english news

Nigeria tribunal issues arrest warrant for top judge before elections


ABUJA – A tribunal today issued an arrest warrant for Nigeria’s suspended chief judge for failing to appear for trial over alleged breaches of asset declaration rules, days before Saturday’s presidential election.

The ‘code of conduct tribunal’ had ordered chief judge Walter Onnoghen to appear for trial on Wednesday. The tribunal issued the warrant for Onnoghen to appear on Feb. 15.

“The inspector general of police is hereby ordered to arrest and bring the defendant to court unfailingly on the next sitting of the court on Friday,” Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Danladi Umar said. Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari last month pending the tribunal’s verdict on his alleged violation of wealth declaration rules, weeks before a Feb. 16 presidential election in which Buhari is seeking a new mandate.(Reuters)…[+]

Trinidad & Tobago now on crime Red Alert


Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has with immediate effect, raised the policing alert from ‘Amber’ to ‘Red’, as a result of ongoing gang activities and homicides.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, Commissioner Griffith said that law abiding citizens may experience some inconvenience due to these intensified operations, however, it is necessary to deal with criminal activity and to maintain law and order across the country.The Commissioner will host a media briefing tomorrow, at 10a.m. at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, to update the nation on the status of the policing operations.(Trinidad Express)…[+]

Taiji dolphin hunt: activists to launch unprecedented legal challenge


Animal rights activists have launched an unprecedented legal challenge to the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, claiming that fishermen are routinely violating animal welfare laws and exceeding government-set quotas.

The London-based organisation Action for Dolphins and the Japanese NGO Life Investigation Agency on Wednesday submitted evidence they hope will halt the annual dolphin hunts in Taiji, a whaling town on Japan’s Pacific coast, the Guardian can reveal. “Dolphins are mistakenly viewed as ‘fish’ in Japan, and therefore domestic laws protecting mammals from cruelty have not been applied to them,” claimed Sarah Lucas, chief executive of Action for Dolphins.

The lawsuit, filed with the Wakayama district court, “asserts that dolphins are biologically mammals, and the cruelty inflicted on them in Taiji is “illegal under Japan’s own laws”. The allegations made against Yoshinobu Nisaka, the governor of Wakayama prefecture, where Taiji is located, include that he has allegedly abused his power by issuing permits to fishermen who violate Japan’s animal welfare laws and catch quotas. It is unknown whether those allegations will be denied. A prefectural government official declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian, saying it was unaware of the lawsuit.(theguardian)…[+]

Brexit: UK has rolled over just £16bn out of £117bn trade deals


The government’s push to roll over EU trade deals from which the UK currently benefits has yielded agreements covering only £16bn of the near-£117bn of British trade with the countries involved. Despite frenetic efforts by ministers to ensure the continuity of international trade after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March, the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, has so far only managed to secure deals with seven of the 69 countries that the UK currently trades with under preferential EU free trade agreements, which will end after Brexit.

Fox’s department has yet to sign agreements with several major UK trading partners – including Canada, Japan, South Korea and Turkey – while sources have said that sufficient progress is unlikely to be made before the Brexitdeadline in less than 50 days’ time. Canada, Japan, South Korea and Turkey alone accounted for goods exports worth £25bn in 2017 and imports of merchandise worth £28.6bn, with the UK currently able to access these markets on preferential terms as part of membership of the EU.

The deals are being rolled over under a traffic-light system by the Department for International Trade. According to a document obtained by the Sun, only a handful are colour-coded in green as deals that will enter into force by March 2019. The majority are in amber and red, where deliverability is either off-track or significantly off-track, while some major trade deals, including with Japan and Turkey, are coded in black as “not possible to be completed by March 2019”.(theguardian)…[+]

Gunmen kill 4 in 14 hours


TRINIDAD – In the space of 14 hours between Monday night and Tuesday morning four men were gunned down in separate incidents from West to East Trinidad. As a result, the murder toll stood at 66 up to last night. This compares to 75 at the same time last year. The first incident occurred at 9 p.m. on Monday in Carenage. Police said around 9 p.m., taxi driver Tyrone Joseph, 44, was about to drive into his home when he got out to open his gate and was ambushed by a gunman who shot and killed him. (Trinidad Express)…[+]

Katy Perry shoes removed from stores over blackface design


Katy Perry Collections, the fashion line by the pop star, has removed footwear after they were accused of using blackface. The sandals and loafers, designed with a face featuring prominent red lips, are no longer on sale at retailers including Walmart. A spokesperson for the company told TMZ: “In order to be respectful and sensitive the team is in the process of pulling the shoes.”

