Home' Greymouth Star : September 23rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Jihadist fighters have begun preparing
defences against American air strikes and
a feared land-based counter-offensive in
Iraq and Syria, residents living under
their rule say.
Fighters from ISIS (Islamic State)
are mounting barricades, increasing
checkpoints and booby-trapping the
roads into Mosul in northern Iraq, they
They have also begun sending their
families out of the towns to safeguard
Air strikes by American and French
fighter-bombers killed scores of men in
an ISIS training camp and an arms depot
near the city on Friday and Saturday.
Residents estimated the number of dead
at anywhere between 60 and 200.
ISIS has also evacuated command-
and-control centres in Mosul and Raqqa,
the city in Syria which is the informal
capital of ISIS’s “caliphate”, and begun
using Yazidi women captives as human
shields in other key places.
“ Two days ago, they left their main
headquarters, and they moved to live
inside our civilian neighbourhoods,”
one Mosul resident, who asked not to
be named, said. “ They took over all the
houses abandoned by their inhabitants,
such as the houses of the Christians,
former officials and people who left the
city. They also use the poorer houses as
stores for weapons.”
In Iraq, Kurdish Peshmerga forces in
the north and Iraqi army and Iranian-
backed militia forces nearer Baghdad
have stabilised front lines and even
pushed ISIS back.
In Raqqa, their position is more secure
and ISIS has set up its headquarters in
the ornate former governor’s palace.
They have pushed Syrian regime forces
out of a number of major bases, killing
hundreds of captives, and have been
besieging Kurdish towns to the north.
Up to 100,000 Kurds and other local
residents have fled to the Turkish border
from the enclave that remains around
the city of Kobane. There were violent
scenes yesterday as refugees headed one
way and Kurdish volunteers wanting to
join the fighting headed the other.
In Raqqa, residents said both they and
the fighters were afraid of promised
American air strikes. ISIS was dispersing
its vehicles and men so they do not
become easy targets.
“People are afraid of the air strikes, that
they might be used as human shields or
be bombed,” Abu Mohammed, a local
activist who is still living in the Syrian
city even though ISIS has put a price on
his head, said. “Many people fled to the
countryside or to Turkey. I can’t say how
many went but in my lane there are just
15 families left.”
The ISIS fighters are taking similar
precautions of their own, he added.
“ When small planes for reconnaissance
appear the jihadists hide. They even lock
the doors of their headquarters. They
also moved their families, their women
and children, outside Raqqa.”
In Mosul, where the local alliances that
brought ISIS to power are complicated,
additional precautions are being taken
by the jihadists against the risk of
assassination of their leaders. There have
been repeated reports of local anti-ISIS
hit squads attacking fighters.
The Mosul resident said four ISIS
fighters were killed in the middle of last
Turkey’s Islamist president refused
to quell growing concern yesterday
over how he obtained the release of 49
hostages from jihadist ISIS fighters in
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the former
prime minister who became the
country’s first directly-elected president
last month, denied he had paid a ransom
for the diplomats and their families,
seized when ISIS overran Mosul in June.
Erdogan has been increasingly
attacked for not having done enough
to seal Turkey ’s Syrian border, the main
conduit for jihadists joining ISIS from
abroad as well as for weapons supplies.
Suspicions were aroused by the release
of the 49 without a shot being fired. A
website thought to reflect ISIS thinking
said the group had won guarantees that
Turkey would not join air strikes or
other military inter vention.
Another report said the hostages had
been exchanged for three top-level
prisoners, something given credence by
Erdogan’s refusal to deny it. — AP-AAP
ISIS digs in
for air raids
Jihadists hide behind human shields
In her final “selfless act ”, Mijin Shin
saved the life of her 11-month-old
daughter by throwing her out of the
way of a bus.
A witness broke down at an inquest
yesterday while recounting how
Shin threw baby Meera just before
she died under the bus’s wheels in
Sydney ’s north in May 2012.
“I picked up the baby and the baby
started screaming,” Sam Agostino
said. “ I thought that was the best
thing because obviously the baby was
Shin’s other daughter, 11-year-
old Kelly, who was returning from
a school camp, was on the bus that
struck her mother in Beecroft.
The Glebe Coroner’s Court has
heard that Shin, 38, was distracted
by waving to her daughter on the bus
when she crossed the road.
Agostino was waiting at the traffic
lights next to the vehicle.
He said he saw the bus turn left and
noticed a woman walking across the
road, then the bus clipped the woman
and pulled her under it.
“ I saw something flung out of her
hands but I didn’t think anything of
it at that point,” Agostino told the
He said he started running after the
bus, calling for it to stop.
“ I started bashing on his window
and he came to a stop,” he said.
“I turned back and I looked at her
— it was pretty bad.”
Senior constable Wayne Stephenson
said in his opinion the pedestrian
crossing light was green but Shin was
in a blind spot.
The location of the fatal crash was
a known black spot and had been the
scene of serious injury crashes in the
past, the inquest heard.
Bus driver Sydney Wickett is
adamant the blind spot did not block
his view of Shin.
“ It ’s only a blind spot for other
vehicles, for pedestrians . . . well it
may . . . but I don’t think so,” he said.
Wickett told the court he believed
that Shin may have run towards
the bus while trying to get Kelly’s
attention when she tripped, hit the
side of the bus and went under the
The inquest continues. — AAP
Mother threw child away from bus
Cape Canaveral (Florida)
A Space X cargo ship rocketed toward
the International Space Station on
Sunday, carrying the first 3D printer for
astronauts in orbit.
