Home' Greymouth Star : May 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Former tennis star
jailed for rape
A landslide sent mud and water
crashing on to homes in a town in
Colombia’s north-west mountains
overnight, killing at least 48 people
and injuring dozens, officials said.
“The earth slid into the course of
the La Liboriana ravine, then the
dammed water caused an avalanche
which destroyed everything in its path”
in Salgar in Antioquia department,
regional police commander Jose Angel
Mendoza said in an inter view.
“ We have 48 bodies in the morgue;
27 injured people have been attended
to and the search for various missing
people continues,” Carlos Ivan
Marquez, the director of the national
disaster unit, said.
Rescue teams, including search dogs,
were being mobilised in the area, he
Photographs released by the country’s
air force and television news footage
showed homes and streets covered
in mud and debris in the town in
a mountainous area close to the
Residents were shown digging
through rubble with sticks and their
hands, looking for sur vivors.
“People that you knew, children,
young people, whole families lost
their homes. We’re on alert because
there are fears there could be another
landslide,” resident Maria Gutierrez
“ It almost gave me a heartache. We
saw big waves and people and pigs
going down in the water. ”
President Juan Manuel Santos, who
is on the way to visit the town, said via
Twitter that Colombia’s government
will provide aid to the victims.
“ We are attending to the emergency
in Salgar. Those affected will receive all
Additional but less intense rain is
expected over the next two to three
days, meteorology officials said.
48 die in Colombian landslide, flood
A Colombian policeman and residents stand in front of destroyed homes and streets covered in mud and debris in the
municipality of Salgar.
Saudi Arabia is advertising
for eight new executioners,
recruiting extra staff to carry out
an increasing number of death
sentences, usually done by public
No special qualifications are
needed for the jobs whose main
role is “executing a judgment
of death” but also involve
performing amputations on
those convicted of lesser offences,
the advert, posted on the civil
ser vice jobs portal, said.
The Islamic kingdom is in the
top five countries in the world
for putting people to death,
rights groups say. It ranked No
3 in 2014, after China and Iran,
and ahead of Iraq and the United
States, according to Amnesty
A man beheaded yesterday was
the 85th person this year whose
execution was recorded by the
official Saudi Press Agency,
compared to 88 in the whole
of 2014, according to Human
Rights Watch (HRW ). Amnesty
said there were at least 90
executions last year.
Most were executed for murder,
but 38 had committed drugs
offences, HRW said. About half
were Saudi and the others were
from Pakistan, Yemen, Syria,
Jordan, India, Indonesia, Burma,
Chad, Eritrea the Philippines
Saudi authorities have not said
why the number of executions
has increased so rapidly, but
diplomats have speculated it may
be because more judges have been
appointed, allowing a backlog of
appeal cases to be heard.
Political analysts say it might
also reflect a tough response
by the judiciary to regional
A downloadable PDF
executioner jobs, available on the
website carrying yesterday’s date,
said the jobs were classified as
“religious functionaries” and that
they would be at the lower end of
the civil ser vice pay scale.
Saudi Arabia seeks
Australian-born former tennis
grand slam champion Bob
Hewitt has been sentenced to
six years in jail in South Africa
for raping and assaulting young
girls he coached in the 1980s and
Hewitt, 75, had pleaded not
guilty to the two charges of rape
and one of sexual assault that
were brought against him by
three women in 2013.
Hewitt won numerous grand
slam doubles titles during his
career in the 1960s and 1970s and
was named to the International
Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.
But his name was removed
from the hall of fame following a
series of sexual abuse allegations.
“The effective period of
imprisonment is six years,”
Judge Bert Bam told the High
Court in Pretoria overnight after
delivering separate sentences for
the three crimes.
“Justice must be seen to be
done, even to aging offenders and
even after the expiration of many
years after the crime.”
Bam said that if Hewitt had
been 50 when he was convicted
he would have been sentenced
to 20 years in jail, adding that
Hewitt was solely to blame for
Hewitt was expressionless as he
received his sentence.
Following the judgment,
he slumped low in the dock,
speaking to his lawyers with his
arm around his wife Delaille.
have nothing to say,”
Hewitt told AFP in a low voice,
clenching a tissue in his hand,
after the court adjourned until
tonight when the defence will
seek leave to appeal.
Earlier Delaille Hewitt pleaded
for the judge not to send her
husband to jail.
