Home' Greymouth Star : February 8th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, February 8, 2017
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1540 - First recorded horse race meeting in
England is held at Roodeye Fields, Chester.
1801 - Peace of Luneville between Austria
and France marks virtual destruction of Holy
1923 - Dobrolet, the Soviet state airline, is
formed. It was renamed Aeroflot in 1932.
1941 - German troops under
General Erwin Rommel cross from
Italy to North Africa in World War
1942 - The French passenger liner
Normandie burns and sinks at its
pier in New York City.
1943 - Battle for Guadalcanal ends
in US victory over Japanese.
1950 - US Senator Joseph McCarthy says
he has evidence that there are individuals in
the State Department who are card-carrying
members of the Communist Party.
1962 - Jamaica becomes independent nation
within British Commonwealth.
1964 - The Beatles make their first live
American television appearance on The Ed
1969 - First test flight of the Boeing 747
1971 - Earthquake in San Fernando Valley
near Los Angeles kills at least 64 people.
1971 - The Apollo 14 spacecraft returns to
Earth after man’s third landing on the moon.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Mrs Patrick Campbell (Beatrice Tanner),
English actor (1865-1940); Charles Kingsford
Smith, Australian aviation pioneer
(1897-1935); Kathryn Grayson,
US actor-singer (1922-2010);
Brendan Behan, Irish writer (1923-
1964); Janet Suzman, British
actor (1939-); JM Coetzee, South
African-Australian author (1940-
); Carole King, US singer (1942-);
Joe Pesci, US actor (1943-); Derryn
Hinch, Australian media personality
(1944-); Alice Walker, US author (1944-);
Mia Farrow, US actor (1945-); Gina Rinehart,
Australian mining billionaire (1954-); Rosie
Batty, campaigner against domestic violence
and 2015 Australian of the Year (1962-);
Travis Tritt, US country singer (1963-); Glenn
McGrath, Australian cricketer (1970-); Zhang
Ziyi, Chinese actress (1979-), Tom Hiddleston,
British actor (1981-).
“If we knew where opinion ended and fact
began, we should have discovered, I suppose,
the absolute.” — Alec Waugh, English author
“He said to them, ‘Come and see’.”
— John 1:39
at Fletcher Industries’
factory were dismissed
yesterday because of the continuing reduced
demand for New Zealand plywood. A spokesman
for Fletchers, giving notice of the dismissals in a
statement said the move was “regrettable”.
Most of those dismissed are only part-time
workers and have other jobs. This reduces the
staff at the plant, the biggest of its kind in New
Zealand, to about 100.
All were informed of the termination of their
employment by the manager of the factory
Mr A McGregor yesterday. “ They took it very
well,” he said this morning.
Reports that the Haast Road was a “goat
track” and the Otira Gorge should not be used
“at any price” have been issued by Government
Tourist Bureaux, according to tourists who
have come here. Last night members of the
Westland District Progress League swapped
some reports they had heard from tourists
which gave a completely false impression of the
West Coast and in particular its roads.
Another was that the Otira Gorge could
only be negotiated on horseback, while yet
another was that there were no air flights into
Greymouth. Many of these reports, it was
stated, were attributed to government tourist
and AA offices.
A Churchill Scholar, Hokitika-born Mr Jim
Havill leaves New Zealand with his family
shortly for the United States where he will
further his studies and research in the field of
his interest, that of the visually handicapped.
Mr Havill spoke of this work in an address to
Hokitika Rotarians this week.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Islamic State corpses on streets a clear message
he flyblown corpses of
Islamic State militants
have been rotting along a
main street in north Mosul
for two weeks, a health
risk for passersby. Suicide
bombers’ belts beside the fighters can still
explode, killing anyone nearby. However,
the Iraqi army has no intention of burying
the jihadists and hopes as many people
as possible will get a good look at their
blackened bodies, torn apart by bombs and
As Iraqi forces prepare to expand their
offensive against Islamic State from east
to west Mosul, they want to stamp out any
sympathy that residents may have for the
group, which won instant support when it
seized the vast city in 2014.
“ We will leave the terrorists there,”
Ibrahim Mohamed, a soldier standing
near three dead jihadists said, ignoring the
His cousin suffered death by
electrocution at the hands of jihadists
during Islamic State’s harsh rule of Mosul
because he was a policeman.
“The message is clear to Iraqis, to keep
them from joining or supporting Daesh
(Islamic State). This will be your fate. The
Iraqi army will finish you off,” he said.
A suicide bomber’s belt, with its
detonation pin still in place, lay in the
street a few feet away, near some clothing
once worn by a militant.
The Iraqi army has come a long way
since it collapsed in the face of Islamic
State’s lightning advance into northern
Iraq. After retaking half of Mosul in three
months of fighting, Iraqi forces are poised
to enter the western side of the city.
Victory there would mean the end of
Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate,
though Iraqi officials expect the group to
fight on as insurgents in Iraq and inspire
attacks in the west.
