Norway’s oldest woman dies

Oslo: Norway’s oldest woman, Gunda Harangen, who had attributed her longevity to celibacy and her daily glass of cognac, has died at the age of 109.

Harangen, the eldest of seven children, was born on December 28, 1898.

In a 2006 interview on the secret of her longevity, she said she believed she had lived so long because she drank one glass of cognac every day and did not have a man in her life.

She passed away in her sleep on November 25, her nephew told the local Laagendalsposten daily in south-eastern Norway.

World’s oldest man reaches 113


Tokyo: The world’s oldest man, Tomoji Tanabe, turned 113 today and declared that he wanted to live for at least another five years.

Mr Tanabe, who was born September 18, 1895, celebrated his milestone in his hometown of Miyakonojo, on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu.

He wants to live for “another five years or so”, and cited healthy diet, an abstinence of alcohol, and a drink of milk every afternoon as the major factors behind his longevity.

“I am happy,” he said. “I eat a lot,” he said, but added that he strictly avoided alcohol, cigarettes and snacks.

Mr Tanabe received birthday gifts, flowers and US$1,000 cash from the mayor of Miyakonojo – a present awarded to the oldest man in the village, let alone the world.

Mr Tanabe lives with one of his sons and daughter-in-law, and has over 100 descendants including eight children, 25 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

The world’s oldest person is 115-year-old American Edna Parker, who was born on April 20, 1893, and lives in a nursing home in Indiana.

Japan has one of the world’s longest life expectancies, nearly 86 years for women and 79 years for men, which is often attributed to the country’s healthy diet rich in fish and rice.

The number of Japanese living past 100 has more than doubled in the last six years, reaching a record high of 36,000 people this year. Japan’s centenarian population is expected to reach nearly 1 million — the world’s largest — by 2050, according to UN projections.

Japan has most centenarians

Tokyo: The number of Japanese living beyond 100 has more than doubled over the past six years to a record high of more than 36,000 this year, with women in the majority.

By the end of this September, Japan will have 36,276 people aged 100 years or older, surpassing last year’s 32,295. Women account for 86 percent of the total, according to figures from the Health and Welfare Ministry.

Each new centenarian will receive a letter from the prime minister and a silver cup.

Japan has one of the world’s longest life expectancies – nearly 86 years for women and 79 years for men.

The number of centenarians has been on the rise for nearly 40 years, and accelerating its pace after surpassing 10,000 in 1998, the ministry said.

Japan’s centenarian population is expected to reach nearly 1 million – the world’s largest – by 2050, according to UN projections.

A 113-year-old woman from the southern island of Okinawa, where the elderly have the highest longevity, is the country’s oldest.

Although she requires assistance to carry out her daily activities, she enjoys going outside in a wheelchair with a nurse, the ministry said.

Japan’s oldest man, Tomoji Tanabe, 112, from the southern area of Miyazaki, says he follows a rigorous health regime. He rises early, reads newspapers every morning and drinks milk in the afternoon, and keeps a diary every evening.

Okinawa has the highest concentration of centenarians, with 838, or 61 for every 100,000 people. That is far above a nationwide average of just over 28 per 100,000.

The ratio for Tokyo is about 25 in 100,000, and that for the US is about 10 per 100,000. As of the end of last year, China, with a population of 1.3 billion, had 18,000 centenarians.

World’s oldest creature may hold key to longevity


Bangor: British scientists have found a 400 year-old clam, believed to be the world’s longest-living animal, off the coast of Iceland.

The scientists, from Bangor University in Wales, say that the discovery of the quahog clam, aged between 405 and 410 years old, might allow them to get a better understanding of the ageing process, as well as revealing the secrets of long life.

The creature was nicknamed Ming, after the dynasty which ruled China at the beginning of its life.

“When this animal was a juvenile, King James I replaced Queen Elizabeth I as English monarch, Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays – Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth – and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for espousing the view that the Sun rather than the Earth was the centre of the universe,” they say in a press release.

The scientists calculated the age of the animal by counting annual growth rings on the shell, a technology similar to that used when estimating a tree’s age.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, before Ming, the longest-lived animal was a clam found in 1982, aged 220.

World’s oldest man reaches 112

Tokyo: Tomoji Tanabe, has celebrated being the oldest man in the world at the age of 112.

Born on 18 September 1895, he celebrated his record birthday at home in Miyakonojo, on the island of Kyushu, 900 kilometres south-west of the capital.

