Home' Greymouth Star : January 5th 2016 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Emergency ser vices are conducting
anti-looting and crocodile-spotting
patrols in the flooded Top End
community of Daly River as waters
slowly begin to recede.
The river peaked at about 14.7m over
the weekend and its levels are dropping,
but it was still too soon to say when 500
evacuated residents would be able to go
They have been housed at an emergency
shelter in Dar win for over a week.
“The people are in very good spirits
still, we appreciate the patience being
shown,” Andrew Warton, director of
the Northern Territory’s Emergency
Ser vice, said.
He said yesterday no significant
rainfall has been recorded in the Daly
catchment area since Saturday and
none was forecast, but that access to the
community remained restricted by land
and boat to emergency personnel only,
as the waters are still above the major
Anti-looting patrols are standard
practice post-disaster, Warton said,
and regular night patrols are being
undertaken to determine if any
crocodiles have entered the community.
“ We have a town that ’s inundated
by water next to a river that produces
and houses some of Australia’s largest
crocodiles, the risk is fairly self-evident,”
he said, but added there had been no
recent sightings since two dogs were
reportedly taken by crocs last weekend.
Rapid impact assessment teams will
be deployed this week to determine the
exact nature of the damage.
“ Initial sur veys show there are a number
of houses and buildings and community
facilities that have been inundated by
water, that ’s to be expected,” Warton
“ How the river behaves over the
next few days will determine exactly
what sort of time frame we put around
residents returning to the community.”
When asked whether authorities
were concerned that another monsoon
could set back recovery operations
at Daly River, Warton said: “It’s very
difficult to predict; what we can say is
all government agencies and emergency
ser vices have their eye on the ball and
are very much focused on returning
evacuees, and returning this community
over time to its original state. ” — AAP
Anti-looting, croc patrols in flooded Aust town
Riyadh steps up pressure
after embassy attack
Saudi Arabia rallied Sunni
allies to its side in a growing
diplomatic row with Iran
overnight, deepening a sectarian
split across the Middle East
execution of a prominent Shi’ite
Bahrain and Sudan cut all ties
with Iran, following Riyadh’s
example the previous day. Saudi
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir
said Riyadh would also halt air
traffic and commercial relations
between the rival powers.
He blamed Iran’s “aggressive
policies” for the diplomatic
action, alluding to years of
tension that spilled over on
Saturday night when Iranian
protesters stormed the kingdom’s
embassy in Tehran.
The United Arab Emirates
(UAE), home to hundreds of
thousands of Iranians, partially
downgraded its relations but
the other Gulf Arab countries
Kuwait, Qatar and Oman —
stayed above the fray.
Shi’ite Iran accused Saudi
Arabia of using the attack on the
embassy as an “excuse ” to sever
ties and further increase sectarian
tensions, as protesters in Iran
and Iraq marched for a third
day to denounce Saudi Arabia’s
execution of Shi’ite cleric Nimr
The UAE said Iran needed to
stay out of Arab affairs and not act
like a protector of Arab Shi’ites.
“The Arab world isn’t a venue
for its blatant interference. Iran
does not have guardianship or
jurisdiction over a large number
of Arabs for some sectarian
reason,” UAE Minister of State
for Foreign Affairs Anwar
Gargash told Saudi-owned Al
A man was shot dead in Saudi
Arabia’s Eastern Province late on
Sunday, and two Sunni mosques
in Iraq’s Shi’ite-majority Hilla
province were bombed in the
fallout from the dispute between
the Middle East ’s top Sunni and
Oil prices surged during
European trading as the two
big petroleum exporters traded
insults and after violence hit
other crude producers such
as Iraq. But prices then eased
back on evidence of economic
weakness in Asia.
Stock markets across the Gulf
dropped sharply, led by Qatar
which fell more than 2.5%, with
geopolitical jitters outweighing
any benefit from stronger oil.
