english news

Bangladesh admits no Rohingya willing to take repatriation offer

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Bangladesh has conceded that it will be unable to voluntarily repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as it had planned because it cannot find anyone willing to go back, though efforts to “motivate” people to leave will continue.

Four trucks and three buses were stationed at Unchiprang camp in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday morning, ready to carry refugees who have been “approved” to a transit camp by the border, but not one refugee was willing to board them. Most refugees on a list of those approved to return have gone into hiding. Mohammad Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner, said his team had completed the “physical and logistical preparations” to facilitate the repatriation but has been forced to accept by Thursday evening local time that the refugees “are not willing to go back now.“Bangladesh was “totally committed to the principle of non-refoulement and voluntary repatriation”, Abul Kalam said. “We will not force anyone to go back to Myanmar against his or her will,” he added, though authorities would continue to try to “motivate” refugees to leave.More than 2,000 Rohingya refugees had been put on a list approved by Myanmar for return, without their consent. While the plan was to send them back in batches of 150 per day starting on Thursday, by Wednesday night almost all had gone into hiding in other camps and in the nearby forest, amid fears they would be sent to Myanmar against their will.(theguardian)…[+]

John Kerry: US ‘cannot afford truculent child president’

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America cannot afford “a truculent child president” if it is to fulfil its global leadership role, the former US secretary of state John Kerry said on Thursday as he lambasted Donald Trump for failing to attend a key Armistice Day commemoration ceremony in Paris at the weekend. Kerry is visiting the UK to promote his book and will be speaking at a Guardian Live event in London on Thursday night.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Kerry spoke of “a dearth of a leadership on a global basis” adding: “Every country is feeling the pressure of this nationalistic populist and in some cases very frightening rightwing advance.” He said: “I was appalled that rain drops prevented the president from going to pay honour to those that died in rain, gas, snow and mud. That was the reason he came to Paris.”Trump refused to attend the rain-swept ceremony citing concerns that his helicopter could not fly due to the weather, and his belief that if he travelled by car, the Paris traffic would be severely disrupted.(theguardian)…[+]

CCJ DECLARES GUYANA’S CROSS-DRESSING LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL

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Trinidad. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that a law in Guyana, which makes it a criminal offence for a man or a woman to appear in a public place while dressed in clothing of the opposite sex for an “improper purpose”, is unconstitutional. The law, Section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, is to be struck from the laws of Guyana. The case of Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) v The Attorney General of Guyana began with the arrest of the appellants in February 2009.

Four of the appellants, who identify as transgender persons, were arrested, convicted and punished for cross-dressing in public. At the time of arrest, McEwan was dressed in a pink shirt and a pair of tights and Clarke was wearing slippers and a skirt. A few hours later, Fraser and Persaud were also arrested by the police and taken to the Brickdam Police Station. At the time, they were dressed in skirts and were wearing wigs.

While in custody, Fraser requested legal counsel, medical attention, a telephone call and that the police take a statement. However, those requests were not granted. McEwan, Clarke, Fraser and Persaud spent the entire weekend in police custody and they did not receive any explanation as to why they had been arrested and detained. They first learned of the charges, of loitering and wearing female attire in a public place for “an improper purpose”, when they were taken to the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on Monday 9th February 2009…[+]

Israeli defence chief Avigdor Lieberman quits over Gaza truce

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Israel’s hawkish defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has announced he is resigning from the rightwing coalition government led by Benjamin Netanyahu in protest at a Gaza truce. Announcing his decision, Lieberman called Tuesday’s Egyptian-mediated deal with the Palestinian militant group Hamas “a capitulation to terror” and called for elections.

“What happened yesterday – the truce combined with the process with Hamas – is a capitulation to terror. It has no other meaning,” Lieberman told journalists. “What we’re doing now as a state is buying short-term quiet, with the price being severe long-term damage to national security.” Lieberman has long demanded a more aggressive Israeli policy in Gaza, and his announcement follows the most intense round of fighting since the war in 2014.

The two-day bout of violence erupted after Israeli special forces engaged in a deadly firefight with gunmen on Sunday in what appeared to have been an intelligence mission deep inside the coastal enclave that was exposed when they passed a Hamas checkpoint. Hamas and Israel have traded frequent rocket fire and airstrikes for months, often as tensions spike over the bloodshed at regular Palestinian protests along the frontier. Israeli soldiers have killed about 170 demonstrators and injured thousands more.(theguardian)…[+]

Trinidad: Highway daredevil lands in hospital

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Police are yet to identify a man who suffered multiple injuries when he jumped in front of a passing car on Tuesday night. The same man was earlier spotted sitting on a car top travelling along the Uriah Butler Highway, in the vicinity of Caroni. Police said his injuries were not life threatening. A video posted to social media at around 8pm showed the man sitting on the roof of the car driving along the south bound lane of the highway. Police said around 20 minutes later the vehicle was parked along Waterloo Road, Carapichaima.

