Home' Greymouth Star : September 4th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, September 4, 2015 - 7
Hungarian policemen detain a family of migrants as they tried to run away at the railway station in the town of Bicske, Hungary. A camp for refugees
and asylum seekers is located in Bicske.
Europe split over refugees
Researchers have long known that
growing up on a farm seems to protect
children against allergies and now they
know the secret lies in the dust.
New findings by Belgian experts,
published in the United States journal
Science, could help lead to a vaccine
against asthma one day.
“At this point, we have revealed an actual
link between farm dust and protection
against asthma and allergies,” Bart
Lambrecht, a professor of pulmonary
medicine at Ghent University, said.
“ We did this by exposing mice to
farm dust extract from Germany and
“These tests revealed that the mice
were fully protected against house dust
mite allergy, the most common cause for
allergies in humans.”
Scientists also discovered that farm dust
“makes the mucous membrane inside the
respiratory tracts react less severely to
allergens such as house dust mite” due to
a protein called A20, the study said.
The body produces the A20 protein
when a person comes in contact with
Prof Hamida Hammad, also at Ghent
University, said the protective effect
went away when the A20 protein was
inactivated in mice, leaving the mucous
membrane of the lungs “unable to reduce
an allergic or asthmatic reaction. ”
When researchers examined a group of
2000 people who grew up on farms, they
found most did not suffer from allergies
Those who were still prone to allergies
and asthma were found to be deficient in
the protective protein.
“Those who are not protected and still
develop allergies have a genetic variant
of the A20 gene which causes the A20
protein to malfunction,” Lambrecht said.
Next, researchers will be hunting for
the active substance in farm dust that
is responsible for providing protection,
so that they can use it to develop a
preventive medicine against asthma.
Migrants forced from a train in
Hungary scuffled with helmeted riot
police and some clung to railway tracks,
as politicians across Europe struggled to
respond to public opinion appalled by
images of a drowned three-year-old boy.
Ugly scenes erupted in Hungary as
migrants fought their way on to what
they thought was the first train to
western Europe in days, only to be left
feeling tricked as police halted the train
and tried to move them to a refugee
Mayhem ensued at the small train
station of Bicske where it was stopped,
including when one man pulled a
woman and a baby on to the tracks and
refused to be moved before several police
officers dragged him off.
“I would rather die than go to a camp,”
one Iraqi man said as his daughter —
one of many children on the train — was
taken to hospital with a swollen cheek in
the humid autumn heat.
Most of the migrants, estimated by a
reporter to number 200-300, refused
to get off the train and on to buses that
State news agency MTI reported would
take them to the nearby camp.
Furious at their treatment and feeling
they had been tricked on to the train,
they began chanting “Germany!
Germany!” — their intended destination
after a treacherous journey of hundreds
Others held placards with the words
“SOS” and “Help!”
France and Germany said European
countries must be required to accept
their shares of refugees, proposing what
would potentially be the biggest change
to the continent ’s asylum rules since
World War Two.
Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the
Yugoslav wars of the 1990s has strained
the European Union’s asylum system to
breaking point, dividing its 28 nations
and feeding the rise of right-wing
Hundreds of thousands of refugees
from wars in the Middle East, along
with economic migrants fleeing poverty
in Africa and Asia, have braved the
Mediterranean Sea and land routes
across the Balkans to reach the European
Union. Thousands have died at sea and
scores have perished on land.
Nearly all first reach the EU’s southern
and eastern edges before pressing on
for richer and more generous countries
further north and west, above all
Germany, which has emphasised its
moral duty to accept those fleeing
Accusing some European countries of
failing to “assume their moral burdens”,
French President Francois Hollande said
he had agreed with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel on “a permanent and
obligatory mechanism” to allocate
refugees across the bloc.
“I believe that today what exists is no
longer enough,” he said. “So we will need
to go further.”
Merkel said Germany was prepared
to accept more refugees per capita than
its neighbours, but others must do their
part with “quotas and rules that are fair
and take into account what is possible in
She also acknowledged that laws
requiring refugees to apply for asylum in
the first EU country where they arrive
were “not working any more”. Germany
has caused confusion among its
neighbours by announcing it will accept
applications from Syrians regardless of
where they enter the EU.
Politicians across the continent
acknowledged the impact of images of
a three-year-old boy in a red t-shirt and
tiny sneakers face down in the surf of a
Turkish beach, which gave a haunting
human face to the tragedy of thousands
dead at sea.
