Home' Greymouth Star : August 24th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, August 24, 2015 - 5
embassy in Iran
Cars are engulfed in fire as the Hawker Hunter, at right, crashes.
Air show horror crash toll rises Tehran
Britain reopened its embassy in
Tehran overnight, a striking signal of
how western ties with Iran have thawed
since protesters stormed the compound
nearly four years ago.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
watched the British flag being raised in
the garden of the opulent 19th century
building while the national anthem
played. In 2011, the attackers burned
the Union Jack and ransacked the
“ Today ’s ceremony marks the end of
one phase in the relationship between
our two countries and the start of a
new one — one that I believe offers the
promise of better,” he said.
After what was a low point in
diplomacy between the two countries,
he said, the relationship had improved
“step by step” since the election of
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in
Hammond said the nuclear deal that
the Islamic Republic struck with six
major world powers last month was also
an important milestone.
On Sunday a small group of
protesters reportedly gathered near
the newly reopened Tehran embassy,
which was guarded by dozens of
Iranian security forces.
A total of 11 people have died after a
vintage military plane crashed on to a
busy road near an air show on the south
coast of England, police say.
Seven deaths have already been
confirmed after the Hawker Hunter, a
jet fighter first developed in the 1950s,
failed to pull out of a loop and crashed
into traffic next to the Shoreham air
show near Brighton on Saturday.
The accident created a fireball which
sent clouds of thick, black smoke
billowing into the sky, while photographs
of the aftermath showed charred vehicles
caught up in the crash.
The pilot of the Hawker Hunter, who
works for British Airways, is in hospital
in a critical condition.
At a press conference overnight, Steve
Barry, second in command of the local
Sussex police, described what had
happened as “an enormously traumatic
“ We have now identified 11 people
who we are treating as highly likely to
have died in this tragedy,” Barry said,
adding that the death toll could rise
Police and accident investigators are
still at the scene of the crash sifting
through charred wreckage.
A mainstay of Britain’s Royal Air Force
in the 1950s and early 1960s, Hawker
Hunter planes were used in campaigns
such as the Suez Crisis.
Among those killed when the plane
struck their cars were two amateur
footballers travelling to a match, while a
vintage Daimler was also hit on its way
to pick up a bride on her wedding day.
Another 14 people were injured after
the aircraft crashed about 1.20pm (local
time), shortly after it began its display in
front of thousands of show visitors.
Horrified onlookers described seeing
the plane flying low to the ground
followed by a “huge ball of fire and black
Footage of the crash posted on-line
showed the Hunter carrying out a loop
manoeuvre high in the air but smashing
into the road in a huge fireball after it
failed to pull up in time.
“As far as we are aware all those who
sadly lost their lives were on the road,
and it was nobody within the air show
perimeter on the actual airport,” a police
Photographs taken by witnesses
showed the burning aircraft ploughing
across the busy road just metres from
cars and a group of people, its cockpit
canopy open and wing ablaze, engulfing
traffic lights, roadwork cones and signs
in a huge ball of fire.
cancelled yesterday ’s
air show and the Royal Air Forces
Association secretary general Nick
Bunting said it was “too early to
speculate” about the future of the event.
National Zoo staff are helping giant
panda Mei Xiang adjust to life with
her newborn twins by occasionally
switching out one cub and keeping
it in an incubator, zoo officials said
Mei Xiang, a star tourist draw,
took staff by surprise on Saturday by
giving birth to twins about four and
a half hours apart. Giant pandas are
among the world’s most endangered
species and she had been artificially
Laurie Thompson, a giant panda
biologist, said she and other staff had
monitored Mei Xiang to see if she was
strong enough to pick up the second
cub on her own.
“S he was really struggling. She was
trying but she wasn’t able to pick
up both of the cubs. At the right
moment, we were able to go in and
grab one of the cubs and take it out
safely when Mei Xiang was not really
close to it,” Thompson told reporters.
One cub was placed in an incubator
in line with protocol when twins are
Dr Don Neiffer, the zoo’s chief
veterinarian, said the first few hours
after birth were critical for the panda
cubs, especially since they have almost
“They are not able to thermo-
regulate very well and they need to
constantly be receiving some calories
and fuel for the furnace,” he said.
To track each cub’s progress, officials
are measuring and weighing each cub
as they switch them out.
