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Tue, 26 Sep 2023
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Man of the people: President of Uruguay José Mujica gives away 90% of his salary


José Mujica
How's this as a man of the people: The president of Uruguay, José Mujica, has earned a nickname, "el presidente mas pobre" (translation: "poorest president").

The 77-year-old recently admitted to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that he donates almost all of his presidential salary, making him the poorest, or, as Univision pointed out, most generous president, in the world.

El presidente explained he receives $12,500 a month but keeps only $1,250. The public servant told the newspaper, "I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less."

He and his wife - a senator who also donates part of her salary - live in a farmhouse in Montevideo. His biggest expense is his Volkswagen Beetle, valued at $1,945.

Comment: If only other leaders followed José Mujica example - if they actually had a conscience to begin with. Just look at the obscene amount of money spent by Obama and Romney running for the U.S. presidency while millions of their citizens live in poverty and destitution.


Jared Lee Loughner sentenced to life in prison for Arizona shootings

Loughner pleaded guilty to attack in Tucson in 2011 that left six dead and 12 other including Gabrielle Giffords injured

The man who pleaded guilty to shooting the former US representative Gabrielle Giffords, in an attack that left six dead and 12 others injured, has been sentenced to life in prison.

US district judge Larry Burns sentenced Jared Lee Loughner, 24, on Thursday to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison for the January 2011 shooting.

Loughner pleaded guilty to federal charges under an agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The hearing marked the first time victims including Giffords could confront Loughner in court. Her husband spoke on her behalf, saying Loughner changed his wife's life forever but could not dent her spirit.


Obama calls for immediate freeze on middle-class tax rate increases

President Obama called on lawmakers Friday to immediately freeze income tax rates for most Americans while allowing taxes on the wealthy to increase, in his opening bid in the high-stakes struggle with Republicans over the nation's ballooning debt.

Offering his first public remarks since returning to Washington after his election victory, Obama called senior lawmakers of both parties to the White House next Friday to discuss how to avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff," the automatic series of tax hikes and spending cuts that economists warn could plunge the nation into recession.

His invitation is the latest in a series of conciliatory moves by leaders of both parties in the immediate aftermath of the election.

"I'm not wedded to every detail of my plan. I'm open to compromise," Obama told an audience in the East Room of the White House. "But I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced. I am not going to ask students and seniors and ­middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes."

While demanding that the wealthy pay more in taxes, Obama did not specifically insist that their income tax rates must rise. The administration has traditionally said that the George W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy must expire as scheduled at year's end, raising rates for ­upper-income earners to 39.6 percent. Republicans strongly oppose that position and have said it cannot be part of any deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

It was not clear whether Obama had intended to signal new flexibility over how to tax the wealthy.

But close observers, including top Republicans, quickly said there were potential grounds for compromise if the White House was willing to seek increased revenue from the wealthy without raising rates - for example by cutting deductions and loopholes that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.


High tech internet scam defrauds dozens

Dozens of people who sold hi-tech items on the internet site leboncoin.fr have been defrauded in a complex scam that involved fake PayPal accounts, a fake job and a fake British company linked to traders in Ghana.

The fraud was discovered by police in Brest after a woman living at the other end of the country complained that she had not been paid for a tablet computer she had sold on the site. The woman, from Saint-Raphael in the Var, said she had sent the tablet to an address in Brest but the PayPal payment she got in return was from a false account.

Police discovered that the Var complaint was just one of many and each person had sent the items to the same address in Brest. They raided the address and discovered a woman who said she had been hired just a fortnight previously to post the goods to Ghana.


French police seek a nicer image

Gendarmes in the Var have decided to go for a friendlier image by warning of road checks via a Facebook page.

The Gendarmerie du Var Facebook page, which has 2,140 "likes", is a "way of being a bit nicer [sympa]", said the brigade's chief Colonel Damien Choutet.

