Home' Greymouth Star : December 11th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, December 11, 2014
A South African judge has cleared
the way for prosecutors to seek a
murder conviction against Oscar
Pistorius, enabling an appeal that could
dramatically increase his punishment for
killing his girlfriend.
Prosecutors welcomed the decision,
which could see the Paralympian star
sprinter receive a jail term of at least 15
years if the appeal is approved rather
than the five years he was sentenced to
“O ur argument was that he should
have been convicted of murder, and
then would have been sentenced to a
minimum sentence of 15 years,” the
National Prosecuting Authority’s Nathi
Original trial judge Thokozile Masipa
granted prosecutors the leave to appeal,
saying she could not rule out the
prospect that a challenge would succeed
in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Pistorius, 28, said he shot his model
girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times
through a locked toilet door in the
early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013,
believing she was an intruder.
Prosecutors argued that he deliberately
killed the 29-year-old law graduate after
an argument, and were furious that he
could spend less than a year behind bars
if granted home leave.
A lawyer representing Steenkamp’s
parents Barry and June said the couple
felt that “justice must run its course —
they ’re out of it now ”.
“ Really it ’s got nothing to do with
them at this time,” Dup de Bruyn said.
“They don’t even want to try to
influence it or say anything about it.
They want to carry on with their lives,
it ’s as simple as that actually.”
The double-amputee athlete’s father
Henke Pistorius said outside the court:
“It should not have gone this far.”
Legal experts welcomed the ruling.
“ I was at the National Prosecuting
Authority in Johannesburg when the
decision came through, and the feeling is
that it was critical to get leave to appeal
in order to restore faith in our ability to
prosecute criminals,” Martin Hood, a
criminal lawyer based in Johannesburg,
“ I think that would be the general
feeling of the legal community, because
we need to know that our prosecution
can do its job and can do it properly. ”
Pistorius, who celebrated his 28th
birthday last month, has been ser ving
his sentence in a central Pretoria prison
since October. D ue to his physical
disability, he is being held in the hospital
ward of the prison, shielding him from
the often brutal overcrowded cells,
known for gang violence. — AFP
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A group of Russian designers
have scrapped a planned light
installation modelled on the all-
seeing evil eye in J R R Tolkien’s
fantasy novels after the Russian
Orthodox Church protested.
The group had planned to raise
what resembles a giant glowing
eye on the 21st floor of a Moscow
skyscraper to celebrate the local
release of the final part of Peter
Jackson’s movie adaptation of The
In Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and
also in the subsequent Lord of
the Rings trilogy, the Eye of
Sauron is a giant flaming eye
controlled by the “dark lord”
Sauron, which allows him to
watch anyone who puts on the
fateful, power-giving ring.
But the Russian Orthodox
Church’s head of public affairs,
Vsevolod Chaplin, objected
to what he called a “demonic
symbol” in an inter view with
Govorit Moskva radio station.
“Such a symbol of the triumph
of evil is rising up over the city,
becoming practically the highest
object in the city. Is that good or
bad? I’m afraid it ’s more likely
bad. Just don’t be surprised later
if something goes wrong with the
city,” Chaplin warned overnight.
The city authorities then also
reacted, saying that the Eye of
Sauron could require planning
“ Unfortunately we are forced to
stop the ‘eye of Sauron’ project,”
the group of designers called
Svecheniye, or Radiance, wrote
on Facebook, saying they did not
expect “such a public reaction”.
“The project doesn’t have a
religious or political subtext.
And not wanting any kind of
negativity, we are stopping our
preparations for the project,”
it said, posting a picture of Ian
McKellen playing wise wizard
Gandalf in Jackson’s films.
The installation was planned as
a 10m sphere with a light show
projecting from behind to create a
3D effect on a 21-storey tower in
Moscow ’s business district.
A plan to erect a light installation of the eye of Sauron, as seen in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
films, has been scrapped.
Church’s complaint ends ‘all-seeing eye’ plans
Japanese prosecutors charged a 68-year-
old woman with murder, weeks after she
was arrested on suspicion of poisoning
her husband, one of at least six men who
have died while in a relationship with her
over the past 20 years.
Chisako Kakehi has denied respon-
sibility for the deaths.
Kyoto district prosecutors indicted
Kakehi in the death of her 75-year-old
husband, Isao, according to NHK public
television. He died in December 2013, a
month after they married. Police found
cyanide in his body and arrested Kakehi
She was dubbed the ‘ black widow ’ by
local media, after her arrest.
