Home' Greymouth Star : May 25th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, May 25, 2015 - 5
Pentagon chief Ashton Carter has
accused Iraqi forces of having “failed
to fight” in Ramadi, which has fallen
to Islamic State militants.
The jihadists took control of the
strategic city, the capital of Anbar
province a week ago, in Baghdad’s
worst defeat in almost a year.
Carter said overnight the city
fell because Iraqi forces — despite
strength in numbers — lacked the
will to defend themselves.
“ What apparently happened was
the Iraqi forces showed no will to
fight. They were not outnumbered,
and they vastly outnumbered the
opposing force, and they failed to
fight and withdrew from the site,”
Carter told CNN.
“That says to me, and I think to
most of us, that we have an issue
with the will of the Iraqis to fight
Isil and defend themselves,” he said,
using an alternative name for the
Carter said training and equipping
the army was of little use if the troops
lacked necessary morale.
“ We can give them training and
we can give them equipment and we
can’t obviously give them the will to
fight,” he said.
But he remained optimistic the
situation could improve.
“ If we give them training and
equipment and support and some
time, I hope they will develop the will
to fight because only if they fight can
ISIL remain defeated.”
Iraqi forces on Saturday retook
territory from the Islamic State group
east of Ramadi, their first counter-
attack since the jihadists’ capture of
the city. — AFP
Iraqis ‘failed to fight’ in Ramadi — US
Islamic State fighters have killed at
least 400 people, including women and
children, in Palmyra since capturing the
ancient Syrian city four days ago, Syrian
State media said overnight.
It was not immediately possible to
verify the account, but it was consistent
with reports by activists that the Islamist
fighters had carried out extra-judicial
executions since capturing the city from
The Sunni Muslim militants seized
the city of 50,000 people, site of some
of the world’s most extensive and best
preser ved ancient Roman ruins, on
Wednesday, days after also capturing the
city of Ramadi in neighbouring Iraq.
The two near-simultaneous victories
were Islamic State’s biggest successes
since a United States-led coalition
began an air war against its fighters last
year, and have forced an examination of
whether the strategy is working.
The militants have proclaimed a
caliphate to rule over all Muslims from
territory they hold in both Syria and
Iraq. They have a history of carrying
out mass killings in towns and cities
they capture, and of destroying ancient
monuments which they consider
evidence of paganism.
“The terrorists have killed more than
400 people including women and
children.. and mutilated their bodies,
under the pretext that they co-operated
with the government and did not follow
orders,” Syria’s State news agency said,
citing residents inside the city.
It added that dozens of those killed
were State employees, including the
head of the nursing department at the
hospital and all her family members.
Islamic State supporters have posted
videos on the internet they say show
fighters going room to room in
government buildings, searching for
government troops and pulling down
pictures of President Bashar al-Assad
and his father.
Activists have said on social media
that hundreds of bodies, believed to be
government loyalists, were in the streets.
The Syrian Obser vatory for Human
Rights, which monitors violence in the
country with a network of sources on
the ground, says that some people were
beheaded in the town since it fell but has
not given an estimate for the toll among
It says at least 300 soldiers were killed
in the days of fighting before the city
“A bigger number of troops have
disappeared and it is not clear where
they are,” Rami Abdulrahman from the
Obser vatory told Reuters.
Islamic State is the most powerful
of countless mainly Sunni Muslim
groups fighting against the government
of President Assad, a member of the
Shi’ite-derived Alawite sect. The four-
year-old civil war has killed a quarter of
a million people and driven nearly eight
million from their homes.
Western countries and their Arab allies
are bombing Islamic State but supporting
other anti-Assad forces elsewhere in the
country, where government troops have
lost territory in recent months.
Dozens of Syrian troops evacuated a
strategically-located position inside a
hospital in Idlib province in the north-
west of the country l ast week, where
they had held out since April under
Syrian State television said overnight
its air force had killed 300 insurgents
in strikes that broke the siege of the Jisr
al-Shughour hospital. The al Qaeda-
linked Nusra Front, an insurgent group
involved in the offensive in the area, said
the government forces had fled.
State television aired footage showing
wounded soldiers arriving at another
hospital in the nearby coastal area,
stronghold of Assad’s supporters.
The Obser vatory said at least 261
soldiers including 90 officers had
been killed in the past month. The toll
includes the head of special forces,
General Muheiddeine Mansour.
Assad has lost large parts of Idlib
province to insurgents since late
March, when the provincial capital fell.
The president publicly addressed the
situation at Jisr al-Shughour hospital
this month, saying the army would
reinforce the besieged troops there,
whom he described as heroes.
