Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2015 Contents A19
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The Hungarian camerawoman
who was caught on video kicking
and tripping refugees has written
an open letter apologising for her
Petra Laszlo, who has since
been fired from her job and
questioned by police, was filming
as people broke away from a
police cordon in Hungary.
"I panicked. I'm not a heartless,
child-kicking racist camera-
person," she wrote in her letter
published in Hungarian
newspaper Magyar Nemzet.
"As I watch the footage now,
it's like I'm not watching myself. I
honestly regret what I have done
and take responsibility for it," she
She was fired from N1TV, a far
right-leaning Hungarian Internet
news channel, after release of
the footage showing her
treatment of refugees and
"It's not easy to make a good
decision when you're in a panic.
"I'm just a woman, now
unemployed mother of small
children, who made a bad
decision in a panic situation," she
Camerawoman apologises for kicking, tripping refugees
At least 87 people have died after a crane
collapsed on the Grand Mosque in the Mus-
lim holy city of Mecca, the Saudi Arabian
government has said.
More than 150 people were injured in the
accident, the country's civil defence authority
said on Twitter.
It is not known what caused the accident,
but images from the scene showed part of
a huge red crane had crashed through the
Mecca is currently preparing for the annual
Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.
Hundreds of thousands of people are
expected to arrive in the Saudi city from all
over the world later this month.
Saudi authorities began a major expansion
of the site last year to cope with ever-growing
numbers of worshippers.
The crane that collapsed yesterday was
part of the construction work taking place
at the site.
Reports suggested the crane fell during
high winds. The Arabian peninsula has been
has been hit by strong sand storms over the
The mosque is Islam's most sacred site
and the destination for millions of Muslims
undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage every year.
At the heart of the mosque, the oldest
parts of which date to the 16th century, is
the Kaaba, a black cube-shaped building
which Muslims all over the world face when
they pray. (BBC)
CARACAS---Jailed Venezuelan opposition
leader Leopoldo Lopez was convicted and
sentenced Thursday to almost 14 years in
prison, the maximum allowed, for inciting
violence as leader of protests last year in
which several dozen people died.
About 200 Lopez supporters gathered in
a Caracas plaza expressed disbelief and sad-
ness when they learned of the verdict, with
several weeping and consoling each other
Reflecting the passions stirred by the trial
on both sides of Venezuela's deep political
divide, an elderly man died and several peo-
ple were injured during clashes earlier Thurs-
day outside the courthouse between gov-
ernment loyalists and Lopez supporters.
The opposition leader has repeatedly
denied the charges and says he only urged
peaceful demonstration against President
Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.
Supporters of the 44-year-old, Harvard-
educated former mayor of a wealthy Caracas
district say the trial was marred by irreg-
ularities. The court rejected all but two
defenccccccce witnesses, both of whom
ultimately declined to testify, while letting
the prosecution call more than 100.
The trial was all but closed to the public,
and Lopez sometimes refused to attend out
of protest. His lawyers said Judge Susana
Barreiros abruptly ended the proceedings
last week even though many witnesses had
yet to take the stand.
Lopez's team accuses Maduro's govern-
ment of wanting to sentence him now in
hopes that any anger will fade before the
vote is held December 6.
Polls say Lopez continues to be one of
Venezuela's most popular politicians with
approval numbers approaching 50 per cent,
while Maduro's languish below 30 per cent.
Palestinians overwhelmingly won the
right to fly their national flag in front of
the United Nations headquarters, a symbolic
step opposed by Israel and the United States.
The change was made by the UN General
Assembly, when a vast majority of member
countries voted in favour of a resolution
granting what are known as non-member
observer states the right to fly their flags
alongside member states.
Palestine became an observer state in 2012.
The Vatican, the only other observer state,
has held that status since 1964.
Palestinian diplomats secured the support
of a majority of the assembly, as was expected,
with 119 countries voting in favour of the
resolution, eight voting against it and 45
The flag is expected to be hoisted for the
first time when the Palestinian Authority's
president, Mahmoud Abbas, delivers his
remarks to the annual meeting of heads of
state and government at the General Assembly
on Sept 30.
Voting in favour of the resolution were the
countries of the Arab world, Iran and nearly
every African and Asian country. It was co-
sponsored by more than 50 countries. Israel,
the United States, Canada and Australia were
among those that voted against it.
HAVANA---The Cuban government said it plans
to pardon 3,522 prisoners over the next 72 hours
as a "humanitarian" gesture ahead of Pope Fran-
cis s visit to the island beginning next week.
But the announcement appeared to rule out
pardons for at least some of the dozens of inmates
that rights groups consider political prisoners.
Convicts serving time for crimes against "national
security" would not be eligible for release, said
the statement in the Communist Party newspaper
Those receiving pardons will include inmates
over age 60 or under 20 with no prior convictions
and prisoners whose terms are nearing an end,
as well as women, the infirm and foreigners whose
countries will accept their repatriation.
The amnesty, ordered by the State Council, the
Cuban government's supreme body, will not extend
to those serving time for homicide, rape, drug
trafficking and other serious offences in Cuba
such as "cattle rustling," according to Granma.
Francis will arrive in Havana on September 19,
and Cuban dissident groups have urged the pontiff
to intervene with the Castro government to secure
the release of jailed activists.
Cuba pardons 3,500
prisoners ahead of
Pope Francis visit
MOSCOW---Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov yesterday called on world powers to help
arm the Syrian army, describing it as the most
efficient force against the Islamic State group.
The US and NATO have raised concerns over
Russia's military buildup in Syria since they see
President Bashar Assad as the cause of the Syrian
crisis, which has claimed more than 250,000 lives
over four years. Moscow, meanwhile, has sought
to cast arms supplies to Assad's government as
part of international efforts to combat Islamic
The increased Russian activity in Syria reflects
Moscow's deep concerns that its longtime ally is
on the brink of collapse, as well as hopes by Pres-
ident Vladimir Putin that a common battle against
Islamic State extremists can improve Russia's ties
with the West, which strained over Ukraine.
Lavrov said in Moscow yesterday that Russia
would continue to supply Assad with weapons
and called on other countries to help the Syrian
government and its ground troops.
"You cannot defeat Islamic State with air strikes
only," Lavrov said. "It's necessary to co-operate
with ground troops and the Syrian army is the
most efficient and powerful ground force to fight
the IS." (AP)
Russia calls on
other nations to
help arm Syria
Palestinians win approval to fly flag at UN
Crane collapses on Mecca
Grand Mosque, 87 dead
A collapsed crane is seen from inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, yesterday. The accident
happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for
the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month, killing dozens. AP PHOTO
Venezuela opposition leader gets maximun sentence
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