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Jamaica records near 30 per cent decline in murders so far this year

Jamaica records near 30 per cent decline in murders so far this year

by staff writer 

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb 4, CMC – Jamaica has recorded a 29.7 per cent reduction in murders during the first five weeks of this year, according to figures released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

It said that there were 109 murders between January 1 and February 2 as compared with 155 for the same period last year.

JCF also reported that a decline in other categories of major crimes during the same period this year, with the number of shootings totalling 112, a 17 per cent reduction when compared with last year.

The police said that rapes declined significantly from 57 last year to 27 this year, while the number of aggravated assaults were reduced from 32 last year to 20 this year.

The figures show that there was a 15.3 per cent reduction in robberies during the first five weeks of this year, while the number of break-ins and larceny declined by 29.6 per cent and 5.3 per cent, respectively.

The overall reduction in murders is reflected in the statistics for all police divisions across the island, excepting Portland and Manchester. In Portland, two persons have been killed so far this year, compared with one during the same period last year.

For Manchester, five persons have been murdered so far this year as compared with three last year.

In 2018, more than 1, 200 people were killed in Jamaica.

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Police investigating kidnapping of six fishermen allegedly by Venezuelans

Police investigating kidnapping of six fishermen allegedly by Venezuelans

by staff writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jan 30, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Wednesday confirmed that it is investigating the kidnapping of six fishermen allegedly by Venezuelan nationals but said it would not comment on whether or not a US$200,000 ransom had been demanded.

Police Commissioner, Gary Griffith, speaking on a radio programme here, said that the situation has been complicated by the fact that the Trinidad and Tobago nationals are believed to be held in the South American country.

“We at the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service are doing all that is required. It is a very difficult situation. Initially reports are that they (those kidnapped) were actually outside of our waters when it is they were actually held by these individuals.

“It does not take away the fact that these are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and there is a concern. It puts us in a  very difficult position to do much more than we are doing because of the situation where they are not in Trinidad and Tobago waters., Griffith said, adding “I am not saying our hands are tied, there’s a lot that we are doing from our end.

“Hopefully there will be something positive by the end of this,” he added.

Media reports here said that the kidnappers have given the relatives until Friday to pay the ransom or face the prospect of the hands of those detained being chopped off.

A photograph of the six men, identified as Jude Jaikaran,16; brothers Jason, 38, and Jerry O’Brian, 36; Ricky Rambharose, 35; Brandon Arjoon, 29; and Linton Manohar, 36, has been circulating on social media showing them sitting on the floor while being surrounded by men pointing machine-guns at them. The photo was sent to relatives on Monday.

In an audio clip that is also being circulated on social media, the families are warned that the kidnappers intend to make good on their demands.

Griffith was asked to confirm whether a ransom had been demanded.

I am sorry but I will not be able to make any revelations pertaining to this while the investigations are still ongoing,” he told radio listeners.

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Surinamese rice exporter gunned down in Guyana

By Ivan Cairo

PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Jan 15, CMC –A Surinamese national, who was being sought by police for questioning in connection with the seizure of a large quantity of cocaine, has been found dead in neighbouring Guyana.

Guyana police at the scene of the murder (Guyana Chronicle newspaper Photo)

Relatives have positively identified the body of Nitinder Oemrawsingh, a rice exporter, after it was discovered with a single bullet wound to the head on the Corentyne Beach in Guyana on Monday.

The relatives said they were able to identify Oemrawsingh, from photographs that were circulating on social media.

His attorney, Irvin Kanhai has also confirmed to reporters here that he had been reliably informed that his client had been shot and killed in Guyana.

Oemrawsingh was named a person of interest by the Surinamese police in the investigation of 2,300 kilos of cocaine seized last Tuesday in the Jules Sedney port in Paramaribo.

While he wasn’t regarded as a suspect as yet, acting Police Commissioner Roberto Prade told a news conference weekend that the exporter was wanted for questioning.

The drugs were found in one of eight freight containers with rice that were being prepared for export through Guadeloupe to France. The Port Control Unit discovered the cocaine during a routine check.

The Guyana police said that spent shell case believed to have been fired from a caliber .32 pistol and a cell phone supposedly belonging to the victim were found near the body.

A post mortem is expected to be conducted on Tuesday and Lyndon Alves, head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Guyana Police Force, said that he is in contact with his counterpart in Suriname.

The Guyana police have ruled out robbery as a motive, noting that less than US$400 had been found near the body.

