Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 6th 2013 Contents A27
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KABUL---Officials say militants in
Afghanistan have killed an Indian
woman whose memoir about marry-
ing an Afghan and life under the Tal-
iban was made into a Bollywood film.
The killing of Sushmita Banerjee is
the latest in a string of attacks on
prominent women in Afghanistan,
adding to fears women's rights will
recede even more in this nation after
US-led foreign forces leave.
Provincial police chief Gen Dawlat
Khan Zadran says suspected Taliban
militants arrived early yesterday morn-
ing at Banjerjee's residence in Paktika
province. They tied up her husband
before taking her outside and shooting
her. He and another top official iden-
tified her by her local name, Sahib
Kamal, but also said her last name was
Banerjee wrote Kabuliwala's Bengali
Wife, the basis for the 2003 film Escape
from Taliban. (AP)
No escape from Taliban for author
BUCHAREST---The mayor of the Romanian capital
says there will be a referendum on whether thousands
of stray dogs should be euthanized after a 4-year-
old boy was killed by a stray this week.
Sorin Oprescu said yesterday that the date for the
referendum will be decided today.
According to animal welfare authorities, some 1,100
people were bitten by stray dogs in Bucharest in the
first four months of 2013.
President Traian Basescu called on the government
on Tuesday to pass a law that would allow for stray
dogs to be killed, saying "humans are above dogs."
PRAGUE---Police in Prague say 15 human skulls
have been found in a wooden box found on a street,
and another was found in a garbage bin.
Spokesman Jana Roesslerova says police found the
15 skulls yesterday morning near a garbage container
after they were alerted by a telephone caller. Roesslerova
says each skull was numbered.
She says another skull, also bearing a number, was
found in a garbage bin Wednesday by a homeless per-
Police say it is not clear whether the two cases are
connected. They have asked experts to help in their
VATICAN CITY---Pope Francis urged the Group of
20 leaders yesterday to abandon the "futile pursuit"
of a military solution in Syria as the Vatican laid
out its case for a negotiated settlement that guar-
antees rights for all Syrians, including minority
In a letter to the G-20 host, Russian President
Vladimir Putin, Francis lamented that "one-sided
interests" had prevailed in Syria, preventing a diplomatic
end to the conflict and allowing the continued "sense-
less massacre" of innocents.
Francis has been careful not to lay blame on any
one side, exhorting world leaders instead to focus on
the plight of Syrian civilians and the need to end the
Pope: Abandon 'futile'
EU urges quick UN report
on chemical attack
RUSSIA---The European Union is urging UN inves-
tigators to release information as soon as possible
about a chemical weapons attack in Syria so that
the international community can decide how to
In unusually strong language, EU President Herman
Van Rompuy told reporters in St Petersburg on Thurs-
day that the Aug. 21 attack "was a blatant violation
of international law and a crime against humanity."
But he said it's too early for a military response,
even as the United States and France are readying
possible armed action against the Syrian government.
Van Rompuy pushed for a political solution and a
report by UN investigators "as soon as possible." He
said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will brief
other leaders on Syria at the summit of the Group of
20 leading economies. (AP)
16 skulls found on
streets in Prague
killing stray dogs
Union nations enter high-octane
talks on Syria as divided as ever,
split between moral outrage over
the use of chemical weapons and
the obligations of slow and burden-
some UN diplomacy.
France, like the United States, is
preparing possible armed action
against the regime of Syrian President
Bashar Assad. Britain has been sur-
prisingly hamstrung by its parliament.
And Germany says it will not take
part in an attack and would limit
itself to a backseat role at most.
While EU leaders are in St Peters-
burg with Russian leader Vladimir
Putin and US President Barack
Obama during the G-20 summit end-
ing today, the EU's foreign and
defense ministers are meeting in near-
by Lithuania through Saturday, seek-
ing to broker a common stance that
statements Thursday indicated would
Speaking in Russia, German Chan-
cellor Angela Merkel said: "I do not
believe yet that we will reach a joint
position." And while EU foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton cautiously
said in Vilnius that she had been "of
course, carefully talking with our col-
leagues and allies," EU President Her-
man Van Rompuy---speaking in St
Petersburg---bluntly insisted upon UN
co-operation, upsetting the French
and widening divisions further.
Rebuffing French urgency, Van
Rompuy told reporters that EU
nations had to underscore "the need
to move forward with addressing the
Syrian crisis through the UN process."
That involves further delays as UN
inspectors prepare a report on the
August 21 chemical attack and the
diplomatic quagmire at the Security
Council, where Russia and China have
veto power over military action.
By invoking UN approval, Van
Rompuy appeared to be isolating
France, the lone EU member actively
looking at military intervention.
Obama, however, finds himself
slowed on taking action as he seeks
congressional authorisation for the
use of force in a vote expected after
Congress returns to work Septem-
British Prime Minister David
Cameron is on the defensive as he
faces world leaders in St Petersburg.
In the face of such problems, NATO
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Ras-
mussen urged "the international com-
munity to overcome its divisions."
British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Germany's Chancellor Angela
Merkel listen during a round table meeting at the G-20 summit in St
Petersburg, Russia, yesterday. AP PHOTO
NAIROBI---Kenyan MPs have approved a motion
to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) fol-
lowing an emergency debate. A bill to this effect is
expected to be introduced in the next 30 days, after
opposition MPs boycotted the vote.
The parliament took the action to withdraw from
the International Criminal Court, just before the coun-
try's president and deputy president face trial at The
Hague for allegedly inciting postelection violence.
Citing the fact that the United States is not a
member, the majority leader of Kenya's parliament
yesterday argued that Kenya should withdraw from
the statute that created the ICC.
Adan Duale told a special session of parliament
that US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush
both argued against the United States becoming a
party to the Rome Statute, which regulates prose-
cutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity
at the International Criminal Court.
Clinton and Bush, Duale said, refused to join the
ICC in order to protect US citizens and soldiers from
potential politically-motivated prosecutions. (AP)
to leave ICC
world leaders will
agree on civil war
ST PETERSBURG---German Chancellor Angela
Merkel is doubtful that world leaders can agree on
what to do about Syria s civil war, despite frenzied
diplomatic efforts following a chemical weapons
Merkel told reporters yesterday at a summit of the
Group of 20 leading world economies that because
of disagreement over who was responsible for the
poison gas attack last month, "I do not believe yet
that we will reach a joint position."
The United States and France are trying to rally
international support at the G-20 summit for a possible
military intervention against Syrian President Bashar
Assad's regime over the chemical attack. Merkel insisted
that Germany wouldn't get involved militarily, but
could provide humanitarian aid and political support.
Summit host Vladimir Putin supports Syria's gov-
ernment and opposes intervention. (AP)
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