Home' Greymouth Star : January 20th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The world’s richest 1% will own more
than the other 99% by next year, O xfam
The charity has highlighted growing
inequality ahead of the World Economic
Forum in Davos this week.
A research paper suggests the
wealthiest 1% have seen their share of
global assets rise from 44% in 2009 to
48% last year — with an average worth
of $US2.7 million ($3.474 million) each.
The figure is on track to exceed 50% this
Below the richest fifth, 80% of the world’s
population own just 5.5% of wealth — an
average of $US3851 ($4955) each.
“The scale of global inequality is quite
simply staggering,” Oxfam executive
director Winnie Byanyima said.
“Despite the issues shooting up the
global agenda, the gap between the
richest and the rest is widening fast.”
Byanyima, who is to co-chairwoman at
the Davos World Economic Forum this
week, urged leaders to take on “ vested
interests that stand in the way of a fairer
and more prosperous world”.
“Business as usual for the elite isn’t
a cost-free option — failure to tackle
inequality will set the fight against
poverty back decades.
“The poor are hurt twice by rising
inequality — they get a smaller share of
the economic pie and because extreme
inequality hurts growth, there is less pie
to be shared around,” she added.
Oxfam based its prediction on data from
the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth
datebook, which gives the distribution of
global wealth going back to 2000. It uses
the value of an individual’s financial and
non-financial assets, mainly property
and land, minus their debts to determine
what individuals “own”.
The data excludes wages or income.
Oxfam has called upon states to tackle
tax evasion, improve public ser vices, tax
capital rather than labour, and introduce
living minimum wages, among other
measures, in a bid to ensure a more
equitable distribution of wealth.
The 45th World Economic Forum,
which starts tomorrow, will draw a
record number of participants this year
with more than 300 heads of state and
Rising inequality will be competing
with other global crises including
terrorist threats in Europe, the worst
post-Cold War stand-off between
Russia and the West and renewed fears
of financial turmoil.
Oxfam made headlines at Davos last
year with the revelation that the 85
richest people on the planet have the
same wealth as the poorest 50% (3.5
It said that that comparison had now
become even more stark, with the 80
richest people having the same wealth as
the poorest 50%. — PA-AFP
Kenyan police have fired teargas
at children protesting the seizure
of their school playground by a
About 100 primary school
children and a small group of
activists pushed over a newly-built
wall that separated the playing
fields and school buildings, close to
the capital Nairobi’s main domestic
About 40 armed police
accompanied by dogs dispersed
them by firing teargas canisters,
according to a witness at the
Dozens of children were caught
in choking clouds of the chemical
agent before being forced to
shelter on a pedestrian bridge
over the main road to escape the
Macharia Njeru, chairman of the
Independent Policing Oversight
Authority, said the incident would
“ Teargassing children is
inexcusable,” he said.
Renowned activist Boniface
Mwangi said a “school playground
is a necessity, not a privilege”.
Yesterday was the first school day
since the wall was built during the
Nairobi, a city of more than three
million people, is rapidly growing
and land prices are rising at some
of the fastest rates anywhere on the
continent. — AFP
Kenyan police teargas schoolchildren
Students from Langata primary school run past riot police as they protest against a perimeter wall illegally erected by a private developer around
their school playground in Nairobi.
A 37-year-old model and actor
featured on the cover of fitness
magazines was struck and killed by
a train while filming on the tracks
in Southern California, authorities
Two men were filming George
Gregory Plitt junior, who went by
the name Greg, on the railway track
north of the Burbank railway station
yesterday when Plitt was struck by
a southbound train, sergeant Scott
Meadows, of Burbank police, said.
Investigators, who inter viewed
witnesses who saw Plitt standing on
the track even as the train’s horn was
blaring, have ruled out a suicide.
It appeared that Plitt may have
believed the approaching train was
on a nearby, parallel track, Meadows
“ It ’s like a blind turn,” he said.
“ When the train came, you might
not be able to tell which set the train
It was not clear what the men were
Investigators are trying to determine
who directed the men to film on the
Plitt was a well-known fitness
model, Meadows said.
The actor and West Point graduate
has appeared on more than 200
magazine covers, Bravo’s reality
television show Work Out and
NBC’s daytime soap opera Days of
Our Lives, according to a website in
Plitt was born in Baltimore. He
ser ved five years in the army after
graduating from West Point, the
website said. — AP
Actor on photo shoot killed by train
One-time British glam
rocker Gary Glitter has
gone on trial on charges
he sexually abused three
underage female fans in the
1970s and 1980s.
The 70-year-old musician,
whose real name is Paul
Gadd, faces 10 counts
rape, indecent assault and
The singer denies all
charges in the current case.
Prosecutor John Price described to the
court how a drunken Gadd had tried to
force himself on a girl, who was under 10
at the time, in the mid-1970s.
The girl “did not, in fact, have the
capacity to consent to such an act,” Price
The alleged victim came for ward only
20 years after the incident
when she saw Gadd had
admitted in 1999 to child
allegedly found on a laptop
he had put in for repair.
He is also accused of
molesting two young
fans that he first met in
his dressing room after a
concert that their mothers
had taken them to in 1977.
One of the girls was 12
years old at the time.
The prosecution alleges that Gadd
had sex with one of the two on another
occasion when she was 13 and after he
had plied her with champagne.
Gadd shot to fame in the 1970s and had
over 20 hit singles like I’m the Leader of
the Gang (I am), I Love You Love Me
Love and Always Yours. — AFP
Gary Glitter on trial for child sex
A north-south divide may influence a
person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s,
Scientists found that dementia rates
were higher among people living in
northern parts of Scotland and Sweden.
They believe this suggests a possible
link with environmental factors such as
levels of sunlight and vitamin D.