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Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration

Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration

By Greg Miller
January 13

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is thought to be in the final stages of an investigation that has focused largely on whether Trump or his associates conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. The new details about Trump’s continued secrecy underscore the extent to which little is known about his communications with Putin since becoming president.

After this story was published online, Trump said in an interview late Saturday with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that he did not take particular steps to conceal his private meetings with Putin and attacked The Washington Post and its owner Jeffrey P. Bezos. Trump and Putin had undisclosed meeting at G-20

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7 had an undisclosed meeting that followed a first conversation during the G-20 summit in Hamburg. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

He said he talked with Putin about Israel, among other subjects. “Anyone could have listened to that meeting. That meeting is open for grabs,” he said, without offering specifics.

When Pirro asked if he is or has ever been working for Russia, Trump responded, “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.”

[A beefed-up White House legal team prepares for battle with special counsel]

Former U.S. officials said that Trump’s behavior is at odds with the known practices of previous presidents, who have relied on senior aides to witness meetings and take comprehensive notes then shared with other officials and departments.

Trump’s secrecy surrounding Putin “is not only unusual by historical standards, it is outrageous,” said Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state now at the Brookings Institution, who participated in more than a dozen meetings between President Bill Clinton and then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s. “It handicaps the U.S. government — the experts and advisers and Cabinet officers who are there to serve [the president] — and it certainly gives Putin much more scope to manipulate Trump.”

President Trump greets Russian President Vladimir Putin before a meeting in Helsinki. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

A White House spokesman disputed that characterization and said that the Trump administration has sought to “improve the relationship with Russia” after the Obama administration “pursued a flawed ‘reset’ policy that sought engagement for the sake of engagement.”

The Trump administration “has imposed significant new sanctions in response to Russian malign activities,” said the spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and noted that Tillerson in 2017 “gave a fulsome readout of the meeting immediately afterward to other U.S. officials in a private setting, as well as a readout to the press.”

Trump allies said the president thinks the presence of subordinates impairs his ability to establish a rapport with Putin and that his desire for secrecy may also be driven by embarrassing leaks that occurred early in his presidency.

The meeting in Hamburg happened several months after The Washington Post and other news organizations revealed details about what Trump had told senior Russian officials during a meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office. Trump disclosed classified information about a terrorism plot, called former FBI director James B. Comey a “nut job” and said that firing Comey had removed “great pressure” on his relationship with Russia.

The White House launched internal leak hunts after that and other episodes and sharply curtailed the distribution within the National Security Council of memos on the president’s interactions with foreign leaders.

“Over time it got harder and harder, I think, because of a sense from Trump himself that the leaks of the call transcripts were harmful to him,” said a former administration official.

Senior Democratic lawmakers describe the cloak of secrecy surrounding Trump’s meetings with Putin as unprecedented and disturbing.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview that his panel will form an investigative subcommittee whose targets will include seeking State Department records of Trump’s encounters with Putin, including a closed-door meeting with the Russian leader in Helsinki last summer.

“It’s been several months since Helsinki and we still don’t know what went on in that meeting,” Engel said. “It’s appalling. It just makes you want to scratch your head.”

The concerns have been compounded by actions and positions Trump has taken as president that are seen as favorable to the Kremlin. He has dismissed Russia’s election interference as a “hoax,” suggested that Russia was entitled to annex Crimea, repeatedly attacked NATO allies, resisted efforts to impose sanctions on Moscow, and begun to pull U.S. forces out of Syria — a move that critics see as effectively ceding ground to Russia.

At the same time, Trump’s decision to fire Comey and other attempts to contain the ongoing Russia investigation led the bureau in May 2017 to launch a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was seeking to help Russia and if so, why, a step first reported by the New York Times.

It is not clear whether Trump has taken notes from interpreters on other occasions, but several officials said they were never able to get a reliable readout of the president’s two-hour meeting in Helsinki. Unlike in Hamburg, Trump allowed no Cabinet officials or any aides to be in the room for that conversation.

Trump also had other private conversations with Putin at meetings of global leaders outside the presence of aides. He spoke at length with Putin at a banquet at the same 2017 global conference in Hamburg, where only Putin’s interpreter was present. Trump also had a brief conversation with ­Putin at a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires last month.

Trump generally has allowed aides to listen to his phone conversations with Putin, although Russia has often been first to disclose those calls when they occur and release statements characterizing them in broad terms favorable to the Kremlin.

In an email, Tillerson said that he “was present for the entirety of the two presidents’ official bilateral meeting in Hamburg,” but he declined to discuss the meeting and did not respond to questions about whether Trump had instructed the interpreter to remain silent or had taken the interpreter’s notes.