Crude importer China declared
itself “highly concerned” with
the developments, in a rare foray
into Middle East diplomacy.
The United States and Germany
called for restraint, while Russia
offered to mediate an end to the
The row threatened to derail
efforts to end Syria’s five-year-old
civil war, where Saudi Arabia and
other Gulf Arab powers support
rebel groups against Iran-backed
President Bashar al-Assad.
In neighbouring Lebanon,
newspapers said the spat had
clouded the hopes of filling the
vacant presidency that had been
raised last month after Iran
and Saudi Arabia both voiced
support for a power-sharing deal.
United Nations Secretary-
General Ban Ki-moon told the
Saudi foreign minister Riyadh’s
decision to break off diplomatic
ties with Iran was extremely
troubling. A spokesman said
Ban wanted to help ensure
both countries continued their
commitment to ending the
conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
The UN chief urged Saudi
Arabia to renew a ceasefire it
ended this weekend with the
Iran-allied Shi’ite Houthi group
in Yemen it has been bombing
for nine months.
But analysts said fears of a
sectarian rupture across the
Middle East were premature, and
the break in Saudi-Iran relations
could be more a symptom of
existing strains than evidence of
“The fact that the UAE was
unwilling to cut off ties with Iran
completely, despite the closeness
of its relations with Saudi
Arabia, shows the difficulty that
the Saudis will have in trying
to isolate Iran,” Julien Barnes-
Dacey, senior policy fellow at the
European Council on Foreign
“The downgrading of ties is
not fundamentally a question
of responding to executions and
the storming of an embassy . . .
(but rather) a function of a much
deeper conflict between the two
States,” he added.
Trade between Saudi Arabia
and Iran is small compared with
the size of their economies, but
some business is routed through
the United Arab Emirates;
comprehensive figures are not
available. Investment ties are
also minimal, though Saudi food
conglomerate Savola has major
manufacturing operations in
After a furious response in
Shi’ite communities worldwide
to the Sunni kingdom’s execution
of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr
al-Nimr, Saudi Foreign Minister
Adel al-Jubeir said Iran was
creating “terrorist cells” among
the kingdom’s Shi’ite minority.
Saudi Arabia executed Nimr
and three other Shi’ites on
terrorism charges on Saturday,
alongside dozens of Sunni
jihadists. Shi’ite Iran hailed him
as a “martyr” and warned Saudi
Arabia’s ruling Al Saud family of
Shi’ite groups united in
condemnation of Saudi Arabia
while Sunni powers rallied
behind the kingdom, hardening a
sectarian split that has torn apart
communities across the Middle
East and nourished the jihadist
ideology of Islamic State.
Al-Azhar, the Cairo-based
seat of Sunni Muslim learning,
and the Organisation of Islamic
Co-operation in Saudi Arabia,
condemned the attacks on
Riyadh’s missions and stressed
Tehran’s obligation to respect the
internal affairs of the kingdom.
Bahrain, a Sunni-ruled island
kingdom with a restive Shi’ite
majority, accused Iran of “blatant
and dangerous interference”
in the affairs of the Gulf Arab
announcing the severing of
Western powers, many of which
supply billions of dollars worth of
weaponry to Gulf Arab powers,
tried to tamp down the tensions
with Iran but also deplored the
executions, as human rights
groups strongly criticised Saudi
Arabia’s judicial process and
protesters gathered outside Saudi
embassies. — Reuters
President Barack Obama will take his case
for new gun control measures directly to the
American people this week.
It comes as he proposes new executive
actions in a final big effort to reduce gun
violence during his last year in office.
Obama is to meet Attorney-General
Loretta Lynch today to discuss his
administration’s options for tightening
gun rules without going through the
Republican-controlled congress, which
does not support the wide-ranging
legislative changes that the Democratic
Although the White House has not spelled
out his plans specifically, they are expected
to include measures that would require more
gun sellers to become licensed dealers and
conduct background checks on buyers.