Mei Xiang was artificially
inseminated on April 26 and 27
with frozen sperm from Hui Hui, a
panda in China, and fresh sperm from
the National Zoo’s Tian Tian. Zoo
veterinarians first detected evidence
of a foetus on an ultrasound on
Mei Xiang previously has given birth
to two sur viving cubs, Tai Shan in
2005 and Bao Bao in 2013. Bao Bao
marked her second birthday overnight.
Giant pandas have a very low
reproductive rate, particularly in
captivity. Their natural home is in a
few mountain ranges in central China.
There are about 1600 giant pandas
known to be living in the wild and
some 300 in captivity. — Reuters
Zoo staff help panda cope with twins
One of the giant panda cubs born on at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in
Washington, DC is examined by veterinarians.
Swaggering in the desert and
glowering menacingly at the camera,
this is believed to be notorious Isis
murderer Jihadi John — filmed
unmasked in Syria for the first time.
In a one-minute 17-second video,
the knife-wielding fanatic, who
has taken part in the gruesome
beheadings of at least seven hostages
in Syria vows to continue “cutting
He then promises a triumphant
return to Britain with the terror
group’s self-styled leader.
The first footage of the killer has
emerged from Syria since he was
identified in February as 27-year-old
Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.
He was last seen in a sickening Isis
(Islamic State) video at the end of
January, beheading Japanese hostage
The latest film was believed to have
been shot on a mobile phone about
two months ago near the Isis-held
town of Deir Ezzor in south-east
In an eight-second excerpt the
camera pans away from a flatbed
truck upon which a grenade-launcher
is mounted, to reveal a hooded
Emwazi in profile.
Swathed in black and wearing a cap
under his hood, he then turns and
stares directly into the lens before
looking away to scan the desert.
No sound accompanies the footage
but it has been played to an audio
excerpt from the full video.
In it, the man thought to be Jihadi
John is heard clearly saying, in a
British accent: “I will carry on cutting
The film was secretly obtained
by rebel fighters of the Free Syrian
Army, who sent it to one of their
colleagues, known as Abu Rashid, in
the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
It was then shown in full to another
FSA-linked activist in Istanbul who
said: “He looks at the camera and
says, ‘I am Mohammed Emwazi. I
will soon go back to Britain with the
Khalifa” (the leader of Isis)’. ”
The activist continues: “He said
something more about cutting heads
off, ‘ We will kill the kuffar.’ Then the
camera shows two masked men that
looked like bodyguards.”
The clip was shown to one of the
United Kingdom’s leading experts on
facial mapping, a former policeman
who regularly acts as an expert
witness in court cases.
After comparing the film to existing
images of Emwazi, the expert said:
“I have noted a number of apparent
similarities in both the morphological
and the proportional comparisons
and in my opinion the images lend
support to the contention that they
are the same person. ”
This, he added, would be sufficient
to result in “an arrest being made in
most cases and may get a conviction
in court ”.
Abu Rashid, from the Syrian city of
Aleppo, is believed to have received
the grainy footage on his smart phone
through the video messaging app
called Viber. He later passed a copy
of the video to Bulgarian counter-
After Emwazi’s true identity
was revealed, various pictures of
him emerged from his school days
in Britain. In one, taken from a
Westminster University student card,
he is seen wearing a baseball cap.
Last month there was speculation
that Emwazi had fled with Isis
to Libya. Other reports, however,
suggested he was on the run inside
Syria from his fellow fighters, who
supposedly wanted him dead. The
new video appears to contradict these
Jihadi John is one of the world’s
most wanted men with a Â£6
million bounty placed on his head
by the United States. He became the
world’s most infamous jihadi after he
beheaded American captive James
Foley, 40, in the Syrian desert a year
It was the first in a series of bloody
executions of several western hostages
over the next five months.
After Foley, fellow American
Steven Sotloff, 31, was beheaded and
Briton David Haines, 44, from Perth,
Scotland, became Jihadi John’s third
victim. Haines’s death was followed
by that of Manchester taxi-driver
Alan Henning, 47, whose execution
provoked condemnation from the
West and the Islamic world as he had
travelled to Syria to do humanitarian
work with a group of British Muslims.
