english news

Trinidad: Boy, 16, charged with raping girl in school


A 16-year-old boy expected to appear in court today, charged with sexual penetration of a 15-year-old girl. The boy, who will answer to the charge before the Port of Spain Children’s Court is accused of having sexual intercourse with the victim against her will on the compound of a Port of Spain school on April 24, last year.

A report of the incident was made on the same day and an investigation launched by the Child Protection Unit, Port of Spain Division under the supervision of Insp. Gideon Rayon Dickson. The boy surrendered himself to police on Wednesday and was charged for the offence on the same date, by PC Joel Frederick of CPU POS.(Trinidad Express)…[+]

Sexual Abuse of Nuns: Longstanding Church Scandal Emerges From Shadows


ROME — The sexual abuse of nuns and religious women by Catholic priests and bishops — and the abortions that have sometimes resulted — has for years been overshadowed by other scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. That seemed to change this week when Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the problem for the first time. “I was so happy,” said Lucetta Scaraffia, the author of an article denouncing the abuse of nuns and religious lay women by priests that was published this month in a magazine, Women Church World, which is distributed alongside the Vatican’s newspaper.Speaking from her Rome apartment, which she said had essentially been converted into a television studio full of international reporters, Ms. Scaraffia said, “Finally, now many women will have the courage to come forward and denounce their abusers.”(Nytimes)…[+]

West stirring up unrest in Zimbabwe to force regime change, says Zanu-PF


Zimbabwe’s ruling party believes western powers are behind a “revolution” to bring about regime change in the country, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

Briefing papers prepared by Zanu-PF officials blame opposition parties and “rogue NGOs” for “an orgy of violence” following a protest against fuel price rises last month, accusing them of following a plan “by hostile elements to subvert the state by rendering the country ungovernable”. The document is thought to have been produced by Zanu-PF officials for circulation among foreign diplomats at the African Union summit, currently underway in Addis Abbaba. It will concern observers already worried by the increasingly hard line taken by the Zimbabwean authorities. The protests last month led to sporadic incidents of rioting and looting, which prompted a brutal crackdown by the police and the army. The violence came 14 months after the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe came to an end following a military takeover, and was the worst in Zimbabwe for at least a decade. Police documents seen by the Guardian last week detailed the army’s role in a series of killings, rapes and beatings.(theguardian)…[+]

Jamaican father believes stolen baby belongs to him


The father of the newborn who was snatched from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital last month says he believes the child who was taken from a woman at the Registrar General Department (RGD) in Twickenham Park, St Catherine, on Tuesday is his.

“I am optimistic… I have a strong feeling is my baby, so me just a hope and pray for the best,” Sinclair Hutton told the Jamaica Observer yesterday following a DNA test. Hutton and his common-law wife Suzzett Whyte will have to wait a couple more days to ascertain whether or not the almost one-month-old baby taken from a woman at the RGD is their second son. The anxious father said his optimism grew when he and Whyte were Tuesday evening requested to do a DNA test by the Kingston Western Police Division. “Me feel so good that me would a go down there and take me baby and say this is my baby, but I have to follow the process,” the father explained.(Jamaica Observer)…[+]

Italy’s deputy PM Luigi Di Maio meets senior gilets jaunes figure


Luigi Di Maio, the Italian deputy prime minister and leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), has met a senior figure from the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement – a meeting likely to increase tensions between Italy and France. Di Maio and Alessandro Di Battista, a prominent M5S member, met Christophe Chalençon, as well as candidates the protest movement has put forward for the European elections in May, on the outskirts of Paris on Tuesday. Posting a photo of the group on Facebook, Di Maio described it as a “beautiful” meeting.

“The wind of change has crossed the Alps. I repeat. The wind of change has crossed the Alps,” he wrote. Di Maio had previously expressed his admiration for the gilets jaunes, who have been holding at times violent anti-government protests each week across France for the past few months. He urged the movement not to “give up” and said the demonstrations reminded him of the spirit that gave birth to the M5S in 2009. On Tuesday he said the two groups shared “many common positions and values that focus on the battles for citizens, social rights, direct democracy and the environment”.

Chalençon said while both sides “practically agree on everything”, there was no talk yet about whether they would form an alliance for the elections to the European parliament. Italian media reported that Ingrid Levavasseur, who heads the gilets jaunes’ list of 10 candidates for the elections, would meet M5S officials again in Rome next week. The meeting follows a series of verbal attacks from Di Maio and his co-deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, on the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in recent weeks and is also seen as an additional tactic by M5S to regain some of the popularity lost to Salvini’s far-right League since the coalition government came to power last June.(theguardian)…[+]

Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder’s death


TORONTO- About C$180 million ($137.21 million) in cryptocurrencies have been frozen in the user accounts of Canadian digital platform Quadriga after the founder, the only person with the password to gain access, died suddenly in December. Gerald Cotten died aged 30 from complications with Crohn’s disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India, according to the Facebook page of Quadriga CX, which announced his death on Jan. 14.

