African Child Dies Despite Merlin Olsen Endorsement

Top Headlines

International

What’s Next For U.S.-Cuban Relations

After 54 years of closure, the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. each began flying their flags once more this week, a symbol of the restored diplomatic ties between the two nations. Here is what we can expect from the relationship going forward

U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles

WASHINGTON—Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles.

World Begins Another Day At Mercy Of 19-Year-Old Estonian Hacker

TALLINN, ESTONIA—With the private data of national governments and entire global industries at his fingertips, sources confirmed this morning that yet another day had begun with the whole world helplessly at the mercy of 19-year-old Estonian computer hacker Jüri Pevkur.

FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

Items Found In Bin Laden’s Compound

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified more than 400 documents and other material seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout during the 2011 raid that resulted in his death. Here are some of the items found in the former al-Qaeda leader’s compound

U.S. Worried About Living Up To Netanyahu Campaign Promises

WASHINGTON—Saying the Likud Party leader had set Israeli citizens’ expectations extremely high in the run up to his reelection Tuesday, top-level sources expressed their worry Wednesday about whether the United States would actually be able to...

A Timeline Of U.S.-Israel Relations

A congressional visit from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has reportedly rankled President Obama is the latest issue in what have often been strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mankind Tired Of Having To Remind Itself Of Good In World

PARIS—In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and two ensuing armed standoffs that together left over a dozen innocent civilians dead, humankind admitted Friday that it is sick and tired of having ...

Schlubs From U.S., China Meet In Lowest-Level Talks

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—In an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties between the global superpowers’ most oafish representatives, sources confirmed Thursday that schlubs from the United States and China met in Australia this week for a series of low...

Iranian Team Openly Working On Bomb In Negotiating Room

VIENNA—Asserting the Middle Eastern nation’s right to a safe, peaceful energy program, members of the Iranian diplomatic team attempted to seek more favorable terms of a deal with the P5+1 global powers while openly assembling a nuclear weapon...

Where Is Kim Jong-Un?

North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3. Here is the latest speculation on his whereabouts

How China Stifles Dissent

Recent clashes with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have refocused international scrutiny on the Chinese government’s efforts to quell social unrest and silence demonstrators.

Nation Admits It Could Probably Be Talked Into Another War

WASHINGTON—While they acknowledged that getting behind such a plan might take a little convincing, the American populace admitted this week that they could, in all likelihood, be talked into another war. Citizens across the nation told reporters tha...

Ugly Custody Battle Over Ian McKellen Narrowly Avoided

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Following Scotland’s referendum Thursday rejecting independence from the United Kingdom, sources confirmed that a protracted and ugly custody battle over celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen had been narrowly avoided.

Tips For Achieving Peace In The Middle East

With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalating, sectarian violence boiling over in Iraq, and Syria mired in a civil war that’s now more than three years old, the Middle East continues to be plagued by bloodshed and unrest.

Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away

CONAKRY, GUINEA—With the death toll in West Africa continuing to rise amid a new outbreak of the Ebola virus, leading medical experts announced Wednesday that a vaccine for the deadly disease is still at least 50 white people from being developed.

Who Is Vladimir Putin?

After troops from his country forcibly seized Crimea earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin is back in the news for allegedly arming separatists in eastern Ukraine with the missiles that are believed to have taken down Malaysia Airlines Fl...

Understanding The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Tensions have quickly escalated in Gaza following the recent collapse of peace talks and the subsequent kidnappings and murders of Israeli and Palestinian teens, with Israeli citizens now threatened by daily rocket fire from Hamas while Gaza residents ...

What Is ISIS?

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a formerly al-Qaeda–aligned organization known by the acronym ISIS, has been seizing cities in Iraq, carrying out mass killings, and marching toward Baghdad.

Understanding The Situation In Iraq

Violence has escalated in Iraq in recent weeks as the Sunni Islamist militant group ISIS has seized control of numerous cities and continued its advance toward the capital, Baghdad.