The town’s Mayor paid his respects with a bunch of flowers and a cheque for 850 yen, equal to around 650 euro. And of course, the question about the secret of a long life. Drink milk, steer clear of alcohol and eat healthily: lots of greens and a breakfast of rice soup, miso (fermented soya) and algae.

Tanabe claims that he has never stopped keeping his diary, reading every daily paper of the day and going for a walk alone. “He is in really good health”, doctors assure us.

“I want to live for ever, I do not want to die”, he told journalists. It is a target that more and more Japanese are attaining: according to statistics, there are over 32,000 hundred-year-olds.

Japanese women have held the world record in longevity for the past twenty-two years, with the men second only to Icelanders.

World’s oldest person celebrates 114th birthday

Sharpeville: The world’s oldest person – 114-year-old Edna Parker – celebrated her feat of longevity on Thursday(August 16,2007)by munching on a slice of her favorite cake after telling reporters she’s amazed that she’s lived for so long.

Parker, who has outlived her husband, children and siblings, became the world’s oldest known person with Monday’s death of Yone Minagawa, a Japanese woman four months her senior.

Her life spanning three centuries began April 20, 1893, in a year that witnessed Lizzie Borden’s acquittal in the ax murders of her father and stepmother and a financial crisis called the Panic of 1893 that led to a stock market crash.

Dressed in a pink polka-dot dress and costume pearl jewelry, Parker was wheeled before television cameras and reporters Thursday in a dining room at the central Indiana nursing home where she lives.

“You’re the oldest person in the world still living, Grandma. That’s remarkable, isn’t it?” Parker’s granddaughter-in-law, Charlene Parker, asked in a loud voice.

Parker shook her head in amazement, clutching two old photographs, one an early 1900s image of her posing with one of her sisters, both of them wearing large frilly hats.

“It’s hard to believe,” she said.

Although she never drank alcohol or tried tobacco and led an active life, Parker offered no tips Thursday for living a long life. Her only advice to those gathered was: “More education.”

Parker, who attended nearby Franklin College, graduated with a teaching certificate in 1911, the same year she wed her childhood sweetheart, Earl Parker.

She taught for a few years in a two-room schoolhouse, but as was the custom of that era, her teaching career ended with her marriage. Parker traded the schoolhouse for life as a farmer’s wife, preparing meals for as many as a dozen men who worked on her husband’s farm.

Parker recalled her chores helping maintain the family’s barn, how she butchered chickens for Sunday post-church supper and noted with pride that she and her husband were one of the first owners of an automobile in their rural area.

Her ranking as the world’s oldest living person was confirmed by the Gerontology Research Group, an Inglewood, Calif.-based organization that tracks and verifies the ages of supercentenarians – people 110 or older.

L. Stephen Coles, a professor of computer science at UCLA who co-founded the group, said its researchers typically require three independent, dated pieces of documentation, such as a birth certificate or baptismal papers, to verify their ages.

The group, which is a consultant for the Guinness Book of World Records, needs a rigorous validation process, he said, because some families have exaggerated a relative’s age or faked documents, hoping for financial gain.

As of Thursday, its Web site listed 76 living supercentenarians, with Parker at the top.

“We find that these people have one thing in common, which is the longevity of their families – their parents and their siblings all were long-lived,” Coles said. “So its in the genes. They have all inherited a very lucky roll of the dice.”

That’s the case for Parker. Her sister, Georgia, was 99 when she died last year, while her sister, Opal, lived to be 88.

Parker and her husband, who died in 1938 when she was 45, had two sons, Clifford and Earl Junior. After her husband’s death, she never remarried, busying herself helping Earl Junior run the farm. He lived in the farmhouse with his wife and their two children for several years.

When they moved out, Parker lived there alone for decades until she was 100.

Twelve years ago, she moved into the Heritage House Convalescent Center in Shelbyville about 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis that’s also the home of 7-foot-7 Sandy Allen, the second-tallest woman in the world. Allen did not attend Thursday’s ceremony for Parker.

Parker currently has 5 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren. The youngest of them, 7-month-old Kole Scott, sat on her lap Thursday as she and her visitors ate white cake, her favorite, decorated with sugar flowers and icing declaring her “the oldest person in the world.”

Before she sampled the cake, Parker thanked her departing visitors, some of whom had attended her 114th birthday party last April.

“I want to thank you people for giving up your time and coming back. I enjoyed being with you,” she said.

Grandson Don Parker, 58, said he’s proud of his grandmother, even if she herself isn’t overwhelmed by her achievement.

“We think it’s amazing, a little lady from the country who really doesn’t care much about being acknowledged or anything like that,” he said. “She’s never really done anything special, but this comes up and she’s getting worldwide notoriety.”