The corpses are left on view as a
psychological weapon to deter Islamic
State sleeper cells, which Iraqi officials say
are highly effective and distributed across
Islamic State has executed thousands
of Iraqi soldiers and policemen, and their
comrades are eager for revenge.
“ We leave them in the street like that
so the dogs eat them,” soldier Asaad
Hussein said. “ We also want the citizens
to know there is a price for supporting
Sunni Mosul had accused the Shi’ite-
led Baghdad government and army of
widespread abuses, which they deny.
Islamic State exploited that resentment
but started losing popularity after it
imposed its radical version of Islam and
shot or beheaded anyone deemed an
Iraqi citizens do not seem to mind the
gory sight of the bodies, with people
walking past them every day as Mosul
begins the work of rebuilding entire
neighbourhoods pulverised by Islamic
State car bombs and United States-led air
Labourer Youssef Salim obser ved the
corpses, still with boots on their feet, and
paused to reflect on life under Islamic
State, which has lost ground in Iraq and
other Arab countries. He said the bodies
should not be moved.
“Do you know what smoking one, just
one cigarette meant?” he asked. “ Twenty-
five lashes in a public square where people
were forced to watch you suffer.
“ If your beard length did not meet their
requirements, that was a month in jail and
100 lashes in public.”
The militants are no longer in charge in
east Mosul but they are still very capable
of spreading fear.
Two men approached a soldier to
complain that there were suspicious wires
that may be attached to a bomb on a door
at the factory where they work.
Minutes later, an increasingly familiar
scene unfolded. Soldiers looked up and
spotted a drone aircraft operated by
Islamic State militants, located about
600m away across the Tigris River, which
Iraqi forces opened fired with their
assault rifles, hoping to blast the small
aircraft — an Islamic State weapon of
choice — out of the sky before it could
drop a bomb.
A few streets away, a group of young
boys walked towards three more Islamic
“The bodies should stay. Daesh killed lots
of people so why should they be buried?”
Salem Jamil, 13, who was carrying a plastic
bag filled with old electric wiring he hopes
to sell, asked.
But a man who approached said the
bodies should be buried because that was
The three militants were shot when they
tried to sneak through some trees to kill
One of the soldiers stood proudly over
the dead men, including one still wearing
a suicide belt. He smiled and pointed to
a cigarette stuffed in one of the jihadist ’s
“ We put it there because of the terrible
things they did to Iraqis,” the soldier,
Asaad Najif said. “ The fate of any terrorist
is clear. We will find you and kill you.”
Iraqi civilians walk near bodies of Islamic State militants killed in clashes in Mosul.
Citizens recall jihadist reign of terror
Disabled mothers neglected
Everline Achieng has a disability noticed
only when she stands. She walks with the
support of a crutch since losing the use of
her right leg at the age of eight due to an
unknown illness that also put an end to
In 2010, three years before the
government introduced a free maternity
ser vices programme, she delivered twins
by Caesarean section at the Rift Valley
General Hospital, but they died after
developing breathing problems.
On top of suffering the loss of her babies,
Achieng had difficulties in hospital as the
bed she was given was high and fixed. “It
was a painful struggle climbing on to it,”
At the hospital where she delivered, since
renamed as Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, the
wards are now equipped with adjustable
beds — a sign that health ser vices are
becoming more inclusive.
But one thing has not changed: the lack
of data on disabled expectant mothers.
In 2013, health functions were devolved
to Kenya’s 47 counties, which are bound
by the 2010 constitution to implement
health policies developed at the national
level, including free maternity ser vices.
But rights activists say those ser vices
have not been adapted for disabled
women, partly because the government is
not gathering information on them.
Achieng is counted as one of the nearly
5% of the Kenyan population suffering
some form of disability, as captured in a
2007 national sur vey.
But that data is now around a decade
old — and more recent censuses, such as
the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health
Sur vey, do not include information on
disabled men, women or children.
In hospitals, the patient sheet filled in by
pregnant women has no question asking if
they have a disability.
Information gathered by county hospitals
is fed into the Ministry of Health’s
database, which can be used by other
ministries and development agencies. But
the oversight in the data collection makes
it impossible to tell how many disabled
mothers are delivering at hospitals.
Dr John Murima, medical
superintendent at Nakuru Level 5
Hospital, could not provide figures on
disabled women giving birth at the public
“ We use certain tools to capture data
for patients — for example, their general
health. But we do not have a tool that
captures people with disability as a
patient,” he said.
Given that governments and donors rely
on data to identify development concerns,
Kenya’s lack of statistics on disabled
people accessing health ser vices means
their needs are at risk of being ignored,
President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced
the free maternity ser vices programme in
mid-2013, aimed at relieving all women
of having to pay user fees for delivery at
Annually, 1.6 million women in Kenya
deliver babies, according to the health
ministry. Of these, about 1 million give
birth in public hospitals, while 200,000 do
so in private hospitals and 400,000 deliver
at home or in unhealthy conditions.
Even women who do not pay into
the National Hospital Insurance Fund
(NHIF), a State health insurance scheme,
are eligible for free delivery.
