Nation & World Briefly Oct. 21
Greek lawmakers vote in favor of new austerity bill
ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greek lawmakers passed a deeply resented new austerity bill Thursday, caving in to the demands of international creditors in order to avoid a national bankruptcy, as a second day of riots left one protester dead and more than 100 people wounded.
The austerity measures won 154-144 in the 300-member parliament despite dissent from a prominent Socialist lawmaker who voted against a key article of the bill. The vote was expected to pave the way for a vital (euro) 8 billion ($11 billion) payout from creditors within weeks so Greece can stay solvent.
Clouds of tear gas choked central Athens ahead of the vote as riot police intervened to separate rival demonstrators who fought for several hours with firebombs and stones outside parliament.
A 53-year-old construction worker died of heart failure after attending a mass rally, while 74 protesters and 32 police officers were hospitalized with injuries, police and state hospital officials told The Associated Press. Several dozen more injured protesters received first aid from volunteer medics who set up a makeshift treatment site on Athens’ main Syntagma Square.
Police said they detained 79 people suspected of violent conduct.
Ohio exotic-animal owner was ‘in over his head’
ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) – The exotic-animal owner who killed himself after turning loose dozens of lions, tigers and other beasts was deep in debt, and a fellow big-cat enthusiast said Thursday that he had taken in so many creatures he was “in over his head.”
A day after sheriff’s deputies with high-powered rifles killed nearly 50 animals set free by Terry Thompson, the sheriff refused to speculate why he did it. Many neighbors, meanwhile, were puzzled as to why Thompson – a man who seemed to like animals more than people – would lash out in a way that would doom his pets.
However, court records show that he and his wife owed at least $68,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS and the county, and he had two federal tax liens filed against him last year. He had just gotten out of federal prison last month for possessing unregistered weapons.
Kenny Hetrick, who has six tigers and other animals on his property outside Toledo, said he used to see Thompson at exotic-animal auctions a few times a year in Ohio. Many of Thompson’s tigers had been donated to him by people who bought baby animals that they no longer wanted once they started to grow, Hetrick said.
“He really had more there than what he could do,” Hetrick said. “I don’t know what his deal was, but he was in over his head.”
Hugo Chavez says he is free of cancer
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he is cancer-free, citing a series of medical exams in Cuba that showed no recurrence of the illness following two months of chemotherapy treatments.
The 57-year-old leader announced the test results on live television Thursday after returning from Cuba, saying thorough exams found no sign of any malignant cells in his body.
“I’m free of illness,” Chavez said on state television, wearing military fatigues as he arrived in the southwestern town of La Fria.
Crowds of supporters cheered for Chavez as he rode in a caravan to the town of La Grita, where he visited a church that is home to a famed image of Christ, whom Chavez referred to as “the comandante of comandantes.”
Chavez said he came to give thanks for his recovery.