Home' Greymouth Star : January 30th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, January 30, 2015 - 9
A gas truck explosion decimated
large parts of a maternity hospital
on the western edge of Mexico City
overnight, killing one woman and
a child and leaving dozens injured,
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel
The head of national emergency
ser vices earlier said that seven people
had died, but the death toll was revised
down by Mancera, who said there had
been confusion around the number.
He added that one of the people who
was believed to have died was actually
in a very serious condition.
Mancera said the explosion destroyed
about 70% of the maternity hospital
and left 66 people injured, 22 of them
seriously. Three people have been
detained for their roles in the gas truck
explosion, and two of them have been
admiited to hospital, he said.
Several babies were found alive
under the rubble. Scores of rescue
workers continued digging through
the concrete and twisted metal for
People seeking information on
family members gathered around
police lines that were set up to keep
bystanders away from the chaotic
“I am so worried about my sister.
She’s supposed to have given birth. We
brought her in yesterday,” Monserrat
Garduno, a 32-year-old nurse, said.
“They won’t let us pass. I want to know
how she is.”
Ambulances waited at the scene
to treat sur vivors. About 100 people
were in the hospital at the time of the
explosion, according to a city official.
Gas blast shatters maternity hospital
Rescue workers are seen at the site of an explosion at a maternity hospital in Mexico City.
A Canadian man who was denied
part of a $C27 million ($29.43
million) jackpot because he missed
the deadline to buy the ticket by
seven seconds has lost his appeal to
get the money.
The Supreme Court of Canada
ruling overnight ended a seven-
year legal battle by Joel Ifergan, an
accountant, to claim his share of the
Ifergan went to a local convenience
store just before 9pm on May 23,
2008, to purchase tickets for that
night’s Lotto Super 7 drawing. The
store clerk told him to hurry before
the 9pm deadline, according to a
While the clock on the lottery
terminal read 8.59pm, only one of
the two tickets was registered in time.
The second ticket, the winning one,
was printed and registered on the
Loto-Quebec computer at seven
seconds after 9pm, eligible for the
following week’s drawing.
The store clerk told Ifergan that
only one ticket was registered in time
and asked if he still wanted to buy the
second ticket. Ifergan said he did, and
paid for both.
After he was denied half of the
lottery jackpot, which was awarded to
another winner, Ifergan sued Loto-
Quebec for the processing lag.
The case has been working its
way through Canada’s courts. The
Supreme Court did not comment on
the case. — Reuters
Seven seconds costs man share of $29m lottery win
Malaysia has declared the disappearance
of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
an “accident ”, its Department of Civil
Aviation (DCA) said overnight.
The Boeing 777 aircraft disappeared
on March 8 last year, carrying 239
passengers and crew shortly after taking
off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala
Lumpur, bound for Beijing.
Months of searches have failed to turn
up any trace.
“ We officially declare Malaysia
Airlines flight MH370 an accident . . .
and that all 239 of the passengers and
crew aboard MH370 are presumed to
have lost their lives,” DCA director-
general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said
in a statement.
The announcement is in accordance
with standards of annexes 12 and 13 in
the International Civil Aviation, said
Azharuddin. It will allow families of the
passengers to obtain assistance through
compensation, he said.
Malaysia Airlines was ready to proceed
immediately with the compensation
process to the next-of-kin of the
passengers on the flight, he said.
International investigators are looking
into why the Boeing airliner veered
thousands of miles off course from
its scheduled route before eventually
plunging into the Indian Ocean.
Malaysia is also conducting a criminal
“Both investigations are limited by
the lack of physical evidence at this
time, particularly the flight recorders,”
“Therefore, at this juncture, there is no
evidence to substantiate any speculations
as to the cause of the accident.”
The DCA plans to release an interim
report on the investigation into the
missing airliner on March 7, a day before
the first anniversary of the disappearance,
a minister said earlier this week.
“This declaration is by no means the
end,” Azharuddin said, adding that it
will continue with the search for the
missing plane with assistance from
China and Australia.
