Friday's intriguing people
December 24th, 2010
10:07 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Lil Wayne

Just call him “Rapper Claus.”

Lil Wayne (pictured above) bought an $11,000 wheelchair for a New Jersey woman after her daughter wrote him multiple letters every week while he was in jail.

The 28-year-old rapper became a free man in November after serving eight months in New York's Rikers Island on a weapons charge.

Evelyn Austin said that her knees started going bad about 10 to 15 years and she reached the point where she couldn’t walk anymore.

Regarding Lil Wayne's gift, Austin, 64, told the New York Daily News, "I pray for him every night thanking him for this chair. I love every bit of it. It changed my life.”


September 7th, 2010
09:48 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

George Soros

The philanthropist and financier announced a $100 million grant to Human Rights Watch, the largest grant he has made to a nongovernmental organization.  According to a statement released this morning, the grant will be used to further the organization’s goals and outreach around the world.

“Human Rights Watch must be present in capitals around the globe, addressing local issues, allied with local rights groups and engaging with local government officials,” Soros said in the statement.

In an interview with the New York Times, Soros, 80, said age was a factor in his decision to grant such a large sum of money.  “Originally I wanted to distribute all of the money during my lifetime, but I have abandoned that plan. My foundation should continue, but I still would like to do a lot of giving during my lifetime, and doing it this way, with such size, is a step in that direction,” he said.

Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, and survived the Nazi occupation. He fled Hungary for England, eventually settling the United States where he built a large fortune through his investment advisory fund. Known as the “man who broke the Bank of England,” Soros reportedly made $1 billion when the bank withdrew currency from the European exchange rate mechanism, thereby devaluing the British pound.

Forbes placed Soros No. 35 on its World’s Billionaires list this year and estimates his net worth to be about $14 billion. In January, he gave $4 million to Haiti, and the Human Rights Watch grant brings Soros’ total contributions this year to about $700 million.

New York Times: Soros to donate $100 million to rights group

Forbes magazine: George Soros