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Work key to long life, says Mexican who may be world’s oldest man | World

Mexican Manuel Garcia Hernandez who may just be the world’s oldest man was born on December 24, 1896. Photo: AFP

You wouldn´t know it watching him take care of his chickens on the family farm, but according to his birth certificate and official Mexican ID, Manuel Garcia Hernandez is 121 years old.

Garcia, who may just be the world´s oldest man, was born on 24 December 1896, according to his birth certificate from the Mexican state of Veracruz and his official identity card from the National Electoral Institute.

He has never bothered calling the people at Guinness World Records to make it official.

But if his documents are correct, he is more than eight years older than Masazo Nonaka of Japan, the man who currently holds the title — born on 25 July 1905.

Anyway, age is only a number. Garcia says he doesn’t feel a day over 80.

He says he only has two regrets in his very long life: losing his father at a young age, and the fact he can no longer work.

Yet he is impressively spry as he tosses feed to his chickens at the home he shares with his daughter Tomasa in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico.

“I´m happy, but I do feel tired. I´m making an effort, because if I just lay in bed or sat in a chair all day, then I would get sick,” said Garcia, dressed in his trademark cowboy hat and Western shirt.

“I feel like I’m 80 years old — though I’m starting to stumble a bit when I walk,” he told AFP.

Mexican Revolution, Donald Trump 

Garcia has seen a dizzying amount in his lifetime, from the arrival of electricity to the invention of television, the Mexican Revolution and the election of US President Donald Trump — his 22nd American president.

He started working in the fields at nine years old.

His father, who made and sold his own sweets, died at 35. It still saddens Garcia to have lost him so young, he said.

He himself did not get married until he was 45 — to Rosa Medino Medino, who was just 13 at the time.

They had five children, 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and were married for almost seven decades, until Rosa died eight years ago.

After that, Garcia moved north to Ciudad Juarez to live with his daughter Tomasa, who is 54.

Tomasa’s daughter and her family live next door, and another neighbor, an American, lets Garcia raise chickens in his large patio.

Garcia says caring for the chickens has helped keep him alive, and wishes he could work more.

“I’d like to be able to work the way I used to, make my living in the fields. But I can´t anymore. That makes me sad. I was very hard-working as a young man,” he said.

Oldest man ever? 

So, is Garcia the world’s oldest man?

Alice Pagan, a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records, said he would have to ask the company to check it out.

“We ask for a great deal of paperwork and proof to substantiate claims that meet our official guidelines. We also work with various expert gerontologists and consultants who assist in the investigation of such claims,” she told AFP in an email.

If Garcia really is 121, he would be not only the oldest man alive, but the oldest man ever, according to Guinness — beating Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, who died in 2013 at 116 years old.

The oldest woman ever was Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who died in 1997 at 122 years old, 164 days.

Garcia´s skin is wrinkled with age, and he lost a finger at 80 years old when it got tangled in his twirling lasso — an ancient cowboy´s war wound.

But he is in remarkably good health: he walks surprisingly fast, his vision is good since he had cataract surgery three years ago — though the sun hurts his eyes — and his mind is sharp.

He said he hopes to live to 125.

The keys to a long life, he said, are sleeping well, waking up early, eating healthy, taking vitamins and work.

He gets up every morning at 5:30 am and starts the day with a banana and apple smoothie, oatmeal and two eggs.

Then he goes out to tend to his chickens.

“I ask God to give him some more years, until he has had enough,” said his daughter Tomasa.

“Sometimes he tells me his candle is going to go out little by little, but I don´t think so. He´s alive, and I´m happy for that.”

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Hundreds hurt as Spanish festival boardwalk collapses into sea

MADRID: Hundreds of people were hurt, two seriously, when a wooden platform collapsed at a seaside music festival in northwestern Spain on Sunday night, local authorities said.

There were no reports of any fatalities from the incident which the Galicia regional government said left 316 people injured at the O Marasquino festival in the town of Vigo.

Nine of them are still in the hospital and two are in the intensive care unit but their lives are not in danger, city hall said in a statement.

Vigo’s mayor Abel Caballero said the platform that collapsed just before midnight was 30 meters long and 10 meters wide.

City hall added that Pedro Saura, junior minister for public works, has ordered an investigation into the cause of the collapse.

People attending the concert said the crowd was enjoying the concert when they heard the boardwalk breaking.

“We were jumping when we heard the sound and we saw everything collapsing,” one woman told state broadcaster RTVE.



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Trump signs defense policy bill with watered-down China measures

FORT DRUM, New York:  US President Donald Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Monday that authorizes military spending and includes watered-down controls on US government contracts with China’s ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Trump signed the law at the U.S. Army’s Fort Drum base in upstate New York on his way back to Washington after a 12-day working vacation at his golf club in New Jersey. The bill was named for one of Trump’s political critics, the ailing U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, but he did not mention McCain’s name.

Trump said the bill “is the most significant investment in our military and our war-fighters in modern history.”

Some lawmakers wanted to use the bill to reinstate tough sanctions on ZTE to punish the company for illegally shipping products to Iran and North Korea, but the restrictions included in the final National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, that passed Congress were weaker than earlier versions of the bill.

Trump has lifted an earlier ban on U.S. companies selling to ZTE, allowing China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker to resume business and putting him at odds with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies have said they are concerned that ZTE, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and some other Chinese companies are beholden to the Chinese government or Community Party, raising the risk of espionage.

The White House opposed putting stronger measures against the companies in the bill, and the measures were softened before lawmakers held their final vote.

The NDAA does strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews proposed foreign investments to weigh whether they threaten national security. That measure was seen as targeting China.

Separately, the NDAA authorizes spending $7.6 billion for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

Prior to the ceremony Trump watched an air assault demonstration by U.S. troops at Fort Drum.



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Taliban militants overrun Afghan army base, capture dozens of soldiers

KABUL: Taliban militants overran large parts of an army base in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 10 soldiers, wounding 15 and capturing dozens more in fighting over the past two days, officials said on Tuesday.

The insurgents had captured tanks and ammunition in Chenayeeha army base, in Ghormach district of Faryab province, in an offensive that began on Sunday, according to Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, head of the provincial council.

 “We have not been able to enter the base. Large parts of the base are still under the Taliban control,” Rahmani said.

Rahmani gave the casualty figures, but another provincial official added that the Taliban had captured 40 soldiers, but 30 militants had also been killed in the fighting.

The Taliban attack in the north coincided with clashes in southeastern province of Ghazni, which lies on the main highway linking Kabul with the south.

Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded during clashes there since last week, and hard-pressed Afghan forces received air support from U.S. forces.

Residents who had fled the Ghazni city, the provincial capital, reported that the Taliban had cut telecommunications, electricity and water supplies, hospitals were running out medical supplies, while shops, homes and some government buildings had been destroyed.



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