Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 3rd 2015 Contents A19
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MONROVIA---A large-scale human
trial of two potential Ebola vaccines
got under way in Liberia's capital
yesterday, part of a global effort to
prevent a repeat of the epidemic that
has now claimed nearly 9,000 lives in
The trials in Liberia are taking place
after smaller studies determined that
the vaccines were safe for human use.
By comparing them now with a
placebo shot, scientists hope to learn
whether they can prevent people from
contracting the ghastly virus that has
killed some 60 per cent of those
hospitalised with the disease.
Yet despite the trials' promise,
authorities still must combat fear and
suspicion that people could become
infected by taking part. Each vaccine
uses a different virus to carry non-
infectious Ebola genetic material into
the body and spark an immune
Ebola vaccines trial starts in Liberia
ZAGREB---Around 60,000 of Croatia s poorest
citizens can have their debts written off in a one-
time move by the leftist government that faces a
key election this year.
Starting yesterday, the citizens whose debts do
not exceed some 4,500 euros ($5,000) and whose
bank accounts have been frozen for more than a year,
can apply for the scheme dubbed the "Fresh Start."
The government says on its Web site that the
measure is designed to help the poorest citizens cope
with the economic crisis for which they had no
responsibility. But it is widely seen as a pre-election
move amid the government s plummeting popularity
linked to the bad economic situation.
The country of 4.2 million people joined the Euro-
pean Union in 2013, but the economic prospects
remain grim. (AP)
ROMANIA---A court has
sentenced a judge to 22
years in prison on charges
that he took bribes to rule
favourably in several cases
involving one of Romania s
The Bucharest Appeals
Court also confiscated a lux-
ury car and money from
Mircea Moldovan. The ruling is not yet final.
Businessman Dan Adamescu was also sentenced
to four years and four months while judge Elena
Roventa received five years and ten months. Two
other judges were also sentenced to prison.
Adamescu was convicted of instructing his lawyer---
who threw himself under a train after the judges
were arrested---to bribe the judges 20,000 euros
($17,700 ) in December 2013 to rule in his favour in
several insolvency cases involving his companies.
Adamescu denies wrongdoing. (AP)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the
owners of an unnamed chain of shops have been
arrested for artificially creating long queues.
Maduro said the owners had reduced the number
of employees working on cash tills in order to create
queues and "annoy the Venezuelan people."
He has accused Venezuela s business elite of boy-
cotting his government.
The opposition blames the socialist policies of
the past 16 years for the worsening economic cri-
"Yesterday we detected that a famous chain of
stores was conspiring, irritating the people," said
"We came, we normalised sales, we summoned
the owners, we arrested them and they re prisoners
for having provoked the people," he said.
A week ago, thousands of Venezuelans attended
an opposition march in Caracas, banging empty pots
to highlight what they say is the shortage of many
Demonstrators also voiced discontent at high infla-
tion, crime and long queues.
Many analysts say currency controls that restrict
the availability of dollars for imports play a key role
in creating a scarcity of many items.
But President Maduro is adamant that many busi-
nessmen are colluding with the political opposition
to oust his government.
He accused four supermarket chains of hoarding
goods and smuggling items out of the country.
"Those who use their stores to hurt the people
will pay with time in prison," Maduro told a group
of his supporters.
Last month he called on the National Assembly
to open an inquiry into what he described as "an
economic war" waged against his socialist govern-
Venezuela has been heavily affected by the fall in
oil prices on international markets. The economy
officially entered recession in December.
Inflation in Venezuela reached 63.6 per cent in
the 12 months to November, one of the highest rates
in the world. (BBC)
lice have evacuated hun-
dreds of people from the
after a suspicious vehicle
was spotted nearby.
Jaume Duch Guillot said
yesterday that "police
evacuated three of the
parliament's buildings" in
Brussels and cordoned off
a suspicious car.
Belgian media showed
a photograph of a police
robot moving toward a
vehicle in a nearby street.
Duch Guillot said about
500 people were evacu-
ated but two of the three
buildings, used only for
have since been declared
Belgium has been on
high alert since the Janu-
ary 7-9 Paris terror at-
tacks and a series of
police raids on suspected
foreign fighters in Bel-
gium and France last
Judge shaves 6
ROME---Citing good be-
haviour, a judge in Milan
has shaved six weeks off
former Premier Silvio
community service help-
ing Alzheimer's patients,
the media mogul's penalty
for a tax fraud conviction.
Valentina Bolis said the
judge yesterday lopped
off 45 days from his
penalty, meaning he'll fin-
ish in early March.
Bolis said the director
of the Milan-area Sacred
Family centre for elderly
and infirm, as well as a so-
cial worker who meets
monthly with the 78-
year-old Berlusconi, were
among those providing
favourable reports about
His age made him eligi-
ble for house arrest but
he was ordered to do
community service in-
TOKYO---Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
defended his policy toward terrorism, as the flag
at his official residence flew at half-staff yesterday
in a mark of mourning for two hostages killed by
the Islamic State group.
During a long day of parliamentary debate, Abe
parried numerous questions about his handling of
the hostage crisis, which came to a grisly end with
news early Sunday that journalist Kenji Goto had
been beheaded by the extremists.
Abe said his announcement of $200 million in
non-military aid for the fight against the Islamic
State group, made during a visit to the Middle East
just days before the militants demanded a $200 mil-
lion ransom for the two hostages, was meant to con-
vey Japan s strong commitment to battling terrorism
and fostering peace and stability in the region.
Some have questioned that decision, saying Abe
should have been more cautious and not mentioned
the Islamic State group by name.
Responding to a question by an opposition law-
maker, Abe confirmed that he was aware of the
hostage situation when he made the announcement.
Abe said he wished to publicise Japan s contribution
to the fight against extremism, and rejected the idea
of a more cautious approach.
Abe said he did not see an increased terrorist risk
following threats in a purported Islamic State group
video that vowed to target Japanese and make the
knife Goto s killer was wielding Japan s "nightmare."
"The terrorists are criminals," Abe said. "We are
determined to pursue them and hold them account-
Still, Japan has ordered heightened security pre-
cautions for airports and other public transport and
at Japanese facilities overseas, such as embassies
and schools. Goto s wife, Rinko Jogo, said in a state-
ment released yesterday that she was devastated but
proud of her husband. (AP)
Japan's leader defends handling of hostage crisis
Venezuelan shop owners
arrested over long queues
People queue to buy subsidised goods at a state-run supermarket in Caracas. BBC PHOTO
Judge gets 22
years in bribe case
Croatia to write
off debt to 60,000
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