Last Friday, for example, officers posted that "with the good weather back again, and this weekend a lot of coming and going for the All Saints' holiday, we suggest you take care on the roads. We'll obviously be checking on speed, with lots of checks in places like Saint-Maximin, Le Luc, Roquebrune-sur-Argens or La Londe-des-Maures".

Alarm Clock

Minnesota officials: Starving of boy 'egregious'

Minneapolis -- Officials are asking a judge to terminate the parental rights of a Minnesota couple accused of starving one of their four children, saying the 8-year-old boy suffered egregious harm and it's not in the best interest of any child to be in their care.

The boy, who weighed less than 35 pounds last month, was released from the hospital Wednesday, Mayo Clinic officials said Thursday. He's now in foster care, and his siblings remain with their parents, Russell and Mona Hauer.

The Hauers, of North Mankato, are charged with six felonies, including neglect and malicious punishment of a child. Authorities said they spanked the boy with a 2-by-4, made him sleep in a sled because he wet the bed and put an alarm on his door so he would not steal food. He was given a bucket to urinate in, and was taken outside to be hosed off on some mornings, the complaint said.

"He was treated like an animal," said Nicollet County Sheriff's Investigator Marc Chadderdon.

Eye 1

Murdered British businessman Neil Heywood 'was MI6 informant'

© REUTERS/China.org.cn
British businessman Neil Heywood poses for a photograph at a gallery in Beijing, in this handout picture dated April 12, 2011.
Neil Heywood, the 41-year-old British businessman who was murdered in China, had been providing information to the British secret service, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Heywood, who drove around Beijing with a "007″ licence plate, had been giving information to MI6 about top politician Bo Xilai for about a year before he died, according to the newspaper.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was sentenced to death for Heywood's murder in August, although her execution was suspended. Heywood's initial cause of death in November 2011 was listed as alcohol poisoning, but at her trial, Gu admitted to poisoning him.

Bo was the Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing and a leading contender for the leadership of China. His former police chief, Wang Lijun, has also been jailed over Heywood's death.

Black Cat

Mobster's murder may be start of bloody Mafia war in Montreal

© Postmedia news files
Legendary mobster Joe Di Maulo, left, who was murdered at the weekend.
Giuseppe "Joe" Di Maulo, a venerable lion of the Montreal Mafia, was an amazing acrobat, or so went an unkind joke among mob hangers-on, although usually said in whispers. It was not because of any prowess in gymnastics but his ability to be so flexible - his speed at flipping to support a winning side.

Mr. Di Maulo's ability to spot and back a winner may have backfired Sunday night when someone killed him outside his large home in a suburb of Montreal, on a street nestled in the woods of a well-manicured golf course, where almost every home has a swimming pool.

And while the death of Mr. Di Maulo, 70, ended the life of a legendary mobster, it is the prospect of his murder being the beginning of something more that most concerns police.

It is precisely one month since Vito Rizzuto, long the overlord of organized crime in Montreal, returned to Canada from a U.S. prison, where he served eight years for three racketeering murders.


Australia abandons Internet filter proposal after public outcry

Labor was forced to abandon its promised mandatory internet filter because it would never have worked and would not have got through parliament, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has abandoned the proposed filter five years after it was promised by Labor, following an outcry from civil libertarians and technology businesses.

Senator Conroy had not reinvented himself as a libertarian, "he's just been obliged to recognise reality", Mr Turnbull said.

"It was always a bad idea," he told The Australian.

"It would never have been effective. It would have just given parents a false sense of security. There is no substitute for parents taking responsibility for their children.

"It's an overdue acknowledgment that they don't have the numbers in either house to get their legislation through."

Che Guevara

100,000 clash with police in Athens; Greece could descend into civil war, says analyst

Greece risks sliding into a civil war, unless officials in Athens follow Iceland's example and default on the country's loans, journalist Charlie McGrath told RT.

­Charlie McGrath from Wide Awake News says Greece needs to admit to bankruptcy and start fresh from scratch.

"The financial health is not going to change in the country until they realize that they are in default - that they are bankrupt - and tell the banks that are holding their debt, and the European Union and the ECB, that they're going to default," he stressed.