Kyodo News agency said investigators
found traces of cyanide in a small packet
buried in dirt in a plant pot that Kakehi
had attempted to throw away, but have
not determined if or how she obtained
Police have said they suspect insurance
claims or inheritance money could be
the motive in the killings. Other cases
are still under investigation. Cyanide was
also found in the blood of a 71-year-old
partner who died in 2012 — a death
initially attributed to heart failure.
Kakehi reportedly married at least three
times and had relationships with three
other men who died. All died within a
few years of starting relationships with
her, all in western Japan. — AP
Japanese ‘black widow’ charged with murder
All senior United States officials and
Central Intelligence Agency staff who
authorised or carried out torture, such
as waterboarding, as part of former
President George W Bush’s national
security policy must be prosecuted, top
United Nations officials say.
It is not clear, however, how human
rights officials think these prosecutions
will take place, since the Justice
Department has declined to prosecute
and the US is not a member of the
International Criminal Court.
Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the UN high
commissioner for human rights, said it
is “crystal clear” under international law
that the United States, which ratified
the UN Convention Against Torture in
1994, now has an obligation to ensure
“In all countries, if someone commits
murder, they are prosecuted and jailed.
If they commit rape or armed robbery,
they are prosecuted and jailed. If
they order, enable or commit torture
recognized as a serious international
crime, they cannot simply be granted
impunity because of political
expediency,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
hopes the US Senate Intelligence
Committee report on the CIA’s harsh
interrogation techniques at secret
overseas facilities is the “start of a
process” toward prosecutions, because
the “prohibition against torture is
absolute,” Ban’s spokesman said.
Ben Emmerson, the UN’s special
rapporteur on counterterrorism and
human rights, said the report released
yesterday showed “there was a clear
policy orchestrated at a high level within
the Bush administration, which allowed
(it) to commit systematic crimes and
gross violations of international human
rights law ”.
He said international law prohibits
granting immunity to public officials
who allow the use of torture, and
this applies not just to the actual
perpetrators but also to those who plan
and authorise torture.
Human Rights Watch executive
Kenneth Roth echoed
those comments, saying “unless this
important truth-telling process leads
to the prosecution of officials, torture
will remain a ‘policy option’ for future
The report said that in addition to
waterboarding, the US tactics included
slamming detainees against walls,
confining them to small boxes, keeping
them isolated for prolonged periods
and threatening them with death.
However, a Justice Department
official said overnight the department
did not intend to revisit its decision
to not prosecute anyone for the
interrogation methods. The official
said the department had reviewed the
committee’s report and did not find any
new information that would cause the
investigation to be reopened.
The United States is also not part of the
International Criminal Court, which
began operating in 2002 to ensure that
those responsible for the most heinous
crimes could be brought to justice. That
court steps in only when countries are
unwilling or unable to dispense justice
themselves for genocide, crimes against
humanity or war crimes.
The case could be referred to the ICC
by the UN Security Council, but the
United States holds veto power there.
Calls for CIA
Doctors, nurses and others
fighting Ebola have been named
Time’s 2014 ‘person of the year’,
the magazine announced.
Ferguson, Missouri, protesters;
Russian President Vladimir Putin;
Kurdish Regional Government
President Massoud Barzani; and
Jack Ma, the China-based founder
of e-commerce giant Alibaba.
In an article on the Time website,
editor Nancy Gibbs praised “the
people in the field, the special
forces of Doctors Without
Borders-Medecins Sans Frontieres
(MSF), the Christian medical-
relief workers of Samaritan’s Purse
and many others from all over the
world” who “fought side by side
with local doctors and nurses,
ambulance drivers and burial
Gibbs noted that the disease also
struck doctors and nurses.
“The rest of the world can sleep
at night because a group of men
and women are willing to stand
and fight,” she wrote.
“ For tireless acts of courage and
mercy, for buying the world time
to boost its defences, for risking,
for persisting, for sacrificing
and saving, the Ebola fighters
are Time’s 2014 person of the
Antoine Petibon, head of
international programmes for
the French Red Cross, which
has been active in anti-Ebola
efforts in the French-speaking
country of Guinea, called it “great
recognition for all these people
who have been toiling in the
“If it helps us wipe out this
epidemic faster, all the better,”
Pope Francis was last year’s
person of the year. — AP
Ebola doctors, nurses Time’s ‘person of the year’
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee
David Hicks has heckled federal
Attorney-General George Brandis at an
awards ceremony in Sydney, calling him
He also accused the Howard
government of having full knowledge
of his alleged torture at the notorious
United States facility.
