Home' Greymouth Star : December 3rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 5
Yoga is Indian prisoners’ get-out-of-jail card
Facebook founder gives away $45b
Prison officers in western India have
come up with a novel way for convicts
to secure early release — master some
yoga poses and pass an exam.
Inmates at Yer wada Central Jail
in Maharashtra State can cut their
sentences by up to three months if
they impress wardens in the ancient
Indian practice, the prison chief
responsible for the programme, said.
“There’s a written and physical
exam and those who excel will be
given remission with respect to
their performance,” Bhushankumar
general of the Maharashtra prison
“ We have started the written tests
and the practical examination will
commence in January. We are going to
hold two exams a year and prisoners
can get a maximum of three months
early release,” he added.
Upadhyay said the programme was
aimed at improving their mental and
physical well-being. Prisoners have to
answer questions such as “what is yoga?”
and “how does it help you?” as well as
perform a series of complex moves.
“ Yoga has been found to be very
positive in harmonising our mental
and physical energy. It has played
a great role in the formation of the
soul,” Upadhyay added, giving away
one of the answers.
The initiative at the prison in Pune,
near Mumbai, is the latest in a long
line of yogic programmes to have
started since India’s yoga-loving
leader Narendra Modi was elected
prime minister in May last year.
He has set up a ministry dedicated to
promoting yoga and other traditional
Indian treatments, and also started
free yoga classes for his government ’s
three million bureaucrats and their
families. — AFP
At least one person opened fire at or
near a State social ser vices agency in
the Southern California city of San
Bernardino early today and as many as
14 people were dead and 20 wounded,
The San Bernardino Police Department
said on Twitter it had “confirmed one to
three possible suspects” and numerous
victims in the shooting. The agency
called it an “active shooter” incident.
The San Bernardino Fire Department
said in a tweet that it was responding to
reports of 20 victims.
The shooting took place at the Inland
Regional Centre, one of 21 facilities
ser ving people with developmental
disabilities run by the State, Nancy
Lungren, spokeswoman for the California
Department of Developmental Ser vices,
Television images on CNN showed
people being evacuated from the
building, their arms raised, as triage
stations were set up outside. Police and
SWAT teams were seen surrounding the
A police spokeswoman told the Los
Angeles Times the suspects were heavily
armed and possibly wearing body
armour. Later reports pointed to three
suspects and a dark-coloured sport utility
vehicle being involved.
A spokeswoman from nearby Loma
Linda Medical Centre said the hospital
was expecting patients. “ We’re all kind of
on standby right now — it could be any
minute,” spokeswoman Briana Pastorino
said. — Reuters
Facebook Inc chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla are seen with their daughter Max. Zuckerberg and his wife said they plan to
give away 99% of their fortune in Facebook stock to a new charity the couple were creating.
Mark Zuckerberg will put 99% of his
Facebook shares, currently worth about
$45 billion $67.75 billion), into a new
philanthropy project focusing on human
potential and equality, he and his wife
said in a letter to their newborn daughter.
The plan, which was posted on the
Facebook founder and chief executive
officer’s page and has attracted more
than 360,000 “likes”, follows other
high-profile billionaires such as Warren
Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates,
who have set up foundations to dedicate
their massive fortunes to philanthropic
Zuckerberg, 31, who will control the
new initiative and remain in charge
of the world’s largest on-line social
network, said he would sell or give up to
$1b in shares in each of the next three
He will keep a controlling stake
in Facebook, valued at $303 billion
as of yesterday ’s close, for what the
company called the “foreseeable future.”
According to Facebook’s most recent
proxy statement, Zuckerberg owned four
million class A shares and 422.3 million
class B shares, which have 10 times the
voting power of A shares. Combined
he held 54% of the voting power of the
company ’s shares.
Zuckerberg said he plans to remain
chief executive of Facebook for “many,
many years to come.”
The move is not Zuckerberg’s first in
the world of philanthropy. When he was
26, he signed the Giving Pledge, which
invites the world’s wealthiest individuals
and families to commit to giving more
than half of their wealth to philanthropy
or charitable causes over their lifetime or
in their will.
“Mark and Priscilla are breaking
the mould with this breathtaking
commitment,” Buffett said on Facebook.
“A combination of brains, passion and
resources on this scale will change the
lives of millions. On behalf of future
generations, I thank them. ”
Buffett himself pledged Berkshire
Hathaway Inc stock worth $31b at the
time to Gates’ foundation in 2006, which
was the largest single gift at the time.
Zuckerberg is relatively young to
commit so much of his wealth. Microsoft
Corp co-founder Gates was 45 in 2000,
the year he and his wife founded the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett
was 76 in 2006, the year he committed to
give away all of his Berkshire Hathaway
stock to philanthropic organisations.
