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Donald Trump orders McDonald’s for football champions as shutdown cuts staff

bic mac

Any champion football player disappointed with Monday’s dinner at the White House can blame Democrats, according to a presidential spokesman.

Clemson University’s football team on Thursday joined Donald Trump for dinner to celebrate their win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship. However, the government shutdown has left much of the White House staff furloughed, forcing the president to set the menu, the spokesperson said. The event created a golden culinary opportunity for a president whose typical evenings reportedly often involve a cheeseburger in front of the TV. On Monday’s menu was “McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King’s with some pizza”, Trump told reporters.

Photos of the spread show an array of Quarter Pounders and Big Macs, alongside silver bowls filled with various sauces – all individually wrapped to minimize waste.The president reasoned that the team would enjoy the fast food: “We have some very large people that like eating. So I think we’re going to have a little fun.”(theguardian)…[+]

Cop accidentally shot in face by colleague


A police constable is now in hospital nursing a facial wound after he was reportedly shot, accidentally, by one of his colleagues during an operation to apprehend wanted men in Portland yesterday. The incident has triggered a probe by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).

The constable was shot on the left side of his face during the early morning operation at Olivier Housing Scheme in Buff Bay. He was rushed to Annotto Bay Hospital and was later transferred to Kingston Public Hospital. At press time yesterday the police’s Corporate Communication Unit (CCU) reported that he was in serious but stable condition. The CCU reported that the cop was taken to hospital about 6:00 am, but that the circumstances surrounding the shooting remained unclear at the time, and that the Inspectorate of the Constabulary was also investigating the matter.(Jamaica Observer)…[+]

Trinidad suffers major fall in rice output


Lo­cal rice pro­duc­tion dropped from 21,000 met­ric tonnes in 1992 to just 585 met­ric tonnes last year, a Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee (JSC) chaired by An­tho­ny Viera heard from Na­tion­al Flour Mills (NFM) chair­man Nigel Ro­mano yes­ter­day.

Ro­mano, who gave a break­down of the quan­ti­ty of rice pro­duced in tes­ti­mo­ny be­fore the JSC on State En­ter­pris­es, said in 1992 NFM pur­chased ap­prox­i­mate­ly 21,200 met­ric tonnes of pad­dy from farm­ers. By 2013, the fig­ure plum­met­ed to 2,859 met­ric tonnes, then to 1,893 met­ric tonnes in 2015 and last year, NFM bought just 585 met­ric tonnes.

Grade one pad­dy fetch­es $2.99 per kg, while farm­ers col­lect $2.85 per kg for grade two. Ap­prox­i­mate­ly 34,000 met­ric tonnes is con­sumed in T&T an­nu­al­ly. NFM CEO Kelvin Ma­habir ad­mit­ted that the com­pa­ny’s rice mill at Carlsen Field is op­er­at­ing at 15 per cent ca­pac­i­ty be­cause of in­suf­fi­cient pad­dy. In an­swer to a ques­tion from JSC mem­ber Fazal Karim, Ma­habir said “95 per cent ends up as in­put in­to an­i­mal feed, while five per cent is used for hu­man con­sump­tion. Karim said those watch­ing the meet­ing on tele­vi­sion would con­clude “that there is a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt by NFM to close down the rice in­dus­try.”(stabroeknews)…[+]

Barbados tattoo artist gunned down


Tuesday night’s killing of a tattoo artist, who was shot 16 times, has left his family in a state of shock. Shaquille Toppin, 24, was gunned down outside his home in Danesbury, near Retreat Road in Black Rock, St Michael, around 9:55 p.m.

Sister Zonel Forde said they were still trying to come to grips with the tragic circumstances, as they comforted each other. “There is nothing I can say to describe what happened; seeing him lying on the road was just horrific,” she told THE NATION on Wednesday afternoon. “He was with us here inside and said he coming back. Then we heard the gunshots and immediately we dropped to the ground. Down here was chaotic.”(Barbados Nation)…[+]

Venezuela opposition leader Guaido ‘not afraid’ after detention


CARABALLEDA, Venezuela, – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido yesterday said that President Nicolas Maduro’s adversaries were “not afraid” even though he was briefly detained by intelligence agents, days after announcing he would be willing to replace the increasingly isolated president.

Guaido’s comments on Friday spurred some opposition sympathizers to conclude that he had declared himself interim president, and led several government officials to say he should be arrested for treason. Intelligence agents on Sunday pulled him from his car on the way from the capital, Caracas, to the coastal town of Caraballeda, his wife and opposition legislators said. He was released shortly thereafter, they said. “I want to send a message to Miraflores – the game has changed,” said Guaido, 35, the head of the opposition-run congress, referring to the presidential palace, from a stage surrounded by cheering opposition sympathizers.

“Here we are! We are not afraid!”(Reuters)…[+]


Trinidad: 1,000 officers in nationwide raids


Two days of “in­tense” polic­ing saw 138 peo­ple ar­rest­ed by po­lice over the week­end. In the ex­er­cise which start­ed on Fri­day at 6 am, which saw 22 drug blocks be­ing searched, eight guns, as well as a va­ri­ety of am­mu­ni­tion, were seized.

