Home' Greymouth Star : July 21st 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Bodies lie on the ground after an explosion in Suruc in the south-eastern
Sanliurfa province, Turkey.
A suspected Islamic State suicide
bomber has killed at least 30 people,
mostly young students, in an attack on
a Turkish town near the Syrian border.
Bodies lay beneath trees after the blast
outside a cultural centre in the mostly
Kurdish town of Suruc in south-eastern
Turkey, some 10km from the Syrian
town of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters
have been battling Islamic State.
The explosion tore through a group of
mostly university-aged students from an
activist group as they gathered to make
a statement to the local press about a
trip they were planning to help rebuild
Turkey ’s Nato allies have been seeking
tighter controls on a porous border
with Syria that runs alongside Islamic
State-held territories. But monitoring is
difficult with 1.8 million Syrian refugees
now on the Turkish side and smuggling
The United States, which has an air
base at Incirlik in southern Turkey,
though it is not being used for its air
attacks on IS forces, called the bombing
a “heinous terror attack”.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told
a news conference in Ankara 30 people
had been killed. “ It is . . . most probably a
The Hurriyet newspaper said the
attacker was an 18-year-old woman, but
there was no confirmation.
“ Turkey has taken and will continue to
take all necessary measures against the
Islamic State,” Davutoglu said, without
giving details. “ Measures on our border
with Syria . . . will be increased.”
One witness, giving his name as
Mehmet, said by telephone he saw more
than 20 bodies.
“It was a huge explosion, we all shook.”
Video footage showed young men
and women standing behind a banner
declaring support for Kobani, some
holding up small red flags. Suddenly
there was a huge explosion, apparently
from within the crowd, sending up a
column of flame.
The Suruc attack comes weeks after
Turkey deployed additional troops and
equipment along parts of its border with
Syria, concerned about the risk of the
conflict spilling over as fighting between
Kurdish forces, rebel groups, Syrian
government troops and Islamic State
An explosion also occurred in Kobani
shortly after wards, which a monitoring
group blamed on a car bomb. A
spokesman for Syrian Kurdish forces,
known as the YPG, said two fighters
Turkey’s leaders have said they do not
plan any unilateral military incursion
into Syria but have also said they will
do whatever is necessary to defend the
“ Terror has no religion, no country, no
race,” President Tayyip Erdogan said of
the bloodiest such attack in Turkey since
at least 50 people were killed in the town
of Reyhanli near the border in 2013.
Ankara fears any disorder in the border
area could re-ignite an armed Kurdish
rebellion by the Kurdistan Workers’
Party (PKK) in the south-east that has
killed some 40,000 since 1984. It must
also consider the danger of attacks in
sprawling western cities such as Istanbul
where British and Jewish targets were
bombed by al Qaeda in 2003 with the
loss of 60 lives.
Turkey’s Kurds have been enraged
by what they see as the AKP party
government ’s failure to do more to stop
Islamic State. The PKK held Ankara
responsible for the overnight attack,
saying it had “supported and cultivated”
Islamic State against the Kurds.
Digital imaging reveals oldest biblical text since Dead Sea Scrolls
Israeli archaeologists said overnight
they had discerned biblical writing on
a charred 1500-year-old parchment
with the help of digital imaging and
described the text as the oldest found
since the Dead Sea Scrolls.
United States and Israeli researchers
made the discovery using advanced
medical and digital technology to
examine the object, first unearthed
45 years ago when then-standard
forensics could not decipher any
script on the scroll.
“This is a really big discovery,” Pnina
Shor, curator at the Israel Antiquities
Authority, told a news conference
where the 5cm-long cylindrical
object was put on display.
“After the Dead Sea Scrolls, this has
been the most significant find of an
ancient Bible,” Shor said, referring to
hundreds of ancient texts found in
the late 1940s near the shores of the
inland sea for whom the scrolls were
Scientists estimate that the Dead
Sea Scrolls, widely considered the
oldest written biblical fragments
ever found, date to between the third
century BC and 70AD.
The scroll presented overnight was
uncovered in 1970 at Ein Gedi, about
40km south of the caves of Qumran,
where the Dead Sea Scrolls were
Archaeologist Sefi Porat, 75, co-
director of the dig, said the scroll
dated to around the year 600 and
turned up inside the remains of an
ancient synagogue, which he chanced
upon while exploring ceramic tiles at
the beachside site.
At the time it was found, forensics
technology then used to analyse
ancient finds could not discern any
writing on the badly burned scroll,
he said. But a few years ago he
sought more help from Israeli experts
handling the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Merkel Technologies, an Israeli
company specialising in high-tech
medical equipment, helped in the
deciphering by providing micro CT
scanning, Shor said.
