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Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

AP Associated Press

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CALIFORNIA — Koko, the beloved gorilla who was able to communicate in more than 1,000 signs, has died at 46 in California’s Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.

The Gorilla Foundation said the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation’s preserve.

Koko was born at the San Francisco Zoo, and Dr Francine Patterson began teaching the gorilla sign language that became part of a Stanford University project in 1974.

Koko was taught sign language from an early age as a scientific test subject and eventually learned more than 1,000 words, a vocabulary similar to that of a human toddler.

She became a celebrity who played with the likes of William Shatner, Sting, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Williams and Mr Rogers.

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At her home preserve, where she was treated like a queen, she ran around with Williams’ eyeglasses and unzipped Roger’s famous cardigan sweater.

The foundation said Koko’s capacity for language and empathy opened the minds and hearts of millions.

“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication,” the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.

“She was beloved and will be deeply missed.”

Koko appeared in many documentaries and twice in National Geographic.

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6 men including hostel owner arrested over alleged rape of Russian tourist in Southern India

Gorkha Post

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NEW DELHI — Indian police have arrested six men including a hostel owner and a tourist guide on Thursday over the alleged gang rape of a 21-year-old Russian tourist in southern India, just a week after India’s tourism ministry launched a campaign aimed at persuading tourists that India was a safe place for women to visit.

The 21-year-old woman was found naked and unconscious on the floor of her hostel room early on Monday with bite marks on her face and arms earlier this week, media reports said. She is now being treated in hospital.

“Six men have been detained over the rape and drugging of the woman,” investigating officer Mangayar Karasi said.

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The woman, who was travelling on her own, had arrived in the town of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu state, 190 kilometres from Chennai, on last Thursday.

Those in custody included the hostel manger and her tourist guide, who told police he found her on the floor hours after they had consensual sex, another investigator said.

Local and foreign tourists flock to Tiruvannamalai for its 9th-century Annamalaiyar Temple, one of the largest Hindu temple complexes spread over 25 acres.

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