Home' Greymouth Star : October 5th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, October 5, 2015
Bombing ‘war crime’—doctors
Afghani staff inside the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz in this MSF photo.
Germany needs to limit the number
of refugees it takes in or even close its
borders, conser vative allies of German
Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the
weekend, as the country deals with
record inflows of people fleeing from war
About 800,000 migrants are expected
to arrive in Germany, Europe’s largest
and richest economy, this year and
complaints from politicians, the federal
States and the municipalities that they
cannot cope are growing.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble said Europe needed to restrict
the refugee intake, and members of
the Christian Social Union (CSU), the
sister party to Merkel’s conser vatives in
Bavaria, said Germany should shut its
borders. Bavaria shares a border with
Austria and has borne the brunt of the
“ If as many asylum seekers continue to
come to Germany as in recent weeks, we
won’t have any choice but to temporarily
stop taking people in and to close the
borders to them,” CSU politician Stephan
Mayer told newspaper Frankfurter
Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).
Thousands of people are streaming
into Germany every day, attracted
by relatively liberal asylum laws and
generous benefits. Some 6750 people
arrived in Bavaria alone on Friday and
another 6,000 piled in on Saturday, a
police spokesman said.
But Merkel told German broadcaster
Deutschlandfunk that Germany must
tackle the crisis head-on rather than
trying to get rid of the problem. Building
fences along borders was “pointless”, she
said, and refugees would find another
way of entering Europe.
While the refugee crisis was a “very big
task”, Germany could cope, she said. It
needed to speed up its asylum procedure,
better protect its borders, deal with the
reasons people were fleeing at source
and ensure refugees are fairly distributed
Merkel’s popularity has slumped to
its lowest level in nearly four years on
concerns about migrants but support for
the conser vatives, made up of Merkel’s
Christian Democrats (CDU) and the
CSU, remains high at 40%, according to
the latest opinion polls.
Pressure on Merkel is mounting though.
Some politicians urged her to introduce
upper limits for migrant intake.
“ We can’t save the whole world,”
Bavarian Finance Minister and CSU
member Markus Soeder told Passauer
CDU politician Lorenz Caffier told
newspaper Welt am Sonntag that as
many as 1.5 million refugees could arrive
in Germany this year but many of the
federal States “are at their limit ”.
Members of the Social Democrats
partner, also stressed that Germany had
exhausted its ability to deal with the
Medical aid group Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) is demanding an
independent international inquiry into
a suspected United States air raid that
killed 22 people in an Afghani hospital
it runs, branding the attack a “war
MSF said a US military probe into the
incident, which occurred during a push
by Afghani security forces to retake
the key northern city of Kunduz from
Taliban insurgents, was not enough.
“Relying only on an internal
investigation by a party to the conflict
would be wholly insufficient,” MSF
general director Christopher Stokes said
in a statement.
“Under the clear presumption that a
war crime has been committed, MSF
demands that a full and transparent
investigation into the event be conducted
by an independent international body,”
Battles were still raging around Kunduz,
a city of 300,000, as government forces
backed by US air power sought to drive
out the Taliban militants who seized the
city almost a week ago in one of their
biggest victories in the 14-year war.
Decomposing bodies littered the
streets and trapped residents said food
was running scarce.
Any confirmation of US responsibility
for the hospital deaths would deal a blow
to Afghani President Ashraf Ghani’s
policy of forging closer ties with the US.
His predecessor Hamid Karzai fell out
with his backers in Washington in part
over the number of civilians killed by US
But the Afghani leader will be torn
between distancing himself from
Washington and the need for American
firepower to help his forces drive
insurgents out of Kunduz.
The US military said it conducted an
air strike “in the vicinity” of the MSF
hospital as it targeted Taliban insurgents
who were directly firing on US military
personnel. It has not acknowledged
hitting the hospital.
President Barack Obama offered
condolences to the victims of what he
called “the tragic incident ”. The United
Nations human rights chief said the
hospital assault was “inexcusable” and
also said it could amount to a war crime.
The US-led coalition force in
Afghanistan said it expected to
complete its preliminary multi-national
investigation within days.
In Kabul, the Ministry of Defence
said Taliban fighters had attacked the
hospital and were using the building “as
a human shield”. But MSF denied this.
“Not a single member of our staff
reported any fighting inside the MSF
hospital compound prior to the US air
strike,” Stokes said.
