Home' Greymouth Star : April 10th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, April 10, 2015
The United States government said
this week it is launching a review on
whether to list the northern spotted
owl as an “endangered” species
after a decades-old fight between
conser vationists and loggers.
The Fish and Wildlife Ser vice said
new scientific findings by a conser vation
group petitioning for greater protections
for the medium-sized owl warranted a
review of its designation as “threatened”
under the US Endangered Species Act.
The spotted owl was listed as a
threatened species in 1990 amid high-
profile battles between the timber
industry, which fought to retain the
right to log centuries-old evergreen
trees, and conser vationists, who argued
both the bird and the ecosystem
it relied on were on the brink of
The population of spotted owls, which
are dark brown with white spots on
the head and breast, and dark brown
eyes, has continued to decline at a rate
of about 2.9% per year to an estimated
population of fewer than 10,000, the
Fish and Wildlife Ser vice estimates.
Conser vationists put the number at
fewer than 4000.
The decline comes despite logging
restrictions and a plan launched by
wildlife officials in 2011 to thin the
population of barred owls, a rival from
farther east which has encroached on
its native cousins habitat in old-growth
forests in the Pacific North-west.
Fish and Wildlife officials said
the loss of old-growth forests was
deemed the most significant threat
to the owls in the 1990s, but the
growing population of the larger, more
aggressive barred owl is now seen as a
greater threat as they disrupt spotted
owls’ nesting and compete for food.
Spotted owl numbers have continued
to fall despite protections and both
threats would be analysed in the federal
“On a positive note, the experimental
removal of barred owls is showing real
promise, with early reports indicating
that spotted owl populations rebound
when barred owl populations are
reduced,” Paul Henson, Oregon
super visor for the US Fish and Wildlife
Ser vice, said in a statement.
“O ur review of the spotted owl will
tell us whether current efforts to address
threats are sufficient.”
Being listed as “endangered” would
largely be a symbolic change in terms of
protection afforded to the species, the
Fish and Wildlife Ser vice said.
A notice announcing the review of the
spotted owl’s designation, which will
take many months, is scheduled to run
in the Federal Register on April 10.
A northern spotted owl.
Nor thern spotted owl may join America’s endangered list
PICTURE: Getty Images
An Iraqi forensics team unearths bodies from a mass grave in the palace compound of former President Saddam Hussein in Tikrit, Iraq. Iraqi
government forces continue to locate the corpses of up to 1700 soldiers who were reportedly executed last year by Islamic State fighters when they
captured Tikrit, Saddam’s home town.
Grisly finds as IS pushed back
Australian spies and federal police
have reportedly been sent to Turkey due
to fears of a terrorist attack at Anzac
centenary commemorations at Gallipoli.
ASIO, ASIS and Australian Federal
Police have been dispatched to Turkey
in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary
of the military operation, News Corp
Special forces personnel have also been
sent in case Australian officials visiting
the Gallipoli site on April 25 need to be
moved, it says.
Citing unnamed sources, News Corp
Australia says the Turkish government is
aware of the operatives’ presence in the
The increase in security is thought to
be an effort to guard against a potential
attack by terrorist groups, including
Islamic State. — A AP
United States-led forces targeted
Islamic State militants in Syria with
seven air strikes from Wednesday to
yesterday morning, with Canada taking
part in the strikes for the first time, the
US military said overnight.
Forces hit Islamic State vehicles, a
garrison, and fighting positions near
Al Hasakah, Ar Raqqah and Kobani,
according to a statement.
In Iraq 12 air strikes over the same
period hit Islamic Sate tactical units,
a tunnel system, buildings and other
targets near Bayji, Mosul, Sinjar and Tal
Afar, the statement said.
Islamic State has lost large areas it
once dominated including Mosul Dam,
Mount Sinjar and the city of Tikrit, US
Vice-President Joe Biden noted.
