Home' Greymouth Star : April 30th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 9
Japanese PM offers war condolences to US
Shinzo Abe has become the first
Japanese prime minister in history to
address a joint meeting of the United
States Congress, seeking to deepen
ties in the face of controversy over his
views of World War Two.
Speaking in English, Abe overnight
stressed the tight bonds between two
nations that were forged from the
embers of brutal battles like Pearl
Harbour and Iwo Jima, and offered a
heartfelt apology for Japan’s actions.
“On behalf of Japan and the Japanese
people, I offer with profound respect
my eternal condolences to the souls
of all American people that were lost
during World War Two,” he said to
rousing applause from US lawmakers.
Shortly before arriving on Capitol
Hill, Abe symbolically laid a flower
wreath at a memorial to that conflict,
which claimed the lives of an
estimated 400,000 Americans.
“The battles engraved at the
memorial crossed my mind, and
I reflected upon the lost dreams
and lost futures of those young
“ History is harsh. What is done
cannot be undone. With deep
repentance in my heart, I stood there in
silent prayers for some time,” Abe said.
But it was Japan’s actions in Asia
during that war that threatened to
overshadow his historic address.
In Congress, Abe was faced with the
presence of 87-year-old Lee Yong-
Soo, one of the estimated 200,000
Asian women who were forced into
sexual slavery by occupying Japanese
She was invited by American
politician Mike Honda who is one
of many that accuse Abe of playing
down any official role by the country
or its military.
Abe expressed his “deep remorse”
neighbouring Asian nations, but
stopped short of a full apology
demanded by many.
“Post-war, we started out on our
path bearing in mind feelings of deep
remorse over the war,” he told the
“O ur actions brought suffering to
the peoples in Asian countries. We
must not avert our eyes from that.”
Relief efforts to help millions of
Nepalese reeling from the aftermath
of a massive earthquake must be scaled
up, the United Nations said, launching
a $US415 million ($NZ545 million)
appeal overnight as sur vivors grew
frustrated at the slow delivery of aid.
The 7.8 magnitude quake rocked
the impoverished nation on Saturday,
toppling thousands of buildings in the
densely-populated Kathmandu Valley,
where the capital is located.
More than 5000 people were killed
and at least 10,194 people injured in the
Himalayan country’s worst earthquake
in more than 80 years, and the many
aftershocks that followed.
The UN estimates eight million people
have been affected, with at least two
million in need of tents, water, food and
medicines over the next three months.
“The timing of the inter vention
remains of the essence,” UN resident and
humanitarian co-ordinator for Nepal,
Jamie McGoldrick, said in a statement.
“Although I am heartened and
encouraged by the progress of the
response to date, efforts need to be
maintained and stepped up to ensure
vital assistance reaches all the affected,
especially those in the remote areas.”
The appeal came as anger mounted
over delays in delivering aid to those in
need four days after disaster.
In the capital Kathmandu, about 200
people protested outside parliament,
asking for more buses to go to their
villages and to hasten the distribution
In Sangachowk village, about three
hours by road from the capital, scores
of angry villagers blocked the road with
tyres to stop aid trucks.
Government officials admit aid has
been slow. Broken bridges and roads
blocked by landslides have made it
difficult to reach rural areas closer to the
epicentre of the earthquake.
Rescue helicopters have been unable to
land in some remote mountainous areas
such as the worst-hit district of Gorkha
as entire hillsides have collapsed, burying
settlements, and making access almost
The UN estimates that 70,000 houses
were destroyed and another 530,000
homes damaged across 39 of Nepal’s 75
districts forcing many to sleep out in the
open under makeshift tents in cold and
“ We’re talking about families who now
don’t have so much as a tarpaulin to
sleep beneath,” Mattias Bryneson, Plan
International’s Nepal country director,
said in a statement.
“ Tarpaulins and temporary shelters can
save lives. If people, especially children,
are exposed to bad weather all day and
night, you’ll be damp, wet, dirty and
freezing cold — and the spread of illness
will exacerbate this humanitarian crisis.”
