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15 roofs blown off in South Trinidad

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Strong winds, accompanied by heavy rains blew the roofs of 15 homes, five in Point Fortin and ten in the Penal/Debe area on Thursday. Point Fortin mayor Abdon Mason said there are also reports of downed electricity lines and fallen trees in Egypt Village, Warden Road and in the vicinity of Heritage Petrotrin Company Ltd (formerly Petrotrin).

There have been no reports of injuries. “There were two episodes of strong winds, one around 12.45 pm and another around 2.30 pm. The second one came with a force and that’s when the damage was done,” Mason said.

He said he and the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) were on the ground assessing the damage while trying to provide assistance for approximately 25 people who are presently affected. He said the owners of two houses in Southern Gardens, one in Dam Road, Egypt Village, another Stafford Street, Warden Road and a fifth in Fanny Village would have suffered major losses as all household and electronic items were water-logged. He said one of the roof’s which blew off landed on the roof of a nearby house also causing some damage.(Trinidad Newsday)…[+]

Malta migrants: Sole survivor describes 11 days in dinghy

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“There were 15 of us on the boat and I am the only one alive,” says Mohammed Adam Oga from his hospital bed in Malta. The migrants had each paid a smuggler $700 (£575; €630) to make the journey from Libya to Europe in the scorching heat of the Central Mediterranean.

Then their fuel ran out. Then their food. Then their water. He is the sole survivor, he says, of the passengers, including a pregnant woman, who attempted the arduous journey in one of the deadliest stretches of water in the world.

“We were at sea for 11 days. We started drinking sea water. After five days, two people died. Then every day, two more died.” He was picked up in Maltese waters on Monday after the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, spotted a dinghy adrift at sea. Footage of the rescue by Malta’s armed forces showed him slumped over a man’s body, before he was airlifted to hospital. “God sent the Maltese to save me,” he told Times of Malta, while being attached to a drip and too weak to walk.(BBC)…[+]

Jeffrey Epstein: two unidentified women sue estate and alleged ‘recruiter

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Two unidentified women have filed a sexual abuse lawsuit in a Manhattan district court against the estate of wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein apparently killed himself in a New York jail cell last weekend where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The death of the playboy turned pariah has triggered feverish coverage in the US and abroad, in part due to the elite social circles the previously convicted sex offender moved in.

The new lawsuit targets Epstein’s estate and an unnamed alleged “recruiter” and is seeking a $100m claim for damages. The two unidentified women filed the lawsuit Thursday night. The suit, drawn up by the civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, claims an unidentified recruiter, known in court papers as “Sue Roe”, lured the two into Epstein’s New York mansion in 2004, where he would sexually assault them.

“Though Epstein is recently deceased, the trauma and pain he caused plaintiffs remains,” the complaint continues. Bloom said on Twitter that in addition to the suit, she is currently “talking to five other victims currently and vetting their claims” and would “demand that Epstein’s estate to do right by all the girls and women he abused”. The latest suit claims that the two plaintiffs, both aspiring models, were working in a Manhattan restaurant when they were approached by a woman who offered hundreds of dollars to massage Epstein.(The Guardian)…[+]

Iran oil tanker: Gibraltar orders release of Grace 1

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Gibraltar has freed an Iranian oil tanker detained last month on suspicion of sanctions-busting, despite a last-minute plea by the US authorities. The UK territory received written assurances from Iran that the ship would not discharge its cargo in Syria.

Grace 1, carrying Iranian oil, was stopped by Royal Marines on 4 July, triggering a standoff with Tehran. Gibraltar’s chief justice, Anthony Dudley, said no US application was currently before the court. An independent legal body would make a determination on the American request, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear when the tanker would put out to sea. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Iran must abide by the assurances it had given that the tanker would not proceed to Syria, which is under EU sanctions.Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif condemned the US attempt to stop the tanker’s release, accusing the Trump administration of attempted “piracy”.(BBC)…[+]

Canada’s Trudeau accepts he breached ethics rules, refuses to apologize

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OTTAWA– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday accepted a watchdog’s report that he breached ethics rules by trying to influence a corporate legal case but refused to apologize, saying he had been trying to defend jobs.

Independent ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Trudeau and his team attempted last year to undermine a decision by federal prosecutors that construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc should face a corruption trial.

Dion’s scathing 58-page assessment could hurt Trudeau’s chances of retaining power in a general election in October. “I fully accept this report … I take full responsibility. The buck stops with the prime minister,” said Trudeau, adding that he nevertheless disagreed with some of Dion’s conclusions. The scandal over SNC-Lavalin, which erupted in early February, battered Trudeau’s image as a youthful progressive at the helm of a government that had vowed to be open and transparent. He is the first Canadian prime minister found to have broken federal ethics rules.(Reuters)…[+]

PDVSA partners fear reach of latest U.S. sanctions on Venezuela -sources

pdvsa

CARACAS- Foreign joint venture partners with Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA are concerned the latest set of U.S. sanctions on the South American country could disrupt their operations, three industry sources said.