The designs are the latest in a series of controversial items of clothing to be criticised for allegedly using the red-lipped Sambo caricature that has long been regarded as racist. Last week, Gucci removed a black polo neck jumper from its shops that featured red lips designed to be worn over the face in a balaclava style. In December, Prada removed a series of accessories that resembled black monkeys with red lips. In 2016, high-end winter sports brand Moncler released a series of designs featuring a black face with prominent red lips. The brand said it was meant to be the face of a cartoon penguin, “whose message is first and foremost one of global friendship”, but removed the designs, adding: “We are deeply troubled if the face, seen out of its context, could be associated with past or present unacceptable, racially offensive caricatures.”(theguardian)…[+]

Catalan Leaders’ Trial Starts, and Spain’s Government Fights for Its Survival


MADRID — The simmering conflict over Catalan independence roared back to the center of Spanish attention on Tuesday, as 12 people went on trial for their roles in the botched secession attempt of 2017, and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez scrambled to keep the issue from toppling his government.

The eagerly anticipated trial before the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid has drawn enormous attention and is being broadcast live on national television, but it could soon be overshadowed by the political crisis unfolding just blocks away, in Parliament. On Wednesday, Mr. Sánchez’s minority Socialist government faces a crucial parliamentary vote on his national budget. If a majority of lawmakers reject it, including Catalan lawmakers who have so far backed the prime minister, he will almost certainly be forced to call elections.(nytimes)…[+]

US Presidential candidate Kamala Harris cites Jamaican roots, wants marijuana legalised


Senator Kamala Harris said Monday that she is in favour of legalising marijuana at the federal level, pushing back against detractors in her own party who say she has a history of being too aggressive on drug offenders. The California Democrat is running for president in 2020 and is widely considered a front-runner for the party’s nomination.

The former California attorney general has been hammered by liberals in her party for declining to support Proposition 64, a state ballot measure passed in 2016 to legalise the drug. “Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Harris said in an interview Monday with the nationally syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club.” She previously signalled her newfound support for legalising marijuana in her recent book, “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.” “Something else it’s past time we get done is dismantling the failed war on drugs — starting with legalising marijuana,” Harris wrote in the book, which was released in January.(Jamaica Gleaner)…[+]

California Is Expected to Pull National Guard Troops Out of Border Duty A member of the California National Guard. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to withdraw nearly 400 of his state’s National Guard troops from deployment at the border with Mexico. Credit David Maung/EPA, via Shutterstock Image


LOS ANGELES — Gov. Gavin Newsom of California is expected on Monday to withdraw nearly 400 of his state’s National Guard troops from deployment along the border with Mexico and assign them to other duties, according to aides to the governor. The step to rescind state authorization for the border deployment is a sharp rebuke of President Trump’s continued warnings that undocumented migrants present a national security risk to the United States. It follows a similar move last week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

Under a “general order” that Mr. Newsom plans to sign on Monday, 110 California National Guard troops will be redirected to support the state’s central fire agency, Cal Fire, and another 100 will work on statewide “intelligence operations” aimed at international criminal drug gangs.(NYtimes)…[+]

ECLAC trains Trinidad and Tobago public officials in disaster assessment


Public officials in Trinidad and Tobago have acquired new technical skills in the use and application of the Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) methodology, following a workshop from 6-8 February 2019, conducted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean. With the Ministry of Planning and Development as co-host, participants were drawn from several national entities, including the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, and other partner Ministries involved in disaster response and management in Trinidad and Tobago.

Delivering opening remarks on behalf of ECLAC Caribbean was Deputy Director, Dr. Dillon Alleyne, who underscored the organization’s experience in disaster assessment. “ECLAC’s experience in this area to date has fully convinced us that in order to understand and reduce the risk of future disasters, as a region we need to evaluate the effects and impacts of past disasters, regardless of their magnitude. Large disasters showcase how they can setback previous social, economic and environmental gains, and remind us of our vulnerabilities…[+]