Mr Hicks and his father Terry were at
the Human Rights Awards supporting
their long-time barrister Stephen Kenny
who was nominated for an award.
“ Hey, my name is David Hicks,” he
shouted, as Senator Brandis wrapped up
his address yesterday evening.
“ I was tortured for five-and-a -half
years in Guantanamo Bay in the full
knowledge of your party. What do you
have to say?”
As Senator Brandis walked off the
stage at the Museum of Contemporary
Arts, Mr Hicks told reporters he was a
coward for not answering his question.
“He’s run away,” he said.
The incident came a day after a United
States Senate Intelligence Committee
released a scathing report into the CIA’s
torture of al-Qaeda suspects.
The report said the controversial
programme was far more brutal than
acknowledged and did not produce
useful intelligence. — AAP
prisoner heckles official
For the first time since Monaco
was founded in the 13th century,
its royal family gave birth to twins
today, and cannons were fired to
Monaco’s Princess Charlene had
a girl first and a boy second, but
the boy will be the principality’s
future ruler, reflecting the male
priority of Monaco’s laws of
The royal twins Gabriella Therese
Marie and Jacques Honore Rainier
— born to Charlene, 36, and Prince
Albert II, 56 — are heirs to the
centuries-old Grimaldi dynasty
that rules the wealthy principality.
Gabriella was born this morning,
followed by her brother Jacques
two minutes later, according to a
Monaco is a two square kilometre
enclave of ritzy apartments and
luxury shops on the French Riviera
with a population of about 30,000.
Albert, son of the late American
actress Princess Grace, had some
subjects worried by his long
bachelorhood and his lack of
an heir since his two previous
children were born out of wedlock
and not eligible for the throne.
Then the prince married Charlene
Wittstock, a Zimbabwe-born,
South Africa-raised former
Olympic swimmer, in 2011.
Now the tiny royal state on the
Riviera has two reasons to rejoice.
“This is going to create an
immense joy. Immense,” Monaco
resident Isabelle Roux said. “ They
are awaited like the Messiah ...
Everyone is talking only about
that.” — AP
Twin boy to succeed Monaco throne
Researchers unveiled overnight what
they called the most scientifically
rigorous estimate to date of the amount
of plastic litter in the oceans — about
269,000 tonnes — based on data from 24
ship expeditions around the globe over six
“There’s much more plastic pollution
out there than recent estimates suggest,”
Marcus Eriksen, research director for the
Los Angeles-based 5 Gyres Institute,
which studies this kind of pollution, said.
“It ’s everything you can imagine made
of plastic,” Eriksen, who led the study
published in the scientific journal Plos
One, added. “It ’s like Walmart or Target
Some 92% of the plastic comes in the
form of “microplastic” — particles from
larger items made brittle by sunlight and
pounded to pieces by waves, bitten by
sharks and other fish or other wise torn
apart, Eriksen said.
Experts have sounded the alarm in
recent years over how plastic pollution is
killing huge numbers of seabirds, marine
mammals and other creatures while
sullying ocean ecosystems.
Some plastic objects like discarded
fishing nets kill by entangling dolphins,
sea turtles and other animals. Plastic
fragments also lodge in the throats and
digestive tracts of marine animals.
The researchers said plastic litter enters
the oceans from rivers and heavily
populated coastal regions as well as from
vessels navigating shipping lanes.
Larger plastic objects, abundant near
coastlines, often float into the world’s
five subtropical gyres — big regions of
spinning currents in the north and south
Pacific, north and south Atlantic and
Indian Ocean. In the middle of these
gyres, plastic trash has accumulated into
huge ‘garbage patches’ that act as ‘‘giant
blenders — shredders that eviscerate
plastic from large pieces to microplastics,”
The study, based on data from
expeditions to all five subtropical gyres,
coastal Australia, the Bay of Bengal
and the Mediterranean Sea, estimated
that there are 5.25 trillion particles of
plastic litter. Tiny plastic particles, down
to the size of a sand grain, have fanned
out through the oceans and reach even
remote polar regions. — Reuters
269,000 tonnes of plastic
in oceans — researchers
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