Home' Greymouth Star : August 25th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, August 25, 2014 - 7
A 6.0 magnitude earthquake
rocked wine country north of
San Francisco, injuring dozens
of people, damaging historic
buildings, setting some homes on
fire and causing power outages
around the picturesque town of
The biggest quake in the region
in 25 years jolted many residents
out of bed when it hit at 3.20am
(11.20pm NZT), centred 10km
south of the city of Napa.
Three people were seriously
injured, including a child who
suffered fractures after a fireplace
fell on him, local fire battalion
chief John Callahan said. Six
fires broke out, including one
that consumed six mobile homes,
Queen of the Valley hospital
said it had treated 89 patients.
There were no reports of any
fatalities but the quake shook
up residents, Barry Martin,
ordinator for the City of Napa,
which has a population of
“This was a pretty big jolt in
Napa, but it certainly is not
The Big One,” Martin added in
comments to local television,
referring to fears Californians
have of a suffering catastrophic
California Governor Jerry
Brown declared a state of
emergency, putting all state
resources at the disposal of his
Office of Emergency Ser vices.
centered around Napa, a famous
wine-producing region and a
major tourist destination in
northern California. — Reuters
Powerful earthquake rocks California
dead at 90
British director and actor Richard
Attenborough has died aged 90 after a
Attenborough, who appeared in movies
such as Brighton Rock, The Great Escape
and Jurassic Park, in a career spanning
six decades, died today the BBC news
“ His acting in Brighton Rock was
brilliant, his directing of Gandhi was
stunning — Richard Attenborough was
one of the greats of cinema,” British
Prime Minister David Cameron wrote
Attenborough enjoyed success as one of
Britain’s leading actors, before becoming
a successful director.
A British Lord, Attenborough
championed the British film business
through its triumphs and trials for more
than 50 years as actor, Oscar-winning
director and prolific movie-maker.
He had a grand vision and a deep
desire to educate, decrying injustice and
extolling heroes such as Gandhi.
It was Gandhi, arguably one of the
least obvious successes in the history of
the cinema, that marked the highlight
of his remarkable career, clinching eight
Oscars, including best film and best
His breadth of canvas and eye for
detail were at their most impressive here,
with Attenborough displaying a knack
to control some 400,000 extras at the
re-creation of Gandhi’s funeral.
As an actor he was respected enough
for top directors Satyajit Ray and Steven
Spielberg to lure him out of self-imposed
retirement to appear, respectively, in
The Chess Players and the blockbuster
He received a life peerage in 1993.
He was the elder brother of Sir David
Attenborough, the television wildlife
presenter. — PA-AFP
A chef preparing a dish made from cobra flesh
died after the snake bit his hand — 20 minutes
after he had severed its head from its body.
Peng Fan from Foshan, Guangdong province,
southern China, had been preparing a special
dish made from Indochinese spitting cobra, a
It was as he went to chuck the cobra’s head in
the bin that it bit him, injecting Mr Peng with
its flesh-killing, neurotoxic venom.
The snake was being diced up to be made into
snake soup, which is a delicacy in Guangdong
and a much sought after dish in the province’s
Restaurant guest Lin Sun, 44, who was in the
restaurant with his wife Su at the time said:
“ We were in the restaurant having a meal for
my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a
lot of commotion.
“ We did not know what was happening but
could hear screams coming from the kitchen.
“There were calls for a doctor in the restaurant
but unfortunately by the time medical assistance
arrived the man had already died.
“After we heard that we did not continue with
Police said Peng died before he could be given
life saving anti-venom in hospital. Victims of the
Indochinese spitting cobra generally asphyxiate
after the neurotoxin paralyses their respiratory
system. A spokesman said: “It is a highly unusual
case but it appears to be an accident. The man
had a severe reaction to the bite.
“There was nothing that could be done to
save the man. Only the anti-venom could have
helped but this was not given in time.
“He prepared the snake himself and was just
unlucky. It was just a tragic accident.”
Snake expert Yang Hong-chang - who has
spent 40 years studying cobras - says all reptiles
can function for up to an hour after losing body
parts, or even their entire body.
“It is perfectly possible that the head remained
alive and bit Peng’s hand,” he said.