“He had a name: Aylan Kurdi. Urgent
action required — A Europe-wide
mobilisation is urgent,” French Prime
Minister Manuel Valls said on Twitter.
The boy ’s five-year-old brother Galip
and 35-year-old mother Rehan were
also among 12 people who died when
two boats carrying 23 capsized while
trying to reach a Greek island.
His father, Abdullah Kurdi, who was
rescued barely conscious, collapsed in
tears after emerging from a morgue
where the bodies were held.
“The things that happened to us here,
in the country where we took refuge to
escape war in our homeland, we want
the whole world to see this,” Abdullah
“ We want the world’s attention on us,
so that they can prevent the same from
happening to others. Let this be the
last,” he said.
Hungary has emerged as the primary
entry point for those reaching the EU
overland across the Balkans, and its
right-wing government has become
one of the most vocal on the continent
opposing large-scale immigration.
A days-long stand-off was brought to
a pitch as Hungarian authorities who
refused to let migrants board trains
for Germany for days finally allowed
hundreds on to a train bound for the
Austrian frontier — only to halt it at
Bicske, a town outside Budapest with an
immigration registration centre.
Hundreds of exhausted people had
crammed aboard, clinging to doors and
squeezing their children through open
carriage windows. When the train was
halted, most refused to get off.
Police cleared one carriage, while
five more stood at the station in the
heat. Fearing detention, some migrants
banged on windows chanting, “No
camp! No camp!”
One group pushed back dozens of riot
police guarding a stairwell to fight their
way back on board. One family — a
man, his wife and their toddler — made
their way along the track next to the
train and lay down in protest. It took a
dozen riot police wrestling with the man
to get them up again.
“ We need water,” a Syrian man still on
the train who gave his name as Midu
said. “Respect the humans in here; no
respect for the humans. We want to go to
Germany, not here,” he said in English.
Hollande’s announcement of an
agreement with Merkel on a mandatory
system to allocate refugees would
transform the asylum rules for the
28-member EU, which operates
common frontiers but requires countries
to process refugees separately.
The major EU States have taken
sharply opposing positions on how far
to open their doors, symbolised most
prominently by Germany and Britain.
Germany, led strongly on the issue
by Merkel, plans to receive 800,000
refugees this year and has budgeted
billions in additional welfare spending
“As one of the world’s richest countries,
with good infrastructure, a viable welfare
state and a solid budget surplus, we are
in a position to rise to the occasion,”
German Labour and Social Affairs
Minister Andrea Nahles said at a briefing
ahead of a G20 meeting in Turkey.
Britain, by contrast, has set up a
programme to allow in vulnerable
Syrians that has admitted just 216. It
has also granted asylum to about 5000
Syrians who managed to reach British
shores since the war began four years ago,
but Prime Minister David Cameron has
opposed mandatory EU refugee quotas.
“There isn’t a solution to this problem
that ’s simply about taking people,” he
said in televised comments overnight.
His stance has come under fire even
from within his own Conser vative Party.
“ We cannot be the generation that fails
this test of humanity. We must do all we
can,” tweeted Conser vative member of
parliament Nicola Blackwood.
Other EU States are also likely to
strongly resist a system that would
require them to take in large numbers of
But Austria’s foreign minister, whose
country is also a popular destination for
the refugees, backed the quota system
idea and called for a greater sense of
urgency over the crisis.
“It’s unfathomable that during the
financial crisis it was possible to meet all
the time and find a common solution,
and with this refugee crisis nothing
is happening for weeks or months,”
Sebastian Kurz said.
Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister
Viktor Orban described the crisis as a
problem for Germany — which had
offered to admit the refugees — not for
Europe as a whole.
In an opinion piece for Germany ’s
Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, Orban
wrote that his country was being
“overrun” with refugees. He noted that
most were Muslims, while “Europe and
European culture have Christian roots”.
Ugly scenes as Hungary
Chinese President Xi Jinping has
lauded his country as a major power
and a force for world peace as he
presided over a spectacular military
parade marking the 70th anniversary
of Japan’s defeat in World War Two.
With concerns rife over China’s
rise, Xi announced that the People’s
Liberation Army would be cut by
300,000 personnel, a move analysts
say is actually designed to make the
world’s largest standing military
more modern and efficient.
