Home' Greymouth Star : April 8th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 7
Russian emergency crews have
tried to submerge a nuclear
submarine that caught fire while
undergoing repairs in dry dock
as officials insisted it was not
carrying nuclear fuel or arms.
Despite attempts by authorities
to play down the overnight
incident, reports said Russia’s navy
chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov
flew out to the scene along with a
slew of top naval brass.
After battling the flames for
several hours, firefighters were
now filling the dock with water
“and the operation may last
several hours”, a
for the United Shipbuilding
Corporation which manages the
facility, Ilya Zhitomirsky, said.
The aim would be to submerge
A statement by the press ser vice
of the Zvyozdochka shipyard said
that the fire started in the stern,
when welding works contacted
rubber-based hull insulation.
“Employees and crew have left
the submarine in an organised
fashion,” it said.
“Nobody has been hurt.”
The vessel — a cruise missile-
type sub called Orel with two
reactors that is classified as
Oscar II by Nato — had nuclear
“The nuclear fuel had been
unloaded from Orel before it was
put up on dry dock. The reactor
is turned off,” Zhitomirsky told
RIA Novosti agency.
“There are no weapons on board.
It is clear that if the submarine
was armed it would not have
been accepted for repairs,” the
shipyard’s spokesman, Nikolai
Televised footage from the
dock showed black smoke rising
above the 155m-long submarine.
Russian nuclear sub catches fire
Britain’s Prime Minister David
Cameron has been skewered in the
middle of a tense election campaign —
for eating a hot dog with a knife and
The Conser vative leader’s
yesterday to a voter barbecue backfired
as an attempt to appear as an everyman,
relaxing in a blue shirt as the beer flowed.
The image was shattered when
Cameron picked up cutlery to tackle the
sausage-stuffed bread roll.
Newspapers and social media seized
on the photograph of Cameron using
the cutlery as evidence that the prime
minister is posh and unrelatable — an
image his party has battled to shake.
“ David Cameron doesn’t know how to
eat a hot dog” announced the Metro; “I
won’t try to hide the fact I am posh” was
the headline of the Daily Mail.
“ What kind of person eats a hot dog
with a knife and fork?” asked The Times
journalist David Jack.
“ I do the same at McDonald’s with a
Big Mac just before I ask to see the wine
list,” joked Twitter user Peter Smith.
Cameron’s Tory party has long been
characterised by the opposition Labour
party as governing in the interests of the
rich and powerful. — AFP
The death toll in Yemen is continuing to
mount as loyalist forces continue to battle rebels
in the streets of Aden backed by shelling from
The Iran-backed Huthi Shi’ite rebels and their
allies made a new push on a port in the central
Mualla district of the southern Yemen city but
were forced back by militias loyal to fugitive
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, witnesses
Naval forces of the Saudi-led coalition, which
has carried out nearly two weeks of air strikes in
support of Hadi, shelled rebel positions across
the city, they added.
Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen, Marie
Claire Feghali, said the humanitarian situation
across the country was “ very difficult”.
She described the situation in Aden as
“c atastrophic to say the least ”.
“The war in Aden is on every street, in every
corner. Many are unable to escape,” she said.
Doctors Without Borders said the situation
was “worsening by the day”.
The Red Cross hopes to deliver 16 tonnes of
medical aid to the capital Sanaa tonight from a
plane loaded in Jordan. Another plane carrying
32 tonnes of aid could follow tomorrow.
At least eight Huthis were killed overnight in
air strikes on a position north of Aden. Other
raids targeted air defence posts in the north-
east of the central Taez province.
Overnight fighting in Aden left at least 10
people dead. That was on top of at least 53
people killed over the previous 24 hours.
Nationwide, more than 540 people have been
killed and 1700 wounded since March 19, the
World Health Organisation said overnight.
The UN children’s agency said at least 74
children had been killed since the coalition
strikes began on March 26, adding it believed
the real figure to be much higher.
More than 100,000 people had been displaced.
The evacuation of foreigners continues, with
three Indian planes carrying 604 passengers,
including some Yemenis, from Sanaa to
Djibouti, an airport official said.
Pakistan’s navy also said it evacuated about
100 nationals and about 30 foreigners. — AFP
Urgent changes are needed to
Australian tax laws, say experts,
amid claims BHP Billiton
and Rio Tinto avoided paying
billions of dollars in tax during
the mining boom.
The Australian Tax Office has
the mining giants in its sights
over claims they been saving
more than $750 million a year
The companies have been
channelling billions of dollars in
profits from Australian iron ore
sales through companies that
pay virtually no tax in Singapore,
the Australian Financial Review
The use of Singapore marketing
hubs has occurred for nearly
a decade, the paper claims,
including the mining boom.
Rio declined to comment while
BHP denied any wrongdoing or
tax motives for the hub, saying it
was acting within internationally
The allegations come as the
big miners, Apple and Google
prepare to front a parliamentary
inquiry into corporate tax
Plunging commodity prices are
hurting government coffers, with
every $US1 fall in iron ore prices
affecting the tax take by $A300m
and national income by $800m.
BHP and Rio were probably
acting legally and rationally
in maximising profits, but
were pushing legal and ethical
boundaries and the law should
be changed, tax experts said.
“First and foremost we are
missing out on a lot of significant
tax revenue. It is very un-
Australian by the big Australian
lecturer and tax specialist Dr
Adrian Raftery said.
“There is a huge need for our
double tax treaty arrangements
and transfer pricing issues to be
“Is it morally right to be taking
all of these limited resources of
a nation and not repaying them
in terms of through the correct
The double tax treaty
arrangements Australia has with
about 90 countries are aimed at
avoiding overlaps and double
taxation, but critics say they
create incentives to avoid tax.
