Home' Greymouth Star : December 15th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Texas plumber sues dealer after company vehicle turns up in Syria
A Texas plumber whose company
pick-up truck with logo and
name clearly visible appeared in a
photograph of a militant wielding
an anti-aircraft weapon in Syria has
sued the dealer he sold it to, saying
the harassment it generated has
damaged his business.
Mark Oberholtzer, the owner of
Mark-1 Plumbing of Texas City, said
he sold the pick-up in October 2013
and was shocked to see the photo on
Mark Oberholtzer said in a lawsuit
seeking $1 million damages that
he has been forced to carry a gun
for protection and was grilled by
investigators from the Department of
Homeland security and the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
The photo was tweeted in December
2014 by a group called the Ansar al-
Deen front and describes the truck
as being used against the Syrian
government in Aleppo, the lawsuit
said. The precise affiliation of the
participants at the time of the photo
was unc lear.
“ By the end of the day, Mark-1’s
office, Mark-1’s business phone, and
Mark’s personal cell had received
over 1000 phone calls from around
the nation,” the lawsuit, filed on
Wednesday in Harris County State
District Court in Houston, said.
The lawsuit said the largely
harassing calls contained threats of
violence, property damage, injury
and even death. Some of the callers
sang in Arabic and others yelled
obscenities at whoever answered the
call, it said.
The lawsuit said the plumbing
company had sold up to 10 pick-
up trucks to different dealers in
Texas with the common practice of
removing decals or decorative stickers
before their sale.
Oberholtzer’s lawsuit said he sold
the pick-up to Charlie Thomas Ford,
which does business as Auto Nation
Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston.
Dealer representatives told him they
would take the stickers off because
they had a better system for removing
them without damaging the paint, it
Instead, the pick-up was sold with
decals and all and shipped to Turkey
where it was obtained by militants,
the lawsuit said.
A representative from the dealership
did not immediately respond to
inquiries about the suit. A spokesman
for the parent company Auto Nation
“ We feel it is very unfortunate that
the customer is going through this,”
the Auto Nation spokesman said.
“This vehicle came to us, and was
sent to the auction and the markings
should have come off at the auction.
That did not happen. We feel this is
unfortunate.” — Reuters
A bus carrying Argentinian
border patrol officers blew a tyre
and tumbled from a bridge into
a dry river bed in the northern
province of Salta overnight,
killing 43 and injuring eight,
The vehicle was part of a three-
bus convoy carrying officers of
Argentina’s gendarmerie, which
patrols the country’s borders.
Salta borders Bolivia, Chile and
Border security has become
a hot issue in Argentina as the
country has emerged as part of a
route used for smuggling Andean
cocaine to Europe and for
human traffickers sending Syrian
refugees through the Western
“Forty three gendarmes lost
their lives here today. Eight more
were injured, one critically,” Salta
Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey
told reporters at the scene. “ We
are still working to recover bodies
from inside the bus.”
Passengers on the other two
buses in the convoy were the
first to venture into the ravine
to try to save those trapped in
the wreckage. Television images
showed the bus completely
upside down at the bottom of a
steep slope covered in lush green
“ It appears that one of the tyres
of the bus blew out, unfortunately
just a few metres ahead of the
bridge. It went over the guard
rail,” Argentinian security chief
Patricia Bullrich said.
President Mauricio Macri,
elected last month on a platform
that included improving
Argentina’s rural roads, sent his
condolences to families of the
victims of the crash and declared
a national day of mourning.
“ We need to improve our
highways so these things don’t
keep happening,” he said on the
sidelines of a news conference in
Buenos Aires province.
Bus crash kills 43 border patrol officers
Aerial view of the overturned bus which crashed in Argentina’s northern province of Salta.
60 dead after
At least 60 people were killed at the
weekend when the Nigerian army raided
a Shi’ite sect and arrested its leader in
the northern city of Zaria, the director of
a local hospital said overnight.
The army said the Islamic Movement
was trying to assassinate the chief of
army staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur
Buratai, when members of the sect
blocked his convoy in Zaria on Saturday.
The sect was conducting an annual ritual
to usher in the month of Maulud, the
birth month of the Prophet Mohammed.
On Sunday, the army raided several
buildings connected to the sect and the
home of its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky.They
arrested him and killed key members of
the group, including Zakzaky’s second-
in-command and spokesman.