Iraqi security forces launched a new
offensive against Islamic State insurgents
in the Sunni Muslim heartland of Anbar
on Wednesday, seeking to build on a
victory over the jihadist group last week
The militants captured Tikrit last June
as they swept through most of Iraq’s
Sunni Muslim territories, swatting aside
a demoralised and disorganised army
that has now required an uneasy mix of
Iranian and US support to get back on
Biden urged Iraq’s leaders to continue
to compromise in the face of complicated
sectarian divisions and not to lose the
political urgency that brought them this
“There’s still a long fight a head — I
don’t want to paint an overly rosy picture
here — but ISIL’s aura of invincibility
has been pierced,” he said.
Islamic State extremists have executed
around 300 Sunni Iraqis in retaliation
for the government ’s launch of a major
offensive to regain the western province
of Anbar from the radical militia,
security sources say.
The victims, members of local Sunni
tribes, were shot dead in the Islamic
State-held western town of Qaem
near the border with Syria for alleged
collaboration with government troops
trying to recapture Anbar, the sources
said, without giving details.
The Iraqi government started the
onslaught to drive Islamic State out of
Anbar — the country’s largest province
Last week, Iraqi troops, backed by
Shi’ite militiamen and US-led air
strikes, recaptured the strategic northern
city of Tikrit in the hardest blow yet to
the jihadists, who control vast parts of
northern and western Iraq.
A security official said that government
troops were making significant advances
in their push to retake mostly Sunni
Security forces, backed by Sunni
and Shi’ite loyalists, have made “ big
progress” in driving militants out of the
area of Sijariya, east of Anbar’s capital
city of Ramadi, Mohammed Hamed,
a senior officer in the province’s police,
“Security forces are about to fully
liberate Sijariya from the grip of Daesh,”
he said, using the Arabic acronym for
Six soldiers were killed and 15
wounded in battles with the jihadists in
Sijariya, military sources said.
Government forces and volunteers
were meanwhile imposing a complete
siege on Fallujah, a main Anbar city that
has been under Islamic State’s control
for months, Shi’ite militia commander,
Juma al-Jamili, said.
“The next few hours will witness the
storming of Fallujah, which is being
besieged from all directions,” al-Jamili
told independent Iraqi news site Almada
Most of Anbar, which stretches from
Baghdad to the Syrian border, has
been under the control of radical Sunni
Islamic State and anti-government
Sunni insurgents since last year.
Cape Canaveral (Florida)
Mars has thousands of glaciers buried
beneath its dusty surface, enough frozen
water to blanket the planet with a 1.1m
thick layer of ice, scientists say.
The glaciers are found in two bands
in the mid-southern and mid-northern
latitudes. Radar data, collected by
Mars-orbiting satellites, combined
with computer models of ice flows
show the planet has about 150 billion
cubic metres of water locked in the ice,
according to a study published in this
week’s issue of the journal Geophysical
“The ice at the mid-latitudes is
therefore an important part of Mars’
water reser voir,”
Karlsson, a researcher at the University
of Copenhagen’s Neils Bohr Institute,
said overnight in a statement.
Scientists have been trying to figure
out how Mars transformed from a warm,
wet and presumably Earth-like planet
early in its history into the cold, dry
desert that exists today.
Billions of years ago, Mars, which
lacks a protective, global magnetic field,
lost much of its atmosphere. Several
initiatives are under way to determine
how much of the planet ’s water was
stripped away and how much remains
locked in ice in underground reser voirs.
“The atmospheric pressure on Mars is
so low that water ice simply evaporates
and becomes water vapor,” the institute
said in a news release.
Scientists suspect that the glaciers
remained intact because they are
protected under a thick layer of dust.
In addition to evidence of river
beds, streams and hydrated minerals,
scientists studying telltale molecules
in the Martian atmosphere last month
concluded that the planet probably had
an ocean more than 1.6km deep covering
almost half of its northern hemisphere.
Mars has lost about 87% of that water,
Currently, the planet ’s largest known
water reser voir is in the polar caps.
Glaciers buried under
An armed man on trial for bankruptcy
fraud has gunned down a judge
and lawyer in a Milan court, in an
attack which left three dead and sent
shockwaves through Italy.
The man, named as Claudio Giardiello,
57, escaped on a scooter but was
captured by police in Vimercate, a town
some 25km outside Milan.
“This is a moment of great pain, of
sadness,” Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
said, adding that it was “ unthinkable
someone should be able to enter a court
with a weapon”.
