Home' Greymouth Star : October 27th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
10 - Tuesday, October 27, 2015
A powerful 7.5
earthquake which rocked parts of
Asia has killed 215 people, including
12 Afghani girls crushed in a
stampede as they fled their collapsing
At least 1000 more were injured and
hundreds of homes destroyed as the
overnight quake shook a swathe of
the subcontinent, sending thousands
of frightened people rushing into the
streets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and
It was centred near Jurm in north-
east Afghanistan, 250km from the
capital Kabul and at a depth of
213.5km, the US Geological Sur vey
“Initial reports show a big loss of
life,” Afghanistan’s chief executive
Abdullah Abdullah said.
At least 63 people were confirmed
dead in Afghanistan and 152 in
Pakistan, according to officials, with
the toll set to rise.
“ Exact numbers are not known
because phone lines are down and
communication has been cut off in
many areas,” Abdullah said.
devastation in some districts,” the
governor of Badakhshan province,
Shah Wali Adib, said. “So far 1500
homes are reported to be damaged or
News also emerged of at least 12
schoolgirls being trampled to death in
a northern province in Afghanistan.
“The students rushed to escape
the school building in Taluqan city,
triggering a stampede,” provincial
education department chief Enayat
Arbab Muhammad Asim, district
mayor for Pakistan’s north-western
city of Peshawar, said more than 100
people had been injured there alone.
“Many houses and buildings have
collapsed in the city,” he said.
Dr Muhammad Sadiq, the head of
emergency ser vices at a government
hospital in Peshawar said the injured
were still being brought in.
“Many are still under rubble,” he
“The building was swinging like
a pendulum, it felt as if the heavens
would fall,” Peshawar shop owner
Tufail Ahmed said.
The quake, which lasted at least one
minute, shook buildings in Kabul,
Islamabad and New Delhi.
Traffic came to a haltin downtown
Kabul, with frightened people getting
out of their cars as they waited for the
quake to stop.
Live footage from an Afghani
news broadcast showed the anchor
abandoning his desk as the quake
shook the cameras.
Restaurants and office buildings
emptied in Islamabad, with cracks
appearing in some buildings but no
major damage reported.
“ We grabbed each other and were
crying, we could not do anything, I
felt so helpless,” 16-year-old student
Farhana Par veen, whose Islamabad
school was evacuated, said.
“I had the scary feeling that the
whole world would collapse.”
Hundreds of people in north India
poured onto the streets from office
blocks, hospitals and homes.
Delhi’s metro ground to a halt
during the tremor although the
airport continued operating.
In the Kashmir region, panicked
residents evacuated buildings and
children were seen huddling together
outside their school in the main city
Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi took to Twitter immediately
after the quake, saying that India
stood ready to assist, including
in Afghanistan and Pakistan if
Pakistan mobilised its troops and
all military hospitals have been
put on high alert, army spokesman
Lieutenant-General Asim Bajwa
said, with the air force also offering
Afghanistan is frequently hit by
earthquakes, especially in the Hindu
Kush mountain range, which lies
near the junction of the Eurasian and
Indian tectonic plates. — AFP
Huge toll feared in big Asian quake
Archaeologists in southern Greece
have discovered gold signet rings
and a chain, gold and silver goblets,
a sword and over 1000 fragments
of semi-precious stones in a tomb
believed to date back to 1500BC,
the Greek Culture Ministry said.
“It is the most impressive display
of prehistoric funerary wealth in
mainland Greece which has come
to light in the past 65 years,” it said.
The discovery was made by
American archaeologists working
in the Pylos region in the south-
west Peloponnese this summer.
The jewellery and weapons are
thought to have been used to
surround the shroud, placed in a
wooden casket, of a warrior aged 30
to 35, probably a prominent figure
of his time in the early Mycenaean
period, the ministry said.
“The placement of so many jewels
at a man’s grave also challenges
the widely held conviction that
jewels were mainly used in
women’s burials,” the ministry
quoted archaeologists Jack L Davis
and Sharon R Stocker from the
University of Cincinnati as saying.
3500-year-old jewellery found in tomb
A gold chain inside an ancient tomb, dated circa 1500BC in the south-eastern city of Pylos, Greece.
Global warming could create
peaks of humid heat in the Persian
Gulf beyond human tolerance by
century’s end, according to a study
published in the journal Nature
If greenhouse gas emissions
continue unabated, heatwaves
occurring on average once every 10
or 20 years would, by 2100, exceed
the capacity of a young, healthy
person to maintain a normal body
temperature, the study found.