About $350b is given away each
year in the United States by charities,
Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle
of Philanthropy, said. She said
Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s
announcement was remarkable not just
because of the size of the donation, but
because of their ages.
“Our lists of the top donors are usually
dominated by people in their 70s or
80s,” she said. “ This is a message to other
young people who are deciding what to
do with their great wealth.”
In welcoming the birth of his first
child on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg
posted a photo of himself, his wife and
their new daughter, Maxima, nicknamed
Max, along with a post entitled “A letter
to our daughter. ”
In the 2220-word letter, Zuckerberg
and Chan touched on issues including
health, education, internet access and
learning before announcing the Chan
Zuckerberg Initiative, which aims to
“advance human potential and promote
They plan to give away 99% of their
Facebook shares over their lifetimes to
advance the initiative, which was formed
as a limited liability company controlled
by the two. It will begin by focusing on
curing disease, Internet connectivity,
community building and personalized
learning - or the idea that technology
can help students learn at different paces.
Maxima Chan Zuckerberg was born
early last week — though Facebook did
not specify her birth date — and weighed
7lb 8oz at birth. Last month, Zuckerberg
announced he would take two months of
paternity leave after the birth.
Chan and Zuckerberg have so far
committed $1.6b to their philanthropy.
They have given several donations
this year, including to public schools,
initiatives to bring better wireless
internet access and to San Francisco
General Hospital, where Chan works as
Zuckerberg and Chan said they will
share more details when they return from
their maternity and paternity leaves.
Zuckerberg has started his leave, a
company representative said, and will be
available if “absolutely needed”. S heryl
Sandberg, chief operating officer, and
Mike Schroepfer, chief technology
officer, will run the company in
Zuckerberg’s absence. — Reuters
The heaviest rainfall in over a
century caused massive flooding
across the Indian state of Tamil
Nadu, driving thousands from their
homes, shutting car factories and
paralysing the airport in the State
predicted three more days of
torrential downpours in the southern
State of nearly 70 million people.
“There will be no respite,”
Laxman Singh Rathore of the India
Meteorological Department told
No deaths were reported in the
latest floods, but since heavy rain set
in on November 12 there have been
150 deaths in Tamil Nadu. More than
200 people were critically injured
over the past 24 hours in Chennai, a
senior home ministry official said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
has blamed climate change for the
deluge, injecting urgency into the
debate at global climate talks in Paris
and highlighting the vulnerability of
tropical nations like India to extreme
Physician Rupam Choudhury said
he and a friend had to wade through
neck-deep water to reach high
ground from where an army truck
brought him to his hospital in the
heart of Chennai.
Dr A Ramachandran’s Diabetes
Hospital was running out of oxygen
for patients and diesel for power
generators, he said by phone. Most
cellphone networks were down in the
city and food supplies running low.
Chennai, India’s fourth most
populous city, is a major auto
manufacturing and IT outsourcing
hub. Ford Motor, Daimler , Hyundai
and Nissan told workers to stay at
home, while United States-listed
outsourcing firm Cognizant shut its
11 local offices.
Airlines suspended flights into
Chennai’s flooded international
airport, causing wider disruption to
air travel. Authorities later decided to
close the airport until Sunday.
“The biggest challenge is to find a
way to clear the inundated airport
and main roads,” Anurag Gupta at
the National Disaster Management
Authority in New Delhi said.
Passengers stranded at the airport
said they did not know when they
would be able to fly, or where to stay
if they could not. “All of us here are
getting agitated because none of the
hotels nearby are vacant. Where do
we go?” traveller Vinit Jain asked.
In a limited initial relief effort,
four helicopters dropped food, water
and medicines, while fishing boats
commandeered by the military were
collecting stranded residents. A
major relief effort by 5000 soldiers
was promised within 24 hours.
“The entire State machinery has
collapsed. Most officials are forced
to sit at home. It’s a very frustrating
situation,” a home ministry official,
who requested anonymity, said .
Weather experts say the seasonal
north-east monsoon was responsible
for the flooding in the city of six
million, but was amplified this year
by El Nino, a warming of the eastern
Pacific Ocean that can have far-
reaching climate effects.
Tamil Nadu is a major rice and
sugar cane producing region, and
a senior member of a local farmers’
association said floods had washed
out up to four agricultural districts.
Modi has ordered rescue teams
and paramilitary forces to launch an
extensive relief and rescue operation
in Chennai. He had blamed climate
change for the heavy rain that hit the
southern State last month, tweeting
before attending the United Nations
climate summit in Paris this week:
“ We are feeling the impact of fast-
paced climate change.”
