Home' Greymouth Star : June 4th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, June 4, 2015
PICTURE: Getty Images
Rescuers search for sur vivors from the capsized ship Dongfangzhixing in the Yangtze River. The Dongfangzhixing (Eastern Star) was carrying 458
people, including 406 Chinese passengers, five travel agency workers and 47 crew members when it sank.
Hopes fade for sinking survivors
Dozens of people broke through a
police cordon overnight as they marched
towards the site of a sunken cruise ship
in the Yangtze River to demand news of
Rescuers searched for more than 400
missing people, many of them elderly,
but hopes were fading of finding more
sur vivors from the worst shipping
disaster in modern Chinese history.
Only 14 people, including the ship’s
captain, have been found alive since the
ship capsized in a tornado on Monday
night with 456 people on board. Just 29
bodies have been recovered.
Frustrated by the scarcity of information
coming from local authorities, about 80
family members hired a bus to take them
from Nanjing to Jianli county in Hubei,
an eight-hour journey. They started
walking towards the rescue site late last
“This isn’t going to be much use, we’re
just doing this for the government to
see,” organiser Wang Feng said.
The protesters later broke through a
cordon of 20 to 25 paramilitary police
who had tried to prevent them from
going through a roadblock.
Early today, the deputy police chief of
Jiangsu province, where Nanjing is the
capital, told the relatives they could go
to the disaster site only in the daytime.
He promised to arrange buses for them
to view the boat in the morning, adding
that journalists were barred from going.
Volunteers from Jianli offered rides
and water to the marchers, and some
people tied yellow ribbons to their car
wing mirrors. Some of the relatives
broke down in tears near the site.
Earlier, 47 of the relatives asked the
government to release the names of the
living and the dead to them at the rescue
site, according to a statement.
In a separate statement, other relatives
questioned why most of the people
rescued were crew members, why the
boat did not dock, and why the captain
and crew members had time to don their
life vests but not to sound any alarm.
State television showed rescuers, some
standing on the Eastern Star’s upturned
hull, and scores of divers working
through the night.
Divers face difficulties such as cabin
doors blocked by tables and beds. There
is also the fear that rashly cutting holes
in the hull could burst air pockets
keeping people alive.
“Although there’s lots of work to do,
saving people is still being put first,”
Transport Ministry spokesman Xu
Chengguang told reporters.
Television pictures showed a rain-
soaked Premier Li Keqiang, who is
on the scene overseeing rescue efforts,
bowing in respect to two bodies laid out
on the deck of a boat covered in sheets.
“Life is greater than the heavens, and
the burden on your shoulders is massive,”
Li told a group of military divers.
Some relatives were already bracing for
“ Yesterday I still had some hope. The
boat is big and the water hadn’t gone
all the way in. Now, it ’s been more than
40 hours. I ask you, what do I have
left?” Wang, a 35-year-old wedding
photographer whose father was on the
The ship had been on an 11-day voyage
upstream from Nanjing, near Shanghai,
The People’s Daily said the ship passed
inspections by authorities in Chongqing
last month. But according to documents
from a local maritime watchdog, it was
investigated and held by authorities due
to defects in 2013.
The Nanjing Maritime Safety
Administration had investigated the
Eastern Star as part of a safety campaign
into passenger ferries and tour boats
and held the ship along with five other
vessels, according to three documents on
the bureau’s website.
The documents gave no details of the
defects but said the issues were reported
to the Chongqing maritime safety
The search area has been extended up
to 220km downstream, State television
said, suggesting that bodies could have
been swept far from where the ship
Zhang Hui, a tour guide who sur vived
the disaster, told the official Xinhua news
agency that it had rained so hard water
seeped through cabin windows, and that
the ship then listed violently.
“I thought, ‘This isn’t right’, and I told
my colleague, ‘I think we’re in trouble’.
After I said that, the ship flipped over.
It only took 30 seconds or a minute,”
Li Yongjun, captain of a freighter that
passed near the Eastern Star shortly
before it capsized, told Xinhua the
weather was so bad he had decided to
anchor and wait out the storm.
He said he heard a voice from the river
crying, “Help!” just after 10pm (local
time), about 30 minutes after State
media has said the Eastern Star capsized.
“The rain was just too heavy, there was
no way to mount a rescue, so I shouted
over, ‘Swim to the bank’,” Li said.
Police have detained the captain and
chief engineer for questioning. An initial
investigation found the ship was not
overloaded and had enough life vests on
The ship overturned “within one or two
minutes”, Xinhua quoted the captain as
saying. He was dragged out of the water
near a pier just before midnight.
China’s weather bureau said a freak
tornado had buffeted the area the ship
was passing through.
State media said it was the worst
recorded ship disaster on the Yangtze
River. In 1948, the steamship Kiangya
blew up on the Huangpu river, killing
more than 1000 people. — Reuters
Relatives of passengers on the ship that sank at Jianli section of Yangtze River
in Hubei province cry as they wait for news at an arranged hotel, in Nanjing.
