Home' Greymouth Star : March 6th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, March 6, 2015
At least 45 people were killed by
suspected Boko Haram militants at
dawn on Tuesday in a remote village
of Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno State,
military sources and authorised vigilante
The insurgents started shooting into
houses in Njaba about 5.30am, a military
source in Maiduguri said overnight. The
village is close to the town of Damboa
and about 100km south of the State
“The attack was not immediately
known because the village is very remote
and our men couldn’t access the area,”
the source said.
The army also repelled an attack on
Tuesday on the town of Konduga, south-
east of Maiduguri in Borno, a military
source and residents said. No death toll
could be ascertained.
Last evening, the army also pushed
back an attack on the town of Ngamdu,
on the road to Damaturu, capital of
neighbouring Yobe State, two military
sources said. It was too early to determine
the number of casualties, they added.
Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency to
car ve out an Islamic state in the north-
east of Nigeria has killed thousands and
displaced over 1.5 million people.
The group gained worldwide notoriety
in April 2014 after its members
kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls from
the town of Chibok in Borno State, the
heartland of Boko Haram.
The slow government response sparked
the movement Bring Back Our Girls
that has been seeking international
support and lobbying the government
to keep up the search. Overnight, a
representative for President Goodluck
met the girls’ families in Maiduguri.
“As you are all aware, our military is
having the upper hand in this sacred war.
We believe by the grace of God that your
children will return safely,” the Minister
of State for Power Mohammed Wakil
Boko Haram seized territory the size
of Belgium last year, which Nigeria’s
ill-equipped army has struggled to
take back. Jonathan, who is seeking re-
election on March 28, has been heavily
criticised for the failure to crush the
Elections were postponed for six
weeks from February 14 for security
reasons. Since the delay, Chadian troops
co-operating with the Nigerians have
reclaimed some important towns in
Borno. The army has also been able to
push the militants out of some territories
in neighbouring Adamawa and Yobe
A senior local government official in
Damboa about 20km from Njaba, who
declined to be named, said that most of
the victims were teenagers. — Reuters
Astronomers find star hurtling through galaxy after supernova blast
Cape Canaveral (Florida)
Astronomers have found a star
hurtling through the galaxy faster
than any other, the result of being
blasted away by the explosion of a
massive partner star, researchers said
The star, known as US 708, is
traveling at about 1200km per second,
fast enough to actually leave the
Milky Way galaxy in about 25 million
years, astronomer Stephan Geier with
Germany-based European Southern
Obser vatory, which operates three
telescopes in Chile, said.
“At that speed you could travel from
Earth to the moon in five minutes,”
University of Hawaii astronomer
Eugene Magnier said.
US 708 is not the first star
astronomers have found that is
moving fast enough to escape the
galaxy, but it is the only one so far
that appears to to have been slingshot
in a supernova explosion.
The 20 other stars discovered so far
that are heading out of the galaxy
likely got their impetus from coming
too close to the supermassive black
hole that lives at the centre of the
Milky Way, scientists report in an
article in this week’s edition of the
Before it was sent streaming across
the galaxy, US 708 was once a cool
giant star, but it was stripped of
nearly all of its hydrogen by a closely
orbiting partner. Scientists suspect it
was this feeding that triggered the
If confirmed, these types of ejected
stars may provide more insight into
how supernova explosions occur.
Since the explosions give off a
fairly standard amount of radiation,
scientists can calculate their distances
by measuring how bright or dim they
appear and determine how fast the
universe is expanding. — Reuters
Imperial Japanese Navy battleships Musashi, foreground, and Yamato at anchor at Truk in May 1943.
A team led by Microsoft co-
founder Paul Allen has found the
sunken Japanese warship Musashi,
one of the largest battleships ever
built, where it was sunk during
World War Two off the coast of
the Philippines, the billionaire said
The team used Allen’s yacht the
Octopus, relying on the ship’s
advanced technology, historical
records and detailed topographical
data, to discover and photograph
the warship in the Sibuyan Sea
on Sunday, ending a decades-long
mystery about its exact location, a
statement on Allen’s website said.