Last October, the health ministry
extended free maternity ser vices under a
programme called Linda Mama, Boresha
Jamii (“take care of a mother, improve the
Under this initiative, expectant mothers
who cannot afford insurance cover can
now access ante-natal, delivery, post-natal
and health ser vices for their child for a
Dr Peter Kimuu, head of the health
ministry’s policy, planning and healthcare
financing department, said those eligible
must register first for a free NHIF card.
“ Every woman has a right to access
equal and quality health ser vices in any
hospital,” he said.
But for Achieng, the unique needs of
disabled mothers extend beyond free
maternity ser vices.
“ We really need help to start income-
generating activities to be able to afford a
healthy lifestyle,” she said.
The global sustainable development goals,
launched last year, state that countries should
promote gender equality by eliminating all
forms of discrimination against women.
But without data to demonstrate
the scale and urgency of the problem,
securing funding for programmes to
support disabled women is likely to take
longer than the 15-year life span of the
sustainable goals, argued George Gongera,
a professor of strategic management and
international relations at the Co-operative
University College of Kenya.
Dr David Ole Sankok, chairman of
Kenya’s National Council of Persons
with Disabilities, which is charged with
collecting data on disabled people, said
no audit had been done on women with
disabilities seeking maternity care.
But trying to gather such information
could draw strong reactions from the
target group, he warned.
“This is a private affair and you can’t
start asking if she has a disability. She will
begin to think that she is not supposed
to be pregnant because of her disability,”
Despite the sensitivity of the issue,
medical staff are being trained to handle
disabled patients better, and the council is
pushing for prescriptions to be offered in
braille for the blind, he added.
Stephen Obama, Nakuru County co-
ordinator for persons with disabilities and
development, said programmes targeting
disabled women must be implemented
urgently if they are to enjoy good maternal
“ Poverty is a major problem facing
persons with disabilities — and for a
pregnant woman it becomes even more
complicated because they have special
needs to meet, like healthy food — and
that means money which they don’t have.
We want government to note this as a
troubling issue,” he said.
Last year, the Ministry of Health
recognised the poor state of data collection
in a key investment framework, noting
that it is problematic for planning and
Faith Njahira, a disability rights
advocate, said the government
should utilise information collected
by community health workers from
households — which includes disabilities
among family members — to compile
That would be a key step towards
recognising the problem, Gongera said. “ It
is very difficult to consider an issue, even
when it is an emergency . . . when you have
no data to show,” he said. — Reuters
Wonderful Tonight: Taking Kim Jong Un’s brother to a Clapton concert
Two years ago, Thae Yong Ho, North
Korea’s former deputy ambassador in
London, received an unexpected phone
call from the ruling Workers’ Party Central
Committee in Pyongyang telling him
to get ready to receive a very important
“P lease go to the Albert Hall and buy
four tickets,” said the cryptic message from
a disposable e-mail address designed to
throw off western intelligence agencies.
But the message was not code — Thae
found out later he was being asked to take
leader Kim Jong Un’s brother to an Eric
After receiving the e-mail, Thae said he
searched on-line for upcoming gigs at
London’s Royal Albert Hall. One caught
his eye: Eric Clapton’s 70th Birthday
“I realised, ‘Ah! It must be Kim Jong
Chol! In North Korea who else would be
interested but Kim Jong Chol?’.”
Not much is known about Kim Jong
Chol, the elder brother of North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un, except his love
for the music of British guitarist Eric
Thae, who defected from North Korea
to the South last year, said he was charged
with escorting Kim around London when
he arrived for the concert. In an inter view
in Seoul, he described the then 35-year-
old as a polite young man who said little
about his life back in Pyongyang or the
politics of his brother.
“He’s very free,” Thae said. “ But he’s
interested only in guitars and music”.
Video of Kim at the May, 2015 concert
showed him clad in a leather jacket
and wearing aviator sunglasses with an
unknown woman by his side, believed at
the time to have been his girlfriend.
“S he’s not his girlfriend,” Thae said.
She was a rhythm guitarist from the
Moranbong Band — a North Korean pop
group formed by Kim Jong Un after he
Just like Clapton, Kim Jong Chol is
an accomplished lead guitarist and jams
regularly with the woman, Thae said.
In the days leading up to Clapton’s
birthday concert, Thae took Kim to
Denmark Street, a street in London’s
glitzy West End packed with guitar and
musical instrument shops.
Kim Jong Chol tried out various guitars
in every single one of those shops, Thae
said, before settling on one where he
bought an armful of pedals and mixers to
take back home to Pyongyang.
“The shop owner didn’t know it was Kim
Jong Chol,” Thae said.
“ He let him play for 30 minutes. The
shopkeepers of those guitar shops were
amazed by his talent ”.
Curious at the mysterious guitarist
riffing before them, Thae said several
shopkeepers started to talk to the North
Korean leader’s brother, prying him
excitedly with questions like “ What is
your name?” and “Which band are you in?”
“ He didn’t say anything,” Thae said.
“ He just smiled.” — Reuters
Links Archive February 7th 2017 February 9th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page