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Former US President Gerald Ford Dies at 93


Gerald Ford Obit: Former U.S. President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93. He was the longest living former American president.
Mr. Ford died Tuesday evening at his home in Rancho Mirage, California (in the western United States) where he lived with his wife, former First Lady Betty Ford. He had battled pneumonia and undergone two heart procedures earlier this year.
Mr. Ford was the only vice president and president in U.S. history not to have been elected to the offices. He was appointed vice president in 1973 when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned over allegations of financial corruption.
The following year, Mr. Ford became the 38th U.S. president when Richard Nixon resigned because of the Watergate political scandal. A month later, President Ford fully pardoned Mr. Nixon for any crimes he may have committed during his presidency.
Mr. Ford served only two-and-a-half years in the White House, but is credited with helping the United States come together and heal following the Vietnam war and a period of political upheaval.
Upon taking office, President Ford declared, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Ford React: President Bush has praised late president Gerald Ford as "a great American," who will be remembered for his devotion to duty, personal character and the honorable conduct of his administration."
Bush said in a brief statement early today (Wednesday) that Mr. Ford helped heal the country and restore public confidence in the presidency with his "quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts."
A White House spokesman says President Bush also spoke with Mr. Ford's wife, former First Lady Betty Ford, to express his personal condolences.
Vice President Cheney, who was Mr. Ford's White House chief of staff, said President Ford gave the country strength, wisdom and good judgment during the United States' greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War, and restored the public's trust in the presidency.

Saddam Trial: An Iraqi appeals court has upheld the death sentence against ousted leader Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity, and said he should be hanged within 30 days.
The head of the court (Aref Shahin) told reporters in Baghdad Tuesday it is possible that the sentence could be carried out before the January 27 deadline.
Last month, an Iraqi court sentenced Saddam to hang for ordering the execution of 148 Shi'ite men from Dujail after a failed assassination attempt against him in the town in 1982.
Many Shi'ites celebrated the ruling, while members of Saddam's once-dominant Sunni Arab minority deplored what they called a politically-motivated sentence.

Iran Nuclear: Iran's parliament has asked the government to review its level of cooperation with the U.N. nuclear agency, after the U.N. Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
Lawmakers in the conservative-controlled parliament passed a bill today (Wednesday) with an overwhelming majority. (It was backed by 167 deputies of 207 present in the 290-seat chamber)
The bill, which was given precedence over regular legislation, says the government is obliged to revise its cooperation level with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The bill was quickly approved by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog body controlled by hard-line clerics.
Last week, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously for sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and missile systems.

Somalia: Witnesses in Somalia say Ethiopian and Somali government troops have seized control of the southern town of Jowhar from Islamist fighters.
Residents said troops entered the town today (Wednesday), located north of the capital Mogadishu. On Tuesday, pro-government forces took control of at least four towns in central Somalia (Bur Hakaba, Dinsor, Bandiradley and Adodo) after Islamist fighters withdrew.
The fighting in Somalia broke out December 19th, after months of rising tension as the Islamists took over much of the country's center and south. The U.N. envoy to Somalia has urged the Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire in the country.

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