He promised “the government will
shed the utmost light on the event ” and
described the police who had chased
down and arrested the man as heroic.
The dead were named as judge
Fernando Ciampi, and Giardiello’s
former lawyer, 37-year old Lorenzo
Alberto Claris Appiani, who was in
court as a witness in the case.
A third person was found dead on the
stairs inside the building after apparently
suffering a heart attack, probably
brought on by the shooting, emergency
ser vices said.
Giardiello probably used a false pass
to enter the court through a side door
reser ved for judges and lawyers, who
are not obliged to have their belongings
scanned by a metal detector, Milan
public prosecutor Edmondo Bruto
He fired at his lawyer and one of his
co-defendants during a hearing, before
heading to the floor below, according
to reports from court sources. There,
he shot dead the judge, who had been
trying to protect a female colleague.
Police said Giardiello fired 13 rounds
in total. Two people were injured in
the shooting and one is in a serious
Giardiello was caught on video
sur veillance cameras fleeing the
court and police traced him via his
Valerio Maraniello, who once acted
as a lawyer for the shooter, said his ex-
client was “an aggressive person, a little
“He was always convinced people were
trying to cheat him. He never listened
to advice,” he said, adding that he was
“not completely surprised” by the deadly
Giardiello owned 55% of a real estate
company which went under in 2008,
media reports said. — AFP
An Australian-based doctor has been
placed alongside warlord Joseph Kony as
one of the most wanted men in Uganda.
The names and photographs of the 11
wanted people have been published in
all major newspapers in the country, and
they include Aggrey Kiyingi.
“ He is a wealthy cardiologist based in
Australia,” the advertisement says.
“ He is wanted for bankrolling murders
that rocked eastern Uganda from
December 2014 to February 2015.”
According to prosecutors, Kiyingi and
23 other suspects murdered four Muslim
clerics, two policemen and a local leader.
They are further charged with
attempting to murder three other people.
Kiyingi has dismissed the claims.
“ We have released the list of Ugandans
most wanted criminal fugitives,” police
spokesman Fred Enaga said. “ We are
working with Interpol to arrest the
suspects outside Uganda.” — AAP
A Cairns man intent on digging dirt
on a Q ueensland MP has received a terse
reply after an epic e-mail fail.
The man, identified only as Karl,
wanted help to dig up information about
the new Labor MP for Cairns Rob Pyne,
the Courier-Mail reported.
But the e-mail was sent to Pyne himself,
rather than its tended recipient, the
former Liberal National Party member
for Cairns Gavin King.
The man’s plan came unstuck when he
e-mailed the Cairns electorate office.
“ Dear Gavin, I’ve tried to find out more
about Rob Pyne’s driving incident in
1991,” the man wrote.
“ But too many files became updated in
January 2015 . . . Could you please help
The reply was short and sharp.
“ Dear Karl, thank you for e-mailing my
office,” Pyne wrote back.
“ If you require any information
regarding my accident or even drink-
driving offences, please have the integrity
to contact me directly. Warmest Regards,
Pyne admitted to a drink-driving
offence 25 years ago, after calls for all
Labor MPs to be up-front about their
pasts in the wake of the controversy
surrounding former Labor MP Billy
Gordon. — AAP
A mother-of-seven who drove a four-
wheel-drive vehicle into a suburban
Melbourne lake, resulting in the deaths
of her three youngest children, felt dizzy
before the crash.
Akon Guode, 35, told family members
she felt “very dizzy” before the incident
in Wyndham Vale and was not feeling
herself, according to media reports.
Ms Guode returned to her family late
last night after being held in custody and
questioned by police.
It is believed she has been taken to
her aunt ’s house at Mor well in eastern
She has not been charged but the
homicide squad continues to investigate
Meanwhile, the distraught adoptive
father of the four children in the vehicle,
Joseph Manyang, says he believes Ms
Guode did not deliberately drive into
“ My message to the community —
because there is a lot of talking around,
there is untruths — what I can tell them
is they have to wait for the report from
the police investigation, that will be the
truth,” Manyang told SBS Radio.
“ What I believe is she can’t do that
(harm the children) . . . because she loved
the kids,” he said.