Firearms are a potent issue in American
politics. The right to bear arms is protected
by the United States Constitution, and the
National Rifle Association, the top US
gun rights group, is feared and respected in
Washington for its ability to mobilise gun
owners. Congress has not approved major
gun-control legislation since the 1990s.
Republicans have roundly criticised the
president ’s plans, calling them an overreach
of his executive authority.
“This president wants to act as if he’s a king,
as if he’s a dictator,” New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie, a Republican presidential
candidate, said on Fox News.
“This is going to be another illegal executive
action, which I’m sure will be rejected by the
Obama will take part in a question-and-
answer session on gun control on Friday, the
White House said.
Obama launched a push to tighten US gun
laws after the Newtown, Connecticut, school
shooting in 2012. But the push stalled in
Last month’s fatal shootings in San
Bernardino, California gave further impetus
to the White House to try again through
“It would be better for our security if it
was harder for terrorists to purchase very
powerful weapons,” White House deputy
national security adviser Ben Rhodes told
reporters on Saturday in Hawaii. — Reuters
Obama taking gun control to public
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and Prince Harry.
Philip more stylish than Harry
The Duke of Edinburgh
has been voted as being more
stylish than his grandson
Philip, 94, is in 12th position
on GQ UK magazine’s best
dressed men list for 2016, while
Prince Harry is No 38.
Oscar-winning actor Eddie
Redmayne leads the fashion
pack in first position, while it is
a family affair for the Beckhams
as both David and his son,
Romeo, are in the top 10.
Footballer David is in
position No 4, while 13-year-
old Romeo is No 8 on the list.
This year has seen the younger
Beckham’s modelling career
take off, including starring in
the Christmas campaign for
fashion giant, Burberry.
The second spot on the list is
occupied by X Factor judge and
BBC Radio 1 presenter Nick
Singer Sam Smith is a new
entry on the list in third
position, One Direction’s Harry
Styles is in sixth position,
musician Skepta is seventh
and Sherlock star Benedict
Cumberbatch is ninth.
The Great British Bake Off ’s
Paul Hollywood has landed
himself in first position on the
top 10 worst-dressed men list.
Other names on the worst-
dressed list include comedian
Josh Widdicombe in second
position, The Only Way is
Essex’s Jake Hall in third, and
Top Gear host Chris Evans in
The best and worst dressed
lists are voted for by GQ
staff and a panel of experts
including fashion designer
Giorgio Armani, Alexander
McQueen’s creative director
Sarah Burton, designer
Tom Ford, Nick Grimshaw,
television presenter and Daily
Mail columnist Piers Morgan,
model Lara Stone and fashion
designer Vivienne Westwood.
Floods force Queen’s neighbour to flee castle
The Queen’s neighbour at Balmoral has
been forced to leave his 450-year-old castle
after floodwaters demolished the riverbank
that protects the ancient property.
Meanwhile, a helpless Prince Charles could
only watch in horror as his beloved gardens
on his Highland retreat nearby were washed
away in last week’s floods.
Huge swathes of his carefully tended
Scottish estate, Birkhall, were destroyed when
the River Muick burst its banks, leaving him
“devastated”, sources said.
Today, as most Britons return to work
after the Christmas break, it will be wet
and miserable. Britain is on the brink of
further flooding, with the Met Office issuing
warnings for rain in Scotland, Wales, and the
north-east and south-west England.
Prince Charles told locals that Birkhall’s
gardens had been “ruined” when he and the
Duchess of Cornwall made an impromptu
visit to those affected by the floods.
Butcher John Sinclair said: “I asked how
Birkhall was. He said Birkhall house was
okay but the garden was devastated, but that
was the least of his worries.
“Charles was just concerned about the
whole village basically. He couldn’t believe it.
He was devastated. ”
The gardens at Birkhall run down directly
to the Muick. While the house itself, which
once belonged to the Queen Mother, was
safe because it sits at the top of the hill, its
historic gardens have been destroyed.