United States aircraft sank the
Musashi on October 24, 1944,
killing more than 1000 Japanese
sailors, or about half the vessel’s
“Mr Allen has been searching for
the Musashi for more than eight
years and its discovery will not only
help fill in the narrative of World
War Two’s Pacific theatre but bring
closure to the families of those
lost,” said the statement.
The Musashi, which was named
after a province in Japan, was
commissioned in August 1942.
The shipwreck needed to be
verified but would be of major
historical significance, Manuel
Luis Quezon III, the Philippines’
under-secretary and resident
“This would be like finding the
Titanic, because of the status of the
ship and the interest in the ship,”
Quezon said. Q uezon’s grandfather
was president of the Philippines
during the Japanese occupation of
World War Two.
The president ’s press secretary,
Herminio Coloma, said the
discovery of the Japanese warship,
an archeological artefact, is covered
by the Philippine cultural heritage
“The reported discovery of the
Japanese battleship Musashi by the
group of Paul Allen is now being
verified by the National Museum
and other concerned government
agencies,” Coloma said.
“The National Museum
is working closely with all
stakeholders to ensure that the
provisions of our existing laws are
enforced and complied with,” he
added, saying under the law “all
cultural property found under water
belong to the State”.
The Musashi and its sister ship,
the Yamato, to this day rank as the
heaviest and most heavily-armed
battleships ever built, Frank Blazich
Junior, a naval historian at the
Washington Navy Yard, said.
The Musashi weighed nearly
73,000 tonnes when fully loaded
and had nine main guns, along
with aircraft and other features. Its
largest guns fired shells weighing
more than 1.5 tons, and the ship
itself measured nearly 263m in
length, Blazich said.
“These are just incredibly large
warships, they ’re the pride of the
nation,” he said.
The Musashi was sunk at the
outset of the Battle of Leyte Gulf,
one of the largest naval battles
in history, pitting American and
Australian forces against the
On Allen’s website, his team
posted close-up video of parts of
the Musashi, including a gun turret
mount, taken by what a narrator
called an under water, remotely
A spokeswoman for Allen’s team
said further details about the
discovery would be released in the
A representative from the
Japanese Embassy in Washington
could not be reached for
The Yamato was sunk on April
7, 1945. Its wreckage has been
photographed a number of times
over the years. — Reuters
Searchers find wreckage of huge Japanese battleship
One of two 15-tonne anchors on the sunken Japanese warship Musashi, one of the largest battleships in history, off the coast of the Philippines in
the Sibuyan Sea.
Al Qaeda’s official Syrian wing, the
Nusra Front, announced overnight the
death of its top military commander,
who insurgent sources said fell victim
to a blast targeting a high-level militant
General military commander Abu
Humam al-Shami, a veteran of Islamist
militant fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq
and Syria, was the most senior member
of the group to die in the Syria war, an
insurgent source said.
Insurgent sources said a United States-
led coalition air strike hit the meeting
in the north-western province of Idlib,
but a coalition spokesman said it had
not conducted air strikes in the province
during the past 24 hours.
The sources said at least three other
Nusra Front commanders were also
killed in the blast, which they said hit
the town of Salqin, near the border with
Syrian insurgents have in the past
killed member of rival militant groups
by planting bombs at meetings. The blast
comes at a time of flux for the Nusra
Front, which is waging war on other
insurgents and also looking for support
from Gulf States, sources in Nusra have
“The Islamic Nation is bleeding
because of the news of the martyrdom of
commander Abu Humam,” Nusra Front
said on Twitter.
“It’s a major blow to Nusra. A very
painful, very powerful hit,” one insurgent
source said, declining to be named as he
was not allowed to speak to the media.
The US has carried out strikes against
one of Nusra’s jihadi rivals, Islamic State,
in Iraq since July and in Syria since
September. It has also targeted Nusra
fighters in Syria.
The Nusra Front has also battled
western-backed Syrian rebels this year,
seizing their territory and forcing them
to disarm so as to consolidate its power
in northern Syria.
Hazzm, one of the last remnants of
non-jihadist opposition to President
Bashar al-Assad in northern Syria,
dissolved itself last week after weeks of
fighting with the Nusra Front.