These findings were sent to Brent
Seales, a computer expert at the
University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Seales said he used digital imaging
software to “virtually unwrap” the
scroll and visualise its text, discerning
what experts said were the first eight
verses of the Bible’s Old Testament
book of Leviticus.
Shor said more research was needed
to determine the full extent of text on
the scroll and what lessons it might
hold for biblical scholars. But she
said the findings had already turned
out to be far more significant than
“The discovery absolutely astonished
us. We were certain this was a shot in
the dark,” Shor said. — Reuters
An Israel Antiquities Authority
worker displays the scroll, found
in 1970, at the Israel Museum in
The Cuban flag was raised over
Havana’s embassy in Washington
overnight for the first time in 54
years as the United States and
Cuba formally restored relations,
opening a new chapter of
engagement between the former
Cold War foes.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno
Rodriguez presided over the
reinauguration of the embassy, a
milestone in the diplomatic thaw
that began with an announcement
by US President Barack Obama
and Cuban President Raul Castro
on December 17.
that remain between the US
and Communist-ruled Cuba,
Rodriguez seized the opportunity
to urge Obama to use executive
powers to do more to dismantle
the economic embargo, the
main stumbling block to full
normalisation of ties. For its
part, the Obama administration
pressed Havana for improvement
on human rights.
But even with continuing
friction, the reopening of
embassies in each other’s capitals
provided the most concrete
symbols yet of what has been
achieved after more than two
years of negotiations between
governments that had long
shunned each other.
In a further sign of a desire
to move past half a century of
enmity, Secretary of State John
Kerry later hosted Rodriguez, the
first Cuban foreign minister to
visit Washington since the Cuban
Revolution, for talks at the State
While both men stressed the
momentous occasion, they also
sought to temper optimism
fuelled by the day ’s festivities.
“The historic events we are
living today will only make sense
with the removal of the economic,
commercial and financial
blockade, which causes so much
deprivation and damage to our
people, the return of occupied
territory in Guantanamo, and
respect for the sovereignty of
Cuba,” Rodriguez said at the
Obama has modestly eased
some business and travel
restrictions but the broader
53-year-old embargo remains in
place. Only Congress can lift it,
something majority Republicans
are unlikely to do any time
soon despite the Democratic
president ’s appeal for it to be
With Rodriguez at his side later,
Kerry hailed a “new beginning”
in relations but said there was
still much that divided the two
governments and that the path to
complete normalisation may be
“ long and complex”.
In Havana, the US Embassy was
also reopened for business but
with much less fanfare. The Stars
and Stripes will not be hoisted
there until a visit by Kerry on
August 14. — Reuters
Cuban flag raised in Washington
A Cuban honour guard prepares a Cuban national flag to be raised by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno
Rodriguez, centre right, over their newly reopened embassy in Washington.
NZ leads UN vote on
Iranian nuclear deal
The United Nations Security Council,
led by New Zealand, has unanimously
endorsed the recently struck Iran nuclear
deal despite staunch opposition from
The 15-member council agreed
sanctions levelled against Iran would be
dismantled in exchange for restrictions
on it nuclear programme.
“ Today we mark an opportunity to
change the nature of the relationship
between Iran and the international
community,” New Zealand Foreign
Minister Murray McCully, who chaired
the meeting at the UN in New York
overnight, told the council.
The 15-0 vote did not prevent the
United States and Iran trading verbal
blows in the council chamber and within
minutes the resolution was condemned
by Israel’s UN ambassador, Ron Prosor.
“ Today you have awarded a great prize
to the most dangerous country in the
world,” Prosor, standing beside a map of
the world he described as Iran’s empire
of terror, told reporters at the UN.
The resolution was expected to pass
with all five veto-wielding permanent
members of the Security Council —
US, Russia, China, United Kingdom
and France — involved in the marathon
discussions with Iran in Vienna last week.
New Zealand, one of 10 non-
permanent members of the council,
assumed the presidency of the council
“ By the adoption of this resolution
we give international legal force to
the agreement reached in Vienna and
extend the obligations it contains across
the broader UN membership,” McCully
US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha
Power, said the agreement would cut
off all pathways for Iran to obtain
nuclear weapons, put in place a rigorous
inspection regime, cut Iran’s centrifuges
by two-thirds and prevent it from
producing weapons grade plutonium.
Power added the US still has “profound
concern” for Iran’s human rights
violations, support for terrorist proxies,
threats against Israel and destabilising
actions in the region.
Iran’s UN Ambassador Gholamali
Khoshroo described his nation’s nuclear
programme as peaceful and hit back at
Power, declaring “reckless acts by the
US” were the cause of many challenges
today faced in the Middle-East.