The Obser vatory reported separately
that a brigadier general of the Syrian
army and six of his bodyguards were
killed overnight in an explosion in the
capital Damascus. A Sunni militant
group claimed responsibility. — Reuters
John Forbes Nash Junior, a
mathematical genius whose struggle
with schizophrenia was chronicled in
the 2001 movie A Beautiful Mind,
has died along with his wife in a car
crash on the New Jersey turnpike. He
Nash and Alicia Nash, 82, of
Princeton Township, were killed in
a taxi crash on Saturday, State police
said. A colleague who had received an
award with Nash in Nor way earlier
in the week said they had just flown
home and the couple had taken a taxi
home from the airport.
Russell Crowe, who portrayed Nash
in A Beautiful Mind, tweeted that he
“An amazing partnership,” he wrote.
“ Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”
Known as brilliant and eccentric,
Nash was associated with Princeton
University for many years, most
recently ser ving as a senior research
mathematician. He won the Nobel
Prize in economics in 1994 for his
work in game theory, which offered
insight into the dynamics of human
rivalry. It is considered one of the
most influential ideas of the 20th
A few days ago, Nash had received a
prize from the Nor wegian Academy
of Sciences and Letters in Oslo with
New York University mathematician
Louis Nirenberg, who said he had
chatted with the couple for an hour
at the airport in Newark before they
had hailed a taxi. Nirenberg said
Nash was a truly great mathematician
and “a kind of genius”.
Princeton University president
Christopher Eisgruber said the
Nashes were special members of the
“ John’s remarkable achievements
inspired generations of mathe-
maticians, economists and scientists
who were influenced by his brilliant,
groundbreaking work in game theory,
and the story of his life with Alicia
moved millions of readers and movie-
goers who mar velled at their courage
in the face of daunting challenges,”
Eisgruber said in a statement.
New Jersey State police said the
Nashes were both ejected from the
taxi in the crash abound 4.30pm
(local time) on Saturday in Monroe
township, about 24km north-east of
Trenton. The cab driver was admitted
News of the deaths shocked
“ We were all so happy together,”
Nirenberg said. “It seemed like a
John David Stier, Nash’s son with
his first wife, said he learned of the
death yesterday. “It’s very upsetting,”
In an autobiography written for The
Nobel Foundation website, Nash said
delusions caused him to resign as a
faculty member at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. He also
spent several months in New Jersey
hospitals on an involuntary basis.
However, Nash’s schizophrenia
diminished through the 1970s
and 1980s as he “gradually began
to intellectually reject some of the
delusionally influenced lines of
thinking,” he wrote.
The 2001 film A Beautiful Mind
won four Oscars, including best
picture and best director, and
generated interest in John Nash’s
life story. The movie was based
on an unauthorised biography
by Sylvia Nasar, who wrote that
Nash’s contemporaries found him
“ immensely strange” and “slightly
cold, a bit superior, somewhat
secretive”. Crowe was nominated for
best actor, while Jennifer Connelly,
who portrayed Alicia Nash, won the
Oscar for best supporting actress.
Much of his demeanour probably
stemmed from mental illness, which
began emerging in 1959 when Alicia
was pregnant with a son. The film,
though, did not mention Nash’s older
son or the years that he and Alicia
spent living together after divorcing.
The couple split in 1963, then
resumed living together several years
later and finally remarried in 2001.
Born in Bluefield, West Virginia, to
an electrical engineer and a housewife,
Nash had read the classic Men of
Mathematics by E T Bell by the time
he was in high school. He planned
to follow in his father’s footsteps
and studied for three years at the
Carnegie Institute of Technology in
Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon
University), but instead developed a
passion for mathematics.
He then went to Princeton, where
he worked on his equilibrium theory
and, in 1950, received his doctorate
with a dissertation on non-co -
operative games. The thesis contained
the definition and properties of
what would later be called the Nash
Nash then taught at MIT for several
years and held a research post at
Brandeis University before eventually
returning to Princeton. — AP
Beautiful Mind mathematician killed in crash
Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Forbes Nash and his
wife Alicia arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood,
California, in 2002.
Woman, 65, now mum to 17 with quads’ birth
A 65-year-old German woman
has given birth to quadruplets
after undergoing an artificial
insemination procedure in
The woman, Annegret Raunigk,
already has 13 children.
The quadruplets — three
boys and a girl — were born
prematurely at 26 weeks in a
Berlin hospital but have “good
chances of sur viving”, according
to the entertainment channel
RTL, which has negotiated
exclusive rights to the woman’s
Raunigk lives in Berlin and is an
English and Russian teacher who
is close to retirement.
In addition to her children, she
has seven grandchildren.
RTL said the new arrivals make
her the world’s oldest mother of
quadruplets. The boys have been
named Dries, Bence and Fjonn
and the girl Neeta.