“As of yesterday, we had 60 corpses in
our morgue,” Khalid Lawal, the chief
medical director of Ahmadu Bello
University Teaching Hospital, told
Reuters by phone.
Residents said they heard loud blasts
during the raid. A reporter was barred
entry to the cordoned-off area.
Most of Nigeria’s tens of millions of
Muslims are Sunni, including the Boko
Haram jihadist militants who have killed
thousands in bombings and shootings,
mainly in north-eastern Nigeria, since
But there are also several thousand
Shi’ites, mostly followers of Zakzaky,
whose movement was inspired by the
1979 Islamic Revolution in Shi’ite Iran.
Iran condemned the attack overnight
and summoned Nigeria’s representative
there, according to its State news
agency. Foreign Minister Mohammed
Javad Zarif called on the Nigerian
government to take “prompt and
The Shi’ite sect claimed that hundreds
of their members were killed. The army
took most of the bodies away, making it
impossible to verify the claim.
Spokesmen for Nigeria’s presidency
declined to comment and referred
reporters to the army spokesman, who
did not answer requests for comment.
A similar altercation between the sect
and the army occurred last year during
a procession. Zakzaky said that 30
followers and three of his children were
killed. — Reuters
Teacher ‘invented IS attack’
A French nursery school teacher who
claimed he was stabbed in his classroom
by an Islamic State supporter has
admitted to prosecutors he invented the
The 45-year-old teacher at a school in
Auber villiers, north-east of Paris, was
admitted to hospital yesterday with light
stab wounds in his side and throat.
He had earlier claimed that a man
in overalls and a balaclava had arrived
while he was preparing his class, grabbed
a box cutter and scissors that were in the
room, and attacked him.
The teacher further claimed that the
man shouted: “ This is Daesh. This is a
Daesh is another name for IS.
Prosecutors said they were still
questioning the teacher, whose injuries
were not considered life-threatening,
over why he lied.
With France on edge a month on
from attacks in Paris, and with the IS
calling for attacks on French schools,
the investigation was immediately taken
over by anti-terrorism prosecutors.
The case even prompted a visit by
Education Minister Najat Vallaud-
Belkacem, who vowed to boost security
at France’s schools.
The teacher was said to have worked
at the school for 20 years, and was
“appreciated”, according to the town
mayor, Pascal Beaudet. — AFP
Church needs help to
change, says ex-priest
The Catholic Church still has not got
its act together and needs outside help
to change a culture which has protected
paedophile priests, an inquiry has heard.
Retired priest Fr John McKinnon said
the Church would never have held a
royal commission into itself and needs
people from the outside looking in to
change its culture.
“ I just think that we need help, but it
will have to be help that we don’t want,
in a sense. Help that ’s hard for us to
face,” McKinnon told the child abuse
“ I just wonder whether we almost need
to get to a stage where we’ve got to face
the wall before we bounce back in a
realistic way. But I hope this helps us, I
McKinnon said there were a lot of
failures by advisers to former Ballarat
bishop Ronald Mulkearns on the
College of Consultors.
“ I think one thing is we didn’t have
our antenna up to be sensitive to the
possibility of child abuse,” he told the
inquiry into abuse by clergy in the
Brisbane Bishop Brian Finnigan,
a former Ballarat vicar-general and
bishop’s secretary, agreed the Church
still has problems.
“ We haven’t got our act together. That ’s
in process, I would hope.”
He said the Church needed to be more
thorough in assessing candidates for
ministry and suggested a “one strike and
you’re out ” policy for priests proven to be
The Brisbane auxiliary bishop disagreed
with counsel assisting the commission
Angus Stewart SC’s accusation that he
had not been candid in his evidence
and consistently distanced himself from
knowledge of child sex abuse by priests
to protect himself and the Church.
Ex-Taliban prisoner faces desertion trial
Military charges against United States
Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a former
prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan
charged with desertion, have been
referred for trial by general court-
Bergdahl, 29, was charged earlier this
year with desertion and misbehaviour
before the enemy.
He faces up to life in prison if
convicted of the more serious offence of
The date of the arraignment hearing
at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will be
announced at a later date, the US Army
Forces Command said in a statement
US military prosecutors said in
September at a preliminary hearing to
establish probable cause that Bergdahl,
held for five years before being swapped
in 2014 for five Taliban leaders,
deliberately left his post.
The prosecutors said there was sufficient
evidence to hold him for trial on charges
of desertion and misbehaviour before
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