Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.


  • 1 On literature
  • 2 On work as a gay writer
  • 3 On sex
  • 4 On incest in his family
  • 5 On American politics
  • 6 On his intimate relationships
  • 7 On Edmund White
  • 8 On Larry Kramer
  • 9 Source
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Brazilian footballer, ex-policeman among seven arrested for ‘barbaric’ murder

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A professional football player from Brazil and a former police investigator are among seven people arrested in connection with a murder police called “barbaric”. Flamengo goalkeeper, and captain, Bruno Fernandes is accused of hiring former policeman Marcos Aparecido dos Santos to kill his mistress.

Police say Fernandes met Eliza Samudio, 25, at a party organised by another Flamengo player last year, and spent the night with the former model and pornstar, impregnating her. Her refusal to abort the pregnancy is cited as the motive behind the killing. Samudio has been missing since June 4th. Police state she contacted them earlier to complain of violence and threats from Fernandes. He is alleged to have attacked her and tried to force her to swallow an abortion pill in a complaint filed in October. He supposedly told her, “[y]ou don’t know me and you don’t know what I am capable of – I’m from the favela.”

Police allege that Samudio was abducted from a hotel in Rio de Janerio and driven for six hours to reach a house belonging to Santos near Belo Horizonte. There, according to newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo, one of Fernandes’s cousins, allegedly involved, said loud music was played to cover up the screams as “barbaric tortures” were inflicted upon her by Santos.

It is alleged when she exclaimed she could no longer bear being beaten the ex-policeman responded “[y]ou are not going to bear it any more. You are going to die.” Souza is said to have been present and witnessed both her torture and her strangulation. Although she remains missing, police state that they are confident she is dead and claim her remains were disposed of by being fed to at least one rottweiler. Remaining parts are said to be encased in concrete.

The child, a boy, had already been born and is now four months old. Police say his mother was killed when she began attempts to prove the footballer, who was rumoured to have received an offer worth millions of dollars from AC Milan, was his father. Homicide investigator Edson Moreira is running the probe and was in no doubt of the footballing “idol”‘s guilt: “[he is] a monster for what he did to this young lady.”

The investigation has been a major focus for Brazilian media. The nation has an upcoming presidential election and candidates were quick to express their views. Dilma Rousseff, who present president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wishes to succeed him, said “[t]his is a barbaric crime. The whole of Brazil is disgusted by such a barbaric and perverse crime.” Rainforest campaigner Marina Silva, another candidate, expressed concern that “[w]e have repeatedly seen this kind of episode against the lives of women.”

Fernandes denied any involvement, claiming a “clear conscience”. He has commented that he is concerned the investigation may hamper his prospects of representing Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. Currently in a jail cell, he was requested to provide DNA samples but exercised his constitutional right to refuse. His wife is also alleged to have been involved and is jailed as well. Santos has said, via his lawyer, that he too is uninvolved in any crimes.

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Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, June 5, 2007.


  • 1 Moderate earthquake shakes central Greece
  • 2 Flemish Minister-President will not call Armenian massacre ‘genocide’
  • 3 Mudslide buries Valley of Geysers
  • 4 Back to the wild for pygmy kangaroos

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck near Patras and its surrounding areas in central Greece on Tuesday afternoon, just before 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT). There were no reports of injuries or damage.

“The strong earthquake was measured at 5.3 with the epicenter on the edge of Trichonida lake, some 110 kilometres [70 miles] west of Athens,” an Athens Geodynamic Institute official said.


  • Reuters. “Earthquake rattles central Greece” — CNN, June 5, 2007
  • Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “Moderate earthquake rattles western Greece, no injuries” — Monsters and Critics, June 5, 2007
  • “Earthquake Rattles Central Greece” — Mediafax, June 5, 2007
  • Usgs. “Magnitude 5.0 – GREECE” — USGS, June 5, 2007

Minister-President of Flanders Yves Leterme in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Zaman showed a hesitation to call the Armenian Genocide a genocide.

“Before a politician can judge if something is a genocide, the international institutions must speak out about it. …As a politician it is not wise to speak about a genocide until experts have judged it. I don’t stand alone with my view and I have nothing to add to this,” Leterme said.

