Home' Greymouth Star : September 24th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, September 24, 2015
European Union leaders could promise
billions of euros in new funding for Syrian
refugees at an emergency summit today where
they are also trying to patch up bitter divisions
over the migration crisis.
Meeting for dinner a day after interior
ministers overrode furious objections from
four eastern States in a vote that will distribute
asylum-seekers around the bloc according to
mandatory national quotas, government leaders
will try to focus on ways to curb the inflow of
migrants that has hit records this summer.
But feelings are running high as chaotic
crowds and varied responses from national
capitals have seen borders close inside Europe’s
cherished passport-free Schengen zone and
diplomats expect “theatrics” from some of the
28 leaders as each seeks to shore up domestic
support in the face of fears of immigration.
“ Today . . . a concrete plan must finally appear
in place of the arguments and the chaos we have
witnessed in the last weeks,” European Council
president Donald Tusk, who will chair the 28
leaders’ first full EU summit in three months,
On a day when the Greek island of Lesbos
saw 3000 people land in dozens of dinghies
from Turkey, Tusk said arrivals that already
exceed half a million this year were likely to
increase and that Europe must “regain control
of our external borders” or risk destroying the
Schengen system and the “European spirit ”.
He forecast agreement on more help for
refugees who stay in the Middle East, via funds
for United Nations agencies, Turkey, Jordan,
Lebanon and others. “ Front-line” States like
Greece and Italy should also get help on their
frontiers — notably to register new arrivals and
deport those who do not qualify for asylum.
Around the Council table, German Chancellor
Angela Merkel may face criticism of her move
last month to take in more Syrians, an action
some say fuelled the inflow.
The German leader stressed on arrival that
it was time for Europeans to work together.
“Faced with a great challenge, it cannot be that
Europe says ‘ We can’t handle this’,” Merkel said.
“That ’s why I say again and again: We can do
Re-elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras and Italian Prime Minister Matteo
Renzi will hear calls from the north to use new
EU support — both in money and manpower —
to tighten controls on the bloc’s Mediterranean
Establishing a principle of “relocating” some
asylum-seekers has been a key demand of Rome
in particular, which wants to end a rule that
states they should remain in the first EU State
they enter. Northern countries accuse Italy and
Greece of undermining the Schengen area by
simply letting migrants move on unchecked.
Renzi said a package of EU-run relocations
and deportations and EU-funded frontier forces
meant Rome’s partners had finally accepted
demands it has been making for years to spread
the load of migrant arrivals from Africa on to
southern Italian islands.
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, was
expected to offer a typically robust defence of
the razor-wire fencing he has erected to keep
out migrants and his view, shared in some other
ex-communist States, that Muslim immigration
He insisted he was only following EU rules
and said that if Greece could not defend its
borders, Athens should ask for help.
His Slovak ally, Prime Minister Robert Fico,
said he would challenge in EU courts yesterday ’s
rare majority-vote decision to impose quotas
on States for taking in up to 120,000 asylum-
seekers, mainly from Italy and Greece.
“ We have been refusing this nonsense from
the beginning, and as a sovereign country we
have the right to sue,” Fico said.
However, many leaders and the EU officials
organising the summit — which will not take
formal legal decisions — are keen to put the
row over “relocation” behind them for now.
Collectively, national leaders may be
chided by Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s
chief executive whose commission named 19
countries for breaches of EU asylum laws:
“One of the reasons why the asylum system
isn’t working is because member States
do not apply it,” Juncker’s deputy, Frans
Turkey, locked in a long love-hate relationship
with Europe and through which the bulk of the
summer’s migrants have reached Greece, may
hear promises of up to 2 billion euros to help
build schools and provide for the welfare of the
two million Syrians it has accommodated from
the civil war.
Johannes Hahn, who deals with the EU’s
neighbours as a member of the executive
commission, said today a trust fund established
to help Syrian refugees across the region,
including in Jordan and Lebanon, could reach
a billion euros on a mix of pledges from the EU
and the member states.
The commission, among proposals adopted
at its weekly meeting, also called on them to
reverse cuts in their funding for the World Food
Overall, Juncker said, the EU had doubled
the funds targeted to deal with migration to 9.5
Noting plans to install “hot spots” on the
Mediterranean where seconded EU officials
will document arrivals and try to speed the
deportation of those not qualifying for refugee
status, Commission first
Timmermans said: “ The most urgent thing we
need to do is to make sure we can fingerprint
and register everyone who arrives so that we
can make a distinction between those who
potentially have the right to asylum and people
who are migrants who don’t. ” — Reuters
EU bitterly split over refugees
Volkswagen chief executive Martin
Winterkorn has resigned over a pollution
cheating scandal that has sparked a
United States criminal investigation
and worldwide legal action with
unfathomable financial consequences for
the auto giant.