In the air strike, witnesses said patients
were burned alive in the crowded
hospital. Among the dead were three
children being treated.
MSF said overnight it had pulled most
of its staff out of the area because the
hospital that was a lifeline for thousands
in the city was no longer functioning.
Some staff had gone to help treat the
wounded at other hospitals outside of
Earlier this year, an Afghani special
forces raid in search of a suspected al
Qaeda operative prompted the hospital
to temporarily close to new patients after
the soldiers were accused of behaving
violently towards staff.
The struggle to retake Kunduz has
raised questions over whether Nato-
trained Afghani forces are ready to go
it alone now that most foreign combat
troops have left.
Afghani security forces conducted
house-to-house searches in Kunduz as
battles persisted in parts of the city, the
acting governor of Kunduz province,
Hamdullah Danishi, said. He said 480
Taliban fighters and 35 soldiers had
The army raised the national flag in the
central square, an area of the city that
has changed hands several times in the
fighting during the last week.
“O ur security forces took control of
strategic areas in Kunduz,” Danishi
said. “ We have a clearance operation
Afghani military helicopters dropped
6000 leaflets, urging people to co-operate
with the army, the defence ministry said.
“If you see abandoned military vehicles
or equipment anywhere turn them over
to security forces,” the leaflets read.
Corpses lay in the streets unburied
and people were too afraid to leave their
homes, one resident, Gulboddin, said.
“ You can hear the sound of gunfire all
over the city,” Gulboddin, who has only
one name, said. “Some of the bodies are
decomposing.” — Reuters
Scotland is known for its
unpredictable weather. But a remote
village in the Highlands has achieved
the unprecedented feat of being
both the hottest and coldest place in
Britain — in the same day.
In the early hours of Thursday
morning local time, the temperature
in the village of Aviemore was close
to freezing, the mercury showing just
But later on in the day, the tourist
spot in the Cairngorms National
Park experienced weather that was
hotter than Paris and even balmy
Barcelona and Rome at 21degC.
Thanks to a lingering fog that hangs
in the mountains overnight, Aviemore
endured freezing temperatures before
the sun rose and the air pressure shot
up, bathing the village in summer-
The Met Office said the two
extreme recordings “go against
normal atmospheric conditions”.
Claire Smith, 35, the manager of
the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore,
said it was as if the seasons had gone
into reverse. “ It was incredibly chilly
coming in the morning with a coat,
scarf and gloves on,” she said.
“ You could see the grass glistening
and frost appearing on cars.
“But I have to carry all my clothes
home later on because it will be far
“It’s been really strange here
because we’re having a bit of an
Indian summer but starting our day
with winter - it ’s as if we’ve skipped
“ You can definitely notice it
throughout the day as people come in
shivering looking for their morning
“But then later on folk are coming
in wearing their shorts and getting
Maja Aas, 19, a student on a school
trip from Nor way, had packed her
luggage in preparation for a cold
But, after seeing the sun shining,
the student headed to the beach at
nearby Loch Morlich to bask in the
She said: “Everyone was telling me
that Scotland was really rainy and
cold . . . at this time of year so that’s
what I packed for.
“ I’d brought my raincoat and warm
sweatshirts but I don’t think that was
“ It ’s really nice and beautiful here so
we’re just hanging out on the beach
A spokeswoman for the Met Office
said: “ The extreme differences in
temperatures in high-up towns such
as Aviemore and Braemar in recent
days can be explained by the very
high pressure in the air over the
“High pressure causes a temperature
inversion at altitude which means
that while we would normally expect
places like Aviemore to be colder,
when there is high pressure the
temperature will rise and go against
normal atmospheric conditions.
“And at night, when the sun goes
away, this temperature inversion
reverts to normal and gets colder. ”
Balmy to bitter in Scottish Highlands day
Little hope held for more Guatemala landslide survivors
Weeping families lit candles
for relatives buried in a massive
landslide in Guatemala that killed
at least 95 people and left another
300 missing and feared dead, as
final, desperate rescue efforts began.
A few miles from the hillside
that came crashing down on to
the town of Santa Caterina Pinula
on Thursday night, Reginaldo
Gomez stood by the body of his
young grandson Andres, who lay
garlanded with flowers in a small
coffin lined with satin.
The four-year-old boy ’s mother
and sister are among those still
missing among the mounds of
earth, shattered buildings and
personal belongings scattered on
the valley floor.