Po­lice said 13 pro­hib­it­ed im­mi­grants were al­so de­tained and quan­ti­ties of drugs were al­so seized as well as two stolen ve­hi­cles re­cov­ered, a state­ment from the Po­lice Ser­vice said. The ex­er­cise, the first roll of out of Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith’s Op­er­a­tion Strike Back for 2019 start­ed just four days af­ter the Com­mis­sion­er was hos­pi­talised and or­dered to rest. He spear­head­ed the op­er­a­tion which took place in all nine polic­ing di­vi­sions across the coun­try. He said the coun­try re­quired such an ex­er­cise.

“There were a num­ber of dif­fer­ent things we can look at to show the ben­e­fit of this op­er­a­tion over the last 48 hours. It showed high vis­i­bil­i­ty, it was a pow­er­ful de­ter­rent and we ba­si­cal­ly lock down the coun­try,” said Com­mis­sion­er Grif­fith while ad­dress­ing mem­bers of the me­dia short­ly af­ter 6 am at the St James Po­lice Bar­racks yesterday. He spoke while sur­round­ed by se­nior of­fi­cers of the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice in­clud­ing As­sis­tant Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice (Crime) Jayson Forde, ACP (South) Joanne Archie, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent (Port-of-Spain) Floris Hodge-Grif­fith, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Michael Daniel of the North­ern Di­vi­sion and Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Pe­ter Dom­inque of the West­ern Di­vi­sion.(Trinidad Guardian)…[+]

Oxfam condemns EU over ‘inhumane’ Lesbos refugee camp


The EU has been strongly criticised over conditions in Greece’s largest refugee camp, where Oxfam reported women are wearing nappies at night for fear of leaving their tents to go to the toilet. The British-based NGO described the increasingly dangerous state of the EU-sponsored Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, where a 24-year-old man from Cameroon was found dead in the early hours of Tuesday as temperatures fell below freezing.

Under a landmark deal agreed between the EU and Turkey in March 2016 to reduce the number of people arriving into the continent, refugees seeking asylum on Greek islands have been forbidden from leaving “hotspot” camps to travel to the mainland.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, has hailed the deal as a success for thwarting smuggling gangs and reducing migratory flows. But as a result, about 15,000 men, women and children are stranded in Lesbos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros, the islands closest to Turkey.(theguardian)…[+]

Trump demands U.S. border wall, sidesteps declaring emergency


WASHINGTON- President Donald Trump called on Congress yesterday to give him $5.7 billion this year to help build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico but stopped short of declaring a national emergency to pay for the wall with military funds.

Facing Democratic opposition in Congress to a wall, Trump said in a prime-time televised speech that there was a growing security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Using blunt language in an attempt to win public support, Trump said illegal immigrants and drugs flowing across the southern border posed a serious threat to American safety. “How much more American blood will be shed before Congress does its job?” Trump said after recounting gruesome details of murders he said were committed by illegal immigrants. But after days of hinting he might use presidential powers to declare an emergency as a first step toward directing money for the wall without congressional approval, Trump said he would continue seeking a solution to the impasse with Congress. Trump is scheduled to visit the southwest border tomorrow and it was not clear whether he still might choose to make the national emergency declaration.(Reuters)…[+]

Trinidad to implement new security measures for tourists


New security measures are to be implemented to ensure the safety of all tourists, including cruise passengers, who visit this country. Agreement on the measures was reached during a meeting on Monday involving the Minister of Tourism Randall Mitchell, National Security Minister Stuart Young and the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Glenda Jennings-Smith.

According to a statement from the Tourism Ministry, the closed-door meeting, which took place at the Ministry of National Security was requested by Mitchell following the Boxing Day injury and robbery of UK tourist, 72-year-old Sally Wilson while she was sight-seeing along the Queen’s Park Savannah with her husband Michael. They came to Port-of-Spain that day among a 4,363 passenger capacity MSC Preziosa cruise line. Wilson has subsequently thanked all those who assisted her in what she described as the “traumatic” incident.(Trinidad Express)…[+]

‘You saved Rahaf’s life’: online outcry kept ‘terrified’ Saudi woman safe, says friend


Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi Arabian woman who fled her family and is now under UN protection in Thailand, has been sustained through the “terrifying” ordeal by thousands of online messages of support that probably saved her life, a friend has said. Nourah Alharbi, 20, told the Guardian: “Yesterday, they [social media supporters] made the difference in Rahaf’s life. You saved Rahaf’s life yesterday: the people, the media.”

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Alharbi said Qunun was buoyed when she saw how many messages about her were being posted online. “She couldn’t believe it. Today when I was calling her … [she said] she can see the thousands of messages, all of them supporting her. She’s terrified and stressed, and when she saw the messages it really made a difference for her.” Now based in Sydney, Alharbi said she fled Saudi Arabia herself after suffering abuse from her family, and is seeking asylum in Australia. She has kept in close contact with Qunun throughout her ordeal.

She mentioned the case of Dina Ali Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi woman who in April 2017 was returned to Saudi Arabia from the Philippines against her will and whose fate is unclear. “She didn’t get that [social media] support and that’s why she’s in Saudi Arabia now – she’s disappeared,” Alharbi said.(theguardian)…[+]