Home' Greymouth Star : January 6th 2016 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Three people, including a minor,
have been arrested over the slaying
of a newly-inaugurated mayor in a
gang-troubled central Mexican city.
Morelos Governor Graco Ramirez
ordered flags on State buildings flown
at half-mast and called for three days
of mourning following the murder of
Temixco Mayor Gisela Mota.
He blamed organised crime for
killing the 33-year-old Mota, a
former federal congresswoman who
had been sworn in as mayor less than
a day before she was gunned down in
her home on Saturday morning.
Ramirez ordered security measures
for all of the State’s mayors, although
he gave no details on what that
The Roman Catholic bishop of
Cuernavaca, Ramon Castro Castro,
celebrated Mass at Mota’s home on
Sunday and later spoke critically of a
State where some areas are in control
of organised crime.
“One theory could be that it was a
warning to the other mayors,” Castro
said to reporters. “If you don’t co-
operate with organised crime, look at
what will happen to you. It’s to scare
Following Mota’s killing, two
suspects were killed in a clash with
police and three others arrested.
Officials said they include a 32-year-
old woman, an 18-year-old man
and the minor. They gave few other
details, although State Attorney-
General Javier Perez Duron said they
had been tied to other crimes.
Temixco, with about 100,000
people, is a suburb of Cuernavaca,
a city famous among tourists for
its colonial centre, gardens and
jacaranda-decked streets. “ The city of
eternal spring” was long a favourite
weekend getaway for people from
nearby Mexico City.
But drug and extortion gangs have
plagued the area in recent years,
driving away some tourists and
residents. The expressway — and
drug routes — between Mexico City
and the country’s murder capital of
Acapulco cuts through Cuernavaca
prosecutors indicated which criminal
organisation might be involved.
Drugs, kidnappings and extortion in
the area were once under the control
of the Beltran Leyva cartel, but that
group’s collapse a few years ago
unleashed fierce competition among
its progeny and rivals in Morelos and
neighbouring Guerrero and Mexico
In December 2014, a State
lawmaker who was a candidate for
mayor of Temixco from the same
party as Mota, was kidnapped
there. Authorities rescued him
the following day and blamed the
Guerreros Unidos cartel, which has
been clashing with a group known as
Los Rojos in Guerrero and Morelos.
Temixco also saw one of Mexico’s
emblematic killings of the past
decade: The 24-year-old son of
poet Javier Sicilia and six other
people were found slain in March
2011, prompting the writer to start
a nationwide movement against
violence. Prosecutors said the seven
apparently got into an argument
with men who turned out to be local
members of the Pacifico Sur drug
Efforts to clean out corrupt local
police who have protected gangs
led Morelos to put officers under
a unified State command in 2014.
Temixco joined that system, although
the State’s main city, Cuernavaca, has
One organisation representing
mayors in the country, the
Association of Local Authorities of
Mexico, issued a statement saying
nearly 100 mayors have been killed
across Mexico over the past decade,
“principally at the hands of organised
Mota’s centre-left Democratic
Revolution Party released a statement
describing her as “a strong and brave
woman who on taking office as mayor,
declared that her fight against crime
would be frontal and direct.” — AP
Mayor slain day after swearing-in
NSW flooding prompts 21 rescues
Drivers are continuing to ignore
warnings from emergency ser vices not
to drive through floodwater, resulting
in 21 rescues in two days along the
New South Wales coast.
The SES says most of the nine
people rescued last night were people
who got stuck driving through water
that was deeper than it first appeared.
More than 200mm of rain has fallen
in less than 24 hours along parts of
the mid-north coast and weather
experts say the relentless falls will
likely continue until tomorrow.
A severe weather warning is in
place for dangerous flash flooding
and possible gale force winds from
Gosford to Port Macquarie.
Some streets in Dungog have been
evacuated while sandbagging efforts
are under way.
Parts of the Pacific Highway have
been closed while motorists are urged
to use extreme caution on parts that
The SES had been 1400 requests for
assistance overnight with Newcastle,
Dungog and Maitland among the
areas hardest hit, spokeswoman
Jacqueline Rose said.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster
Dmitriy Danchuk described the rain
as “quite exceptional”.
