Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 11th 2015 Contents A21
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Prosecutors in France have
opened a manslaughter investi-
gation after two helicopters
crashed in Argentina, killing eight
Three well-known French sports
personalities were among those
killed in the collision, which also
claimed the lives of the two Argen-
French President Francois Hol-
lande said it was "a cause of
Both helicopters were involved
in the filming of TV survival show
Dropped, which airs on French
channel TF1. On the show, celebri-
ties are flown into rough terrain
and filmed while they attempt to
find food and shelter.
Yachtswoman Florence Arthaud,
Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat
and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine
were the show s celebrities on
board at the time of the crash.
They all died.
Other contestants were standing
on the ground blindfolded a few
hundred metres away when the
accident happened, French media
Camille Muffat, 25, won three
medals, including gold in the
400m freestyle in the 2012 London
Olympics. She retired from com-
petitive swimming in 2014.
Alexis Vastine, 28, won bronze
at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in
the light-welterweight category.
He was narrowly beaten in the
quarter-finals of the 2012 Games.
Florence Arthaud, 57, was a
hugely accomplished sailor, win-
ning the 1990 Route du Rhum, the
prestigious solo Atlantic race. A
serious car accident put her in a
coma when she was 17.
The cause of the crash is as yet
unclear and investigations are
under way. The inquiry in France
is standard procedure when its
nationals die overseas.
Tributes have poured in to the
dead stars from France and beyond.
"We are shocked by this sad
news," said Thomas Bach, Presi-
dent of the International Olympic
But amid the horror there are
also the first signs of anger. Well-
known musician Benjamin Bioley
has criticised what he called a "hor-
rible TV reality show that serves
up cardboard stars and then steals
three wonderful athletes." (BBC)
Nicolas Maduro is responding to new
US sanctions by seeking expanded
powers in the name of fighting impe-
rialism, sparking alarm among critics
of his socialist administration.
Maduro lashed out at the US for
imposing sanctions Monday on top
Venezuelan officials accused of human
rights violations. He delivered a fiery
speech flanked by the sanctioned offi-
cials, promoting one and congratulating
each for the "imperial honour"
bestowed by Washington.
"President Barack Obama, in the
name of the US imperialist elite, has
decided to personally take on the task
of defeating my government, interven-
ing in Venezuela, and controlling it
from the US," Maduro said late Monday
night. "Obama today took the most
aggressive, unjust and poisonous step
that the US has ever taken against
Maduro announced he would ask the
ruling-party controlled Congress to
grant him new powers to defend the
country against threats to its sover-
eignty. He didn t specify the powers or
say how he d apply them. Lawmakers
were expected to take up the measure
Opponents blasted the plan, saying
it would be used quash dissent. (AP)
solar powered aircraft landed in
western India last night, completing
the second leg---and its first sea
crossing---of its historic round-the-
The Solar Impulse 2 touched down
at Ahmadabad airport in Gujarat state
about 16 hours after it took off from
Muscat, Oman, for the 910-mile flight
without a drop of fuel.
The world s first aircraft powered
by solar energy was to remain in
Ahmadabad for two days before flying
to the holy city of Varanasi in northern
India on Saturday.
The Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard
and Andre Boschberg, are taking turns
at the controls of the aircraft during
their 21,700-mile journey.
The aircraft s wings are covered by
more than 17,000 solar cells that recharge
the plane s batteries. It flies ideally at
around 28 mph.
The Swiss explorers say their aim is
to highlight the importance of renewable
energy and the spirit of innovation. They
say the visionary journey is a "strong
message for clean technologies."
Neither pilot will be able to stand in
the cockpit while flying, but the seat
reclines for stretching and its cushion
can be removed for access to a toilet.
There is no running water onboard. Arm-
bands placed underneath their suits will
buzz if the plane isn t flying level. (AP)
NIGERIA---At least 34 people were
killed by a teenage girl suicide bomber
yesterday at a crowded market in the
northeastern Nigerian city of Maid-
uguri, said witnesses.
The blast by a female teenager
occurred in the market near the Old
Elkanemi Cinema in the late afternoon,
said Musa Danbaba, a member of a
civilian protection militia. He said 34
bodies were counted and many more
No group immediately claimed
responsibility for the bombing, but it
bears the hallmarks of Nigeria s Islamic
extremist group, Boko Haram.
The Maiduguri market is where sui-
cide bombers on Saturday detonated
explosives that killed 54 people.
Boko Haram is waging a nearly six-
year insurgency to impose Muslim
Shariah law in Nigeria. An estimated
10,000 people were killed by Boko
Haram violence last year. Last week
Boko Haram announced its allegiance
to the Islamic State. (AP)
MEXICO CITY---The leader of a rural
vigilante group says he may run for Congress
after murder charges against him and about
two dozen followers were dropped and they
were freed from prison.
A judge ruled the vigilantes acted in self-
defence in a December shootout with a rival
faction that left 11 people dead.
Self-defence group leader Hipolito Mora's
son died in the December 16 shootout with
the group led by rival vigilante Luis Antonio
Mora said he is negotiating with a small
opposition party to run for Congress in June
Athletes and actresses have also
registered to run in the congressional
RIYADH---Saudi King Salman vowed
yesterday that low oil prices would not halt
progress in his country, and promised to
defend Arab and Muslim causes around the
world in his first major policy speech since
assuming the throne.
Salman, 79, said the kingdom would
continue oil and gas exploration, despite
crude prices being nearly half of what they
were last summer. In an acknowledgement of
the kingdom's burgeoning young population,
he urged businesses to help create jobs,
calling it a national duty.
On foreign policy, he said the kingdom
"would continue to defend Arab and Islamic
issues" and the creation of a Palestinian state
with Jerusalem as its capital.
Saudi king vows development, stability despite low oil price Mexico vigilante leader freed, may run for office
34 killed in explosion
at Nigeria market
seeks increased power
after US sanctions
plane lands in India France stunned as copter
crash kills Olympians
Student protesters in Myanmar clashed with riot police in Letpadan, 90 miles north of Yangon. The
students say they want changes to be made to a new bill which they say centralises control over higher
education. Tensions have been rising in Letpadan since last week, after police gave the students a
deadline to disperse. BBC PHOTO
The accident happened in the
remote, rugged province of La Rioja,
close to the Andes mountains.
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