Even annual summer heatwaves
would become dangerous, especially
for the elderly and very young, the
researchers said overnight.
“The human body regulates its
core temperature to around 37degC,
and its skin to a cooler 35degC,”
co-author Jeremy Pal, a professor at
Loyola Marymount University in
Los Angeles, explained.
That difference allows us to shed
excess heat, especially when the air
But if a double whammy of high
heat and humidity reaches a certain
level, “the body is no longer able to
cool itself and begins to overheat,”
Pal told journalists in a phone
That threshold — measured with
an index scientists call “wet-bulb”
temperature — would be crossed, for
example, if a humidity level of 50%
were combined with a temperature
A slightly higher temperature with
a lower humidity level, or vice versa,
would have the same effect.
Without air conditioning, humans
could last about six hours under
such conditions before their bodies
began to shut down, the authors
They pointed out that some
outdoor activities — such as the
Muslim pilgrimage known as the
haj — could literally become life-
threatening due to the climactic
While the temperatures in Mecca
and nearby Jeddah are not predicted
to be the highest in the region, they
would still pose a risk.
To date, no place on Earth has
crossed the red line of a deadly “wet-
bulb temperature”. — AFP
Persian Gulf may become too hot for humans
Russia will exhume the remains of Tsar
Alexander III as part of a probe into
the century-old murder of his son, the
country’s last emperor Nicholas II, and
his family, investigators say.
committee in September exhumed the
remains of Nicholas II and his wife
Alexandra in an attempt to resolve a
dispute over the identity of remains
thought to be those of the couple’s
children Alexei and Maria.
The royal family and their ser vants
were shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918
after the Russian revolution and thrown
into a mine shaft before hastily being
burned and buried in the provincial city
The remains of the tsar and tsarina were
discovered in a mass grave along with
those of three of their daughters in 1998
and officially identified seven years later
ahead of a reburial in the former imperial
capital St Petersburg.
A second grave was discovered at a
different spot with remains believed to
be those of the tsar’s heir Alexei and
daughter Maria in 2007.
Despite subsequent extensive DNA
tests by international scientists showing
that all the Romanov remains are
authentic, the Russian Orthodox Church
does not recognise the identity of Alexei
and Maria’s remains which are in limbo
in State archives.
The Church has declared all the
Romanov family saints, which means
it must recognise their remains as holy
Solovyov who has worked on the case
from the start told Russian news wire
Interfax that the decision had been taken
to exhume Alexander III, who died in
1894, following a request by the head of
the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
“At the initiative of Patriarch, the
decision has been taken on the opening
of the tomb of Tsar Alexander III,”
The tomb is in St Petersburg’s Peter and
Paul cathedral, where Nicholas II and his
wife and three daughters are buried.
The question of the authenticity of the
remains has taken on fresh urgency ahead
of the looming centenary of the murder,
as the Russian government wants to bury
all seven family members together.
No more details were given on when
the exhumation would take place and
the investigative committee refused to
The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia
for some 300 years before Nicholas II
abdicated in 1917 after the Bolshevik
Revolution and ensuing Communist
The Soviet authorities portrayed him
as weak, vacillating and despotic but he
was canonised by the Russian Orthodox
Church in 2000 as a martyr. — AFP
Tsar to be
Tsar Alexander III
Eating sausages, ham and other
processed meats causes colon cancer,
and red meat “probably” does too,
a United Nations agency said in a
potentially heavy blow for the global
The analysis of 800 studies from around
the world by the International Agency
for Research on Cancer (IARC) found
“sufficient evidence in humans that the
consumption of processed meat causes
The category includes meat that has
been salted, cured, fermented or smoked
hotdogs, sausages, corned beef, dried
meat like beef jerky or South African
biltong, canned meat or meat-based
The finding supports “recommenda-
tions to limit intake of meat ”
particularly in processed forms, the
“In view of the large number of people
who consume processed meat, the global
impact on cancer incidence is of public
health importance,” IARC official Kurt
Straif said in a statement overnight.
For an individual, the risk of getting
cancer from eating processed meat was
statistically “small”, the agency said,
but “increases with the amount of meat
“Each 50g portion of processed meat
eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal
cancer by 18%.”
For unprocessed red meat — beef,
veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse or goat
the review found “strong” evidence
of a cancer-causing effect, but not
sufficient to place it in the same group of
cancer-causing agents as tobacco smoke,
asbestos, and now also processed meat.