Raunigk made headlines 10
years ago when she gave birth to
her 13th child, L elia, at the age
“At first, I only wanted one
child,” she said then. “ Not all were
planned. But then things happen.
I’m not a planner but rather
spontaneous. And children keep
me young. ”
Raunigk again made headlines
in April when the German press
reported that her latest artificial
insemination attempt had
resulted in a quadruple pregnancy.
At the time, she said she
decided to try to have another
child because her youngest
daughter, who is nine, wanted a
little brother or sister, according
The tabloid Bild am Sonntag
quoted Raunigk, whose oldest
daughter is reportedly 44,
recalling that it was “a shock”
when the doctors first broke
the news to her of a quadruple
“After the doctor discovered
there were four, I had to give it
some thought to begin with. ”
But she did not consider
reducing the number of embryos
and said she had no reser vations
about the challenge facing her.
“ I’m not actually afraid. I simply
assume I’ll remain healthy and fit.
In matters of organisation I have
enough experience, that ’s not new
for me,” she told Bild.
Asked about moral doubts,
RTL quoted her as asking:
“How does one have to be at 65?
One must apparently always fit
some cliches which I find rather
“ I think one must decide that
for oneself. ” — AFP-PA
Annegret Raunigk, pictured with Lelia in 2005, has given birth to quadruplets at 65.
A river dammed up by a huge
landslide in Nepal’s north-west has
begun flowing again but the risks of
flash floods are not over yet, police
The landslide at Ramche village
in Myagdi district, about 140km
north-west of Kathmandu, struck
on Saturday night and blocked the
Kali Gandaki river, triggering fears
that a large volume of water would
build up and then burst through,
causing floods downstream that
could reach as far as India.
“The river has started overflowing
the dam. The water build-up is no
more rising,” police official Kamal
Singh Bam said.
“ We think it will not breach
the dam suddenly and cause
downstream floods. But the risk for
that is not totally out yet,” he said.
Earlier the authorities asked
thousands of downstream villagers
to move to safer areas amid
concerns that the river could bring
floods in the districts of Parbat,
Syangja, Gulmi, Palpa, Nawalparasi
The river flows into India where it
is known as the Gandak.
A big earthquake hit Nepal on
April 25, triggering numerous
landslides and avalanches and
killing more than 8000 people. A
second quake hit the mountainous
country on May 12, killing scores.
Myagdi district administrator Tek
Bahadur K C said the landslide had
created a 150m-high dam and the
water build-up spread about 3km.
“ We had already moved 123
people in the area to safe places
fearing landslides as the mountain
had developed cracks in the
earthquake,” he said.
“This is why there is no human
casualty even in such a massive
landslide that has destroyed part of
a dirt road connecting the nearby
areas,” K C said.
In August last year a massive
landslide blocked the Sunkoshi
river in north-east Nepal killing
more than 150 people and causing
fears of flooding as far away as
the eastern Indian state of Bihar,
where thousands of people were
evacuated. — Reuters
river flowing again
Church unnerved by huge
Irish gay marriage ‘yes’
The once-dominant Catholic Church
in Ireland is trying to come to terms
with an over whelming vote in favour of
As jubilant “yes” supporters nursed
hangovers after partying late into
Saturday night following the referendum
result, the faithful attended Mass to hear
their priests reflect on the new social
“The Church has to find a new
language which will be understood and
heard by people,” Archbishop of D ublin
Diarmuid Martin said after Mass at the
city’s St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.
“We have to see how is it that the
Church’s teaching on marriage and
family is not being received even within
its own flock.”
He added: “ There’s a growing gap
between Irish young people and the
Church and there’s a growing gap
between the culture of Eire and that ’s
developing and the Church. ”
The majority of Irish people still
identify themselves as Catholic but the
Church’s influence has waned amid
growing secularisation and after a wave
of child sex abuse scandals.
During the campaign, bishops spoke
against changing the law, while older
and rural voters were thought to have
accounted for much of the “no” vote.
Final results showed 62% in favour and
38% against introducing gay marriage in
a country where being homosexual was a
crime until 1993.
As Sunday ’s newspapers marked the
result with colourful pictures of partying
“yes” supporters, they noted the heavy
blow to Church authority.
Niall O’Connor wrote in the Sunday
Independent: “ The once unshakeable
influence of the Catholic Church over
Middle Ireland has been confronted.”
Ireland will become the 19th country
in the world to legalise same-sex
marriages once the necessary legislation
is approved. The first weddings could
happen within six months.
All of Ireland’s 43 constituencies except
one voted in favour of the measure and
the 60% turnout was far higher than in
Congratulations poured in from around
the world, including from British Prime
Minister David Cameron and United
States Vice-President Joe Biden.