Hundreds of divers and army
rescue teams entered inundated
homes, taking the injured to hospital.
Authorities said more than a million
people were affected by the flooding,
with some residents bemoaning the
slow response of the relief teams.
Social media networks carried many
appeals for help, while others offered
assistance. Siddarth, a popular Tamil
film actor who goes by one name,
was co-ordinating a relief effort on
“The police want to help but there
are no boats. We are trying not to
panic,” Ramana Goda, who took
refuge at a police station after fleeing
his home with his family overnight,
said. — Reuters
Record rain floods southern India
Footage has revealed a driver texting
on his cellphone immediately after
mowing down three people — killing
one — in an Indonesian street race
The driver can be seen leaning out
of his car window and sending a text
message. The remainder of the footage
is too graphic to be shown.
The driver, Wiyang Lautner, was
detained after the incident, Kompas.
com reported. He ran down a middle-
aged couple and a street vendor,
dragging a man several metres before
crashing into a tree in Surabaya, East
It is believed Lautner was racing
somebody driving a Ferrari in the
crowded area. — AP
Driver texts after fatal crash
A driver texts after crashing in a street race.
A drum kit played by Ringo Starr is set
to fetch millions of dollars at auction this
week as part of a sale of items belonging
to the Beatle and his wife, Barbara Bach.
Starr is bidding farewell to items such
as instruments, career memorabilia as
well as personal items.
Among them are seven stage and studio
drums played by Starr, including the first
Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl drum kit
used for the Beatles’ early recordings,
including Can’t Buy Me Love and I
Want to Hold Your Hand.
Starr used the kit in more than 200
Last month, Julien’s Auctions sold
a drum head from a kit Starr played
on American television show The Ed
Sullivan Show in 1964 for $US2.1
million ($3.16 million).
“ We’ve conser vatively estimated this
(Ludwig) kit for $300,000 to $500,000
but that was prior to knowing what the
drum head would sell for,” Darren Julien,
president and chief executive of Julien’s
“So, today we’d probably estimate it
$2 to $4, $3 to $5 million just because
we think it ’s such a significant piece of
Beatles history. ”
Also for sale is a guitar used by John
Lennon, which the late Beatle gave to
“(We) thought . . . we’ve got lots of
furniture, we’ve got lots of cutlery . . . and
I thought let ’s make it really crazy and
special . . . like John’s guitar,” Starr said at
a cocktail party on Tuesday night ahead
of the auction.
“It’s been played twice.”
Part of the sale proceeds will go to The
Lotus Foundation, which was founded
by Starr and Bach and aims to fund
and promote charitable projects, Julien’s
The auction runs from tonight until
Saturday in Beverly Hills and also on-
line via Julien Auction’s website.
Ringo’s drums set
to fetch millions
Israeli archaeologists have discovered
a mark from the seal of Biblical King
Hezekiah, who helped build Jerusalem
into an ancient metropolis.
The circular inscription, on a piece of
clay less than 1cm long, may very well
have been made by the king himself,
said Eilat Mazar of Jerusalem’s Hebrew
University who directed the excavation
where it was uncovered.
Hezekiah ruled about 700 BC and
was described in the Bible as a daring
monarch — “ There was no one like him
among all the kings of Judah, either
before him or after him” (II Kings 18:5)
who was dedicated to eliminating
idolatry in his kingdom.
“This is the first time that a seal
impression of an Israelite or Judean king
has ever come to light in a scientific
archaeological excavation,” Mazar said.
The clay imprint, known as a bulla, was
found at a dig at the foot of the southern
part of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s
Old City, an area rich in relics from the
period of the first of two ancient Jewish
It had been buried in a refuse dump
dated to the time of Hezekiah and was
probably tossed from an adjacent royal
building, Mazar said. It contains ancient
Hebrew script and the symbol of a two-
The bulla was initially catalogued and
put in a closet, along with 33 others, after
a first inspection that failed to establish
its true identity.
Only five years later, when a team
member scrutinised it under a
magnifying glass and discerned dots
in between some of the letters, did the
meaning become clear.
The dots help separate the words:
“Belonging to Hezekiah (son of ) Ahaz
king of Judah.”
Mazar said the back side of the clay
imprint of the seal had markings of thin
cords used to tie a papyrus document.
“It’s always a question, what are the real
facts behind the Biblical stories,” Mazar
said. “ Here we have a chance to get as
close as possible to the person himself, to
the king himself. ” — Reuters
The Bataclan concert hall in
Paris, where 90 people were
killed by jihadists on November
13, could reopen by the end of
next year, two of its owners say.