The heaviest falls include 255mm
recorded in less than 24 hours near
“On quite a few occasions around
Newcastle we’ve picked up more than
200mm of rain since 9am Tuesday,”
he said. “ The rain is still continuing. ”
The SES has again warned people
to stay out of floodwater whether
driving, riding or walking.
“ It seems so simple but when people
get there and see the water they just
don’t seem to have a plan to go back,”
The slow-moving low-pressure
system, which has centred around
Nelson Bay, is expected to move out to
sea by tomorrow morning, resulting in
forecasts for “just a few showers” late
in the week. — AAP
A worker at a German glass store has
had a shock after going to open the door
for what he thought was a customer, but
being greeted instead by a panicking
The pig rammed the door open
yesterday and rampaged through the
workshop in the town of Hemer making
“a huge mess,” employee Stefan Hinke
Hinke and his boss ran for cover as the
animal romped around the workshop,
where it injured itself on the glass objects.
Four hours later a hunter managed to
tranquilise the pig.
A first estimate of the damages puts the
costs at several thousand euros.
“The injured animal’s blood is all over. It
squirted all the way up to the windows,”
Hinke said. — DPA
Obama pushes tighter gun laws
President Barack Obama wipes away a tear while announcing steps the administration is taking to reduce gun violence while delivering a statement
in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama has described
new steps his administration will take to
tighten gun rules and urged Americans
to vote for candidates who do more to
prevent gun violence, wiping back tears
as he remembered children who died in
a mass shooting.
As Obama delivered a powerful
address in the White House early today,
surrounded by family members of people
killed in shootings, his voice rose to a
yell as he said the constitutional rights
of Americans to bear arms needed to be
balanced by the right to worship, gather
peacefully and live their lives.
Obama has often said his toughest
time in office was grappling with the
December 2012 massacre of 20 children
and six adults at a primary school in
“Every time I think about those kids, it
gets me mad,” Obama said, tears rolling
down his cheek.
“That changed me, that day,” he said,
after being introduced by Mark Barden,
whose seven-year-old son was killed in
the shooting. “ My hope earnestly has
been that it would change the country.”
After that tragedy, the Democratic
president failed to persuade Congress
to toughen US firearms laws. He has
blamed lawmakers for being in the
thrall of the powerful National Rifle
Association gun lobby group.
He said Americans need to be “just
as passionate” as the NRA in changing
gun laws, but acknowledged it would not
happen during his final year in office.
Obama laid out executive action he is
taking to require more gun sellers to get
licences and more gun buyers to undergo
Under the changes, the US Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) will issue guidelines
intended to narrow exceptions to a
system that requires sellers to check with
the Federal Bureau of Investigation to
determine whether buyers have criminal
records, are charged with crimes or have
mental health conditions that would bar
them from owning a gun.
Any changes to gun rules in America
are fraught with political risk. The US
Constitution’s 2nd Amendment gives
Americans the right to have arms, a
right that is fiercely defended.
The stocks of gunmakers Smith and
Wesson Holding Corp and Sturm
Ruger and Co Inc have climbed since
the announcement. O vernight, Smith
and Wesson jumped was up 10% to
$US25.58 ($38.14) a share and Sturm
Ruger was up more than 6% at $65.46
Legal challenges to the changes are
expected and Republican presidential
candidates have promised to reverse his
order if they win the White House. But
Obama, entering his eighth and last year
in office, has said his measures are within
his authority and consistent with the
constitution. — Reuters
About 90 women have reported being
robbed, threatened or sexually molested
at New Year celebrations outside
Cologne’s cathedral by young, mostly
drunk, men, police said overnight, in
events they have described as “a new
dimension in crime”.
Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers
told a news conference officers described
the men as looking as if they were from
“the Arab or North African region” and
mostly between 18 and 35 years old.
“ We have one complaint that represents
a rape,” he added.
Integration commissioner Aydan
foreigners and refugees, hundreds
of thousands of whom have entered
Germany largely from Middle Eastern
war zones, under “blanket suspicion”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed
shock over the attacks that police said
occurred when about 1000 men split
into gangs as officers cleared a square
to stop fireworks being thrown from the
top of steps into the crowd below.
While politicians also urged people
not to become wary of all refugees, the
incident fuelled calls from right-wing
groups to stop letting in migrants.
