Palestinian poet


Mahmoud Darwish, whose prose gave voice to the Palestinian experience of exile, occupation and infighting, died Saturday.

The predominant Palestinian poet, whose work has been translated into more than 20 languages and won international awards, died after undergoing open-heart surgery at a Houston hospital, said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Born to a large Muslim family in historical Palestine - now modern-day Israel - Mr. Darwish emerged as an eloquent describer of the Palestinian struggle for independence while also criticizing both the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian leadership. He gave voice to Palestinian dreams of statehood, crafted their declaration of independence and helped forge a Palestinian national identity.

Mr. Darwish first gained prominence in the 1960s with the publication of his first poetry collection, Bird without Wings. It included the poem "Identity Card," which defiantly spoke in the first person of an Arab man giving his identity number - a common practice among Palestinians when dealing with Israeli authorities and Arab governments - and vowing to return to his land.

Many of his poems have been put into music - most notably "Rita," "Birds of Galilee" and "I yearn for my mother's bread" - and have become anthems for at least two generations of Arabs.


Italian car designer

Andrea Pininfarina, chief executive of the family Italian car design firm that counts Ferraris and Alfa Romeos among its creations, died Thursday in an accident near the northern city of Turin, news reports said.

Mr. Pininfarina, who was on a Vespa scooter, was hit by a car whose driver failed to stop at an intersection, Luigi Semenzato, police chief in the town of Trofarello south of Turin, told Sky Tg24 television news. He said the driver "didn't see the Vespa coming."

Mr. Pininfarina ran Pininfarina SpA, founded in 1930 by his grandfather Battista "Pinin" Farina, who combined his nickname and surname to create the company name and a new family name.


Pininfarina SpA has designed cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Cadillac and Volvo, among others - but is most closely associated with Ferrari, designing nearly all of Ferrari's models since the 1950s, including the California Spider and the Daytona Spider.

Mr. Pininfarina took over as chief executive in 2001, and in 2006 became chairman of the board of directors, a position previously held by his father, Sergio Pininfarina, who is a senator for life in the Italian Parliament.

Mr. Pininfarina studied mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic of Turin and started his career in the United States with Fruehauf Corp. in 1982, before returning to the family business a year later.

He was a frequent visitor to Ferrari headquarters and nurtured close relationships with the technical experts. He also was a former vice president of the Confindustria industrial lobby.

"Italy, Turin and the entire Fiat Group have lost a symbol of entrepreneurialism, a man who carried on, and introduced innovations to, the work of his grandfather Pinin and his father Sergio," Fiat Chairman and Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, a former Confindustria president, said in a statement.