Closed circuit television cameras in the area captured the man exiting the back seat of the vehicle. He then stood in front of the car and waited for a passing vehicle. The footage showed the man jumping in front of the moving car. Central Division police and paramedics visited the scene. He was taken to hospital by ambulance.(Trinidad Express)…[+]

CDB champions the call for a more resilient energy sector at 2018 Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum

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BRIDGETOWN– Improving the resilience of the Region’s energy sector, especially when it comes to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change, must be a priority for all countries in the Caribbean. The theme of resilience was brought into focus during the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) presentations at the 2018 Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) in Miami, Florida from November 7 to 9.

Speaking during the opening of the Island Resiliency Action Challenge event, on November 7, CDB’s Vice-President (Operations), Monica La Bennett noted that the energy sector is central to every country’s goal of achieving sustainable development, and emphasised the importance of improving the resilience of the electricity grid.

The Region has identified improving the resilience of electricity systems and by extension, the energy sector, as a key component of its energy matrix transformation. Any plan for improving the resilience of our electricity systems must be seen as part of the overall strategy for building economic resilience. In fact, it must now be seen as an imperative linked to the very sustainability and survival of our Region,” said La Bennett.

The Vice-President noted that even as countries continue to pursue renewable energy solutions, they must seek to ensure that decisions are underpinned by careful analysis of the associated costs and benefits. She therefore encouraged stakeholders to make use of concessionary resources such as those available through the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. La Bennett observed that determining the level of resilience to be incorporated, and the associated investment required, will require that several areas be considered…[+]

Trump ramps up Macron spat by mocking France in world wars

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Donald Trump ramped up his spat with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday, issuing a denigrating tweet in which he said Parisians had started to learn German during the second world war before the US saved them from occupation.The US president’s Tuesday morning tweet further exacerbates his standoff with Macron following the US president’s visit to Paris over the weekend that was marred by Trump’s controversial behavior. In the tweet he repeated his accusation that the French leader had called for a European army as protection against the US – an apparent misreading of Macron’s earlier comments.He followed soon after with a second caustic tweet in which he accused France of engaging in unfair trade practices with regard to imports and exports of French and US wine.The biting words are an escalation of the attack Trump made on Friday in which he said Macron had been “very insulting” by suggesting Europe needed its own army to protect itself against the US, China and Russia. He appeared to be conflating, however, Macron’s desire to strengthen Europe’s military forces – an ambition Trump himself has demanded as he seeks to reduce US contributions to Nato – and comments made by the French president in a radio interview about the threat of cyberhacking from other countries including the US.(theguardian)…[+]

Westminster council to ban supersize new homes

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Westminster city council is to ban new supersize properties built for oligarchs and other members of the global elite in order to free up space for more affordable homes.

The council, which includes the areas of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, said it would restrict new homes larger than 150 sq metres (1,615 sq ft) because “Westminster’s position in the global housing market can create demand for supersize properties which underoptimise development of Westminster’s scarce land resource”.

Westminster said banning “Monopoly board-style” homes would help free up more space for affordable homes for Londoners. The ban is part of Westminster’s 2019-40 development plan released on Monday night, which also included a commitment to build more than 10,000 affordable units by 2040. The council said 150 sq metres was 50% larger than the average private home in the borough and would “still enable generously sized homes to be developed to meet development from the prime market, but balances that against the other, more strategic housing need of the city”.

The size of the average home in the UK has been shrinking in recent years. Homes from the most recent decade have about 67.8 sq metres of living space, according to LABC Warranty, which is not much more than both decks of a London bus, at 55 sq metres. The figure factors in living areas, kitchens and bathrooms, but does not include hallways or staircases.(theguardian)…[+]

Trinidad cop to wear blue hijab uniform

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POLICE constable Sharon Roop, who last week won a high court matter which gives her the right to wear her hijab as part of her police uniform, chose a blue hijab to wear to work. Her shift starts at 6 pm today and was expected to end at 9 am tomorrow.

Roop, a wireless operator at the Chaguanas police station, revealed that she was excited about wearing the hijab and is hoping that other female officers of the Islamic faith will follow suit.She is also calling on the Police Social and Welfare Association and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to work speedily to give a directive on a standard hijab wear for Muslim female police officers who choose to wear the hijab as part of their uniform.(Trinidad Newsday)…[+]

Trump claims ‘honest vote’ not possible in Florida as counties rush to recount

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Tensions are rising in Florida as counties rush to conduct a recount in crucial races for governor and Senate, the effort already marred by mishaps and lawsuits. Donald Trump duly weighed in on Twitter on Monday morning, calling for an end to the legally required recount.

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” the president wrote, repeating Republican claims of voter fraud for which election officials in the state have said there is no evidence. “An honest vote count is no longer possible – ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

Florida’s 67 counties face a deadline of Thursday to complete their recounts. Half have already started counting, with the weekend seeing drama in Broward and Palm Beach counties, which both have large populations of Democratic voters and histories of election mishaps. Other counties are set to start recounting on Monday.

Unofficial results showed DeSantis, a Republican former US representative, led Democratic Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41% in the governor’s race. In the Senate race, outgoing Republican governor Rick Scott led incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson by 0.14%. State law requires a machine recount in races where the margin is less than 0.5%. If the machine recount shows a difference of less than 0.25%, a hand recount is ordered.(theguardian)…[+]