Home' Greymouth Star : September 30th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin raises his glass for a toast during lunch at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Russia, US to unite in fighting IS
Russia and the United States intend to
seek joint ways of fighting the Islamic
State group, Moscow says, in a major
coup for Vladimir Putin as he tries to
shake off Western isolation.
Addressing the UN General Assembly
for the first time in a decade, Putin
called yesterday for a broad UN-backed
coalition to fight Islamic State jihadists.
Ostracised by the west over Moscow ’s
annexation of Crimea and support for
a separatist insurgency in east Ukraine,
Putin also held key talks with US
President Barack Obama, their first
formal bilateral talks in two years.
Predictably, Putin and Obama failed to
resolve their dispute over the future role
of Bashar al-Assad, with the US leader
branding him a child-killing tyrant
and the Kremlin chief saying the world
should support him in his battle against
Putin, however, said the two countries
had agreed to co-operate on fighting
Islamic State fundamentalists in
what many commentators say further
highlights the failure of western efforts
to isolate Moscow over its Ukraine
He also said he had not ruled out air
strikes on the jihadists.
“ We have an understanding that it is
necessary to ramp up our work at least at
the bilateral level,” Putin told reporters.
“ We are now thinking about creating
Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov
said the two men agreed their foreign
and defence ministries would work
together to identify “specific ways and
means which could make our common
goal more achievable”.
They agreed to follow up their meeting
with talks to find a common position on
the Syrian conflict, he said, telling the
Kremlin-backed RT television channel
it was “a very constructive discussion”.
“They did not discuss coalitions in the
classical sense of the word,” Lavrov said
“ What they did discuss was the
possibilities for the United States and
Russia to co-operate closely on the
most burning issues of today, Syria first
“I believe that President Obama heard
what President Putin had to say.”
Obama said Washington was ready to
work with Russia and even Iran against
the Islamic State jihadists, but warned
this must not mean keeping Assad in
power in Damascus indefinitely.
But Putin warned it was an “enormous
mistake” to not co-operate with Syria.
He urged UN General Assembly
members to unite to fight the jihadist
group and warned he was planning to
step up support for Assad’s forces.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy
Corbyn has called for an “end to
injustice” in Britain, accusing Prime
Minister David Cameron’s government
of creating poverty.
In his first speech as leader at the
party’s annual conference in Brighton,
Corbyn said overnight he wanted “a
kinder politics, a more caring society”.
“ We’re going to put these values back
into the heart of politics in this country,”
the 66-year-old left-winger, whose
landslide victory in a party election this
month took obser vers by surprise, said.
“ Under my leadership, Labour will
be challenging austerity. It will be
unapologetic about reforming our
economy to challenge inequality and
protect workers better,” Corbyn told
“The Tory austerity is the outdated and
thoroughly failed approach of the past,”
Corbyn said, accusing the Conser vatives
of telling a “ lie” by saying they were on
the side of British workers.
He also accused the Conser vatives
of working for wealthy donors, saying:
“That ’s why this pre-paid government
came into being, to protect the few. ”
Corbyn also urged Cameron to take
a stronger line on international human
rights and to call on Saudi Arabia to stop
the execution of a Shi’ite youth accused
of taking part in pro-reform protests.
“A refusal to stand up is the kind
of thing that really damages Britain’s
standing in the world,” he said, adding
that Cameron should cancel a British
bid to provide prison ser vices in Saudi
Corbyn, a longtime pacifist and anti-
nuclear campaigner, also reiterated his
staunch opposition to Trident, Britain’s
nuclear-armed submarine system — a
highly divisive issue within his own
party. — AFP
Edward Snowden has come in
from the cold — on Twitter.
