Home' Greymouth Star : July 7th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Squirrels use nuts to solve puzzles
Squirrels have shown scientists they
really know how to “use their nuts”
when searching for food.
A group of five grey squirrels
surprised British researchers with the
speed at which they solved a puzzle
involving hidden hazelnuts.
The intelligence test was in the form
of a box with 12 sunken wells, four of
which were hollow.
Nuts were placed in the four hollow
wells diagonally across from each
other, so that the least efficient way
to look for them was by going from
well to well in a clockwise or anti-
c lockwise sequence.
Over a number of successive
attempts, the squirrels — named
Simon, Arnold, Sarah, Leonard
and Suzy — worked out that if one
well contained a reward, another
nut would be located in the well
diagonally opposite it.
“This was only a small study, but
the results are quite remarkable —
the squirrels learned to pick the
diagonally opposite well if the first
one they picked contained a nut,”
researcher Pizza Ka Yee Chow, from
the University of Exeter, said.
“They made a decreased number
of errors as they learned and
progressively changed their tactic
to increase efficiency and obtain the
Co-author Dr Lisa Leaver, also
from the University of Exeter, said:
“ We predicted that squirrels would
be quick to learn this task because
learning spatial arrays is crucial for
them in order to recover their food
caches in the winter months.
“These results are interesting
because they don’t just show that the
squirrels were quick to learn about
changes in food location.
“They also give some indication
about how they learned to complete
“This is an area that we are
investigating in more detail in
order to understand how animals in
general, and squirrels in particular,
learn about changes in the
The research is published in the
Journal of Experimental Psychology:
Animal Learning and Cognition.
The world’s oldest living person,
the daughter of sharecroppers
and granddaughter of slaves,
celebrated her 116th birthday
overnight in New York.
Susannah Mushatt Jones
marked the occasion privately
with family but a public
celebration is planned for today,
according to the Gerontology
Jones was born in Alabama
in 1899 and after graduating
from high school moved north
in 1922 to New Jersey and then
New York, where she worked
as a housekeeper and childcare
provider, according to the
Guinness World Records and
the Vandalia Senior Centre in
the New York City borough of
Brooklyn, where she lives.
Jones, who retired in 1965,
says lots of sleep is the secret to
her longevity, Guinness said in
confirming her status as the oldest
living person. She also said she
never smoked or drank, according
to Senior Centre officials.
Jones has lost her eyesight
and has difficulties hearing,
Robert Young, director of
the L os Angeles-based
Gerontology Research Group’s
Supercentenarian research and
database division, said.
She was the third of 11 children
born to sharecroppers, and
her grandparents were slaves,
according to a book written about
her by a family member, Young
The book, Susannah O ur
Incredible 114-Year-Old Aunt,
said she is mostly African-
American with some native
American ancestry, he said.
She never had children but
has more than 100 nieces and
Of her husband, according to
the nursing home, she says: “I
don’t know what happened to
Jones inherited the title of
world’s oldest living person after
the June 17 death of Jeralean
Talley, who was 116, in Michigan.
She is the third consecutive
American to hold the title of
world’s oldest person, Young said.
The world’s second oldest
person is Emma Morano-
Martinuzzi, a 115-year-old
woman living in Italy, according
to the Gerontology Research
The oldest verified person was
Jeanne Calment of France, who
died in 1997 at 122 years and 164
days, Young said. — Reuters
World’s oldest woman turns 116
Susannah Mushatt Jones, second left, celebrates her 115th birthday at Vandalia Senior Centre in New
York in this July 8, 2014 photo, alongside executive director Paul Curiale, second right, councillor Inez
Barron and former councillor Charles Barron, left. Jones, whose birthday actually falls on July 6, is the
world’s oldest living woman at 116.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd of faithful on his arrival at Parque Samanes
before celebrating Mass in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Pope Francis used his first Mass in
Ecuador overnight to ask for support
in his efforts to reach out to Catholics
who feel shunned by the Church when
the world’s bishops gather at the Vatican
Speaking to 800,000 people on the first
leg of his “homecoming” tour of South
America, the 78-year-old Pope wove his
homily around the theme of the family,
which will be the subject of the month-
long synod at the Vatican.
