Home' Greymouth Star : November 21st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, November 21, 2014
Almost 1000 people have been killed
in Ukraine since a ceasefire came into
effect in September, an average of 13
people a day, the United Nations said
today, as the conflict in the east drags
As the report was published,
international monitors from the
Organisation for Security and Co-
operation in Europe (OSCE) mission
in the former Soviet state said one of
their teams had been shot at by a man
While the OSCE described
yesterday’s incident as “isolated”, it
highlights continuing high tensions
in eastern Ukraine, where government
forces and pro-Russian rebels are
fighting a drawn-out battle for
The Kremlin denies Western and
Ukrainian accusations that it is
backing the separatist rebels with
troops and military equipment but
diplomatic relations have plunged to a
low not seen since the Cold War over
the seven-month conflict.
United States Vice President Joe
Biden was due in Kiev ahead of
today ’s anniversary of the start of the
Maidan protests against the former
pro-Kremlin regime that eventually
led to the conflict in the east.
The report from the UN Human
Rights Monitoring Mission in
Ukraine put the number of dead at
957 from September 5, when the
ceasefire was signed, to November 18.
“The list of victims keeps growing.
Civilians, including women, children,
minorities and a range of vulnerable
individuals and groups continue
to suffer the consequences of the
political stalemate in Ukraine,” UN
High Commissioner for Human
Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in
Counting the 298 people who died
in the downing of Malaysia Airlines
flight MH17 over Ukraine in July,
the overall toll since mid-April, when
fighting started, stood at 4317 deaths
as of Tuesday.
The report also detailed grave human
rights abuses on both sides.
One Ukrainian soldier said his right
arm, bearing a Glory to Ukraine
tattoo, had been chopped off with an
axe by rebels.
A separatist detained by Ukrainian
forces in Donetsk said he had been
suffocated with a plastic bag and
It also highlighted the huge volume
of people registered as displaced
within Ukraine by the conflict, with
the number soaring from 275,489
in mid-September to 466,829 as of
yesterday. — AAP
Nearly 1000 killed during so-called ‘truce’ in Ukraine
Nations meeting in Berlin have
pledged $US9.3 billion ($NZ11.8
billion) for a climate fund to help poor
countries cut emissions and prepare for
The total is just shy of a $10b target,
but aid agency Oxfam called the total
amount “a bare minimum” compared to
the $10-15b it and developing countries
had called for.
The agency noted that Australia,
Austria, Belgium, Canada and Ireland
had not yet made any pledge.
The South Korea-based Green
Climate Fund (GCF) aims to help
developing nations invest in clean
energy and green technology and
build up defences against rising seas
and worsening storms, floods and
Out of over 30 countries at the
meeting, 21 made pledges that added up
to “the largest amount the international
community has ever mobilised for a
dedicated climate finance mechanism”,
the fund said.
The money will be used as grants or
loans to help poor countries finance
projects such as solar and wind farms,
planting trees or disaster-proofing
Hela Cheikhrouhou, the fund ’s
executive director, said the money would
be spent equally on climate change
adaptation and reducing emissions,
much of it for vulnerable small
island nations and Africa’s poorest
She said raising the billions in
pledges had created renewed trust and
enthusiasm ahead of international talks
in Peru next month, and in France a
year later, on slashing worldwide carbon
The United States had already pledged
$3b and Japan $1.5b.
Germany and France have promised
$1b each, Britain more than $1.1 b and
Sweden more than $500 million.
Other countries that have made
pledges include the Czech Republic,
Denmark, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nor way, South Korea and Switzerland.
Billions for climate fund
New satellite imagery suggests North Korea
may be firing up a facility for processing
It comes as Pyongyang threatened a fresh
nuclear test today in response to United
Nations condemnation of its rights record.
The images show steam rising from a
re-processing plant at the North’s main
Yongbyon nuclear complex — a sign
consistent with maintenance and testing
prior to commencing operations, the US-
Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University
said on its 38 North website.
