Voodoo leader dies
Max Gesner Beauvoir, the supreme leader of the voodoo religion, died on Saturday at the age of 79 in Port-au-Prince, his relatives have announced. Beauvoir, a biochemist by training, in 2008 was named the “National Ati,” or spiritual guide for voodoo practitioners. The title was created to defend the nation’s historic religion from increased attacks from some Protestant churches and Evangelical preachers. Beauvoir worked hard to counter negative stereotypes of the religion and explain voodoo to foreigners, and even opened the religion’s temple to the public during important religious ceremonies.
Call for UN-led probe
An opposition group says it rejects creation of a national commission using foreign judges and prosecutors to investigate corruption, and only an international commission would be acceptable. The group calling itself the “Indignant Opposition” on Saturday said that allegations of social security fraud should be investigated by a commission like the one the UN heads in Guatemala. The “Indignant Opposition” says it opposes an Organization of American States proposal to have foreign judges and prosecutors help investigate official wrongdoing because the effort would still be under national government control.
Training bunker planned
Police officers, security guards and soldiers will be trained to combat domestic terrorist attacks in an underground bunker simulating everything from hostage rescues to raids on airports, hotels and schools. The National Firearms and Tactical Training Centre, to be built on the site of a subterranean reservoir for ￡20 million (US$31 million), will feature mocked-up houses that trainees will storm, a Taser-training area and five live-firing ranges. The complex is to have 2m-thick walls to ensure safety and sound proofing. Rooms furnished with couches and cupboards will recreate real-world search-and-rescue scenarios, while the largest 100m range is big enough to teach vehicle interception techniques. The privately funded center should open in 2017.
Meimarakis seeks support
Conservative leader Evangelos Meimarakis on Saturday called on Greeks to give him the chance to form a government with his New Democracy party at “its core” and undo the damage from seven months of a left-led coalition. Meimarakis told an audience of party supporters and local business people at the Thessaloniki International Fair that “voters cannot gamble away” the “last chance” in next Sunday’s election to save the country from the policies of the leftist SYRIZA government. He promised business-friendly policies that would bring jobs, growth and, eventually lower taxes, instead of the state-driven economy he accused his opponent, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, of promoting.
School teacher beatified
About 30,000 people yesterday gathered in the small northern village of Tshitanini for a ceremony beatifying a school teacher who was bludgeoned to death for resisting witchcraft. Benedict Daswa was killed by fellow villagers on Feb. 2, 1990, after he refused to pay a sorcerer who promised to end destructive storms hammering the region. Pope France in January said that Daswa would be beatified, the first to undergo the key step toward Catholic sainthood in southern Africa.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including