Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 24th 2014 Contents A23
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TEXAS---In December 2013,
she inspired millions with her TED
Talk. Now Lizzie Velasquez, once
called "the world's ugliest woman,"
hopes to reach an even-wider
audience through an anti-bullying
documentary about her story.
"I know what it is to be bullied
and what is to be bullied online,
and I want to be the protector of
those who think it won't get
better," said Velasquez, 25, who
has a rare disease that makes it
impossible for her to gain weight.
She has never weighed more than
64 pounds and is blind in one eye.
"The idea is that they see the
documentary and realise that, yes,
it is possible to overcome
everything," she said.
Velasquez was born with a
syndrome so rare only two other
people in the world are known to
have it. (AP)
'World's ugliest woman' pursues anti-bullying film
sia will recognise the out-
come of Ukraine s pres-
idential vote this
Vladimir Putin promised
yesterday, but he also
voiced hope that
Ukraine s new leader
would halt the military
operation against sepa-
ratists in the east.
In Kiev, Ukraine s care-
taker president urged all
voters to take part in
tomorrow s crucial ballot
to "cement the foundation
of our nation." Yet pro-
Russia insurgents were still
battling government forces
yesterday in eastern
Ukraine, where a vote
boycott and threats against
election workers were dis-
rupting the prospects of
the ballot taking place.
Speaking at an invest-
ment forum in St Peters-
burg, Putin said Russia will
"respect the choice of the
Ukrainian people" and will
work with the new lead-
ership. He said Russia
wants peace and order to
be restored in its neigh-
The Russian leader also
voiced hopes of mending
ties with the US and the
Union, which have slapped
asset freezes and travel
bans on members of
Putin s entourage and had
threatened to introduce
more crippling sanctions
if Russia tried to derail
Sunday s vote in Ukraine.
Alexei Makarkin, deputy
head of the Moscow-
based Centre for Political
said Putin s comments
reflected a desire to avoid
another round of Western
sanctions. He added, how-
ever, that Russia s relations
with Ukraine will be
unlikely to normalise any
time soon. (AP)
TEHRAN---A senior Iranian cleric has called divorce
parties a "satanic" Western import and a "poison"
for Islamic society.
Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, Tehran s
Friday prayer leader, was referring to the Western
phenomenon of holding parties to celebrate the dis-
solving of a marriage, a practice that has recently
emerged in the Islamic republic.
Kashani told worshippers yesterday that marriage
is a sacred bond and that Western practices
divorce parties undermine family values.
Iranian media in recent days have reported
extravagant preparations for divorce parties, includ
black roses and cakes.
Some 20 per cent of Iranian marriages now
in divorce, which is permitted but discouraged un
Islamic law. (AP)
Iran cleric says divorce
parties are 'satanic'
MEXICO CITY---Mexico has recalculated the nu
ber of people who have gone missing since
start of the country s drug war in 2006, lowering
estimates to 21,000 from around 28,000.
Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong
says more than 14,000 people have been found alive
and about 750 confirmed dead.
That dropped the total of missing from the pre-
vious administration to about 13,000.
But another 8,000 people have disappeared since
President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in late
2012, yielding the current running total of about
Osorio Chong said late Thursday many people
who had filed missing persons reports didn t update
them when their relative re-appeared.
It is unclear how many of those still missing were
kidnapped or killed by drug gangs, which frequently
bury their victims in clandestine graves. (AP)
missing down to 21,000
A court in New York has sentenced former
Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo to five years
and ten months in jail for taking bribes from Tai-
Portillo, who was extradited to the US last year,
has also been ordered to pay a $2.5m fine.
He pleaded guilty in March to attempting to laun-
der the illegal money through American banks.
The judge has not decided whether he will serve
the remainder of his sentence in the US or
Portillo has already spent a substantial amount
of time in jail and has only another 18 months of
his sentence to serve.
The time in jail was "a big learning experience
for me but also great pain for my family", Portillo
said in court.
District judge Robert Patterson said that the case
"will have an impact on how we will treat the vio-
lation of laws against corruption in this country".
Former Guatemala president
Alfonso Portillo jailed in US
Thailand s former government
turned themselves in to the coun-
try s new military junta yester-
day, as soldiers forcefully dis-
persed hundreds of anti-coup
activists who defied a ban on
large-scale gatherings to protest
the army s seizure of power.
At least two activists were
detained by troops during the
protest in downtown Bangkok,
which descended into scuffles but
ended without injury and marked
one of the first open challenges
to the military since Thursday s
The junta, though, remained
firmly in charge, summoning more
than 100 top political figures---the
entire ousted government, their
associates and a handful of their
opponents. It also banned those
on its wanted list from leaving the
showed up at an army compound
in Bangkok by midday were former
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawa-
tra, sacked earlier this month for
nepotism by the Constitutional
Court, and her temporary replace-
ment Niwattumrong Boonsong-
paisan, according to Yingluck s
aide Wim Rungwattanachinda.
After about 30 minutes,
Yingluck left the facility and was
taken to another army location by
soldiers, said Wim, who later
added that it appeared she would
not be immediately released.
By nightfall, dozens of the VIPs
who turned themselves in were
still being held, although at least
eight ex-Cabinet ministers had
One, Education Minister
Chaturon Chaisang, an outspoken
critic of the military s intervention
in politics, remained in hiding.
that the coup would only worsen
the country s political atmosphere.
He vowed not to turn himself in,
but said he would not resist arrest.
Most of the country was calm,
and there was little military pres-
ence on Bangkok s streets.
Although life had largely returned
to normal during the day, an
overnight curfew was still in effect.
There were no reports of any
unrest, including the former gov-
ernment s political strongholds in
the north. In the northeast city
of Chiang Mai, about 100 anti-
coup demonstrators also took to
the streets, but no violence was
reported and the protesters dis-
persed on their own.
The army staged the coup
Thursday just after a military-
hosted meeting of political rivals
to resolve the country s political
BANGKOK---First Thailand s
junta seized power, then they
commandeered every TV channel
for round-the-clock broadcasts
of dour announcements and
patriotic hymns. The public s ver-
dict: DJ, please change the sound-
And after about 24 hours, they
As the sun set on Bangkok yes-
terday, Thailand s sappy soap
operas flickered back on just as
suddenly as they d vanished a day
earlier. After a full day of marching
music and military ballads of a
bygone era, things began returning
to normal---at least on television.
In this day and age, it s not sur-
prising that the generals who
launched Thailand s coup have set
up a Facebook page. But it was a
sign of the times that the junta s
vintage tunes didn t resonate with
the Facebook generation.
"Since you re reforming politics,
you might as well reform your
music," said one of many postings
on the page, which had over
230,000 likes by yesterday
evening, up exponentially from
earlier in the day.
Song requests poured in---for
Justin Timberlake, Michael Jack-
son, the Disney hit Let It Go, and
for foot-tapping Thai folk music.
The junta s Facebook followers
posted an outpouring of thanks
for stopping the music.
Please change your soundtrack
protester points at a
soldier during a cleanup
at a pro-government
demonstration site on
the outskirts of
yesterday. AP PHOTO
Thailand to junta:
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