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Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 5
PICTURE: Getty Images
The scene as the ferry sank in April.
‘I deser ve
The captain in charge of
the Sewol ferry when it sank
has told a South Korean
court that he “deser ved the
death penalty”, but denied
sacrificing passengers’ lives
to save his own.
Lee Joon-seok, on trial
for murder in the city
of Gwangju, was vilified
after the April disaster for
abandoning the stricken
ferry while hundreds were
still trapped inside.
More than 300 people perished, most
of them school children in a tragedy that
stunned South Korea.
The captain and many crew members
were among the first to climb on to
Video footage taken from the
phones of those who perished showed
increasingly worried students patiently
waiting in their bunks as messages were
broadcast over the ship’s public-address
system telling them to stay where they
were despite the ferry listing heavily.
But Lee said his passenger evacuation
orders had fallen on deaf ears and denied
accusations by the prosecution that he
sacrificed the lives of his passengers to
“I sincerely apologise to the victims
and their relatives and I will pray for
them for the rest of my life,” Lee said at
his trial overnight, according to Yonhap
“I think I deser ve a death penalty for
what I have done. But I never thought
for a moment to sacrifice the passengers
(to save my own life).
“No matter how God helps me, I know
I won’t be able to leave the prison before
I die. But I cannot give my children and
grandchildren a bad name as a murderer’s
relatives,” Lee added.
He insisted he had told a crew member
to broadcast a passenger announcement
that passengers should wear lifejackets
and jump into the sea, about five minutes
before the first rescue boat arrived.
The message was never relayed, he
But Lee he was unable to provide any
evidence that he issued this instruction.
The disaster caused outrage in South
Korea, triggering widespread public
anger as it emerged that incompetence,
corruption and greed had all contributed
to the tragedy.
Lee has insisted that the
ferry owners are the real
culprits of the disaster as
it was their decision to
consistently overload the
vessel and commission an
His murder prosecution
comes as the son of
the ferry’s owner also
faces a separate trial for
called for four years in prison for Yoo
Dae-Kyun, the eldest son of the now-
deceased South Korean tycoon blamed
for the ferry disaster.
Yoo, 44, who has been charged with
siphoning off more than $US7 million
($8.853 million) from Chonghaejin
Marine Co, the operator of the stricken
ferry, and its six sister companies
between 2002 and late last year.
Three other family members — Yoo’s
mother and two uncles — have also been
arrested on charges of embezzlement
from the business group including
Yoo’s sister, Yoo Sum-Na, 48, is
currently fighting extradition from
France on similar charges.
The badly decomposed body of Yoo’s
father, Yoo Byung-Eun, who in addition
to his substantial business interests also
ran a religious group, was found in June.
He had been the target of a massive
manhunt connected to the ferry sinking.
“I am sorry,” Yoo said to the court before
bowing to the judge, the prosecutors and
the audience in turn.
Yoo’s defence lawyer has called for
leniency in the sentencing, expected
on November 5, stressing that Yoo
will dispose of all his assets to help
compensate for the victims.
Prosecutors are also questioning one
of the late Yoo’s key aides — who was
repatriated from the US on Tuesday —
over assets the Yoo family may be hiding.
Kim Hae-Kyung, 52, who was arrested
in Virginia in September, is suspected
of involvement in the embezzlement
of about $23m ($29.078m) from the
religious organisation headed by the
Lee, 69, and three senior crew members
are accused of “homicide through wilful
negligence” — a charge that can carry
the death penalty. — AFP
Girl, 4, hands out heroin at daycare centre
A four-year-old girl took hundreds
of packets of heroin to her daycare
centre and began passing them out
to classmates, thinking the drug was
lollies, Delaware State police said.
Several children who got the packets
went to hospital as a precaution,
police said. But no packets were
opened, and all of the children were
released after being examined.
Police say the child unknowingly
took the heroin to the centre when her
mother gave her a different backpack
because the girl’s regular backpack
had been ruined by the family pet.
Police say the backpack contained
nearly 250 packets of heroin, totalling
nearly 4 grams, all labelled “Slam”.
The girl’s mother, Ashley Tull, 30,
of Selbyville, has been charged with
three counts of child endangerment
and maintaining a drug property. She
has been released on bail.
A woman who identified herself
as Tull’s sister, Alicia Tull, said the
media attention was unfair.
Alicia Tull said her sister had no
idea that heroin was in the backpack
and would not have sent her daughter
to school with the backpack if she
had known. She said Ashley Tull did
not use or deal drugs and she was
taken advantage of by an individual
who stored the drugs in her home
without her knowledge.
The child endangerment counts
relate to Tull’s three children, who
range in age from four to 11.
As part of her release, Tull was
ordered not to have any contact with
her children, who are in the custody
of a relative, according to police.
The charge of maintaining a drug
property means a person knowingly
allows drugs in the home, say police.
It is a distinct crime from drug
possession. — AP
US steps up
A Liberian man who was the first
person diagnosed with Ebola outside
of west Africa has died in a Texas
hospital, as Washington stepped up
airport screening against the deadly
Thomas Eric D uncan died in a Dallas
hospital overnight, 10 days after he
was admitted and despite receiving an
experimental drug to fight off the illness,
which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and
often fatal bleeding.
