Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 15th 2013 Contents Iraqi Shiite faithful worshippers cut themselves with swords and knives during Ashura, marking the
anniversary of the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Islam's founding prophet Muhammad,
in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday. The remembrance of Muharram marks
the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was
killed. AP PHOTO
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
ANKARA---Turkey's parliament has
lifted a ban on women lawmakers
wearing trousers in the assembly, in a
further liberalisation of dress rules fol-
lowing a landmark decision to allow fe-
male deputies to wear the Islamic
A deputy from the main opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP), Safak
Pavey, drew attention to the trouser
ban during a parliamentary debate on
the emotive headscarf issue, which has
long polarised opinion in largely Muslim
but secular Turkey.
Pavey, elected to office in June 2011,
has a prosthetic leg but parliament had
rejected her previous request to be al-
lowed to wear trousers because of reg-
ulations which specified that women
should wear suits with skirts.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's rul-
ing centre-right AK Party, which has Is-
lamist roots, proposed the relaxation of
the trouser ban and the opposition par-
ties---the secularist CHP, the pro-Kur-
dish BDP and Turkish nationalist MHP---
backed the plan.
Parliament approved the measure
late on Wednesday.
The Turkish parliament witnessed
historic scenes at the end of October
when four AKP female lawmakers wore
headscarves for the first time in the as-
Turkey lifts ban on trousers for women MPs in parliament
COLOMBO---Sri Lankan Presi-
dent Mahinda Rajapakse hit back
angrily Thursday against allega-
tions of war crimes which are set
to overshadow this week s Com-
monwealth summit, saying he
had "nothing to hide" from his
Rajapakse, who will chair the
three-day summit in Colombo,
told reporters he was ready to con-
front the likes of Britain's Prime
Minister David Cameron but would
not be lectured to.
The summit has already been
dogged by boycotts, with the lead-
ers of Canada, India and Mauritius
all staying away over the bloody
end in 2009 to one of Asia's dead-
liest civil wars.
Rajapakse has been under fire
from rights groups and UN bodies
for refusing to allow an independ-
ent investigation into the finale of
the conflict, which pitted ethnic
Tamils against the majority Sin-
"We are very open, we have
nothing to hide," the president,
who is himself Sinhalese, told a
press conference on the eve of the
Rajapakse said he was ready to
meet Cameron to discuss allega-
tions that up to 40,000 civilians
were killed by Sri Lankan forces
in the closing stages of the 37-year
conflict in the island's north.
"I will be meeting him and we
will see what (happens), I will also
have to ask some questions," said
the president, who visibly bristled
and raised his voice as he took
Rajapakse, president of the for-
mer British colony since 2005,
mounted a stout defence of his
administration's handling of alle-
gations of rights abuses.
"We have a legal system in Sri
Lanka," he said.
"We have a human rights com-
mission, now the Commonwealth
is ready to strengthen it.
"If there are any violations, we
will take actions against anybody."
The 67-year-old said his admin-
istration deserved credit for ending
"People were getting killed for
30 years, at least after 2009 we
have stopped it. There is no killing
in Sri Lanka today."
At least 100,000 people lost
their lives in the conflict.
As well as allegations against
government forces, Tamil Tiger
rebels---known for their trademark
suicide bombings---are also accused
of killing thousands of people.
Cameron, who intends to travel
to the war-torn northern Jaffna
peninsula, has said he wants to
have "tough conversations" with
The British premier, who
stopped off in India, reiterated calls
for a "proper" investigation into
the last stages of the war.
Cameron, who has rejected calls
to join the boycott, will be the first
foreign leader to visit the north
since Sri Lanka's independence in
TACLOBAN---The air was thick with
the stench of decay as sweating
workers lowered the plastic coffins
one by one into a grave the size of
an Olympic swimming pool.
Scores of unidentified bodies were
interred together yesterday in a hillside
cemetery without any ritual---the first
mass burial in this city shattered by
last week's Typhoon Haiyan.
Six days after the disaster, some
progress was being made in providing
food, water and medical aid to the
half-million people displaced in the
Philippines. Massive bottlenecks
blocking the distribution of interna-
tional assistance have begun to clear.
Soldiers on trucks gave out rice and
water, and chainsaw-wielding teams
cut debris from blocked roads to clear
the way for relief trucks in Tacloban,
the capital of the hardest-hit Leyte
Thousands of people continued to
swarm Tacloban's damaged airport,
desperate to leave or to get treatment
at a makeshift medical center.
"We know the gravity of our coun-
trymen's suffering, and we know that,
now more than ever, all of us are called
on to do whatever we can to help alle-
viate our countrymen's suffering,"
President Benigno Aquino III said in
Authorities say 2,357 people have
been confirmed dead, a figure that is
expected to rise, perhaps significantly,
when information is collected from
other areas of the disaster zone.
With sweat rolling down their faces,
John Cajipe, 31, and three teenage
boys who work at the Tacloban ceme-
tery placed the first body in the grave's
The second body followed two min-
utes later, carefully placed alongside
the first. And so on, until scores of
coffins filled the 6-foot deep grave.
A ritual to sprinkle holy water on the
site is expected to be held today, one
week after the typhoon struck.
A portion of the femur was removed
from each corpse by the National
Bureau of Investigation. Technicians
will extract DNA from each bit of
bone to try to identify the dead, said
Joseph David, crime photographer for
"I hope this is the last time I see
something like this," said Mayor Alfred
Romualdez. "When I look at this, it
just reminds me of what has happened
from the day the storm hit until
On Wednesday, the UN's World
Food Program distributed rice and
other items to nearly 50,000 people
in the Tacloban area. Nearly 10 tons
of high-energy biscuits were also
delivered to the city on Wednesday,
with another 25 tons on the way.
But for thousands of people who
have squatted in Tacloban's sports
arena, known as the Astrodome, no
aid has arrived since the typhoon
struck. A volunteer from the village
council handed out only stamps for
food that is yet to be seen. (AP)
Mass burial held for
victims of typhoon
Workers arrange body bags at a mass burial site at the Basper public cemetery in
Tacloban, Philippines, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Sri Lanka has nothing
to hide: president
Links Archive November 14th 2013 November 16th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page