The UN said the $415m needed would
be used to provide 500,000 people with
shelter such as a tent or tarpaulin sheets,
1.4 million people with food, and 4.2
million with safe drinking water and
Even before the appeal was launched,
foreign countries and aid agencies have
offered assistance — from search and
rescue teams, sniffer dogs and equipment
for heavy lifting to blankets, dry food
rations, mobile hospitals and financial
As of early today, the UN financial
tracking system showed $48.25m had
been pledged by foreign governments
and international aid agencies since
the quake struck. Yet only $22.2m has
actually been delivered.
“As the monsoon season approaches,
this is likely to become an added logistical
challenge in providing humanitarian
assistance,” the UN’s McGoldrick said.
“Funding is needed immediately to
continue the relief operations.”
An unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft
ferrying supplies to the International
Space Station is plunging back to Earth
and apparently out of control.
“ It has started descending. It has
nowhere else to go,” an official familiar
with the situation said on condition of
anonymity, speaking ahead of an official
Russian space agency statement expected
“ It is clear that absolutely uncontrollable
reactions have begun.”
The official said the descent likely
marked the end of the Progress
spacecraft ’s mission although Russian
authorities will contact it again to make
sure everything has been done to rescue
“ We have scheduled two more
communication sessions to soothe our
conscience,” said the official, adding it
was hard to predict when exactly the
vessel would fall back to Earth.
A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress
M-27M spacecraft with supplies for the
ISS successfully launched on Tuesday
but communication with the vessel was
lost soon after wards.
A spokesman for the Russian space
agency, Mikhail Fadeyev, declined
The loss of the Progress supply ship
would be the latest embarrassment for
Russia’s space programme, recently hit
by a series of mishaps.
Russian officials said earlier attempts
to contact the spacecraft had been
unsuccessful, raising fears it could be lost
“There have been no improvements,” a
mission control spokesman said.
The controllers had on Tuesday opted
to change the flight plan and extend the
vessel’s journey to two days instead of six
hours in a bid to fix the glitch.
The mission control spokesman said a
decision on the spacecraft’s fate would
likely be announced later in the day.
“ It ’s the first time that we have such a
combination of emergency situations.”
The ship had been scheduled to dock
with the ISS, where the international
crew of six people is awaiting the cargo,
on April 30. — AFP
British soldiers dig to unear th history of Waterloo
Dr Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, shows musket balls found in what used to be the
battlefield of the Battle of Waterloo, in Braine-L’Alleud, Belgium.
British army veterans and
ser ving troops, some of them
wounded in recent campaigns, are
working alongside archaeologists
to unearth the history of the
Battle of Waterloo from a soldier ’s
perspective, 200 years on.
The battle of June 18, 1815, saw
British and Prussian forces defeat
Napoleon’s French in what is now
Belgium, dealing the final blow
to the empire he had established,
at a cost of almost 50,000 dead or
wounded on both sides.
Waterloo Uncovered, the first
major international archaeological
project at the battlefield, was
developed by 37-year-old former
soldier Mark Evans, himself
diagnosed with post-traumatic
stress disorder after ser ving seven
months in Afghanistan in 2008.
Evans found studying archaeology,
even the historic battles of the past,
to be a welcome reprieve.
“ You’re consumed, your mind is
just . . . every day, every night, every
waking, sleeping hour, you’re living
in Afghanistan. You just sometimes
need something to switch that
focus,” he said.
At Hougoumont Farm, which
Evans’s former regiment, the
Coldstream Guards, helped to
defend against the first assault of
the battle, soldiers and veterans
now dig alongside archaeologists
from Britain, Belgium, France and
“They ’ve been there, they ’ve
seen it,” Evans said. “A different
time and a different place, but
they understand the confusion;
they understand how ground is so
important to cover and to make
Metal detectors and digging have
so far uncovered coins, buttons, and
English and French musket balls
that the project ’s lead archaeologist,
Tony Pollard, believes to be from
the first shots fired during the
The team will also investigate
anomalies shown in geo-physical
sur veys taken around the farm, which
could be the final resting places of
soldiers who have lain undiscovered
for 200 years. — Reuters
Winged dinosaur sets science world aflutter
The discovery of a pigeon-sized
dinosaur with bat-like wings has
exposed bizarre twists in the early
evolution of birds, scientists in
Named Yi qi, for Strange
Wing in Mandarin, the creature
was an odd and unexpected
addition to a long list of failed
evolutionary experiments in
flight — having sported wings of
membrane rather than feathers,
“It is definitely an example
showing how much
palaeontologist Xu Xing of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences in
Beijing, who co-authored a study
in the journal Nature, said.