About 300 people are believed to
be missing, officials said overnight,
and the rescue teams that have
pulled 95 corpses from the earth
and rubble found no sur vivors over
“Andres was a happy, sweet,
mischievous child but he isn’t here
any more. He isn’t here and we
have to stay here without them,”
his grandmother Angela said in
the modest home where family
members gathered to mourn him.
The tragedy on the south-eastern
flank of Guatemala City was not
the first blow to strike the family.
Reginaldo said he became a pastor
after the death of two other children
in an accident some years ago.
wanted to die. I even tried to kill
myself and thought I’d never be
able to move on. That ’s why I can
face my sorrow now,” he said. “ I
weep and I suffer like Jesus Christ,
but I know it ’s part of God’s grand
The El Cambray II
neighbourhood battered by the
landslide lies at the bottom of a
deep ravine ringed by trees.
Authorities had warned about
risks of building homes in El
Cambray II, which was established
in 1999. However, like many
others in the impoverished Central
American country with a history
of catastrophic landslides, the
neighbourhood kept on growing.
In 2005, hundreds of people
were killed when torrential rains
triggered a landslide that buried
the village of Panabaj. Many of the
bodies were never recovered.
The question of how to avoid
these disasters has reared up just
as Guatemala is preparing to elect
a new president in a second round
run-off on October 25.
The government has been in
disarray for months. President Otto
Perez was forced to resign and was
arrested on corruption charges
last month, with his former vice-
president Alejandro Maldonado
stepping in until the election
winner takes office.
The relatives of some of those
killed in the latest tragedy said they
were grateful they were at least
been able to bury their loved ones.
“ I feel lucky because other
families can’t even cry over their
dead,” Alejandro Lopez, a 45-year-
old taxi driver, said. He recovered
the bodies of two daughters and a
“ But I would like to find the
mother of my daughters,” he said
inside a small Evangelical church
near Santa Catarina. — Reuters
A dog sits near belongings of mudslide victims in Santa Catarina Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
United States Coast Guard search and
rescue crews spotted objects in the water
in the area where a container ship went
missing on Thursday.
Lifejackets, life rings, containers and
an oil sheen were located by search
and rescue air crews, the Coast Guard
said, noting that they had not yet been
confirmed to be from the El Faro.
Coast Guard pilots were searching for
the El Faro, a 224m container ship with
28 American citizens and five Polish
nationals aboard, after it went missing in
the eye of Hurricane Joaquin as it passed
over the Bahamas on Thursday. — Reuters
Searchers find debris in sea
Synod opposes gay marriage
Pope Francis overnight reaffirmed
Catholic opposition to gay marriage
as he opened a three-week gathering
of bishops from around the world but
said the Church had to show love and
understanding towards all.
Pope Francis presided at a solemn
Mass in St Peter’s Basilica to open the
meeting, known as a synod, on the theme
of the family in the modern world.
But the run-up to the synod, attended
by some 300 bishops and other delegates,
has been dominated by gay issues.
On the eve of the gathering, the
Vatican dismissed a Polish priest from
his Holy See job after he came out as
gay and called for changes in Catholic
teachings against homosexual activity.
Conser vative Catholics held
conference in Rome just before the
synod started on how homosexuals can
live by Church’s rules that they should be
chaste while Catholic gay activists held
another demanding full acceptance of
active gays in the Church.
Pope Francis dedicated one third of his
homily to the topic of love between man
and woman and its role in procreation.
“This is God’s dream for his beloved
creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving
union between a man and a woman,
rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful
in their mutual gift of self,” he said.
He also spoke of the “true meaning
of the couple and of human sexuality
in God’s plan,” a clear reference to
But Pope Francis also stressed that
the Church must be more welcoming,
charitable, compassionate and merciful
to all people, particularly those whose
lives have been wounded and who those
find it difficult to adhere to all of the
In its explanation of the firing of the
Polish monsignor on Saturday, the
Vatican said his very public coming
out was intended to put undue media
pressure on the synod on gay issues,
which are expected to be only a small part
of the bishops’ discussions. — Reuters
or more at any of these participating stores to go in the draw.
Promotion Runs From Thurs 10th Sept - Thurs 22nd October 2015
TRAILER & ACCESSORIES PACKAGE
7 X 4 CRUISER TRAILER
WOF & REG
Links Archive October 3rd 2015 October 6th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page