Home' Greymouth Star : March 14th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 3
A wave of savage mockery broke
over President Vladimir Putin across
the Internet on Friday, sparked by days
of absence from public view, despite
official insistence it was business as
usual in the Kremlin.
State television footage of Putin
working at his residence failed
overnight to quell the tide of ‘fantasy ’
theories circulating on-line that
the 62-year-old Kremlin leader had
died, been deposed, or travelled to
Switzerland to watch his girlfriend
Ukrainian children produced a
cartoon showing Putin abducted from
the Kremlin by aliens.
The hashtag #putinumer (putin
died) began trending on Twitter, and
a website, putinumer.com, offered
readers advice on how to gauge
whether the rumours were true.
“Look out the window,” it advised.
“Are people rejoicing, dancing, letting
off fireworks? No? That means he
hasn’t died yet. ”
Putin is normally ubiquitous in State
media, but his silence in the past week
has fed rumours of a threat to his grip
on power. While hard facts are scarce,
there has been speculation of a split
between rival Kremlin camps since
the killing of opposition politician
Boris Nemtsov near Red Square on
“Putin has died on purpose to
distract attention from the murder
of Nemtsov”, tweeted Putin#Vor
A Ukrainian website carried a
cartoon of Putin lying alongside
Soviet State founder Vladimir Lenin
in his Red Square mausoleum, and
mocked-up pictures of Putin on his
deathbed or lying in an open coffin.
While Putin is a target of satire, he
remains by far Russia’s most popular
politician and has enjoyed a surge
in patriotic support since annexing
Crimea from Ukraine last year.
The head of pro-Kremlin pollster
VTSIOM said yesterday that his
approval rating had hit an all-time
high of 88%.
Asked to confirm that the president
was in good health, Putin’s spokesman
Dmitry Peskov said: “ Yes. We’ve
already said this a hundred times. This
isn’t funny any more.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Supreme Court chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev during their
meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo State residence outside Moscow yesterday. Russian State television broadcast
footage which it said was of Putin meeting Lebedev on March 13 at Putin’s residence near Moscow.
Where is Putin?
The hunt for suspects in the
shooting of two police officers at a
protest rally in Ferguson, Missouri,
entered a second day as community
leaders appealed for reconciliation
and justice in a town struggling
against a legacy of racial rancour.
Law enforcement authorities were
tight-lipped about any progress
they may have made in tracking
down whoever was responsible
for wounding the officers during a
volatile demonstration in front of
Police said they rounded up several
people the day of the shooting but
released them after questioning. So
far no media briefings are scheduled.
The vacuum of news on the
manhunt kept the focus on efforts
to ratchet down tensions that have
spiked in the St Louis suburb since
the attack early on Thursday.
“ We can find these criminals
who committed this heinous act,”
Benjamin Crump, lawyer for the
family of Michael Brown, a black
teenager killed by a white police
officer in August, said.
The event made Ferguson a
national symbol of strained relations
between police and African-
“This can be an opportunity,”
Crump told CNN. “ The community
and the police can come together. ”
The latest shooting took place a
week after the release of a United
States Justice Department report
that appeared to vindicate long-
standing complaints of per vasive
racial bias leveled against Ferguson’s
mostly white police force.
The report, initiated after Brown’s
death, led to the resignation this
week of the city’s police chief.
A police officer walks under the tape marking the perimeter around the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson.
Ferguson manhunt drags on
The Nor wegian Arctic islands of
Svalbard are discouraging last-minute
visitors for a rare solar eclipse next
week, warning that hotels are full, it
will be freezing cold and polar bears
are on the prowl.
Longyearbyen, said an expected 1500
visitors for the eclipse, on top of about
2500 residents, meant the usually
welcoming archipelago had reached a
maximum safe limit.
“Safety comes first, even before
the eclipse,” she said. “ We need to
take care of people. It’s terribly cold
in March and we have the challenge
with polar bears.”
A bear killed a British teenager on
Svalbard in 2011, the most recent
fatality. On average, three bears a year
are shot by people in self-defence on
A total eclipse, when the moon
blocks the sun and its shadow falls
on the Earth, will sweep across the
Atlantic on March 20.
Eclipse watchers told to beware of polar bears
South African doctors
successfully performed the world’s
first penis transplant on a young man
who had his organ amputated after a
botched circumcision ritual, a hospital
The nine-hour transplant, which
occurred in December last year, was part
of a pilot study by Tygerberg Hospital
in Cape Town and the University of
Stellenbosch to help scores of initiates
who either die or lose their penises in
botched circumcisions each year.