“Close to the origin of birds
(from dinosaurs) . . . many
lineages tried in a different way
to get into the air, but finally only
one group succeeded.”
Xu and his team described Yi
qi as “ bizarre” in the title of their
Yi qi was not a direct ancestor
of birds, but a close relative from
an extinct line.
Bearing the shortest name
ever given to a dinosaur,
Yi qi belonged to a family
of tiny creatures called
Scansoriopterygids, which had
feathers and exceptionally long
finger-like digits that may have
been used for climbing trees or
Known only from fossils found
in China, Scansoriopterygids
were closely related to primitive
bird types like Archaeopteryx,
considered a transitional species
between non-avian dinosaurs and
But they were not thought to
have been flyers. Until now.
Yi qi, the newest addition to the
group, weighed about 380g as an
adult, and had tiny teeth set in a
It had feathers considered too
flimsy to be useful in flight.
But what really sets Yi qi apart
is a bony rod, about 13cm long,
jutting from each wrist.
“ To be honest it took a long
time for us to figure out ” what it
was, Xu said in a podcast recorded
Then eureka! While never
before seen in dinosaurs, the team
realised the feature is similar
to one sported by modern-day
airborne mammals — think bats
and flying squirrels.
“ We realised that it is a structure
very, very important finally for
flight,” Xu said.
Sure enough, the team also
found remnants of “membranous
tissue” preser ved with the bones.
Yi qi is known from a sole
fossil discovered by a farmer
near Beijing in 160-million-
year-old rock from the Jurassic
Nothing below the ribcage was
preserved, so the critter’s pelvis,
hind legs and tail had to be
surmised from what is known of
An artist ’s depiction of the Yi qi dinosaur.
While many people try to hide their
grey hair, spending hours eradicating the
signs of advancing age, going grey may
no longer mean reaching out for the dye
bottle as “granny hair” is in vogue.
Fashion designers such as Jean-Paul
Gaultier, Chanel and Gareth Pugh have
all styled their models with silver hair
and many have since followed suit.
Spotted on celebrities such as Lady
Gaga, Pink, Rihanna, Nicole Ritchie
and Kelly Osborne, the grey, white
or lavender trend has been embraced
by women worldwide with thousands
posting pictures on social media sites
“Granny hair is basically silver hair,
any tone of grey in your hair: steel
grey, silvery grey, really, really white,
platinum-ish with either violet or silver
undertones,” New York hair stylist Jan-
Marie Arteca said. “ That ’s the trend.”
Many fashion blogs and magazines
say the look is the “hottest ” hair
colour trend for 2015 while website
boredpanda asked women to post
pictures of their “granny hair” on a
page that has since been viewed over
“I love the grey. Ever since I first saw it
in a magazine, I was fascinated,” Jackie,
27, said at the Jeff Chastain Parlor salon
during an appointment to dye her dark
brown hair grey.
“ It ’s like something that comes out,
like a spark.”
The process can be long however,
taking at least two hours to bleach the
natural hair and then add the new colour.
For Jackie, it took seven hours — three
bleaches and two colour applications —
to complete the look.
“Granny hair” does not come cheap
costing from $200 up to $700,
depending on hair colour and condition.
Touch-ups are required about every four
weeks. — Reuters
‘Granny hair’ takes off as women embrace grey
69 Egyptian Islamists
jailed for church arson
An Egyptian court has jailed 69
Islamists for life for torching a church
near Cairo in August 2013, as anger
flared over a crackdown on supporters of
ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
The Coptic church was set on fire
and a police station was attacked when
violence erupted in the town of Kerdasa
on August 14 that year, after hundreds
of Morsi supporters died in a crackdown
on two protest camps in the capital the
The court also sentenced two minors to
10 years in jail in the same case. A life
term in Egypt amounts to 25 years in
The defendants were found guilty of
“setting the church on fire, attempting
to murder civilians and possessing illegal
weapons,” a judicial official said.
