Home' Greymouth Star : August 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Police in Colorado rescued a bear cub
whose head was stuck in a large plastic
tub of protein powder, giving the cub
a ride in the back of a cruiser before
tranquilising it so it could be freed.
The Colorado Springs Police
Department said three officers responded
to a call about the trapped animal before
dawn yesterday, but were unable to
remove the tub.
“The quick-witted officers were able to
get the cub into the back seat of a patrol
car and brought her to nearby fire station
3, where a Department of Wildlife
Ranger sedated the bear,” the police
department said in a statement.
It published a photo of the little cub
riding in the cruiser, sitting under the
rear window, its head stuck in the tub.
Another photo showed it lying sedated
on the ground later, her head free,
alongside two beaming police officers.
“The bear cub was tagged and released .
. . in hopes that she will be reunited with
mama bear,” the police department said.
Ireland’s call to its 70-million-strong
diaspora to make a show of their
ancestry at up to 120 euros ($201)
each went largely unanswered and the
government as a result scrapped its
“Certificate of Irish Heritage scheme”
Introduced in 2011 as an “expression
of the importance the government
attaches to recognising people of
Irish descent ”, the certificates have
been presented to famous figures such
as United States President Barack
Obama, former president Bill Clinton
and actor Tom Cruise.
But others, who like Cruise may
have been able to trace their Irish
lineage back to the 13th century, were
less willing to part with 45 euros —
120 euros for a framed copy — to
prove it, and just 3000 were sold.
“It’s a very good concept but
certainly the take-up was lower than
expected,” Jimmy Deenihan, junior
minister for diaspora affairs, told
national broadcaster RTE overnight.
The certificates, which quote the
Irish constitution’s pledge to cherish
all people of ancestry living abroad
and feature an image of an emigrant
ship leaving the shore, were “a must
have for anyone with Irish descent ”,
according to the website where they
could be purchased.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny
presented Obama with his certificate
during the Irish leader’s annual St
Patrick’s Day trip to the White
Obama’s great-great-great grand-
father is from the Irish village of
Moneygall, which named a ser vice
station after the American president
following his 2011 visit.
Other drives to mobilise the
diaspora during Ireland’s financial
crisis proved far more successful. A
year-long government-led campaign
to lure visitors with Irish roots
helped reinvigorate tourism and
kicked off a recovery in the sector in
The government will continue to
make special presentations of the
“The people that I presented them to,
including a number of (US) Congress
representatives and senators, were
very happy with them and when I
visited Capitol Hill last January, they
had them displayed in their offices,”
“That will continue and people are
very proud of that connection.”
Ireland scraps heritage certificate presented to Cruise, Obama
PICTURE: Getty Images
World War Two-era Hurricane and Spitfire fighter aircraft parked at Biggin Hill, England, overnight.
Aircraft including 18 Spitfires and six Hurricanes flew over southern England to mark 75 years since the
Battle of Britain’s “Hardest Day ” when Biggin Hill and other south-east England air bases came under
attack from the German Luftwaffe.
Spitfires, Hurricanes in ‘Hardest Day’ flypast
Australian World War Two pilot
Jim Hocking was halfway out of his
seat, scrambling for the exit of his
stricken plane, when he made the
final decision of his life.
The Stirling bomber he was
piloting was heavy with fuel when
one of its four engines caught
fire during a training run over
the English countryside close to
midnight on July 27, 1944.
A second engine cut out soon
after wards. Then a third failed.
Hocking, who had ordered his
crew to don their parachutes, calmly
ordered everyone to jump.
It seems that was his plan, too,
until he realised the bomber was
hurtling towards the twinkling
lights of a town in the darkness
Instead, the 21-year-old retook
his seat at the controls, telling the
last of his crew not to wait for him.
“I ’m going to try to stop this thing
hitting that town. I’ll see you in a
At two minutes past midnight,
the bomber plunged into a field
about a kilometre from the town
of March, near Cambridge, its hero
pilot giving his own life to save
others on the ground.
For 40 long years, Hocking’s
family knew nothing of the
extraordinary courage he displayed
in the final minutes of his life.
All they had were the scant details
carried in a telegram of the kind so
many families received during the
war — that he had died in a plane
There was no hint in the brief
document of his heroism.
Decades later, and only through
the persistence of fellow Australian
airman Len Shea, who had trained
with Hocking, his family finally
learned the truth.
In 1987, more than 40 years after
Hocking put the bomber down on
the outskirts of March, the town
held a ser vice to commemorate his
Today, Australia formally
recognised him too, awarding him
the Star of Courage in the latest
Australian Bravery Awards.
Hocking’s brother Alan was just
11 when his brother died.
He was there in 1987 when
residents of March gathered to
honour a man they never met and
says it means a lot that so many
years on, Australia is doing the
“It was something I’d given up on
really,” Hocking, who is 82, said.
The award announced today
is thanks in large part to the
determination of Joyce Milligan,
who went to school with Jim in the
Queensland town of Nambour.