The facility is used to reprocess spent fuel
from the five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon
that is North Korea’s main source of weapons
The latest satellite pictures indicate the
reactor has been shut down for 10 weeks —
longer than required for routine maintenance.
While warning it was still early to reach
a definitive conclusion, the institute said
evidence suggested the shutdown may have
allowed the removal of a limited number of
fuel rods for possible re-processing.
The new analysis coincided with fresh
threats from Pyongyang to carry out a new
underground nuclear test following the
UN adoption of a landmark resolution that
condemns North Korean rights abuses.
Passed by 111 votes to 19, with 55
abstentions, the resolution also asked the UN
Security Council to refer the North Korean
leadership to the International Criminal
Court (ICC) for possible charges of crimes
The resolution was slammed as counter-
productive by Russia, which also shrugged
off reports that Pyongyang may be firing
up a facility to process weapons-grade
In a statement carried yesterday by North
Korea’s official KCNA news agency, a
foreign ministry spokesman rejected the
resolution as a “fraud” and accused the
United States of leading efforts to humiliate
Pyongyang in front of the international
“This aggression by the US is leaving us
unable to further refrain from staging a new
nuclear test,” the spokesman said.
“O ur military deterrence will be beefed
up limitlessly to guard against US military
inter vention and attempts for armed
invasion,” he added.
South Korea said its military was on
stand-by and a defence ministry spokesman
warned that Seoul would “not tolerate any
provocation”. — AAP
Signs point to North Korea preparing bomb material
The injuries U2 singer Bono
suffered in a recent bicycle
accident are much more serious
than first reported.
It was originally reported that
the Irish rocker had injured his
But it turns out it was not only
his arm that felt the full impact
of the “high energy bicycle
The singer’s doctor says Bono
sustained facial fractures that
included his eye socket, three
breaks in his shoulder blade, a
compound fracture of the elbow
and a broken left hand.
“On November 16, Bono was
involved in a high energy bicycle
accident when he attempted to
avoid another rider. Presented
as a trauma alert to New York
Emergency Department, his trauma
work-up at that time included
multiple x-rays and cat scans,” the
statement from Dr Den Lorich said.
Rolling Stone magazine also
reports that Bono initially had a five
hour operation to repair the breaks
followed by a second operation on
Monday on his hand.
Luckily, a full recovery is expected;
however Dr Lorich says the
frontman will have to undergo
intensive and progressive therapy.
A list of Bono’s injuries
Left facial fracture involving the
orbit of his eye.
Left scapula (shoulder blade)
fracture in three separate pieces.
Left compound distal humerus
fracture where the bone of his
humerus was driven though his skin
and the bone was in six different
One day later, he had surgery to
his left hand to repair a fracture of
his 5th metacarpal (finger bone).
Bono suffers in tumble
Mike Nichols, the director of 1967 classic
The Graduate, has died suddenly after
suffering a heart attack.
He was 83 years old.
The German-born United States film-maker
was one of only 12 people to win all four
major US entertainment awards — an Emmy,
Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
He also received Academy Awards nods
for Working Girl, The Remains of the Day,
Silkwood and Who’s Afraid of Virginia
His final movie, 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War,
starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts
James Goldston, the president of ABC
News, announced Nichols’ death.
He described the film-maker, who was
married to ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, as a
“ No one was more passionate about his craft
than Mike,” he added.
Nichols had apparently been working on
a new project for HBO — an adaptation of
Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play
Master Class, based on the life of opera singer
Meryl Streep was thought to have been
involved in the production.
Born in Germany in 1931 as Mikhail Igor
Peschkowsky, Nichols fled to the US after
escaping Nazi Germany with his family at the
age of seven.
His initial love for theatre grew when he
attended the University of Chicago in the
early Fifties and he later joined a comedy
troupe with Elaine May — a
partnership that became the
catalyst to his career in the
He is sur vived by his
Diane, children Daisy,
Max and Jenny, and four
A private ser vice and a
memorial is expected to take
place this week.
