Home' Greymouth Star : November 16th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, November 16, 2015 - 5
Two of the attackers who brought
carnage to Paris were French
nationals living in Belgium, officials
said overnight, as a row over
Europe’s refugee crisis re-ignited,
with conser vatives demanding an
end to “the days of uncontrolled
Three jihadist cells staged the co-
ordinated hits on Friday night (late
Saturday morning NZT) at bars,
a concert hall and soccer stadium,
killing 129 people and injuring 352,
including 99 who were in a serious
condition, Paris prosecutor Francois
French authorities said they found
the bodies of seven killers but Islamic
State, which claimed responsibility as
revenge for French military action in
Syria and Iraq, said there were eight,
raising questions over whether one
was on the loose.
Prosecutors have said the slaughter
involved a multi-national group with
links to the Middle East, Belgium
and possibly Germany as well as
home-grown French roots.
Belgian officials said two of the
gunmen were French nationals living
in Brussels and arrested seven people
in the capital after two Belgian-
registered cars were discovered in
Paris, both suspected of being used
Prime Minister Charles Michel
said Belgium needed to do more to
crack down on radicalisation
“ I do not want any preachers of
hatred on Belgian soil. There is no
place for them in Belgium,” Michel
said on Twitter.
In Germany, Interior Minister
Thomas de Maiziere said there could
be more would-be attackers out
there and that Germany was a target
country of the Islamic State group
just like France.
In a sign that at least one gunman
might have escaped, a source close
to the investigation said a Seat car
believed to h ave been used by the
attackers had been found in the
eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil
with three Kalashnikov rifles inside.
Museums and theatres remained
c losed in Paris for a second day,
with hundreds of soldiers and police
patrolling the streets and metro
stations after French President
Francois Hollande declared a state of
Tourists near the Eiffel Tower, one
of the most visited sights in Paris, said
they felt saddened and frightened.
“ I think the whole of Europe should
be scared, maybe the next one is in
Germany, maybe the next one is in,
I don’t know, Great Britain, I think
the whole of Europe, the situation for
the whole of Europe is very bad right
now,” Austrian tourist Markus Herr
The first of the seven gunmen to be
identified was named as Ismael Omar
Mostefai, a 29-year-old who lived in
the city of Chartres, south-west of
French media said he was French-
born and of Algerian descent. Molins
said he had a security file for Islamist
radicalisation and a criminal record
but had never been in jail.
Mostefai’s father and brother and
others believed to be close to him
had been taken in for questioning, a
judicial source said.
One attacker appears to have
followed the route taken by hundreds
of thousands of asylum seekers,
crossing by boat from Turkey to the
Greek Islands and seeking asylum in
Serbia before heading north.
The Serbian government said the
holder of a Syrian passport found
near the body of one of the gunmen
had passed through the country last
It said his details were the same as
those of a man who had registered in
Greece on October 3, after landing
on the island of Leros. They believe
that another of the assailants may
also have passed through Greece with
Syrian refugees fleeing civil war.
The attacks have reignited a row
within the European Union on how
to handle the flood of asylum seekers
from Syria and other countries in the
Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Top Polish and Slovak officials have
poured cold water on an EU plan to
relocate asylum seekers across the
bloc, saying the violence underlined
the concerns of Europeans about
taking in Muslim refugees.
But Juncker said EU States should
not give in to base reactions. “ The one
responsible for the attacks in Paris . . .
he is a criminal and not a refugee and
not an asylum seeker,” he told a news
conference on the sidelines of a G20
summit of world leaders in Turkey.
Nevertheless, Bavarian allies of
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
called for a reversal of her “open-
door” refugee policy, saying the
attacks underlined the need for
tougher measures to control the
influx of migrants.
immigration and illegal entry can’t
continue just like that. Paris changes
minister Markus Soeder told Welt
am Sonntag newspaper. Most asylum
seekers entering Germany have done
so through the southern state.
