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Former US First Lady Barbara Bush Dies At Age 92

Ex-US First Lady Barbara Bush dead

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Barbara Bush
FILE - Former first lady Barbara Bush listens to her son, President George W. Bush, as he speaks on Social Security reform in Orlando, Florida, March 18, 2005. VOA
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Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty and a former First Lady who elevated the cause of literacy, has died at the age of 92, media reports said.

“A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

Barbara Bush is survived by her husband former President George H.W. Bush; sons George W., Neil, Marvin and Jeb; daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch; and 17 grandchildren.

Former first lady Barbara Bush
First lady Barbara Bush poses with her dog Millie in 1990. VOA

On Sunday, her husband’s office issued a statement saying that after consulting the family and her doctors, Barbara Bush had “decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care”, reports The New York Times.

The Bushes had celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in January, making them the longest-married couple in presidential history.

Only the second woman in American history to have had a husband and a son elected President (Abigail Adams was the first), Barbara Bush was seen as a plainspoken public figure who was instantly recognisable with her signature white hair and pearl necklaces and earrings, reports CNN.

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She became a major political figure as her husband rose to become first a Vice President (January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989) and then the 41st US President (January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993).

He left office in 1993 after losing a re-election bid to Bill Clinton.

After they left the White House, she was a potent spokeswoman for two of her sons — George W. and Jeb — as they campaigned for office.

The mother of six children — one of whom, a daughter, Robin, died as a child from leukemia — Barbara Bush raised her fast-growing family in the 1950s and ’60s amid the post-war boom of Texas and the whirl of politics that consumed her husband.

Barbara Pierce was born on June 8, 1925, in New York and raised in the upscale town of Rye, CNN reported.

Barbara Bush along with her husband
President-elect George H.W. Bush, right, and his wife Barbara Bush, wave to the crowd at a victory celebration rally, Nov. 8, 1988, Houston, Texas. VOA

She attended a prestigious boarding school in South Carolina, where she met her future husband at a school dance when she was only 16 and he was a year older.

A year and a half and countless love letters later, the two were engaged just before George H. W. Bush enlisted in the Navy and went off to fight in the World War II.

Barbara Bush adopted literacy as a cause, raising awareness and eventually launching the non-profit Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

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After George H.W. Bush’s presidency, he and Barbara raised more than $1 billion for literacy and cancer charities.

A writer, her books include an autobiography and one about post-White House life. Her children’s book about their dog, Millie, and her puppies written during her White House years was a bestseller.

In 2001, when George W. Bush took office, Barbara Bush became the only woman in American history to live to see her husband and son elected president.  IANS

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US First Lady Melania Trump Starts The Final Leg of Her Africa Trip

She will depart Egypt for the U.S. later Saturday, capping a tour to highlight child welfare, education, tourism and conservation.

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First Lady Melania Trump meets with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his wife Entissar Mohameed Amer at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt. VOA

U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrived Saturday in Cairo, Egypt, where she was greeted at an arrival ceremony by President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and his wife, Entissar Mohameed Amer.

After a visit to the presidential palace and a stop at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, the first lady visited the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. Egypt is Melania Trump’s last stop on a four-nation tour of Africa that also included a visit to Kenya, where she visited two orphanages, one for children and the other for elephants.

Trump stopped by the elephant orphanage on a visit to Nairobi National Park, a nature preserve located just a few kilometers south of the Kenyan capital.

Melania Trump
First lady Melania Trump visits the ancient statue of Sphinx, with the body of a lion and a human head, at the historic site of Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. VOA

Park rangers told the first lady about steps Kenya is taking to conserve the elephant and rhino populations, which have been decimated by poachers. Another 11 rhinos died in July from drinking salty water after a transfer to a new Kenyan sanctuary.

A new Chinese-built railroad running through the park also has been a source of controversy. The project, which split the park in two, was backed by the government over the objections of conservationists who complained of inadequate environmental impact studies.

On Friday, Trump fed a baby elephant using a giant bottle, then got a small bump from another pachyderm as she tried to administer another feeding

Melania Trump
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (L) and first lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta (R) pet a baby elephant at The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi. VOA

During a 90-minute tour of the park, where she caught glimpses of hippos, a giraffe and other animals, Trump got out of the car to look at an ivory burn site, where the material has been destroyed to discourage the trade in elephant tusks.

After the visit to the park, Trump visited a Nairobi orphanage known as The Nest, which cares mainly for children whose parents have been incarcerated.

Trump’s first-ever visit to Africa and her first extended solo international trip as first lady have included visits to Ghana and Malawi.

Also Read: Former US First Lady Barbara Bush Dies At Age 92

She will depart Egypt for the U.S. later Saturday, capping a tour to highlight child welfare, education, tourism and conservation.

Trump’s visit includes promoting the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the funding of which President Donald Trump has twice proposed slashing by nearly a third. Lawmakers, however, have not approved those requests. (VOA)