After the overnight attack, the Nusra
Front told its members not to provide
information to the media, the insurgent
The Syrian Obser vatory for Human
Rights, which tracks the conflict, also
said that al-Shami was killed, as well as
other Nusra Front members.
The weakness of the mainstream Syrian
opposition and the growing power of
the Nusra Front and Islamic State has
complicated diplomatic efforts to end
the Syrian conflict that has killed about
The war started in 2011 after security
forces cracked down on a peaceful pro-
democracy movement. — Reuters
Blast in Syria
An old school friend of Andrew
Chan has revealed the convicted drug
smuggler never thought his impending
execution would actually happen.
The revelation came as new emerged
that Australian Foreign Affairs Minister
Julie Bishop made a final bid to have
the Bali Nine duo spared by offering to
hand over three Indonesian prisoners
being held in Australia.
Sami, who did not wish to give his
last name, had been exchanging text
messages with the convicted drug
smuggler up until late Tuesday night
before the Australian was transferred
to Nusakambangan in central Java from
Bali’s Kerobokan prison.
The friend, who has known Chan since
they met in Year 7 at Homebush Boys
High in Sydney ’s west, told 9 News the
Bali Nine ringleader was calm when
they spoke through text messaging
“Even he thought it was never going to
happen because he thought we’re in the
limelight — it’ll cool down, it ’ll be all
right,” Sami said.
“So I always said, ‘Yeah mate, definitely
— you’re in good hands’. ”
At least once during their exchange,
Chan text him “all good bro”.
Sami added Chan kept positive
throughout the ordeal and said: “I
think he (Chan) was really expecting
the Australian government to do a lot
It comes as it is revealed Foreign Affairs
Minister Julie Bishop made a desperate
plea to Jakarta officials to swap Chan
and fellow Bali Nine member Myuran
Sukuraman for three Indonesian drug
offenders being held in Australia.
Bishop proposed the deal in a “very
tense” phone call with Indonesian
foreign affairs minister Retno Marsudi,
The Australian reported.
The call became so intense that it was
feared Marsudi would put a sudden end
to the conversation.
The prisoners up for negotiation were
three Indonesians caught smuggling
252kg of heroin into Australia by sea in
masterminded the plan — was handed
the most severe sentence of 25 years
without parole for drug smuggling.
While the two people who helped
him, Saud Siregar and Ismunandar, will
spend up to 20 years in prison and can
apply for parole in 2017.
In exchange for the trio, Ms Bishop
wanted Chan and Sukuraman’s death
sentences reduced to life in prison.
But the suggestion, which was made
during a 30-minute conversation,
was not accepted by the government,
according to sources.
This exchange was offered up after Chan
and Sukuraman were transferred from
Kerobokan prison — which had been
their home for 10 years — on Wednesday.
girlfriend, Febyanti Herewila, tried to
visit the inmate before he was put into
an armoured car but were rebuffed by
Later that day, Michael Chan told
News Corp he was “devastated” and in
shock that his brother ’s execution was
“ I am still trying to register it all. I still
can’t believe it has happened. I don’t even
know what to say to be quite frank,” he
It is not known when Chan and
Sukuraman will be executed but Fairfax
Media is reporting they will be shot
dead this weekend.
M Prasetyo is tipped to make an
announcement about the time of their
The pair will be given 72 hours’ notice
before they are killed by a firing squad at
Indonesia has allocated about $20,000
for each prisoner in its “execution
budget ” to kill the duo.
Nusakambangan was chosen as the
venue for their deaths because it was
cheaper than other locations.
‘All good bro’ text shows execution not expected
Ivan Lazarenko, one of those
pulled out alive after an explosion
at a mine near the front line in
rebel-held east Ukraine killed 33
workers, lay in hospital overnight,
still unconscious and in bandages.
If he recovers, it will not be the
first time this year he had escaped
death at the mine; he was trapped
once in an elevator when the
mine was hit by incoming fire,
cutting power in the pit, his wife,
Tatyana Kosenko, said.
