Obama honors Mandela on eve of 93rd birthday
WASHINGTON — In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday on Monday, President Barack Obama is calling the South African leader “a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation.”
In a statement issued Sunday, Obama congratulated Mandela for devoting his life to public service and a legacy that exemplifies what Obama calls “wisdom, strength and grace.”
Obama’s wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia met Mandela last month in Johannesburg during a trip to Africa that focused on service, youth leadership, education and healthy living. The president said their time with Mandela was “the most moving part of their trip.”
In 2009, the U.S. and 192 other U.N. member states created Nelson Mandela International Day to honor the African leader through acts of community service.
Ugandan team headed to Little League World Series
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A youth baseball team from Uganda will be the first from the continent of Africa to compete in the Little League World Series.
The Rev. John Foundation Little League team from Kampala won the Middle East and Africa region on Saturday, beating Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 6-4. The Saudi team had won the region for the last 11 years.
Kampala beat squads from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa in the regional tourney. They’ll play the Canadian champion on Aug. 19 in the first round in South Williamsport, Pa.
Sixteen teams of 11- and 12-year-old boys will be split into U.S. and International brackets culminating in the championship game on Aug. 28.
Little League officials say Kampala got its first youth team in 2005.
Prison for ex-official in British Virgin Islands
TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands — A former official of the tourist board in the British Virgin Islands has been sentenced to prison for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money on personal items.
Verna Maduro was the tourist board’s financial comptroller for nearly eight years. She was charged with misappropriating public funds by using her official credit card to pay for jewelry, cruises, lingerie, clothing and other items.
Prosecutors say she stole more than $670,000.
A judge in the British territory sentenced Maduro to five years in prison last Thursday.
Justice Rita Joseph-Olivetti also ordered her to make partial restitution.
Mass. congressional delegation stockpiling cash
Massachusetts’ 10 members of the U.S. House are stockpiling campaign cash even as state lawmakers are working to eliminate one of their seats.
According to the latest Federal Elections Commission reports, none of the 10 — all Democrats — are showing signs of easing up.
Rep. Edward Markey continues to be the fundraising champ with more than $3 million in his account followed by Rep. Richard Neal with $2.3 million in cash as of the end of June.
Rep. Barney Frank, who faced a tough re-election campaign, ended the quarter with $288,600 in cash while Rep. Niki Tsongas, who also faced a GOP foe, ended June with $183,000.
Rep. William Keating, the state’s newest member of Congress, had about $129,000.
The state is losing a seat in next year’s election.
Mass. treasurer seeks review of alcohol commission
The state treasurer has asked for a review of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, which has paid out about $1.7 million to resolve three employment disputes in the past two years.
The two settlements and a court judgment stem from complaints filed by former workers and a job applicant.
The Boston Globe after reviewing public records and legal documents reports that in one case the agency said it unfairly denied a 57-year-old veteran a job because two available slots had to go to relatives of lawmakers, or the Legislature would not fund the positions.
Treasurer Steven Grossman, who oversees the agency, asked the state Inspector General’s office to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review.
The commission, with fewer than two dozen employees, oversees more than 22,000 liquor stores, restaurants, bars, wholesalers and suppliers.
FDA favors innovative heart valve for the frail
WASHINGTON — Federal health scientists say the first artificial heart valve designed to be implanted without major surgery appears to help patients who are too frail to undergo chest-opening surgery.
The Food and Drug Administration has posted its review of a highly anticipated heart valve from Edwards Lifesciences, which can be threaded into place through one of the body’s major arteries. Cardiologists hope this approach could offer a new option for old, sickly patients who cannot undergo the more invasive open heart surgery, which has been used to replace valves for decades.
FDA says more patients who received Edwards’ valve were living after one year than those who did not receive the device in a company study. However, scientists are also concerned about higher rates of stroke and bleeding in the brain.