Home' Greymouth Star : February 8th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The mother of a backpacker slain in
an Australian hostel wrote an open
letter to United States President Donald
Trump, rejecting the decision to label
her daughter’s death as a “terror attack”.
The slayings of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20,
and fellow Briton Tom Jackson, 30, were
on a list of 78 attacks the White House
says were “executed or inspired by” the
Islamic State terror group and under-
reported by the media.
Rosie Ayliffe says the possibility of
terrorism was discounted early in the
“My daughter’s death will not be used
to further this insane persecution of
innocent people,” she wrote.
Australian police allege that the
suspect, Smail Ayad, of France shouted
“Allahu akbar” — an Arabic phrase
meaning God is great during the attack,
but said there was no indication the
assault was motivated by extremism.
They have said they are investigating
whether Ayad had a romantic obsession
The attack took place in front of dozens
of backpackers at a hostel in northern
Ayliffe-Chung was found dead at the
scene. Jackson tried to stop the attack
and was fatally wounded.
“This vilification of whole nation states
and their people based on religion is a
terrifying reminder of the horror that
can ensue when we allow ourselves to be
led by ignorant people into darkness and
hatred,” Ayliffe wrote.
Yesterday Trump accused the media
of deliberately minimising reporting of
terrorist attacks, including high-profile
“ You’ve seen what happened in Paris
and Nice. All over Europe it’s happening.
It’s got to a point where it’s not even
being reported,” Trump told a group of
military leaders and troops at MacDill
Air Force Base in Florida.
“In many cases, the very, very dishonest
press doesn’t want to report it. They have
their reasons and you understand that.”
The incident that involved the death
of Ayliffe-Chung was on the list as were
Man Haron-Monis’s 2014 attack on
Sydney’s Lindt Cafe — in which two
people died — and the fatal shooting
of police worker Curtis Cheng in
The list appeared to be hastily
assembled, including several misspellings
of the word “attacker. ”
Trump, however, is standing by his
claim the media has failed to adequately
cover some terror attacks in America
and across the globe, including the Lindt
Cafe siege and four other Australian
Trump, speaking to reporters overnight
while meeting with the National Sheriffs’
Association at the White House, said
he understood “the total dishonesty of
the media better than anybody and I let
people know ”.
“I have to know because I am reported
on possibly more than anybody in the
world,” he said.
After Trump’s claim, the White House
released the list of 78 terror attacks to
support it, but most of the incidents —
including the San Bernardino, Orlando
nightclub, Paris, Brussels airport — were
extensively covered by the media.
The December 2014 Sydney Lindt
siege was aired live for hours by CNN
to millions of Americans and was front
page news on major US newspapers,
including the New York Times.
The 2014 stabbing of a Victorian
police officer and Australian Federal
Police officer at Endeavour Hills police
station in Melbourne, the 2015 shooting
of New South Wales police accountant
Curtis Cheng and last year’s stabbing of
a man in Minto, NSW, were also on the
Media organisations refuted the Trump
administration’s allegations. — AAP
President stands by media terror report claim
Cloudburst floods Sydney in dramatic end to heatwave
Sydneysiders’ prayers for relief after
days of intense heat were answered
with flash flooding that caused chaos
on the roads and left residents and
travellers scrambling for help.
The sudden storm hit the city
and surrounding suburbs yesterday
leaving thousands of homes without
power, more than a dozen people
trapped in their cars in floodwaters,
and others stuck due to closed roads.
Light rail lines were suspended,
flights were delayed and murder trials
were interrupted when the Supreme
Court building in the central city was
evacuated as water streamed down
Almost half the average rainfall for
February hit Sydney yesterday.
The city was drenched with 53mm
of rain since 9am, with most of that
in just one hour between 10 and
11am as the storm cell hit.
The inner west suburb of
Marrickville was also with 53mm of
rain while 19 people were evacuated
from a block of flats initially thought
liable to collapse, but later deemed
All 19 have returned home.
The nearby suburb of Canterbury
copped 51mm of rain.
