Ibrahim NasirMaldives' 1st president
Ibrahim Nasir, 82, who led the Maldives' independence movement from the British and became the archipelago's first president, died Saturday at a Singapore hospital, Ahmed Shaeed, the foreign minister of the Maldives, announced. The cause of death was not announced.
Born Sept. 2, 1926, Nasir was only 31 when he was named his country's prime minister under sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi. Nasir held the post from 1957 to 1968. In 1965 he signed an agreement with the British that granted independence for the Indian Ocean island nation.
In 1968, he became the Maldives' first president. He modernized the country's fishing industry, brought English-based curriculum to government-run schools and introduced tourism, for which the Maldives is now world famous. He also built the country's first international airport. But his tenure was also marked by charges that he ruled as a dictator. He resigned and fled the country in 1978 amid public resentment and unproven allegations of corruption in handling public funds. He spent much of the rest of his life in Singapore.
His body was flown to the Maldives on Saturday for public viewing at the president's office and a burial service Sunday.
Rosetta ReitzFeminist founded female jazz label
Rosetta Reitz, 84, an ardent feminist who was the founder and owner of Rosetta Records, the label devoted to keeping alive works by female jazz and blues artists, died Nov. 1 of cardiopulmonary disease at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City.
Reitz had been a stockbroker, owned a bookstore and a greeting-card business, written a book on menopause and a food column for the Village Voice when, at 67, she found her true calling and started the label with $10,000 she borrowed from friends.
By the early 1990s, she had built a catalog of 19 titles -- about half of them compilations -- from artists including jazz and blues divas Ida Cox, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith as well as Dinah Washington, Ethel Waters and even Mae West. But she also revived the work of dozens of lesser-known figures including Martha Copeland, Bessie Brown, Maggie Jones and Bertha Idaho. Her catalog also offered an album by the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female jazz band from the 1940s.
She was born Rosetta Goldman in Utica, N.Y., on Sept. 28, 1924. She attended the University of Wisconsin and later the University of Buffalo before moving to New York City, where she got a job in a bookstore. She eventually owned her own bookstore, the 4 Seasons, in Greenwich Village and taught a course called "Women in Jazz" at the New School. Her marriage to Robert Reitz ended in divorce.
-- Times staff and wire reports