The matter of the so-called Armenian Genocide lies very sensitive with some Belgian voters of Turkish descent. The situation reminds of the Dutch elections, when Wouter Bos from the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) refused to speak of an “Armenian genocide”. The polls project that Leterme’s party CD&V is to become the biggest political party of Flanders in the upcoming federal elections in Belgium next Sunday.

Related news

  • “French parliament approves bill on Armenian Genocide denial” — Wikinews, October 12, 2006


  • “Leterme casts doubt on Armenian genocide” — Expatica, June 5, 2007
  • “Leterme trekt Armeense genocide in twijfel” — De Morgen, June 5, 2007 (Dutch)
  • “Leterme twijfelt aan Armeense genocide” — Gazet van Antwerpen, June 5, 2007 (Dutch)

Russia’s Valley of Geysers, Eurasia’s only geyser field and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world, was largely destroyed by a mudslide on Sunday.

Millions of cubic meters of mud and rocks fell into the 6-kilometre-long basin, wiping out about two-thirds of the valley, which contains around 90 geysers and many hot springs. Located in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the valley wasn’t discovered until 1941, and had only opened to foreign tourists in 1991.


  • Jim Heintz. “Massive landslide destroys natural wonder of Russia’s Valley of Geysers” — The Independent, June 5, 2007
  • “Landslide destroys geyser valley” — BBC News Online, June 5, 2007

Indonesia’s foresty ministry said Tuesday it will release 17 endangered Dusky Pademelons into the wild in the remote Papua province on New Guinea.

Also known as pygmy kangaroos (similar Red-Necked Pademelon pictured), the animals have been rescued over time from illegal animal traders and from people’s homes, where the little kangaroos were kept as pets. The species, Latin name Thylogale brunii, belongs to a family of seven kangaroo-like mammals that are found in forests of Papua, Western New Guinea and Papua New Guinea.


  • Reuters. “Indonesia to return rare kangaroos to Papua forests” — Scientific American, June 5, 2007
  • Associated Press. “Indonesia returns rare kangaroos to wild” — Forbes, June 4, 2007
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Alleged tax-haven scheme linked to Canada’s largest brokerage firm

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In a continuing crackdown on tax evasion, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has alleged that brokers with a branch of RBC Dominion Securities, Canada’s largest brokerage company, helped clients set up accounts in the small European principality of Liechtenstein in order to avoid taxation on their wealth.

In affadavits submitted by the CRA, brokers with an RBC Dominion Securities office in Victoria, British Columbia, allegedly helped clients set up 16 offshore entities with a division of the LGT Group in Liechtenstein. While that is not a crime under Canadian law, auditors allege that the entities were used to help Canadians hide worldwide income. Thirteen individuals are either being audited or have made voluntary disclosures, admitting to tax evasion. The agency is presently investigating to see if there are any other individuals participating in this scheme. Regarding the inquiry, dubbed “Project Jade”, the CRA will only say that it was launched on information from a “confidential informant”.

RBC issued a written statement, saying “As a firm, we have never encouraged Canadians — not 25 years ago and not today — to set up entities in Liechtenstein, and we have never instructed our investment advisers to recommend that practice,” and “we comply with all CRA requirements. This means that we provide all our clients with the forms they need to meet their personal tax obligations, and also file reports with CRA that form the basis for reviews such as this.”

Three RBC employees are presently being investigated, with one remaining unidentified.

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Oil spill hits Australia’s Sunshine coastline

Sunday, March 15, 2009

200,000 litres of oil leaked into waters off the coast of Brisbane from the Pacific Adventurer when their fuel tanks were damaged in rough seas on Wednesday. The figure is about ten times higher than the original estimate of twenty thousand litres of oil. The devastating diesel oil spill has spread along 60 kilometres (37 miles) of the Queensland coast. In addition, 31 containers with 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser flew overboard during the violent storm.

Questions are being asked why the Hong Kong cargo ship was out in seas with nine meter waves caused by Cyclone Hamish, a Category 5 tropical cyclone, as well as why the fertiliser containers were not properly secured. One of the overboard containers ruptured the hull of the Pacific Adventurer, causing between 30 to 100 tonnes of oil to spew from the severely damaged ship.

If the ammonium nitrate mixes with the heavy oil, an explosion could occur. None of the containers have been recovered. Some of these may float, but it is believed that they may have sunk which then may cause algal blooms.