“By the time a snake has lost its head, it’s
effectively dead as basic body functions have
ceased, but there is still some reflexive action. ”
“It means snakes have the capability of biting
and injecting venom even after the head has
Indochinese spitting cobras are indigenous
Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia,
Vietnam, Laos and Burma.
Their flesh is a much sought after delicacy
and the skin is used to make expensive designer
goods, a trade which has no doubt contributed
to their “ vulnerable” conser vation status.
Snake meat is really good for us. It is not so
easy to get and is expensive but it has spectacular
Residents of the Guangdong province have a
long history of enjoying snake meats of all sorts
in local culinary dishes.
For many centuries it has been commonly
ser ved up in a soup, and is also taken as part of
Chinese medicine, for it is believed that snake
meat can cure ailments.
One local said: “Snake meat is really good for
us. It is not so easy to get and is expensive but it
has spectacular health benefits.
“I have never heard any cases of a dead snake
killing anyone, especially not in the kitchen.”
Guard says it has brought down
an Israeli stealth drone above the
Natanz uranium enrichment site
in the centre of the country.
“A spy drone of the Zionist
regime (Israel) was brought
down by a missile. This stealth
drone was trying to approach the
Natanz nuclear zone,” the corps
said in a statement on its official
website sepahnews.com .
“This act demonstrates a new
adventurism by the Zionist
Guard and the other armed forces
reser ve the right to respond to
this act,” the statement added.
Natanz is Iran’s main uranium
enrichment site, housing more
than 16,000 centrifuges. About
3000 more are at the Fordo plant,
buried inside a mountain and
hard to destroy.
Israel has often threatened to
attack Iranian nuclear installations.
Iran and the P Five plus One
powers — Britain, China, France,
Russia, the United States and
Germany — reached a six-month
interim agreement under which
Iran suspended part of its nuclear
activities in return for a partial
lifting of international sanctions.
In July that deal was extended
by four months until November
24 to give the two sides more
time to negotiate a final accord
aimed at ending 10 years of
tensions over Iran’s nuclear
The sides remain split on how
much uranium enrichment Iran
should be allowed to carry out.
Washington wants Tehran to
slash its programme by three-
quarters, but Iran wants to
expand enrichment 10-fold by
2021, chiefly to produce fuel for
its Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Israel, a sworn enemy of Iran,
opposes any agreement allowing
Tehran to keep part of its uranium
enrichment programme, saying
Iran could use the material to
make an atomic bomb.
Iran has consistently denied
wanting to make nuclear
weapons. — AFP
Iran claims Israeli stealth drone downed
Air strike levels seven-floor office
More than 500 Syrian soldiers and
Islamic State fighters have died in a six-
day battle for Tabqa airport, the last
stronghold of the Damascus regime in the
northern province of Raqa, a monitor says.
The Syrian Obser vatory for Human
Rights said 346 jihadists and 25 Syrian
troops had been killed in the fighting
at the airport since last Tuesday, with
another 170 soldiers dying during fierce
“One hundred and seventy Syrian
soldiers were killed in the offensive
which led to the IS jihadists seizing
Tabqa airport,” the Obser vatory said.
Syrian State television said troops had
staged an “evacuation” of the airport.
“After heavy fighting by the forces
defending the Tabqa airport, our forces
implemented a regrouping operation
after the evacuation of the airport,” the
broadcaster said in a breaking news alert.
The airport ’s capture came after IS
fighters launched a fourth assault on
Tabqa overnight, in a bid to cement their
control over Raqa province.
The airport was the last military
position under army control in Raqa,
after jihadists captured Brigade 93 and
Division 17, killing dozens of soldiers,
many of whom were beheaded. — AFP
Israeli air strikes levelled a seven-floor office
building and severely damaged a two-storey
shopping centre in the Gaza Strip early
yesterday, signalling a new escalation in seven
weeks of fighting with Hamas.
The strikes in the southern town of Rafah
came just hours after Israel bombed a residential
tower in Gaza City, collapsing the 12-storey
building with 44 apartments.
Eight people were killed in yesterday’s air
strikes. Israel said one of the dead was a Hamas
official involved in handling the group’s finances.
The targeting of large buildings appears to be
part of a new tactic by Israel. O ver the weekend,
the army began warning Gaza residents in
automated phone calls that it would target
buildings harbouring “terrorist infrastructure”
and that they should stay away.
