english news

Macron makes U-turn on fuel-tax increases in face of “yellow vest” protests


PARIS – France’s prime minister yesterday suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests, the first major U-turn by President Emmanuel Macron’s administration in 18 months in office.

In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said anyone would have “to be deaf or blind” not to see or hear the roiling anger on the streets over a policy that Macron has defended as critical to combating climate change. “The French who have donned yellow vests want taxes to drop, and work to pay. That’s also what we want. If I didn’t manage to explain it, if the ruling majority didn’t manage to convince the French, then something must change,” said Philippe.

“No tax is worth jeopardising the unity of the nation.” Along with the delay to the tax increases that were set for January, Philippe said the time would be used to discuss other measures to help the working poor and squeezed middle-class who rely on vehicles to get to work and go shopping. Earlier officials had hinted at a possible increase to the minimum wage, but Philippe made no such commitment.(REUTERS)…[+]

Trinidad: Boy, 13, was raped, strangled to death


Shocked rel­a­tives of Joash Pan­tin, 13, emerged from the Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre in St James yes­ter­day af­ter­noon with their eyes filled with tears, as their great­est fears were re­alised when the au­top­sy con­firmed he was bug­gered and stran­gled to death. Po­lice sources told the T&T Guardian that they had ar­rest­ed two sus­pects, ages 36 and 16, in con­nec­tion with the heinous crime.

Speak­ing with the T&T Guardian min­utes af­ter close rel­a­tives and friends ex­it­ed the cen­tre, a male rel­a­tive, who wished not to be iden­ti­fied, said the fam­i­ly be­came even more “de­pressed, shocked and pained” af­ter get­ting the au­top­sy re­sults. “Luck­i­ly, the po­lice have two of them in­side. In fact, one of them live close to where Joash lived and they say­ing that he is known to prey on chil­dren, that this is not the first time,” the rel­a­tive said. Pan­tin’s great un­cle Hay­den Wil­son de­scribed the per­pe­tra­tor/s as ei­ther a “psy­chopath or so­ciopath.”(Trinidad Guardian)…[+]

Mexico new president vows to end ‘rapacious’ elite in first speech


MEXICO CITY– Veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office as Mexican president on Saturday, vowing to see off a “rapacious” elite in a country struggling with corruption, chronic poverty and gang violence on the doorstep of the United States. Backed by a gigantic Mexican flag, the 65-year-old took the oath of office in the lower house of Congress, pledging to bring about a “radical” rebirth of Mexico to overturn what he called a disastrous legacy of decades of “neo-liberal” governments.

“The government will no longer be a committee at the service of a rapacious minority,” said the new president, who is often nicknamed AMLO. Nor would the government, he said, be a “simple facilitator of pillaging, as it has been.” Lopez Obrador later addressed a massive crowd of supporters in the heart of the capital, promising to put Mexico’s sizeable indigenous minority first in his drive to root out inequality.

A major challenge facing the new leader is managing relations with Mexico’s top trading partner, the United States, after repeated broadsides by President Donald Trump against Mexico over illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border.Lopez Obrador repeated he was seeking to contain migration through a deal with Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to foster development in Central America and Mexico. (REUTERS)…[+]

Kidnapped family rescued by police


Af­ter be­ing kid­napped and held hostage in the for­est for ap­prox­i­mate­ly 33 hours, the Sook­nanan fam­i­ly was res­cued by po­lice in Bar­rack­pore yes­ter­day. Two sus­pects re­mained in the cus­tody of Pe­nal CID last night while of­fi­cers launched a man­hunt for three oth­ers who were be­lieved to be in­volved in the kid­nap­ping.

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith met with vic­tims at the San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal fol­low­ing the res­cue and re­vealed that de­spite be­ing bruised, Aaron Sook­nanan, 28, his wife Pao­la Sanchez-Sook­nanan, 26, their chil­dren Ri­car­do, five and Is­abel­la, three and their cousin Rox­an­na Gon­za­les, 37, suf­fered no life-threat­en­ing in­juries. How­ev­er, Guardian Me­dia learned that the women, both Venezue­lans, were se­vere­ly as­sault­ed by the kid­nap­pers. Grif­fith said while in­ves­ti­ga­tors had de­ter­mined a mo­tive for the kid­nap­ping he could not re­veal it since it could com­pro­mise the on­go­ing op­er­a­tion. He said the op­er­a­tion was dri­ven by in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing and care­ful­ly ex­e­cut­ed, as there were times when the sit­u­a­tion could have been volatile.(Trinidad Guardian)…[+]



Port of Spain, Trinidad. In Mariette Warrington v Dominica Broadcasting Corporation, the

Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today decided that Ms. Warrington, a former General Manager of the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBC), should be paid the equivalent of six months’ salary, gratuity and holiday pay totalling EC$52,300 as damages. DBC had paid her one month’s salary and an honorarium when they terminated her, and the High Court and the Court of Appeal had upheld these payments. At the CCJ, she had requested payment of her salary for the remaining years of her contract.