Disaster zones have been declared at Bribie and Moreton Islands, and along the Sunshine coast.

The vessel’s owner, Swire Shipping, reported that a second leak began on Friday, when the ship began listing after docking at Hamilton for repairs. “As full soundings of the vessel’s tanks were being taken at the port to determine how much oil had leaked from the vessel, a small quantity of fuel oil escaped from the Pacific Adventurer,” it stated. The ship was brought upright, and a recovery vessel was used to suck up the oil from the water. The leak produced a 500m-long oil slick down the Brisbane River. Booms were placed around this oil spill so that a skimmer could clean up the second spill.

Swire Shipping could face clean up costs of AU$100,000 a day as well as fines up to AU$1.5million (US$977,000; £703,000) if found guilty of environmental breaches or negligence.

Sunshine Coast beaches are slowly starting to be reopened. The beach of Mooloolaba was still closed following reports of burning sensations from swimmers. 12 beaches remain closed; however, 13 have been reopened.

Over 300 state government and council workers are using buckets, rakes and spades in the clean up effort. Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbott says the majority will be gone by Sunday afternoon. The full environmental impact on wildlife is not yet known. One turtle and seven pelicans have been found covered in oil.

There are concerns that the drinking water of Moreton Island is at risk, as the island uses water from the underground water table near the oil spill site.

“Every bucketload of contaminated sand has to be removed from the island by barge, and each bucketload from a front-end loader weighs about one tonne. It’s just an impossible task,” said Mr Trevor Hassard of the Tangalooma Dolphin Education Centre.

The commercial fishing industry has suffered from the incident. Trawlers won’t resume operations until Sunday evening, and any catches will be tested for human consumption.

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John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.


  • 1 On the alternative media and independent publishing
  • 2 On Christopher Hitchens, Orwell and 9/11 as inspiration
  • 3 On the future of the narrative
  • 4 On changing the literary canon
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On politics
  • 7 On self-destruction and survival
  • 8 On raising children
  • 9 On paedophilia and the death penalty
  • 10 On personal relationships
  • 11 Sources
  • 12 External links
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News briefs:May 26, 2010

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Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina is now over the U.S. mainland and has caused more than US$12 billion of damage. Some estimates are as high as $30 billion.

New Orleans was spared the most intense winds as the hurricane weakened as it made landfall, and its track turned slightly east, away from the city. However, the area was still subjected to sustained winds of more than 100mph, and rainfall as heavy as six inches per hour.

Future prices of crude oil rose above $70/barrel in the U.S. on Monday in the wake of Katrina’s surge through oil and refinery processing facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm forced operators to shut down an estimated 1 million barrels of daily refining capacity in the region that accounts for nearly a quarter of total domestic production.

A U.S. spokesman for the Bush administration said the government will consider releasing crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if requested by refiners. OPEC has pledged to blunt the impact by increasing production to compensate.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Michael Brown, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), briefed Mr. Bush before he left his Texas ranch for Arizona where he will deliver a speech on Medicare. Brown said it would take time before an assessment is possible for when refineries could resume activity.

President Bush authorized loans from the strategic reserve to help make up for missing supplies when Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004.

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Riyo Mori is crowned Miss Universe as Japanese after 48 years’ absence

Thursday, May 31, 2007

According to The Japan Times, the 20-year-old Japanese delegate Riyo Mori was crowned as the 56th Miss Universe, in a ceremony held at Mexico City on May 28 .

Riyo, the new Miss Universe titleholder, is from Shizuoka, Japan. She had stayed in Canada to study ballet while in high-school.After Riyo returned to her country, she became to an instructor of a dance school.

Riyo Mori achieved the brilliant feat of winning this beauty contest as Japanese after 48 years’ absence.Incidentally, preceded runner-up is Kurara Chibana.

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On the campaign trail, July 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The following is the ninth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the rules of third party candidate polling are examined, a third party activist causes four other parties to lose their place on the Illinois presidential ballot, and the new vice presidential nominee of the Justice Party speaks with Wikinews.


  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Polling rules restrict and fuel third party campaigns
  • 3 Ballot access denied in Illinois
  • 4 Wikinews interviews newly-selected Justice Party VP nominee
  • 5 Related news
  • 6 Sources
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