The Poorest president in the world, donates 90% of salary to charity

Usually presidents are not associated with poverty. But the President of Uruguay, José Mujica, has earned the nickname of the “poorest,” or the “most generous,” president in the world — depending on how you see things— after revealing that he donates 90 percent of his earnings, to charitable causes.

In a recent interview, Mujica told Spain’s El Mundo that he earns a salary of $12,500 a month, but only keeps $1,250 for himself, donating the rest to charity.

The president said that the only big item he owns is his VW car, valued at $1,945 dollars. The farmhouse in which he lives in Montevideo is under his wife’s name, Lucía Topolansky, a Senator, who also donates part of her salary.

“I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less,” the president told El Mundo.

The 77-year-old Mujica is a former guerilla leader, who fought against Uruguay’s military regimes in the 1970s. He was also Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries from 2005 to 2008 and afterwards, served as a senator.

Later on, as presidential candidate for the Broad Front, the left-wing coalition, Mujica won the 2009 election becoming Uruguay’s president on March 1, 2010.

Uruguay is the second smallest nation in South America by area, after Suriname. However it is one of the most developed countries on the continent, with a GDP per capita of $15,656. That’s less than half of United States’ GDP per capita, but it triples earnings in Honduras which has a GDP per capita of just $4,345. Under Mujica’s stewardship, Uruguay has become known for low levels of corruption. The South American country ranks as the second least corrupt country in Latin America in Transparency International’s global corruption index.

Uruguay also made it to the world cup 2010 semi-finals while Mujica was in office, and the country won the South American Soccer championships in 2011, stunning tournament hosts Argentina, in a memorable performance by striker Diego Forlan.

It seems therefore, that it’s a good time to be Jose Mujica. Without bank accounts, and with few debts, Mujica told El Mundo that he sleeps peacefully. When his term is over, the President hopes to rest even more peacefully in his farmhouse, along with his wife and his inseparable dog, Manuela.



First Iranian astronaut to be sent to space by next six years

 Iranian Space Agency official Mohammad Ebrahimi said on Monday that heavy consignments will be sent to the space in the next six years including astronaut.

Ebrahimi said that Iran has planned to send the first Iranian astronaut to the space.

He said the project would be materialized in light of cooperation among all organizations and scientific centers to manufacture advanced spacecraft,according tio IRNA.


Music therapy helps college professor speak again

More than three years ago, Bill Forester was a much different man.

“I couldn’t do anything,” said Forester, who is now 55 and lives in Bay Village, Ohio. “I couldn’t talk.”

In August 2009, the father of five had a stroke, which left him in a coma for three days.

Doctors told his wife Lori the man she loved was lost and that he may never speak or walk again. For the first six months after the stroke, Forester could only say four words.

But, Lori knew better. She was convinced her husband would fight to get his life back.

“In his professional world, he’s always been very motivated and driven, and he basically just took that and ran with therapy,” Lori Forester said.

Forester was a public speaker before the stroke. He was a college professor, so he loved talking.

He began taking music therapy classes at the Cleveland Clinic to re-learn the skills he had lost.

"The primary thing we do is work on his speech through singing songs and then talking about the songs so he can practice his speech that way too,"  said Lisa Gallagher, a music therapist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Every week, Forester and Gallagher did finger exercises on the keyboard and guitar to help him get the strength back in his hands, as well as sing.

"Everytime I sing or talk with Lisa, it's coming back,"  Forester said.         

He attended music therapy every week for one year, but now he goes sporadically.

Gallagher said language is on the left side of the brain and music is on the right, so music therapy is helping to retrain the left side of Forester’s brain.

“I mean, his speech is just amazing now,” Gallagher said. “He still has some pauses every now and then, but he talks up a storm.”

Music therapy can also be used for patients who suffer from depression, anxiety, pain, autism and cognitive disabilities.

Gallagher said patients don’t need to be musically inclined.

And, Forester hopes he can one day return to teaching.

“I’m always pushing the envelope, you know, because I want my life again,” he said.



Teen with genetic condition crowned homecoming king

UNIONVILLE, Tenn. - Three Tennessee homecoming king nominees made a unanimous and touching decision that no matter who won, they would give the crown to a beloved student with a genetic condition.

Students Jesse Cooper, Drew Gibbs and Zeke Grissom were all nominated for homecoming king at Community High School's basketball homecoming ceremony.

The teens got together and decided that the winner would turn over the honor to junior Scotty Maloney, who has Williams Syndrome, a neurological disorder that inhibits learning and speech.

"I've been blessed with so many things," Cooper told ABC News' Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV. "I just wanted Scotty to experience something great in his high school days."

"He's always happy, so he deserves some recognition for who he is," Gibbs said.

Cooper won the popular vote for king, but when the official announcement was made at a Friday ceremony, the principal told the crowd what the nominees had decided to do.

"When they called [Scotty's] name, his eyes got really big and I don't know that he registered exactly what was happening. He knew something was," Maloney's teacher Liz Hestle Gassaway told "It was very, very emotional."

The crowd erupted with cheers and Maloney got a long standing ovation, WKRN reported, as he was awarded his "King" medal.

"It was just a ton of emotion from everybody," Grissom told WKRN. "I think I saw Scotty shed a few tears. I know Jesse was pretty emotional. We were all emotional out there on the court."

Maloney is a beloved teen in his school and in the community, Gassaway said.

"Scotty is fabulous. He is a superstar. He knows everybody. There's not one person that Scotty does not know," she said. "To know him and meet him is to love him."

Gassaway believes that the nearly 500-student school in Unionville, Tenn., is "one of the best schools in the world when it comes to dealing with special needs children."

Students like Cooper help out in special needs gym classes and other activities. Gassaway said the boys' gesture toward Maloney sent a greater message.

"We want people to have more empathy towards people, not be scared of people with disabilities," she said. "We want them to embrace them, more like the boys did."

Next year Maloney will get to crown the school's new homecoming king. But for now, he is proudly sporting his medal everywhere he goes.


Dutch Queen Beatrix abdicates in favor of her son

Dutch Queen Beatrix, who has reigned for 33 years, has abdicated her throne in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander. The news comes as the Queen addressed the nation on television and radio.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation after the announcement, praising the Queen for her years of service.

The coronation of Willem-Alexander will take place on April 30. The 45-year old Prince will become the first King of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great grandfather William III in 1890.

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who will be 75 on January 31, came to the throne in 1980 following her mother’s, Queen Juliana, abdication after 31 years as head of state on her 70th birthday.