In Vienna, Iraqi Foreign Minister
Ibrahim al-Jaafari said his country’s
intelligence ser vices had shared
information they had which indicated
that France, the United States and
Iran were among countries being
targeted for attack.
At the G20 summit, United States
President Barack Obama vowed to
step up efforts to eliminate Islamic
State in Syria and prevent it from
carrying out attacks like those in
Paris, while European leaders urged
Russia to focus its military efforts on
the radical Islamists.
France was the first European
country to join US air strikes against
Islamic State targets in Iraq in
September 2014, while a year later it
extended its air strikes to Syria. Russia
began its own air campaign in Syria
in October, but has been targeting
mainly areas controlled by other
groups opposed to its ally, President
Bashar al-Assad, Moscow ’s critics say.
Many of the victims were young
people out enjoying themselves. The
dead included one US citizen, one
Swede, one Briton, one German, two
Belgians, two Romanians and two
Mexicans, their governments said.
In the worst carnage, three gunmen
killed at least 89 people at a rock
concert by an American band at the
Bataclan theatre before detonating
British police handed out leaflets
to passengers arriving at St Pancras
station on Eurostar trains from Paris,
appealing for any information they
It was the deadliest attack in France
since World War Two and the worst
in Europe since the Madrid train
bombings of 2004, in which Islamists
killed 191 people. — Reuters
Gay Paris mourns
for air crash
A United Nations climate forum
scheduled in Paris in the next few weeks
will not be cancelled despite the terror
The Paris Climate Conference —
COP21 (Conference of Parties) — will
run from November 30 to December 11
in the French capital.
Organisers have told French media
the conference is still going ahead, but
security is expected to be bumped up.
It will see up to 190 countries
represented; with many of the world’s
leaders set to be in attendance, including
United States President Barack Obama.
Obama’s officials have confirmed he is
still scheduled to travel to Paris for the
forum. — AP
to go ahead
More than 1000 volunteers who
inter vened after the Germanwings
airliner crash were among those trapped
inside the Stade de France by Friday’s
attacks, dashing efforts to reward their
role in tackling another harrowing event.
The rampage that killed 129 people
began with an apparent double suicide
bombing outside the Paris stadium
where French President Francois
Hollande and the German foreign
minister were watching a friendly soccer
match between France and Germany.
Among the crowd were 1200 emergency
workers and volunteers brought in by
chartered train by Germany ’s Lufthansa,
owner of the Germanwings Airbus
that crashed into the Alps in March.
Prosecutors believe a co-pilot suffering
severe depression deliberately crashed
the airliner, killing 150 people.
“It was supposed to be an evening of
French and German celebration and
appreciation after that tragic event,”
Airbus communications chief Rainer
Ohler, who was in the stadium with
the plane maker’s chief executive Tom
Enders, said of the match.
“ We heard the explosions and at first
nobody thought of terrorism. It was only
when President Hollande left and people
started getting phone messages that we
realised what was going on,” he said in
Dubai by phone.
Also present were the heads of
Germany ’s Lufthansa , the parent of
Germanwings, and Air France-KLM.
Lufthansa declined to comment on the
attacks but said its staff and all of those it
had invited were safe.
In a letter to staff, German-born Enders
said Airbus stood united against “barbarian
attacks” and supported all Parisians.
“Nous sommes unis! (We are united!)
We are all impacted by the tragic terror
attacks in Paris. O ur thoughts are with
the victims, their families and all the
people in Paris,” he said.
The aviation industry is already bracing
for a security clampdown following the
recent crash of a Russian airliner in
Egypt, which Islamic State militants
claim to have brought down. Now it faces
concerns over travel cancellations, while
the Germanwings crash has prompted
calls for better pilot screening. — Reuters
A collage of pictures posted on Twitter shows some of those feared dead in the attacks.
Faces of the victims
A young French lawyer
specialising in white collar crime.
