Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2014 Contents A21
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Venezuela has expelled Panama's ambassador
and three other diplomats amid growing tensions
over opposition protests. The officials were given
48 hours to leave the country.
It comes a day after Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro broke diplomatic relations and
froze economic ties with Panama.
At least 20 people have died in anti-
government protests in Venezuela in the last
Maduro has accused Panama of conspiring to
bring down his government.
The latest fallout comes after the Central
American nation requested a meeting at the
Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss
Four diplomats working at Panama's embassy,
including ambassador Pedro Pereira, were declared
"persona non grata" on Thursday, according to
Panama's Deputy Foreign Minister Mayra
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said
Venezuela also had suspended debt negotiations
over $1bn (£600,000) owed to Panamanian
exporters, according to reports.
Panama said it was "astonished" by Venezuela's
decision to break diplomatic relations and called
Maduro's words "unacceptable."
Venezuela expels Panama ambassador over 'conspiracy'
THE HAGUE---Congolese warlord Germain
Katanga was convicted yesterday of being an
accessory to war crimes including murder and
pillage---only the second conviction in the 12-year
history of the International Criminal Court in The
The judgment, albeit by a split verdict after a six-
year trial, brings some relief to prosecutors who
have faced growing criticism, notably for at least
five cases that collapsed either pre-trial or pre-
verdict because of a lack of evidence.
Two of the three judges found that Katanga had
made a significant contribution to a February 2003
attack on the village of Bogoro, in a diamond-rich
region of northeast Congo, by procuring guns to
speed the massacre by ethnic Lendu and Ngiti
fighters of some 200 ethnic Hema civilians.
Katanga was, however, acquitted of charges of
rape and using child soldiers, and can appeal
against his conviction. (Reuters)
Iran has rejected Israeli allegations that it was
behind a shipment of Syrian-made rockets intended
for Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
dismissed them as "failed lies".
He claimed they were published "just in time" for
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) conference, which took place earlier this
On Wednesday, Israel's military said it had found
the rockets on a ship it seized in the Red Sea off
On Thursday, Zarif rejected the allegations and
questioned why they had surfaced just after the
conference a pro-Israel US lobby group.
"An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza," he wrote
on Twitter. "Captured just in time for annual AIPAC
anti-Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence! Or same
failed lies." A spokesman for Hamas, the militant
Palestinian Islamist movement that governs Gaza,
said they were a "silly joke". (AP)
A Malaysian court has sentenced opposition leader
Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail after overturning
his acquittal on sodomy charges.
Anwar led the opposition to its strongest ever
performance in the May 2013 general elections.
While homosexual acts are illegal in Muslim-
majority Malaysia, very few people are ever
Anwar has always maintained the charges were
part of a political smear campaign.
The court decision will affect Anwar's plans to
compete in a key by-election in the state of Selangor
this month, reports say.
A victory for Anwar would mean he could become
Selangor's chief minister---widely seen as a powerful
The court said he could remain free on bail while he
appeals against the verdict to the country's highest
court, AP news agency reported.
"All over again, after 15 years, they want to put me
in the lockup and that is why they are rushing,"
Anwar said after his acquittal was overturned. (AP)
Ukraine s interim prime minister
has warned the Crimean parliament
"no-one in the civilised world" will
recognise its referendum on joining
Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others in the
Kiev government have called the vote
"unconstitutional" and "illegitimate".
But the referendum has the support
of the Russian parliament. The speaker
of the upper house said if the Crimean
people vote on 16 March to join Russia
then they would "unquestionably back
The decision by Crimean MPs to
seek to join the Russian Federation
comes amid international tensions over
the presence of pro-Russian troops in
the southern Ukrainian peninsula.
A lot of Russians say they want
broader autonomy and protection of
their rights, but they want to stay within
Ukraine and do not want to change
There are those of course who say
they would like to unite with Russia.
But there is a lot of support for devel-
oping the notion of greater autonomy
Certainly, the ethnic Ukrainians and
the Tatars will reject it in the 16 March
referendum or boycott the vote.
Moscow has said it "will not accept
the language of sanctions and threats"
after the EU and US announced punitive
measures against Russia on Thursday.
Russian energy giant Gazprom mean-
while warned the government in Kiev
that it would cut off gas exports if it
did not settle a $1.89bn (£1.13bn) debt.
In 2009, Gazprom halted supplies to
Ukraine in a move that caused shortages
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said yes-
terday Ukraine was open to talks with
Russia as long as it withdrew its troops
and abided by international agreements.
Kiev does not recognise Crimea s
pro-Moscow leadership, which was
sworn in at an emergency session as
pro-Russian forces began to take over
strategic sites last week.
Crimea s leadership for its part has
branded as "illegitimate" the interim
government in Kiev, which was sworn
in at the end of February after the oust-
ing of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Jamaican singer Tessanne
Chin delivered a scintillating,
high-energy performance of
Donna Summer s Last Dance
at the White House last night,
earning sustained applause
from an audience headed by
US President Barack Obama
and his wife Michelle.
Chin, who performed after
Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae,
and Melissa Etheridge, justified
her inclusion in the stellar line-
up for the Women of Soul: In Performance at the
White House staged by the US first lady.
At the end of her performance, as Chin returned
to her seat, she was greeted with a hug and a kiss
by Patti LaBelle.
ANKARA---Turkey s prime minister has threatened
drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shut-
ting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio
recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting
corruption have been leaked in the past weeks,
dealing him a major blow ahead of this month s
In a late-night interview Thursday, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan told ATV station that his government is
determined to stem the leaks he insists are being
instigated by followers of an influential US-based
Muslim cleric. He has accused supporters of Fethullah
Gulen of infiltrating police and the judiciary and of
engaging in "espionage," saying that the group even
listened in on his encrypted telephone lines. The
Gulen movement denies involvement.
"We are determined on the issue, regardless of
what the world may say," Erdogan said. "We won t
allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook
or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will
take them without wavering." (AP)
wows White House
ICC relieved as Congo
Iran says Israel lying
about Gaza rocket ship
Malaysia jails opposition
leader for sodomy
Crimea vote 'will
not be recognised'
Turkish PM threatens to
ban Facebook, YouTube
SCULPTURE BY THE SEA
Wave 1 by artist Annette Thas is seen at the 10th annual Sculpture by the Sea
at Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Australia. BBC PHOTO
Revellers known as "Los Indianos" throw talcum
powder over each other during Carnival
celebrations in Santa Cruz de Palma, Canary
Islands, Spain, Monday. "Los Indianos" represent
the return of emigrants from the Americas who
returned to the islands wealthy. AP PHOTO
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