World’s oldest person dies at 114

Hartford: The world’s oldest person, Emma Faust Tillman, has died in the US aged 114.

Mrs Tillman, the daughter of former slaves, died “peacefully” on Sunday night, said an official at a nursing home in Hartford, Connecticut.

Mrs Tillman had lived independently until she was 110 and had never smoked or drank, her family and friends said.

She only became the world’s oldest person last week, after the death of a 115-year-old man in Puerto Rico, the Guinness Book of World Records said.

“She was a wonderful woman,” said Karen Chadderton, administrator of Riverside health and Rehabilitation Center in Hartford.

Mrs Tillman had been very religious and had always attributed her longevity to God’s will, according to her family and friends.

She was born on 22 November 1892 on a plantation near Gibsonville in North Carolina.

In an interview with a local historical society in 1994, Mrs Tillman said her parents had been slaves.

Longevity appears to be common in Mrs Tillman’s family – three of her sisters and a brother lived past 100.

Japan’s Yone Minagawa, who was born in 1893, is now believed to be the world’s oldest person.

World’s oldest woman found in Chechnya

At 124 years old Zabina Khakimova has been declared the world’s oldest person – and she still does the housework.

Zabina puts her longevity down to hard work, simple food and clean mountain air. Perhaps it also helps that she prays five times a day.

Whatever the secret, Zabani Khakimova was yesterday declared to be the world’s oldest living person at 124.

According to authorities in her native Chechnya, she remains in good health and continues to do housework and even a little babysitting for her huge extended family.

Mrs Khakimova, who lives in the Achkoi-Martan district of the mountainous and war-ravaged Russian republic, has 24 grandchildren, 38 greatgrandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren.

The claim the Chechens are making for her age would make her nine years older than the oldest person cited by the Guinness Book of Records, Kamato Kongo, from Japan, who is 115. She would even exceed the age reached by Jeanne Calment, the oldest ever person to be authenticated by the book’s researchers, who died in France in 1997 aged 122.

Assuming the claim is genuine, Mrs Khakimova has witnessed a century and a quarter of war, famine and revolution. She has lived under three Tsars and was 38 by the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Since then she has seen her country convulsed by more than 70 years of Communism followed by a decade of civil war. She endured the mass deportation of her people to Kazakhstan in Central Asia in 1942 after the Chechens were accused by Stalin of collaboration with invading Nazi troops.

Thousands had died of hunger and disease before they were allowed to return after Stalin’s death, by which time Mrs Khakimova had lost her husband and eight of her ten children.

More recently she has witnessed the appalling devastation that followed Chechnya’s declaration of independence in 1992 and the Russian invasion that followed. Thousands of people died in the ensuing fighting.

Her home town witnessed the terrors of war with separatist troops planting mines and shooting at Russian soldiers, who in turn are accused of mistreating civilians as they hunted down guerikas.! Doctors who have examined Mrs Khakimova say she is in good health considering her age. Her only complaint has been a problem with her hearing over the pastcouple of years.

Her memory is not what it once was, course, and while insisting that she was indeed born in 1879, the Chechens have failed to pin down an actual date of birth.

Her youngest son, Mokhdan, is still alive and has ten children of his own. Another son, Akhdan, died just two years ago but is survived by his 14 children.

Mrs Khakimova’s life is said to have revolved around raising her children and growing vegetables for food.

These days, as well as working around the house, she looks after her great! grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, and never misses her prayer sessions.

The claim for her age was made by the Chechen deputy health minister Sultan Alimkhadzhiyev to a Russian news agency.
It would put her way ahead of Kamati Kongo, who”was born on September 1 1887, on Tokunoshima Island, Japan and who took the title aged 114 year and 183 days on the death of American Maude Farris-Luse in March 2002.

Mrs Farris-Luse had credited intake of boiled dandelion greens a fried fish for her longevity.

Last night a spokesman for the Guinness Book of Records said the Chech claim had not yet reached them.

“But if they can send us a birth certificate, medical records or witness sta ments backing up the claim we will investigate it,’ she added.

If official doubts were to be cast Mrs Khakimova’s age, it would not the first time in recent years that Russian longevity proclamations have be discredited.

In January 2001 the southern Russin republic of Dagestan reported that tl world’s oldest man, 134-year-old Gayirkhan Iriskhanov, lived in a local village. Then a Russian census December last year found that a Siberian woman, Pelageya Zakurdayeva, was born on June 6, 1886, making her the longest-living person in the world at 111.