Nichols collaborated with
and influenced an array of
show business legends. Here,
friends and peers remember
“An inspiration and joy
to know, a director who cried
when he laughed, a friend
without whom, well, we
can’t imagine our world, an
indelible irreplaceable man.”
— Meryl Streep
“’For ward. We must
always move for ward.
Other wise what will become
of us?’ Said Mike Nichols,
who changed the lives of
those who knew him, who
loved him, who will miss him
so.” — Tom Hanks
“Mike was a friend, a
muse, a mentor, one of America’s all-time
greatest film and stage directors, and one of
the most generous people I have ever known.
For me, The Graduate was life altering both as
an experience at the movies as well as a master
class about how to stage a scene. Mike had a
brilliant cinematic eye and uncanny hearing
for keeping scenes ironic and real. Actors
never gave him less than their personal best
always and then Mike would get from them
even more. And in a room full of people,
Mike was always the centre of gravity,
attention. This is a seismic loss.” — Steven
Spielberg. — AP
Mike Nichols, and a scene from his classic The Graduate.
Director Mike Nichols dies aged 83
A class of drugs used for three decades
by people infected with the virus that
causes Aids may be effective in treating
a leading cause of blindness among the
HIV drugs called nucleoside reverse
including AZT and three others, blocked
age-related macular degeneration in
mice and worked well in experiments
involving human retinal cells in the
laboratory, researchers said on Thursday.
In HIV-infected people, NRTIs block
an enzyme the virus uses to create
more copies of itself. The new research
shows the drugs also block the activity
of a biological pathway responsible for
activating inflammatory processes in the
It is that previously unrecognized
quality that makes NRTIs promising for
treating macular degeneration as well as
graft-versus-host disease, a rarer ailment
that can occur after a stem cell or bone
marrow transplant, the researchers said.
Ambati, who led the study published
in the journal Science, said macular
degeneration affects an estimated 50
million people worldwide.
“ With the ageing of the population, it
is projected to affect 200 million people
by the year 2020. It is therefore critical
that we develop new and improved
treatments for this disease, which is
growing like an epidemic,” Ambati said.
Macular degeneration causes cells
to die in the macula, a part of the eye
located near the centre of the retina that
permits vision in fine detail.
The chronic disease has two forms: dry
and wet. Several treatments exist for wet
macular degeneration but only about a
third of patients get significant vision
improvement. There are no approved
treatments for the dry form, which is
much more common but less severe.
The wet type occurs when abnormal
blood vessels grow under the macula
and leak blood and fluid. The dry form
occurs when cells in the macula break
In the new study, the NRTIs blocked a
powerful collection of proteins that can
kill cells in the retina, preserving vision
Researchers are planning for clinical
trials in the coming months and it could
be known in as soon as two to three
years whether the drugs are effective in
treating macular degeneration in people,
Because these inexpensive drugs are
already approved by the US Food and
Drug Administration and have a good
safety record, they could be ‘repurposed’
rapidly to treat other illnesses, he added.
HIV drug may cure blindness
A gunman wounded three Florida
State University (FSU) students, one
critically, early today when he opened
fire in a library where hundreds of
students were studying for exams,
Officers confronted the attacker
soon after 12.30am near the entrance
to Florida State’s Strozier Library in
the latest of a string of shootings
on United States campuses. Police
said they ordered him to drop his
weapon, then fatally shot him when
he fired on them.
Authorities have not released the
identity of the male shooter or the
names of the three students who were
shot. One was treated at the scene
for a graze wound and released, and
two were taken to a local hospital,
Tallahassee police said.
One victim was critical and the
other was in good condition, said
a spokeswoman at Tallahassee
Memorial Healthcare hospital.
Police were investigating the
“Just like any tragedy, the ultimate
question — why? — will never have
an answer that satisfies those whose
loved ones have been injured or
killed,” Florida Governor Rick Scott
at a news conference said.
