The White House says President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in light of automatic spending cuts that have led to furloughs for thousands of government workers. A White House official says Obama decided to return part of his salary each month for the rest of the year to share in the sacrifice that government employees are making. Obama makes US$400,000 per year. A 5 percent pay cut amounts to a little less than US$1,700 per month. The decision is retroactive to the beginning of last month, when US$85 billion in federal spending cuts kicked in after lawmakers failed to agree on a plan to undo them.
Oscar winner Jhabvala dies
Oscar-winning screenwriter and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has died at age 85. Firoza Jhabvala on Wednesday said her mother died in New York after a long illness. The German-born Jhabvala was a longtime member of Merchant Ivory Productions, writing 22 films over four decades. She won two Academy Awards for her adaptations of the E.M. Forster novels Howards End and A Room With a View. She also received Britain’s highest literary honor for her 1975 novel, Heat and Dust.
Fatal shooting at Fort Knox
The Department of Defense says a civilian employee has died following a shooting in a Fort Knox parking lot. The victim was an employee of the Army Human Resources Command and the shooting occurred outside the command. He was pronounced dead at a Kentucky hospital. Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigative Command, says authorities “are investigating a personal incident and not a random act of violence.”
Seven ballet dancers defect
Seven members of the National Ballet of Cuba defected last month when the troupe toured Mexico, a spokesman for the ballet said on Wednesday. The Miami-based Web site www.cafefuerte.com, said six of the dancers are in Miami, while one stayed in Mexico. It identified the dancers as two men and five women between the ages of 20 and 24.
Murder suspects on trial
Three men suspected of killing a pair of Amazon activists have gone on trial. Jose Rodrigues Moreira is being tried on charges of allegedly ordering the May 2011 killing of Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria. Lindonjonson Silva Rocha and Alberto Lopes do Nascimento are on trial as the alleged gunmen. Moreira allegedly ordered the killings because the Silvas opposed the eviction of three families that occupied his land in the Nova Ipixuna reserve.
Suspect has schizophrenia
A former porn actor accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese man had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2005, documents released on Wednesday show. Luka Rocco Magnotta, 30, was treated for “a major psychiatric disorder” in 2005 when he was convicted of fraud, according to a doctor’s letter filed with the Ontario Court of Justice in June 2005. Magnotta was treated with antipsychotic medications, as well as drugs to reduce anxiety and help him sleep, according to the Globe and Mail. “As long as Mr Newman continues to take the medications regularly, and attends the outpatient department as advised, the prognosis is fair,” psychiatrist Thuraisamy Sooriabalan wrote.