Immigrant Also Applying To A Few Reach Countries

LUANG PRABANG, LAOS—Noting that his consular officer said it couldn’t hurt to take a chance on a few long shots, prospective immigrant Soukan Chitmany told reporters Monday that, in addition to applying for permanent residence in a number of m...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Entertainment

  • How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

    The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Originality

African Child Dies Despite Merlin Olsen Endorsement

AKOBO, SUDAN—Despite a high-profile media endorsement featuring touching piano music, soft-focus photography, and the star power of former NFL great and television personality Merlin Olsen, Sudanese child Nwangi Botusa died Monday of what medical-relief authorities are calling "starvation."

Nwangi Botusa, as photographed by a Children's Miracle Fund worker, moments before dying of starvation. <b>Inset:</b> Merlin Olsen

Botusa, recalled by relief workers as a "bright child with a keen interest in Jesus, fighting against all hope for survival, and sitting on Merlin Olsen's lap," was six years old.

"I can't understand how this could happen," said Christopher Drake, volunteer-action coordinator for the Children's Miracle Fund, the non-profit charity organization for which Merlin Olsen taped the endorsement. "It seems almost as if, in today's cynical times, even a personal, direct appeal from an athlete/actor as esteemed as the great Merlin Olsen is not enough to get people to donate money to prevent the death of a child."

The hour-long endorsement, which had aired regularly at 3 a.m. on various cable networks over the last 28 months, was expected to generate a "significantly greater public response," Children's Miracle Fund officials said.

"When I think of the millions of dollars in airfare, equipment rental, camera-crew salaries, and editing and technical-support facility costs that went into making this endorsement, only to have Nwangi die because late-night television viewers failed to respond by opening their hearts and their wallets, I am filled with shame for the society in which we live," said Children's Miracle Fund president Dave Shurmur. "Where are our priorities?"

Olsen was similarly disappointed. "It is truly disheartening for a star like myself to be let down by his fans like this. I specifically appealed to my public not to let this precious child of God die, and this is what happens?" said Olsen, whose television career has included roles on the heartwarming family drama Little House On The Prairie and the modestly successful Catholic-themed early-'80s action/ crime drama Father Murphy, as well as numerous commercial and parade-host appearances. "I looked directly into the camera and said, 'See this child's eyes? These are the eyes of a beautiful young person who needs your help,' you know, the whole bit. But, apparently, millions of viewers figured, 'Let him die.' What is with people these days, anyway?"

Added Olsen: "I mean, shit, man."

Olsen expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased child with a "Dearly Departed" Commemorative Sentiment Floral Arrangement & Bouquet gift-basket set with cookie from FTD Florists, for whom Olsen has been a paid spokesperson for nearly two decades.

Children's Miracle Fund workers stationed in Botusa's home village of Akobo reported that the gift basket "deeply moved" members of the boy's family, as well as thousands of starving children in the area.

"As soon as the package arrived from the United States, the children set upon it like ravenous dogs, devouring the oversized chocolate-mint cookie and the foil wrapper in which it was encased for shipping in a mere matter of seconds," Children's Miracle Fund relief worker Dwayne Hentrich said. "It was truly moving to see the way their eyes lit up when they received the first solid food they'd eaten in weeks."

Hentrich said that shortly after eating the cookie, the children ate the accompanying flowers, foliage, ribbons, dirt and flower pot, as well.

"We Sudanese children know that many nutrients can be drawn from a soil-encrusted flowerpot, if it is sucked on with suitable vigor for enough days," nine-year-old Kiga Nuwali said. "The moisture and nutrients to be found in its crevices will keep us alive for as much as an additional 12 days."

FTD spokespersons said that, for those interested in sending their own message of sympathy and support to the children of Sudan, FTD will offer a special, limited-edition "Genuine Merlin Olsen" gift basket identical to the one sent by Olsen, containing a bonus souvenir keepsake photo of Botusa and Olsen, for just $29.95.

FTD officials stressed that quantities of the "Nwangi Not Forgotten" commemorative gift basket will be "extremely limited," and that interested parties should place their order "as soon as possible to ensure delivery in time for the holidays."