The platform, which allows the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, filed for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court last week. Quadriga has 363,000 registered users and owes a total of C$250 million to 115,000 affected users, according to an affidavit filed by Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson on behalf of the company. Robertson said in the affidavit that Cotten’s main computer contained a “cold wallet” of cryptocurrencies, which is only accessible physically and not online, and his death left “in excess of C$180 million of coins in cold storage.”

Robertson said she was not involved in Cotten’s business while he was alive and did not know the password or recovery key.(Reuters)…[+]

Another Trinidadian ISIS fighter captured in Syria


Trinidad & Tobago is earning a big name internationally with Friday’s capture in Syria of yet another ISIS fighter, Nicholas Lee, 39, originally from Point Fortin. The New York and London Times both reported yesterday that Jamaican-born Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was responsible for recruiting over 250 Trinidad & Tobago nationals, including Lee, to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Next week, proceedings will start in a court in Jamaica to extradite Faisal to the United States for trial. Lee’s photo appears alongside two other men, released by Kurdish forces as that of six people captured fighters for ISIS in the last four days.

One article quotes Abdul Hamid al-Muhabash who is co-chair of Democratic Autonomous Administration, based in north-eastern Syria, calling on respective governments to repatriate their nationals from war-torn areas of Syria and Iraq.

Muhabash said, “The administration and the Syrian people demand of the states from which ISIS fighters belong – more than 50 nationalities in all – to judge them according to their constitutions.”(Trinidad Newsday)…[+]

Former French MP sues sexual harassment accusers


A defamation lawsuit brought by a former French MP against six women who accused him of sexual harassment and four journalists who reported the allegations has opened in what is seen as a further backlash against the #MeToo movement in France. Denis Baupin, the former vice president of France’s Assemblée National and a prominent MP for the Green party, resigned in May 2016 after denying the allegations.

The investigative website Mediapart and the radio station France Inter published stories from 14 women who alleged Baupin had groped and harassed them over a number of years. Most of the women were also members of the Green party, whose leader was then Baupin’s wife, Emmanuelle Cosse; four of them filed criminal complaints for sexual harassment. A nine-month investigation, during which police interviewed 50 people, ended with prosecutors announcing there would be no charges as the three-year statute of limitations had expired. In a statement, the prosecutors said the women had given “measured, constant statements”.The scandal broke 18 months before the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault by multiple women, which sparked an international campaign calling powerful men to account for their behaviour.(theguardian)…[+]

Maduro proposes new parliament vote as Venezuelans protest


CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro yesterday proposed early parliamentary elections, seeking to shore up his crumbling rule after a senior general defected to the opposition and tens of thousands thronged the streets in protest at his government.

As domestic and international pressure on Maduro to step down mounts, a senior air force general disavowed him in a video that circulated earlier yesterday, expressing his allegiance to parliament head and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido. The military’s support is crucial for Maduro, who is deeply unpopular, largely due to an unprecedented economic crisis that has prompted an exodus of millions. Maduro claims he is victim of a coup directed by the United States.

In a speech to supporters, Maduro said the powerful government-controlled Constituent Assembly would debate calling early elections for the National Assembly parliament, which is opposition-controlled. Guaido has called for a new, fair presidential election after the disputed vote won by Maduro last year. “You want elections? You want early elections? We are going to have parliamentary elections,” Maduro told a pro-government rally in Caracas, held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s first inauguration as president.(Reuters)…[+]

Trinidad: Sexual predators, bandits terrorize female primary school guards


Sex­u­al preda­tors, ban­dits, and tres­passers are cre­at­ing fear among fe­male se­cu­ri­ty guards of the Na­tion­al Main­te­nance Train­ing and Se­cu­ri­ty Com­pa­ny (MTS). The se­cu­ri­ty guards af­fect­ed are those dis­patched to five pri­ma­ry schools in the Mara­cas/St Joseph area and work 12-hour shifts—from 6 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 6 am.

Re­cent­ly, there was an at­tempt­ed rape where the sus­pect on­ly man­aged to take off the woman’s un­der­gar­ment but she fought off the preda­tor and es­caped. While there have been claims that a guard was raped by an in­trud­er be­hind one of the pri­ma­ry schools in No­vem­ber last year, po­lice could not con­firm this. Of­fi­cers at the Mara­cas/St Joseph Po­lice Sta­tion con­firmed, how­ev­er, that they have re­ceived “dis­tur­bance” re­ports from “one or two” of the se­cu­ri­ty guards but could not di­vulge fur­ther de­tails. The of­fi­cer as­sured that they are ready to re­spond to any calls for help.(Trinidad Guardian)…[+]