Home' Greymouth Star : November 20th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, November 20, 2015
The death of the Belgian
jihadist suspected of being
behind a string of attacks
in France removes “the
spider in the web” of a
State network, Belgian
officials and experts say, but
other threats remain.
The alleged planner of
last week’s Paris attacks,
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was
confirmed dead overnight
after police stormed an
apartment in the Paris suburb of St
Denis. A petty criminal who went to
fight in Syria in 2013, he is believed to
have recruited similar young men from
immigrant families in his native Brussels
district of Molenbeek and elsewhere in
Belgium and France.
“The spider in the web is no longer a
danger,” Belgian Justice Minister Koen
Geens said, calling it a “breakthrough”.
Security ser vices were closing in on
Abaaoud’s cells as the government
announced new laws to crack down
on Islamists after sharp criticism from
France that Belgium was lax in dealing
with the biggest concentration of Syria-
linked radicals in Europe.
“The net is closing further around the
different command cells which started in
Ver viers,” Geens told public television,
referring to the eastern town where
Abaaoud, 28, had boasted of evading
capture in January when police killed
two of his associates from Molenbeek in
a raid on a safe house.
“Islamic State has now lost a vital link
for attacks in this region,” a professor at
Ghent University, Rik Coolsaet, said.
He noted that Abaaoud, who became a
social media celebrity while in Syria and
boasted of crossing back and forth across
frontiers, was linked to numerous attacks
These include the shooting of people at
Brussels’ Jewish Museum, an attack on
a Paris suburban church and an attempt
to mow down passengers on a Brussels-
Paris express train, as well as the assaults
in Paris on Friday that killed 129.
With a suspected key accomplice and
former prison cellmate, Salah Abdeslam,
26, still unaccounted for — and close to
1000 Belgians with Syrian connections
on a core watchlist of potential militants
— there was caution about the future.
“Maybe it will take a
network,” Rolf Tophoven
of Germany ’s Institute
of Crisis Prevention in
Essen, said. “ But there
are enough people who
can take his place in some
way. To put it in medical
terms, a tumour has been
removed but I’m sure that
the cancer will continue to
People in Molenbeek
have expressed surprise
at the radical turn of some of their
neighbours, including Abdeslam and his
brother who ran a bar. Abaaoud’s youth
was marked by delinquency.
Residents have rallied to defend
the reputation of a borough its own
mayor described as a “ breeding
ground” for violent radicals due to high
Asked whether Abaaoud’s bloody
death could inspire others to follow his
path — to martyrdom in the eyes of
Islamic State — or act as a deterrent,
security expert Bilal Benyaich said new
legislation was likely to have a greater
effect on the problem.
“The government measures will be
much more important than Abaaoud’s
death in deterring people following in
his footsteps,” Benyaich, from Brussels
think-tank the Itinera Institute, said.
Abaaoud, who appeared notably in an
on-line video from Syria smiling while
driving a pick-up truck dragging the
bloodied remains of prisoners, exerted
an appeal on some in his hometown.
On a furtive trip back to Brussels last
year, he induced his 13-year-old brother
to go back to Syria with him, making
the younger Abaaoud apparently the
youngest foreign fighter there.
Before confirmation of the death,
Olivier Vanderhaeghen, who works
in Molenbeek to dissuade young men
from going to Syria, said that with
unemployment at 37% among local
youths, Abaaoud’s adventures, whether
in the Syrian desert or the streets of
Paris, seemed to offer an attractive
“He does represent a certain type of
anti-conformity,” Vanderhaeghen said,
“ With asocial
behaviour which youths identify with. ”
Paris attacks planner confirmed killed
Indian board censors Bond kissing scenes
It is the country that gave the
world the Kama Sutra, but India’s
notoriously prudish film board has
ruled that long kissing scenes in the
new James Bond movie Spectre are
not suitable for Indian audiences.
The Mumbai-based Central Board
of Film Certification (CBFC) has
reined in the fictional British spy ’s
famously lusty romantic life by
cutting the length of two passionate
embrace scenes, its chairman said.
“ We have reduced them,” CBFC
head Pahlaj Nihalani said, referring
to separate kissing scenes between
Daniel Craig, who plays Bond, and
his co-stars Monica Bellucci and Lea
“O ur work is for censoring the
movie according to the rating of the
film so we have done that,” Nihalani
said of Spectre, which hits screens in
Nihalani said the film had been
given an unrestricted adult rating,
which means parental guidance is
required for children under 12.
A source at Sony Pictures
Entertainment confirmed the edits
had been made.
“ Two kissing scenes have been
reduced by a few seconds”, the
source said, speaking on condition
of anonymity, adding that two swear
words had also been deleted.
Nihalani said the film’s promoters
had the right to object to the edits
but had not done so.
India’s censors have a long history
of barring movies and cutting scenes,
including those that are deemed too
racy or may cause religious offence,
with film-makers accusing censors of
Earlier this year the CBFC blocked
the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in
India, despite being shown a toned-
down version of the erotic movie.
to get his
Britain will reportedly spend up to £10
million ($23.31 million) converting a
military plane for official use by Prime
Minister David Cameron and senior
The government is set to reveal plans to
convert the A330 Voyager as part of its
security and defence review on Monday,
arguing that having an aircraft akin to
the US Air Force One would be more
secure and save money in the long run.
The aircraft — a version of the Airbus
A330-200 — is a long-haul plane able to
carry 160 passengers.
But critics accuse the government,
which is imposing deep cuts as part of
its programme to eliminate the public
deficit, of hypocrisy.
“ We have been looking at ways to make
better use of the RAF fleet to transport
senior ministers and consequently deliver
savings for taxpayers,” a government
“ We have decided to adapt one of
our existing Voyager aircraft so that, in
addition to its primary air tanking role,
it can transport ministers and it will also
be available for the royal family to use.”
