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Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 7
Zagreb cheered and Belgrade wept
as they marked the 20th anniversary
of Operation Storm, which ended the
war sparked by Croatia’s proclamation
of independence from Yugoslavia and
caused an exodus of Croatian Serbs.
Croatia started celebrating its
“ liberation” with a military parade,
with some 3000 soldiers and war
veterans, 300 vehicles and 30 aircraft
in the capital Zagreb, gathering
thousands of spectators.
Another ceremony will be held
today in the town of Knin, a wartime
rebel Serb stronghold that Croatian
troops recaptured on August 5, 1995.
“Operation Storm was a turning
point (in the conflict), a brilliant
military operation, justified and
in a speech at a defence ministry
ceremony, encouraging citizens to
be “proud and dignified” during the
The Croatian army launched
Operation Storm on August 4, 1995,
and in an 84-hour offensive 130,000
troops recaptured a region that had
been in Serb hands since 1991.
Sources differ on the number of
ethnic Serbs who were brutally killed
in the offensive, with tolls ranging
from 600 to 2500.
More than 200,000 others fled
Croatia during and after the
operation, with their property looted,
seized or burned down. Barely half of
those who fled have since returned.
Operation Storm ushered in the
end of the war that in total claimed
about 20,000 lives.
sparked by Croatia’s proclamation
of independence from Yugoslavia,
which was opposed by Belgrade-
backed rebel Serbs.
While Croatia celebrates the
anniversary as its Victory Day, Serbia
has declared the day an official day of
mourning and brands the operation
the worst instance of ethnic cleansing
in Europe in recent history.
Thousands of people attended an
official commemoration held in
the north-western Serbian town of
Sremska Raca, where hundreds of
thousands of refugees took shelter 20
They were joined by top Serb leaders
including Serbian Prime Minister
Aleksandar Vucic, Bosnian Serb
leader Milorad Dodik and Serbian
Orthodox Church patriarch Irinej.
Vucic and Dodik symbolically
met on a bridge separating Bosnia
and Serbia that was crowded back
in August 1995 by vast numbers of
Croatian Serbs fleeing in cars and
The two leaders threw wreaths into
the Sava River in memory of the
Addressing the crowd, Vucic said
it was “hard to find more sad day
in recent Serbian history than this
“ We have peace with Croatia and
we are going to preser ve it, and we
wish to have the best relations. I hope
we will also be good friends in the
European Union. But today, we send
a message that the crime should be
forgiven but must not be forgotten,”
Speaking earlier in the day at
another ceremony to commemorate
the victims, Serbian President
Tomislav Nikolic chided the
celebrations in Croatia.
“These fools have turned your
hearths into fire, celebrating your
suffering as their victory,” he said.
Two former Croatian generals
Ante Gotovina and Mladen
Markac — were initially sentenced
by a United Nations court to prison
terms of 24 and 18 years respectively
for war crimes committed against
ethnic Serbs, but an appeals court
overturned the verdict and they were
In Croatia, prosecutors have
charged three people for war crimes
committed against Serbs during and
after the Operation Storm, but so far
only one person has been sentenced,
receiving a seven-year jail term last
Ethnic Serbs are still Croatia’s
largest minority, accounting for 4.5%
of the population of 4.2 million —
down from pre-war levels of 12%.
Serbia, Croatia mark 20 years since war’s end
A panel of scientists has discovered a
mathematical formula that can solve
Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries.
Her whodunnits have confounded
millions of armchair detectives, leading
them through a literary maze, before a
super sleuth finally unmasks the culprit.
But scientists who have studied some
of Christie’s best-selling crime novels
claim they can be solved with a simple
formula based on the language she
uses, the murder weapon, the setting
and even the type of vehicle being
A panel of experts analysed 26 of the
author’s most famous books, including
Death on the Nile, Murder on the
Orient Express and The Murder of
Roger Ackroyd, and concluded that
certain plot structures can help the
reader identify the killer some time
before he or she is dramatically revealed.
The panel, led by senior research
fellow at the Institute for Collaborative
Research in the Humanities at Queen’s
University, Belfast, Dr Dominique
Jeannerod, found that the culprit was
always introduced within the first
half of the book and was likely to be
emotionally involved with the victim,
most being spouses or blood relations.
The panel said that if there were several
land vehicles in the story, the killer
was likely to be female. Similarly, a
prevalence of nautical vehicles suggests
they were more likely to be male.
If the victim is strangled, the
perpetrator is more likely to be male and
if the setting is a country house, there is
a 75% chance they will be female.
Christie’s language tends to be more
negative when concerned with female
killers, who are normally discovered
due to a domestic item, they said. By
comparison, men are normally caught
using information or logic.
