Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 16th 2014 Contents A35
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The public is hereby advised that The Ministry of
Finance and the Economy,
Located at # I St. Vincent Street,
WILL BE CLOSED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON
THURSDAY DECEMBER 18, 2014
FROM 12.00 NOON
Official business will resume on
Friday December 19, 2014.
We do regret any inconvenience caused
Ms. Catherine Laban
Comptroller of Accounts (Ag.)
A nationwide strike in Belgium
has brought air, rail and road trans-
port to a standstill and forced many
businesses to close.
Hundreds of flights to and from
Belgium have been cancelled, as well
as Eurostar services to Brussels.
The widespread industrial action
is the latest in a series of strikes
protesting against the new centre-
right coalition's austerity policies.
The government plans to save
£8.7bn in the next five years.
The 24-hour strike is the largest
to have taken place in Belgium for
many years. It has forced government
offices and schools to close, and the
country's ports have been blockad-
ed.Unions are opposing a decision by
Charles Michel---Belgium's new
leader---to scrap a cost-of-living wage
rise next year. Belgian law currently
mandates that wages rise at the same
pace as inflation.
They are also protesting against
public sector cutbacks and plans to
increase the retirement age.
Michel was sworn in as prime min-
ister in October. The 38-year-old
French-speaking liberal is Belgium's
youngest leader since 1841. (BBC)
GHENT---Belgian police detained
three men after reports of a hostage
taking in an apartment building in
the western city of Ghent yesterday.
No one was injured in the incident.
Federal police spokeswoman Anne-
mie Serlippens excluded any political
or terror motive.
"We are sure that it has nothing to
do with terrorism," Serlippens said.
"We think it might be drug related."
Authorities reacted early yesterday
to a report that several armed men
had entered the apartment block in
the working-class neighbourhood.
Immediately, police set up a big secu-
rity operation to keep bystanders
When heavily armed police officials
moved into the building, they found
the alleged victim in his apartment
unharmed. It wasn't clear if he had
been attacked or held hostage.
Local media reported a previous
hostage incident in Ghent two months
ago that was linked to extortion. (AP)
Denmark has presented a claim
to the UN, arguing that the area
surrounding the North Pole is
connected to the continental shelf
of Greenland, a Danish
Foreign Minister Martin Lide-
gaard said it was an "historic and
important milestone" for Denmark.
Canada and Russia have already
asserted their own sovereignty over
the energy-rich Arctic territory.
Arctic nations have agreed that
a UN panel will settle the dispute.
The focus of the dispute is the
Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,120 miles
underwater mountain range that
splits the Arctic in two.
Back in 2008, a US Geological
Survey report estimated that as
much as 22 per cent of the world's
undiscovered and recoverable
resources lay north of the Arctic
Circle, but the North Pole itself is
unlikely to have much oil or gas
beneath its deep waters.
A team from the Danish mission
at the UN presented three boxes
to the commission on yesterday.
The 21-member panel investi-
gating the competing claims to the
pole will have to decide whether
the scientific evidence put forward
is valid. If the claims overlap, the
relevant states will then have to
negotiate, the spokesman said.
Lidegaard said data collected
since 2002 backed Denmark's claim
to an approximate area of 346,000
sq miles-roughly 20 times the size
of Denmark-beyond Greenland's
Denmark, along with Russia,
Norway, Canada and the US said
in 2008 that the territorial dispute
should be settled under the United
Nations Convention on the Law
of the Sea.
After ratifying the convention,
a country has 10 years to submit
a claim to extend its continental
shelf beyond 200 nautical miles
from its borders. Canada expressed
formal interest last year, and Den-
mark's deadline is about to run
out.Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen of
Denmark's Syddansk University
said the government in Copen-
hagen had staked its claim, partly
to show the world that Denmark
could not be pushed about, but
also to prove a political point to
the people of Greenland.
"There's a strong push for inde-
pendence in Greenland, and Den-
mark wants to show it's capable
of taking its interest into account,"
Denmark lays claim
to North Pole
Belgian police detain 3
after apartment siege
Strikes bring Belgium to standstill
Special police forces prepare to invade an apartment block in Ghent, western
Belgium, yesterday. Belgian police detained three men after they took a hostage
yesterday in an apartment building in the western city of Ghent. The hostage
was released unharmed. AP PHOTO
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