Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 21st 2016 Contents A25
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The most powerful storm to hit Fiji
has made landfall on the Pacific nation's
main island, Viti Levu.
Cyclone Winston brought winds of
over 320 kph (200 mph), torrential rain
and waves of up to 12m (40 feet).
Flights have been cancelled, evacu-
ation centres activated and a nationwide
curfew put in place.
The category five storm---the highest
level---is expected to move westwards
over the main island today.
Before it landed, Prime Minister Frank
Bainimarama warned that Fiji was fac-
ing "an ordeal of the most grievous
"We must stick together as a people
and look after each other. Be alert and
be prepared," he said.
Cyclone Winston has already brushed
some of Fiji's smaller islands, but the
extent of the damage is unclear.
About 900,000 people live on Fiji.
Cyclone Winston hits Fiji's main island
The casket containing the body of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia
leaves the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington,
following funeral services, yesterday. AP PHOTO
The UK will vote on whether to remain in the
EU on June 23, Prime Minister David Cameron
The prime minister made his historic announce-
ment in Downing Street after briefing the cabinet.
He said he would be campaigning to remain in
a reformed EU---and described the vote as one of
the biggest decisions "in our lifetimes".
Ministers immediately divided up into the leave
and remain camps as the campaigns got under way
The referendum date announcement comes after
renegotiations on the UK's relationship with Europe
were finalised last Friday night after intense wrangling
at a two-day summit in Brussels.
The agreement, which will take effect immediately
if the UK votes to remain in the EU, include changes
to migrant welfare payments, safeguards for Britain's
financial services and making it easier to block
unwanted EU regulations.
Some Conservative MPs have announced their
intention to back the prime minister. The Labour
Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems are also
in favour of staying in.
But many Conservatives have announced they
will back the leave campaign including Cameron's
long-time ally, Justice Secretary Michael Gove.
London mayor Boris Johnson, who has previously
been a Eurosceptic, has yet to declare where he
According to the latest opinion polls, the British
public are thought to be fairly evenly split. (BBC)
Cameron calls EU
referendum for June
President Barack Obama yesterday defended his
visit to Cuba next month amid rebuke from con-
servative circles, saying that it would further
advance his efforts to restore diplomatic relations
after more than a half-century of Cold War-era
conflict between the countries.
"I'm focused on the future, and I'm confident that
my visit will advance the goals that guide us---pro-
moting American interests and values and a better
future for the Cuban people, a future of more freedom
and more opportunity," the president said in his
"My visit will be an opportunity to keep moving
forward," he added. "I'll meet with President Castro
to discuss how we can continue normalising relations,
including making it easier to trade and easier for
Cubans to access the Internet and start their own
The White House announced Obama's visit last
Thursday, a move that would make him the first
sitting American president to travel to Cuba in nearly
Obama's efforts, which have moved toward nor-
malising relations with the communist country and
loosened the US trade embargo, have been rebuked
throughout conservative circles, including presidential
hopefuls Sen Marco Rubio and Sen Ted Cruz, sons
of Cuban immigrants. (NBC News)
President Obama defends
Cuba visit amid GOP criticism
American warplanes hit an Isis camp
in Libya where foreign fighters had been
engaged in advanced training, White
House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Local officials said at least 49 people
had been killed and six injured. Noureddine
Chouchane, a senior operative in the ter-
rorist group from Tunisia, was believed to
be among those from around Africa and
the Middle East who had converged on the
site. It was not immediately clear whether
Chouchane was killed, Earnest said.
Chouchane is thought to have played an
instrumental role in two terrorist attacks
in Tunisia last year, one at Tunis' Bardo
Museum that killed 23 people and another
at a seaside resort in Sousse that left 38
people dead. Isis claimed responsibility for
Conflicting information emerged about
whether the strike also might have killed
two Serbian Embassy employees who were
kidnapped last year.
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said
the pair---communications officer Sladjana
Stankovic and driver Jovica Stepic, who
were kidnapped in Sabratah in November,
2015---were believed to be among the dead.
The Pentagon knows of the reports
claiming deaths of "two Serbian hostages,"
but "at this time, we have no information
indicating that their deaths were a result
of the strike," spokesman Peter Cook said.
"Our forces watched this training camp
for weeks leading up to the operation, and
at the time of the strike there were no indi-
cations of any civilians present. While the
circumstances of their deaths remain
unclear, we, nevertheless, express our deep-
est condolences to the Serbian government
and the families of those killed," Cook said.
"When conducting our operations, the
US military goes to extraordinary lengths
to limit the risk of civilian casualties, and
in our campaign to defeat Isil we will con-
tinue to do so," Cook said.
A spokesman for the Serbian Foreign
Ministry emphasised that Serbia still was
waiting for official confirmation from
Libyan authorities about whether the Ser-
bian pair were among the dead. She said
that Serbia had been informed by the Pen-
tagon that the specific location where they
were believed to be held had been bombed.
Over the last several weeks, the United
States observed militants moving around
the site and undergoing what appeared to
be special training, a US official said. "This
was outside the normal training camp sce-
nario," the official said.
The activity raised concerns the people
there might be planning to launch an exter-
nal attack, though no details were discov-
ered about where or when this might take
The US military has launched hundreds
of airstrikes against Isis targets over the
past two years. These have been concen-
trated in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamist
extremist group has established its biggest
foothold and has its de facto capital in
'Hostages killed' in US
attack on Isis camp in Libya
LAID TO REST
The contest for Republican and Dem-
ocratic contenders to become presiden-
tial candidates in the United States has
entered its third round.
Polls have already opened in the Repub-
lican primary vote in South Carolina,
where front runner Donald Trump will
try to fend off Ted Cruz.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
could face a close race in the Democratic
Party caucus in Nevada.
The votes could be key ahead of the
"Super Tuesday" round on March 1.
On that day, about a dozen states will
choose their candidates for the November
8 presidential election, with about a quar-
ter of all nominating delegates up for
Before that, the two parties swap
around in these two states---Republicans
holding a Nevada caucus on Tuesday and
the Democrats a South Carolina primary
on February 27.
These rounds could be crucial in par-
ticular for Republican candidates who
have been lagging behind the leading pair.
Nevada represents the most racially
diverse battleground so far, though, with
both candidates trying to court the vote
of African-Americans, Hispanics and
Asian Americans, who make up about
50 per cent of the state's population.
White House race
enters key third round
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