Home' Greymouth Star : September 17th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
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Refugees repelled with teargas
Riot police fired
cannon and teargas at migrants
demanding to be let through
Hungary’s newly shut European
Union frontier, while refugees at
other Balkan frontiers clambered
through cornfields in search of
Hungary’s decision this week
to shut the European Union’s
external border with Serbia was
the most forceful attempt yet by
a European country to reduce the
flow of refugees and economic
migrants over whelming the bloc.
The move has left thousands
of migrants scattered across
the Balkan peninsula seeking
alternative ways to reach the EU,
and Hungary’s prime minister
said his country planned to erect
a fence along parts of its border
with Croatia as well as on the
frontier with Romania to stem
Helmeted Hungarian riot
police backed by armoured
vehicles took up positions at
the now-barricaded border
crossing with Serbia, where male
migrant youths pelted them with
stones, demanding to be allowed
At least 20 policemen and
two children were injured, a
Hungarian security official said.
“It is getting very ugly there,”
Ahmad, 58, a shopkeeper from
Baghdad, said. He went to the
official border crossing at Sid in
Serbia but soon realised he may
have a better chance of entering
the EU via Serbia’s border with
“As soon as we heard about a
route to Croatia we did not wait
long. I want to go to Sweden
to meet the rest if my family. I
hope we will be treated better in
Croatia,” he said.
Serbia later said it would send
additional police to the border
with Hungary and try to distance
migrants from the border fence,
and three Hungarian military
Humvees with guns mounted
stepped up security on the other
side of the frontier.
United Nations Secretary-
General Ban Ki-moon expressed
shock and alarm at the treatment
of refugees and migrants at
Hungary’s border with Serbia.
The Council of Europe human
rights body said it had asked
Hungary to explain its new
legislation on the crisis.
Antonio Guterres, the UN
Refugees, urged Hungarian
authorities to ensure “unimpeded
access” for people as they flee
wars and persecution.
shocked and saddened to witness
families with children who have
already suffered so much, being
prevented from entering the EU
with water cannon and teargas,”
it said in a statement.
Serbia’s border with Hungary
has until now been the main
route for migrants, who mainly
arrive first by dinghy in Greece
and then trek across the Balkan
peninsula to reach the EU’s
frontier-free Schengen zone,
most bound for Germany.
Migrants scattered through
Balkan countries said they
were searching for other routes,
possibly through Croatia or
Romania, both of which are in
the EU though not in Schengen.
“If not Hungary, we will have to
find another way. Most probably
Croatia and from there we will
see,” 43-year-old Mehmed from
Damascus, holding his three-
year-old daughter after crossing
the border north into Macedonia
from Greece, said.
Croatia said it would send
mine-clearing officers to its
Serbian border to identify
minefields left on the frontier
from the Balkan wars of the
1990s, the last time hundreds of
thousands of displaced people
marched across Europe.
The goal for most is Germany,
which cut off trains from Austria
overnight to slow the flow of
Tens of thousands of migrants
have reached Austria in recent
days, rushing to cross before
Hungary shut the frontier.
Austria said it would impose new
border controls on its frontier
with Slovenia, along the probable
new route from Croatia.
Hungary has already thrown
up a 3.5m-high fence along
nearly the whole of its border
with Serbia, and engineers and
soldiers were marking a path
to extend the barrier along the
border with Romania.
In response, Romanian Prime
Minister Victor Ponta evoked he
continent ’s darkest era.
“ Fences, dogs, cops and guns,
this looks like Europe in the
1930s. Did we solve the refugee
problem with this? No, we didn’t,”
he said. “ Erecting a fence only
throws the problem into Serbia,
into Croatia, into Romania. ”
At the Croatian border with
Serbia, hundreds of people, some
of whom identified themselves
as Iraqis, trekked through fields
near the Sid border crossing.
The biggest flow of immigrants
into western Europe since World
War Two has sown discord
across the continent, fuelling the
rise of far-right political parties
and jeopardising the 20-year-
old achievement of Schengen’s
Hungary says it is simply
enforcing EU rules by sealing
the Schengen zone’s external
border. It says Serbia is a safe
country, so asylum seekers who
reach the frontier there can be
automatically turned back in a
process that should take hours.
Hungarian Prime Minister
Viktor Orban said in an inter view
Die Presse that his former
Communist country would erect
fences “at certain locations on the
Croatian border” as well as along
the border with Romania.
The UN says Serbia lacks the
capacity to receive refugees halted
at the gates of Europe. Critics
rhetoric has crossed the line into
The crisis has pitted countries
that are comparatively open, led
by Germany, against those, many
in former Communist eastern
Europe, who say the welcoming
approach has made the problem
worse by encouraging people to
make dangerous voyages.
