Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2014 Contents A29
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The moon is seen as a composite as it nears
a total lunar eclipse yesterday in Venice,
California. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
UKRAINE---Ukrainian forces launched a
"special operation" yesterday against sep-
aratist militia in the Russian-speaking east,
authorities said, although aside from a
landing by airborne troops the action was
Soldiers disembarked from two helicopters
at an airfield at Kramatorsk, where reporters
earlier heard gunfire that seemed to prevent
an air force plane from landing. The troops
withdrew into barracks after local civilians
manning a barricade gave them a hostile
reception when they tried to leave the com-
In Kiev, acting president Oleksander
Turchinov declared a much-needed victory
over pro-Russian rebels by saying the air
base had been "liberated." But there was no
sign of militants.
A senior Ukrainian officer told the
unarmed crowd that he had come to direct
an "anti-terrorist operation" that Turchinov
announced earlier in the day, after more
than a week of missed deadlines set by Kiev
for armed pro-Moscow activists to end occu-
pations of public buildings in some 10 places
in the east.
But after a scuffle with some of the hun-
dreds who chanted hostility to the new
Ukrainian authorities, some of them holding
Russian flags, the troops pulled back at dusk.
Ukraine s state security service said an
"anti-terrorist" operation was also in progress
against separatists in the nearby town of
Slaviansk but there was no immediate evi-
dence of action.
Nonetheless, Kiev s stated resolve to chal-
lenge militants it says are orchestrated by
the Kremlin, marked an escalation of the
deepest East-West crisis since the Cold War.
A Kremlin statement quoted President
Vladimir Putin as saying he expected the
UN and world powers to issue a "clear con-
demnation" of Kiev.
"The anti-terrorist operation began during
the night in the north of Donetsk region.
But it will take place in stages, responsibly,
in a considered way," he told parliament. "I
stress again: the aim of these operations is
to defend the citizens of Ukraine."
PARIS---France s lower house of parliament
adopted a law yesterday prohibiting the cultivation
of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying
it posed a risk to the environment.
France adopted a decree last month to halt the
planting of Monsanto s insect-resistant MON810
maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in
the European Union.
The law adopted by the French National Assembly
is similar to one rejected by the Senate, upper house,
in February when it was deemed unconstitutional.
The Socialist government, like its conservative pred-
ecessor, has opposed the growing of GM crops
because of public suspicion and widespread protests
French farmers and seed firms have challenged
the decree at the top administrative court, which
has twice struck down similar measures, in 2011
and 2013, saying there was insufficient justification.
German company starts
gas deliveries to Ukraine
BERLIN---German utility company RWE said
yesterday it has started sending natural gas to
Ukraine, a move that could support the country
if Russia acts on its threat to cut off supplies
because of a massive debt for past deliveries.
The reverse-flow deliveries from Germany via
Poland are largely symbolic for the moment, but
could be ramped up to provide about a fifth of the
country s gas needs.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin
said Ukraine owes Russia $35.4 billion for gas---
about 20 times more than Moscow had previously
asked for. He said Russia may ask for Ukraine to
start paying for gas in advance or face a shut-off.
About a third of the gas RWE AG will supply
to Ukraine originally comes from Russia, said com-
pany spokesman Helmut Weintoegl. (AP)
resumes talks with govt
CARACAS---Venezuela s opposition is resuming
negotiations with the government amid rising
doubts the talks will produce a breakthrough.
Yesterday s closed-door meeting is hosted by
Vice President Jorge Arreaza and it s aimed at
designing a framework for future talks.
The opposition wants President Nicolas Maduro s
government to free jailed opponents and create an
independent truth commission to determine respon-
sibility for 41 deaths tied to protests that have
rocked the nation since February.
The opposition says talks could break down if
the socialist leader refuses to discuss such issues.
Yesterday s meeting follows six-hours of speeches
last week that drew record TV ratings as Venezuelans
tuned in past midnight to watch the two sides air
their differences in a rare display of civility after
years of rancorous polarisation. (AP)
French parliament bans
cultivation of GM maize
A man carries a cross during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the old city district of Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday.
This year the country's Orthodox majority celebrates Easter along with the Catholics on April 20. AP PHOTO
CRUCIFIXION OF THE CHRIST
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