Morsi himself was handed a 20-year
prison term last week for ordering the
arrest and torture of demonstrators
involved in clashes in 2012 when he was
president. The verdict can be appealed.
The Islamist was ousted by then-army
chief and now President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi on July 3, 2013 after mass street
protests against his year-long divisive
In the aftermath of Morsi’s ouster, his
Islamist supporters lashed out at Egypt ’s
Christian community, accusing it of
supporting his overthrow.
A court is to issue verdicts in two
separate cases against Morsi on May 16
on charges that are punishable by death.
Morsi and 35 others are accused of
allegedly conspiring with foreign powers,
including Iran, to destabilise Egypt.
He stands accused in a second case of
staging a jailbreak and attacks on police
stations during the 2011 uprising that
ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
A murderer who ate his victim’s heart
with a knife and fork after a row over
sex has been jailed for 18 years in South
Zimbabwean Andrew Chimboza, 35,
stabbed 62-year-old Mbuyiselo Manona
in Cape Town’s Gugulethu township in
June last year.
Manona had accused Chimboza of
having sex with his lover, News 24
A psychiatrist told the Western Cape
High Court overnight Chimboza
claimed the woman “had coerced him to
commit the murder”.
“He declined to explain why he had
sliced up the heart and was found eating
it,” Tuviah Zabow said.
Judge Ashley Binns-Ward said that
despite Chimboza’s relatively clean
record, the brutality of the assault and
the absence of remorse called for a
sentence of 18 years in jail. — AFP
Killer sent to prison after
eating victim’s heart
Kim Jong-un orders
15 officials executed
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un ordered
the execution of 15 senior officials this
year, including several who complained
about the young leader’s policies, South
Korea’s intelligence agency says.
Those executed included two vice
minister-level officials, the Yonhap
news agency reported, citing legislators
who attended a briefing by the National
Intelligence Ser vice (NIS).
Both were punished for opposing or
complaining about Kim’s directives, the
legislators said, adding a vice forestry
minister was executed for complaining
about Kim’s forestation plan.
As well as the 15 senior officials, the
NIS said four members of North Korea’s
Unhasu Orchestra, with which Kim’s
wife, Ri Sol-Ju, had once been a singer,
were executed in March.
The NIS said they were executed by
firing squad on charges of spying.
In 2013, Japanese and South Korean
media reported that a number of
members of the orchestra had been
executed for violating pornography laws
in a bid by Kim to protect his wife’s
The Kim dynasty has ruled reclusive
and impoverished North Korea for more
than six decades with an iron fist and a
per vasive personality cult.
The NIS suggested Kim Jong-Un
was following the well-trodden path
of his father and grandfather in using
regular purges and executions to ensure
discipline and loyalty. — AFP
Sex shop probe urged over labels
A Russian MP has asked prosecutors
to investigate a sex shop chain for using a
depiction of a World War Two medal on
price tags for wares including vibrators
ahead of the 70th victory anniversary.
The chain of shops called Casanova
69 rolled out the labels decorated with
a likeness of the medal — bearing a
hammer and sickle in the centre — in
display cases with goods including
massage oil, vibrators and butt plugs,
regional media reported.
The Yekaterinburg-based sex shop
chain, which claims to be Russia’s oldest,
swiftly replaced the price labels after
media reports prompted outrage.
Oleg Mikheyev of A Just Russia party
one of three so-called opposition
parties in the State Duma — said he
asked prosecutors to check whether
the stores had committed the crime of
desecrating a symbol of military glory.
This would be punishable with
compulsory labour for up to a year under
a law banning “rehabilitation of Nazism.”
The medal, called Order of Fatherland
War, was given for bravery in battle.
The labels were reportedly highlighting
a special offer for Victory Day, which
marks the surrender of Germany to the
Soviet Union in 1945. — AFP
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