As for processed meat, the red meat
risk was mainly for cancer of the colon
and rectum, but also the pancreas and
prostate, said the report.
The agency cited research attributing
about 34,000 cancer deaths per year
worldwide to diets high in processed
As for red meat — if the suspected
link were to be confirmed — it would
account for some 50,000 cancer deaths
per year worldwide.
The numbers were dwarfed by the
estimated one million cancer deaths per
year due to tobacco smoking, 600,000
from alcohol use, and more than 200,000
due to air pollution, said the agency.
Meat producers slammed the report,
as independent experts urged caution in
interpreting the numbers.
The North American Meat Institute
(NAMI) said the IARC “tortured the
data to ensure a specific outcome”.
“Followers of the Mediterranean diet
eat double the recommended amount
of processed meats. People in countries
where the Mediterranean diet is
followed, like Spain, Italy and France,
have some of the longest lifespans in
the world and excellent health,” NAMI
vice-president of scientific affairs, Betsy
British nutrition expert Elisabeth
Lund said via the Science Media
Centre: “ Very few people in Europe eat
sufficient meat to fall into the high meat
“Meat is such a good source of iron
and zinc and many women are short of
these key micronutrients. Iron is much
more . . . available from meat than from
vegetables or supplements.”
The report of the IARC, based in Lyon,
France, was compiled by 22 experts from
10 countries. — AFP
Five Britons die in
Five Britons are confirmed to have
died and one person remains missing
after a whale-watching boat carrying
27 capsized near Vancouver Island, off
Canada’s Pacific coast.
Rescuers called off the search last night
after plucking 21 sur vivors from the
water, lieutenant commander Desmond
James of the Coast Guard’s rescue centre
in the provincial capital Victoria said.
In London, Foreign Secretary Philip
Hammond said the five deceased in
Sunday ’s accident were British citizens.
“It is with deep sadness that I can
confirm five British nationals have lost
their lives when the whale-watching
boat they were on sank off western
Canada,” Hammond said in a statement.
“My thoughts are with the family
and friends of all those affected by this
Eighteen others have been admitted
to hospital, several suffering from
hypothermia, according to CBC news.
The Leviathan II was some 12km off
To fi no, a resort town on the western
edge of Vancouver Island, when it sent
out a distress call to say it was sinking.
Owned by Jamie’s Whaling Station
and Adventure Centres, the 20m cruise
vessel was reportedly out on one of its
last tours of the season, which ends on
For reasons yet unknown, the ship
capsized in waters less than 10m deep,
its bow remaining visible above water.
Lifejackets, handbags, clothing and
other personal effects could be seen
A number of boats converged at the
site to help the Coast Guard with its
search effort, including vessels from the
Ahousat aboriginal community, with one
taking eight people aboard, according
to an account in the Vancouver Sun
“The response here has been nothing
short of phenomenal, the way that
people are bringing out blankets and
clothing and food, donating what they
can and offering all of the ser vices that
they have,” Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne
To fi no is a popular surfing and whale-
watching town near the Clayoquot
Sound UNESCO biosphere reser ve.
Jamie’s Whaling Station, one of the
area’s largest tourist boat outfitters, was
hit by a deadly tragedy once before in
According to TSB records, two of the
four people aboard a whale-watching
ship, Ocean Thunder, died after a “ large
swell wave struck the boat from the port
side”. — AFP
Sausages in with tobacco
A deaf-mute Indian girl stranded in
Pakistan for 13 years after wandering
over one of the world’s most militarised
borders arrived home overnight but
failed to recognise the family she has
identified from photographs.
The story of Geeta, a Hindu woman in
her early 20s, has captivated people in
both countries at a time of heightened
tension and border clashes between the
“ It doesn’t matter if we find her parents
or not, she is a daughter of India and
we will take care of her,” Indian Foreign
Minister Sushma Swaraj told a news
Geeta was about 11 when she crossed
from India into Pakistan. Exactly how is
not clear but Geeta mimes an explosion
and shows how she ducked and ran
before being caught by armed men.
At first, she was kept at a children’s
home in the city of Lahore, where she
was given the Muslim name Fatima.
She would point at maps of India,
especially to an area in the south of
Jharkhand State until she was able to
finally communicate she was from India,
Last evening, Geeta left the charity
bound for the airport in the city of
Karachi for a flight to New Delhi.