In Australia, Prime Minister Tony
Abbott said his country would not follow
Ireland’s lead and hold a referendum,
adding that any decisions would be
made by parliament. — AFP
Pope urges help for
migrants stranded at sea
Pope Francis called on the
to help migrants crossing
the Bay of Bengal and the
Andaman Sea, thousands
of whom have been
stranded on boats with
“ I continue to follow
and pain in my heart the
stories of many refugees
in the Bay of Bengal and
the Andaman Sea,” Pope
Francis said to crowds who had gathered
for his Pentecost Sunday address in
St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
A migrant crisis has flared up in
South-east Asia as Rohingya Muslims
fleeing persecution in Myanmar and
Bangladeshis trying to escape poverty at
home become prey to human traffickers.
After Thailand cracked down on the
practice, traffickers began
boats on the open sea rather
than trying to smuggle the
people through Thailand.
The United Nations refugee
agency said on Friday some
3500 are stranded.
Pope Francis said he
appreciated the efforts of
countries that have agreed
to take in people who are
facing “severe suffering and
danger”, but encouraged
community to offer them humanitarian
Malaysia’s Prime Minister has pledged
assistance and ordered the navy to rescue
thousands adrift at sea. Malaysia and
Indonesia offered to allow the migrants
to come on shore temporarily but
Thailand has said it would not follow
suit. — Reuters
Isis fighters broke into the museum
of Palmyra while the United States-led
coalition conducted air strikes on the
group’s installations near the captured
ancient town — the first such reported
attack in the central Syrian province of
The Department of Defence said
aircraft had attacked an Isis (Islamic
State) position near Palmyra, destroying
six anti-aircraft artillery systems and an
Isis captured Palmyra last week, raising
concerns they would destroy priceless,
2000-year-old temples, tombs and
colonnades in the town’s south.
But experts and archaeologists said the
air strike, days after the group overran
the city, was too little too late. “It is like
closing the doors after the horses have
bolted,” Amr Al-Azm, a former Syrian
antiquities official and now a professor
at Shawnee State University in Ohio,
A picture circulated on Twitter
accounts of Isis supporters showed the
black flag used by the extremists raised
over the town’s hilltop Islamic-era castle.
Al-Azm said the fact that the castle
dated back to an Islamic civilisation
might protect it from the kind of
destruction Isis members have inflicted
on pre-Islamic heritage sites such as the
cities of Hatra and Ninevah in Iraq.
The group says the ancient relics
promote idolatry, but it also maintains
a lucrative business by excavating and
selling such artefacts on the black market,
according to antiquities authorities.
Maamoun Abdulkarim, head of the
Antiquities and Museums Department
in Damascus, said militants entered the
museum in the town’s centre yesterday,
locked the doors and left guards. He
said the artefacts had been moved away
to safety earlier. But he warned that Isis’
control of the town remained a danger to
its archaeological sites.
Meanwhile, dual nationals who join
terrorist groups will be stripped of their
Australian citizenship under new laws
expected to go before Parliament this
The legislation will extend an existing
power that lets the Government take
the citizenship off people who fight with
foreign armies against Australia, Prime
Minister Tony Abbott says. “ People
who are fighting with terrorist groups
overseas or who are engaged in terrorist
activities here in Australia are effectively
taking up arms against us,” Abbott said.
The measure could lead to second-
generation Australians losing their status
if they are also citizens of their parents’
Abbott flagged the move in a national
security statement in February.
Policeman cleared over shooting
A white Cleveland police officer who
climbed on to the bonnet of a car and
fired dozens of rounds at an unarmed
black couple in 2012 was acquitted of
voluntary manslaughter Saturday.
The verdict, which triggered minor
protests, comes amid widespread
tensions in the United States over police
treatment of blacks following the deaths
of a number of African Americans at the
hands of law enforcement.
Just a month ago, riots erupted in
Baltimore over the death of 25-year-
old Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal
spinal injury while in police custody. Six
officers have been charged.
Cleveland patrolman Michael Brelo,
31, was one of 13 officers who opened
fire on Timothy Russell and Malissa
Williams during a police chase on
November 29, 2012.
The couple’s car had backfired
as it drove past Cleveland police
headquarters, and police thought the
sound was a gunshot.
A total of 137 rounds were fired at
the car, including 49 by Brelo. He shot
the final 15 from the hood of Russell’s
Judge John O’Donnell found Brelo
not guilty of two charges of voluntary
manslaughter and also acquitted him of
Brelo had requested that a judge hear
his case, not a jury of his peers.
O’Donnell said Brelo fired two shots
that could have killed Williams and one
shot that could have killed Russell, but
the evidence did not meet the standard
for voluntary manslaughter.
“ Proof of voluntary manslaughter
requires finding beyond a reasonable
doubt,” the judge said. — AFP
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