In the west, Penrith, Parramatta
and Campbelltown also experienced
the force of the storm, as did
Wollongong and Port Kembla south
The State Emergency Ser vice
responded to 160 calls for help,
including 16 people trapped in their
cars who had to be rescued from
Marrickville, Annandale, Waterloo
City streets were awash with
pedestrians battling to walk through
flooded crossings in ankle-deep
Light rail ser vices were cancelled
between D ulwich Hill and Central
due to flooding, leaving commuters
such as Andrea Plawutsky forced to
alight in floodwater as rubbish bins
floated down the street.
Plawutsky, who had been travelling
towards Central Station when her
journey came to an abrupt halt
at Chinatown, ended up running
through the rain barefoot.
“The water was halfway up my shins
when I got off,” she said.
There were delays at Sydney Airport
for both arrivals and departures
and a small number of flights were
cancelled while others were diverted.
More than 5100 properties were
without power across Sydney.
A blackout in Redfern and parts of
Surry Hills affected more than 700
homes and businesses, while 1400
properties were without power in
Lane Cove, Ausgrid said.
Power provider Endeavour Energy
said 1000 properties lost power in
Ambar vale, with a further 2000 cut
off throughout Sydney in suburbs
including Kemps Creek
Motorists travelling across the
Anzac Bridge had to grapple with
just one westbound lane for hours
before the others were reopened in
Sydneysiders are being advised to
keep their umbrellas in their bags
with light to moderate rain forecast
for this morning, with possible
thunderstorms along the coast.
When flight attendant Sheila
Fedrick spotted a dishevelled
girl on an Alaska Airlines flight
from Seattle to San Francisco,
she knew something was wrong.
The teenager “looked like she
had been through pure hell”, the
flight attendant told NBC and
the well-dressed man she was
travelling with would not allow
the girl to be spoken to.
Fedrick tried to engage them
in conversation, but the man
became defensive, she said.
On instinct, the Fedrick left
a note for the girl in one of the
bathrooms on board the aircraft.
bathrooms,” Fedrick said. “S he
wrote back on the note and said
‘I need help’.”
Fedrick informed the pilot of
the passengers and the police
were waiting to escort them
once the plane landed.
Fedrick’s instincts were
correct — the girl was a human
The 2011 incident was
reported in media this week, as
charity Airline Ambassadors
seeks to train airline staff in ways
to combat human trafficking.
At an Airline Ambassadors
training session this week,
crews were taught to look for
passengers who appear unsure
of their destination or ner vous;
children travelling with someone
who doesn’t appear to be a
parent or relative; and children
or adults who appear bruised or
They are also taught to notice
if someone insists on speaking
for the alleged victim, does
not let them out of their sight
or becomes defensive when
questioned. — AP
Shelia Fedrick has been sharing her story with US media this
Flight attendant shares story
of saving trafficking victim
Inch by gilded inch, the chariot to
take Thailand’s late king on his last
journey is being restored by workers
in Bangkok in a labour that will last
Built of wood and decorated with
gold and mirrors, the 13.7-tonne
chariot is 18m long, 11.2m high and
Pulled by 216 men, it will carry the
ornate urn containing King Bhumibol
Adulyadej’s body to the site of the
cremation at the Sanam Luang ground
outside the Royal Palace.
The king died on October 13 after
seven decades on the throne, plunging
Thailand into mourning, which for
many Thais will last a year. No date has
yet been set for the cremation, but it
will not take place before October.
Known as the “Great Victory”
Chariot, the vehicle is believed take
the divine back to heaven. Renovation
began in January and is due to be
completed by September.
The chariot was first built in 1795
in the time of King Rama I for
the cremation of his father. King
Bhumibol was Rama IX in the Chakri
dynasty. He has been succeeded by
his son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn
Bodindradebayavarangkun, known as
The chariot has been used 25
times, most recently in 2012 for the
cremation of Princess Bejaratana
Rajasuda, the late king’s cousin.
Golden chariot restored for king’s ‘ascent to heaven’
An official from the conser vation science division of the fine arts department of the National Museum of Thailand
repairs the royal chariot, which will be used during the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s funeral later this year.