Snowden, a former National
Security Agency contractor who
leaked details about the United
sur veillance programmes, started a
Twitter account overnight from exile
in Russia with a simple handle —
He pulled in more than 171,000
followers in about an hour but was
following only one other Twitter
account — his former employer, the
Snowden’s initial tweet was “Can
you hear me now?” The message,
a take-off on a cellphone provider
television commercial, was retweeted
25,000 times in an hour. In his
Twitter profile, Snowden described
himself by saying, “I used to work for
the government. Now I work for the
He had a brief exchange of tweets
with prominent astrophysicist Neil
deGrasse Tyson about the discovery
of water on Mars and joked that his
work for the Freedom of the Press
Foundation keeps him busy, “ but I
still find time for cat pictures”.
Supporters see Snowden as a
whistleblower who boldly exposed
government excess but the US
government wants to try him for
leaking intelligence information.
Snowden left the US in May 2013
and has been living in Russia since
June of that year. — Reuters
Whistleblower Snowden takes to Twitter
Mazher Mahmood, a British
journalist whose undercover
work posing as a “fake sheikh”
led to a number of high-profile
criminal court cases, was charged
overnight with conspiracy to
per vert the course of justice.
Mahmood, well-known for
revealing wrongdoing among
politicians, television and film stars
and even royalty, was suspended by
Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper
in July last year after the collapse
of a celebrity trial in which he was
a main witness.
The journalist had given
evidence in the drugs trial of
Tulisa Contostavlos, a former
judge on the British version of the
X Factor television talent show.
She had denied being involved
in the supply of drugs to
Mahmood while he posed as
a film producer, but her trial
collapsed with the judge saying
he suspected the reporter had
lied to the court.
Nick Vamos, deputy head of
special crime at Britain’s Crown
Prosecution Ser vice (CPS) said
it was in the public interest to
charge Mahmood and another
man, Alan Smith.
“This decision comes after
it was alleged that Mr Smith
agreed with Mr Mahmood to
change his statement to police as
part of a trial in July 2014, and
that Mr Mahmood then misled
the court,” Vamos said.
Mahmood, who will appear
Magistrates’ Court on October
30, said he denied the charge.
“I will vigorously contest it at
court,” he said in a statement.
“ In the meantime I have nothing
further to say.”
Mahmood previously worked
for Murdoch’s News of the
World tabloid, which the media
mogul was forced to shut in 2011
when it was disclosed journalists
had hacked voicemails on
cellphones of thousands of
people, including that belonging
to a murdered schoolgirl, to find
That led to the jailing of a
number of senior staff from the
paper including its former editor
Rebekah Brooks, who returned
this month to run Murdoch’s
British newspaper arm News
UK after a four-year hiatus
following the hacking scandal,
was acquitted of involvement
after a high-profile trial.
She often cited Mahmood’s
work during her defence as
examples of good investigative
Mahmood carried out the
inquiry which led to the 2011
conviction of three Pakistani
cricketers for taking bribes to
fix incidents in a match against
In his most famous exclusive
in 2001, he posed as an Arab
sheikh to dupe Sophie, Countess
of Wessex, who is married to
Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son
Prince Edward, into making
indiscreet comments about other
members of the royal family and
News UK said it noted the
decision to prosecute Mahmood
and would await the outcome of
“He remains suspended from
The Sun,” a spokeswoman said.
‘Fake sheikh’ reporter charged
Hungary’s policy towards migrants is
“ unacceptable” and will not stop the flow
of desperate people trying to reach Europe,
neighbouring Croatia says.
“For me, Budapest ’s policy is totally
unacceptable, from the human point of view,”
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
said overnight after visiting a migrant centre in
Croatia’s east, c lose to the Serbian border.
“They (Hungary) are considering closing
border crossings. But how will they stop people?
Shoot at them? Deploy the army?”
Hungary’s hardline Prime Minister Viktor
Orban said last week he aimed to seal his
country’s frontier with Croatia — crossed
currently by more than 5000 migrants daily —
but that he wanted to talk to United Nations
chief Ban Ki-moon and other leaders before
The 52-year-old premier is currently in the
United States, where he will address the UN
General Assembly in New York tomorrow.