A senior military official confirmed that Israel
has a policy of striking at buildings containing
Hamas operational centres or those from which
military activities are launched. The official
said each strike required prior approval from
military lawyers and is carried out only after the
local population is warned.
However, he said, there was now a widening of
locations the military can target.
Speaking ahead of Israel’s weekly cabinet
meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
warned Gaza residents to keep their distance
from Hamas militants. “ I call on the people of
Gaza to immediately evacuate any structure
that Hamas is using to commit acts of terror,”
he said. “ Every one of these structures is a target
for us.” — AP
Syrian air base
battle kills 500
An American journalist held in Syria since his
abduction in October 2012 has been released to
United Nations representatives, according to Al
The handover was reportedly arranged
through Qatari mediation.
Peter Theo Curtis, who appeared in a video
on June 30 reading a prepared script saying that
he was a journalist from Boston, was initially
abducted in Antakya, Turkey.
He was allegedly trying to enter Syria to teach
His release comes just days after another
kidnapped US journalist, James Foley, was
beheaded by Islamist militants.
Foley went missing in Syria in November
International press freedom group Reporters
Without Borders has said that three foreign
journalists are still being held hostage in Syria,
alongside some 50 Syrian professional or citizen
journalists, either by armed groups or President
Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The New York-based Committee to Protect
Journalists has said more than 80 journalists have
been kidnapped in Syria, and approximately 20
local and international journalists are currently
missing in Syria. Many of them are believed to
be held by the Islamic State. — DPA
US journalist freed in Syria
The giant tortoise known as “Pepe the
Missionary”, a symbol of Ecuador’s Galapagos
Islands, has died at an estimated 100 years old,
apparently from being over weight, Galapagos
National Park has announced.
The tortoise died on Friday at the park’s care
centre on San Cristobal Island.
A park official said the animal was looked after
by veterinarians and received daily medication
to shore up its health, especially for its weight
and high cholesterol levels.
At first it was believed that Pepe was between
60 and 70, but an autopsy showed it was older
than previously thought, the official said.
He said the chelonian belonged to a subspecies
of which some 2000 specimens remain, so that
Pepe’s death does not endanger the species.
The animal was found by fishermen in 1940
and given to a family on San Cristobal, though
in 1959, with the creation of Galapagos National
Park, keeping giant tortoises as pets was banned.
Pepe was given to the Franciscan Mission on
San Cristobal in 1967 and, with permission,
remained with the friars until 2012, when it was
moved to the park’s care centre. — EF E
Galapagos tortoise dies at 100
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CRL Energy is the winner of the 2014 Minerals West Coast
Environment Award, announced at the Minerals West Coast’s
annual conference in Greymouth.
“This work showcases the advances that are being made in
managing the environmental effects of mining,” Minerals West
Coast manager Peter O’Sullivan said.
“Mining today has to be environmentally responsible;
that is what New Zealanders expect, and that is what is being
This year two award entries were received by the judging
panel of Mr O’Sullivan, Straterra policy manager Bernie
Napp, and Judi Brennan, permissions/SLM manager at the
Department of Conservation.
The award was first offered in 2013.
The judges assessed each finalist looking at their
commitment to environmental excellence; the success of
the project; innovation and research employed; knowledge
created, and their contribution to industry best practice.
The winning entry, the New Zealand Minerals sector
environmental research and mine drainage decision-making
framework. CRL Energy, Landcare Research, Universities of
Canterbury and Otago.
The other finalist was from Oceana Gold, The Globe
Progress mine restoration monitoring programme.
Mr O’Sullivan said demonstrations of environmental
responsibility are an important part of a mining company’s
gaining a social licence to operate in a community.
“New Zealanders expect businesses to operate in a way
that is legitimate, accountable to the public, and consistent
with our resource management legislation. The Minerals West
Coast Environment Award was developed to answer that
expectation at a regional, and national level.”
Minerals West Coast (MWC) held the first forum in
2005, when a small group of West Coast-focused minerals
companies came together for a day to discuss the issues
affecting the future of the mining industry in New Zealand.
By 2013 the forum had grown to 232 delegates attending
from the majority of New Zealand’s leading minerals sector
companies and organisations.
Minerals West Coast
Environment Award 2014
Minerals West Coast chairman Hugh Gray, James Pope from
CRL Energy, and Minerals West Coast manager Peter O’Sullivan.
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