However, the CCJ found she had not proved that loss and decided that “Ms. Warrington would have been entitled to the six months’ salary in lieu of notice and this amount is to be regarded in law as agreed liquidated damages”.

At the root of this dispute was whether Ms Warrington’s appointment was valid. She had served the organisation under two consecutive employment contracts as the General Manager which ended in 2008. Before the end of the last contract she wrote a letter requesting further employment with the Corporation as General Manager “under similar terms and conditions” with an increased salary and protection against arbitrary termination. DBC never responded to this request. At a board meeting, some months before the contract ended, a decision was taken unanimously to re-appoint her but this decision was never communicated to Ms. Warrington, although she later learned of it…[+]


Police recommend indicting Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery charges


Israeli police have recommended indicting Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, on bribery charges related to a corruption case implicating the country’s telecom giant, prompting immediate calls for his resignation. On Sunday police said their investigation had established an evidentiary foundation to charge Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, with accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust.

The case revolves around suspicions that confidants of Netanyahu promoted regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive coverage of the prime minister on Bezeq’s subsidiary news website, Walla.

Police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges in two other cases. One involves accepting gifts from billionaire friends, and the second revolves around alleged offers of advantageous legislation for a newspaper in return for positive coverage. The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as a witch-hunt orchestrated by the media. “The police recommendations regarding me and my wife don’t surprise anyone,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “These recommendations were decided upon and leaked even before the investigation began.”(theguardian)…[+]

Mattis condemns Venezuela’s Maduro as a ‘despot’ who has to go

mattis condemns

WASHINGTON – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis yesterday condemned Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro as a despot leading his oil-rich nation to ruin, adding “ultimately this regime is going to have to go” for the situation to improve. However, Mattis did not suggest any U.S. role in such a process and told a security forum in California: “It’s up to the Venezuelan people, it’s up to the regional states in that area to help expedite that and bring that country back to a more prosperous and positive future.”

More than three million Venezuelans have fled the ailing oil-rich nation in recent years, driven out by brutal food and medicine shortages, hyperinflation, and violent crime. Washington has imposed sanctions on Venezuela, denouncing Maduro for quashing human rights and triggering an economic meltdown. “This is what happens when you have an irresponsible despot leading a country to ruin. And I think what we should do is work by, with and through our Latin American allies as we stabilise this situation,” Mattis told the Reagan National Defense Forum.(REUTERS)…[+]

British diplomat says their tourists in Jamaica are being raped, too


The problematic issue of sexual attacks against visitors to the island, inside the walls of local hotels, again came to the fore recently when Asif Ahmad, the British high commissioner to Jamaica, said that British nationals, including children, have also been victims. “Sadly, yes, because in a way, these criminals don’t check the passports of the victim, and it is sufficiently serious for us to get worried,” said Ahmad, who was speaking at a recent media briefing held at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay, St James.

“Our approach so far, and I hope it works, is to work in a constructive way to talk to hotel managers about their recruitment practices – what training they offer, how they monitor behaviour, and the likes – and if they warned their guests to be careful about what they do.” Jamaica’s tourism got a black eye recently when international news media USA TODAY Network published an investigative story in which it claimed that 78 United States citizens were raped in Jamaica between 2011 and 2017. That report came on the heels of an incident in which two female American tourists were allegedly raped at gunpoint in their hotel room in Montego Bay by an employee of the hotel.(stabroeknews)…[+]

Get Up, Stand Up! UNESCO declares reggae a global cultural treasure

get up

UNESCO has declared reggae, the Jamaican music that spread across the world with its calls for social justice, peace and love, to be a global treasure that must be safe-guarded. Born in the poor neighbourhoods of Kingston in the 1960s, reggae reflected hard times and struggle but could also be joyous dance music with its distinctive off-beat.

Its most famous songwriter and performer, the late Bob Marley, became a global superstar with hits like “No Woman, No Cry” and “Get Up, Stand Up”. Other notables include Jimmy Cliff and Toots and the Maytalls. Artists such as the Clash incorporated its chunky beat and its politics into their own music, bringing it to a wider audience. It caught on from Britain to Brazil and Africa.

“Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual,” UNESCO said in a statement. The Paris-based UNESCO, the cultural agency of the United Nations, made its ruling at a meeting this week.(Reuters)…[+]

Jamaica electoral office removing over 260,000 dead people from voters’ list


The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) has embarked on an exercise to remove from the voters’ list the names of persons who have died since 1998. Director of Elections Glasspole Brown says the exercise aims to delete the names of in excess of 260,000 deceased electors.

Brown was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank at the agency’s head office in St Andrew on November 28, where representatives of the Electoral Commission made the announcement. He said that the exercise comes against the background of concerns raised regarding the number of deceased electors’ names that are removed from the list each year. He disclosed that the EOJ has deleted an average of under 5,000 names annually since continuous registration commenced in 1997.

“Hence, we anticipated that the list would have accumulated a [significant] number of deceased electors over the 20-year period. [So] there is now a need to refresh the list,” the director of elections added.(Jamaica Gleaner)…[+]