“ I am shocked by the events of the past
few days. Above all, I am stunned that
misconduct on such a scale was possible
in the Volkswagen Group,” Winterkorn
said overnight in a statement issued by
the car maker.
“ Volkswagen needs a fresh start —
also in terms of personnel. I am clearing
the way for this fresh start with my
The stock market barely flinched at the
Following a two-day free fall that
had axed 35% — or 25 billion euros
($44.59 billion) — off the company’s
market value on Monday and Tuesday,
the shares had bounced back overnight
and closed up 5.19% after Winterkorn’s
Even if the haemorrhage on the
markets may have abated, Volkswagen,
the world’s largest car manufacturer by
sales in the first half of this year, still faces
a growing tangle of legal threats after it
admitted that as many as 11 million of
its diesel cars worldwide are equipped
with software capable of fooling official
In addition to investigations from
France to South Korea, public
prosecutors in Germany also said
they were examining information and
evaluating legal suits already filed against
the company by a number of private
individuals to decide whether to launch
a full criminal inquiry against those
responsible at VW.
A day after Winterkorn had offered
his “deepest apologies”, the 68-year-old
said he accepted his “responsibility for
the irregularities that have been found in
But he also insisted: “I am not aware of
any wrongdoing on my part. ”
His widely predicted departure came
after a meeting of the super visory
board’s six-member steering committee
A new chief executive is to be named on
Saturday, and other personnel changes
were expected, the board said.
According to the US authorities, VW
has admitted it equipped about 482,000
cars in the US with sophisticated
software that covertly turns off pollution
controls when the car is being driven.
It turns them on only when it detects
that the vehicle is undergoing an
With the so-called “defeat device”
deactivated, the car can spew pollutant
gases into the air, including nitrogen
oxide in amounts as much as 40 times
higher than emissions standards, the
US Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA is conducting an investigation
that could lead to fines amounting
to a maximum of more than $US18b
($28.71b). — AFP
An aerial view shows tents and shelters at the makeshift camp called “The New Jungle” in Calais, France. About 3500 migrants and
refugees are camped in Calais, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and now living in the jungle. Most of them
are hoping to make the crossing to England.
A United States judge ruled
yesterday that Warner Chappell
Music does not own a valid
copyright to one of the world’s
most recognisable songs, Happy
Birthday to You, a decision that
brings the song into the public
The highly anticipated ruling
came in a putative class-action
lawsuit filed by several artists
against Warner Chappell, the
music publishing arm of Warner
Music Group, over the song in
2013, seeking the return of the
millions of dollars in fees the
company has collected over the
In order to make his ruling,
US District Judge George H
King had to delve into the song’s
long and complicated history,
which began in 1893 with the
publication of a melody called
Good Morning to All, in a
kindergarten songbook, written
by a Kentucky woman named
Mildred Hill and her sister, Patty.
That melody eventually came to
be sung with the familiar Happy
Birthday lyrics, which Patty
also claimed to have written,
according to court records.
Warner’s copyright originated
with the Hill sisters’ publisher,
the Clayton F Summy Co, later
known as Birch Tree and acquired
by Warner in 1988. Summy had
obtained registrations to Happy
Birthday in 1935, according to
“Defendants ask us to find that
the Hill sisters eventually gave
Summy Co the rights in the
lyrics to exploit and protect, but
this assertion has no support in
the record,” King wrote in his
“The Hill sisters gave Summy
Co the rights to the melody, and
the rights to piano arrangements
based on the melody, but never
any rights to the lyrics,” he added.
The case drew attention from
around the world, because many
people were not aware it was
still under copyright, let alone
purportedly owned by a major
People who sing Happy
Birthday in their homes or at
private gatherings have typically
never been at risk of a lawsuit.
But when the song has been used
for commercial purposes, such as
in films, Warner has enforced its
rights, and takes in an estimated
$US2 million ($NZ3.17 million)
in royalties annually.
The song is the most widely
sung tune in the English
language according to the
Guinness World Records book.