Malaysia airline’s crisis worsened on
July 17 when its Flight MH17, on a flight
from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was
shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298
people on board. — Reuters
Ruling allows compo payments
United States technology giant
Apple has reported the biggest
quarterly profit ever made by a public
The US firm’s profit rose 40% to
$US18 billion ($24.8 billion) in the
three months to December, compared
with the same period a year earlier,
thanks to record sales of iPhones.
Apple reported the record net
profit on the back of what the
California tech titan described
as “staggering” iPhone 6 sales —
especially in China.
The result tops the $15.9b made by
Exxon Mobil in the second quarter
of 2012, according to Standard and
Sales rose 30% to $75b after selling
74.5 million iPhones, with China
accounting for a significant number
Demand for Apple’s larger iPhone
6 Plus model also appeared to help
lift the iPhone’s gross profit margin
or how much Apple makes per
phone — to nearly 40%.
However, sales of the iPad continued
to disappoint, falling by 18%.
Apple said its newest product, the
Apple Watch, was still on schedule
and would begin shipping in April.
Apple caught up with Samsung
as the world’s biggest smartphone
vendor in the fourth quarter of 2014,
thanks to booming sales of its new
iPhone 6, market researcher Strategy
Its South Korean rival, on the
other hand, has seen its quarterly
profits slashed in 2014, in the face of
escalating competition at every price
Strategy Analytics said Apple
shipped 74.5 million handsets in
the fourth quarter, compared to
51 million a year ago.
Samsung logged the same number
of shipments, which in its case
marked a downturn from 86 million
the previous year.
The turnaround saw Samsung’s
share of the global smartphone
market tumble from 30% to 19.6%,
on a par with Apple.
Samsung, which belatedly entered
the market pioneered by Apple, had
dethroned the American firm as the
world’s top smartphone vendor in the
third quarter of 2011.
The South Korean electronics giant
then went on to replace Nokia as the
global leader in overall cellphone
sales in the first quarter of 2012.
Over the past year, Samsung’s
market-leading position has been
under siege from a resurgent Apple
and rising Chinese rivals like
The South Korean company, whose
latest Galaxy S5 smartphone received
a lukewarm reception, posted its first
drop in annual net profits in three
“Samsung continues to face
intense competition from Apple at
the higher-end of the smartphone
market, from Huawei in the middle-
tiers and from Xiaomi and others at
the entry-level,” Strategy Analytics
“Samsung may soon have to
consider taking over rivals, such as
Blackberry, in order to revitalise
growth this year,” it added.
Earlier this month, Samsung denied
media reports that it was seeking a
takeover of the struggling Canadian
Taking 2014 as a whole, Samsung
still remained the top smartphone
vendor with total shipments of 317.2
million units, followed by Apple’s
192.7 million. — AFP
Apple posts biggest quarterly profit in history
Jordan says it will not release an
Iraqi female jihadist until it receives
proof that a Jordanian pilot held by
the Islamic State group is alive.
IS has threatened to execute the
airman unless Jordan frees Sajida
al-Rishawi by sunset in exchange for
Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
“ Jordan is willing to exchange Sajida
al-Rishawi for the Jordanian pilot. At
this point we want to emphasise that
we have asked for proof of life from
Daesh (IS) and we have not received
anything yet,” Jordanian government
spokesman Mohammad al-Momani
“ Rishawi is still in Jordan and the
exchange will happen once we receive
the proof of life that we asked for,” he
He made no mention of Goto.
The deadline set by IS to hand over
Rishawi at the Turkish border in
return for Goto’s life falls when the
sun sets in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The
deadline passed without any further
Jordan has offered to free the Iraqi
woman, who was convicted for her
part in triple-hotel bombings in
Amman in 2005 that killed 60 people,
if IS releases its airman.
While IS threatened Kassasbeh’s life,
it was not clear from its message if the
jihadist group was ready to free the
pilot as part of an exchange.
Jordan has said its priority is to see
the airman return home safely.
