Soros extends his support
Financier and philanthropist George Soros has extended his financial support for the nation by establishing the first in a series of “solidarity centers” for people worst hit by the economic crisis. The center in Thessaloniki, a hub for non-governmental organizations offering healthcare and legal counsel, has been deluged with requests already. Soros committed US$1 million for heating oil last year after mayors, unable to warm up schools, appealed for help. He has provided support for heating oil to 190 institutions, including orphanages, nurseries and homes for the elderly.
Leading author outs himself
Binyavanga Wainaina, one of Africa’s leading literary figures, has responded to a wave of recent anti-gay laws on the continent by publicly outing himself in a short story. The author and founder of the influential Nairobi-based literary journal Kwani said he would continue to travel to Nigeria, where gay and lesbian people face arrest and up to 14 years in prison under new legislation; and Uganda, where lawmakers passed a bill imposing life sentences for homosexual acts. “I’m a pan-Africanist — I belong to this continent,” Wainaina said.
Students kills assistant
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom on Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, on lockdown. Cody Cousins, who is believed to have targeted 21-year-old senior Andrew Boldt, surrendered to a police officer within minutes of the attack, Purdue Police Chief John Cox said. Investigators were trying to determine a motive for the shooting, which happened at about noon.
Snowden denies Russian aid
Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said he acted alone in leaking government secrets and that suggestions by some lawmakers he might have had help from Russia were “absurd,” The New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday. In an interview the magazine said was conducted by encrypted means from Moscow, Snowden was quoted as saying: “This ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd.” Snowden said he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no help from anyone, much less a government.” US Representative Mike Rogers said on Sunday he was investigating whether Snowden had help from Russia in stealing and revealing US government secrets.
Haiti envoy pleads for funds
UN special envoy Pedro Medrano warned yesterday that cholera deaths in Haiti will surge and spread to other countries unless more funds are found to battle the epidemic. More than 8,330 people have already died from the cholera epidemic that started in 2010 that many blame on UN peacekeepers in the country. Medrano said cash is lacking for purification tablets, antibiotics and staff.
Ford back on the booze
A new video surfaced on Tuesday showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in an apparent drunken stupor. The clip shot in a fast-food restaurant depicts Ford slurring his words, swearing and sometimes breaking into Jamaican patois. Confronted by reporters, Ford acknowledged the footage was shot late on Monday and admitted he had been drinking. “A little bit, yeah,” he said.