The Trump administration last week froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and U.S. officials ratcheted up threats against companies that do business with Venezuela.

That has raised fears for those companies that the United States will make good on threats to sanction individual firms, and also that banks will limit transactions just to avoid the risk of sanctions as well, the sources said.

The White House imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry in January in an effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whose re-election in 2018 is viewed by much of the Western Hemisphere as illegitimate. The executive order issued on Aug. 5 did not explicitly sanction non-U.S. companies that do business with PDVSA, including partners in crude operations like France’s Total SA , Norway’s Equinor ASA and Spain’s Repsol SA , as well as Russian and Chinese customers. However, the order threatens to freeze U.S. assets of any person or company determined to have “materially assisted” the Venezuelan government.(Reuters)…[+]

LA Opera to investigate sexual misconduct accusations against Placido Domingo

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LOS ANGELES– The Los Angeles Opera said yesterday it will investigate accusations of sexual misconduct against Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, as two organizations canceled planned appearances by him.

The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo is general director, was responding to accusations made by eight singers, a dancer and others in the classical music world in a report by the Associated Press. Domingo said in a statement that the accusations were inaccurate.

The Associated Press reported allegations by the women of inappropriate behavior. The news agency said it also had spoken to almost three dozen other musicians, voice teachers and backstage staff who said they had witnessed what the report described as “sexually tinged” behavior by Domingo dating back three decades in various cities.(Reuters)…[+]

Burnt 7-year-old begins treatment in US

burnt victim

Seven-year-old Shaniya Persaud, who was severely burnt about her body in a fire that gutted her Mon Repos North, East Coast Demerara (ECD) home last week, arrived safely in the United States and has since successfully completed the first of a series of surgeries.

Persaud departed Guyana for emergency medical treatment on Saturday. She arrived in the US early on Sunday morning. Due to the severity of her burns, she was transported via an air ambulance at the cost of US$40,000, which is equivalent to more than $8 million in local currency. The cost was covered equally by the Rotary Club of Demerara and the non-governmental organisation- Saving Hands Emer-gency Aid (SHEA).

SHEA, in a recent Face-book post, said Persaud spent the entirety of Sunday meeting with a medical team in order to formulate a treatment plan. The first phase of treatment began on Monday, SHEA added. She continued surgery yesterday.

Persaud was accepted to the Shriners Hospital in Galveston, Texas, where she is being treated free of cost. The Mon Repos Primary School student sustained second and third degrees burns to 97% of her body in the fire, which started around 1 am last Monday at the single-flat house, situated at Lot 101 Mon Repos North.

The house was occupied by Samantha Gayadin and her three children-Persaud and her brothers Akeem Persaud, 9 and Brandon Anthony, 13. At the time of the fire, the children were home alone as Gayadin was attending a wedding in the community.(Stabroek News)…[+]

Kenya officials exhume man’s body to retrieve uniform

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Officials in western Kenya have exhumed the body of a local man to strip him of the uniform he was buried in, according to reports. Martin Shikuku Alukoye was buried in his full Kakamega County Youth Service uniform after drowning this month.

Local officials then exhumed the body to retrieve the uniform, despite opposition from his family. His widow, Jacqueline, told BBC Swahili she was shocked and said the exhumation has made her suffering worse. “This has piled on the misery I am going through, and my children are still young, since I was born I have never experienced such,” she said in an interview. “I would like to request them to leave me in peace”

Mr Alukoye’s uncle said they had violated “the laws of the land and the laws of our forefathers”. “We had fully involved the county government in the burial arrangements and they never resisted our proposal to bury [him] in his work regalia,” Francis Mutamba said, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.(BBC)…[+]

Gibraltar denies it is about to free captured Iranian tanker

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Confusion swirled over a possible breakthrough in the tanker standoff in the Middle East on Tuesday after Gibraltar scotched Iranian media reports that an Iranian tanker was due to be released.

The Fars news agency said that Grace 1, seized by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar on suspicion that it was taking 2.1m barrels of oil to Syria in breach of an EU arms embargo, was going to be released on Tuesday evening. The report cited Gibraltar authorities, but a source for the government of the British Mediterranean territory told Reuters it was not correct.

The seizure of the boat on 4 July led to reprisals by Iran, including the capture of the British-flagged Stena Impero. Both incidents fuelled worsening hostilities between Iran and the west that began when Washington pulled out of an international agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear programme last year and reimposed economic sanctions.

A court in Gibraltar is to decide the fate of the ship on Thursday, when an order for its detention lapses. Britain had said there would be serious consequences if Iran did not release the British-flagged tanker, and behind the scenes there have been negotiations on how to resolve the dual crisis. Formally, the Foreign Office and Iran say there is no link between the two boat seizures. On Tuesday the Foreign Office said the ship’s status was a matter for Gibraltar. The Stena Impero’s owners have said its 23 personnel on board have been properly treated by the Iranians since their capture. (TheGuardian)…[+]