Campus security was increased and
classes were canceled yesterday.
FSU President John Thrasher said
efforts were under way to restore
normalcy to the campus of about
40,000 students, known nationally
for the strength of its football team
and academics, with weekend events
to continue as scheduled.
He said the training of police, who
responded immediately, helped to
“diffuse a very, very difficult situation
that could have been probably
The shooting occurred just over a
mile (1.6km) from the Florida state
Lauren said that she was in the
library at the time of the shooting.
“ We heard the gunshots and then
it was in a matter of seconds the
entire first floor just seemed to go
into chaos,” Lauren said, her voice
“It was very scary. I’m just more
heartbroken than anything else. FSU
means a lot to me.”
Five officers involved were placed
on administrative leave.
heightened concerns about safety
at US schools and a long-running,
heated debate about gun control.
In September, a student at Indiana
State University was arrested after
shooting another student inside a
residence hall. In June, a gunman
opened fire with a shotgun at a small
Christian college in Seattle, killing
one person and wounding two others.
A 15-year-old killed four other
students last month in the cafeteria
of a Seattle-area high school
before turning the gun on himself.
The north-eastern United States is bracing
for another bout of potentially deadly
weather, after a rare, mid-autumn blizzard
killed at least eight people.
The pre-winter storm this week dumped
more than 1.8m of snow in some areas,
including the hard hit city of Buffalo in the
western part of New York state.
Forecasters have predicted that the wintry
deluge could set a record for the heaviest
snowfall ever in the United States in a 24-
hour time span.
The National Weather Ser vice in its
bulletin today said an extra 60 to 90cm of
‘ lake effect snow ’, created when frigid air
moves over warm lake waters, could fall
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who
travelled to Buffalo for a first-hand look,
said at a press conference that it may even be
necessary to cancel an NFL football game on
Sunday between the local Buffalo Bills and
the New York Jets — sacrilege in a sport that
many fans insist is most enjoyable when the
weather is at its worst.
“Everybody would love to see a Bills game
go forward, but I think even more, everybody
wants to make sure public safety comes first,”
“At this point in time, doing what we have
to do with the driving ban and everything we
just said — staying off the roads — would
make a Bills game impractical,” he said.
The snow advisory will remain in effect
through to tomorrow after weather watchers
warned of treacherous conditions, including
near-zero visibility, and even the possibility
of thundersnow — snow with thunder and
The snowfall is equivalent to around
another year’s supply of snow in just two
days and could yet prompt a federal disaster
declaration, local officials said. — A AP
A scheduled game this weekend may be cancelled after an unprecedented snowfall left
an estimated 220,000 tons of snow in the Buffalo Bulls home stadium and car parks.
Another year’s worth of
snow expected to fall
A Palestinian has
confessed to deliberately
running down three
soldiers outside a West
Bank refugee camp,
which he initially claimed
was an accident, police
“D uring interrogation
by the Shin Bet (security
ser vice), Hamam
to running down the
soldiers as part of a
planned attack,” a police
statement said of the
November 5 incident in
which the soldiers were
It added that the
accused was an activist in
Islamist militant group
himself in the day after
the night-time attack
insisting it had been a
Police said the 23-year-
old driver, from a
village near Hebron was
expected to be charged
within the next few days.
They said he told
interrogators he was
influenced by a hit-and-
run attack earlier on
November 5 in which
a Palestinian from east
Jerusalem ran down a
group of pedestrians
in the city killing a
In that incident, the
driver was shot dead by
police at the scene.
he was also angered by
images from Israel’s
bloody summer war in
Gaza, police said.
The attack on the
soldiers was the third of
its kind in a fortnight.
On October 22, another
Palestinian rammed his
car into passengers at
a Jerusalem tram stop,
killing a young woman
and a baby.
He was shot dead by
police as he attempted to
flee on foot. — AAP
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