Home' Greymouth Star : June 22nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, June 22, 2015
A heatwave in Pakistan’s largest city
Karachi and other districts of southern
Sindh province has killed at least 122
people, health officials say.
“Since Saturday 114 people have died
in Karachi and eight others (have died)
in three districts of Sindh,” provincial
health secretary Saeed Mangnejo said
He said the provincial government
had imposed a state of emergency at all
hospitals, cancelling leave for doctors
and other medical staff and increasing
stocks of medical supplies.
The southern port city of Karachi saw
temperatures reach as high as 45degC on
Saturday, just short of a record high in
the city of 47degC in June 1979.
Dr Seemin Jamali, the head of the
emergency department at State-run
Jinnah Hospital said more than 100
people had died at the hospital.
“They all died of heat stroke,” she said.
Officials said all the deaths had
occurred since Saturday evening.
Pakistan’s Meteorological Department
said temperatures would likely subside
in the coming days, but doctors have
advised avoiding exposure to the sun and
wearing light cotton clothes.
The high temperatures were made
worse by frequent power outages,
sparking protests in several parts of
Karachi, a sprawling city of 20 million.
Electricity cuts in turn crippled
hampering the pumping of millions of
gallons of water to consumers, the state-
run water utility said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has
warned electric supply companies that
he would not tolerate power outages
during Ramadan, an official in Sharif ’s
Karachi University in a statement
said that it had postponed its exams for
at least one month due to the extreme
Edhi Welfare Organisation, Pakistan’s
largest charity, said their mortuary had
been packed to capacity with heatwave
deaths and other casualties as 150 bodies
were placed there.
“ We had to bury some 30 unclaimed
bodies to make room in the mortuary,”
Edhi official Anwar Kazmi said. — AFP
Charleston (South Carolina)
Crowds of protesters and two prominent
Republicans called for removing the
Confederate flag from the grounds of South
Carolina Statehouse following a massacre by a
white gunman at a historically black Charleston
A rally outside the Statehouse called on
officials to take down the flag originally flown
by the pro-slavery South during the 1861-65
US Civil War. “ We must put that flag in its
place as a part of history,” Sarah Leverette, 95, a
civil rights activist who attended, said. Bringing
it down, she said, would mean the nine people
killed at the church last week have not died in
Murder accused Dylann Storm Roof, 21,
held the Confederate flag in a photograph on
a website and displayed flags of defeated white
minority African governments on his Facebook
Controversy over the flag deepened when
Governor Nikki Haley ordered the State and US
flags at the Statehouse lowered to half-staff for
nine days to honour the dead. The Confederate
flag did not move due to a 2000 compromise
that saw the flag shifted from the Statehouse
dome to a monument directly in front. The flag
can only be lowered with approval of the full
Legislature. South Carolina was the last State to
fly the Confederate flag from its Capitol dome.
Republican South Carolina State Senator
Doug Brannon said he would introduce a bill
to remove the flag entirely. “ When my friend
was assassinated for being nothing more than a
black man, I decided it was time for that thing
to be off the Statehouse grounds,” Brannon
said, referring to Reverend Clementa Pinckney,
a State senator. “ It’s not just a symbol of hate,
it ’s actually a symbol of pride in one’s hatred.”
Former presidential contender Mitt Romney
tweeted that many see the Confederate flag as
“a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to
honour #Charleston victims”.
Describing himself as the “Last Rhodesian”,
21-year-old Dylann Roof wrote in a manifesto:
“I have no choice. We have no skinheads, no real
KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the
internet. Well someone has to have the bravery
to take it to the real world, and I guess that has
to be me.”
He claimed the “event that truly awakened me”
was the row over the death of Trayvon Martin,
an unarmed black teen shot dead by George
Zimmerman in Florida in 2012. He wrote it
was “obvious” Zimmerman was right to kill the
17-year-old and the case led him into the dark
world of white supremacy. “ I have never been
the same since that day.”
Roof, who faces a potential death sentence
if convicted, said he learned his racism largely
on-line. “ I hate the American flag,” Roof
wrote. “Modern American patriotism is an
absolute joke. People pretending like they have
something to be proud (of ) while white people
are being murdered daily in the streets.” — AP
Calls grow for
flag to go
The Confederate flag.
