Home' Greymouth Star : January 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, January 19, 2015
Seven million at Manila Mass
Pope Francis, left, leads a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila. Huge crowds converged on the park yesterday to see the Pope wrap up his Asian trip.
Pope Francis concluded his trip to Asia
yesterday with an open-air Mass for a
rain-drenched crowd in Manila that the
Vatican and the government said drew
up to seven million people, the largest on
record for a papal event.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico
Lombardi said the office of the president
told the Vatican that between six and
seven million attended the Mass in
Manila’s Rizal Park and surrounding
“ We are not able to count all these
people, obviously, or to verify this,
but in any case, we have seen so many
people that we believe that it is possible,”
Lombardi told a briefing.
“If this is true, and we think it is, this
is the largest event in the history of the
popes,” he said, noting that Pope John
Paul drew some five million to the same
area in 1995.
The 78-year-old Pope, wearing a
transparent yellow poncho over his white
cassock, was driven through the ecstatic
crowd in a “popemobile” modified from
a jeepney, the most popular mode of
transport in the Philippines which is
based on a United States military vehicle
used in World War Two.
He stopped often along the route to
kiss children and bless religious statues
on the day the Philippines celebrates the
feast of the infant Jesus. The faithful, also
wearing ponchos, held up rosaries in a
forest of uplifted arms as he passed by.
Some people in the capital of Asia’s
only predominantly Catholic country
had waited all night for gates to open
at dawn. The gates opened nine hours
before the start of the Mass, which
lasted nearly three hours.
In his homily, the Pope urged Filipinos
to shun “social structures which
perpetuate poverty, ignorance and
corruption,” a theme he stressed when
he held talks with President Benigno
Aquino on Friday. Aquino attended the
Pope Francis also took another swipe
at the government ’s population control
efforts, saying the family was under
threat from “insidious attacks and
programmes contrary to all that we hold
true and sacred.”
The Pope’s last full day in the
Philippines began with an emotional
youth gathering at a Catholic university
in Manila, where he was moved by a
question posed by a 12-year-old girl who
had been abandoned.
“Many children are abandoned by their
parents. Many of them became victims
and bad things have happened to them,
like drug addiction and prostitution.
Why does God allow this to happen,
even if the children are not at fault? Why
is it that only a few people help us?” the
girl, Glyzelle Iris Palomar, asked him.
The girl, who was rescued and found
shelter in a Church-run community,
broke down in tears and could not finish
her prepared welcome. The Pope hugged
her and later put aside most of his own
prepared speech to respond.
“ Why do children suffer?” the
Argentinian Pope said, speaking in
his native Spanish. An aide translated
his words into English for the crowd
of about 30,000 young people on the
grounds of the Church-run university.
“I invite each one of you to ask
yourselves, ‘Have I learned how to weep
. . . whenIseeahungrychild,achild
on the street who uses drugs, a homeless
child, an abandoned child, an abused
child, a child that society uses as a
slave’?” he said.
Children can be seen living on the
streets of the Philippine capital, as they
often do in many poor Asian countries,
sur viving by begging and picking
through garbage in vast dumps.
The United Nations says 1.2 million
children live on the streets in the
Philippines. According to the Child
Protection Network Foundation, 35.1%
of children were living in poverty
in 2009, the last year such data was
available. Nearly 33% of Filipinos live in
slums. — Reuters
Abandoned girl prompts papal plea
After closing for its annual
maintenance period in early
January, the London Eye
reopened at the weekend as the
Coca-Cola London Eye.
The sponsorship deal means
each pod of the Eye has Coca-
Cola branding inside, staff wear
red tops with Coca-Cola stamped
on the back, security staff wear
branded beanie hats, all the cafes
in the ticket office have large
Coca-Cola posters, and the wheel
no longer shines blue at night, but
The move has concerned
medical professionals and
children’s charities. As
co-ordinator of the Children’s
Food Campaign, Malcolm
Clark and his team of volunteers
handed out 500 toothbrushes
yesterday — the same as the
number of children aged five to
nine admitted to hospital every
week due to tooth decay.
“It ’s totally inappropriate for
a major family attraction to be
sponsored by a sugary drinks
company. Soft drinks are the
largest source of sugar in children
and teenagers’ diets, associated
with weight gain and obesity,
diabetes, heart disease and poor
dental health. ”
Professor Simon Capewell from
the University of Liverpool, vice-
president-elect at the Faculty of
Public Health, said the deal was
“sc andalous”. “ People no longer
tolerate sponsorship by tobacco
companies. Why on earth should
we tolerate sponsorship by a
sugary drinks company?”
Merlin Entertainment, which
owns the London Eye, says Coca-
Cola’s relationship with health is
not a concern. Sahrette Saayman,
Merlin’s communications officer,
said: “O ur customers are free to
consume what they want. Coca-
Cola will bring fun activities
to the London Eye, which is
something we’re looking for ward
to and delighted about.”