Germany took in just over a million last
year, far more than any other European
Cologne mayor Henriette Reker said it
was “unbelievable and intolerable what
happened on New Year’s Eve” but there
was no reason to believe those involved
in the attacks were refugees.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said
Germany would not accept such attacks
which he described as “a new scale of
About 150 people gathered in front
of Cologne’s cathedral last evening to
protest against violence against women.
One of them held a sign saying: “Ms
Merkel where are you? What do you
say? This scares us!”
The right-wing Alternative for
Germany (AFD), which has gained in
polls in part at Merkel’s expense thanks
to a campaign against refugees, said she
should close the border.
“Mrs Merkel, is Germany ‘colourful
and cosmopolitan’ enough for you after
the wave of crimes and sexual attacks?”
AFD chief Frauke Petry tweeted.
Merkel told Reker in a phone call the
attacks deser ved a tough response.
“Everything must be done to
investigate those responsible as quickly
and completely as possible and punish
them, regardless of where they are from,”
she said, according to her spokesman.
There are almost daily attacks on
“Events like that in Cologne foster
xenophobia,” said Roland Schaefer, head
of Germany’s association of towns and
After a crisis meeting, Cologne mayor
Reker said new steps would be taken
to avoid a repeat, including increasing
police numbers at big events and
installing more security cameras.
She stressed that women must feel safe
at traditional carnival celebrations next
month when the city closes down for
five days of drunken street parades and
Reker was stabbed in the neck and
seriously hurt in October, just a day
before she was elected mayor. Police said
that attack appeared to be motivated by
her support for refugees. — Reuters
Germans shaken by
New Year assaults
A publisher of books critical of
China’s leaders who went missing in
Hong Kong last week has travelled
to China voluntarily, his wife has
revealed, as Britain reminded its
former colony of its commitment
to press freedom.
Four other associates of the
publisher that specialises in selling
and publishing gossipy political
books on China’s Communist Party
leaders have been unaccounted for
since late last year.
The disappearances and China’s
continued silence have stoked fears
of mainland Chinese authorities
using shadowy tactics that erode
the “one country, two systems”
formula under which Hong Kong
has been governed since its return
to China in 1997.
Lee Bo, 65, a shareholder of
Causeway Bay Books, went
missing last week, amid mounting
speculation he may have been
taken by Chinese agents. His wife,
Sophie Choi, however, withdrew
a missing persons report for her
husband, a British passport holder,
“ He went voluntarily so that ’s
why I cancelled the report,” Chao
said in brief comments overnight.
Hong Kong police confirmed in a
statement that the missing persons
report had been cancelled, but said
they would continue investigating.
A British embassy spokesman in
Beijing added in a statement that
Britain was “deeply concerned”
by reports of disappearances and
“ We encourage the Hong Kong
region) government to honour
its commitment to protecting
the freedom of the press, and we
hope the Chinese authorities will
continue to make every effort to
ensure that the environment in
which the media and publishers
operate in the Hong Kong SAR
supports full and frank reporting,”
the statement said.
British Foreign Secretary Philip
Hammond, visiting Beijing, said
he had raised Lee’s case with his
Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and
had made clear if Lee is charged
with any offences that he be tried in
Asked whether China would
recognise the British passport,
Wang said: “On the specific case
you mentioned, based on the Basic
Law of Hong Kong and China’s
nationality law, this person in
question is first and foremost a
Britain handed the global
financial hub back to China under
an agreement that its core liberties
and way of life — including
freedom of speech and an
independent judiciary — continue
for 50 years.
China’s State-run Global Times
wrote that many of the books
published by Lee’s firm had
“maliciously fabricated content ”
that stoked political rumours in
mainland China and caused an “evil
influence”. — Reuters
Publisher went to
China ‘voluntarily’ Istanbul
The bodies of 34 migrants, at least
seven of them children, were found at
two sites along Turkey’s Aegean coast
overnight after they apparently tried
to cross to the nearby Greek island of
The flow of migrants, mostly fleeing
Syria’s civil war in search of sanctuary
in Europe, has continued despite colder
winter weather, though the numbers have
dipped somewhat. About one million
people are believed to have crossed or
attempted to cross the Aegean in 2015,
nearly five times more than in 2014.