Wearing a traditional red outfit with
her head covered by a loose scarf, she
smiled and waved to television cameras
after leaving the airport in the Indian
“Geeta stayed with us for 13 years. Now
it ’s time for her to go home,” Faisal Edhi,
son of the founder of Edhi Foundation,
a Pakistani charity that looked after the
She headed to meet a family from
India’s Bihar State whom she says she
recognised from photos sent by the
Indian High Commission in Pakistan.
Swaraj said if a DNA test proves the
family is not hers she will be sent to a
temporary home run by a charity and the
search for her parents would continue.
Hostilities have kept apart many
families since majority-Hindu India
and Muslim Pakistan became separate
countries in 1947.
Geeta’s arrival came after Indian
and Pakistani forces exchanged fire
along a 100km stretch of their frontier
overnight, an Indian Border Security
Force spokesman said.
Her story attracted much attention
following the release this year of a film
called Bajrangi Bhaijaan, in which an
Indian man finds a mute Pakistani girl
and tries to reunite her with her family.
The scriptwriters were unaware of
Geeta’s story but the movie led to a surge
in interest. — Reuters
Deaf-mute girl fails
to recognise family
attack in court
A Victorian truck driver who claims
he had a coughing fit before a fatal road
collision has had a coughing fit in court.
Kenneth Laurence Pillar, 54, of
Camperdown, has pleaded not guilty to
dangerous driving causing death.
As he entered his plea at the South
Australian District Court yesterday,
Pillar suffered an intense fit of coughing
and wheezing that disrupted proceedings
for several minutes.
At an earlier hearing Pillar said he
had an uncontrollable coughing episode
before veering into an oncoming car at
Murray Bridge in South Australia last
June, killing a 61-year-old woman.
Russia hits record 94 targets in Syria
Russian aircraft struck 94 targets
in war-torn Syria over a 24-hour
period, the highest one-day tally
since the Kremlin began its month-
old bombing campaign, the Russian
defence ministry says.
“In 59 sorties in the past 24 hours,
Russia’s air force hit 94 terrorist
targets in the provinces of Hama,
Idlib, Latakia, Damascus, Aleppo
and Deir Ezzor,” the defence
ministry said in a statement
Moscow says the bombing
campaign which began on
September 30 targets Islamic
“terrorists,” but the west claims the
strikes have focused on moderate
rebels fighting Russian-backed
The defence ministry said the
latest strikes had destroyed a
command post and a base used by
“terrorists” in the Aleppo region,
as well as three defensive positions
near the village of Salma in the
coastal Latakia province.
The strikes also caused the
destruction of an ammunition
depot used by the Syrian al-Qaeda
affiliate Al-Nusra Front in Eastern
Ghouta, some 50km north-east of
Damascus, the ministry said.
Russian warplanes also hit an
ammunition depot outside the city
of Deir Ezzor and a convoy near the
city of Palmyra in Homs province.
The Russian air force, which
struck 285 targets in the past three
days, is monitoring Syrian roads
leading to conflict zones in an
effort to disrupt rebel supply routes,
The Syrian Obser vatory for
Human Rights said last week that
Russia air strikes had killed at least
446 people, more than a third of
The Kremlin overnight insisted
Russian forces had been carefully
avoiding residential areas.
“Our military officers have said
many times that terrorists . . . often
hide in residential areas,” Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov was
quoted as saying by RIA Novosti
State news agency.
“In this case (the military) makes
a choice not to hit residential
neighbourhoods.” — AFP
Pink Floyd rocker fears ‘hawkish’ Clinton
Outspoken rock legend Roger
Waters has voiced concern that
Hillary Clinton is too hawkish,
quipping that she might use
weapons if elected
Waters, the former Pink Floyd
member best known for the
classic album The Wall, said he
is supporting liberal insurgent
Bernie Sanders as he challenges
Clinton for the Democratic Party’s
“I have an awful worry that she
might become the first woman
president (only) to drop a nuclear
bomb on somebody,” Waters told
Rolling Stone magazine in an
inter view released overnight.
“There is something scarily
hawkish about her.”
But he said that Clinton was
a better choice than Republican
contenders “ by a long, long way”.
Waters, who recently released
a new film version of The Wall,
lives in New York but is a British
national and cannot vote in the
Clinton has often been described
as more willing to support military
options than President Barack
Obama, especially in Syria’s civil
The former secretary of state
enjoys support from plenty of stars,
with pop queen Katy Perry singing
for her on Saturday, although
Sanders has amassed endorsements
among folk veterans and indie
Waters is known for his strident
condemnation of the Israeli
Palestinians, frequently leading to
criticism of him among the Jewish
State’s defenders. — AFP
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