In a news conference afterward, Tillerson said that the Trump-Putin meeting lasted more than two hours, covered the war in Syria and other subjects, and that Trump had “pressed President ­Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement” in election interference. “President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson refused to say during the news conference whether Trump had rejected Putin’s claim or indicated that he believed the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered.

Tillerson’s account is at odds with the only detail that other administration officials were able to get from the interpreter, officials said. Though the interpreter refused to discuss the meeting, officials said, he conceded that Putin had denied any Russian involvement in the U.S. election and that Trump responded by saying, “I believe you.”

A White House spokesperson, responding to this detail from the Hamburg meeting, said: “The President has affirmed that he supports the conclusions in the 2017 Intel Community Assessment, and the President also issued a new executive order in September 2018 to ensure a whole of government effort to address any foreign attempts to interfere in US elections.”

Senior Trump administration officials said that White House officials including then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were never able to obtain a comprehensive account of the meeting, even from Tillerson.

“We were frustrated because we didn’t get a readout,” a former senior administration official said. “The State Department and [National Security Council] were never comfortable” with Trump’s interactions with Putin, the official said. “God only knows what they were going to talk about or agree to.”

Because of the absence of any reliable record of Trump’s conversations with Putin, officials at times have had to rely on reports by U.S. intelligence agencies tracking the reaction in the Kremlin.

Previous presidents and senior advisers have often studied such reports to assess whether they had accomplished their objectives in meetings as well as to gain insights for future conversations.

U.S. intelligence agencies have been reluctant to call attention to such reports during Trump’s presidency because they have at times included comments by foreign officials disparaging the president or his advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a former senior administration official said.

“There was more of a reticence in the intelligence community going after those kinds of communications and reporting them,” said a former administration official who worked in the White House. “The feedback tended not to be positive.”

The interpreter at Hamburg revealed the restrictions that Trump had imposed when he was approached by administration officials at the hotel where the U.S. delegation was staying, officials said.

Among the officials who asked for details from the meeting were Fiona Hill, the senior Russia adviser at the NSC, and John Heffern, who was then serving at State as the acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment from the interpreter. Heffern, who retired from State in 2017, declined to comment.

Through a spokesman, Hill declined a request for an interview.

There are conflicting accounts of the purpose of the conversation with the interpreter, with some officials saying that Hill was among those briefed by Tillerson and that she was merely seeking more nuanced information from the interpreter.

Others said the aim was to get a more meaningful readout than the scant information furnished by Tillerson. “I recall Fiona reporting that to me,” one former official said. A second former official present in Hamburg said that Tillerson “didn’t offer a briefing or call the ambassador or anybody together. He didn’t brief senior staff,” although he “gave a readout to the press.”

A similar issue arose in Helsinki, the setting for the first formal U.S.-Russia summit since Trump became president. Hill, national security adviser John Bolton and other U.S. officials took part in a preliminary meeting that included Trump, Putin and other senior Russian officials.

But Trump and Putin then met for two hours in private, accompanied only by their interpreters. Trump’s interpreter, Marina Gross, could be seen emerging from the meeting with pages of notes.

Alarmed by the secrecy of Trump’s meeting with Putin, several lawmakers subsequently sought to compel Gross to testify before Congress about what she witnessed. Others argued that forcing her to do so would violate the impartial role that interpreters play in diplomacy. Gross was not forced to testify. She was identified when members of Congress sought to speak with her. The interpreter in Hamburg has not been identified.

During a joint news conference with Putin afterward, Trump acknowledged discussing Syria policy and other subjects but also lashed out at the media and federal investigators, and he seemed to reject the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies by saying that he was persuaded by Putin’s “powerful” denial of election interference.

Previous presidents have required senior aides to attend meetings with adversaries including the Russian president largely to ensure that there are not misunderstandings and that others in the administration are able to follow up on any agreements or plans. Detailed notes that Talbot took of Clinton’s meetings with Yeltsin are among hundreds of documents declassified and released last year.

John Hudson, Josh Dawsey and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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Bulgarian - stole from ATM Antigua

Bulgarian charged with stealing more than $25K from ATM in Antigua


Police over the weekend charged Mark Vas Nelsen, a Bulgarian/Canadian citizen with stealing more than $25,000 from a local bank. The authorities did not name the bank but said the man used fraudulent means to obtain the funds from the ATM.