Angry family members protest
A British Broadcasting Corporation
reporter is to face disciplinary
proceedings after a tweet mistakenly
claiming that the Queen had died was
posted on the internet.
The BBC has apologised for any offence
caused by the inaccurate tweet, which
was picked up by a number of foreign
news outlets, according to reports.
Another tweet wrongly claimed that
the Q ueen was being “treated” in hospital
and generated speculation on social
media about the state of the monarch’s
The tweets were posted on the day the
corporation held a technical rehearsal
for its future coverage of the Q ueen’s
obituary but the BBC stressed that
tweeting was not part of the exercise.
By coincidence, the Q ueen was at
hospital earlier yesterday for her routine
annual medical check-up.
Buckingham Palace took the unusual
step of confirming the private medical
visit after concerns were raised about her
well-being following the tweets.
The messages were posted on Twitter
from the account of BBC broadcast
journalist Ahmen Khawaja, and it is
understood she will now face disciplinary
One tweet said: “’Queen Elizabrth
has died (sic).” Another tweet said:
“ Breaking: Q ueen Elizabeth is being
treated at King Edward VII Hospital in
London. Statement due shortly.”
The journalist later deleted the tweets,
apologised for what she described as a
“false alarm” and suggested her phone
might have been hacked.
“ Phone left
unattended at home. Silly prank.
Apologies for upsetting anyone!”
It is thought the messages might have
been posted on Twitter by someone who
thought the BBC’s rehearsal was a real
event. — AFP
A native American student has won
the right to wear an eagle feather at
his school graduation, after a last-
minute deal was reached to curtail
court action, officials say.
Christian Titman had repeatedly
asked his school in California to let
him display the feather, presented by
his father as a mark of his academic
achievements, at his graduation
Yesterday the 18-year-old, a member
of the Pit River Tribe, launched an
emergency court motion backed by
the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) of northern California.
His lawyers reached a deal late last
night with the Clovis Unified School
District, which oversees Clovis High
School, 320km south-east of San
The school district had been offering
to let Titman receive the feather along
with his diploma when he went up on
stage at the ceremony, then attach it
to his graduation cap. Titman wanted
to wear the feather in his cap from the
outset, for the whole event.
The compromise is this: he can wear
it in his hair until he gets his diploma,
and then fix it to his cap.
“Christian and his family are thrilled
that he will be able to wear an eagle
feather during graduation tomorrow,”
Novella Coleman, a staff lawyer with
the ACLU of Northern California,
The school district ’s Janet Young
said: “It has been our goal from the
beginning to find a mutually agreeable
solution that honours and respects
the culture of our native American
students while affirming our long-
standing traditions and standards.
“ We look for ward to doing both at
the graduation ceremony,” she said.
Student wins right to wear feather
Christian Titman wears his graduation cap and gown, along with a
ceremonial eagle feather presented to him by his father in Fresno, California.
Masked boys armed
with toys seize
teacher’s grade book
Police in Serbia have arrested two
schoolboys they accuse of having stormed
a Belgrade classroom masked and armed
with a plastic pistol and making off with
their teacher’s grade book.
Police said in a statement overnight
they had apprehended two unidentified
grade 7 pupils and seized a replica pistol,
a plastic knife, a balaclava and pair of
sunglasses after the incident on Tuesday
during school hours in the Belgrade
suburb of Kotez.
School crime and violence have soared
in Serbia since the war years of the
1990s when societies across old socialist
Yugoslavia frayed under the pressure of
gangsterism, corruption and nationalism.
Authorities in Serbia have responded
by installing video sur veillance and
deploying constables at some schools.
“ It appears that a third boy agreed with
two friends that they would grab the
grade book because of his poor grades,”
a police officer, who asked not to be
The pair were charged with violent
behaviour, jeopardising public safety
and destruction and damage of property,
police said. — Reuters
Eighty per cent of sub-Saharan
Africa’s 800 million people should
have access to cellphones by the end
of the decade, double the current rate,
although government help is needed
to reach far-flung areas, industry
body group GSMA said overnight.
The growth of mobile data — an
even more powerful economic tool
than simple voice ser vices — also
hinges on authorities allocating
sufficient spectrum, Mortimer Hope,
the Africa director of GSMA, said.
“ We expect data to keep growing
dramatically, and to facilitate that you
need more spectrum to handle that
data growth,” he said on the sidelines
of the World Economic Forum
Africa in Cape Town.
To unleash the full potential of
mobile internet ser vices, he said,
governments should also consider
cutting taxes on web-enabled
handsets to make them more
affordable to consumers on the
At the moment about 15% of
Africans have access to the internet
via their cellphones.
“It’s very early days for data but
we would like it be everywhere
you have voice. The extra physical
infrastructure deployment is not as
big as you would think.”
Cellphones have been one of the
factors behind Africa’s recent growth
spurt, by freeing people from the
shackles of the continent ’s awful
landline infrastructure and allowing
them to communicate and transact at
minimal personal and financial cost.
The simple SMS — and more
recently social media — have also
become powerful political tools, used
by grassroots political movements to
mobilise support against oppressive
States, such as happened in the north
African “Arab Spring”.