“ It is ironic that the distinguished
ambassador of the US accused my
government of destabilising the region
and terrorism,” he said. “ The country
that invaded two countries in our region
and created favourable ground for the
growth of terrorism and extremism is
not well-placed to raise such accusations
against my country.”
The UN can re-impose penalties if
Iran breaches the agreement. — AAP
Hackers threaten to leak
data from 37 million
on affair website
Hackers threatened to leak details
including the credit card information,
nude photos and sexual fantasies of as
many as 37 million customers of a dating
website that caters to cheating spouses,
the Krebs On Security blog reported.
Madison.com’s Canadian parent, Avid
Life Media, confirmed the breach
on its systems, and said it had since
secured the site and was working with
law enforcement agencies to trace those
behind the attack.
It disputed a claim made by the
hackers, who call themselves The Impact
Team, that a “paid delete” function will
not remove all information about a
member’s profile and communications.
Following the breach, Avid Life said in
a statement it would offer the function
free of charge.
immediately be reached for comment.
But in an inter view with Krebs On
Security, Avid Life chief executive
Noel Biderman was cited as saying the
company suspected someone who had
had access to internal networks as being
behind the breach.
“ It was definitely a person here that
was not an employee but certainly had
touched our technical ser vices,” he said.
The Impact Team, in a screen grab
shown on the Krebs On Security blog,
said it had taken over Avid Media
systems, including customer databases,
source code, financial records and
“Shutting down AM (Ashley
Madison) and EM (Established Men)
will cost you, but non-compliance
will cost you more,” the hackers said.
Established Men is an affiliated website.
The hackers leaked snippets of the
compromised data on-line and warned
that they would release customers’ real
names, profiles, nude photos, credit
card details and “secret sexual fantasies”
unless Ashley Madison and Established
Men.com are taken down, Krebs said.
Ashley Madison, which uses the slogan
“ Life is short. Have an affair,” has been
planning to raise up to $200 million
through an initial public offering on the
London Stock Exchange.
“ We apologise for this unprovoked and
criminal intrusion into our customers’
information,” Avid Life said.
Unauthorised posts and images on the
website detailing the hacker’s demands
have since been removed.
The breach comes about two months
after dating site Adult Friend Finder was
compromised. That site has an estimated
64 million members. — Reuters
‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ appeals sentence
A former Nazi SS officer known
as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”
has appealed the four-year jail
sentence handed to him last week,
his legal team said.
Oskar Groening, 94, was convicted
by a court in the northern German
city of Lueneburg of accessory
to murder in 300,000 cases of
Hungarian Jews sent to the gas
chambers from May to July 1944.
One of his lawyers, Hans
Holtermann, said overnight he
had now taken his case to a higher
tribunal, the Federal Court of
Groening’s lawyers had argued
during the three-month trial that
his role at the extermination camp
in Nazi-occupied Poland had been
“minor” and demanded an acquittal.
Prosecutors sought three and a
half years’ jail for Groening based
on the “nearly incomprehensible
number of victims”, but mitigated
by “the limited contribution of the
accused” to their deaths.
The court, in surpassing the
prosecution’s sentencing demand,
said the defendant had willingly
taken a “safe desk job” in “a
machinery designed entirely for the
killing” of human beings.
Groening served as an accountant
at Auschwitz, sorting and counting
the money taken from those killed or
used as slave labour, and shipping it
back to his Nazi superiors in Berlin.
Holocaust sur vivors and victims’
relatives who were co-plaintiffs
welcomed the verdict as a “very late
step toward justice”.
Court obser vers say it is unlikely
Groening, who was not in custody
during the trial, would ser ve time in
prison given his advanced age and
Any sentence would begin only
after his appeal has been heard,
and then a medical team would
evaluate whether Groening is
physically capable of withstanding
Some 1.1 million people, most
of them European Jews, perished
between 1940 and 1945 in the
Auschwitz-Birkenau camp before
it was liberated by Soviet forces.
The last four cases of Ebola in Liberia
were discharged from a treatment clinic
in the capital Monrovia overnight,
meaning there were no more confirmed
carriers of the deadly virus in the west
The four men, released from the
ELWA treatment unit to cheers and
applause, were part of an outbreak of
the virus in Margibi County just outside
Monrovia discovered in late June. Two
other confirmed cases have since died.
Over 11,200 people have died from
Ebola since an epidemic broke out in
December 2013 in neighbouring Guinea.
Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9
but reported a new case nearly two months
later. The outbreak is also still active in
Sierra Leone and Guinea. — Reuters
Last Liberian Ebola patients discharged
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