Home' Greymouth Star : August 29th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 9
Islamic State jihadists have boasted they have
executed scores of Syrian troops after capturing
a key air base, the latest in a string of abuses that
have shocked the world.
News of the killings came as United States
President Barack Obama weighed air strikes
on IS positions in Syria and edged closer to
giving the green light to a mission to aid Shi’ite
Turkmen trapped in an Iraqi town besieged by
It also came as rival Islamist rebels led by
al Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front seized 43
United Nations peacekeepers on the Golan
Heights, part of a mission that has monitored
an armistice between Syrian and Israeli troops
on the strategic plateau for decades.
IS overnight posted grisly video footage on the
internet of scores of bodies heaped in the desert
they boasted were those of Syrian soldiers they
captured and executed following its seizure of
Tabqa air base.
Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian
Obser vatory for Human Rights said that IS
had executed at least 160 soldiers, among some
500 who had made a desperate bid to escape
to government-held territory after their defeat
The footage posted by IS showed a close-up of
some 20 bodies, but then panned out to show
Other shots showed men barefoot and dressed
only in their under wear walking in line with
their hands on their head in surrender, escorted
by jihadist gunmen.
One held up the black flag of the jihadists.
Others chanted: “Islamic State forever.”
Tabqa was the last position in Raqa province
to fall to the jihadists, who now control a vast
swathe of north-eastern Syria and Iraq.
A UN-mandated probe has charged that
public executions, amputations, lashings and
mock crucifixions have become a regular fixture
in jihadist-controlled areas of Syria.
Obama was set to meet with top national
security aides to decide whether to expand US
air strikes launched against IS in Iraq earlier
this month to its strongholds in Syria.
The Syrian government launched air strikes
of its own yesterday, killing six IS leaders, the
Obser vatory said, but Washington has so far
baulked at co-operating with Damascus against
Rival jihadists of Al-Nusra Front, backed by
other rebels, detained 43 Fijian peacekeepers on
the Golan overnight, a day after their capture
of the sole crossing over the UN-patrolled
armistice line to the Israeli-occupied sector of
“Forty-three peacekeepers from the United
Nations Disengagement Observer Force were
detained early this morning by an armed group
in the vicinity of Quneitra,” a UN statement said.
The 43 peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to
surrender their weapons and taken hostage, but
81 Filipino blue helmets “ held their ground”
and refused to disarm, the Filipino defence
It said the Filipino peacekeepers were being
surrounded by the gunmen.
The UN Security Council condemned the
action and demanded the “ unconditional
and immediate release” of the peacekeepers, a
But the Philippines has said it will repatriate
its 331-strong contingent, for security reasons,
mirroring previous moves by Australia, Croatia
Washington has also been weighing both aid
drops and air strikes in Iraq to help residents of a
Shi’ite Turkmen town besieged by the jihadists
since early June, US officials said earlier.
Inhabitants of the Salaheddin province town
of Amerli, north of Baghdad, face danger both
because of their faith, which jihadists consider
heresy, and their resistance against the militants.
Iraq is preparing its own effort, massing forces
north and south of the town and carrying out air
strikes against the jihadist militants besieging it.
A Malaysian court has sent six
men to jail for a month and will
try four other people over a nudist
gathering which has triggered
outrage in the Muslim-majority
The six men — five Malaysians
and a Singaporean — were jailed
yesterday after pleading guilty to
charges of public obscenity, lawyer
S Thangaveloo, who represents
Singaporean defendant Loh Kok
“They were all sentenced to
one month jail and fined 5000
ringgit ($1920),” Thangaveloo told
The four other people — all
Malaysian, and including three
women — who are contesting
the charges were freed on bail by
the court in the northern State of
Penang, police said.
“ We are still hunting for five
more individuals, one each from
Malaysia and two Myanmar
nationals,” Mohamad Jalaluddin,
the investigating police officer in
the case, said.
The defendants were arrested for
staging what they called the “Nude
Sports Games 2014” on May 30.
The event ’s existence surfaced
when a video by the organisers
appeared on social media in early
August and went viral.
It shows participants engaged in
a range of activities on a secluded
Penang beach, including dancing,
body painting, and relay races, all
in the nude.
In one scene, a nude woman
rides horseback on a man, while
in another, a naked woman crawls
over three nude men lying next to
each other in the sand.
The gathering has been
conser vatives but also many non-
Muslims, and triggered heated
on-line exchanges between critics
and supporters of the nudists.
