Other notable deaths

April 21, 2008

GEOFF POLITES, 60

Automotive executive

Jaguar and Land Rover's Chief Executive Geoff Polites, who is credited with steering the storied British luxury brands through the ongoing sale process to India's Tata Motors Ltd., died yesterday in his home country of Australia after battling serious illness for the past two years, Ford Motor Co. said. Additional details weren't released.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford credited Mr. Polites with leading the team that returned the Jaguar and Land Rover business to profitability. Ford said yesterday it still anticipates completing the deal with Tata in the second quarter.

Mr. Polites, who had a nearly 40-year career in the automotive industry, took over as CEO of Jaguar Land Rover in 2005. Before taking the job, Mr. Polites was vice president for marketing, sales and service for Ford of Europe.

Mr. Polites was born in Melbourne. He joined Ford Australia in 1970 as a product planner and completed training in the U.S. and Europe before rejoining Ford Australia in 1975 as marketing and research manager.

He held several posts with Ford until 1988, when he resigned to work with the City Ford dealership in Sydney. In 1999, he sold his interests in City Ford and rejoined Ford Australia as its president.

Ford announced in March that it was selling its Jaguar and Land Rover businesses to Tata in a deal that was expected to net the U.S. automaker $1.7 billion - roughly a third of the price it paid for the brands.

Ford bought Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.7 billion in 2000. But Ford pursued the sale to raise money to fund its turnaround plan and focus more attention on its main brands.

CARDINAL ALFONSO LOPEZ TRUJILLO, 72

Critic of abortion, condom use

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, a Colombian prelate who helped lead the Vatican's campaign against abortion and insisted condoms do not prevent HIV transmission, died Saturday night at the Pius XI private clinic in Rome, Monsignor Jorge Raigosa said.

He died after suffering cardiac arrest following medical complications over several weeks, said Monsignor Raigosa, who declined to elaborate.

Vatican Radio said the cardinal had been hospitalized for "grave health problems."

In March 2007, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo traveled to Mexico to launch the Roman Catholic Church's aggressive campaign against plans in the predominantly Catholic country to legalize abortion. Catholic doctrine considers abortion a grave sin.

The cardinal inaugurated an international anti-abortion conference in Mexico City by celebrating Mass in the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The next month, the Mexico City assembly passed a measure legalizing abortion in the capital during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Cardinal Lopez Trujillo also made headlines in 2003 for saying that condoms do not prevent HIV transmission. He contended that condoms may even help spread the virus by creating a false sense of security.

The World Health Organization, among others, called the cardinal's message "totally wrong" and said condoms are 90 percent effective when used correctly.

Priests for Life, an organization that seeks to end abortion and euthanasia, hailed Cardinal Lopez Trujillo as "one of the Church's strongest advocates for the dignity of the human person and the family."

With Cardinal Lopez Trujillo's death, the number of cardinals eligible to elect a pope drops to 118, Vatican Radio said.

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