Home' Greymouth Star : September 8th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Greece asked the European
Union for aid overnight to
prevent it being over whelmed by
refugees, as a minister said arrivals
on Lesbos had swollen to three
times as many as the island could
Its economy already stretched
close to breaking point, Greece is
struggling to cope with thousands
of people, mainly from Syria,
fleeing poverty and war.
Interim Migration Minister
Yannis Mouzalas said 15,000 to
18,000 refugees were on Lesbos,
an island he said could cope with
4000 to 5000.
“The situation is wretched,” he
told State tv.
Tensions have flared on the
islands of Lesbos and Kos, short
boat journeys from Turkey where
there are some 2 million Syrian
The International Rescue
Committee said protests on the
streets of Lesbos were putting
the lives and safety of refugees
stranded on the island at risk.
“We are truly in the midst of a
humanitarian disaster,” said Kirk
Day, the aid agency ’s field director
on the island.
He said many refugees had been
stuck on the island for weeks,
people were sleeping rough and
hygiene was rapidly declining.
“None of these things can be
addressed with this many
people here ... The only way
forward is to move these people
off the island immediately,” Day
Greece earlier asked the EU to
activate its crisis-response body
to provide staff, medical and
pharmaceutical supplies, clothes
and equipment, the Interior
It has also applied to the EU
Commission for 9.6 million euros
in emergency funding to bolster
existing reception operations on
the islands of Lesbos, Samos and
Kos and in the Turkish border
region of Evros, and to help set
up a new centre on the island of
The health ministry said it
had sent extra medical staff to
Lesbos and Kos and extended the
operating hours of health centres
on the islands.
Yesterday, the coastguard, aided
by a passenger ferry, rescued 61
migrants whose inflatable boat ran
into trouble off Lesbos.
A Greek ferry unloaded 2500
migrants at the port of Piraeus,
bringing the total number of
people moved to the mainland
since last Monday to more than
Thousands more are waiting
to be identified and ferried to
Athens, from where most head
north-west to other European
countries, many via Greece’s
border with Macedonia.
Mouzalas said the government
planned to move 12,000 refugees
from Lesbos over the next five
days by increasing the number of
ships ferrying people to Athens
from three to four or five.
It will also set up reception and
registration centres and convert
some ships into temporary homes
for refugees, many of whom are
sleeping rough on the islands’
“ We can’t solve the problem
but we can provide solutions to
alleviate it,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, Greece
requested that the EU civil
protection mechanism be
activated “in order to substantially
strengthen the efforts ... to
manage a volatile situation”.
The mechanism co-ordinates
the bloc’s humanitarian aid
efforts, channelling aid and
sending special teams with
equipment to disaster areas. It has
previously helped Greece fight
On Friday, European
Commission first vice-
president Frans Timmermans
and Migration Commissioner
Dimitris Avramopoulos have
already promised Athens 33
million euros ($36.8 million) to
help it tackle the crisis.
“The situation is wretched’
Pope Francis has reformed the
procedures for marriage annulments,
a decision keenly awaited by many
couples around the world who have
divorced and remarried outside the
The Vatican said overnight that the
Pope had written a document known
as a Motu Proprio, Latin for “by his
own initiative”, that changes the way
Catholics get annulments.
The details of the document, which is
expected to streamline and simplify the
procedure, will be released this week at a
Vatican news conference.
An annulment, formally known as
a “decree of nullity,” is a ruling that a
marriage was not valid according to
Church law because certain prerequisites,
such as free will, psychological maturity
and openness to having children, were
The 1.2 billion member Church
does not recognise divorce. Catholics
who divorce and re-marry outside the
Church in civil ser vices are considered
to be still married to their first spouse
and living in a state of sin. This bars
them from receiving sacraments such as
The new procedures follow the Pope’s
appointment last September of an
11-member commission of lawyers and
theologians to propose reform of the
process. The Vatican said at the time that
he wanted to “simplify and streamline”
the procedure while “safeguarding
the principle of the indissolubility of
and priests have
complained that the
are outdated and
and discourage even
those with legitimate
Most annulments take place at the
local diocesan level. Each decision must
be automatically reviewed by a second
tribunal even if it is not contested by one
of the parties. Reformers argue that step
is superfluous and should be eliminated.
Cases in which the two tribunals reach
opposing decisions are sent to a Vatican
appellate court for a decision.
