Home' Greymouth Star : July 3rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, July 3, 2015
Mother jailed for killing eight of her babies
A French court has jailed a
housewife for nine years for
killing eight of her newborns
after a dramatic trial in which she
lied about having an incestuous
relationship with her father.
Dominique Cottrez, a 51-year-
old former health worker, was
found guilty of suffocating eight
of her babies between 1989 and
2000, shortly after secretly giving
birth to them.
Most of the killings occurred in
the bathroom of her home near
the Belgian border.
The sentence handed down
overnight was half that requested
by prosecutors. After five hours
of deliberation, the jury said
Cottrez suffered from impaired
Her lawyers had pleaded with
the nine-member jury to take
into account the “distress” of
a fragile woman plagued by
“If this women took pleasure
(in her acts) we would not have
found the bodies. She conser ved
in winter to cover their bodies,”
lawyer Frank Berton said.
Another lawyer Marie-Helene
Carlier said Cottrez, who
suffers from obesity, had been
“destroyed” after a midwife
chided her for being over weight
during the birth of her first child.
“ We never pleaded innocence,
only distress,” Carlier said.
Cottrez’s crimes were uncovered
in July 2010 when a new owner
moved into her parents’ home in
northern France and unearthed
the bodies of two of her infants
wrapped in plastic bags buried in
A resulting police investigation
turned up six other tiny corpses in
a tank in the garage at Cottrez’s
The housewife initially told
investigators that she feared the
babies were born from a sexual
relationship with her father
that had taken place from her
childhood until his death in 2007.
her husband had fathered the
children and in a spectacular
turnaround she on Monday
admitted in court she had
fabricated the story. — AFP
British energy giant BP says it has agreed to
pay a record $US18.7 billion ($27.81 billion)
to compensate the United States government
and five States for damages stemming from the
deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The spill was sparked by an explosion on the
Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 men.
Millions of barrels of oil flowed into Gulf
waters, in one of the worst environmental
disasters to strike the US.
It took 87 days to cap BP’s runaway well,
some 1500m below sea level off the coast of
Beaches were blackened in five States and
the region’s tourism and fishing industries were
crippled in a tragedy that riveted the nation.
BP’s share price closed up 4% at £4.374
($10.15) following the announcement,
which was welcomed by the US government.
Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said it would
take several months to finalise the deal.
“The board has balanced the risks, timing and
consequences associated with many years of
litigation against its wish for the company to
be able to set a clear course for the future,” BP
chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said.
“ With this agreement, we provide a path to
closure for BP and the Gulf.”
The deal has been struck with the US federal
government, the Gulf coast States of Alabama,
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas
and more than 400 local governments whose
economies were badly hit by the disaster.
The settlement increases the pre-tax cost to
BP of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in
April 2010 by an estimated $10b to $53.8b, the
“This is a realistic outcome which provides
clarity and certainty for all parties,” BP group
chief executive Bob D udley said.
“For BP, this agreement will resolve the largest
liabilities remaining from the tragic accident
and enable BP to focus on safely delivering the
energy the world needs. ”
Lynch said the US Justice Department had been
“fully committed to holding BP accountable, to
achieving justice for the American people and
to restoring the environment and the economy
of the Gulf region”.
If approved by a court, the settlement “would
help repair the damage done to the Gulf
economy, fisheries, wetlands and wildlife, and it
would bring lasting benefits to the Gulf region
for generations to come,” she added.
“This settlement would be the largest
settlement with a single entity in American
The settlement, to be enacted by BP’s US
upstream subsidiary, BP Exploration and
Production Inc, includes $5.5b to be paid to the
US over 15 years as a civil penalty under the
Clean Water Act.
A further $7.1b will be paid to the US and
Gulf Coast states over 15 years for natural
resource damages, in addition to $1b already
BP will also set aside $232 million to cover
any further, unforeseen damages at the end of
the payment period.
Another $4.9b will be paid over 18 years to
settle economic and other claims made by the
five Gulf Coast states.
Up to $1b will be paid to resolve claims made
by more than 400 local government entities.
BP to pay
over Gulf spill
The British Broadcasting Corporation
will cut more than 1000 jobs to cover a
£150 million gap in licence fee income
next financial year as millions of viewers
turn off their televisions and watch
programmes on tablets and cellphones.
The BBC, the largest broadcaster in the
world, is grappling with swiftly changing
viewing practices, the fallout from failing
to investigate a prolific child abuser in its
ranks, and scrutiny from Prime Minister
David Cameron’s government ahead of a
review of BBC funding in 2016.
BBC Director-General Tony Hall
told employees he wanted to forge a
leaner organisation with fewer layers of
management to cope with the expected
shortfall from the annual £145 ($337)
licence fee that every British household
with a television must pay.