American aid worker Peter Kassig,
26, was Jihadi John’s fifth Western
victim and, in January, Japanese
hostages Haruna Yukawa, 42, and
Goto, 47, became his last two.
Jihadi John has also been seen in a
video taking part in the beheadings
of at least 17 Syrian soldiers.
British journalist John Cantlie, 45,
is the last known Western hostage
being held by Isis. He featured in Isis
propaganda videos last year, when
he was shown in the northern Iraqi
city of Mosul and the Syrian city of
He wrote an article in May in Isis’s
monthly magazine called Dabiq,
warning how easy it was for the group
to acquire nuclear weapons. — PA
Jihadi John unmasked in grainy video
Grainy video still of Jihadi John
Boko Haram fighters
Suspected Boko Haram militants
ambushed a convoy carrying Nigeria’s
chief of army staff on a tour of towns
in troubled Borno State, the army said
One Nigerian soldier died while 10
militants were killed and another five
captured, Colonel Sani Usman said in a
Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai
was appointed in July as the new chief of
army staff after President Muhammadu
Buhari sacked the military’s top brass.
The new chiefs are far more active in
visiting areas under pressure in the
“The leading column was ambushed
by suspected Boko Haram terrorists
at Faljari village between Mafa and
Dikwa,” Usman said.
Buhari has made quashing Boko
Haram his priority since taking office.
Boko Haram’s quick wins last year
exposed the weakness of Nigeria’s
military that has been badly managed
Since his appointment, Buratai’s home
town in Borno has also been attacked
His convoy was ambushed as he was
visiting the region, the heartland of
Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency aimed
at car ving out an Islamist state.
The jihadi group killed thousands
in 2014 as it took over vast swathes of
Nigerian territory before being pushed
out by combined Nigerian, Nigerien and
Chadian troops earlier this year and with
the help of foreign mercenaries.
Since losing the bulk of its territory,
Boko Haram has reverted to its old
tactics of hit-and-runs on villages and
towns as well as attacks on “soft targets”
like mosques, bus stations and markets
often with suicide bombers.
The last stronghold of the group is
in the vast Sambisa forest reser ve that
has become hard to penetrate due to
the widespread use of landmines by the
The military has recently ramped
up its offensive into the Sambisa and
surrounding areas with air strikes and
more ground troops. A multi-national
joint taskforce being set up in Chad’s
capital N’Djamena has not yet started
operations. — Reuters
There has always been a bit of
gold in the steep, tree-decked
hills around Walbrzych. Enough
to prompt the opening of a few
mines long ago, and tourists still
chance their luck with a gold pan.
But never enough to generate
excitement. Until now, that is.
Two men have claimed to have
found what could be a Nazi
ghost train that disappeared into
the hills and mountains around
Walbrzych in April 1945 with a
cargo of gold.
“ People are talking about it,”
Marek Marciniak, the jovial
owner of a cafe adjacent to
Walbrzych town hall, said.
“When I go home andflick on
the television I see a lot of news
about the ‘gold train’.”
Marciniak, like many others, is
quick to stress that everybody has
heard stories about the train and
its gold before. He says what sets
this time apart from the others is
that two people have filed a legal
claim with the local authorities in
the hope of attaining a finder’s fee
of 10% of the value of the find.
The two who have claimed
to have found it have kept the
location under wraps, saying,
through their lawyer, that they may
reveal their secret to the president
of Walbrzych next week. But until
then the location stays secret.
The local press claimed one
place it could lie is Walim, 20km
west of Walbrzych. The village’s
hills are home to the Project
Project Riese involved digging
kilometres of tunnels in a series of
complexes across the Walbrzych
region, which was until 1945
part of Germany. Thousands of
slave labourers died hewing the
rock for reasons that still remain
unc lear. Some say the tunnels
were for a secret command
centre, others claim they were for
underground factories for Hitler’s
secret weapons, or even hid
research on an atomic bomb.
Pawel Brzozowski, Walim’s
director of culture and tourism,
pulled up an old map on his
computer showing a now non-
existent railway line running into
Walim. He explained the theory
was that there may have been a
special track laid that led into a
At the entrance to the Reise
tunnels, now a tourist attraction,
tunnel guide Marcin Pasek shakes
his head at talk of finding the
gold train. “ There has been talk
but no evidence.”
