english news

Driver charged over crushing to death of girl at Agricola


Danion Welcome, the driver of the truck that crushed seven-year-old Ciarra Benjamin to death three months ago on the Agricola Public Road, was granted bail when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

It is alleged that the 39-year-old father of four, on June 1st at the Agricola Public Road, drove motor lorry GWW 962 in a manner dangerous to the public thereby causing the death of Benjamin. Welcome pleaded not guilty to the charge.Facts presented to the court by police prosecutor Gordon Mansfield indicated that on the day in question, at about 16:10 hours, the defendant was driving the lorry which was heading north on the eastern driveway of the western carriageway. At the time, the prosecutor said, Welcome was travelling at a fast rate and while in the vicinity of the Agricola Public Road, he lost control of the lorry which swerved and collided with Benjamin. The girl was crushed by the vehicle.(Stabroek News)…[+]

Belgian F-16 crash pilot ejects on to power line


A Belgian air force F-16 fighter plane has crashed in north-western France, leaving one pilot caught on a high-voltage electricity line. Both pilots were lightly wounded after they ejected from the plane near Pluvigner in Brittany.

The plane had clipped the roof of at least one house before crashing in a nearby field. The man was eventually retrieved from the power line after a two-hour rescue operation by French emergency services. The cable was high voltage at 250,000 volts, local media reported. The plane had been flying at 500m (1,500ft), said the commander of the Belgian air force, Frederik Vansina.

The aeroplane was on a practice flight from Florennes in the Belgian province of Namur to a French airbase at Lorient, some 30km (19 miles) from the crash site, according to Belgian reports.(BBC)…[+]

David Cameron: EU referendum claim fact-checked


Former Prime Minister David Cameron was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether he had any regrets about calling the 2016 referendum and whether he did it for “party management reasons”? Mr Cameron said “every party was under pressure on this issue… every single political party in Britain fought an election between 2005 and 2015 with a pledge to hold a referendum.” Is he right?

Not every party consistently argued for a straightforward in/out referendum, with the option of leaving the EU altogether, in that time. But it’s true to say that membership of the EU as an issue for political parties pre-dated 2014. That was the year that the UK Independence Party (UKIP) won the most votes in the European Parliamentary elections, sweeping away their far more established competitors.

“I’ve read so many times… that the referendum came about because the Tories got whacked by UKIP in the 2014 elections,” Mr Cameron said. But he denied this, saying that support for a referendum “wasn’t a flash in the pan”. The Liberal Democrats, although staunchly opposed to the UK leaving the EU, were the first major political party to call for an in/out referendum.

Current leader of the party Jo Swinson said in Parliament in 2008 that the Liberal Democrats “would like to have a referendum on the major issue of whether we are in or out of Europe”.(BBC)…[+]

Baby Pia: Almost 1m Belgians pay for life-saving drug


More than 950,000 Belgians have responded to a couple seeking €1.9m ($2m; £1.7m) to cover the cost of their baby’s life-saving treatment. Nine-month-old Pia, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and lives in Antwerp, requires the drug Zolgensma, which has not been approved for use in Europe but is available in the US.

Her parents have now raised enough for a single course of treatment. “I can fly instead of crawl,” a message on the TeamPia fundraising page said. Belgium has a population of 11.4 million and Pia’s mother, Ellen De Meyer, said almost one in 10 Belgians had contributed. The money was raised through a text messaging donation service – €2 for each text received – launched just days ago and through contributions to a campaign posted to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.”It is overwhelming that a country can come together for something like this,” Ms De Meyer told Belgium’s VRT News, adding: “The fact that this happens in two days is insane.”(BBC)…[+]

South Africa violence against women ‘like a war’, says Ramaphosa


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says urgent action is needed to tackle gender-based violence in the country. At an emergency sitting of parliament, Mr Ramaphosa said figures of violence against women and children were similar to those of a country at war.

Some 2,700 women and 1,000 children were murdered by men last year and at least 100 rapes were reported daily. The spike in violence against women has ignited protests in many parts of the country. Mr Ramaphosa pledged $75m (£60m) for measures including public education, strengthening the criminal justice system, increasing sentences for perpetrators of sexual offences and providing better care for victims.

The plan also includes measures to improve women’s economic power. Murders recorded by the police have been rising every year for the last decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen 4.6% this year.

Mr Ramaphosa also addressed the recent xenophobic attacks which gripped parts of Johannesburg a few days ago and acknowledged that South Africa was facing a serious crisis of violence and intolerance. He said a fact finding mission led by two former African heads of state would investigate the causes of recent violent attacks in the country.(BBC)…[+]

Chile’s ex-president Bachelet denies links to Brazil’s Car Wash scandal


SANTIAGO – Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s ex-president and now the UN human rights chief, has denied allegations by a Brazilian businessman under investigation in Brazil’s massive Car Wash scandal that he paid $141,000 to cover debts incurred by her 2013 presidential campaign.