Hungary blames Germany
for exacerbating the crisis by
announcing in August it would
suspend normal EU asylum
rules and take in Syrian refugees
regardless of where they enter the
EU. Thousands have since been
trekking across the bloc, mainly
through Hungary and Austria, to
reach Germany, clogging railway
stations and forcing trains to be
An emergency meeting of EU
ministers failed this week to
reach agreement on a Berlin-
backed plan to share out 160,000
refugees across the bloc.
A German cabinet minister
said yesterday the EU should
against countries that refuse to
take their share, drawing angry
responses from countries which
oppose quotas, such as the Czech
Republic and Slovakia.
An injured migrant carries a child during clashes with Hungarian riot police at the border crossing with Serbia in Roszke, Hungary. Hungarian police fired teargas and water cannon at protesting migrants
demanding they be allowed to enter from Serbia on the second day of a border crackdown.
The Rolling Stones.
A Russian prankster claims he
duped British superstar singer
Elton John into believing he was
talking to President Vladimir
Vladimir Krasnov — who goes
under the nickname Vovan —
said he called up the pop star
pretending to be Putin after the
singer said he wanted to meet the
Kremlin strongman to discuss
“He was very happy and said
that the call had made his day
and that it was a miracle that it
had taken place,” Krasnov said.
Krasnov — whose previous
victims have included Belarussian
leader Alexander Lukashenko —
said he spoke in Russian while
a fellow prankster translated his
words into English pretending
to be Putin’s press spokesman
and that the conversation would
be broadcast on a Russian chat
Elton John on Monday posted
a picture of Putin on Instagram
and thanked the Russian leader
for “reaching out and speaking
via telephone with me today.”
A Kremlin spokesman,
however, denied that Putin had
made contact with the Rocket
The 68-year-old music star said
in an inter view over the weekend
that he would like to discuss
Russia’s attitude to gay rights
“ I’d say, come on. Gay people
are not the problem here,” the
singer told BBC television.
In 2013, Putin signed off on a
hugely controversial law banning
the promotion or display of
homosexuality in front of minors.
Elton John, who has two
adopted children with his
husband, the Canadian film-
maker David Furnish, said he
hoped to use his influence to
promote tolerance. — AFP
Prankster tricks Elton John
Zimbabwean lawmakers have voted
to wipe the record clean after President
Robert Mugabe delivered the wrong
speech at the opening session of
At the grand event in Harare on
Tuesday, Mugabe, 91, had repeated the
state of the nation address he gave to
the legislature last month, triggering
ridicule and criticism from the
Mugabe called a special session of
parliament to fix the mistake, but was not
present himself as lawmakers discussed
whether to adopt the “correct ” version of
Mnangagwa moved a motion for
parliament to “withdraw and substitute
the wrong speech”.
After a heated debate led by the
opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), the parliament easily
voted to approve the motion.
“I now lay on the table the correct
speech by the President of the Republic
of Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa, who was
jeered by opposition lawmakers, said.
The parliament is dominated by
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.
On Tuesday, Mugabe, who has ruled
since 1980, read the 25-minute speech
through to the end, apparently unaware
of the error.
His spokesman admitted that the
president was given the wrong text.
The MDC called on Mugabe to resign
over the blunder.
“That clearly shows the president is a
very old man,” MDC spokesman Obert
Gutu told a news conference overnight.
“At the very ripe age of 91 he has seen
better days, he is no longer fit for purpose.
He is now clearly unable to discharge his
duties as head of State.”
Zimbabwe is due to hold its next
presidential election in 2018, though
previous polls that have kept Mugabe
in power have been widely dismissed as
Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, earlier
this year fell down steps leading from a
podium. He was unhurt, but video of the
fall spread rapidly on social media.
Tuesday ’s opening of parliament was
also tarnished by claims by opposition
legislators of anonymous death threats
warning them against booing Mugabe
during his speech.
Last month, they heckled him during
his state of the nation address. — AFP
Rock legends The Rolling
Stones have decided to record
a new album in what would be
their first in a decade, guitarist
Keith Richards says.
Richards, at an event to
promote his latest solo album,
said that the Stones planned
to return to the studio after a
hitherto unannounced tour of
South America in early 2016.
“Actually, I was in London last
week and the boys and I got
together. And, yeah, there are
now definite plans to record,”
Richards told a forum in New
York organised by internet radio
station iHeart Radio.
The now septuagenarian
rockers have toured actively in
recent years, recently completing
a summer swing through North
America, but have not released a
new album since A Bigger Bang
That album, in turn, was the
first by The Rolling Stones in
The Rolling Stones are widely
regarded as one of rock’s defining
acts, producing classic albums
such as Sticky Fingers and Exile
on Main St, and feuding with
The Beatles for the crown of
Britain’s top band.