The people found overnight died after
their boat or boats apparently capsized
in rough seas. It was not known how
many vessels were involved or how many
people were on board.
Twenty-four of the bodies were
discovered on the shoreline in the district
of Ayvalik, the Turkish coastguard
command said. Ten others were found
in the nearby district of Dikili, a local
gendarmerie official said.
The coastguard and gendarmerie
rescued 12 others from the sea and
the rocks on the Ayvalik coastline.
The coastguard said three boats and
a helicopter were searching for more
“This is a crime against humanity.
It is murder to send people out to sea
like this,” the governor of Ayvalik,
Namik Kemal Nazli, said, referring to
the traffickers who exploit migrants
desperate to reach Europe.
In comments quoted on the Haberturk
website, the governor said 50-60
migrants from Iraq, Syria and Algeria
had put to sea in two boats from Dikili.
Haberturk also reported that the dead
people at Ayvalik had included two girls
and five boys.
Television footage showed a body in an
orange lifejacket lying at the grey water’s
edge in Ayvalik, lapped by waves.
“ We heard a boat sank and hit the
rocks. I guess these people died when
they were trying to swim from the rocks.
We came here to help as citizens,” one
unnamed eyewitness said.
Increased policing on Turkey ’s shores
and colder weather conditions have not
deterred the migrants from the Middle
East, Asia and Africa from embarking
on the perilous journey in small, flimsy
“ Migrants and refugees continue
to enter Greece at a rate of over 2500
a day from Turkey, which is very close
to the average through December,”
Migration (IOM) spokesman Joel
Millman said in Geneva. “So we see the
migrant flows are continuing through
the winter and obviously the fatalities
are continuing as well.”
The IOM said 3771 migrants had
died trying to cross the Mediterranean
to reach Europe last year, up from 3,279
recorded deaths in 2014.
In a deal struck at the end of November,
Turkey promised to help stem the flow
of migrants to Europe in return for cash,
visas and renewed talks on joining the
European Union. Turkey is host to 2.2
million Syrians and has spent about $8.5
billion on feeding and housing them
since the start of the civil war nearly five
years ago. — Reuters
Bodies of 34 refugees
found on Turkish coast
Gambia has ordered female government
employees to wear headscar ves at work
in a sign the west African country is
embracing a Muslim identity one month
after President Yahya Jammeh declared
it an Islamic republic.
From the start of the year female
workers are no longer allowed to expose
their hair, said a memo circulated to all
ministries and departments overnight.
“Female staff are urged to use head ties
and neatly wrap their hair,” the memo said.
Some 95% of Gambia’s population
of 1.8 million people are Muslim and
the country is now the second Islamic
republic in Africa after Mauritania.
Other such countries include Iran,
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The move was designed to distance
Gambia from its past as a British colony
and citizens of other faiths would still be
able to practise, Jammeh said last month.
The tiny country borders only Senegal,
a country that is majority Muslim and
Despite strong commercial ties with
Britain and other European countries
whose citizens are regular visitors to
Gambia’s white-sand beaches, relations
with the west have deteriorated in recent
years. The European Union temporarily
withheld aid money to Gambia in 2014
over its poor human rights record.
Emperor Nero’s golden palace,
the walls of medieval Siena and the
foundations of Venice will all receive
sorely needed restoration funds after
Italy approved a plan yesterday to spend
300 million euros ($480 million) to
protect its cultural heritage.
Caring for thousands of years’ worth
of art and architecture is a perennial
problem in Italy, and many sites have
been left in a fragile state by public
spending cuts and mismanagement.
The walls protecting Siena are among
the monuments set to be restored, at a
cost of 2.2 million euros over the next
three years, the culture ministry said.
The investment plan was unveiled
shortly after Prime Minister Matteo
Renzi’s government passed a 2016
budget which increases spending on
culture, including a handout to 18-year-
olds to spend on activities like cinema
Under the plan, 13 million euros will
go towards restoring the golden palace
Emperor Nero had built in Rome as a
monument to himself but which the
later emperor Trajan buried.
More than six million euros will go
to various projects aimed at helping
to prop up the northern canal city of
Cultural sites will also be kitted
out with security alarms and video
sur veillance, the ministry said, adding
that this spending would come to 50
million euros. — Reuters
Restoration funds for Nero’s palace
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