The alleged offences took place over the period of one month from November 27 to December 27, 2018.

Nelsen was arrested last Friday after police searched his hotel and found what appears to be a machine used in the act. Several credit cards were also found.

Earlier this year, another Bulgarian, Martin Dimitrov Dachenski was charged with larceny in connection with another ATM fraud. He was ordered by the court to repay close to $25,000.

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Government back bencher defends his vote that topples coalition

Government back bencher defends his vote that topples coalition

Government back bencher Charandaas Persaud, said his conscience had been “stifled for long” as he defended his decision to vote with the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and topple the three-year-old coalition government of President David Granger late on Friday night.

With the coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)- commanding just a one-seat majority in the 65-member National Assembly, Persaud’s vote was crucial and he told reporters that he had not been offered any money or position by the opposition to vote against the coalition government.

Charandaas Persaud speaking to reporters after voting to bring down the government

“My conscience was stifled for long…they voted for things that should not have happened, period”, Persaud told reporters.

Media reports quoted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, as saying that security arrangements will be put in place for Persaud, who is due to leave the country on Saturday.

The vote by Persaud means that Guyana will hold fresh general elections by March next year.

His colleagues, who were caught by the surprise vote, believe that he had made a mistake in the voting.

But the attorney gave a strong “yes” when the Clerk of the Assembly re-started the process.

He told reporters he voted to clear his conscience and now that his conscience is clear, if he dies, he knows that he would die a happy man.

Persaud said he will be offering his resignation to the Parliament and the Alliance for Change (AFC) a partner in the coalition government, and that he would not be returning to the House as a Member of Parliament for the AFC.

He told reporters that he had become tired of voting along party lines and had become disenchanted with his party for always voting for issues brought up by its coalition partner.

He said there were a number of issues that forced him to vote against his own party and side with the PPP, a party that he has long criticised as being corrupt and out of touch.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that he intends to meet with the President Granger on the issue and several other matters.

Under the Constitution, the Government has to call elections within three months or at a time agreed to by two-thirds of the National Assembly. The President is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment following a cancer diagnosis. That treatment schedule is expected to continue for five more months.

Meanwhile, Britain’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn Saturday called on Guyana to respect government’s loss of the no-confidence vote.

“Members of Parliament must be allowed to undertake their constitutionally mandated roles in the absence of fear or favour,” he said, urging politicians to campaign on the issues facing the country.

“We urge calm on all sides and look forward to a free and fair election and a campaign fought on the issues that confront Guyana and it’s future development,” he said, adding that he was hoping that any protests that followed the vote on Friday night would be peaceful.

“Maintaining the fundamental tenets of democracy is paramount to us all and whilst everyone has the right to protest this must be peaceful,” he said.

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Military called in to help with Gatwick drone crisis

The Guardian

Airport still closed after what police describe as deliberate attempt to disrupt flights

Matthew Weaver, Damien Gayle , Patrick Greenfield and Frances Perraudin

Thu 20 Dec 2018 17.02 GMT First published on Wed 19 Dec 2018 23.16 GMT

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First flights leave Gatwick after drone disruption – video report

The army has been called in to help with the ongoing crisis at Gatwick airport, where drones flying near the runway have kept planes grounded for more than 24 hours.

The airport has been closed since Wednesday night, when the devices were repeatedly flown over the airfield in what police and the airport described as a deliberate attempt to disrupt flights.

Tens of thousands of travellers have been affected, with 110,000 passengers on 760 flights due to fly on Thursday. People camped out overnight at Gatwick, waiting for news of whether the airport would reopen on Friday.

At around 9:30pm on Thursday Gatwick’s chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said the airport would be reviewing the situation overnight to see “whether there is any potential to open tomorrow” but they are “working up contingency plans all the way through to no flights tomorrow.”

How dangerous are drones to aircraft?

Woodroofe said the situation remained “fluid”, given the drone operator had not yet been found. He said the airport is expected to be closed for the “foreseeable future” while the hunt for the drone operator continues.

The airport’s advice is that those due to travel on Friday should check with their airline before arriving at the airport.

The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, told Sky News Sussex police had requested support from the armed forces. “We will be deploying the armed forces to give them the help that they need to be able to deal with the situation of the drones at Gatwick airport,” he said. Advertisement

Williamson added that he could not say how the armed forces would help but said: “The armed forces have a range of unique capabilities and this isn’t something we would usually deploy but we are there to assist and do everything we can so that they are in a position to open the airport at the earliest opportunity.”