Islamic State group militants
have laid land mines and explosives
at the site of the ancient ruins in
Syria’s Palmyra, a monitor says,
adding the purpose of the move
The head of Syria’s antiquities
department, reached by phone
in Damascus, said he had also
received reports from Palmyra
residents that mines were laid at
The Syrian Obser vatory for
Human Rights, which relies on a
network of sources on the ground,
said explosives were laid at the
ruins in the town in central Homs
“But it is not known if the
purpose is to blow up the ruins
or to prevent regime forces
from advancing into the town,”
Obser vatory director Rami Abdel
Rahman said overnight.
He said regime forces had
launched heavy air strikes against
the residential part of Palmyra in
the past three days, killing at least
“The regime forces are to the
west outside the city, and in
recent days they have brought in
reinforcements suggesting they
may be planning an operation to
retake Palmyra,” he added.
IS fighters captured Palmyra,
which is famed for its extensive
and well-preser ved Greco-Roman
ruins, on May 21.
The city’s fall prompted fears
the extremist group would destroy
the UNESCO World Heritage
listed ruins as they have done with
heritage sites elsewhere in Syria
So far there have been no reports
of IS damage to the ruins.
overnight he had received reports
from Palmyra residents that the
ruins had been mined.
“I hope these reports are not
correct, but we are worried,” he said.
He urged “Palmyra’s residents,
tribal chiefs and religious and
cultural figures to inter vene to
prevent this . . . and prevent what
happened in northern Iraq,”
referring to IS’s destruction of
heritage sites there.
“I am very pessimistic and feel
sadness,” he added.
In the jihadists’ extreme
interpretation of Islam, statues,
idols and shrines amount to
recognising objects of worship
other than God and must be
destroyed. — AFP
Jihadists lay mines in Syrian ruins
Security researchers have many
names for the hacking group
that is one of the suspects for the
cyber attack on the United States
government ’s Office of Personnel
Management: Pink Panther, Kung
Fu Kittens, Group 72 and, most
famously, Deep Panda.
But to Jared Myers and colleagues
at cybersecurity company RSA, it is
called Shell Crew, and Myers’s team
is one of the few who has watched
it mid-assault — and eventually
Myers’s account of a months-long
battle with the group illustrates
the challenges governments and
companies face in defending against
hackers that researchers believe are
linked to the Chinese government —
a charge Beijing denies.
“The Shell Crew is an extremely
efficient and talented group,” Myers
said in an inter view.
Shell Crew, or Deep Panda, are
one of several hacking groups that
western cyber security companies
have accused of hacking into US and
other countries’ networks and stealing
government, defence and industrial
The attack on the government
computers, revealed this month,
compromised the data of four million
current and former federal employees,
raising US suspicions that Chinese
hackers were building huge databases
that could be used to recruit spies.
China has denied any connection
with such attacks and little is known
about the identities of those involved
But cyber security experts are
starting to learn more about their
Researchers have connected the
breach to an earlier attack on US
health care insurer Anthem Inc,
which has been blamed on Deep
RSA’s Myers says his team has
no evidence that Shell Crew were
behind the attack, but believes Shell
Crew and Deep Panda are the same
And they are no newcomers to
Crowd Strike, the cyber security
company which gave Deep Panda its
name due to its perceived Chinese
links, traces its activities to 2011,
when it launched attacks on defence,
energy and chemical industries in the
United States and Japan.
But few have caught them in the
In February 2014 a US firm that
designs and makes technology
products called in RSA, a division
of technology company EMC, to fix
an unrelated problem. RSA realised
there was a much bigger one at hand:
hackers were inside the company ’s
network, stealing sensitive data.
“In fact,” Myers recalls telling the
company, “you have a problem right
Myers’s team could see hackers had
been there for more than six months.
But the attack went back further than
For months Shell Crew had
probed the company ’s defences,
using software code that makes use
of known weaknesses in computer
systems to try to unlock a door on its
Once Shell Crew found a way in,
however, they moved quickly, aware
this was the point when they were
most likely to be spotted.
On July 10, 2013, they set up a
fake user account at an engineering
portal. A malware package was
uploaded to a site, and then, 40
minutes later, the fake account sent
e-mails to company employees,
designed to fool one into clicking
on a link which in turn would
download the malware and open
“It was very well timed, very well
laid out,” Myers recalls.
Once an employee fell for the
e-mail, the Shell Crew were in, and
within hours were wandering the
company ’s network. Two days later
the company, aware employees had
fallen for the e-mails — known as
spearphish — reset their passwords.
But it was too late: the Shell Crew
had already shipped in software to
create backdoors and other ways in
and out of the system.