One-year-old Bol, his four-year-
old sister Anger and her twin brother
Maudit, died after being pulled from
Lake Gladman on Wednesday.
Their five-year-old sister, Awel, is
improving and talking in the Royal
Children’s Hospital today.
A makeshift memorial at the entrance
of the lake continues to grow, with many
leaving messages of love, flowers and soft
A candlelight vigil in memory of the
children is planned for the weekend.
‘Fake relative’ claims mourners’ flights
German police are looking into
an allegation that a woman got
free flights to the south of France
by pretending to be a relative of
one of 150 people killed in the
Germanwings, the budget airline
in the Lufthansa group, provided
free flights for mourners visiting the
French Alps scene of the March 24
crash, which French and German
prosecutors believe was deliberately
caused by the plane’s co-pilot.
The freeloader claimed to be a
cousin of a female teacher who
died, reported the Halterner
Zeitung, a newspaper in Haltern,
Germany, quoting the teacher’s
father. Haltern’s high school lost 16
schoolchildren and two teachers in
An airline spokesman said “the
incident is known to Lufthansa”,
but would not discuss details, except
to say Lufthansa lawyers were
examining if they could sue her.
A fraud inquiry had begun in
Hoexter, another town in North
Rhine Westphalia State, police
there said. They said they were
acting on a complaint from
The father said the phantom cousin,
who was neither a kinswoman nor
friend of his daughter, flew twice
to the Alps and back, taking three
other unidentified persons with her,
according to the newspaper.
She even received the counselling
that was offered free to the rest of
the mourners. — DPA
Prince William and his wife Kate
are not aware of the sex of their
second child due later this month, a
source close to the royal couple has
The D uchess of Cambridge is
expected to give birth in mid to late
April with some reports suggesting
her due date is Anzac Day.
It is understood from a source
close to Kensington Palace that
William and Kate have chosen
not to find out the sex of Prince
George’s soon-to-be-born sibling.
The duchess is planning to give
birth in the Lindo Wing of St
Mary’s Hospital in central London.
That is where Prince George
was born in mid-2013 and Prince
William drew his first breath in
The build-up to this royal birth
has not been as intense as two years
ago mainly because the baby will
be a so-called “spare” rather than a
future heir to the British throne.
Britain is also in the midst of
a general election campaign and
broadcasters simply do not have the
resources to cover the impending
birth in similar depth.
But Kensington Palace still
expects a frenzy in coming weeks.
Prince George’s birth was an “an
eight-step event ” for photographers
meaning they needed ladders with
eight steps to guarantee good
pictures at the hospital.
This time around the palace is
trying to limit the chaos by vowing
to move on reporters if they try
and stake out a position before it is
announced Kate has been admitted
to the Lindo.
Following the birth the proud
parents will spend a few days at
Kensington Palace before travelling
to their Norfolk home Anmer Hall.
In 2013 the Duke and Duchess
went from Kensington Palace to
Kate’s parent ’s house in Berkshire
William will take two week’s
paternity leave from his job as an
air ambulance helicopter pilot.
It is not yet known when Kate
will return to public duties but the
source stated “as you would expect
with two very young children her
focus will be on the family during
The duke and duchess have a live-
in Spanish nanny, Maria Teresa
Turrion Borrallo, and “at this time”
do not plan to to hire more staff.
At the hospital, the delivery team
will be led by surgeon gynaecologist
Guy Thorpe-Beeston. He will
be assisted by royal household
gynaecologist Alan Farthing.
Both helped deliver Prince
George under the guidance of the
Queen’s gynaecologist, Marcus
Setchell, who’s since retired.
“The duke and duchess are hugely
grateful for the warm wishes
they have received from people
throughout the UK and indeed
around the world and over the
last few months,” a source said
“They know that people are
excited that Prince George will
soon have a little brother or sister.”
Kensington Palace will announce
when Kate has been admitted to
hospital via a press release as well as
on Twitter and Instagram.
They will subsequently reveal
when the baby has been born
but only after the Q ueen and
members of both families have
been informed first.
It is expected William and Kate
will then reveal the baby’s name
within days. Alice is the current
favourite with bookmakers.
Baby’s sex to surprise royal couple
300 new executions
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