About 60% of Malaysia’s nearly
30 million people are Muslim
Yearnings for greater freedom
of expression in the multi-
cultural country have increasingly
bumped up against conser vative
attitudes among Muslims and the
country’s long-time authoritarian
In a separate case, a male and
female model were fined this week
after taking part in a public photo
shoot in the northern city of Ipoh
clad only in their under wear.
Malaysia jails six over ‘nude games’
Unions are calling for the Qantas board
to be sacked after the airline posted
one of the worst losses in Australian
Qantas posted a bottom line net loss
of $2.8 billion in the year to June 30,
compared to a $1 million profit a year
ago, in the wake of the airline’s battle
with rival Virgin and another poor
performance from its international
The result included a $2.6b write-down
to the value of its ageing international
Despite the shocking numbers, Qantas
chief Alan Joyce insists the worst is
behind the 94-year-old company, and it
is on track to post a profit in the current
But Transport Workers’ Union national
secretary Tony Sheldon said Joyce had
made similar comments in the past.
The latest results were only vindication
of a “ lack of management ” rather than
good strategy, he said.
“ We’ve seen the biggest loss this
company has seen and the previous
largest losses were under the stewardship
of this board,” Sheldon told reporters in
The board had “squandered” its 65%
share in the domestic market and must
be held to account, Mr Sheldon said.
“ We’ve been told that the next big
decision was the one that was going to
turn the airline around.
“ It ’s failed to, all we’ve seen is the next
big loss,” he said.
The record loss means the only option
is for the board and Joyce to be removed,
the Australian Ser vices Union (ASU)
The current board had taken Qantas
from being one of the world’s most
profitable airlines to being one of the
least profitable, ASU assistant national
secretary Linda White said.
“A strategy which is about offshoring
jobs, decreasing customer ser vice
and jeopardising safety and blaming
everyone other than themselves has not
gone well so far, and it is time for a fresh
approach that a new CEO and board
can bring to Qantas,” she said.
The Australian and International
Pilots’ Association (AIPA) criticised
the airline for failing to invest properly
in its fleet, and also called on the federal
government to do more to ensure Qantas
“Qantas management has got this
primarily through poor aircraft choices,”
AIPA president Nathan Safe said.
The federal government should be
taking a more active role in ensuring the
viability of Qantas, he said.
“Governments around the world play a
critical role. The Australian Government
cannot simply turn away and expect
Qantas to play by free market rules not
being obser ved by the rest of the world. ”
Unions urge action
over $2.8 billion
British Prime Minister David
Cameron has suffered a heavy
blow after one of his lawmakers,
Douglas Carswell, announced
he was leaving the Conser vative
Party to join the eurosceptic UK
Independence Party (UKIP).
Carswell is to resign his seat
and stand as a UKIP candidate at
an upcoming by-election which,
if he wins, would make him
their first elected member of the
House of Commons.
Polls suggest UKIP could take
a handful of seats and thousands
of votes from the Conser vatives at the 2015
general election, which may increase the
chances of victory for the opposition Labour
Party and defeat for Cameron.
Experts say the Clacton constituency in
the south-east of England is among the
Conser vative seats which are most vulnerable
to being captured by the eurosceptics at the
called the move “deeply
regrettable” and “self-defeating” and vowed
the Conser vatives would put up a “very strong”
fight in the by-election.
But Carswell accused him of misleading
voters over plans to claw back more powers
from Brussels ahead of a referendum on
Britain’s membership of the European
Union, which will take place in 2017 if the
Conser vatives win next year.
untenable,” Carswell said. “ The
Conser vative leadership is not
serious about change.”
He added that Cameron’s
advisers had told him Britain
will not vote to leave the
European Union in the event
of a referendum, because “we
will give them (the voters) just
enough to persuade them not
The prime minister promised
the referendum under pressure
from the powerful eurosceptic
wing of his party and to win back
voters from UKIP, which won May ’s European
Parliament elections, beating the Tories into
That was the first British poll victory for a
political grouping other than the Conser vatives
and Labour for more than a century.
“ We have had a duopoly for many
decades,” Carswell said. “ We need choice and
competition in politics.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who appeared
at his new recruit ’s side at a press conference
to announce the resignation, said it was “the
noblest thing I’ve seen in British politics in my
Farage announced on Tuesday he was to run
for parliament in next year’s election after his
party confirmed him as their candidate for
another coastal constituency, South Thanet.
Tory MP defection
blow to Cameron
43 UN peacekeepers detained
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