Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 9th 2015 Contents A19
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The Saudi government has banned
official purchases of cars and furniture and
slashed travel budgets and infrastructure
spending as it faces its gravest fiscal crisis
for years because of low oil prices,
according to leaked internal government
documents. Secret Saudi policy memos
issued by King Salman to the finance
minister detail the new economic austerity
measures to be implemented across all
government ministries. Saudi public
finances have been depleted this year by
tumbling oil prices to such an extent that
the kingdom is expected to run a deficit of
at least 20 per cent of GDP in 2015. One
letter marked "Highly Confidential and
Most Urgent" dated 14-12-1436
(equivalent to 28 September 2015 in the
Islamic calendar) gives strict instructions
to stop any new projects, end the
purchases of any new vehicles, furniture or
other equipment, freeze all appointments
and promotions, stop compensation
payments for property, and halt any new
rental agreements. The oil crunch---prices
have halved to barely $50 a barrel over the
past two years---has coincided with an
expensive war in neighbouring Yemen and
some sudden largesse decreed by Salman
when he succeeded his late half-brother
Abdullah as the new king in January.
No more new cars or furniture, says Saudi king
SAO PAULO---Analysts say the Brazilian
president's leadership capacity has been dealt a
serious blow by a federal audit court ruling that her
government violated accounting practices last year
and broke the country's finance law by illegally
using money from state banks to fill budget holes.
They say the ruling could add fuel to efforts by
President Dilma Rousseff's opponents to begin
impeachment proceedings against her in Congress.
On Wednesday, the court approved a report that
said Rousseff broke Brazil's finance law. Its
recommendation now goes to Congress, which will
use the report when voting whether to reject or
accept the government accounts.
Political analyst Thiago de Aragao says the
court's decision and other recent setbacks suffered
by Rousseff's government have made it easier for
pro-impeachment forces. (AP)
Court ruling fuels movement
to impeach Brazil president
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, one of three
Americans who helped stop an armed gunman
aboard a Paris-bound train in August, was stabbed
early yesterday morning in Sacramento, California,
in an altercation, Air Force officials said.
Stone was transported to a local hospital, and is
currently receiving treatment and in stable
condition, said Lt Col Christopher Karns, an Air
Force spokesman. The incident remains under
investigation by police, but they said they did not
believe he was targeted because of his role in
stopping a terrorist attack.
Stone, 23, grew up near Sacramento. He and
friends Anthony Sadler, 23, and Army National
Guard Spec Alek Skarlatos, 22, are credited with
taking down Ayoub El Khazzani, a 25-year-old
Moroccan, after he opened fire on a train travelling
from Amsterdam to Paris on August 21. Their
actions averted a possible mass shooting,
"Detectives were called to the scene to assist
with the investigation and the victim is currently
being treated for what appears to be non-life
threatening injuries." ---Washington Post
French train attack
JERUSALEM---A Palestinian stabbed four Israelis
with a screwdriver yesterday before a soldier shot
and killed him amid fresh violence that prompted
Israel's premier to bar Cabinet ministers and
lawmakers from a sensitive Jerusalem holy site at
the heart of the latest tensions.
The attack in Tel Aviv was among four new
stabbings yesterday that left several people
wounded. A series of similar attacks in recent days,
carried out mainly by young people with no known
links to armed groups, has shocked Israelis and
raised fears of a new uprising.
Four Israelis have been killed in attacks over the
past week. Seven Palestinians, including four
alleged attackers, have been killed in the unrest.
More than 130 Palestinians have been wounded in
demonstrations and clashes across the West Bank
and east Jerusalem. (AP)
New attacks; Israel bars
ministers from Jerusalem site
United Arab Emirates---A crush and stampede last
month outside of Saudi Arabia s holy city of Mecca
killed at least 1,364 people during the annual hajj
pilgrimage to the kingdom, an Associated Press
count showed yesterday, nearly 600 more than the
official death toll.
The AP count of dead from the disaster---the worst
tragedy to strike the hajj in a quarter-century---is
based on tolls offered by 18 countries through their
officials or state media broadcasts. The tolls are said
to only include those killed in the disaster at Mina,
That puts the September 24 tragedy, with hundreds
still reported missing, even closer to the deadliest
disaster to ever strike the hajj. A stampede in 1990
killed 1,426 people at an overcrowded pedestrian
tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca.
Saudi officials have said their official figure of 769
killed and 934 injured in the Mina disaster remains
accurate, though an investigation into its causes is
AP count: Hajj disaster
shows over 1,360 killed
KIGALI---Rwanda s Supreme Court yesterday dis-
missed a lawsuit by the political opposition that
had sought to block constitutional amendments on
presidential term limits, clearing the way for Pres-
ident Paul Kagame to run again for office.
The judges decision said that that there was nothing
in Rwanda s constitution that prohibited lawmakers
from modifying the constitution.
Rwandan lawmakers already have voted in support
of a petition to remove presidential term limits from
the constitution. (AP)
Rwanda court: Constitution
allows removal of term limits
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has broken
his silence over the mob killing of a Muslim man
rumoured to have eaten beef.
Hindus and Muslims should fight poverty and not
each other, he told a campaign rally in Bihar.
Modi had been under pressure to condemn the
killing of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was beaten to
death last month. Hindus consider cows sacred and
slaughtering the animals is banned in many states.
Modi s government wants a nationwide ban, but
beef is consumed by Muslims and other religious
minorities in India.
The prime minister said, "Hindus should decide
whether to fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims have
to decide whether to fight Hindus or poverty.
"Both need to fight poverty together...The country
has to stay united," he said.
But his comments come on the same day that
members of Modi s BJP party beat a Muslim politician
in the Kashmir state assembly after he served beef
at a private party.
The politician---Rashid Ahmed---said he did it in
protest against a ban on serving beef in the state.
PM Modi breaks silence
on 'beef lynching'
Union yesterday took measures to
buttress its porous external borders
and toughen up its migrant return
programme in an attempt to build a
credible refugee policy that would
continue to embrace those fleeing
for their lives yet punish those seek-
ing economic gain.
Facing their toughest refugee emer-
gency since World War II, the 28 EU
nations committed to speed up and
intensify the deportation of people
who do not qualify for asylum, includ-
ing more special flights out and deten-
tion for those who might slip into ille-
It all was to underscore one key
message: Europe feels overwhelmed
and needs to be far more rigorous in
sending economic migrants back if it
wants to find enough goodwill among
its population to continue harbouring
"Increased return rates should act
as a deterrent to irregular migration,"
the conclusions of the meeting said.
More than 500,000 people have
arrived this year seeking sanctuary or
But of the people who fail to obtain
asylum or residency in the 28-nation
EU, less than 40 per cent actually go
back, and all agree that should change
"We need to see Europe upping its
game," Britain s interior minister,
Theresa May, said.
"If there is no return policy there
is no basis for the refugee policy," said
French Interior Minister Bernard
Cazeneuve, adding agreements should
be quickly made with many of the
developing nations from where tens
of thousands of economic migrants
leave in desperation for a better life
At the same time, he put to the EU
nations a far-reaching plan to beef
up the external borders by committing
member states to contribute more
personnel to the EU s border agency
and eventually set up a largely
autonomous international "corps"
that could intervene wherever a crisis
EU to speed up
Migrants walk along a street after they arrived by train in Hegyeshalom, at the
Austrian border, west of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday. The migrants arrived
here from the Croatian border to continue their journey to Austria. AP PHOTO
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