Isnin, 27 Januari 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Thai protesters surround cabinet meeting venue

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 09:30 PM PST

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Around 500 anti-government protesters on Tuesday gathered outside the Army Club compound in the Thai capital, where Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra held a weekly cabinet meeting, as the two sides traded threats in a lengthy political crisis.

The government has issued an ultimatum to protest leaders that they face arrest by Thursday if they do not give up areas they have taken over in Bangkok as protests drag into their third month.

"The people want to talk to the prime minister because she says she is the people's prime minister ... but we want the premier to listen to us ... to our side of the story," a protest leader, Puttipong Punnakun, said.

There were no reports of any violence nor any sign of security forces trying to disperse the protests.

The government declared a state of emergency last week that in theory give it sweeping powers but which it has so far shown no sign of implementing.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has said his supporters would shut down the government body overseeing the emergency decree within 24 hours.

Ten people have so far died, most recently on Sunday, when a protest leader was shot, and there are fears violence could escalate in the latest flare-up of an increasingly divisive dispute that started eight years ago.

Yingluck is Thailand's fifth prime minister since her brother Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by the military in 2006 and went into exile.

Yingluck will meet members of the Election Commission later on Tuesday to discuss her plans for a national election on February 2. The commission wants a month-long delay, saying the country is too unstable to successfully hold an election.

Though Yingluck's party would almost certainly win the vote, there will not be enough MPs elected to form a quorum in parliament and pick a new government.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre Writing by Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

U.S. Marines will retry sergeant accused of killing Iraqi civilian

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 07:55 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine sergeant who was found guilty of murder in the 2006 death of an Iraqi civilian, only to have his conviction overturned, will face a retrial on the same charges, a Marine spokesman said on Monday.

Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins III will be arraigned at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California on Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Kloppel said.

The case was one of the biggest war crimes to emerge from the Middle East conflict, touching off a furore both in the United States and in Iraq.

Hutchins was the leader of a squad of Marines that went on a mission aimed at stopping militants' use of improvised explosive devices in the village of Hamdania, Iraq, in the early morning hours of April 26, 2006.

Witnesses said Hutchins and another Marine shot 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, and placed an AK-47 and a shovel next to the corpse to suggest he had been planting a bomb.

Earlier, Awad had been bound and gagged at another location, according to a finding by a lower court of appeal for the military.

In 2007, a court-martial at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base north of San Diego sentenced Hutchins to 15 years in military prison after finding him guilty of unpremeditated murder and other crimes. The sentence was later reduced to 11 years.

Hutchins served six years in prison before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned his conviction following lengthy legal proceedings. The appeals court found that Hutchins gave a statement to a U.S. Navy investigator while in custody that should have been ruled inadmissible.

Over 600 passengers, crew fall ill on Royal Caribbean cruise

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 07:45 PM PST

(Reuters) - The number of passengers and crew who fell ill aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship climbed to more than 600 on Monday, many of them vomiting and suffering diarrhoea.

The updated sick count aboard the Explorer of the Seas, which cut short its Caribbean cruise and was expected to dock in New Jersey on Wednesday, is more than double the 300 originally thought to have been felled by gastrointestinal illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among those sick were some of the onboard entertainers, which caused shows to be cancelled, passengers said.

"I started with upset stomach and vomiting, and that lasted all night and into the morning," passenger Joseph Angelillo told CNN in a telephone interview.

Another ill passenger, Arnee Dodd of Connecticut, wrote on Twitter: "I've been sick and quarantined... Everything I touch goes in a biohazard bag."

Passenger Brittany Ann Schneider, who did not get sick, told Reuters that for two to four days she saw few people.

"I was not aware that people were sick until they made an announcement after they had cancelled a walk they were supposed to have," she said in an email.

Port calls and activities in Haiti and St. Maarten were cancelled.

Sick passengers had to remain in their rooms until they were cleared to come outside, said Schneider, who is from Effort, Pennsylvania.

Schneider said she felt officials should have returned home at the height of the outbreak, rather than continuing on.

"The refund they are giving us is a little unacceptable," she said. "They are only refunding half of the trip and giving us a 50 percent off for (a) future cruise."


Altogether, 595 passengers and 50 crew members fell ill aboard the ship, CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said. The ship was carrying 3,050 passengers and a crew of 1,165.

The ship departed Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, on January 21 and will cut its planned 10-day cruise short by two days, returning to its home port on Wednesday, the cruise company said.

"Disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting," Royal Caribbean said in a statement issued on Sunday.

The CDC said Monday the cause of the sickness was unknown but that an environmental safety officer and an epidemiologist boarded the ship on Sunday in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to determine the cause of the outbreak and the proper response.

Stool samples were gathered and sent to a CDC lab to determine what type of pathogen is to blame, Burden said.

"We likely will have a determination or identification of the pathogen later this week," she said. "Our team will be remaining on board the duration of the voyage."

The ship's crew increased cleaning and disinfection procedures and collected specimens from those who reported feeling ill following the outbreak, the CDC said.

"After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly," Royal Caribbean said in the statement.

The cruise line said it believes the illnesses are consistent with norovirus, a highly contagious virus spread from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas, and Noreen O'Donnell in New York; Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Dan Grebler and Eric Walsh)


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