The panel found that if Hercule Poirot,
the eccentric Belgian detective, took
charge of the investigation and the cause
of death was stabbing, the killer will
be mentioned more frequently at the
beginning of the book. If Miss Marple
is the detective, and the motive for the
murder is money or an affair, the killer
will be mentioned more often in the
later stages of the novel.
The experts also found that Christie
tended to include a “main clue” revealed
about halfway through the text and
usually “highlighted as it appears in
the text ”, so the reader is likely to
remember it and not feel cheated by its
later revelation as a clue. They said a key
feature of the author’s writing style was
simplicity, using middle-range language
The panel also found that the structure
of a Christie novel could be reduced to a
list of key events: the body will be found
early on, a closed group will be presented
to the reader, the detective will then be
introduced and a series of red herrings
will follow and finally, after it is solved,
the story will be wrapped up quickly and
efficiently, leaving the reader satisfied.
The research was commissioned by
UKTV channel Drama.
Adrian Wills, the general manager of
Drama at UKTV, said: “Agatha Christie
is the best-selling novelist of all time.
Given her ongoing popularity, we
wanted to know her formula for success. ”
The research was commissioned to
mark the 125th anniversary of Christie’s
birth. — PA
Sixteen policemen were
overnight when a helicopter crashed
into the side of a mountain and burst
into flames in a wooded region of north-
western Colombia, Defence Minister
Luis Carlos Villegas said.
Police said the United States-made
UH-60 Black Hawk may have crashed
because of bad weather or suffered a
mechanical failure while taking part
in a counter-narcotics operation in the
department of Antioquia some 450km
north-east of the capital of Bogota.
“As a result of this incident, 16
policemen were killed and two others
wounded,” the police said in a statement.
The crash comes four days after 11
soldiers were killed when a Spanish-
made CASA C-235 suffered motor
failure and crashed in the north-east of
The policemen killed overnight were
taking part in a crackdown on a criminal
gang known as “Clan Usuga,” made up of
former right-wing paramilitaries.
The head of group, Dario Antonio
Usuga, alias “Otoniel,” leads 2000 men.
The United States is offering a reward of
up to $5 million for information leading
to his capture.
“There were three helicopters in the
operation, and the other two did not hear
any shots fired apart from those from the
three helicopters (in the operation),”
Colombia’s security forces have dozens
of Black Hawk helicopters that are used
in the government ’s offensive against
leftist guerrillas, criminal gangs and drug
traffickers. — Reuters
New Yorkers living in the
borough of Brooklyn have
woken to a strange sight — a
giant sinkhole has swallowed an
enormous chunk of road.
The sinkhole, formed by the
natural process of erosion, appeared
shortly after 7am (local time) at an
intersection in the neighbourhood
of Sunset Park, according to the
The gaping hole exposed torn
pipes and crushed asphalt at the
intersection of Fifth Avenue and
64th Street. No one was hurt.
Sinkholes can be gradual but are
A sinkhole in Guatemala in
2010, measuring 18m wide and
about 30m deep, swallowed a
three-storey building and a nearby
house when it suddenly formed.
Sinkhole opens up in New York intersection
The sinkhole at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 64th Street in Brooklyn, New York.
A coroner has concluded that a
nine-year-old Maryland boy who was
fatally beaten over a missing piece of
birthday cake died from head injuries,
a spokeswoman for the agency said
The death of the boy, Jack Garcia, was
a homicide, the spokeswoman for the
District of Columbia’s office of the chief
medical examiner said.
Prosecutors allege that Jack was
handcuffed and beaten by his mother’s
boyfriend, Robert Wilson, for eating
a piece of birthday cake without
permission on June 30 in Hagerstown,
Maryland, about 80km north-west of
Jack died in a Washington hospital
on July 5. Wilson has been charged in
Washington County, Maryland, with
second-degree murder, child abuse and
Jack’s mother, Oriana Garcia, and his
uncle, Jacob Barajas, face similar charges.
Police say Garcia did not allow
emergency responders to provide medical
treatment to her son after knowing he
was beaten. — Reuters
Police have named former
British Prime Minister
Sir Edward Heath as a
suspected paedophile in the
most dramatic twist yet in
the ongoing investigation
into allegations of historic
appealing for potential
victims of the late former
leader to come for ward,
revealed that he had
been named in relation
to offences concerning
The force declined to give any further
details about the nature of the allegations
against Sir Edward, who died in 2005,
A man has claimed he was raped at 12
by Sir Edward. The alleged victim, now
in his 60s, claimed he reported being
sexually assaulted by the Conser vative
MP in 1961, but was branded “a liar and
a fantasist ”.