The meeting is expected to discuss
ways to reach out to Catholics who
have divorced and remarried outside the
Church. Under current rules, they are
prohibited from receiving communion
unless they abstain from sexual relations.
The gathering is also expected to
discuss how the Church should reach
out to homosexual Catholics.
The Pope said the synod “ would
consider concrete solutions to the many
difficult and significant challenges facing
families in our time.”
He asked for prayers for the synod “so
that God can take even what might seem
to us impure, scandalous or threatening
and turn it into a miracle. The family
today is in need of a miracle”.
Conser vative bishops oppose any
changes regarding the divorced and
remarried. At a preparatory meeting last
year they botched conciliatory language
on the pastoral care of gay couples.
Asked about the Pope’s words on the
synod, the Vatican spokesman said Pope
Francis was not referring to specific
controversies but that he wanted the
synod to find ways “to help people move
from a situation of sin to a situation of
The Argentinian-born Pontiff delivered
his remarks in Ecuador’s second city
Guayaquil, a steamy port sometimes
referred to as the world’s “ banana
capital”. In line with his simple style,
Pope Francis rode into the city in a small
silver Fiat marked for the occasion with
Vatican City number plates — “SCV
1” — standing for Stato della Citta del
Vaticano or State of Vatican City.
Tens of thousands of people lined the
route from the airport, at times rushing
police to touch the car and throw flower
petals before it.
His eyes often squinting in the sun,
Pope Francis switched to an open jeep
when he reached the sprawling Mass
site and rode though the crowd, which
authorities estimated at about 800,000.
“ I’ve come to this spiritual encounter
to ask the Pope to heal me because I
have cancer,” Franklin Borbor, 48, said.
Despite his illness he travelled more
than five hours to find his place in the
Others came from as far away as Chile,
Peru, Colombia and Mexico.
In his homily, the Pope also called for a
rekindling of family values and solidarity
with the elderly, the abandoned and the
“ How many of our adolescents and
young people sense that (love and
happiness) are no longer found in their
homes? How many women, sad and
lonely, wonder when love left, when it
slipped away from their lives? How many
elderly people feel left out of family
celebrations, cast aside and longing each
day for a little love?” he said.
He said the family was the “ best social
capital” and could not be replaced by
After the Mass, Pope Francis went
to a Jesuit-run school to visit an old
friend he has not seen in three decades,
the cigar-smoking Rev Francisco
When he was a seminary director in
Argentina, Pope Francis, then Father
Jorge Bergoglio, would send seminarians
to the school to study theology with
Cortes, now a diminutive 91-year-old
Spaniard affectionately known as Father
The Pope’s visit to Guayaquil took
on extra significance for Ecuador, and
its leftist President Rafael Correa,
given it has been the epicentre of anti-
government protests for weeks.
Pope Francis was to hold talks with
Correa later today.
Thousands have been taking to the
streets in Guayaquil and elsewhere to
protest tax changes and what they see
as State authoritarianism. Correa says
the reforms will only affect the super-
wealthy and accuses his foes of seeking
a coup d’etat.
Protest leaders have called a truce
during the Papal visit.
“The Pope’s coming is putting a bit of
peace in the hearts of we Ecuadoreans,”
Jose Paldarreaga, 64, a participant at the
Mass in Guayaquil, said.
After Ecuador, the Pope visits Bolivia
and Paraguay on a tour encompassing
three of the poorest and smallest
countries in South America. The Pope
visited Brazil for a youth festival in
2013 but that was to substitute for
predecessor Pope Benedict after his
sudden resignation. — Reuters
President Robert Mugabe moved
Zimbabwe’s information minister,
who he branded a “devil incarnate”
last year, to an education department
role overnight in his second cabinet
reshuffle since December.