“ War is the sword of Damocles that
still hangs over mankind,” Xi said
overnight. “ We must learn the lessons
of history and dedicate ourselves to
Moments later, however, new
missiles dubbed “carrier-killers” that
experts say could change the balance
of power with the United States
rolled through the square, in an
unmistakable show of strength.
With disquiet growing over China’s
growing assertiveness in territorial
disputes, most western leaders stayed
away from the extravaganza in
Tiananmen Square, where Chinese
troops crushed democracy protests in
After a 70-gun salute, thousands
of troops marched in formation
through the square, with tanks and
missiles following, while 200 aircraft
performed a flypast in blue skies
The immaculate, choreographed
ranks of soldiers included a
detachment from Russia, whose
President Vladimir Putin was the
highest-profile foreign guest.
China has repeatedly insisted
the parade was not aimed at any
particular country, including Japan,
which it regularly criticises for what
it says is insufficient contrition over
“The unyielding Chinese people
fought gallantly and finally won
total victory against the Japanese
militarist aggressors, thus preser ving
China’s 5000-year-old civilisation
and upholding the cause of peace,”
He described the eight-year
conflict, in which historians say 15
to 20 million Chinese died, as “a
decisive battle between justice and
evil, between light and darkness” and
that the victory had “re-established
China as a major country in the
Decades of double-digit budget
China’s military, giving Beijing the
confidence to push a programme of
artificial island building in the South
China Sea and vigorously proclaim
its sovereignty over disputed outcrops
controlled by Japan.
The equipment on show for the first
time at the parade included DF-21D
missiles, an anti-ship ballistic missile
that could be used in the Pacific to
target US aircraft carriers.
For decades, Washington’s carriers
have been the key element of its
ability to project power around the
world and a commentator on Chinese
television described the weapon as a
The Chinese navy is pushing further
away from domestic shores and the
parade came as five of its vessels were
spotted in the Bering Sea for the first
time, according to the Pentagon.
Xi’s announcement of troop
reductions was widely expected
and comes after some two million
personnel have been cut from the
PLA since the 1980s as Beijing seeks
to make it more streamlined.
Putin was given a prominent
position next to Xi on the rostrum,
as were ranks of former Chinese
leaders, including Jiang Zemin and
Shaking hands with Xi were
Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, who has
been indicted by the International
Criminal Court, and authoritarian
Belarusian President Alexander
Lukashenko, who brought one of his
More mainstream guests included
South Korea’s Park Geun-hye, whose
country was colonised by Japan, Jacob
Zuma of South Africa, which with
China is part of the BRICS groups of
major emerging economies, and UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon .
China flexes muscles at parade
Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army march during the military
parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War
Convicted Oklahoma City bombing
co-conspirator Terry Nichols is seeking
the return of his guns seized by federal
authorities so his family can sell them to
support his adult children, lawyers said
Federal authorities confirmed the
Federal Bureau of Investigation is in
possession of guns Nichols, 60, owned
as part of a gun show business. FBI
agents seized the firearms after the
1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma City that
killed 168 people.
In a report to District Judge Richard
Matsch in Denver, Assistant Attorney
Amy Padden said she “plans to have a
further discussion with (Nichols) to explore
whether (they) may be able to resolve this
issue without court inter vention.”
In a handwritten request filed in July,
Nichols asked Matsch to have the FBI
turn over the seized guns to one of his
two former wives or his sister so that the
firearms can be sold to provide financial
support for his children. He said the gun
show business was not related to the
Nichols is ser ving 161 consecutive
sentences of life in prison without the
possibility of parole. — Reuters
Oklahoma conspirator wants guns back
A double suicide bombing killed 19
people and wounded 143 overnight in
northern Cameroon, where soldiers
are battling Boko Haram fighters from
Nigeria, officials said.
The attacks targeted Kerawa, a town
in the far north region that was the
scene of clashes between the militants
and government soldiers in February.
One blast hit a camp housing infantry
fighting the Islamists, while another was
at a market.
A local government official said he had
been told the attacks were carried out by
female suicide bombers.
Boko Haram has stepped up attacks
on Chad, Niger and Cameroon, all of
which border its north-eastern Nigerian
stronghold, after they took part in an
offensive against it this year.
No one claimed responsibility for the
attacks but the Islamist fighters were
blamed for a series of suicide bombings
in the town of Maroua, also in the far
north, that killed dozens of people in
Cameroon has sent thousands of troops
to its northern border where militants
carry out regular raids, killing some
villagers and kidnapping others.