Coca-Cola Great Britain said:
“All of our drinks can be enjoyed
as part of a balanced diet and we
have taken a number of actions
to help people choose the best
drink for them and their families.
These include signing up to the
Government ’s responsibility deal
and committing to reduce the
calories in our drinks.” — AP-PA
Health advocates flat on Coke’s Eye deal
The new-look London Eye lit up in Coca-Cola red last week following the new sponsorship deal.
torched in Charlie
A violent mob has torched at least
seven churches in Niger’s capital Niamey
during fresh protests against Charlie
Hebdo magazine, as France’s president
stressed his commitment to “freedom of
With France still reeling from this
month’s deadly attacks that killed 17
people, jittery European countries
stepped up security, with soldiers
patrolling the streets of Belgium for the
first time in 35 years.
Anger mounted in several Muslim
countries over the satirical magazine’s
depiction of the prophet Mohammed,
with a second day of rioting erupting in
About 1000 youths wielding iron
bars, clubs and axes rampaged through
the city, hurling rocks at police, who
responded with teargas.
The French embassy in Niamey urged
its citizens to stay at home, the day after
a rally against Charlie Hebdo in the
country’s second city of Zinder left four
dead and 45 injured.
In his first reaction to the violence,
which also erupted in Pakistan on
Friday, President Francois Hollande
emphasised on Saturday that France was
committed to “freedom of expression”,
which was “non-negotiable”.
Some 15,000 people also rallied in
Russia’s Muslim North Caucasus region
of Ingushetia against Charlie Hebdo,
which depicted on its most recent cover
a weeping prophet holding a “Je suis
The deployment of troops in Belgium
came after security forces smashed
a suspected Islamist “terrorist ” cell
planning to kill police officers.
In London, authorities were mulling
“further measures” to protect police
“given some of the deliberate targeting
of the police we have seen in a number of
countries across Europe and the world”.
As authorities try to close the net on
jihadist cells around the world, Yemen
detained two Frenchmen for questioning
over suspected links to al Qaeda.
French and Belgian authorities were
grilling suspected accomplices both
of the Paris gunmen and the alleged
“terrorist ” cell raided in eastern Belgium.
Meanwhile, it emerged on Saturday
that Said Kouachi, one of the jihadist
brothers who gunned down 12 people at
Charlie Hebdo’s offices before being cut
down by security forces in a siege, has
already been buried in secret.
He was buried on Friday inan
unmarked grave in the eastern city of
Reims, where he lived for two years.
Altun Kopri (Iraq)
The Islamic State (IS) group has
released more than 200 mostly elderly
members of northern Iraq’s Yazidi
minority who had been held for
The Yazidis were freed on the front
line south-west of the city of Kirkuk
and met by Kurdish peshmerga forces
who brought them to a health centre in
Altun Kopri, on the road to the Kurdish
regional capital of Arbil.
According to officials from Kirkuk and
Arbil, the group was moved from Mosul
via Hawija and freed at the Khaled
entrance to Kirkuk on Saturday.
Dozens of Kurdish doctors and nurses
provided emergency care at the Altun
Kopri health centre, where Yazidis who
had heard the news started to mass at
the gates, hoping to be reunited with
IS spearheaded a June offensive that
began in Mosul and overran much of
Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland north and
west of Baghdad, sweeping security
After driving south toward Baghdad,
IS again turned its attention to the north,
pushing Kurdish forces back, killing and
capturing thousands of Yazidis and twice
besieging others on Mount Sinjar.
Officials said the mass release, the
largest of its kind, took them by surprise
and said there had been no co-ordination
“IS must have decided that they could
no longer feed them, look after them.
They were a burden,” Khodr Domli, a
leading Yazidi rights activist, said.
“IS saw that there was no benefit for
them in keeping these old people,” Vian
Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi
parliament who made a poignant appeal
to the international community for
assistance in August, said. —AFP
IS jihadists free
Yazidis in Iraq
five foreign nationals despite
international pressure, and pointed
bode well for Australia’s Myuran
Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
The Bali Nine pair, on death row
since 2005 for heroin smuggling,
are on the same list of 26 prisoners
that Indonesia has said it will
execute this year.
This weekend’s executions were
the first since 2013, and the first
under new president Joko Widodo
who maintains a hard line on drugs
despite being elected in October on
a reformist agenda.
The five foreigners — from Brazil,
the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi
and Nigeria — were shot dead
by a firing squad along with one
The international response has
been one of dismay, with Brazilian
President Dilma Roussef saying she
was “distressed and outraged” at the
execution of a countryman despite
repeated pleas for clemency.
Both Brazil and the Netherlands
are temporarily recalling their
ambassadors to Indonesia, and
human rights group Amnesty
International again urged Indonesia
to “ immediately halt plans to put
more people to death”.
Bill Shorten said yesterday the
executions were “dreadful news”.
He was also asked whether
Indonesia’s apparent willingness to
carry though with the executions —
irrespective of international fallout
or pressure — was a bad sign.