In all, the unmanned Dragon capsule
is delivering more than 2000kg of space
station supplies for Nasa.
Dragon should reach the space station
tomorrow. It is the fifth station shipment
for the California-based Space X, one of
two new commercial winners in the race
to start launching Americans again from
The space station was soaring over the
South Pacific when the Space X Falcon
9 thundered into Florida’s pre-dawn sky.
Sunday ’s weather was ideal for flying,
unlike Saturday, when rain forced a
delay. The rocket was visible for nearly
three minutes as it sped out over the
Atlantic, with the Orion constellation as
“ What a beautiful morning it was,”
Nasa’s space station division director,
Sam Scimemi, said.
Sunday was a red-letter day for Nasa in
more ways than one.
Besides the flawless launch, the space
agency ’s Maven spacecraft was on the
verge of reaching Mars. The robotic
explorer was scheduled to go into orbit
around Mars today.
The space station-bound 3D printer
was developed by Made in Space,
another California company. It is sturdier
than Earthly models to withstand the
stresses of launch, and meets Nasa’s
strict safety standards. The space agency
envisions astronauts one day cranking
out spare parts as needed. For now, it is a
technology demonstrator, with a bigger
and better model to follow next year.
A $30 million device for measuring
ocean winds is also flying up on Dragon,
along with 20 mice and 30 fruit flies for
biological research and metal samples
for a golf club manufacturer looking to
improve its products.
Much-needed spacesuit batteries are
on board as well, along with the usual
stash of food, clothes and electronic gear.
Routine American space walks were put
on hold following last year’s close call
with an astronaut ’s flooded helmet. That
problem was solved, then the battery
fuses were called into question. Nasa
hopes to resume space walks next month.
Nasa is paying Space X and Virginia-
based Orbital Sciences to make regular
station deliveries. The Space X ser vice
began two years ago. — AP
3D printer sent
to space station
scared me: Pope
Pope Francis has joked during a visit
to Albania that Mother Teresa would
have struck fear into him if she had
been his mother superior.
“S he spoke her mind,” Francis told
the Albanian priest acting as his
interpreter during the visit on Sunday,
according to papal spokesman
The Pope met the late nun, an
ethnic Albanian from Macedonia,
in Rome in 1994 when he was mere
Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Lombardi said the Pope
recalled admiring “the strength
and the decisive character of her
“ I would have been scared if she had
been my mother superior,” he told the
Forever associated with her work
in the slums of Kolkata, Mother
Teresa has given her name to airports,
hospitals, schools and roads in
She died in 1997, and was beatified
in 2003. — AFP
Swiss authorities say a male
nurse who was bitten by an
Ebola patient while working in
west Africa has been flown to
Switzerland as a precaution.
The health ministry says the
unidentified man was working
for an international organisation
in Sierra Leone when he was
bitten by a child infected with
Ebola on Saturday.
The ministry says the nurse was
wearing protective gear and is
unlikely to have contracted the
It said the man, flown to
Switzerland by a private transport
company overnight, will be kept
under observation at Geneva’s
University Hospital for the
incubation period of three weeks.
The ministry said it was the first
medical transport to Switzerland
from the Ebola-affected region.
Man bitten by Ebola
patient flown to Switzerland
Frenchman seized by IS splinter group
A Frenchman purported to
have been kidnapped in Algeria
on Sunday appeared in a video
yesterday saying he had been
kidnapped by an Algeria-based
Islamic State splinter group the
The man, who gives his name,
age and date of birth, said he had
arrived in Algeria on September
20 and been taken on September
“I am in the hands of Jund al-
Khilifa, an Algerian armed group.
This armed group is asking me
to ask you (President Francois
Hollande) to not inter vene in
“They are holding me as
a hostage and I ask you Mr
President to do everything to get
me out of this bad situation and
I thank you.”
A French foreign ministry
spokesman could not immediately
confirm the authenticity of the
video. — Reuters
Church collapse toll 115
The death toll from the
Nigerian church collapse has
climbed to 115 people, 84 of
them South Africans, a South
African minister says.
“ We understand from our
assessment team that the total
number of people who have
perished is now 115, but those
are not all South Africans,” Jeff
Radebe, the minister in charge of
Pretoria’s response to the disaster,
The casualties include 84 South
Africans, he said after about two
dozen injured sur vivors were
Radebe revised the numbers
of injured that arrived to 25
because one refused to board
the evacuation plane and chose
to return to the church in Lagos
that crumbled on September 12.
The 26 sur vived after being
trapped under rubble when
a guesthouse attached to the
church run by a prominent
Nigerian preacher T B Joshua
collapsed. — AFP
Israel’s population over 8.2m
Israel’s population is now more than 8.2
million, the Central Bureau of Statistics
announced on the eve of Jewish New
New figures show that Israel has
8,252,500 inhabitants — 6,186,100
Jews (75%), 1,709,900 Arabs (20.7%)
and 356,500 others (4.3%).
The numbers include Palestinian
residents of east Jerusalem, which Israel
captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and
later annexed in a move not recognised
by the international community.
Figures published last year by the
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies
show there are some 290,000 Palestinians
living in east Jerusalem, the vast majority
of whom hold residency permits but not
Israeli nationality. — AFP
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