It has been translated into at
least 18 languages. — Reuters
No copyright on Happy Birthday
Two brothers and a trader face
prosecution in southwestern
China for killing a panda and
selling its meat and paws, State
news agency Xinhua reported
Wang Wenlin and Wang
Wencai shot the animal in a
forest near Zhaotong, a poverty-
stricken city in China’s Yunnan
confessing to police they
mistook the adult female panda
for a more common species
of bear, Xinhua said citing
The brothers proceeded to eat
some of the bear’s meat before
selling the rest to a third man, Li
Kequan, along with its paws.
A panda skin, skull and liver
were discovered in December
at the brothers’ home, Xinhua
said, while State broadcaster
CCTV reported in May that
police had recovered almost
10kg of meat.
While there is a thriving black
market trade in exotic animal
parts in China, it is unusual to
hear of panda meat being sold in
a country where the creatures are
considered a national treasure.
Pandas have not been spotted
in the province “for centuries”,
according to Xinhua, but after
the killing the local authorities
concluded more of the animals
must have been living nearby.
Under Chinese law, killing
protected animals such as pandas
can result in a jail sentence of up
to 10 years.
The giant panda’s natural habitat
mostly lies in mountainous
Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces.
They have a notoriously low
reproductive rate and are under
pressure from factors such as
habitat loss. — AFP
Chinese panda killers face prosecution
A stubborn bacterial infection often acquired
in hospitals and which can be deadly may have
a new treatment on the horizon, United States
Antibiotics only work about 25% of the time
in wiping out Clostridium difficile, or C. diff,
a pathogen that infects the digestive tract and
kills about 15,000 people and puts 250,000 in
hospital each year in the US.
But the antioxidant drug ebselen was shown
to kill C. diff by targeting its toxins, not by
killing the bacteria and wiping out beneficial gut
microbes at the same time, researchers from the
Stanford University School of Medicine said.
The study in the journal Science Translation
Medicine was done on mice, but researchers
say human trials could be expedited because
the drug is already being investigated for the
treatment of cardiovascular diseases, arthritis,
stroke, atherosclerosis and cancer.
“Unlike antibiotics — which are both the
front-line treatment for C. difficile infection
and, paradoxically, possibly its chief cause —
the drug didn’t kill the bacteria,” senior author
Matthew Bogyo, professor of pathology and of
microbiology and immunology, said.
Rather, it disabled a toxin produced by the
pathogen and prevented intestinal damage and
C. diff costs the US more than $US4 billion
($6.37 billion) in healthcare expenses and
it often recurs in patients, requiring further
hospital treatment, researchers said.
The infection is particularly perilous for those
with weakened immune systems.
About 7% of people who are infected die
within a month of diagnosis. — AFP
Antibiotic alternative for infection
A question-and-answer game has been
conducted by sending brain signals over the
internet between two players more than a
The United States study is thought to be the
first to demonstrate a telepathic link based on
ner ve impulses, allowing one person to guess
what is on another’s mind.
For the experiment, one participant (the
respondent) wears an electrode cap recording
brain activity while being shown an object on a
computer screen, for instance a picture of a dog.
A second player (the inquirer) has a list of
possible objects and associated questions, and
sends a series of questions to the respondent by
clicking a mouse.
The respondent replies “yes” or “no” to each
question by focusing on one of two LED lights
flashing at different frequencies.
Both answers send a signal over the internet
that activates a neuron-stimulating coil behind
the inquirer’s head, but only a “yes” signal is
intense enough to trigger what appears to be a
flash of light behind the eyes.
The flash, or “phosphene”, caused by a brief
disruption in the brain’s visual cortex, tells the
inquirer the answer is “yes”.
By noting the answers to the questions, the
inquirer eventually identifies the object.
Lead scientist Dr Andrea Stocco, from the
University of Washington, said it was the
most complex brain-to-brain experiment that
had been done in humans. “It uses conscious
experiences through signals that are experienced
visually and it requires two people to collaborate.”
The study was carried out in dark rooms in
two university laboratories located just more
than a kilometre apart and involved five pairs of
volunteers, who played 20 rounds of the game.
Steps were taken to ensure participants did
not cheat and had to complete the game using
direct brain communication.
Inquirers wore earplugs so they could not hear
the different sounds produced by the magnetic
coil when transmitting a “yes” or “no” signal.
Players were able to guess the correct object
72% of the time. Incorrect guesses were caused
by several factors, including uncertainty about
whether a phosphene had appeared. — PA
Brain game shows telepathic link
If you want more
information about an item
or to contact a seller, visit
search the ID
Hearing Aid (new)
Honda CRF 70
Vintage Barbers Pole
Allis Chalmers Model B
Antique Kitchen Chopper/Dicer
Links Archive September 23rd 2015 September 25th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page