Kassasbeh was captured on
December 24 after his F-16 fighter-
bomber crashed while on a mission
against the jihadists over northern
Syria. — AFP
Jordan seeks proof hostage pilot alive
Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh and Sajida al-Rishawi.
Buckingham Palace has refused to
confirm whether the Queen will bestow
the Australian knighthood upon her
husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Since the Abbott government restored
knights and dames to Australia’s honours
system last year, the previous two
dames and a knight were all personally
“ invested” in the order by the Q ueen.
Dame Quentin Bryce and Dame Marie
Bashir received the order’s insignia on
separate visits to Buckingham Palace
last July, while Sir Peter Cosgrove was
invested at Balmoral in Scotland in
But Fairfax Media reported today
that the Palace would not discuss
whether this would be the case with
the controversial decision to bestow
an Australian knighthood upon Prince
It said it would not give any guidance
on matters of process and instead
referred questions back to the Australian
“The Queen acts on the advice of
the Australian government on any
appointment to the Australian order,
just as she would act on the advice of
the UK government for any British
knighthoods,” a Palace spokesperson
told Fairfax Media.
“ We would direct you to the Australian
government for further guidance on
your below questions. ” — AAP
Palace quiet on
Australian author Colleen
McCullough has died aged
The best-selling author
died in hospital on Norfolk
Her novel, The Thorn
Birds, sold more than 30
million copies worldwide,
making her one of the
first Australian authors
to succeed on the world
stage, publisher Harper
Collins Australia said in a
Harper Collins publishing director
Shona Martyn said McCullough
showed determination in overcoming a
string of health and eyesight problems to
continue writing through dictation.
“ Ever quick-witted and direct, we
looked for ward to her visits from
Norfolk Island and the arrival of each
new manuscript delivered in hard copy
in custom-made maroon manuscript
boxes inscribed with her name,” Martyn
“The world is a less colourful place
without Col. ”
McCullough wrote 25 novels during
her career with the last, Bittersweet,
published in 2013.
Before becoming a best selling
author she established neurophysiology
department at the Royal North Shore
Hospital in Sydney and spent a decade
as a researcher at Yale Medical School in
the United States.
have flowed for Ms
sur vived by her husband
Ms McCullough had
was a unique Australian
personality and Norfolk
resident,” he said in a
“S he will be missed.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said
McCullough’s impulse purchase of a
typewriter had immeasurably enriched
the literary landscape of Australia and
“Colleen has written her final word but
she lives on in bookshelves and libraries
around the world — and in the hearts of
all who loved her,” he said.
Fellow Australian author Tara Moss
described McCullough as irreplaceable.
“So sad to hear of the passing of
Colleen McCullough. She was fierce,
funny and so supportive of other
writers. Irreplaceable. RIP Colleen,” she
Random House Books tweeted
that McCullough’s contribution to
storytelling was the stuff of legends
while federal MP Alex Hawke said
her Masters of Rome series was world-
leading historical fiction. — A AP
Australian author Colleen
A fisherman and his two sons
have spent a chilly night on a small
island off Tasmania’s north-west tip
after a flock of muttonbirds foiled
The men set off from Woolnorth
Point yesterday afternoon to
retrieve a craypot near Trefoil
Police say bad weather caused
a mechanical fault on their boat,
forcing them to disembark on the
An initial sea search failed to
locate the men.
A plane and rescue helicopter
were then dispatched and found
them on the island just after
abandoned because strong winds
and a large flock of muttonbirds,
leaving the men to brave a night on
the isolated island.
The men were winched to safety
early this morning. — AAP
Birds hinder fishermen’s rescue
A Victorian truck driver kidnapped
two prostitutes and forced them into his
live-in bus where he kept a home-made
“raping machine”, a court has heard.
Serial sex offender Dennis William
Newall is in jail for raping a backpacker
in Western Australia about four years
ago, and was also sentenced to eight years
prison in 2002 for raping a Melbourne
The 56-year-old pleaded guilty
yesterday to kidnapping and raping two
more St Kilda prostitutes on separate
occasions in November and December
Both women thought they were going
to die after Newall enticed them into his
car, covered their heads and took them
to his converted bus at Brooklyn, the
Victorian County Court heard.