For the next 50 days the group
moved freely, mapping the network
and sending their findings back to
base. This, Myers said, was because
the hackers would be working in
tandem with someone else, someone
who knew what to steal.
“They take out these huge lists of
what is there and hand it over to
another unit, someone who knows
about this, what is important,” he
Then in early September 2013, they
returned, with specific targets. For
weeks they mined the company’s
computers, copying gigabytes of data.
They were still at it when the RSA
team discovered them nearly five
Myers’s team painstakingly retraced
Shell Crew ’s movements, trying to
catalogue where they had been in the
networks and what they had stolen.
They could not move against them
until they were sure they could kick
them out for good.
It took two months before they
closed the door, locking the Shell
But within days they were trying to
get back in, launching hundreds of
assaults through backdoors, malware
Myers says they are still trying to
gain access today, though all attempts
have been unsuccessful.
“ If they ’re still trying to get back in,
that lets you know you’re successful in
keeping them out,” he said.
Hunt for Deep Panda intensifies in cyber war trenches
New York manhunt stepped up
Modi seeks to turn yoga record on head
Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi led tens of
thousands of people in a yoga
session in the centre of the
capital overnight to showcase
the country’s signature cultural
export, which has prompted
criticism of fomenting social
divisions at home.
The ancient Hindu discipline
which has become an
estimated $27 billion industry
in the United States is being
celebrated across the world
as an International Yoga Day
which Modi pushed for soon
after taking power last year.
More than 35,000 people,
clad in white, rolled out yoga
mats at Rajpath, a ceremonial
boulevard in Delhi, to perform
21 aasanas, or postures, that
were kicked off by a prayer and
chants of Om.
Modi, clad in loose kurta
and trousers with a scarf
depicting the colours of the
Indian flag, also joined in the
demonstrations, working on
various parts of the body such
as the neck and the spine.
It ended with some light
“This programme is only
about human welfare, about
freeing the universe from
stress and about spreading the
message of love, peace, unity
and goodwill,” Modi said in a
speech before the 35-minute
session marked across the
But activists and minority
groups say Modi’s hardline
Hindu nationalists are trying to
force yoga on minority groups
Others said they practised the
ancient discipline in any case in
their personal lives and did not
need Modi to tell them what
“This is about the mind
and the body. Let us not play
politics with yoga,” Arvind
Kejriwal, the chief minister of
Delhi and a bitter Modi foe,
said after taking part in the
More than 170 countries
including the United States
and France are expected to
join in mass yoga gatherings.
Indian Foreign Minister
Sushma Swaraj will lead the
event in New York’s Times
Yoga, a discipline that dates
back thousands of years, has
gained immense international
prominence over the last several
decades as a holistic regime for
the mind and body.
Modi set up a yoga ministry
last year as part of efforts to
reignite interest in its country
The government has also
applied to the Guinness World
Records to record the event as
the largest gathering of people
doing yoga together in the
capital. — Reuters
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga with others during a yoga camp to mark the International Day of Yoga, in
war chief ’s
Serbia has formally requested the
extradition of a wartime Muslim Bosniak
commander whose arrest this month in
Switzerland threatens to overshadow
the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica
During the 1992-95 Bosnian war,
Naser Oric was the Bosnian commander
of the Srebrenica region, a designated
United Nations “safe haven” that fell to
Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.
More than 8000 Muslim men and
boys were massacred in the days that
followed, marking the worst mass killing
on European soil since World War Two.
In 2008, Oric was acquitted by a UN
court of war crimes against Bosnian Serb
civilians, but was arrested in Switzerland
on June 10 on the basis of a Serbian
warrant issued in February 2014.
Muslims Bosniaks regard him as a
hero, and his arrest may yet derail plans
by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar
Vucic to attend the Srebrenica
commemorations in Bosnia on July 11.
A spokeswoman for the Serbian Justice
Ministry said Belgrade had officially
submitted a request for Oric ’s extradition,
which the Swiss authorities may or may
not comply with.
Oric has already said he would contest
his possible extradition.
Vucic, a former hardline nationalist
who has rebranded himself as a pro-
western reformer, said last week he was
ready to attend the anniversary, provided
Bosnia wanted him there. — Reuters
Hundreds of law enforcement officers stepped
up their search in western New York State for
two convicted murderers who escaped from an
upstate prison more than two weeks ago, as a
third possible sighting of the men was reported
in the area.
The manhunt centred on the town of
Friendship, located about 450km south-
west of the Clinton Correctional Facility in
Dannemora, New York, where the escaped
convicts were ser ving sentences for murder.