“ Yesterday I was getting ready
for work and they called me to
tell me he was in the burn centre,
but was alive and well. Somehow
this is considered to be ‘well’. Of
course, thank God, he’s alive,” she
said at his bedside, stroking his
The coalmining that provides
the lifeblood of eastern Ukraine
is a dangerous job at the best of
times, but keeping the pits open
at the front line during war has
made it far riskier.
Although yesterday’s gas
explosion was not directly caused
by the fighting, miners say war
may have contributed to the
death toll. Other parts of the
mine had been damaged in the
past by artillery strikes, which cut
off access routes and may have
made escape more difficult for
those trapped below ground.
Were it not for the war between
Russia-backed separatists and the
Ukrainian authorities, Eduard
Kiporov, one of those missing
and presumed dead in the blast,
would not have been working
at all at Zasyadko, a notoriously
dangerous mine where 106 people
died in a gas explosion in 2007.
He took the job only because
the mine where he normally
worked, Oktyabrskaya, was
bombed several months ago.
“They constantly shot at this
mine. They went into that mine
every day and had no idea
whether they would come back
out or not, either from artillery
fire or some accident,” his sister
The area near the Zasyadko
is littered with the debris of
missiles, a short distance from
the graveyard where victims of
previous disasters are buried
and where fresh graves had been
dug for those killed in the latest
Ukrainian Prime Minister
Arseny Yatseniuk suggested
the separatists who control the
area may have also worsened
the disaster by refusing access
to a team of emergency workers
dispatched by central authorities.
In a part of Ukraine dominated
by coal and steel, miners have little
choice but to work at locations
that are frequently under fire. Last
July, a bus carrying miners to work
in Krasnopartizan in Luhansk
Province was struck by fire from
Grad rockets killing four people
and injuring 16 miners. — Reuters
Miners say war may have compounded tragedy
A grave digger works as his wife watches, at a cemetery where
workers killed by a blast at the Zasyadko mine will be buried, in
The IS jihadist group has begun
bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of
Nimrud in northern Iraq.
IS “assaulted the historic city of
Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy
vehicles”, the Tourism and Antiquities
Ministry said on an official Facebook
It is the group’s latest attack on the
country’s historical heritage.
The Iraqi antiquities official says the
destruction began after noon prayers
yesterday and that trucks that may have
been used to haul away artefacts have
also been spotted at the site.
“ Until now, we do not know to what
extent it was destroyed,” the official said
on condition of anonymity.
Nimrud, founded in the 13th century
BC, lies on the Tigris about 30km
south-east of Mosul, Iraq’s second city
and the main hub of IS in the country.
The destruction at Nimrud, one of
the jewels of the Assyrian era, came a
week after the jihadist group released
a video showing militants armed with
smashing priceless ancient artefacts at
the Mosul museum.
That attack sparked widespread
consternation and alarm, with some
archaeologists and heritage experts
comparing it to the 2001 demolition of
the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by
In the jihadists’ extreme interpretation
of Islam, statues, idols and shrines are
a corruption of the purity of the early
Muslim faith and amount to recognising
other objects of worship than God.
An airliner has skidded off a runway at
New York’s La Guardia airport, sliding
to a halt just metres from frigid waters,
as a snow storm battered the United
States from Texas to the east coast.
Heavy snow was falling as Delta
flight 1086 from Atlanta careered
off the runway, ploughed up an
embankment and demolished a fence
after its landing.
New York firefighters say 24 people
suffered non life-threatening injuries,
including three taken from the scene.
Video footage showed passengers
climbing out of the plane through an
exit over a wing and trudging through
thick snow. The plane’s nose jutted
through the fence, suspended above the
icy East River.
It was the most dramatic incident on a
day in which a huge winter storm forced
thousands of flight cancellations, and
disrupted life across a broad swath of
In Washington DC, government
workers were ordered to stay home,
schools were closed, and museums shut
for the day as icy rain turned to heavy
Airports braced for travel chaos, with
more than 4300 flights cancelled by
early today and more cancellations and
Forecasters had warned of low visibility
in New York, and some 40% of flights
had been canceled at La Guardia before
the accident, according to flightaware.
New York Port Authority executive
director Patrick Foye did not say what
caused the accident, only that the
runway had recently been cleared.
Airliner skids off runway in New York snow
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