The African neighbours’ combined
military offensive dislodged Boko
Haram earlier this year from much of
the territory it had captured in Nigeria,
but the jihadists have since reverted to a
pattern of hit-and-run attacks. —Reuters
blasts kill 19
Massive fires threaten wildlife
Trump pledges Republican loyalty
Trump has pledged his loyalty to
the Republicans, ruling out an
independent run if he does not win
the party’s presidential nomination.
Trump made the announcement
in the lobby of his New York
headquarters overnight as he shot to
an even greater lead in the polls, with
30% of the Republican-leaning vote.
“I will be totally pledging my
allegiance to the Republican Party
and the conser vative principles
for which it stands,” the real estate
tycoon told a news conference at
“ We will go out and we will fight
hard and we will win.
“I see no circumstances under
which I would tear up that pledge.”
It marks an about-turn for the
former reality television star, who
kicked off the first Republican debate
in Ohio last month by refusing to
rule out a third-party run.
business acumen and charisma have
made him a rock star in the eyes of
ordinary Republican voters, but his
refusal to dismiss an independent
run had confounded party grandees.
There had been widespread
Republican fears that a third-party
run could split the vote and hand
the Democrats — and frontrunner
Hillary Clinton — a free ticket into
the White House.
Trump changed his mind because
of his soaring poll figures, and said
winning the Republican ticket was
the “absolute best way ” into the top
Trump — who lauds himself in
his official biography as “a deal
maker without peer” — said he got
“absolutely nothing” in return for his
pledge “other than the assurance I
would be treated fairly”.
He lauded his billions and financial
independence as a unique buying
point for the electorate, saying his
alone was a self-funded campaign.
By contrast his chief rivals —
Clinton and perceived establishment
choice Jeb Bush for the Republicans
were in the pockets of lobbyists,
“ I will tell you this. Nobody’s
putting up millions of dollars for me.
I’m putting up my own money,” he
said to applause.
securing Trump’s loyalty may come
at a heavy price for the Republicans
if it antagonises those enraged by
his more controversial opinions,
particularly his insults towards
Trump denies that he is anti-
He suggests he wants to do more to
help talented foreigners, such as tech
entrepreneurs, engineers, physicists
and the best performing foreign
students stay in the country and
acquire citizenship. — AFP
A heavy toll may be exacted on
elk, moose and other wildlife whose
habitat has been destroyed by bush
fires that have charred hundreds of
thousands of hectares of forests and
grasslands across the north-west
United States this summer, wildlife
managers said overnight.
Flames that in recent weeks have
destroyed dozens of homes and
prompted hundreds of residents to
evacuate in Washington and Idaho
have probably killed squirrels and
small mammals unable to swiftly
flee fire zones while fleeter creatures
like deer likely escaped unharmed,
wildlife biologists said.
Yet a season that has brought
the largest wildfire in Washington
history and a blaze in south-western
Idaho that killed more than two
dozen mustangs pose challenges in
the short term that may be offset by
benefits in the long term, they said.
For example, a massive blaze in
north central Idaho has consumed
dense pine, fir and spruce canopies,
which will ultimately allow in more
light, rejuvenating grasses and forbs
favoured by ungulates like elk, Idaho
Fish and Game biologist Dave
But destruction of crowded conifer
canopies will be a hardship for owls
and other birds of prey that thrive in
“All fires are not equal when it
comes to how they impact wildlife,”
Koehler said. “ What ’s good for
one species may be a problem for
Prime rangelands in south-western
Idaho are considered key habitat for
the declining populations of greater
sage-grouse. US wildlife managers
are to decide this month if the
ground-dwelling birds will come
under federal protection. The area
was destroyed earlier this summer
by a massive fire that also burned 27
wild horses to death and forced the
putting down of two other mustangs.
As US land managers scramble to
rehabilitate ground ravaged by the
113,300ha Soda Fire near Boise,
wildlife officials in Washington were
seeking to assess the impact of blazes
in the eastern and north central parts
of that state on animals’ winter range.
With fires there still burning,
biologists with the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife
already are evaluating how they
might manage an influx of browsers
like deer into commercial orchards
and irrigated croplands in search of
“ We might be seeing some major
human-wildlife conflicts,” agency
spokeswoman Madonna Luers said.
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