Understanding the association could
help halve rates of dementia, which
affects 850,000 people in the United
Kingdom, the scientists say.
Researchers carried out two dementia
studies, one involving more than 37,000
Scottish people born in 1921 and the
other among more than 26,000 Swedish
Twins living in the north of Sweden
turned out to be two to three times more
likely to have the disease than those in
the south, after accounting for factors
including age, gender and genes.
Likewise in Scotland, where people
lived as an adult had a significant impact
on the chances of developing dementia.
There was no change in risk related to
where people lived as children.
Exposure to vitamin D, which is made
in the skin by the action of sunlight, has
been shown to be linked to healthy brain
function and dementia.
Dr Tom Russ, from the University
of Edinburgh’s Alzheimer Scotland
Dementia Research Centre and the
division of psychiatry, said: “If this
geographical variation in dementia risk is
the result of one or more environmental
risk factors, and if these could be
improved in the whole population, our
findings suggest that it might be possible
to halve dementia rates. ”
The research, reported in the journal
Epidemiology, was supported by
Alzheimer Scotland. — PA
Dementia risk, sunlight link
A virulent group of Tb germs
spread from east Asia in waves
propelled by industrialisation, World
War One and the Soviet Union’s
collapse to yield some of the drug-
resistant strains plaguing the world
today, a study shows.
Researchers’ massive trawl through
nearly 5000 Tb samples from 99
countries pinpointed changes in the
DNA code to draw a partial family
tree of the germ Mycobacterium
A branch of that tree known as the
“ Beijing lineage” begins in a region
around north-east China, Korea
and Japan some 6600 years ago,
said a study published in the journal
It evolved into several sub-lineages
and strains, spreading eastward
to Micronesia and Polynesia and
westward to central Asia, Russia and
The migration waves have
become more pronounced over
the past two centuries, spurred by
industrialisation and urbanisation,
as well as episodes of widespread
deprivation like World War One
that brought infected and vulnerable
people close together.
Among the toughest modern-
day versions — two multi-drug
resistant (MDR) clones, started
spreading through eastern Europe
and Asia on an epidemic scale about
20-30 years ago, “coinciding with
the collapse of the public health
system of the former Soviet Union,”
study co-author Thierry Wirth, of
France’s National History Museum,
There was a single decrease visible
on a chart plotting the global spread
of the “Beijing lineage” from the year
1500 to 2000.
It coincided with a rise in
antibiotic use in the 1960s and
ended with the HIV epidemic from
Tb itself is theorised to be about
40,000 years old.
Unravelling the disease’s genetic
history may offer pointers for
tackling its spread.
MDR strains, which do not
respond to frontline antibiotics, are
a major concern as they are much
more costly and difficult to treat.
In 2013, there were nine million
new cases of Tb and 1.5 million
360,000 people who were also
infected with HIV, the World
Health Organisation said in its latest
Tb report. — AFP
Great War, USSR collapse helped fuel Tb spread
Syria has begun destroying its
remaining chemical weapons production
sites, despite being hampered by bad
weather and logistical problems, the
world’s chemical watchdog says.
“ Destruction operations commenced
in December,” Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
(OPCW ) spokesman Peter Sawczak
said in The Hague, without elaborating.
Syria had said previously demolition of
the 12 hangars and tunnels would begin
in November, but work stalled when the
contractor pulled out.
Two other Syrian companies were
given the project but the firm tasked with
destroying five tunnels had to wait for
deliveries of explosives and equipment,
Syria told the United Nations in
November, after running months behind
The OPCW, which is overseeing the
dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons
programme, in July gave Damascus 60
days to finish demolishing the sites.
“The destruction has began. They are
starting on the tunnels,” a Hague-based
source confirmed overnight.
“There was a bit of a delay on the
pouring of cement because of the snow,”
the source added, saying, “ They aim to
tackle one tunnel each month.”
Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari
has said the destruction process will be
completed by June.
Syria finished disabling the production
sites by October 2013; however, the
structures housing them still needed to
be destroyed. A total of 1300 tonnes of
chemical weapons have been removed
from Syria, the majority being destroyed
aboard the US Navy ship MV Cape Ray.
After an August 2013 sarin attack
outside Damascus much of the inter-
national community blamed on President
Bashar al-Assad’s government, the
regime agreed to turn over its chemical
arsenal. — AFP
British singer Sarah Brightman has
arrived in Russia to start preparing
for her journey to the International
“Brightman has returned to
Moscow and has started preparations
for the space flight,” the head
of Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Centre, Yury Lonchakov,
“The preparations are in line with
the schedule,” he told Tass.
Last week, sources in the aerospace
field reported that Brightman, who
plans to fly to ISS later this year,
had postponed her trip to Russia,
initially scheduled for January 15,
for personal reasons.
Earlier, a spokesman for Russia’s
space agency Roscosmos said
Brightman had left Moscow and
flown to Britain to visit her ill
Preparations should last six
months, forcing the singer to live
permanently at the Cosmonaut
Training Centre, which would mean
a temporary break from her musical
If all preparations develop as
planned, Brightman would be the
eighth tourist to visit the ISS, and
the first since 2009, when Canadian
businessman Guy Laliberte visited
in a $US50 million flight. — EFE
Sarah Brightman prepares to visit space station
Coro St star dies
Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride
who played the part of Deirdre
Barlow — has died.
Kirkbride, 60, who starred in the long-
running British soap for 44 years, died
in a Manchester hospital after a short
A statement on the ITV website
said her husband David Beckett and
the programme’s cast and crew are
“ heartbroken and deeply saddened”.
Executive producer Kieran Roberts
said: “ There are no words to describe the
sense of grief we feel at Anne’s passing.
“S he will be greatly missed by the
Coronation Street team who share happy
memories of working with her.” — PA
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