Governments across the continent
are aware of the economic potential of
mobile telephony but are sometimes
slow to implement the legal
frameworks needed to allow phone
companies to expand, Mortimer said.
“ Many governments across Africa
have developed broadband plans.
The issue is that those plans very
often just sit on a shelf, not being
implemented,” he said.
Africa’s biggest cellphone company
is Johannesburg-based MTN. Other
major operators are South Africa’s
Vodacom and France’s Orange.
African cellphone access to double in five years
US admits more mistaken
live anthrax shipments
The United States military says
a problem involving mistaken
shipments of live anthrax is much
worse than previously reported,
with samples of the lethal bacteria
sent to more than 50 laboratories.
insisted there was no threat to
public health but the latest numbers
showed small concentrations of the
live anthrax were shipped to 51
labs in 17 States and the capital
Washington, as well as to Australia,
Canada and a US base in South
Deputy Defence Secretary
Robert Work and senior officials
acknowledged the number of
labs affected could still rise as an
investigation into the problem
Although officials played down
fears of any serious health danger,
the stream of embarrassing
details emerging over the past
week has raised questions about
the Pentagon’s competence in
managing the deadly pathogen.
At least four batches of anthrax
at a US Army lab in Utah which
officials had believed were “dead”
have turned out to be active,
according to Work.
Out of those four batches, which
dated back to 2005, samples were
sent out to labs across the country
and abroad for research work.
The four live batches come from
a total of 400 batches or “lots” of
anthrax at four military facilities
that handle the pathogens.
Defence officials have ordered
that all anthrax held at the lab
repositories be tested to ensure they
were inactive, Work said.
As a precaution, lab workers who
may have handled the anthrax vials
which are packaged in a series
of watertight containers — were
undergoing medical treatment.
But officials sought to play down
fears of any serious health risk.
“There are no suspected or
infection among any workers in any
of the labs that have received these
samples over the last 10 years,”
“We know of no risk to the
general public for these samples,”
concentration of these samples
was “too low to infect the average
healthy individual.” — AFP
Gunmen kill two police officers
Gunmen on a motorcycle have
killed two Egyptian policemen
who worked as guards at the world-
famous Giza pyramids in Cairo, in
the latest attack on security forces,
The antiquities ministry said the
attack occurred in a deserted area
nearly 5km from the pyramids,
and the security situation was
unaffected at the attraction, which
One of the policemen was killed
in the attack, which took place early
yesterday outside the site, health
ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel
The other died in hospital.
The Giza plateau, home of the 4th
Dynasty pyramids, is located on the
west bank of the Nile and is usually
heavily guarded from all sides.
Jihadists have regularly attacked
security personnel since the
army ousted Islamist president
Mohamed Morsi two years ago.
Since then, the authorities have
launched a brutal crackdown on
Morsi’s supporters that has left
hundreds dead and thousands
Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt)
has claimed a string of bombings
targeting security forces in the
capital that it says are to avenge the
crackdown on Islamists.
Meanwhile, in Egypt’s Sinai
Peninsula, authorities are battling
an affiliate of the Islamic State
jihadist group called Sinai Province.
Tourists have been largely spared
from attacks in Egypt although a
suicide bombing targeting a tourist
bus in the Sinai last year killed three
South Koreans and their Egyptian
driver. — AFP
Policeman helps deliver baby
A police officer who responded to
reports of screams coming from a
parked car has helped deliver a baby
girl in Melbourne’s east.
Senior sergeant Paul Henry was
on his way to Richmond Police
Station on Tuesday evening when
he was flagged down by a cyclist
who had heard screams coming
from a Mercedes parked on
The officer hurried to the scene to
find a woman in the front passenger
seat giving birth.
With the baby’s head crowning,
Henry and another man who
stopped to help rolled up their
sleeves and helped coax the baby
“The baby started screaming and
it was a relief because at least we
knew that it was alive,” he said.
“ I’ve got two of my own kids but
the last time I saw one of them
being born was 13 years ago.”
after wards and mother and baby
were taken to St Vincent ’s Hospital.
Henry was full of praise for the
man who stopped and helped.
“ When he saw me arrive he said,
‘Oh good, it’s the police’.
“I told him, ‘Mate, I’m about as
skilled at delivering babies as you
are so roll up your sleeves.
“And he did. He was fantastic, he
did most of the work and I couldn’t
have done it without him. ”
Police say mother and baby, who
has been named Matilda, are both
doing well. — AAP
Armed robbery of liquor store with pencil
A man who allegedly held up
a bottle shop with a pencil in
Queensland’s south-east has been
charged with armed robbery.
The liquor store at Kingston was
robbed about 5.45pm on May 14 by
a man who used a pencil to threaten
a female staff member before
fleeing with a sum of cash.
Police said late yesterday that,
following inquiries, a 43-year-
old man had been arrested and
charged with one count of armed
The man is due to appear in the
Beenleigh Magistrates’ Court
today. — A AP
Over 400 still missing
China’s worst shipping disaster
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