Flights were suspended at Gatwick just after 9pm on Wednesday, when two drones were spotted flying near the runway. The runway briefly reopened at 03.01 on Thursday morning but closed 45 minutes later after a further drone sighting. There was another sighting around midday.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Theresa May said: “I feel for all those passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted by this drone activity and the action that has had to be taken in response to it. At this particular time of year this is particularly difficult for people.

“We have already passed legislation in relation to the use of drones. As it has been made clear, the activity we have seen is illegal and those who are caught endangering aircraft can face up to five years in prison. And we’re consulting on further aspects of this, including further police powers.

“We will continue to work with the Gatwick authorities in order to bring this to a close such that people will be able to get on to the travel that they were expecting over the Christmas.”

Woodroofe told BBC News: “There are 110,000 passengers due to fly today, and the vast majority of those will see cancellations and disruption. We have had within the last hour another drone sighting so at this stage we are not open and I cannot tell you what time we will open.

“It was on the airport, seen by the police and corroborated. So having seen that drone that close to the runway it was unsafe to reopen.

“Realistically if we do reopen today, what the airlines will seek to do is deal with the passengers who are on site and to prepare for an operation tomorrow morning where we repatriate passengers who are in the wrong place. It’s realistically going to take several days to recover.”

Earlier, he said the drones could not be shot down because of the risk posed by stray bullets. Officers from Surrey and Sussex police forces have been scouring the perimeter to try to catch the operators of two drones. Sussex police said there was no indication that the ongoing incident was terrorism-related.

Updating the House of Lords on events, the transport minister Elizabeth Sugg revealed the scale of the response. “Sussex police are in the lead and have officers on the ground. They are doing everything they can to locate drone and its operators,” she said.

“All relevant parts of government including the Department for Transport, Home Office and the Ministry of Defence, are involved in the response.”

Justin Burtenshaw, Gatwick’s policing commander who was in charge of trying to catch the operators of the drones, told the BBC it was a painstaking process because the bigger the drone the further away the operator could be. “Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears,” he said.

“When we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears, so I’m absolutely convinced it is a deliberate act to disrupt Gatwick airport.”

Some people reported being left on aircraft for several hours while they waited to find out what was going on. Gatwick advised anyone flying from the airport, or collecting someone, to check the status of their flight. EasyJet advised its passengers not to travel to the airport if their flights had been cancelled.

Arthur Serbejs, 22, and Domante Balciuniate, 21, factory workers from Hastings, sat on the floor by a prayer room on Thursday morning, approaching their 16th hour of waiting for a flight to Barcelona.

“We came about 6pm yesterday, and we’re going to be here until like 7pm,” Serbejs said. “At 9pm yesterday we were on the plane for four hours – they turned the lights off and everything like it was going to take off.”

“But we were still sitting there,” Balciuniate added. Serbejs said he had fallen asleep while the plane sat on the airport apron, hoping to wake up in Spain, “and I woke up and we hadn’t moved”.

How have you been affected by the delay at Gatwick airport?

Eventually they were taken off the flight, and offered a hotel in Brighton, which they declined as they live nearby. They were told they would get an email with a ticket for another flight, but none came. “We stood in line for three hours for a 30-second conversation saying: ‘Your flight has already been transferred hours ago,’ but we didn’t know about it,” Serbejs said.

“It’s crazy, it’s my worst airport experience.”

“We don’t even expect to go to Barcelona any more,” Balciuniate said. “Maybe there’s another drone up there – but we have hope. There’s a prayer room over there, we were thinking about going.”

Mamosta Abdulla said he was on an Iraq-bound flight on Wednesday evening before getting stuck on the tarmac for four hours. He would miss his father’s memorial service, he said.

“We got here at 6pm and should have flown at 9.10pm, but we were stuck four hours on the plane with a crying baby, the child was disabled, and everyone was sweating because it was so hot in there,” he said.

Passengers were given a voucher for food, he added, but were left to sleep “in a freezing place on uncomfortable chairs”.

“We are in Iraq with bombs going off nearby and the plane still lands. But here some drones have shut down the airport.”

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There was criticism from opposition parties as well as unions representing pilots and engineers that the rules on drones needed to be toughened up and enforced. The British Airline Pilots Association said the government should consider creating a larger no-fly zone around airports.

Labour said the government has been too slow to address safety concerns about drones and should fast-track laws to protect against their misuse and create a drone exclusion zone around airports. The Liberal Democrats also called for more stringent rules.