An engineer from Spain. An
American college student studying
design on a semester abroad. They
were among the first victims to be
identified after the gun-and-suicide
bombing attacks that killed at least
129 people in Paris.
Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a junior at
California State University in Long
Beach, had been doing a semester
abroad at Strate College of Design
She was at a restaurant with other
students, including those from
California State, when she was
shot, California State University
president Jane Conoley said.
The university community was
“ heartbroken” about the news, she
Long Beach Mayor Robert
Garcia said it was important for the
community to support one another
during the hard time.
“S he enjoyed Long Beach
. . . we as a citycannotbemore
heartbroken at her loss as well as
the loss the students here are going
through,” he said
“Let me begin by saying that
I and the entire campus are
heartbroken to share this terrible
news,” Ms Conoley said.
“ We have been in close contact
throughout the night with students
and families and have confirmed
that 16 other Long Beach State
students studying in Paris are safe.
“ Today we mourn the loss of
Nohemi and all the other victims of
the tragic attacks.”
Other victims include:
Nick Alexander, 36, of Colchester,
England, who was working at the
Bataclan selling merchandise for
the performing band, Eagles of
Death Metal. “ Nick was not just
our brother, son and uncle, he was
everyone’s best friend — generous,
funny and fiercely loyal,” his family
said in a statement. “ Nick died
doing the job he loved and we
take great comfort in knowing
how much he was cherished by his
friends around the world. ”
Valentin Ribet, 26, a lawyer with
the Paris office of the international
law firm Hogan Lovells. He was
among scores of people killed at a
rock show in the Bataclan concert
hall. Ribet received a master of laws
degree from the London School of
Economics in 2014, and earlier did
postgraduate work at the Sorbonne
university in Paris. His law firm
said he worked on the litigation
team, specializing in white collar
crime. “He was a talented lawyer,
extremely well liked, and a
wonderful personality in the office,”
the firm said.
Djamila Houd, 41, of Paris,
originally from the town of
Dreux, southwest of the capital.
The newspaper ser ving Dreux -
L’Echo Republicain — said Houd
was killed at a cafe on the rue
de Charrone in Paris. According
to Facebook posts from grieving
friends, she had worked for Isabel
Marant, a prestigious Paris-based
Thomas Ayad, 32, producer
manager for Mercury Music Group
and a music buff who was killed
at the Bataclan. In his hometown,
Amiens, he was an avid follower of
the local field hockey team.
Alberto Gonzalez Garrido, 29,
of Madrid, who also was at the
Bataclan concert. The Spanish state
broadcaster TVE said Gonzalez
Garrido was an engineer, living
in France with his wife, also an
engineer. They both were at the
concert, but became separated amid
Mathieu Hoche, 38, a technician
at France24 news channel, was
also killed at the concert. A friend,
Antoine Rousseay, tweeted about
how passionately Hoche loved rock
Guillame Decherf, 43, a writer
who covered rock music for the
French culture magazine Les
Inrocks. He was at the Eagles
of Death Metal concert, having
written just two weeks earlier about
the band’s latest album. He had two
Caroline Prenat, 24, who was also
at the Bataclan concert hall.
Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, from El
Monte, California, was an exchange
student studying at the Strate
College of Design in Paris.
Three employees of Universal
Music France, killed at the
Bataclan concert hall.
Guillame B Decherf, 43, a French
music journalists who was at the
Eagles of Death Metal concert.
Djamila Houd, 41, of France.
Mathieu Hoche, 38, a technician
at France24 news channel.
Alberto Gonzalez Garrido, 29,
who played for the Granada Youth
Kheireddine Sahbi, an Algerian
Mohamed Amine Benmbarek,
from Morocco. — AP
Brazilian dam disaster could leaves 250,000 without water
Rio Doce (Brazil)
The collapse of two dams at a
Brazilian mine has cut off drinking
water for quarter of a million people
and saturated water ways downstream
with dense orange sediment that
could wreck the ecosystem for years
Nine people were killed, 19 are still
listed as missing and 500 people were
displaced from their homes when the
dams burst at an iron ore mine in
south-eastern Brazil on November 5.