The situation of divorced and remarried
Catholics who want to fully participate
in the Church is a topic of great debate,
particularly in countries such as the
United States and Germany, and will be
a main topic at a synod of bishops from
around the world at the Vatican next
Making it easier for divorced couples
to receive annulments would allow them
to return to the sacraments.
Progressive bishops want the Church
to be more merciful toward Catholics
whose first marriages have failed.
One Vatican expert on marriage
annulments said the new rules would
not change the criteria for getting
annulments but make the procedures
easier. — Reuters
Pope reforms marriage annulments
An RAF drone strike in Syria has
killed three Islamic State group
militants, two of them British, Prime
Minister David Cameron says, the first
time Britain has carried out such an
“In an act of self-defence ... Reyaad
Khan was killed in a precision air strike
carried out on August 21 by an RAF
remotely piloted aircraft while he was
travelling in a vehicle in the area of
Raqqah in Syria,” he told parliament
Khan had been planning “specific and
barbaric” attacks in Britain, Cameron
The strike had been “entirely lawful”
and carried out following consultation
with the attorney general, he added.
“There was a terrorist directing
murder on our streets and no other
means to stop them,” he said.
“Is this the first time in modern times
that a British asset has been used to
conduct a strike in a country where we
are not involved in a war? The answer to
that is yes,” he added.
A second British jihadist who was
in the vehicle, Ruhul Amin, was also
killed but no civilians were harmed, the
prime minister said.
Cameron also said he supported
Britain extending its anti-IS bombing
campaign to Syria as well as Iraq but
stressed he would return to parliament
for formal authorisation to do so.
“ I believe there is a strong case for the
UK taking part in air strikes. I believe
that case only grows stronger with the
growing number of terrorist plots,”
he said, adding that six plots against
Britain had been disrupted over the
past 12 months.
Cameron’s government was defeated
on taking military action in Syria in
2013 in one of the most damaging
foreign policy blows to his previous
The prime minister cannot secure the
necessary parliamentary approval for
air strikes without opposition support
due to a slim parliamentary majority
and some of his own MPs being against
Jeremy Corbyn, the favourite to win
the leadership of the main opposition
Labour Party to be announced on
Saturday, is a founder of the Stop
the War coalition and repeated his
opposition to air strikes overnight.
“ My view is that it would create more
problems than it would solve,” he said.
Britain strikes IS
fighters in Syria
The United States
dentist who killed
the lion has broken
weeks of silence,
saying he had no idea
it was a special feline
and announcing he
would return to work
after lying low.
In his first inter view since sparking
international outrage over the killing
of the black-maned lion, Walter Palmer
told the Minneapolis Star Tribune
that he would be back at his dentistry
practice this week.
The trophy hunter said that he and the
others in his party had no clue that the
lion they were hunting was the revered
big cat that has been a well-known
attraction at the Hwange National
Park, according to the paper.
The 55-year-old also maintained in
the inter view published late Sunday
that the July hunt, during which he
was armed with a bow and arrow, was
Palmer declined to say whether he
would abide by any request to return
to Zimbabwe over legal allegations,
and a lawyer present for the inter view
added that there had been “no official
allegations that he’s done anything
Zimbabwe has asked the United
States to extradite Palmer to face
charges over the hunt.
Palmer said the ordeal had been
particularly difficult for his wife and
daughter, who had been threatened on
“I don’t understand that level of
humanity to come after people not
involved at all,” he said in the article.
Cecil killer breaks silence
Moscow has dismissed United States
concerns of a Russian military build-up
in Syria, saying its military aid to Bashar
al-Assad is nothing out of the ordinary.
Over the weekend US Secretary of
State John Kerry phoned his Russian
counterpart Sergei Lavrov to express
concern about reports of an “enhanced
Russian build-up” in Syria.
“The Russian side has never concealed
the fact that it is sending military
equipment to the Syrian authorities
to help them fight terrorism,” Russian
foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria
Zakharova told AFP, commenting on the
Kerry-Lavrov phone talks.
A prominent Russian blogger suggested
over the weekend that Moscow was
building up its military presence in Syria
to help prop up Assad.
Ruslan Leviyev referred to widely-
circulated footage from Syria apparently
showing a Russian-made BTR-82A
armoured personnel carrier as well as
reports on social networks that Russian
paratroopers had been sent to Syria.
Russia dismisses US concerns over Syria
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