Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2013 Contents A33
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NEW YORK---A leading Roman
Catholic commentator and founder of
a pro-Catholic media organisation has
landed a deal to write a "full-scale"
biography of Pope Francis.
Publisher Henry Holt announced yes-
terday that it has acquired a book by
Austen Ivereigh, a British journalist who
helped found Catholic Voices, which
seeks to improve how the church is pre-
sented in the news.
Ivereigh also is a former press secretary
for the Archbishop of Westminster.
The book, currently untitled, is
expected next year.
According to the publisher, Ivereigh s
biography will show that the Pope has
pressed the "reset button" for the
church. Pope Francis has made inter-
national news by saying the church
should not spend too much time focus-
ing on gay marriage and abortion and
should concern itself more with the poor.
Pope Francis 'full-scale' biography expected next year
NEW YORK---Human rights groups yester-
day filed a lawsuit blaming the UN for a
cholera outbreak that killed thousands of
Haitians as lawyers seeking compensation
for victims and clean water and sanitation
for the Caribbean country stepped up efforts
to force the world body to confront the
The lawsuit, in federal court in Manhattan
sought class-action status to pursue relief for
what it described as an epidemic that has
killed more than 8,300 people, sickened more
than 650,000 and continues to kill about
1,000 Haitians annually. It said the UN spread
the disease when it contaminated Haiti s prin-
cipal river with cholera-infected human waste
beginning in October 2010.
"This lawsuit, we hope, will finally make
the United Nations recognise their responsi-
bility," attorney Ira Kurzban told a Manhattan
news conference. "They owe the people of
Haiti a public apology."
He accused the UN of "gross negligence
and reckless conduct" for failing to adequately
screen troops and treat human waste before
raw sewage was discharged into waterways
leading into the Artibonite River, Haiti s longest
river and the primary water source for tens
of thousands of people.
The lawsuit said the UN had "long known
that Haiti s weak water and sanitation infra-
structure created a heightened vulnerability
to waterborne disease, but failed to exercise
due care to prevent the devastating outbreak."
UN associate spokesman Farhan Haq said
it was UN practice not to comment on liti-
gation. But he defended the UN s response to
the epidemic, saying: "The United Nations
remains committed to do all that the organ-
isation can do to help the people of Haiti over-
come the cholera epidemic."
He said the UN was working "with the gov-
ernment and people of Haiti both to provide
immediate and practical assistance to those
affected, and to put in place better infrastruc-
ture and services for all."
There was no immediate response from the
Haitian government yesterday, but Prime Min-
ister Laurent Lamothe said last week at the
United Nations General Assembly that the
world body has a "moral responsibility" to
address the outbreak. He added that efforts
to contain it have proven insufficient.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys from
Kurzban s firm and the human rights groups
Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and the
Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democ-
racy in Haiti.
The UN could assert that it has legal immu-
nity from compensation claims.
Beatrice Lindstrom, an attorney for the
institute, said the lawyers believe they can
overcome that, because the UN has failed to
give victims any avenue for compensation.
She said there was precedent in international
law for the loss of immunity in similar
instances but no precedent in US courts.
Kurzban said there were multiple avenues to
strike down the immunity claim.
Some studies have shown that cholera may
have been introduced in Haiti by UN troops
from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.
Yet, Kurzban said, the UN "still has not
admitted its own culpability."
"Basically, the UN has stonewalled through
the entire process," he said.
The lawsuit argued that the UN knew or
should have known that its reckless sanitation
and waste disposal practices posed a high risk
of harming the population. Five Haitians and
Haitian-Americans listed as plaintiffs all had
family members with cholera infections, some
of whom died. The lawsuit sought unspecified
damages for personal injury, wrongful death,
emotional distress, loss of use of property and
natural resources and breach of contract. It
also sought money to bring clean water and
improved sanitation to Haiti. (AP)
Lawyers seek compensation for Haitians
UN sued over cholera outbreak
WHEELING---A man armed with what fed-
eral marshals described as an assault-type
rifle fired up to two dozen rounds at a West
Virginia federal courthouse yesterday, until
police returned fire and killed him, state
One security officer within the Wheeling
Federal Building was hurt by flying debris, but
there were no other injuries, said Chief Deputy
Mike Claxton of the Marshals Service in north-
ern West Virginia.
State police spokesman Sgt Michael Baylous
confirmed that the man died from police fire
but did not have his identity or any details
Claxton said investigators were seeking a
search warrant for the gunman s home in
hopes of determining a motive and if he acted
Asked if the gunman had any grievances
with the US government, Claxton said, "We re
really digging hard at this point to find out."
Claxton said the man began firing from a
parking lot across from the federal building.
"He was observed in the parking lot very
quickly after the first shots were fired," he
Courthouse security and local police shot
at the man. Claxton did not know if there was
an exchange of gunfire.
The building houses a variety of courtrooms
and related offices, including judges, prose-
cutors and law enforcement. (AP)
Cops kills gunman outside courthouse
Authorities gather in front of the Federal Building in Wheeling, West Virginia, yesterday, after state police killed a man who fired shots at
the federal courthouse. AP PHOTO
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