Bachelet, a socialist who served from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, denied the claims that were reported on Monday by the Brazilian newspaper Folho de Sao Paolo. It said Leo Pinheiro told prosecutors as part of a plea bargain that his engineering firm, OAS, paid the money at the suggestion of the former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. “My truth is the same as always, I have never had links with OAS,” she told Chilean TV station 24 Horas in Geneva.

Lula is serving a 12-year prison sentence for taking bribes in connection with the scandal, which involved payoffs and political kickbacks on contracts with oil company Petrobras and other state-run companies. Cristiano Zanin Martins, Lula’s lawyer, told Reuters his client had not recommended any such payments and that the latest claims were part of a “strategy” by prosecutors to persecute Lula “politically”.

“Leo Pinheiro’s version is denied by a statement filed on Feb. 7, 2017 by his own company – OAS – which said that ‘no contracts or donations were made to former presidents of the Republic, nor for institutes or foundations linked to them’,” he said.(Reuters)…[+]

Trinidad: Valsayn shoplifter says she stole to give to the poor


A Valsayn woman who claimed she stole over $3,000 in clothing to give to the poor, has been arrested. The suspect, of Bamboo #3, was allegedly caught stealing on Saturday from PriceSmart in Chaguanas.

According to police, the woman allegedly picked up several blouses and pairs of pants from the shelves and went to the ladies room. While there she allegedly placed them in the bag she was carrying. She attempted to leave the store, but was stopped by a security guard who searched her bag and allegedly found the clothing items.

Chaguanas police were contacted by and a team of officers led by Cpl Phillips responded. The woman allegedly told police officers that she stole the clothing to give to the poor. She was arrested and charged with the offence of larceny. She is expected to appear before a Chaguanas magistrate on Monday. (Stabroek News)…[+]

Hugo Carvajal: Spain denies US extradition request


A Spanish court has rejected an extradition request for Venezuela’s former intelligence chief General Hugo Carvajal. The US sought his extradition, accusing him of drug trafficking offences.

He turned against the government of President Nicolás Maduro in February and backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s leader. Mr Carvajal fled Venezuela on a boat and was arrested in Madrid in April. On Monday he was pictured with his family as he left a prison in Spain.He had been under US sanctions since 2008 due to allegations he helped Colombia’s Farc rebel group and protected US-bound drug shipments.

Federal charges which accuse him of co-ordinating a 5,600kg (12,345lb) shipment of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in 2006, became public in 2014. The US Justice Department said in April that if convicted, he could face between 10 years and life in prison. Washington also believes that Mr Carvajal could share incriminating evidence about Mr Maduro.

Mr Carvajal was a close ally of Venezuela’s late socialist leader Hugo Chávez but later denounced his successor President Maduro. He was stripped of his rank after choosing to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Mr Guaidó declared himself president in January, citing Venezuela’s constitution. He has the backing of dozens of countries including the US. Mr Carvajal escaped Venezuela by boat to the Dominican Republic before travelling on to Spain.(BBC)…[+]

Supreme Court: Parliament suspended ‘to stop MPs frustrating PM’, judges told


Boris Johnson sought to suspend Parliament to avoid the risk of MPs “frustrating or damaging” his Brexit plans, the Supreme Court has heard. Lawyers for campaigners challenging the suspension said there was “strong evidence” the PM saw MPs “as an obstacle” and wanted to “silence” them.

But a government lawyer said the PM was “entitled” to suspend Parliament, and it was not a matter for the courts. The judges are hearing two challenges relating to the five-week prorogation. Lady Hale, President of the Court, stressed the landmark case would have no bearing on the timing of Brexit. In her opening statement, the most senior judge in the UK said she and her 10 colleagues would endeavour to address the “serious and difficult questions of law” raised by the case, but would not determine “wider political questions” relating to the Brexit process.(BBC)…[+]

Hurricane Humberto takes aim at Bermuda, a danger to U.S. coast


Humberto, which gained hurricane strength late Sunday, is expected to drop another 2 inches of rain on the storm-ravaged northwestern Bahamas as it crawls away from the U.S. coast, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said early Monday. It will bring life-threatening waves and tides to parts of Central Florida and North Carolina coasts for the next few days as it packs sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) and heads east-northeast toward Bermuda, the NHC said.

It was 760 miles (1,225 km) west of Bermuda early Monday, moving at 5 mph (7 kph), and may bring heavy rains there by late Wednesday, the NHC said in its 5 a.m. advisory. Humberto is forecast to gain strength and get faster over the next two days. (Reuters)…[+]