The boy, who claimed to have been
abused throughout his childhood by his
father and his paedophile friends, said
Sir Edward picked him up along the A2
road in north Kent as he hitched a lift.
He claimed to have gone back to an
apartment in Park Lane, London, where
he was raped, the Daily Mirror reported.
It was not until 1965 that he realised who
his abuser was, recognising him from a
press photo in which Sir Edward was
with former Prime Minister Margaret
In statements to his legal team reported
in the newspaper, he said: “I learned that
he was MP for Bexley. This answered a
lot of questions as to why
no one believed me about
the London saga. I got
called a liar and a fantasist.”
The Metropolitan Police
declined to comment on
was investigating claims
that police had quietly
dropped a criminal trial
in the 1990s after the
defendant threatened to
expose Sir Edward as a paedophile.
Last year a retired police officer, who
was with the force at the time, claimed
that senior officers had ordered a
prosecution be stopped because it would
have led to the former Prime Minister’s
name being dragged through the mud.
It is understood the defendant was not
claiming to have been abused by Sir
Edward himself. The trial is thought
to have been at an early stage and was
dropped before a jury had been sworn in.
It is understood that while Wiltshire
police are not aware of any other
allegations against Sir Edward his name
had been passed to the Metropolitan
Police for Operation Midland, an
investigation into claims of a historic
VIP paedophile ring operating around
Sir Edward was famously reticent
about his private life and while rumours
often circulated around Westminster,
this is the first time the unmarried
former Tory leader’s name has publicly
surfaced in connection with child abuse.
him at 12
Sir Edward Heath
Paint on wing part
may be key
to MH370 probe
Technical experts in France are to
begin examining whether a washed-up
plane part belonged to missing flight
MH370, raising hopes that some light
may finally be shed on one of aviation’s
The Boeing 777 disappeared on
March 8 last year when it inexplicably
changed course en route from Kuala
Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on
board — including six Australians —
and a colossal multinational hunt for the
aircraft proved fruitless.
But last week’s discovery of a 2m-long
wing part called a flaperon on the French
Indian Ocean island of La Reunion has
raised fresh hopes for relatives desperate
The piece has been taken the south-
western French city of Toulouse,
where it will undergo the high-profile
The case containing the wing part will
be opened tonight, a French source close
to the case said.
It will be opened in the presence of
French and Malaysian experts, Boeing
employees and representatives from
China — the country that lost the most
It is as yet unclear whether their
conclusions will be announced on the
same day or later, added the source, who
wished to remain anonymous.
Jean-Paul Troadec, the former head of
France’s BEA agency that investigates
air accidents, said the analysis would
focus on two issues — whether the
flaperon belongs to MH370 and if so,
whether it can shed light on the final
moments of the plane.
He pointed for instance to the paint
on the piece — which has already been
confirmed as coming from a Boeing 777
plane — as a key element of the probe.
“Every airline paints their planes in
a certain way . . . and if the paint used
is used by Malaysia Airlines and other
companies, there may be more certainty,”
Pierre Bascary, former director of tests
at the French Defence Procurement
Agency, where the analysis will take
place, added that the airline may have
written maintenance information on the
piece such as “Do Not Walk”.
“The phrase used and the way it was
written also gives an idea of the origin
of the plane. ”
Troadec said experts would also
examine the way the part detached itself
from the wing.
“ Was it in a violent impact with the sea
or not?” he said.
“This piece looks like it is in good
condition, it doesn’t look like the part of
a plane that fell vertically in the water at
He added that experts may also look
for traces of an explosion or fire.
Scientists have pointed to the barnacles
that are attached to the flaperon, saying
these could give an idea of how long the
piece has been in the water, and perhaps
where it has been. — AFP
for drop in
The lack of a major royal event to drive
sales in 2014 has been blamed by the
Royal Collection Trust for a substantial
fall in its retail income.
The trust, which looks after the royal
collection of artwork amassed by Britain’s
monarchs, saw income from retail,
catering, publishing and photographic
ser vices fall by 19%, or £3.5 million
($8.318 million) to £15 million during
“This decrease is largely due to the
absence of a special royal event to help
drive sales,” the annual report stated.
“Commemorative china constitutes an
important part of the overall retail offer,
especially for the wholesale market, and
this in particular saw a reduction in sales
volumes this year,” it said.
In recent years official china was
produced to mark the birth of Prince
George in 2013 while the marriage
of his parents the Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge in 2011 was also
commemorated by similar memorabilia.
A range of official china was produced
to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee
in 2012 and in May this year more
china, celebrating the birth of Princess
Charlotte, was unveiled.