Lady Sugg said: “We absolutely need to make sure that we introduce new laws to ensure that drones are used safely and responsibly. Earlier this year we brought in a law that makes it illegal to fly within a kilometre of an airport and above 400ft.

“We are also introducing a registration system, which will include a mandatory safety check before you are able to fly your drone.”

She added that research was being carried out into counter-drone technology.

An airport spokeswoman said that airlines were working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation, or transport for those whose flights were diverted.

Luton, Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester were among the airports that accepted diverted flights. Passengers were also sent as far as Amsterdam and Paris.

• The graphic in this article was amended on 21 December 2018 because an earlier version said drones must not fly within 50 metres of crowds and built up areas. This has been corrected to say 150 metres.

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Man jailed for beating girlfriend whom he accused of having sex with senior government official

Man jailed for beating girlfriend whom he accused of having sex with senior government official

by staff writer 

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Dec 14, CMC – A magistrate has sentenced a 26-year-old man to three years in jail who assaulted his girlfriend after accusing her of having sex in the office of a senior government official last month.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett handed down the sentence, after hearing that woman had to be rushed to the emergency department of the hospital on November 30.

The court heard it was the third such beating in four days.

The accused had been in custody since he pleaded guilty, on December 3, to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, stemming from the incident.

The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) is withholding the name of the man and his 26-year-old girlfriend, who live in south-western St. Vincent, in the interest of the abused woman and her children, who are now receiving support from the Social Services.

At the sentencing hearing, the woman told the court she and the man have been together for three years and have three children including twins, who will be three years old next month.

She told the court that while the abuse started some time ago, she never believed her boyfriend would have gotten so aggressive over simple things.

She said she was beaten by the man on November 26 when he accused her of being in a sexual relationship with their neighbour and even though he said he would not do it again, he did so three days later.

On November 30, the man beat her so severe after she had gone to the office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture in search of a job that she had to be taken to hospital.

The boyfriend had accused her of having sex with the senior government official and even searched her underwear.

The man was arrested at the hospital and charged.

The woman told the court that because of the beating, she did not get a chance to take up the job and even though the children have been asking for their father.

She said since the last incident she has been receiving counselling and assistance from the government.

Even though the man told the court he was “sorry” over the incident, Senior Magistrate Burnett said “the sentence of this court is three years in prison”.

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Educator calls for criminal prosecution of those responsible for circulating sex video featuring school child

Educator calls for criminal prosecution of those responsible for circulating sex video featuring school child

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Dec 10, CMC – A former president of the St. Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) is calling on stakeholders including the police to take the necessary action against those responsible for the circulation of a video on social media showing a school girl in uniform engaged in sexual acts.

“This is getting out of hand,” Virginia Albert-Poyotte, a veteran educator told the on-line publication, St. Lucia Times after the police and education officials confirmed they were aware of existence of the video, involving the 13-year-old student.

Albert-Poyotte, said the authorities should ensure that the persons with whom the teenager was engaging in sexual activity, those who recorded the video as well as those circulating the video face criminal prosecution.

“Whoever is involved in this type of activity needs to be pursued and justice needs to be administered in order to curtail that kind of behaviour,” the former school principal said, urging the Ministry of Education, the SLTU, the National Principals Association and the police to come together and decide how to deal with the matter.

The publication said that in addition to the video, there are also reports that nude photos of another young girl have been posted on social media.

Under the St. Lucia Criminal Code, no person under the age of sixteen can legally consent to sex. The code makes it a criminal offence for anyone to have sexual intercourse with or attempt to have sex with a child under 16, commonly known as statutory rape.

The maximum penalty for rape in St. Lucia is life imprisonment.

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Police probe murder/suicide case

Police probe murder/suicide case

by staff writer 

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 10, CMC – The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) says it has activated its  Chaplaincy Unit to provide grief counselling after a police constable is alleged to have killed an elderly woman and then committed suicide.

The JCF statement said that the Community Safety and Security Branch has also been directed to offer persons affected by the incident at the Islington Police Station in St. Mary, north-east of here.

Police said that Constable Toyan Ormsby, 25, and  62-year-old Dawnett Maxwel, ,died from gunshot wounds in what investigators believe was a murder/suicide.

Media reports said that Maxwell had gone to the police station on Sunday to visit a prisoner and following the visit, she and Ormbsy, who was on cell duty at the time, were seen in conversation outside the building.

Gunshot were later heard and police officers who responded found the couple with bullet wounds.

The police said that the officer shot Maxwell before turning the gun on himself.

Posted in Crime, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

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