It was she who nominated the
airman for the award, having spent
years writing to every authority she
could think of so her childhood
friend’s story would be more widely
“She’s been writing to everybody
to try and get some recognition for
him, from the D uke of Edinburgh
to the prime minister. And now
she’s finally succeeded,” Hocking
He says his brother’s actions are
better known in England than they
are in Australia but he hopes the
award will change that. — AAP
Bomber pilot ’s heroism
honoured 71 years on
Greece appealed to its European
Union partners overnight to come up
with a comprehensive strategy to deal
with a growing migrant crisis as new
data showed 21,000 refugees landed on
Greek shores last week alone.
That number is almost half Greece’s
overall refugee intake in 2014 and brings
total arrivals this year to 160,000, even
as it struggles with a debt crisis that has
forced it to accept a third international
The influx of refugees, mainly from
Syria, has strained an already ill-
prepared reception system in Greece
that relies heavily on volunteers,
forcing thousands to camp out in filthy
conditions and triggering sporadic
clashes and brawls.
A spokesman for the United Nations
refugee agency UNHCR in Geneva said
Greece needed to show “much more
leadership” in dealing with the crisis.
But Greek officials said they needed
better coordination within the European
Union. “ This problem cannot be solved
by imposing stringent legal processes
in Greece, and, certainly, not by
overturning the boats,” said government
spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili.
Nor could it be addressed by building
fences, she said.
Earlier this month construction began
on a 175km razor wire border fence
in Hungary to deter migrants, while
Britain and France have tightened
security on the French side of the 30km
tunnel linking the countries.
Greece, which is in the throes of its
worst economic crisis in generations,
criticised other European countries for
being more of a hindrance than a help
as bottlenecks were reported not only in
getting into the country, but getting out
on its northern land borders.
“This country doesn’t have the financial
resources or the infrastructure to get
through this in a dignified manner,”
In addition to overcrowded conditions
on some of its Aegean islands, problems
were compounded by a lack of transport
to take refugees to the Greek mainland
at the peak of the summer vacation
“There are about 4,000 people waiting
for transfer on Lesbos right now and
arrivals are continuing,”
Selacha, a volunteer with Aggalia, a
non-governmental organisation on
the Greek island, said. “Conditions are
International Rescue Committee said
Lesbos risked “reaching breaking point ”
due to the surge in the number of arrivals
over the past few days and the inability
for refugees to leave.
“The situation is already volatile and we
have started seeing increased tensions
with the local authorities and between
different refugee groups,” Kirk Day, the
aid agency’s emergency field director on
the island, said.
UNHCR officials said only three
Greek islands had organised reception
facilities for refugees but that they were
There were chaotic scenes on the island
of Kos last week, where local police
locked migrants in an outdoors athletics
stadium to process them. On one
occasion police used fire extinguishers to
keep crowds back.
The Greek state eventually charted
a passenger ship to house and process
migrants in an attempt to ease conditions
onshore, where many are living in tents,
some in shelters made from cardboard
Gerovassili said more reception centres
“ We must have new reception facilities.
We cannot continue to see these tragic
images of children, people living under
such circumstances.” — Reuters
Thai authorities are hunting a man
shown on security footage strolling into
a packed religious shrine and placing a
bomb-laden backpack under a bench,
before an explosion that killed at least
The attack occurred yesterday in
one of the Thai capital’s most popular
tourism hubs, ripping through a crowd
of worshippers at the Hindu shrine close
to five-star hotels and luxury shopping
At least 11 of the victims were
foreigners, with Chinese, Hong Kong,
Singaporean, Indonesian and Malaysian
citizens among the 20 confirmed killed,
British authorities confirmed a Hong
Kong resident with a British passport
was killed, but it was not immediately
clear if she was a dual national already
counted among two Hong Kong
More than 100 other people were
wounded as the blast left body parts,
shattered glass and incinerated
motorcycles strewn across the crushed
concrete of a busy intersection.
Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha
overnight branded the bombing the
“ worst ever attack” on Thailand, as he
said the hunt was on for the bomber
filmed on closed circuit television at the
Police released images showing the
man, who appeared young and slightly
built, and wearing a yellow t-shirt and
dark shorts, walking into the shrine with
He sits down and places the backpack
underneath a bench, then walks away
from the shrine clutching a blue plastic
bag while reading what appears to be a
National police spokesman Prawut
Thavorn said the man left the scene on
a motorcycle taxi, and the blast occurred
three minutes later.
“It is quite clear that he is the
perpetrator in this case,” Prawut told
local television station Channel 3,
adding police were also trying to track
down the motorcycle taxi driver.
Prawut did not reveal if they knew of a
motive for the attack. — AFP
Egypt detains Hamas official
Egypt detained a senior Hamas
official at Cairo International
Airport, security sources said
overnight, a day after it reopened
the Rafah border crossing to allow
Palestinians to travel in and out of
the Gaza Strip.
Hassan Asseify, the deputy
religious affairs minister in Hamas-
ruled Gaza, was stopped on his
way back from Saudi Arabia to
the Palestinian enclave after Cairo
airport security found “issues in the
security approval for his entrance
to the country,” an airport security
Asseify will remain in detention
until issues with his paper work are
resolved, he said.