University of Sydney associate
professor Antony Ting, an
international expert on corporate
tax avoidance, said while there
was a case to argue for a lower
corporate tax rate, that was not a
justification for avoiding tax.
He said there were two options,
Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development
(OECD) — which he was
pessimistic about due to a lack of
United States co-operation.
Plan B was for Australia to
follow Britain and tackle the
issue through a diverted profits,
or “Google tax”, which Treasurer
Joe Hockey is considering.
Miners accused of avoiding tax in boom
United States scientists said they
have invented a cheap, long-lasting and
flexible battery made of aluminium for
use in smartphones that can be charged
in as little as one minute.
The researchers, who detailed their
discovery in the journal Nature, said
the new aluminium-ion battery has
the potential to replace lithium-ion
batteries, used in millions of laptops and
Besides recharging much faster, the new
aluminium battery is safer than existing
lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally
burst into flames, they added.
A team led by chemistry professor
Hongjie Dai at Stanford University
in California made a breakthrough by
accidentally discovering that graphite
made a good partner to aluminium,
Stanford said in a statement.
The new battery is also very durable
and flexible, the scientists said.
While lithium-ion batteries last about
1000 cycles, the new aluminium battery
was able to continue after more than
7500 cycles without loss of capacity. It
also can be bent or folded.
Larger aluminium batteries could also
be used to store renewable energy on the
electrical grid, Dai said. — Reuters
The obser vatory at the top of the One
World Trade Centre in New York, the
tallest building in the United States, will
open to public viewing on May 29.
At 541m high, the building stands in
the footprint of the original World Trade
Centre, where the twin towers were
felled by airliners hijacked by al Qaeda
terrorists on September 11, 2001.
Tickets go on sale today, costing $US32
($42) for adults and $US26 for children
aged six to 12.
Admission will be free for the family
members of the victims of the attacks
and those who worked in rescue and
recovery. — DPA
World Trade Centre
set to open
Daring London gem heist
Thieves have raided some 300 deposit boxes in
London’s diamond quarter, accessing the vault
through a lift shaft and using heavy cutting
The daring heist apparently took place over
the long Easter weekend and police said in a
statement that they were called to the address
in Hatton Garden in central London only
“It appears that heavy cutting equipment has
been used to get into a vault at the address and
a number of safety deposit boxes have been
broken into,” London’s Metropolitan Police
No estimate was given of how much the
thieves have made away with.
They managed to disarm the building’s
sophisticated alarm system, the Daily Telegraph
newspaper reported, while Sky News television
said there were about 600 safety deposit boxes
in the vault.
The company said on its website that it was
founded in 1954 and was one of the first places
in Britain to offer safety deposit boxes, which
are used by local jewellers and could contain
The website advertises the vaults as “a
secure and cost-effective solution to store and
protect important and irreplaceable personal
Lewis Malka, a diamond jewellery expert who
works on Hatton Garden, tweeted that one
client ’s antique bracelet had been stolen in the
The last major safety deposit raid in London,
which occurred in plush Knightsbridge in
1987, is thought to have been one of the largest
robberies in history.
The hoard was valued at the time at £60
million ($118.6 million).
There have been two previous raids in 1975
and 2003 on safety deposit boxes in Hatton
Garden, a jewellery hub since the 19th century
that also houses the global headquarters of the
De Beers diamond company. — AFP
American technology giant Microsoft has
launched a pilot programme to hire autistic
workers at its headquarters in Washington
“People with autism bring strengths that we
need at Microsoft,” corporate vice-president
Mary Ellen Smith wrote in a company blog last
“Each individual is different, some have
amazing ability to retain information, think at
a level of detail and depth or excel in math or
code. It ’s a talent pool that we want to continue
to bring to Microsoft!”
Smith, who has a son with autism who is now
19, said the programme builds on longstanding
efforts at Microsoft to enlist people with
Microsoft is working on the initiative
with Specialisterne, a venture started by the
Specialist People Foundation in Denmark.
The organisation’s philosophy is to tap traits
that austistic people have that can be useful
to companies, for instance in software testing,
programming and data entry,
“The traits that usually exclude people with
autism from the labour market are the very
traits that make them valuable employees at
Specialisterne, such as attention to detail, zero
tolerance for errors and a persistence to get the
job done,” according to the group’s website.
“ We don’t see them as people with an autism
diagnosis; rather, we see them as true specialists.”
Microsoft to hire autistic workers
Terrorist suspects killed on way to court
Five activists of an Islamic association
suspected of being involved in terrorist acts have
been killed after they allegedly attacked their
police escort on the way from jail to a court.
The men were being taken from Warangal
jail in Telegana State to a court in the city of
They requested a stop to relieve themselves
and the bus halted near Jangaon, about 100km
north-east of Hyderabad, senior Warangal
district police official B Malla Reddy said.
When one of the men’s handcuffs were
removed, he tried to snatch an AK47 rifle from
The others had also been trying to snatch
weapons when policemen from inside the bus
shot them dead, Reddy said.
Human rights activists have questioned why
17 policemen could not control five prisoners.
The Telangana government has ordered a
judicial probe into the incident. — DPA
American woman world’s oldest person
The honour of being the world’s oldest person
has passed to a 115-year-old American following
the death of a 116-year-old compatriot who
held the title for just five days.
Jeralean Talley, who lives in the Detroit suburb
of Inkster, Michigan, was born in the southern
State of Georgia on May 23, 1899 — making
her exactly 115 years and 320 days old as of
yesterday. She is also one of only three people
still alive today with documented proof that
they were born in the 1800s.
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