“ Well, when things are so
delicately in the balance one doesn’t
want to say anything to inflame it,”
“But again . . . I believe that
Australians no matter what
their political views, want to see
clemency extended to these young
Australians facing this dreadful
prospect of the death penalty.
“ We will work with the (Abbott)
government to make sure that
clemency is extended to Australians
who are facing this most dreadful
prospect in the coming days and
Earlier this month, Prime
Minister Tony Abbott said his
government would make “the
strongest possible representations”
to Indonesia seeking mercy for
Chan and Sukumaran, but said it
would be foolish to risk jeopardising
Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33,
were sentenced to death for their
part in a 2005 scheme to import
more than 8kg of heroin from
Indonesia to Australia.
Australia has long supported calls
for the pair to receive a presidential
pardon — the final avenue within
Indonesia’s legal system to escape
the death penalty.
Sukumaran had his bid for a pardon
formally denied last month, while
Chan is still waiting for the outcome
of his appeal. This is likely to delay
Sukumaran’s planned execution date
as Indonesian officials have said
the pair would be executed at the
same time, should Chan also not be
granted a pardon. — A AP
Executions bad sign for Bali Nine pair
Lottery staff arrest
over $18m win
An American lottery employee has
been arrested in the latest twist of the
strange case of an unclaimed $US14.4
million ($18.48 million) lottery jackpot.
The winning ticket in the Iowa lottery
was sold to an unknown man at a petrol
station in December 2010 but for an
entire year no one came for ward to claim
Just minutes before the one-year
deadline in 2011, a New York lawyer
arrived in Iowa with the winning ticket
and said the money belonged to an
Iowa lottery officials were suspicious
and the lawyer soon withdrew his claim,
meaning the money was forfeited.
Video footage of the man who bought
the winning ticket was released and the
public was asked to help identify him.
More than three years after the incident,
police have arrested Eddie Tipton, 51,
the security director of the Iowa-based
Multi-State Lottery Association, who
they say was the man in the footage.
Mr Tipton had access to confidential
information about the running of the
lottery and was therefore banned from
playing or winning.
But police are not saying whether they
believe he used his position to somehow
manipulate the system to ensure he was
able to buy the winning ticket.
The fraud charges related instead to
allegations that he bought the ticket
when he was not allowed to and that he
devised a complex scheme to try to claim
the money without revealing himself as
the winner. — AP-PA
Taiwanese internet addict
dies after gaming binge
A Taiwanese man has died after a
three-day gaming binge at an internet
cafe in the island’s south, the second
such case this year.
The 32-year-old, identified by his
family name Hsieh, was found slumped
in his chair in the cafe in Kaohsiung city.
Other patrons initially thought he was
sleeping, but when an employee realised
he was not breathing he was rushed to
hospital, where he was pronounced dead,
the Taipei Times reported.
Doctors said he had suffered cardiac
failure, ruling it a “sudden death” from
prolonged computer gaming, the report
“Hsieh was a regular customer here
and always played for consecutive days.
When tired, he would sleep face-down
on the table or doze off slumped in his
chair. That is why we were not aware
of his condition in the beginning,” the
employee was quoted as saying.
A 38-year-old man was found dead at
an internet cafe in New Taipei City on
January 1 following five days of video
Police said in both cases other patrons
appeared nonchalant, continuing playing
even when tables were cordoned off for
investigators to gather evidence. — A AP
Indian man tried to
bury daughter alive
Indian police have arrested a man
for allegedly trying to bury alive his
Neighbours alerted the police after
they saw Abul Hussain trying to bury
his daughter in a pit on Friday in the
backyard of home in the north-eastern
State of Tripura, local police official
Uttam Bhaumick said over the weekend.
“The neighbour said Abul Hussain tied
the girl’s hands, taped her mouth and
buried her till her neck,” Bhaumick said.
The man was arrested and charged
with attempted murder.
The girl was admitted to hospital and
her condition was serious, Bhaumick
The girl’s mother was not at home
when the incident took place.
Police cited neighbours saying Hussain
disliked having a girl.
Many Indian families consider girls
as economic burdens and sons as
breadwinners, which leads to abortions
of female foetuses or discrimination
against girls by denying them access to
education. — DPA
Eurostar resumes with delays
Eurostar will resume a full train ser vice
but with some delays, after disruptions
caused by a truck fire and an electrical
glitch in the Channel Tunnel between
Britain and France.
“The entire tunnel will not be repaired
tomorrow, but there will be parts which
will have been repaired that will facilitate
more traffic in the tunnel, which will allow
us to operate a normal service,” Eurostar’s
chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said.
But as the tunnel won’t be back up
to full capacity, “Eurostar ser vices may
be subject to delays of up to about 30
minutes”, the rail operator said in a
Eurostar, which offers passenger rail
ser vices linking London, Brussels and
Paris, had to cancel 11 trains, while other
traffic faced delays of up to five hours.
About 400 trains and 1.5 million small
trucks pass through the tunnel every day.
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