Police set up a search perimeter in the
Friendship area, in New York’s so-called southern
tier along the border with Pennsylvania, after
two reported sightings yesterday.
A civilian told police that he believed he saw
two men fitting the descriptions of the escaped
convicts, Richard Matt and David Sweat,
walking along a road in Friendship last evening,
the Buffalo News reported. The newspaper did
not disclose how it learned about the reported
sightings and a spokesman for the New York
State police declined to comment.
“ We’re continuing to search still. We’ll stay in
the area until the lead is exhausted,” spokesman
Beau Duffy said.
State troopers and other officers were
searching an area in Friendship mostly covered
with dense forest and dotted with a few houses
and barns, the newspaper said. Sweat has roots
in the region and may have relatives who live
in and around Canisteo, about 55km east of
Friendship, according to the newspaper.
The reported sightings of Matt and Sweat, who
are on the United States Marshals Service’s list of
15 most wanted fugitives, follows the suspension
of a corrections officer at Clinton Correctional
Facility in connection with the escape.
Another prison worker, Joyce Mitchell, is
accused of assisting the escapees. Mitchell, 51,
a training super visor in the prison tailor shop
who is charged with giving hacksaw blades to
the pair, lost her ner ve to drive their getaway car
and instead checked into a hospital with a panic
attack, authorities said. — Reuters
Car attack driver quizzed
A “mentally unbalanced” man who ploughed
his four-wheel-drive vehicle into a pedestrian
street in the Austrian city of Graz, killing
three people including a young boy, has been
questioned by authorities, prosecutors said.
The 26-year-old showed symptoms of
“psychosis” in his first interrogation since he
gave himself up to police after his Saturday
rampage, though he remained “evasive” in his
A spokesman for the prosecution, Christian
Kroschl, said the man would be remanded in
custody and brought before a judge tonight.
Three of the 34 injured were in critical but
stable condition a day after the incident that left
Austria in a state of shock and mourning.
The suspect, a father of two, was described
as a “mentally unbalanced” man, according to
governor Hermann Schuetzenhoefer.
An initial investigation revealed that the
driver was known for “acts of violence,” which
led to him being barred from the family home
at the end of May.
Regional police chief Josef Klamminger ruled
out a terrorist motive.
“ We can say clearly and without doubt that
it is an isolated incident without political or
extremist motivation,” he said.
Austrian President Heinz Fischer said he was
“deeply shocked” by the attack.
“The wounds will be difficult to heal, it will
take time,” Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-
Leitner said during a visit to the scene on one
of Graz’s main shopping streets.
“ What happened here is unthinkable. There is
no excuse for it.”
Shoppers described scenes of terror as the
car ploughed into the pedestrian street at over
100kph, forcing people to scramble out of
During his rampage, the driver briefly got
out of the car wielding a knife and wounded
two people, the head of the investigation Kurt
“People were screaming in panic and rushed
into the stores to seek shelter,” one woman at
the scene said, adding that the crashing of metal
chairs on cafe terraces sounded like “a shoot-
out”. — AFP
A Tasmanian woman who was
allegedly doused with petrol and set
alight remains in a critical condition in
The 43-year-old was rushed to the
Royal Hobart Hospital on Friday night
following the alleged attack at Austins
She is in an induced coma in a
critical but stable condition, a hospital
The woman’s partner, a 45-year-
old Austins Ferry man, has been
remanded in custody and is to appear
in the Hobart Magistrates’ Court today
charged with causing grievous bodily
harm. — AAP
Torched woman critical
Nine people have been arrested as
thousands gathered at Stonehenge to
mark the longest day of the year in the
About 23,000 people, some with
flowers in their hair and playing drums
and accordions, showed up at the site in
Wiltshire, south-west England to see the
The main stones at Stonehenge, a
World Heritage Site, are thought to have
been erected in around 2500 BC.
of people including
modern-day druids flock to the site every
year to celebrate the solstice, which is
also the official start of summer.
The sun rises in alignment with some
of the main stones at the monument
and experts believe that Stonehenge was
built as a prehistoric temple.
Attendance was down on the 36,000
who went to Stonehenge for last year’s
Superintendent Gavin Williams, who
led police at the scene, said nine people
had been arrested, mainly over alleged
drug offences, a lower figure than in
“Solstice 2015 has been a great success
with approximately 23,000 people
celebrating at Stonehenge in the positive,
friendly atmosphere as they waited for
the sunrise,” he said. — AFP
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