President rules out running for 2nd term
PARIS — French President Francois Hollande announced Thursday that he would not seek a second term in next year’s presidential election, saying he hoped to give his Socialist party a chance to win “against conservatism and, worse still, extremism” by stepping aside.
The 62-year-old president — the country’s least popular leader since World War II — said he was “conscious of the risks” his lack of support posed to a successful candidacy. “What’s at stake is not a person, it’s the country’s future,” he said.
The Socialist party has been deeply divided over Hollande’s leadership, with rebels within the party openly criticizing his pro-business strategy and calling for more left-leaning policies.
Crown prince elevated formally to monarch
BANGKOK — Thailand has a new king, with the country’s crown prince formally taking the throne to succeed his much-revered late father, who reigned for 70 years.
The new monarch, who received the title “His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun,” assumed his new position Thursday, according to an announcement broadcast on all TV channels. He will also be known as Rama X, the 10th king in the Chakri dynasty that was founded in 1782.
A videotaped broadcast showed senior officials presenting the formal invitation to the prince to become king, and then his acceptance. It then showed the officials prostrate themselves at the feet of the new king, who was wearing a formal white uniform with decorations.
Vajiralongkorn’s father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, died on Oct. 13 at age 88 after many years of ill health.
Spaceship carrying supplies breaks apart
MOSCOW — An unmanned Russian cargo spaceship heading to the International Space Station broke up in the atmosphere over Siberia on Thursday because of an unspecified malfunction, the Russian space agency said.
The Progress MS-04 cargo craft broke up at an altitude of 118 miles over the remote Russian Tuva region in Siberia that borders Mongolia, Roscosmos said. It said most of space ship’s debris burned up as it entered the atmosphere, but some fell to Earth over what it called an uninhabited area.
Roscosmos said the craft was operating normally before it stopped transmitting data 383 seconds after the launch. The Russian space agency would not immediately describe the malfunction, saying its experts were looking into it.
after Andes crash
Bolivia’s Civil Aviation Authority on Thursday indefinitely suspended operations of the airline behind this week’s air tragedy in Colombia, as relatives of the victims spoke out in anger, many saying the crash was avoidable.
The Bolivian agency said it was stopping all flights operated by LaMia airlines, amid reports its charter aircraft ran out of fuel moments before slamming into the Andes mountains on Monday, killing all but six of the 77 people on board.
Many of the victims were players and coaches from a small-town Brazilian soccer team that was headed to the finals of one of South America’s most prestigious tournaments after a fairy-tale season that had captivated their soccer-crazed nation.
Long-serving ruler is heavy election favorite
BANJUL — Voters in the tiny West African nation of Gambia cast marbles Thursday in an election widely expected to keep the country’s ruler of more than two decades in power despite a unified challenge from the opposition.
Polls closed at 5 p.m. and election workers were expected to work late into the night tallying results.
Earlier in the day, after voting with his wife in the capital, Banjul, President Yahya Jammeh predicted a decisive win. His challenger, Adama Barrow, said he believed Gambians were ready for change after more than 20 years of the Jammeh regime.