“I have never had to beg before
but I am asking you from the
bottom of my heart to please let
my husband return to the farm as
I could not sur vive without him,”
she said, sobbing with grief.
Delaille, who has been treated
for ovarian cancer, said she would
not be safe living alone on their
citrus farm in the province of
But the prosecution insisted
that Hewitt ’s crimes were serious
enough to deser ve jail time, even
though he suffers from a heart
“There was a huge public outcry,
not just because of his status in
society . . . but because child abuse
being so rife in this country. This
is not a new phenomenon,” State
prosecutor Carina Coetzee said.
courthouse, activists against
abuse against children had hung
posters on the gates that read
“Child rape: life sentence.”
“ We’re just trying to digest it,”
Suellen Sheehan, one of Hewitt’s
victims who was in the courtroom
for the sentencing, said.
Sheehan testified that Hewitt
raped her in his car when he took
her for tennis lessons in 1982
when she was 12.
Hewitt was born in Dubbo,
Australia, but has spent much of
his life in South Africa.
The former champion has also
been dogged by allegations of
sexual abuse in the United States
where he once lived.
“ It ’s a victory for justice
and women and children,”
National Prosecuting Authority
spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi
“ It shows everyone is equal
before the law.” — AFP
Shi’ite militias are converging on
Ramadi to try to recapture it from
jihadists who dealt the Iraqi government
a stinging blow by overrunning the city
in a deadly three-day blitz.
The loss of the capital of Iraq’s largest
province yesterday was Baghdad’s worst
military setback since it started clawing
back territory from the Islamic State
(IS) group late last year.
Washington, which had made Anbar
of which Ramadi is the capital — a
cornerstone of its assistance to Baghdad
against IS admitted to a “setback”.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
had been reluctant to deploy Shi’ite
militias to Anbar province for fear of
alienating its over whelmingly Sunni
But militia commanders said overnight
Ramadi’s fall had shown the government
could not do without the Popular
Mobilisation units (Hashed al-Shaabi).
With the huge numbers and battle
experience of the paramilitary groups, a
counter-offensive was expected to start
soon, before IS has time to build up its
The US-led coalition said it carried out
15 air strikes against IS in the Ramadi
area in 48 hours.
Various militias announced they had
units already in Anbar — including
around Fallujah and Habbaniyah —
ready to close in on Ramadi.
The fall of Ramadi, some 100km west
of Baghdad, came when beleaguered
security forces pulled out of their last
The jihadists used waves of suicide
bomb attacks involving cars, trucks and
bulldozers to thrust into government-
controlled neighbourhoods on Thursday
The black IS flag was soon flying over
the provincial headquarters and, with
reinforcements slow to come, thousands
of families fled.
Anbar officials said at least 500 people
died in three days.
Tensions between Tehran
Washington, Baghdad’s two main
foreign partners, also played out during
the battle for executed dictator Saddam
Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, which
the government took back last month.
Abadi met the head of US Central
Command, General Lloyd Austin,
yesterday, and overnight Iranian Defence
Minister Hossein Dehghan arrived in
Hashed involvement was key in the
recapture of Tikrit, but analysts had
always warned Anbar would be a bigger
“Right now we’re dealing with the
Sunni heartland . . . where the Sunni
community has not completely rejected
IS,” Ayham Kamel, director for the
Middle East and North Africa at the
Eurasia Group, said.
“It is not necessarily approval of IS, it
could be fear or hedging, but they are
not rising against IS,” he said.
IS overnight released a video of
celebrations in Mosul, Iraq’s second city
and whose liberation from the jihadists
now looks an ever more distant prospect.
Its word was once law in Ireland on
everything from contraception to divorce.
Now, shorn of much of its influence, the
Catholic Church has limited campaigning on
Friday ’s gay marriage referendum to sermons
to its remaining flock.
Little over two decades after it legalised
homosexuality, Ireland will become the first
country to approve same-sex marriage via a
popular vote, if polls that predict a victory by
as much as two-to-one prove accurate.
The issue has dominated the media for
weeks but the Church has been largely absent,
its influence ravaged by revelations of child
abuse by priests and members of religious
orders, after decades of gradual decline.
