Lead victims to get help
Doctors Without Borders say they can start treating child victims of one of the world’s worst recorded lead poisoning cases after a cleanup was held up for two years by a lack of funding. Michelle Chouinard said on Friday that more than 1,000 children need treatment that will take one or two years. She said it is too late to reverse serious neurological damage that has blinded some children and paralysed others. Her organization uncovered the scandal in 2010 when about 400 children convulsed and died in Zamfara state. The poisoning was caused by crude mining in a gold rush.
Madonna, Gaga ‘broke rules’
Officials are considering prosecution against Lady Gaga and Madonna after discovering they entered the country under incorrect paperwork. The office of Russia’s prosecutor-general has issued a statement confirming that neither singer obtained an appropriate visa prior to performing there last year. Madonna and Gaga traveled under cultural-exchange visas. These documents “do not grant their bearers the right to engage in any commercial activity,” authorities said. According to the Russian legal information agency, prosecutors are now considering asking Russia’s foreign ministry or federal migration service to press charges. Prosecutors launched their investigation after being contacted by one of the singers’ most outspoken enemies, Vitaly Milonov, who serves in St Petersburg’s municipal legislature and authored a law banning gay “propaganda.” After Gaga and Madonna spoke in support of gay rights at their concerts, Milonov tried to pursue them in court for “promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors.”
MPs told not to touch toes
Parliamentary officials want lawmakers to keep their hands off Margaret Thatcher’s toes. Authorities are considering roping off statues of former prime ministers, including Thatcher and Winston Churchill, because they are suffering wear and tear from legislators rubbing their toes for luck. Members of Parliament traditionally touch the statues in the House of Commons lobby before entering the chamber. Deputy House of Commons curator Melanie Unwin told Parliament’s Works of Art Committee that statues of Thatcher, Churchill, Clement Attlee and David Lloyd George “are seriously under threat due to the tradition of touching the toes of the statues for good luck.” The committee agreed that “Do not touch” signs should be put up.
Rome acts on Colosseum
The city of Rome from yesterday barred private vehicles from using the main road to the Colosseum to protect the iconic monument that has been blackened by pollution and is in a poor state. Cars, lorries and other private vehicles are barred from using the last trunk of the avenue Via dei Fori Imperiali, which links Piazza Venezia to the Roman amphitheater. Traffic has been diverted to an adjacent route and only public transport will be allowed on the old route. The decision was taken by the new mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, who would like eventually to make the Via dei Fori Imperiali a pedestrian area. The number of visitors to the Colosseum has increased from 1 million to around 6 million a year over the past decade, thanks mainly to the blockbuster film Gladiator. However, it has also fallen into disrepair in recent years and some experts have voiced concern that the foundations are sinking.