But there was no major royal event in
2014. — PA
Medical ventilator inventor dies
Forrest Bird, an American aviator
who helped save countless lives
by inventing the first modern
ventilator, has died aged 94.
Bird passed away at his home
in Sagle, Idaho, on Sunday (local
time), the American Association
for Respiratory Care (AARC) said
in a statement.
“Dr Bird was truly a pioneer in
respiratory care and pulmonary
president, Frank Salvatore, said.
A lifelong pilot who met Henry
Ford and Orville Wright as a
young boy, Bird became interested
in mechanical ventilation during
his stint as a long-range ferry pilot
with the United States military
during World War Two.
Flying a captured Junkers 88
bomber to the US, his curiosity was
piqued by a demand regulator he
discovered in its cockpit, used to
deliver oxygen to German pilots at
Lessons he learned
upon the device
eventually led to the development
of the Bird Mark 7, which the
AARC called “the first modern
respirator for use in critically ill
Within years it displaced the
cumbersome iron-lung machines
that had been used in hospital
wards throughout the US and
beyond to treat polio.
Bird was particularly proud of
the low-cost, mass-produced Baby
Bird, introduced in 1970, which
helped slash the mortality rate of
infants with respiratory problems
to less than 10%.
He was inducted into the
National Inventors Hall of Fame in
1995, but in a 2009 documentary
he stated: “I still don’t see myself as
Rather, he said, “you see a need
and you correct it”.
In an obituary overnight, the
Bonner County Daily Bee in
northern Idaho said Bird passed
away “with his family by his side”,
but gave no cause of death. — AFP
Russia’s food safety regulator
has accused the popular French
hypermarket chain Auchan of
selling beef and pork mince
containing meat from sheep and
Samples of beef mince were
found to contain pig, chicken
and sheep DNA, the watchdog
Rosselkhoznadzor said in a
statement, while pork mince
contained DNA from cattle,
chicken and sheep.
But the food safety agency did
not repeat a claim made only hours
earlier that Auchan’s pork mince
contained horse DNA.
Its press ser vice could not be
reached to explain the reason for
The agency said in the statement
that its findings “allow the
conclusion to be drawn that the
food products are falsified by
replacing one kind of meat with
another that is less expensive.”
Auchan Russia spokeswoman
Maria Kurnosova said the company
“had launched an internal inquiry
to check this information and
understand the reasons for these
violations if they took place.” —AFP
Sheep meat found in pork mince
The Duchess of York has left the
Windsor home she shared with
her former husband and moved to
Sarah is now based in a luxury
multi-million pound chalet that she
and Andrew own in the exclusive
ski resort of Verbier.
The couple have remained close
despite divorcing in May 1996.
They have focused on maintaining
a stable family unit for their
daughters Princesses Beatrice and
It is thought Sarah moved in with
Andrew at his home, Royal Lodge
in Windsor Great Park, more than
five years ago.
In 2010 she was caught up in the
cash-for-access scandal, offering
to sell an introduction to her ex-
husband for £500,000 ($1.188
million) to an undercover reporter
posing as a businessman.
The Sun newspaper reported that
a removal van was seen leaving the
Duke’s Berkshire home towards
the end of July and arrived in
Switzerland a few days later.
A spokesman for the duchess
confirmed the move saying: “She’s
just becoming more independent,”
and that her home in Switzerland is
“ very much her own primary base”.
Fergie moves to Switzerland
Russia again claims Arctic shelf
Russia said overnight it had
resubmitted a claim to the United
Nations for some 1.2 million square
kilometres of the Arctic shelf, a
drive to secure more of the mineral-
rich region where other countries
have rival territorial interests.
natural resources and the Arctic’s
estimated huge oil and gas reserves
are expected to become more
accessible as climate change melts
and ice and technology advances.
This prospect has attracted other
the United States, Canada and
Denmark while international
energy companies are planning
large drilling campaigns.
“The Russian bid covers
under water area of some 1.2 million
square kilometres extending for
more than 350 nautical miles from
the coast,” the Russian Foreign
Ministry said in a statement.
“A vast array of scientific data
collected during many years of
Arctic research ser ves to justify
Russia’s rights to this area. ”
which is calling for a protected
sanctuary in the uninhabited area
around the North Pole, said Russia’s
move was “ominous”.
“The melting of the Arctic ice is
uncovering a new and vulnerable
sea, but countries like Russia and
Nor way want to turn it into the
next Saudi Arabia,” it said in a
The UN rejected Russia’s original
claim for the same territory more
than a decade ago, asking for more
research to back it.
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