A source said: “It ’s a scene of total
devastation, which is very upsetting for the
prince as he puts his heart and soul into the
gardens, which were also the pride and joy of
his beloved grandmother. ”
Those close to Prince Charles said last night
that his main concerns were for the thousands
who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
“ While it is personally distressing, it is the
least of his concerns,” one said. “ The prince
is being kept constantly updated about
flooding in the whole of the country and is
looking at ways he can help both now and in
The destructive impact of the raging
torrents was most evident at Abergeldie
Castle, next to Balmoral, which now sits
perilously close to the riverbank after a huge
section of the ground was washed away. John
Gordon, the 21st Laird of Abergeldie, had
to leave when he discovered only 1.3m of
ground remained between the ancient castle
and the river.
Concerns have been raised that the little
ground left may not be enough to support
the property. The Baron of Abergeldie, 76,
has moved into a house on his 4729ha estate
and is said to be too upset to speak about the
His grounds are enclosed by Balmoral on
three sides. The baron is a close personal
friend of the Queen and the royals rent
out his land for hunting and fishing. One
neighbour said: “ The castle is teetering on
the brink. God knows what will happen if the
Dee rises any further.
“The castle is in imminent danger. It’s not
only a home, it ’s a listed building so losing
it would be a national tragedy. Nothing can
be done while the river is in spate. It ’s just
thundering down. It smashed the mature
trees at the back of the house like matchsticks.
It also took 250 feet of the bank away and all
the ground at the back. The river is right at
the back door.”
Scotland was on the brink of more
devastating floods last night, while in north-
east England a yellow “ be aware” warning for
rain is in place.
The stormy weather continued yesterday,
with a giant wall of waves engulfing Seaham
lighthouse in County Durham.
In Cornwall the wreck of a ship which
ran aground nearly 130 years ago has been
exposed in the wake of the storms.
The Jeune Hortense, a French brigantine,
was swept on to the beach at Long Rock in
1888, but every few years the sand is washed
away and her hull is exposed.
Along the coast in Devon stormy seas
have gouged out a 5m by 2m hole on the
promenade in Teignmouth.
In York the River Ouse is expected
to remain high for several days. So too
will the River Severn, bringing a risk of
flooding in Shropshire, Worcestershire and
Gloucestershire. — PA
The flooded River Muick washes at the base of Abergeldie Castle.
Boy charged with setting fire
A 12-year-old Melbourne boy
has been charged with causing
a bushfire near the Monash
Freeway in the city’s south-east.
The blaze on Gunns Road
Reser ve in Endeavour Hills
was discovered about 3pm last
It was soon extinguished and
detectives charged the boy, from
nearby Hallam, with recklessly
causing a bushfire.
He has been bailed to appear at
a children’s court in February.
Carriage driver caught on phone
A Melbourne horse-drawn
carriage driver has been snapped
using a cellphone while taking
tourists for a ride through the city.
Brent Henrikson captured a
picture of the female carriage
driver using her phone while
taking passengers for a ride on
busy St Kilda Road on Saturday.
Henrikson said the carriage
passed him near the National
Gallery of Victoria and the driver
continued to use the phone until
the carriage was out of view.
“This was shortly after I saw
another carriage driver texting
while the carriage was in motion,
but I didn’t get a photo of that
one,” he said yesterday. — A AP
bought as a Christmas present,
has been blamed for a house fire
in Melbourne’s north-west.
Crews were called to the
Strathmore home just after
7pm after a smoke alarm alerted
the family to the blaze. All five
family members and their pets
were safely evacuated but the rear
of the brick home was severely
damaged, fire authorities say.
The blaze took about 30
minutes to get under control. It
is believed the hoverboard was on
charge in the children’s bedroom
when it caught fire. — A AP
Hoverboard sets house ablaze
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