told The Associated Press that while Blanchard could no longer talk, she had seemed to be in relatively good health.
"When you talked to her, she would smile," she said. "We don't know if she understood us."
Blanchard was born in St. Barts on Feb. 16, 1896, and lived much of her life in a convent in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao before returning home in the 1950s. She was the last survivor of a family of 13 brothers and sisters.
Blanchard earned the nickname "Sweets," although the origin of the nickname is unclear. Victorin Lurel, who represents St. Barts in France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, said it was due to the way she treated others. Her great-nephew told Agence France Presse that she would offer sweets and candy to local children to entice them to attend religious readings.
Blanchard worked hard from an early age, her cousin recalled.
"At that time, life was very hard in St. Barts," she said. "She tended the garden and took care of the animals."
After returning from Curacao, she lived in a quaint house in the Merlette district with a cat as her only companion, Blanchard said.
Her great-nephew Daniel Blanchard, a former mayor of Saint-Barthelemy, told AFP he believed she lived so long because "she had decided to give her virginity to God".
Blanchard became the world's oldest person after Kama Chinen of Japan died on May 2, 2010, just a week before her 115th birthday, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks people of extremely old age.
The Guinness Book of World Records also recognized Blanchard as the world's oldest person.
Wolfgang Peter, a resident, said he was awakened by a roaring sound at 3 a.m., reported Der Spiegel, a German news magazine.
"First I heard the rushing of water and then it sounded as if a dozen gravel trucks were being emptied," Peter said, adding that when he went outside to investigate he suddenly found himself standing on the edge of a giant crater right next to his house.
The Associated Press reports that 25 people and six houses were evacuated from the scene.
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