The sheer volume of water disgorged
by the dams and laden with mineral
waste across nearly 500km is
staggering: 60 million cubic metres,
the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic
swimming pools or the volume
carried by about 187 oil tankers.
President Dilma Rousseff compared
the damage to the 2010 oil spill
by BP PLC in the Gulf of Mexico
and Environment Minister Izabella
Teixeira called it an “environmental
Scientists say the sediment, which
may contain chemicals used by the
mine to reduce iron ore impurities,
could alter the course of streams as
they harden, reduce oxygen levels in
the water and diminish the fertility
of riverbanks and farmland where
Samarco Mineracao SA, a joint
venture between mining giants Vale
SA and BHP Billiton and owner of
the mine, has repeatedly said the mud
is not toxic.
But biologists and environmental
experts disagree. Local authorities
have ordered families rescued from
the flood to wash thoroughly and
dispose of clothes that came in
contact with the mud.
“It’s already clear wildlife is
being killed by this mud,” Klemens
Laschesfki, professor of geosciences
at the Federal University of Minas
Gerais, said. “ To say the mud is not a
health risk is overly simplistic. ”
As the heavy mud hardens,
Laschesfki says, it will make farming
difficult. So much silt will settle along
the bottom of the Rio Doce and the
tributaries that carried the mud there
that the course of watershed could
“Many regions will never be the
same,” he says.
Researchers are testing the river
water and results should be published
over the coming weeks, giving a better
idea of the contents of the mining
One cause for concern is that
compounds known as ether amines
could have been used at the mine
to separate silica from the iron ore,
in order to produce a better quality
According to mining industry
research and scientific literature
published in recent years, the
compounds are commonly used at
Brazilian mines, including Samarco’s.
At least some of the compounds,
according to the website of Air
Products, a company that produces
them, “are not readily biodegradable
and have high toxicity to aquatic
organisms”. They can also raise PH
levels to a point that is environmentally
“There will be serious problems
using the water from the river now,”
Pedro Antonio Molinas, a water
resources engineer and mining
industry consultant familiar with the
Samarco did not respond to
questions about whether it used the
compounds or whether they were
in the so-called tailings pond whose
contents burst through the broken
The disaster is the latest assault
on the Rio Doce, or “Sweet River”,
one of the main routes connecting
mineral-rich Minas Gerais State with
the Atlantic Ocean.
Once lined with thick jungle and
populated by indigenous tribes, the
water way has long suffered because
of ravenous demand for the minerals
So synonymous is it with the mining
industry that Vale, which means
“valley ” in Portuguese, refers to the
land through which the river runs.
Before a name change in 2007, the
miner was formally known as the Vale
of the Rio Doce Company.
Its banks now barren, and bed full of
silt, the river grew prone to flooding
with heavy rains which over the years
devastated communities along its
more than 800km course.
More recently it was plagued by
On Thursday, the river running a
reddish brown, farmhands moved
livestock away from its banks, afraid
to let cattle drink the water.
As the mud flowed toward the
ocean, environmentalists fear its
impact on the coast too.
The mouth of the Rio Doce is
a nesting area for endangered sea
turtles, an animal sensitive to chemical
changes in the water. The beaches are
expected to turn a deep red. — Reuters
The TGV high-speed train in the canal after the derailment.
Children on derailed
high-speed French train
A French rail company has confirmed
children were aboard a high-speed train
that derailed during a test run in north-
Authorities overnight confirmed the
death toll had risen to 11, with five
people still missing.
“A few children were among the
injured,” an SNCF spokesman said,
“The investigation should determine
the number of people present on the train
(and those who) were not authorised to
be on it,” he said.
The unprecedented crash on Saturday
near Strasbourg of one of France’s
flagship high-speed trains was “a huge
shock”, SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy
told a news conference.