While his scepticism strikes
a chord with many there is also
hope the train and its precious
cargo will soon be uncovered.
That would bring a surge of
publicity and provide a boost to
town that has suffered of late
from mine closures, job losses and
a falling population.
“ We hope it’s true,” said
Marciniak, the cafe owner. “ But
even it isn’t, the legend will live
on,” he added. “Nobody ever
sees the Loch Ness monster but
people still go to Loch Ness.”
Gold hunters close in on tunnels
Part of a subterranean system built by Nazi Germany in what is today Gluszyca-Osowka, Poland.
Islamic State militants overnight
blew up the temple of Baal Shamin,
one of the most important sites
in Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra,
the country’s antiquities chief,
Maamoun Abdul Karim, said.
The temple bombing would be
the first time the insurgents, who
control swathes of Syria and Iraq and
captured Palmyra in May, damaged
monumental Roman-era ruins.
A week ago, the militants
beheaded Khaled Asaad, an
82-year-old scholar who worked for
over 50 years as head of antiquities
in Palmyra, after detaining and
interrogating him for over a month.
Before the city’s capture by
Islamic State, Syrian officials said
they moved hundreds of ancient
statues to safe locations out of
concern they would be destroyed by
In June, Islamic State blew up
two ancient shrines in Palmyra
that were not part of its Roman-era
structures but which the militants
regarded as pagan and sacrilegious.
IS militants destroy Palmyra temple
Malaysian police have found 24
human skeletons — all believed to
be victims of trafficking — in newly-
discovered graves along the Thai border
in the northern Malaysian State of
The latest gruesome discovery comes
after police found 39 graves and 28
abandoned “detention” camps capable
of housing hundreds of people in May,
laying bare the grim extent of the
region’s migrant crisis.
The new graves were found on
Saturday near the peak of a hill
surrounded by jungle terrain and along
the Thai border, not too far from the
graves unearthed in May, Perlis police
chief Shafie Ismail was quoted as saying
by Bernama, the country’s official news
“It is believed that heavy rain had
eroded the graves,” he said.
After May ’s unearthing, the remains
of 106 people were exhumed, mostly
believed to be Muslim Rohingya
fleeing persecution in Myanmar, as
well as Bangladeshis seeking better
Mass graves were also discovered on
the Thai side of the border.
The Rohingya, a Muslim minority
from Myanmar, have for years sought
to escape what they say is worsening
persecution by the country’s Buddhist
Fleeing abroad by the thousands each
year, they typically put their lives in
the hands of often brutal smugglers
and traffickers who arrange a perilous
passage by sea and land, usually destined
for Muslim-majority Malaysia. — AFP
Malaysia finds more
graves on Thai border
Blasts, fire at
A blast has ripped through a United
States military post near Tokyo,
triggering a fire, the Pentagon has
confirmed, noting that no injuries have
US Navy spokesman Commander Bill
Urban said the explosion occurred at
a building at the Sagami Depot in the
city of Sagamihara, some 40km south-
west of the Japanese capital just after
midnight on Monday.
“There are no reports of injury, and
base firefighters and first responders are
currently fighting the resulting fire to
prevent its spread to nearby buildings,”
Japanese firefighters said they were
waiting for information from the US
side on what was stored in the warehouse
before tackling the blaze.
“ We are co-ordinating with US fire
units and we are waiting for people
who know exactly what is inside to tell
us what ’s inside,” a duty officer at the
Sagahimara fire bureau said.
“ We have not poured water (on the
warehouse) because it could make the
situation worse, depending on what is
inside,” he said.
Video footage shot by a local woman
showed large sparks shooting out like
fireworks from a huge structural fire
lighting up the night sky.
She told national broadcaster NHK
that thunderous explosions were heard
repeatedly for 10 to 15 minutes.
“Orange sparks were rising quite
high. I couldn’t see smoke but smelled
something like gunpowder,” she told
Aerial footage recorded by NHK about
an hour after the fire began showed no
open flames rising outside the building,
with a smaller orange blaze seen inside
though its burned roof.
The municipal fire bureau had
dispatched 13 fire engines and other
vehicles to the site, the fire official said.
Firefighters had sur veyed the area
around the warehouse and had not
noticed any physical damage or toxic
fumes, he added.
The fire department had not received
any reports of injuries associated from
the fire, he said. — AFP
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