Minister of Information Jonathan
appointed opposition sympathisers
newspapers, was to be Minister of
Higher and Tertiary Education,
the secretary to the president and
cabinet, told reporters.
Misheck Sibanda, did not give
a reason for the changes, but
said Mugabe had left the post of
information minister vacant.
Mugabe’s seven cabinet changes
included moving Kembo Mohadi,
longtime minister in charge of
homeland security to the national
State security ministry.
Ignatius Chombo, who ran the local
government ministry for 15 years,
takes over the homeland security
Savior Kasukuwere, one of the
youngest ministers in Mugabe’s
government, is the new minister of
local government after ser ving at the
ministry of water and environment
Kasukuwere, who is nicknamed
“ Tyson” for his combative style,
made his name as the enforcer
of Mugabe’s black economic
empowerment drive which is
forcing foreign-owned companies
to sell the majority of their shares to
In December, Mugabe fired his
deputy of 10 years, Joice Mujuru, and
several other ministers. — Reuters
Mugabe shifts ‘devil incarnate’ minister
Iraqi aircraft accidentally
drops bomb on Baghdad
A bomb fell from an Iraqi Sukhoi
warplane and exploded in eastern
Baghdad because of a “technical
problem”, killing at least seven people,
security and medical officials say.
“One of the bombs became stuck
because of a technical problem, and
during its (the aircraft ’s) return to base it
fell on three houses in Baghdad Jadida,”
security spokesman Brigadier-General
Saad Maan said in a statement.
The aircraft was coming back from
a bombing run when the accident
occurred, Maan said.
Officials said that the blast, which
occurred near the Rasheed air base, also
wounded at least 11 people.
Iraq received Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft
from Russia and Iran last year as it
sought to bolster its fledgling air force to
combat the Islamic State jihadist group,
which overran large parts of the country.
The Su-25s are robust aircraft designed
for ground attack missions, but Iraq’s
Sukhoi fleet is made up of ageing planes
that have seen heavy use as Baghdad’s
forces battle to push the jihadists back.
The US agreed to sell Iraq 36 F-16
warplanes, but none have been delivered
The first batch of the fighter-bombers
has instead been sent to Arizona, where
Iraqi F-16 pilots are training.
One of the pilots, Brigadier Rasid
Mohammed Sadiq, was killed in a crash
during an aerial refuelling exercise at the
end of June. — AFP
Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
It was from neighbours that Scola
Joseph first heard of two strange men
in the village asking after her children.
She knew immediately the moment
she dreaded had come.
Packing small bags for Elijah, three,
and Christine, five, she led them away
from their home and towards the
nearest town, to a government camp
where hundreds others like them were
living under protection.
It was the only way to keep them
Buhangija is one of nine such centres
This is where the country’s
endangered class of albino children
are moved in an attempt to keep them
safe from witch doctors, who claim
their body parts, ground up and put in
charms, can bring wealth and fortune.
Separated from their families and
forced to largely stay indoors because
of the effects on their skin of the east
African sun, they sleep three or four
to a bed. They sur vive on basic food
rationed by their head teacher because
of erratic government funding.
“These children are living like
refugees and it’s shameful,” head
teacher Peter Ajali said.
“I try to take the part of the parents
and love them and keep them safe but
it ’s not humanitarian for them to live
Albinism, caused by a lack of
pigmentation in their skin, hair and
eyes, affects about one in 20,000
people worldwide, but is for unknown
reasons more common in sub-Saharan
Africa and Tanzania particularly,
where it occurs in one in 1400.
At least 75 children and adults with
albinism have been killed here since
2000 and more than 62 others have
escaped with severe injuries following
the witch doctors’ attacks.
With witch doctors paying as much
as $US75,000 ($112,262) for a full
set of body parts, which they bury or
grind up to keep in charms, some of
those implicated in the killings are
members of the victims’ own families.