“A simpler, leaner, BBC is the right
thing to do and it can also help us meet
the financial challenges we face,” Hall,
“There are very tough things happening
out there and the hard choice that is
happening to us is that the number
of households with televisions is
diminishing, slowly, but it is diminishing. ”
Some Britons have discarded their
televisions — the main source of home
viewing for half a century — in favour
of tablets which many younger people
use to watch programmes over a wireless
The BBC’s Head of News, James
Harding, last month predicted that
by 2025, most people in the United
Kingdom would probably get their
television programmes over the internet.
“The internet has ripped a hole in the
business model of many great news
organisations,” Harding said.
Just 69% of viewing by British adults is
now through live television and among
16- to 24-year-olds only 50% of viewing
was done through live television, the
country’s telecoms regulator said.
The BBC and other public ser vice
broadcasters must keep up with the shift
to on-line viewing to ensure they retain
a high visibility and can compete with
rival ser vices from Netflix and Amazon,
the regulator said.
The rise in on-line viewing ser vices
justifies making British people pay the
licence fee for using them, the BBC said.
The government will review the BBC’s
funding structure when it negotiates a
new, so-called royal charter ahead of the
expiry of the current agreement at the
end of 2016.
But some ministers who ser ve in
Cameron’s newly-elected government
have questioned the licence fee funding
model, which accounted for 73% of the
BBC’s £5 billion income in the 2013-14
financial year, the most recent accounts
Critics say the BBC, which employed
20,736 people in the 2013-14 year, is
bloated, biased and distorts the media
market by squeezing out smaller players,
especially in the regions.
Supporters say the BBC, known
affectionately as “auntie”, produces first-
class news, sport and entertainment and
counter that it is criticised by politicians
across the political spectrum, from
Scottish nationalists to Labour prime
ministers. — Reuters
The Lion of Al-Lat statue in Palmyra.
Islamic State group jihadists have destroyed
a famous statue of a lion outside the museum
in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s
antiquities director says.
Maamoun Abdelkarim said the statue,
known as the Lion of Al-Lat, was an
irreplacable piece and was apparently
destroyed last week.
“ IS members on Saturday destroyed the
Lion of al-Lat, which is a unique piece that
is 3m tall and weight 15 tonnes,” Abdelkarim
“ It’s the most serious crime they have
committed against Palmyra’s heritage,” he said.
The limestone statue was discovered in
1977 by a Polish archeological mission at
the temple of Al-Lat, a pre-Islamic Arabian
goddess, and dated back to the 1st century
Abdelkarim said the statue had been
covered with a metal plate and sandbags
to protect it from fighting “but we never
imagined that IS would come to the town to
destroy it ”.
IS captured Palmyra, a renowned UNESCO
World Heritage site, from government forces
on May 21, prompting international concerns
about the fate of the city’s antiquities.
So far, the city’s most famous sites have been
left intact, though there are reports IS has
Most of the pieces in the city’s museum
were evacuated by antiquities staff before
IS arrived, though the group has blown up
several historic Muslim graves in recent
Also overnight, the group released photos
showing its members in Aleppo destroying
several statues from Palmyra that were being
smuggled through the northern province.
“An IS checkpoint in Wilyat (region of )
Aleppo arrested a person transporting several
statues from Palmyra,” the group said in an
“The guilty party was taken to an Islamic
court in the town of Minbej, where it was
decided that the trafficker would be punished
and the statues destroyed.”
IS’s harsh version of Islam considers statues
and grave markers to be idolatrous, and the
group has destroyed antiquities and heritage
sites in territory under its control in Syria and
Iraq. — AFP
IS destroys 1st century BC statue
Irish singer and television
entertainer Val Doonican has
died at 88.
His family told the BBC that
he died “peacefully” yesterday.
The crooner was a big star in
the 1960s and was a regular
fixture on the BBC with the Val
Doonican Show, which featured
singing performances by artists.
He was married to Lynnette
with whom he had two
His daughter Sarah told The
Guardian: “Until 87, he was as
fit as a flea. It was just old age,
I’m afraid — the batteries ran
Doonican, with his laid-back
armchair style and his warm
Irish demeanour, was one of the
most popular and best-selling
singers of his generation.
It took him years to establish
his niche, but once he had
achieved success he remained at
the top of his profession for more
than two decades, a regular and
a firm favourite on some of the
most widely watched television
shows of the time.
His comfortable, easy-going
manner was often seen as a
welcome contrast to some of the
rackety pop groups that were
starting to blast the airwaves.
Michael Valentine Doonican
was born in Waterford on the
south-east coast of Ireland on
February 3, 1927, the youngest
of eight children.
He retired from performing in
2009. — PA-WENN
Irish crooner Val Doonican dies at 88
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