A second security source said
Asseify was detained yesterday.
Islamist Hamas could not be
reached for comment.
Egypt opened the Rafah
border crossing on Monday until
tomorrow to allow Palestinians to
travel in and out of Gaza, a small
impoverished coastal enclave that
is under blockade by neighbouring
Cairo has kept the Rafah crossing
largely shut since Egypt ’s Islamist
president was toppled by the army
in 2013, but has occasionally
opened it for short periods at a
Hamas has long had ties to the
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
that was ousted from power when
former president Mohammed
Morsi was overthrown in 2013
after mass protests against his rule.
The Egyptian government has
accused Hamas of helping Islamist
militants in Egypt ’s Sinai desert,
which borders on Gaza, attack its
security forces. Hamas denies this.
However a decision by an
Egyptian court in June to cancel a
previous ruling labelling Hamas a
terrorist group raised speculation
that relations between Egypt and
Hamas may improve. — Reuters
South Africa’s justice minister has cast
doubt on the expected imminent release
from prison of Paralympian star Oscar
Pistorius, who was convicted of killing
Pistorius has spent less than a year
behind bars since being convicted in a
sensational trial of culpable homicide
the equivalent of manslaughter —
and sentenced to five years in prison.
But the 28-year-old is due to leave
jail on Friday for a form of house arrest,
having served one-sixth of his sentence.
However, prosecutors this week
lodged an appeal urging that the athlete
be convicted of the more serious crime
of murder, which carries a minimum
sentence of 15 years.
Pistorius does not dispute that he
shot model and law graduate Reeva
Steenkamp four times through a locked
toilet door in his Pretoria home in the
early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
But he said he mistook the 29-year-
old for an intruder. Prosecutors insist
that he deliberately killed her after an
The double amputee won international
fame after racing against able-bodied
competitors in the 2012 London
Olympics, and his trial was broadcast
live around the world.
Justice and Correctional Ser vices
Minister Michael Masutha said
overnight he is seeking legal advice on
Pistorius’s planned release, which has
been widely criticised.
In response to a petition from a rights
group asking him to block the release,
Masutha said he needs to know if the
release is lawful, and whether he has the
legal power to intervene.
“I’m confident that by Friday I would
be in a position to determine whether
legally I have the authority to do
anything,” Msutha said.
Steenkamp’s family has expressed
dismay at his imminent release. — AFP
Study into road rage impact
Shouting at drivers who cut you off
might feel good at the time but does it
affect your long-term health?
A 12-month Queensland study into
courteous driving will examine how road
rage and stress affect the human body.
Participants will be subjected to real-
life road situations in a state-of-the art
driving simulator in the joint RACQ
and University of the Sunshine Coast
“ I know some of us have said don’t
drive angry, but what this might be
about is really finding out what the cost
of driving angry is,” RACQ executive
general manager of advocacy Paul
Turner said. — AAP
Up to 150 people have drowned in
a river or been shot dead fleeing Boko
Haram gunmen who raided a remote
village in Nigeria.
“Boko Haram gunmen attacked our
village on Thursday, which led to the
deaths of about 150 people. Most of the
victims died in the river while trying to
escape,” Bukar Tijjani, a resident from
Kukuwa-Gari in the country’s north-
News of the attack took five days
to emerge because the militants have
destroyed telecommunications masts
around the village, 50km from Yobe State
capital Damaturu, since the insurgency
began in 2009. — AFP
Up to 150
Spain holds 20 for
scamming drunk tourists
Spanish police have arrested 20
suspected members of a ring that
swindled tens of thousands of euros
from drunken tourists on the holiday
island of Majorca by stealing their credit
The ring would steal the codes of the
credit cards of customers of hostess bars
on the beach resort of Magaluf, which
is known for its excesses of alcohol and
sex, and sometimes clone the cards, the
interior ministry said overnight.
The main victims were tourists from
Britain and Scandinavia “ who were
intoxicated, since in this state it is easier
to trick them to obtain the security
codes of the cards or to carry out a series
of charges of a high amount ”, it said in
“The amount swindled amounts to
over 45,000 euros ($75,000), although
it is suspected that it could be higher
since many victims have not filed a
complaint,” it added.
Police detained four men and 16
women as part of their operation, which
involved searches of four hostess bars in
Majorca, including two owned by the
suspected leader of the ring.
Magaluf, where some 85% of
holidaymakers are British or Irish
nationals, made global headlines last
year after a video showing a young
woman performing oral sex on several
men on the dance floor of a nightclub
introduced new rules regulating pub
crawls and have also banned “balconing”
— jumping from one apartment balcony
to another or into a swimming pool
after several deaths in recent years.
An emu is on the lam from police in
the English countryside after it did a
Thames Valley Police released a
mugshot of the bird on Twitter, with
instructions to the public to call police
if they see the Australian flightless
The bird has gone missing from a
property about 8km east of Oxford,
police said on Twitter. — A AP
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