Olivier Poubelle and Jules
Frutos, who book the acts and
own a third of the theatre as well
as several other music venues
around the French capital, told
Le Monde newspaper of their
devastation over the attacks.
“ Two of our colleagues are
dead. As are music professionals
that we knew well. Others are
seriously injured. I was not in the
theatre and I think about that all
the time,” Poubelle said.
“An emergency worker told me
‘ You’re not responsible’, but still
Poubelle rushed to the venue on
the fateful night, while the three-
hour siege was still under way
and people trapped inside were
being gunned down.
“There were dead and injured
all around,” he said. “(The police)
wanted to know the layout and
what they were going to find
behind the door, how to get
upstairs as quickly as possible.”
The two colleagues who
died — a lighting technician
and press person — worked at
another venue and were simply
on a night out, enjoying the
gig by US rock band Eagles of
None of the 20-odd staff
working that night were killed,
though Poubelle told Le Monde
that several “came within 10cm
Three bar staff hid in a
storeroom, desperately holding
the door closed with the tips of
“ Two security guards at the
entrance saved lives,” Poubelle
“They understood what was
going on when they heard the
gunfire in the bar. They didn’t
run, they went inside and opened
the emergency exits and shouted
for everyone to leave.”
He said the teams from the five
venues the pair own have stuck
together since the attacks, trying
to offer each other support and
“ When I saw the photos of the
victims, there were many that I
recognised,” Frutos added. “ I may
have never talked to them but
I’ve seen them in the hall or the
bar. It’s a terrible feeling.
“The only thing to say is that a
‘ joie de vivre’ was murdered,” he
Neither has been back inside
since the violence, but still pass in
front every day to see the crowds
and mountain of tributes.
But they are keen for the music
“It should not become a
mausoleum. Or a site of
pilgrimage,” Frutos said.
reconstruction, the artists too.
We talk about it a lot. But it will
be a long road,” he said.
“ We are dead for the moment.
But we need life. It ’s vital that the
Eagles of Death Metal have
said they want to play the first
concert if the Bataclan reopens.
Venue where 90 died
may reopen next year
Man kills sister for voting
An angry brother shot his elder sister
dead because she voted in Pakistani local
elections after he had forbidden her to
The murder occurred in the town
of Taxila, 25km west of Islamabad,
Danish Ali, 20, was furious because
his sister Asif Noreen, a 32-year old
schoolteacher, had defied his instructions
and cast her vote, local police official
Naeem Abbas said.
“According to a report filed by the
deceased’s father, Ali shot Noreen with
his pistol and she died on the spot at
their home,” Abbas said.
Police were still hunting for Ali, who
is on the run.
Women’s turnout is usually weak in the
most conser vative rural parts of Pakistan
because of male perceptions that their
place is in the home.
But incidents of women being killed
for voting are rare, although hundreds of
Pakistani women are murdered each year
in cases of domestic violence or on the
grounds of defending family “honour”.
The Aurat Foundation, a campaign
group that works to improve the lives
of women in Pakistan’s conser vative and
patriarchal society, says more than 3000
women have been killed in such attacks
since 2008. — AFP
France closes ‘radical’ mosque
Police have shut down a suspected
radical mosque east of Paris, the third to
be closed since France declared a state
of emergency after last month’s Paris
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve
said overnight “three pseudo-cultural
associations” linked to the mosque
at Lagny-sur-Marne were also being
dissolved, the first time the government
has used its special powers to wind up
Two other mosques were closed last
week at Gennevilliers in the northern
suburbs of Paris and in the small town of
L’Arbresle near the central city of Lyon.
The closures are part of a huge security
crackdown after 130 people were killed
in the jihadist attacks on Paris on
“Such measures to close mosques
because of radicalisation have never
before been taken by any government,
including during the last state of
emergency in 2005” after rioting broke
out across France’s troubled suburbs,
Cazeneuve said in a statement.
He said a 9mm revolver had been
discovered during the raid in which one
of the “ leaders” of the Lagny-sur-Marne
mosque was arrested. Investigators also
found an illegal madrassa, or koranic
school, and a hidden computer hard
Nine people have since been placed
under house arrest and 22 banned from
leaving the country, the minister added.
The assets of imam Mohamed
Hammoumi, who ran the mosque and
the cultural associations until he left to
live in Egypt in 2014, were frozen in
Authorities said overnight the prayer
room in L’Arbresle had been used by
extremists suspected of having contacts
with others in Syria.
Cazeneuve later told parliament that
there had been 2235 searches leading to
263 arrests since the three-month state
of emergency began.
“In 15 days we have seized a third of
the weapons of war we would normally
recover in a year,” he said. — AFP
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