Almost 300,000 migrants have entered EU
member Hungary so far this year, after travelling
up from Greece through the western Balkans.
For the vast majority of them, Hungary is
merely a way station on the road to a new life in
northern Europe, especially Germany.
In mid-September, Hungary sealed its border
with Serbia — previously the main crossing
point into the EU — with razor wire, diverting
the flow of people into Croatia.
Since then, nearly 85,000 migrants have
entered Croatia, official figures released
Over whelmed by the influx, Croatia has been
sending the new arrivals across to its border with
Hungary further west, which then transports
them towards Austria.
Criticising Hungary’s approach, Milanovic
said: “I don’t know if we speak the same language
at all, if we think in the same way.” — AFP
$2.3b for refugees
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has
pledged $US1.5 billion ($2.36 billion) in
aid at the United Nations to help refugees
from Syria and Iraq and to support peace
efforts in the Middle East and Africa.
The package includes $810 million to
assist refugees from and people displaced
within Syria and Iraq — triple the
amount Japan provided last year, and
$750 million for peace building in the
Middle East and Africa.
Japan has set aside another $2m to assist
Lebanon, which hosts more than 1.1
million Syrian refugees, and $US2.5m
to assist Serbia and Macedonia, through
which refugees flee en route to the
“Each of these measures is an emergency
countermeasure that Japan is able to
undertake,” Abe told the UN General
Assembly overnight. “But at the same
time our unchanging principle is at all
times to endeavour to return to the root of
the problem and improve the situation.”
The $750m set aside for Iraq, and the
wider Middle East and North Africa
is expected to go on peace and stability
efforts such as vocational training, and
providing dependable water and sewage
facilities. — AFP
Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams
will not face prosecution over the murder
of a woman abducted in 1972 in front of
her 10 children, Northern Irish officials
said overnight, a year and a half after he
was briefly arrested for questioning over
The shooting dead of Jean McConville,
seized by the Irish Republican Army
from a nationalist area, was one of the
most controversial of over 3000 killings
in three decades of sectarian violence.
Adams’s arrest for four days in May
2014 rocked Northern Ireland’s power-
sharing government and the decision
not to prosecute comes as his Sinn Fein
party is locked in talks with pro-British
rivals to avert a government collapse.
Adams said overnight he “played no
act or part” in the murder, and that the
timing of his arrest, weeks before 2014
local and European elections in Ireland
showed there were “elements within the
PSNI who are against Sinn Fein”.
Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution
Ser vice said in a statement there would
be no further cases brought in relation
to the killing, meaning only one person,
Ivor Bell, is to be prosecuted on charges
of soliciting the killing.
“ We have given careful consideration
to the evidence currently available and
have concluded that it is insufficient
to provide a reasonable prospect of
obtaining a conviction against any of
them for a criminal offence,” the Deputy
Director of Public Prosecutions, Pamela
Atchison, said in a statement regarding
seven people arrested in the case.
One of McConville’s sons, Michael,
said in a statement he would “continue
to seek justice for our mother . . . no
matter how long it takes”.
Adams cleared over 1972 slaying
Yemen wedding air raid kills 131
The death toll from an alleged air strike on
a Yemeni wedding has soared to 131, as the
Saudi-led coalition denied it was behind the
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon
condemned Monday ’s reported bombardment,
saying intentional attacks on civilians were
considered a “serious violation of international
humanitarian law ”.
Residents said the Arab coalition, which
launched an air war on the Huthi Shi’ite rebels
in late March, was behind the attack on the
wedding in Wahijah village, near the Red Sea
city of Mokha.
But the spokesman for the Riyadh-based
coalition, Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Assiri,
denied any involvement.
“The coalition did not conduct any air strikes
in the area over the past three days,” he said.
The death toll rose to 131 overnight after
“more bodies were taken to hospital and many
of the wounded succumbed to their injuries”, a
health official said. — AFP
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