“ Mr Duncan succumbed to an insidious
disease, Ebola. He fought courageously
in this battle,” a statement from Texas
Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Duncan is believed to have been
infected with Ebola before he left
Liberia and boarded a plane to visit
family in Texas.
The US Centres for Disease Control
and Prevention has said there was
“zero risk” that he had infected any
fellow travellers because he was not
symptomatic until days after the flight.
The world’s largest outbreak of Ebola
has killed more than 3400 people in
Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria
and Senegal since the beginning of the
Hours after Duncan died, the White
House announced stricter airport
screenings at five major US airports,
including taking the temperatures of
people arriving from Ebola-hit nations.
The “ vast majority of people” coming
from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
— the three countries hit hardest by the
epidemic — will be screened, White
House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
The airports implementing the
measures are John F Kennedy
International in New York, Washington
Dulles International, Chicago O’Hare
Atlanta International and Newark
Liberty International in New Jersey.
In Spain, five people were isolated and
dozens more monitored after a nurse in
Madrid apparently caught Ebola while
treating two elderly missionaries who
died of the disease.
The nurse, Teresa Romero, is the first
person to contract Ebola outside west
One of the doctors treating her said she
may have caught the deadly virus after
touching her face with an infected glove.
Asian cave paintings challenge ar t theory
A Babirusa (“pig-deer”) and a hand stencil are pictured in this undated photograph. Prehistoric paintings at least 40,000 years old which depict
animals — including the “pig-deer” — and the outline of human hands, in seven caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are rewriting the
histor y of art.
The silhouette of a hand on a
cave wall in Indonesia is 40,000
years old, showing that Europe was
not the birthplace of art as long
believed, researchers say.
Created by spraying reddish
paint around an open hand pressed
against rock, the stencil was made
at about the same time as early
humans were leaving artwork on
cave walls around Europe that was
long thought to be the first in the
In the same cave on the
Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a
painting of a pig was dated to about
35,000 years ago, the Indonesian
and Australian team reported in the
The discovery, they said, throws
up two theories, both of which
challenge the conventional wisdom
around the history of human
Art either arose independently
but simultaneously in different
parts of the world — or was
brought by Homo sapiens when he
left Africa for a worldwide odyssey.
“Europeans can’t exclusively
claim to be the first to develop an
abstract mind any more,” Anthony
Dosseto of Australia’s University of
Wollongong said in a statement.
“They need to share this, at
least, with the early inhabitants of
Anthropologists consider rock art
to be an indicator of the onset of
abstract thinking — the ability to
reflect on ideas and events.
The ancient cave drawings in
Indonesia hint at an even earlier
dawn of creativity in modern
humans, going back to Africa, than
scientists had thought.
Archaeologists calculated that
a dozen stencils of hands in
mulberry red and two detailed
drawings of an animal described as
a “pig-deer” are between 35,000 to
40,000 years old, based on levels of
decay of the element uranium. That
puts the art found in Sulawesi,
south-east of Borneo, in the same
rough time period as drawings
found in Spain and a famous cave
One of the Indonesian
handprints, pegged as at least
39,900 years old, is now the oldest
hand stencil known to science,
according to a new study published
overnight in the journal Nature.
These are more than 100
Indonesian cave drawings that have
been known since 1950. In 2011,
scientists noticed some strange
outcroppings called “cave popcorn”
on the drawings. Those mineral
deposits would make it possible to
use the new technology of uranium
decay dating to figure out how old
the art is. So they tested the cave
popcorn that had grown over the
stencils that would give a minimum
age. It was near 40,000 years.
“ Whoa, it was not expected,”
recalled study lead author Maxime
Aubert, an archaeologist and
geochemist at Griffith University in
Looking at the paintings, the
details on the animal drawings are
“really, really well-made,” Aubert
said in a telephone inter view from
Jakarta, Indonesia. “ Then when
you look at it in context that
it’s really 40,000 years old, it’s
Paleoanthropologist John Shea
of Stony Brook University in New
York, who was not part of the study,
called this an important discovery
that changes what science thought
about early humans and art.
Before this discovery, experts
had a Europe-centric view of how,
when and where humans started
art, Aubert said. Knowing when
art started is important because “it
kind of defines us as a species,” he
Because the European and Asian
art are essentially the same age,
it either means art developed
separately and simultaneously in
different parts of the world or
“more likely that when humans left
Africa 65,000 years ago they were
already evolved with the capacity
to make paintings,” Aubert said.
Ancient art has not been found
much in Africa because the geology
does not preser ve it.
Shea and others lean toward the
earlier art theory.
“ What this tells us is that when
humans began moving out of
Africa they were not all that
different from us in terms of their
abilities to use art and symbol,”
Shea said in an e-mail. “ Inasmuch
as many of us would have difficulty
replicating such paintings, they may
even have been our superiors in this
respect.” — AFP-AP
Twin brothers whose decomposing
remains were found in recliner chairs in
their Tennessee home earlier this year
died from heart disease and diabetes,
authorities said overnight.