“This is a very serious situation. For
a young man of 18 or 19 years the loss
of his penis can be deeply traumatic,”
Andre van der Mer we, head of the
university’s urology unit and who led
the operation, said in a statement.
The young patient had recovered
full use of his manhood, doctors
said, adding that the procedure could
eventually be extended to men who
have lost their penises to cancer or
as a last resort for severe erectile
“There is a greater need in South
Africa for this type of procedure than
elsewhere in the world, as many young
men lose their penises every year due
to complications from traditional
circumcision,” van der Mer we said.
The patient, who is not being named
for ethical reasons, was 18 years old
when his penis was amputated three
years ago after he developed severe
complications due to a traditional
circumcision as a rite of passage into
Finding a donor organ was one of
the major challenges of the study, a
statement by the university said.
The donor was a deceased person
who donated his organs for transplant,
doctors said without elaborating.
Each year thousands of young
men, mainly from the Xhosa tribe
in South Africa, have their foreskins
removed in traditional rituals, with
experts estimating about 250 losing
their penises each year to medical
Initiates are required to live in special
huts away from the community for
several weeks, have their heads shaved
and smear white clay from head to toe
and they move into adulthood.
Another nine patients will receive
penile transplants as part of the study,
doctors said, but it was not clear when
the operations could be carried out.
World’s first penis
Three British girls who crossed into
Syria to join the Islamic State group
were reportedly helped by a Syrian
working as a spy for a country in the
United States-led coalition.
Meanwhile, video footage emerged
purportedly showing the agent helping
the girls into a car in south-eastern
Turkey on their way to Syria.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut
announced the arrest of an intelligence
agent who had helped the three
teenage girls cross into Syria.
Amid frenetic speculation over
which intelligence agency the man
was allegedly spying for, Cavusoglu
refrained from giving details.
“The person arrested by us is someone
working for an intelligence agency
in the coalition,” he said in televised
comments in Ankara.
The man “is a Syrian citizen,” he told
reporters alongside his Macedonian
The A-Haber television channel
broadcast footage, also posted by the
website of the Sabah daily, showing the
man meeting the three girls at what
appears to be a bus station in southern
Turkey and then putting them into a
car to go to Syria.
Sabah said the agent shot the footage
himself although it was not clear how
the images had been obtained.
The trio are only partially shown
but are all seen wearing Islamic
The man, who resembled the
individual under arrest in the other
footage, greets the three girls and
speaks in a mixture of English and
“ Yalla sis!” (“Let ’s go, sister”), he says.
“Go to this car... one, two, three,” he
adds, as the baggage is loaded.
“I forget to give you the passports,”
he says with a laugh. He says “there is
a good weather for them” and tells the
three it will only take an hour to get to
The Milliyet daily reported yesterday
that the individual was working for
Canadian intelligence, but Ottawa has
already denied this.
Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 16,
and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum
and Amira Abase, crossed into Syria
after boarding a flight from London to
Istanbul on February 17.
CCTV stills of three teens at a
London airport en route to Turkey.
Syrian ‘spy’ helped British teens over border
by Dave Green 0702 Difficulty Level
QUICK QUIZ 404
1. Eight New Zealanders have driven in Formula 1 races. How many won a race?
2. What new invention was unleashed on Oklahoma City motorists in July 1935:
traffic lights, roundabouts or parking meters?
3. What word is both a rare silvery-white metal and a London theatre used for
Royal Variety shows?
4. The constellation of Gemini includes twin stars: what are their names?
5. Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti were two of the three tenors. Who was
6. The ‘CMY’ in CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. What does K
7. Which Shakespeare characters are mentioned in hit songs by Dire Straits and
8. Which European country is also known as the Hellenic Republic?
9. Give the next line of this song: But there ain’t no way I’m ever going to love
you/But don’t be sad . . .
10. Which town on SH1 is overlooked by a 14m statue of Our Lady of Lourdes?
1. Two (Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme), 2. Parking meters, 3. Palladium, 4. Castor and
Pollux, 5. Jose Carreras, 6. Black, 7. Romeo and Juliet, 8. Greece, 9. ‘Cause two out of
three ain’t bad, 10. Paraparaumu.
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