Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 14th 2015 Contents A19
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CAIRO---An Egyptian lawyer on
Saturday challenged a law that allows
writers to be jailed for violating public
morals, requesting the suspension of a
case against an author on trial for work
that prosecutors say is sexually explicit.
Nasser Amin made the motion in court
during the trial of Ahmed Naji, who faces
£10,000 Egyptian ($1,245) if found guilty
of violating a law that says individuals
can be punished for publishing material
contrary to public morals. Amin
requested a constitutional court review
the law, citing two articles in the
constitution that prohibit imprisonment
for published material, except for cases
that encourage violence, are
discriminatory and in incidents of
The case stems from an excerpt of
Naji's novel, The Use of Life, published in
Akhbar al-Adab magazine in August
2014. It contains explicit sex acts and
references to habitual hashish use by the
The prosecution insisted the excerpt
be treated as a work of journalism. Amin
linked the prosecution to a crackdown in
Egypt over the past two years against
Islamists following the July 2013 military
ouster of President Mohammed Morsi of
the Muslim Brotherhood. He said
authorities usually target secular artists
and writers following crackdowns on
Islamists to show they are as virtuous.
"Outside this hall ... is a repressive
authority which claims it is protecting the
homeland and virtue from (the
Islamists)," he said. "Each of them tries to
overstate over the other who is the more
protective of virtue and morals." (AP))
Women have been elected to
municipal councils in Saudi Arabia
for the first time after a ban on
women taking part in elections
At least four women were elect-
ed, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Other news agencies put the num-
ber between nine and 17. Women
were elected in Mecca, Jawf and
Tabuk, reports said.
The vote is being seen as a land-
mark in the conservative kingdom.
However, the councils have limited
Women also won in several other
regions in the country, including
Jeddah and Qatif, other reports sug-
Saudi women still face many
curbs in public life, including driv-
ing. A total of 978 women registered
as candidates, alongside 5,938 men.
Officials said about 130,000
women had registered to vote in
Saturday s poll, compared with 1.35
The disparity was attributed by
female voters to bureaucratic obsta-
cles and a lack of transport, the
AFP news agency says.
Female candidates were also not
allowed to address male voters
directly during campaigning.
Turnout was high, state media
Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was
named as Saudi Arabia s first elected
female politician, after winning a
seat on the council in Madrakah in
She was running against seven
men and two women, the electoral
This is only the third time Saudis
have ever gone to the polls
Elections of any kind are rare in
the Saudi kingdom. Saturday was
only the third time in history that
Saudis had gone to the polls.
There were no elections in the
40 years between 1965 and 2005.
The decision to allow women to
take part was taken by the late King
Abdullah and is seen as a key part
of his legacy.
In announcing the reforms, King
Abdullah said women in Saudi Ara-
bia "have demonstrated positions
that expressed correct opinions and
Before he died in January, he
appointed 30 women to the coun-
try s top advisory Shura Council.
There were 2,100 council seats
available in Saturday s vote. An
additional 1,050 seats are appoint-
ed with approval from the king.
Families in a Lancashire village
were forced to leave their homes
for a second time after a severe
flood warning, while alerts remain
in place for large parts of the north.
Many people in St Michaels were
advised to leave their properties on
Saturday night amid renewed fears
about water levels in the River Wyre.
The "danger to life" flood warning
remained in force until 11:30 GMT.
Flood warnings have also been
issued across Yorkshire and north
Meanwhile, Environment Secre-
tary Liz Truss has set up a group to
work on new flood protection meas-
ures for Cumbria in the wake of
More than ten flood warnings
remain in place requiring residents
to take immediate action, with more
than 30 flood alerts advising house-
holders to be prepared.
Most of the alerts are across
northern England and north and mid
Wales, with large parts of east Lan-
cashire as well as West Yorkshire
and Cumbria affected. Flood barriers
have also been erected in Shrews-
In Yorkshire warnings include the
River Ouse in York, the River Aire
in parts of Leeds and the River
Calder in Wakefield.
Fifteen people were rescued from
vehicles across West Yorkshire
overnight, West Yorkshire Fire and
Rescue Service said, and about 20
homes were also flooded in the
Lancashire Police advised affected
residents in St Michaels to gather
at a local pub as a precaution, with
overnight accommodation provided
at Garstang Leisure Centre.
The fresh flood warnings come
after large parts of Cumbria and
Lancashire experienced a week of
severe disruption due to flooding.
The weather was expected to
improve throughout Sunday, the
Environment Agency said, but peo-
ple were urged to remain vigilant.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
said rising river levels had subsided
by 15:30 GMT and the situation at
St Michaels had moved into a
Lower levels of rainfall are forecast
over the coming days.
Minister says climate change is
causing "trends" of severe weath-
er.Energy and climate change sec-
retary Amber Rudd was asked on
The Andrew Marr Show if she
agreed the flooding in Cumbria could
be attributed to climate change.
She said there are "trends" of
severe weather events which are
caused by climate change.
"I wouldn t pin individual storms
to those, but I would say that
addressing dangerous climate change
is about security for people and mak-
ing sure that for the long-term future
they are not impacted by really dan-
gerous weather events," she said.
She also insisted plans were in
place to put more money into flood
defences and protect a further
300,000 people from dangerous
Egypt lawyer challenges law that says writers can be jailed
First women councillors
elected in Saudi Arabia
A Saudi woman casts her ballot at a polling centre during municipal elections in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on
Saturday. Saudi women headed to polling stations across the kingdom on Saturday, both as voters and
candidates for the first time in this landmark election. AP PHOTO
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