“So far the accident is inexplicable,” he
Pepy told French radio later that
the probe would determine who rode
along with the test team and “in what
circumstances were they allowed
to board this train. SNCF does not
approve this practice . . . a train test is
a train test.”
The train ended up partially submerged
in a canal in the town of Eckwersheim.
Its silver and black rear locomotive still
lay in the canal under a bridge, with the
next carriage straddling the bank and
The 11 dead were among 49 technicians
and railwaymen tasked with testing the
next-generation TGV (“train a grande
vitesse” or high-speed train), which was
due to go into ser vice next (northern)
Twelve people remain in critical
condition among the 37 injured,
according to Strasbourg deputy
prosecutor Alexandre Chevrier. Five
people were still reported missing, he
Chevrier said sabotage or an attack had
not been ruled out, but were considered
A senior official in the Alsace region
on Saturday blamed “excessive speed” for
The worst train accident in France in
recent years occurred in July 2013 when
a commuter train derailed in a Paris
suburb killing seven people and injuring
Saturday ’s accident happened with
France on high alert following a string
of deadly attacks in Paris.
However there were no signs that the
train derailment was anything other
than an accident during testing. — AFP
Mormons revolt over
new baptism policy
Salt Lake City
Hundreds of Latter-Day Saints
mailed or handed in letters quitting the
Mormon Church yesterday to protest a
new policy barring children of married
same-sex couples from being baptised
until they are adults.
Leaders of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints approved
the policy last week. It added same-
sex marriage to acts considered to be
a renunciation of the Mormon faith
and thus subject to church discipline,
“This is about compassion and
supporting our community,” Brooke
Swallow, one of the organisers of the
protest in a city park, said. “No longer
are we going to keep our mouths shut. ”
About 1000 people showed up at the park
across the street from the headquarters
complex of the Utah-based Church. Long
lines of Mormons handed resignation
letters to Mark Naugle, a lawyer who
made sure the forms were complete and
promised to mail them the next day.
Others joined a procession to a
downtown mailbox and then twice
circled Temple Square, home of the
faith’s flagship temple.
“ I resigned today,” Paul Pratt, one of
the protesters, said. “I haven’t been active
for 17 years. It ’s time to separate. I don’t
need a bunch of (church leaders) telling
me what to do.”
The Church has more than 15 million
adherents and 85,000 missionaries
around the world.
The new policy follows a landmark
United States Supreme Court ruling in
June that legalised same-sex marriage.
The policy bars children of gay married
couples from being baptised in the faith
until they turn 18, leave their parents’
home and disavow same-sex marriage or
Church leaders elaborated on the
policy earlier, saying the withholding of
baptism would apply only to children
whose primary residence is with a
same-sex couple. For children who have
already been baptised, the provisions do
not curtail their membership activities,
the leaders said. — Reuters
French aircraft pound
IS targets in Syria
French warplanes have pounded the
Islamic State group’s de facto Syrian
capital Raqa, destroying a command
post and a training camp.
In its first air strike against IS since the
string of deadly Paris attacks claimed
by the jihadist group, 12 warplanes,
including 10 fighter-bombers, dropped
20 bombs on the targets.
“The first target destroyed was used by
Daesh (another Arabic acronym for IS)
as a command post, jihadist recruitment
centre and arms and munitions depot.
The second held a terrorist training
camp,” a French defence ministry
statement said today.
The planes left from Jordan and
the United Arab Emirates and was
conducted in co-ordination with
American forces, the ministry said.
French President Francois Hollande
on Saturday blamed the Islamic State
group for the gun and suicide attacks in
Paris, calling them an “act of war”.
The defence ministry said the raids
were the country’s biggest to date.
The weekend’s co-ordinated attacks in
Paris left 129 people dead.
France vowed to pursue its inter vention
in Syria. It is a a founder member of the
United States-led coalition waging air
strikes against Islamic State in Syria and
Iraq. -- AFP-Reuters
Focus shifts to refugees
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