Results of autopsies and toxicology
released by the
Chattanooga Police Department show
Anthony Larry Johnson died as a result
of arteriosclerotic heart disease. Shortly
after ward, his twin, Andrew Gary
Johnson, died of diabetes mellitus.
Andrew Johnson had been relying on
his brother to monitor glucose levels and
insulin dosage because he was disabled
and had severe vision problems, said
Officer Tim McFarland, Chattanooga
police spokesman. So when Anthony
Johnson died, his brother could not treat
his illness, and he died too.
The exact time between the brothers’
deaths was not immediately released.
The skeletal remains of the 63-year-
old twins were found in their home on
March 29. Police went to the home after
being asked to check on the brothers
by a relative who had a key. Officers
found the bodies sitting in recliners
in the living room. Officials said their
conditions suggested both men had
been dead since 2011.
Autopsies revealed no signs of foul
The Johnsons’ bodies were found
just a few weeks after the mummified
remains of a woman were found in the
garage of a suburban Detroit home.
Both that case and the Johnson mystery
prompted conversations about how well
Americans keep in touch with their
After the Johnsons’ bodies were
found, neighbours said they had not
seen the brothers in at least a couple
of years. They said the Johnsons kept
to themselves and did not associate
with others in Chattanooga’s Hixson
community. They might be seen working
on their lawns wearing surgical masks or
going for groceries together. But blinds
blocked any view into the white house in
a quiet, hilly neighbourhood of one- and
The Johnsons’ house remained dark,
with no exterior lighting, even at night,
Police made a welfare check on them
in 2011 at the request of a relative, but
found nothing untoward to lead them
to break into the house. They said a
relative told them that it would not be
surprising if the twins moved without
telling anyone in the family. Some just
assumed the house was vacant.
Although the Johnson brothers
had stopped cutting their own grass,
neighbours said it kept getting cut. At
the time, neighbours said they did not
know who maintained it, whether a
neighbourhood volunteer, relative or
A note inside the mailbox indicated
that mail delivery had stopped because
the postal ser vice thought the Johnson
brothers had moved. — AP
Twins found dead in chairs after three years
PICTURE: Getty Images
A United States F-15E fighter-bomber.
US mum on crashed fighter’s mission
A United States Air Force
fighter aircraft crashed into a field
in eastern England overnight but
the pilot was safe after ejecting
from the aircraft.
Police said they were alerted
by members of the public that a
jet had come down in a field in
Lincolnshire about 2.30pm local
“We can confirm itis aUSAir
Force F-15,” captain Carolyn
Glover, a spokeswoman for the
US Air Force in Europe, said by
telephone. “ We can also confirm
that the pilot is safe.”
Pictures published by local
newspapers showed an aircraft
in flames with plumes of smoke
rising above a field of green crops.
Glover declined to say where
the F-15 had been heading to.
Sean Gough, an eye witness
quoted by the BBC, said he heard
a loud roaring noise and noticed a
pilot ejecting from the plane.
No details were immediately
available on the cause of the
crash. — Reuters
An Austrian primary school has
dropped yoga classes for children after
a mother argued that yoga goes against
Yoga teacher Ingrid Karner says
she was told to stop classes at the
school in the south-eastern village of
Dechantskirchen after a complaint “that
it’s not allowed, according to the Bible.”
School principal Maria Hofer told the
Die Kleine Zeitung newspaper that no
parents complained when courses started
this year. But she says they were stopped
after the unidentified mother said even
the word “yoga . . . had negative effects.”
School inspector Helga Thomann says
schools should not offer anything linked
to “esoteric” practices.
Yoga has its origins in Hinduism and
Buddhism. While some forms retain
strong links with those religions, others
have become widely accepted as physical
and mental therapy. — AP
Yoga ‘against Christian teachings’
Pink Floyd’s first studio album in
two decades will be without estranged
former member Roger Waters, but one
vocalist from the last record is staying on
— physicist Stephen Hawking.
Song credits leaked on to the internet
of Pink Floyd’s The Endless River —
one of the year’s most eagerly anticipated
new albums, out on November 7 — list
a song with the acclaimed scientist
entitled Talkin’ Hawkin’.
Hawking, who is paralysed due to
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also
appeared on the conceptual rock legends’
last album, The Division Bell.
On the 1994 album’s song Keep
voice begins by saying: “For millions
of years, mankind lived just like the
animals. Then something happened
which unleashed the power of our
The song credits for The Endless
River, earlier reported by the music site
Consequence of Sound, also showed
that keyboardist Richard Wright wrote
or co-wrote 12 of the 18 songs even
though he died in 2008.
The album does not include Waters
the driving force behind the classic
album The Wall during whose recording
Wright left the band. Waters quit Pink
Floyd in 1985 and has been dismissive of
his former bandmates’ subsequent work.
In a recent posting on Facebook,
Waters described Pink Floyd as
consisting of remaining band members
David Gilmour and Nick Mason.
“I have nothing to do with Endless
River. Phew! This is not rocket science
people, get a grip,” he wrote. — AFP
features on new
Pink Floyd album
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