Although the main political parties are
campaigning for a “yes” vote, the head of
the Irish Catholic Church said it “would
be wrong (to think) that somehow this is a
“ We would see ourselves as important
contributors and we will primarily exercise
that voice to our own people, in our own
churches,” Archbishop Eamon Martin told
State broadcaster RTE.
That is a stark change from the 1970s and
1980s when the clergy spoke out publicly and
strongly against contraception and divorce
that were still illegal in Ireland.
It also contrasts with the role the Church
played in France in 2013, when it helped lay
groups organise some of the largest protests
in decades in a sophisticated campaign
against the legalisation of same-sex marriage
That did not succeed, but sparked a lively
debate and raised doubts about issues such as
surrogacy rights for gay couples.
Opposition to the referendum in Ireland
has instead been left to civil groups.
“I think they (the Irish Church) probably
did the right thing,” Petra Conroy, project
co-ordinator for Catholic Comment, a group
of mainly lay Catholics who are campaigning
for a “no” vote, said.
“For any faith, it’s not good if the people are
doing something only because somebody else
is telling them to.”
Despite changing attitudes, the Church
still retains more power in Ireland than most
places in Europe.
Having run many of Ireland’s social ser vices
in the 20th century, most schools are still
under its control and almost two-thirds
of marriage ceremonies are celebrated in
While the number of Irish people who
describe themselves as Catholic has fallen
slowly to 84%, according to the 2011 census,
churches began to empty before the abuse
scandals and only about one-third attend
For the handful of priests who have said
they will vote yes, the church has missed an
“I think on this one, they ’re doing themselves
a lot of damage by the stand they ’re taking,”
Fr Tony Flannery, a founder of the reformist
Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland
group and a supporter of same-sex marriage,
“This referendum in particular is one that
is very attractive to the younger generation.
For the official Church to be taking such a
consistent no line on it, they’re just further
alienating a group that has largely left the
“I would have thought that that was
foolish.” — Reuters
Church takes back seat in Irish gay marriage vote
Rape victim dies
after 42 years
A nurse has died after 42 years
in a coma following a brutal rape,
in a case that led India to ease
some restrictions on euthanasia.
brain damage and had been in
a vegetative state in a Mumbai
hospital since being strangled
with a dog chain and sexually
assaulted by a hospital worker in
The 66-year-old Shanbaug had
suffered a bout of pneumonia
in recent days and was on a
ventilator, officials at King
Edward Hospital in Mumbai
told the Press Trust of India news
Shanbaug was attacked by
a ward boy in the basement
of the hospital where she was
discovered 11 hours later, blind
and suffering from a severe brain
Left bedridden, she spent more
than four decades being cared for
by a team of doctors and nurses
at the hospital.
Her attacker was freed after a
seven-year jail sentence.
“Her actual death happened
in 1973 (the date of the attack).
Now what has happened is her
legal death,” her friend and
journalist Pinki Virani told Zee
News television channel.
“O ur Aruna has given our
country a big thing in the form
of a law on passive euthanasia,”
a focal point of debate on
euthanasia in India after Virani
appealed to India’s top court in
1999 to allow her to die with
Indian laws do not permit
euthanasia or self-star vation to
the point of death.
But in 2011 the Supreme
Court decided that life support
could be legally removed for
some terminally ill patients in
a landmark ruling that allowed
“passive euthanasia” for the first
The court said withdrawing
life support could be allowed
in exceptional circumstances,
provided the request was from
family and super vised by doctors
and the courts.
The super vision was required
to prevent “unscrupulous” family
members attempting to kill off
wealthy relatives, the Supreme
Court had said.
The court however rejected
Virani’s request to stop Shanbaug
being force-fed on the grounds
that she was not legally eligible to
make the demand on Shanbaug’s
behalf. — AFP
British singer Lee Ryan has
become the fourth and final
member of rhythm and blues boy
band Blue to file for bankruptcy.
The 31-year-old followed in the
footsteps of his British band mates
Simon Webbe, Antony Costa
and D uncan James after Ryan’s
creditors petitioned for bankruptcy.
His spokesman said, “It was the
best way for ward to provide for
The boy band split in 2005 after
five years together. They mounted
a comeback in 2011.
Blue released three studio
albums, All Rise (2001), One
Love (2002) and Guilty (2003)
that all peaked at No 1 in the
Their 2001 singles All Rise and
Too Close made the top 10 in
Australia. — WENN
Boy band member bankrupt
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