Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 19th 2013 Contents A27
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GENEVA---A Swiss private bank
says it is closing down because of
what it calls costly and burdensome
rules it needs to follow in the wake
of a tax evasion row between
Switzerland and the United States.
Bank Frey & Co AG said its
shareholders voted late Thursday to
shutter the bank even though it is
The exclusive bank is one of 14
Swiss institutions under
investigation by US authorities over
possible tax evasion by their
Washington and Bern reached a
deal in August that would require
Swiss banks to disclose information
on US clients and assets. Some
would also have to pay a penalty.
Frey had links to Switzerland's
oldest private bank, Wegelin & Co,
which closed at the start of the year
after coming under US pressure. (AP)
Swiss bank closing down, blames US
Same-sex marriages will begin within
days in New Jersey after the state s highest
court ruled unanimously yesterday to uphold
a lower-court order that gay weddings must
start Monday and to deny a delay that was
sought by Gov Chris Christie.
A judge on the lower court had ruled last
month that New Jersey must recognize
same-sex marriage and set Monday as the
date to allow gay weddings.
Christie, a Republican who is considered
a possible 2016 presidential candidate,
appealed the decision and asked for the
start date to be put on hold while the state
Supreme Court decides the case.
"The state has advanced a number of
arguments, but none of them overcome this
reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry
are not treated equally under the law today,"
the court ruled.
"The harm to them is real, not abstract
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for
Christie, said the governor will comply with
the ruling, though he disagrees with it.
The ruling puts New Jersey on the cusp
of becoming the 14th state---and the third
most populous among them---to allow
same-sex marriage. The advocacy group
Freedom to Marry said that as of Monday
one-third of Americans will live in a place
where same-sex marriage is legal.
It s being debated elsewhere, too. Oregon
has begun recognising same-sex weddings
performed out of state, and it is likely that
voters will get a chance next year to repeal
the state s constitutional ban on gay mar-
riage. The legislature in Hawaii also soon
could take up a bill to legalise same-sex
unions, while a similar measure has passed
the Illinois Senate but not the House. Law-
suits challenging gay marriage bans also are
pending in several states, including Michigan,
Pennsylvania and Virginia.
New Jersey s top court agreed last week
to take up the appeal of the lower-court
ruling by Judge Mary Jacobson. Oral argu-
ments are expected January 6 or 7.
In yesterday s opinion, Chief Justice Stuart
Rabner wrote that the state has not shown
that it is likely to prevail in the case. Rabner
also rejected the state s argument that it
was in the public interest not to allow mar-
riages until the court has had more time to
rule fully on the issue.
For those opposed to gay marriage, deny-
ing the request to delay was troubling.
"In what universe does it make sense to
let the question at hand be answered before
it s asked or argued?" Len Deo, president
of the New Jersey Family Policy Council,
said in a letter yesterday to his members.
On Thursday, some communities started
accepting applications for marriage licenses
from same-sex couples so that they would
pass the 72-hour waiting period by 12.01
Christie says he favours civil unions and
says that allowing same-sex marriage is
something that should be done only by a
public vote, not the state s judges or law-
New Jersey okays
Court ruling takes effect Monday...
Jonathan Javins, right,
along with his partner
Jack Denelsbeck, centre,
and Gary Cosgrove,
celebrate during a rally in
Montclair, New Jersey,
hours after a judge ruled
that New Jersey is
federal benefits to gay
couples and must allow
them to marry beginning
Monday. AP PHOTO
LONDON---Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan rank
among the countries with the highest prevalence
of modern slavery, according to a new global
index released on Thursday by an anti-slavery
The "Global Slavery Index" report by the Walk
Free Foundation ranked 162 countries by estimating
the number of people in each nation affected by
a range of practices including forced and bonded
labour, human trafficking, forced marriages, and
the use of children in the military.
Walk Free Foundation was founded last year by
Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest. Its index
was endorsed by leaders including former US Sec-
retary Hillary Clinton, former British Prime Minister
Tony Blair and Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates.
Clinton said in a statement that although the
index wasn t perfect, it provided a starting point.
Using reports from governments and non-profit
organizations as well as statistical estimates, the
charity said that Mauritania has the highest pro-
portion of people in slavery, with many people
inheriting slave status from their ancestors.
About 140,000 to 160,000 people are enslaved
in the West African nation, which has a population
of just 3.8 million, the report said.
Haiti came second in the index, with about one
in ten children trapped in an exploitative system
of child labour, the report said.
Pakistan ranked third with more than 1.8 million
in bonded labour. (AP)
Haiti top global
SAO PAULO---A large fire severely damaged
four warehouses belonging to Brazil s largest
sugar and ethanol cooperative in the port of
Santos, destroying hundreds of thousands of
tons of sugar before it was controlled, the fire
department there said yesterday.
Santos Fire Department commander Lt Col
Wagner de Souza told reporters the fire roared
through four sugar warehouses belonging to sugar
Codesp, the government run agency that oper-
ates Santos port, said the blaze started early in
one warehouse and then spread to the others.
Santos is South America s largest port in terms
of the value of cargo handled.
Codesp spokeswoman Celia Regina de Souza
said the fire severely damaged the four warehouses
and destroyed much of the 300,000 tons of sugar
stored in them.
Copersucar said in a brief e-mailed statement
that four employees suffered minor injuries.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately
hits Brazil's major
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