Richards, known for his hard-
living and cantankerous public
comments, tomorrow releases
Crosseyed Heart, his first solo
album in 23 years.
The album — featuring
Richards, rather than Stones
frontman Mick Jagger, on
vocals — brings in a range of
collaborators including the jazz
and blues singer Norah Jones.
Rolling Stones plan
first album in decade
United States President Barack Obama has
invited a Muslim schoolboy to the White
House after he was arrested and dragged off
in handcuffs for bringing a homemade clock
Obama congratulated 14-year-old
Ahmed Mohamed on his skills and issued a
presidential invitation, in what amounts to a
pointed rebuke to school and police officials
who precipitated his arrest.
“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it
to the White House? We should inspire
more kids like you to like science. It ’s what
makes America great,” the president tweeted
The teen was led out of his Texas school
after a teacher mistook his homemade digital
clock for a bomb, prompting accusations of
“ Islamophobia” and an on-line backlash.
A photo of Ahmed standing in handcuffs
while wearing a t-shirt with the US
space agency Nasa’s logo was re-tweeted
thousands of times in a matter of hours and
“#IStandWithAhmed” was the top trending
hashtag on Twitter.
Among those voicing support for the
boy was Hillary Clinton, who tweeted:
“Assumptions and fear don’t keep us safe —
they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and
“My hobby is to invent stuff,” the boy told
The Dallas Morning News in a video posted
on the paper’s website that was filmed in his
“I made a clock. It was really easy. I wanted
to show something small at first. They took it
wrong so I was arrested for a hoax bomb.”
Mohamed said he was just trying to impress
his teachers when he brought the clock to
MacArthur High School on Monday.
But when the alarm went off during class
the teacher told him it looked like a bomb
and confiscated the clock.
The school called police and Mohamed was
taken away in handcuffs amid suspicion he
intended to frighten people with the device.
Once released the aspiring inventor, who
lives in Irving just outside Dallas, was
suspended from school for three days.
Police said overnight they had determined
that Mohamed had no malicious intent and it
was “just a naive set of circumstances. ”
Irving police chief Larry Bond insisted that
Mohamed’s ethnicity had nothing to do with
the police response.
“O ur reaction would have been the same
either way. That ’s a very suspicious device,”
He said all prisoners were handcuffed for
their own safety, adding “unfortunately we’ve
had people jump out of cars”.
The Council on American-Islamic
Relations said the heavy-handed response
was particularly suspicious given that Irving
Mayor Beth Van Duyne has claimed that
Muslims are plotting to impose Sharia law in
“This all raises a red flag for us: How Ir ving’s
government entities are operating in the
current climate,” Alia Salem, who directs the
council’s North Texas chapter, said. — AFP
Clock ‘bomb’ brings Obama invitation
Ahmed Mohamed in his bedroom.
The homemade clock built by Ahmed
Fred DeLuca, who parlayed a $US1000
($1576) loan from a friend into the global
Subway sandwich chain, has died at 67 of
The company yesterday said DeLuca had
been treated for the disease since 2013 and had
named his sister, Suzanne Greco, as president to
run day-to-day operations.
His death comes just weeks after Subway
celebrated the company ’s 50th anniversary, the
company said. — AFP
Subway founder dies
Facebook plans ‘dislike’ button
Facebook is finally working on
a “dislike” button for its posts.
Facebook chief executive Mark
Zuckerberg says the company is
at long last — responding to
the desire for a “dislike” button
on the popular social media site.
People have asked about the
‘dislike’ button for many years,”
He said making something
so “simple” is surprisingly
complicated, but after years of
people demanding the option
to “dislike” a Facebook post, the
company is finally ready.
“ Probably hundreds of people
have asked about this, and today
is a special day because today is
the day that I actually get to say
we are working on it, and are very
close to shipping a test of it.”
However, he went on to
mechanism with which people
could “down vote” others’ posts,
the BBC reported. — AP
Migrants seek new route
Last-minute stay of execution
An Oklahoma court has
granted a last-minute stay of
execution to death row inmate
Richard Glossip, sentenced to
die for the 1997 fatal beating of
a motel owner.
The two-week reprieve was
announced overnight about three
hours before 52-year-old Glossip
who has long proclaimed his
innocence — was set to die by
“ In order for this court to
give fair consideration to the
materials included with his
subsequent application for post-
conviction relief, we hereby grant
an emergency stay of execution
for two weeks,” the order issued
by the Oklahoma Criminal
Appeals Court said. — AFP
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