The UN warned recently of a
marked increase in attacks on albinos,
which it said were at greater risk
with the approach of national and
local elections in October. The fear is
unscrupulous politicians will turn to
the traditions of the witch doctors,
known as mganga, and their ambitious
The Government has arrested 200
witch doctors and has told MPs that
murdering albinos would never win
them their seats.
Orders have gone out to the
provinces to safeguard people with
albinism in their communities. With
scant resources, their answer has been
to herd them into camps. — AP-PA
Grim camps albinos’ best hope for life
A six-year-old from Tanzania with albinism, is treated at Global Medical
Relief Fund and Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
Sex on beach ends in jail
A man convicted of having sex on
a public beach in Florida in front of
a child was sentenced on Monday
to two and a half years in prison, a
State prosecutor said.
Jose Caballero, 40, was arrested
in Bradenton Beach in west
central Florida last July after other
beachgoers complained that he
was fondling and starting to have
sexual intercourse with a woman
on the beach in the middle of the
A four-year-old child saw the
activity, which was videotaped
by a witness, a police report said.
When her mother asked him
to stop, Caballero responded
confrontationally, which factored
into the sentence requested,
Assistant State Attorney Anthony
“ His judgment was pretty poor,”
Caballero, who previously ser ved
about eight years in prison for
cocaine trafficking, faced as much
as 15 years in prison. His lawyer
could not be reached for comment.
Both he and the woman involved,
21-year-old Elissa Alvarez, were
found guilty of lewd or lascivious
exhibition in front of a child, a
second-degree felony. Both must
register as sex offenders.
Alvarez was sentenced to time
ser ved and is now out of custody,
Dafonseca said. — Reuters
Quinoa-based wafer for Pope
A Bolivian avant-garde restaurant
hopes this week to ser ve a well-known
non-paying customer and receive a holy
seal of approval for its new creation: a
quinoa-based communion wafer.
Chefs at the restaurant, Gustu, in La
Paz expect Pope Francis to receive the
wafer during his visit to the Andean
country later this week, the second
leg in the Argentinian Pontiff ’s three-
nation “homecoming” tour of South
The idea came from a group of quinoa
producers. The restaurant ’s chefs said
the wafers have been delivered to the
government to give to the pope.
“ I’m quite ner vous about what he will
think,” Monica Marquez, the restaurant ’s
25-year-old pastry chef with a small
tattoo of the Christian cross behind her
Gustu is the brainchild of Danish
chef Claus Meyer, widely known for his
restaurant Noma in Copenhagen which
is ranked third in the world’s 50 Best
Restaurants list. On the menu is llama
tartare and trout from the water of Lake
Titicaca ser ved with llullucha, a South
American seaweed. The restaurant
opened in 2013 to wide acclaim.
The quinoa wafers cannot be used in
communion like the unleavened wafers
prepared by laymen. But they could raise
the profile of the Bolivian seed.
Greek banks stay closed
Greek banks will remain closed
until tomorrow with limits on daily
withdrawals unchanged, the State
news agency has reported.
depend on decisions by the
European Central Bank, whose
board of governors were holding
a conference call today to decide
whether to maintain its lifeline to
Greek banks, officials cited in the
The association of Greek banks
had earlier held a meeting with
junior finance minister Dimitris
Capital controls were enacted on
June 28, limiting ATM withdrawals
by Greeks to 60 euros ($99) per
account daily after a referendum on
austerity sparked a run on deposits.
The Bank of Greece has requested
an increase in emergency liquidity
assistance and that request was the
subject of the ECB meeting.
Financial markets and analysts
were waiting to learn whether the
ECB’s governing council would
continue to provide emergency
liquidity to Greek banks and keep
the economy afloat after 61%
of Greeks voted against further
austerity measures in Sunday’s
Emergency assistance is currently
the only source of financing for
Greek banks, and therefore the
Greek economy. But with Greece’s
bailout programme now officially
expired and in the absence of any
new programme, the conditions for
its continuation are no longer met.
But analysts believe the ECB
will not want to be the one to pull
the plug on Greece and force the
country out of the single currency.
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