“So David Cameron cuts tax credits
and in return we buy him a £10m private
jet. So glad we’re all in it together,” wrote
Twitter user fleeetstreetfox.
“Cameron gets swanky £10 million
‘private jet ’ - at your expense,” the Poole
branch of anti-EU party UKIP added.
Tony Blair was the last leader to push
for a prime ministerial jet — so-called
“ Blair Force One” — but then-finance
minster Gordon Brown blocked the
The government claims the plane will
save £775,000 a year in charter charges,
which currently stand at about £6700 per
Downing Street recently paid £100,000
to hire an aircraft to take Cameron and
the royal family to the funeral of King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. — AFP
A Royal Air Force Sea King helicopter hovers near the stern of the stricken cruise liner Le Boreal.
RAF, Royal Navy rescue French cruise ship passengers, crew
Britain has rescued 347
passengers and crew from the
French cruise ship Le Boreal after
a fire broke out as it was sailing
close to the British-ruled Falkland
Islands, officials say.
Two Royal Air Force Sea King
helicopters and two other support
helicopters winched 79 people
from the deck of the ship and from
two liferafts in the water when the
incident occurred yesterday.
A Royal Navy vessel also brought
two more lifeboats with more than
200 people on board to safety.
“This successful rescue in the
Falklands . . . demonstrates how
our armed forces are always ready
to help those in peril,” Defence
Secretary Michael Fallon said.
“The swift action taken by Royal
Navy and Royal Air Force crews,
working with civilian counterparts,
saved many lives and prevented this
developing into a human tragedy,”
“ We responded with everything
we had yesterday to assist in what
was an extremely complex and
hazardous rescue operation in
difficult conditions,” Darren Bone,
commander of British forces for
the South Atlantic islands, said.
Passengers and crew were
taken to a British base on the
Falkland Islands where they were
given clothing, food and medical
The ship, operated by French
company Ponant, was just north of
the Falklands on its way to South
Georgia, a British territory in the
South Atlantic, when the incident
“A fi re of a technical nature broke
out on the ship Le Boreal in a
compartment of the engine room,”
Ponant said in a statement.
“As a precaution, all passengers
were evacuated from the ship,”
it said, adding that they were
transferred to another ship from
Ponant ’s fleet — L’Austral —
and taken to Port Stanley in the
“They will be directly repatriated
from there by Ponant,” the
statement said. — AFP
Chinese police have busted the
country’s biggest underground
banking cases involving transactions
totalling 410 billion yuan ($97.99
billion), the official Xinhua news
agency said overnight, part of a
drive to combat money laundering.
Police from China’s eastern
Zhejiang province have detained
about 100 suspects from eight
gangs since they launched an
investigation in September last
year, Xinhua said.
The gangs were linked to a
ringleader who operated dozens of
shell companies in Hong Kong that
were involved in foreign exchange
transactions and money laundering,
China said in August it would
launch a three-month crackdown
on underground banking as an
economic slowdown and market
volatility have sparked a wave of
capital outflows this year.
Underground banking presents
an increasingly complex threat
to China’s financial security,
encompassing issues from financing
for drugs and terrorism to tax fraud,
the Ministry of Public Security said
earlier this year. — Reuters
$97b money-laundering bust in China
IS claims Bangladesh attack
A Royal Air Force Voyager.
The Islamic State group has
shooting and wounding an
Italian priest in Bangladesh
this week, according to a notice
released by the SITE Intelligence
soldiers of the Caliphate in
Bangladesh carried out some
unique operations (including) .
. . targeting the Italian Crusader
foreigner Piero Parolari,” the
jihadist monitoring organisation
SITE quoted IS as saying
Parolari, who worked as a
priest and a doctor at Suihari
Catholic Mission in the northern
city of Dinajpur, was shot by
three gunmen on a motorcycle
It follows the murders in recent
weeks of an Italian faith-based
aid worker and a Japanese farmer,
in attacks also claimed by IS.
“Unless we can find out who has
actually executed the operations,
we can’t say who or which group
was behind the attack,” Dinajpur
police chief Ruhul Amin said.
The attack bore
similarities with the previous
attacks on foreigners,” he added.
All three of the recent attacks
on foreigners involved gunmen
riding on motorcycles.
Bangladesh authorities have
previously said there is no
evidence Islamic State militants
are active in the country. — AFP
A group of several attackers planned
to set off explosives in Hanover soccer
stadium at Tuesday night’s friendly
match between Germany and the
Netherlands, which was called off, daily
Bild said it had obtained a copy of a
document that Germany’s domestic
intelligence ser vice provided to Interior
Minister Thomas de Maiziere on
Tuesday, the contents of which were so
shocking the authorities had no choice
but to call off the match.
Based on intelligence from a foreign
intelligence ser vice, the document
detailed how a group of several attackers
planned to set off several explosives in
the stadium in Hanover, as well as a
bomb in the city centre.
The attackers planned to smuggle
the explosives into the stadium in an
ambulance, Bild cited the document as
The group’s leader was to film the
attack in the stadium.
After midnight, another attack was
planned at Hanover railway station.
Authorities said they found no
explosives at the stadium.
The premier of the State of Lower
Saxony said on Wednesday that German
officials had concrete indications of a
security threat that led them to call off
the soccer game.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had been
due to attend the match.
There was no immediate comment
from the Interior Ministry on the details
of the Bild report.
But Interior Minister Thomas de
Maiziere said at a news conference:
“The indications were so concentrated
that calling off the match was
“ Whether the indications were a real
threat, or just an indication, we don’t
know. ” — Reuters
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