Newall kept a wooden cross-like
structure on the bus and told one woman
it was a “sex machine” and he was
planning to add a mechanical arm to it.
He asked one of his victims to “rate his
performance” after raping her, and later
requested her phone number.
The court heard Newall forced his son,
then 17, to help carry out one of the
His teenage son got in the boot of
Newall’s car and leapt out to place a
pillowcase over the woman’s head while
she was in the back seat.
An unknown man was involved in the
The women, who were 20 and 27 at
the time, did not go to police about the
attacks until recently.
Newall told one victim “no one would
believe a junkie whore” like her, she told
the court. Both women said they remained
traumatised by what he had done.
He will be sentenced at a later date.
Sex predator had ‘rape machine’
Troops from Chad have driven
Boko Haram fighters from a
northern Nigeria border town
seized by the Islamist militants
late last year, military sources
stationed in neighbouring Niger
Chad’s involvement in retaking
the town comes as the regional
military heavyweight assumes
an increasingly aggressive role
in combating the militants and
regional leaders weigh new options
for containing the movement ’s
Boko Haram, which has killed
thousands in its struggle to create
an Islamic state in northern
Nigeria, seized the town of Malam
Fatori in November, sending
government soldiers stationed
there fleeing across the nearby
border into Niger.
“This morning the Chadians
retook Malam Fatori. There were
clashes with Boko Haram that
lasted over 24 hours,” a Niger army
officer deployed to the adjacent
region of Diffa said. “ There were
combat aircraft but we don’t know
their nationality. ”
A second officer said Chadian
troops began massing on the shores
of Lake Chad last week before
crossing into Nigeria on Wednesday
to retake Malam Fatori.
Nigeria’s defence headquarters
tweeted that Nigerian Air Force
aircraft had been involved in two
days of air operations over the
town though it did not confirm
Malam Fatori had been retaken or
directly acknowledge the presence
of Chadian troops.
“(Malam Fatori) is within the
area of operation covered by the
Multinational Joint Task Force
of which Chad has always been a
part,” the defence headquarters’
official Twitter account said.
Chadian officials were not
immediately available for comment.
The four nations of the Lake
Chad Basin — Cameroon, Chad,
Niger and Nigeria — agreed to
bring their forces together to
fight Boko Haram in October,
together with a contingent from
Benin, which borders Nigeria to
But disagreements surfaced over
how to deploy the troops and a
cohesive fighting force has failed to
Meanwhile, Boko Haram, which
has expanded its zone of operations
over the past year most notably into
northern Cameroon, has stepped up
attacks in the run-up to February
14 elections in Nigeria.
After Cameroonian President
Paul Biya appealed for help to
fend off Boko Haram, Chad sent
troops, armoured vehicles and
attack helicopters earlier this
month to assist the thousands
of Cameroonian soldiers already
deployed to the border.
The African Union overnight
endorsed a West African plan to
set up a regional task force of 7500
to fight Islamist Boko Haram
militants, a senior official said, in a
vital step towards securing United
Nations Security Council backing.
Chadian troops retake Nigerian town
watching is associated
with loneliness and
depression, a study
Those who spend hours
immersed in back-
to-back episodes of
their favourite tv series
really are likely to be
sad, according to the
Scientists at the
University of Texas,
Austin, asked 316 young
people aged 18 to 29 how
often they indulged in
tv marathons and how
frequently they felt lonely
They found that the
more lonely or depressed
the participants were, the
more likely they were to
binge-watch in order to
escape feeling low.
The results, presented
at the International
meeting in San Juan,
Puerto Rico, also showed
that people lacking
the ability to control
themselves tended to
Study leader Dr Yoon
Hi Sung said: “Even
though some people
argue that binge-
watching is a harmless
addiction, findings from
our study suggest that
binge-watching should no
longer be viewed this way.
“ Physical fatigue
and problems such as
obesity and other health
problems are related to
binge-watching and they
are a cause for concern.
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