Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 14th 2014 Contents A23
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The Jamaican government has
announced plans to radically reform
the country's drug laws.
The Justice Minister Mark Golding
said the cabinet was supporting a
proposal to allow possession of up to
two ounces (57 grams) of marijuana.
Golding also said marijuana would be
decriminalised for religious, medicinal
and scientific purposes.
It is expected parliament will
approve the changes by September.
"I wish to stress that the proposed
changes to the law are not intended to
promote or give a stamp of approval to
the use of ganja for recreational
purposes," said Golding.
"The objective is to provide a more
enlightened approach to dealing with
possession of small quantities."
Correspondents say the government
plans are a major victory for Jamaica's
Rastafarian movement, which
considers ganja sacred.
Correspondents say many
Jamaicans believe the
decriminalisation of the drug for
medicinal and scientific purposes could
bring important economic benefits to
Jamaica announces major changes to drug laws
KIEV---Ukraine s interior minister said yesterday
that federal forces had inflicted "high casualties"
on separatist rebels led by a Chechen commander
in the southeastern port of Mariupol.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the "active
phase" of the offensive began at dawn and was still
raging three hours later.
He added that two Ukrainian soldiers from the
part-volunteer National Guard force were wounded
in the fighting.
"The terrorists from the Donetsk People s Republic
are being headed by a criminal boss known as The
Chechen, " Avakov wrote in a Facebook post.
He said the National Guard unit had destroyed a
combat patrol vehicle and several rebel sniper posi-
"The area where the operation is being conducted
in central Mariupol has been sealed off," he wrote.
Rebels who seized about a dozen towns and cities
in the industrial region of Donetsk and the neigh-
bouring province of Lugansk in early April have pro-
claimed independence from Kiev and are seeking to
join Kremlin rule.
Well-equipped gunmen from Chechnya have
appeared in growing numbers among the separatists.
Kiev s new leaders and its Western allies accuse
the Russian authorities of fomenting the fighting
and turning a blind eye to the flow of gunmen and
equipment across the border and into eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine s new leader Petro Poroshenko told Russian
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the report-
ed crossing of three tanks into the east was "unac-
Local citizens walk through destroyed barricades
drawn up between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian
fighters in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, yesterday.
BAGHDAD---A representative for Iraq s
top Shiite cleric yesterday urged Iraqis to
defend their country as militants who have
seized large swaths of the nation s Sunni
heartland captured two towns in an eth-
nically mixed province northeast of Bagh-
Neighbouring Shiite powerhouse Iran sig-
nalled its willingness to confront the growing
threat from this week s militant blitz, which
the United Nations estimates has claimed
hundreds of lives.
The fresh gains by insurgents, spearheaded
by fighters from the al-Qaeda-inspired
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, come
as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki s Shiite-
led government struggles to form a coherent
response after militants overran the country s
second-largest city of Mosul, Saddam Hus-
sein s hometown of Tikrit and smaller com-
munities, as well as military and police
bases---often after meeting little resistance
from state security forces.
The fast-moving rebellion, which also
draws support from former Saddam-era
figures and other disaffected Sunnis, has
emerged as the biggest threat to Iraq s sta-
bility since the US withdrawal at the end
of 2011. It has pushed the nation closer to
a precipice that could partition it into Sunni,
Shiite and Kurdish zones.
Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the
UN human rights office, told journalists in
Geneva that the number of people killed in
recent days may run into the hundreds, and
that the number of wounded could approach
He said top UN rights official Navi Pillay
plans to issue a statement later today
expressing alarm at the rapid deterioration
of security in Iraq, and said the office has
received reports that Iraqi army soldiers as
well as 17 civilians in a single street in Mosul
had been rounded up and killed by mili-
The assault also threatens to embroil Iraq
more deeply in a wider regional conflict
feeding off the chaos caused by the civil
war in neighbouring Syria.
Shiite cleric Sheik Abdul-Mahdi al-Kar-
balaie told worshippers yesterday it is a civic
duty to confront the threat facing Iraq. He
represents Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,
the most revered Shiite spiritual leader in
"Citizens who can carry weapons and
fight the terrorists in defence of their coun-
try, its people and its holy sites should vol-
unteer and join the security forces," al-Kar-
balaie said. (AP)
Call to arms
Shiite cleric calls on Iraqis to defend country
People celebrate Brazil's third goal over Croatia as they watch the game in an alley during the opening match of the 2014 soccer
World Cup in Manaus, Brazil, Thursday. After taking the early lead in the opening match of the international soccer tournament,
Croatia fell 3--1 to the five-time champion Brazil. AP PHOTO
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