Oldest captive fish euthanised
The longest-living fish in a
zoological setting, a lungfish
known as Granddad acquired
by the Shedd Aquarium in
Chicago in 1933, has been
euthanised after suffering
failing health well in its mid-
90s, aquarium officials said
Granddad, which came
to Shedd from Australia in
anticipation of the 1933-34
Chicago World’s Fair, was
seen by more than 104 million
people during its time in
Chicago, aquarium president
Bridget Coughlin said in a
“ For a fish who spent much of
his time imitating a fallen log,
he sparked curiosity, excitement
and wonder among guests of all
ages who would hear his story
and learn about the incredible
biology that makes his species
a living fossil and one of the
oldest living vertebrate genera
on the planet,” Coughlin said.
According to the aquarium,
lungfish, which can live to
be more than 100 years old
and are a protected species
in Australia, have existed for
nearly 400 million years and
fossils show they have remained
unchanged for over 100 million
A Shedd spokeswoman said
Granddad ’s exact age was
unknown but it was believed
to be in its mid-90s. The
aquarium said Granddad was
put down after losing interest
in food and showing signs of
Lungfish, which are native to
the Mary and Burnett rivers in
Queensland, Australia, have a
single primitive lung and are
among the few fish that can
breathe air. — Reuters
The Australian lungfish, Granddad,Neoceratodus forsteri,
acquired by the Shedd Aquarium in 1933, in Chicago, Illinois,
in this undated photograph.
A meteor plummeted in a fireball over
Lake Michigan early yesterday, lighting
up the night sky in bright blue just before
scattering over the lake in many pieces,
according to a police video and an expert’s
Lisle, Illinois, police officer Jim Dexter
recorded the meteor’s descent on the dash
camera of his patrol car at 1.25am (local
Aside from Lisle, which is less than 48km
west of Chicago, and other parts of Illinois;
witnesses reported seeing the meteor from
Wisconsin, Michigan and as far away as
New York State and the Canadian province
of Ontario, according to a description on the
website of the American Meteor Society.
The meteor’s fiery descent is likely to rank
as one of the most spectacular events of its
kind anywhere in the world this year, Mike
Hankey, operations manager for the society,
said by telephone.
The meteor broke apart into pieces of rock
and metallic dust that descended in a cloud
onto Lake Michigan, Hankey said. No one
was injured by debris, he said. — Reuters
Meteor lights up night sky over Lake Michigan
Fox News television presenter Bill O’Reilly
is refusing to apologise to Russian President
Vladimir Putin after describing him as “a
“Apparently the Putin administration in
Moscow is demanding that I, your humble
correspondent, apologise for saying old Vlad
is a killer,” O’Reilly said on his television show.
“So I’m working on that apology but it may
take a little time . . . might want to check in
with me around 2023,” he continued.
In comments carried by Russian state news
agency Tass, a Kremlin spokesman had earlier
said O’Reilly’s comments were “insulting and
impermissible” and insisted Putin was due an
apology from “such a respectable television
O’Reilly, questioning Trump’s respect
for Putin, had emphasised in an inter view
broadcast on Monday that “Putin’s a killer”.
Trump responded: “ There are a lot of killers.
We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think?
Our country’s so innocent?”
Trump has vowed to improve relations with
Russia, despite United States intelligence
reports which say Moscow was behind a
hacking campaign aimed at influencing last
year’s presidential election in his favour.
Apology to Putin ‘may take a little time’
Love of curry only
truth, says fake bride
A love of curries was the only
truth in a statutory declaration
made by an Australian bride to
help her fake Indian husband
stay in the country, a court has
Leilani Rose May is one of
16 women who were allegedly
married off by migration officer
Chetan Mashru and his celebrant
wife Divya Gowda in a “one-stop
shop” for spousal visas.
The couple’s trial in the Brisbane
District Court heard yesterday
that May was paid $1000 cash
after marrying Amritpal Singh
in 2011 and a further $250 each
week into her bank account.
The now 25-year-old said she
had never met Singh before their
wedding, which was merely a
signing of documents at Mashru
and Gowda’s Oxley townhouse.
Ms May said she later signed
more documents that were
not true including a statutory
declaration in front of a justice
of the peace detailing her false
The court heard the declaration
claimed the two met at a
friend’s birthday party and later
exchanged phone numbers.
“ He’s a sensitive and caring
man and loves me a lot,” the
It further claimed May was
learning Punjabi, how to make
the curries she loved and wanted
Singh’s visa to be sorted as soon
as possible so they could travel
a bit before settling down and
starting a family.
But May admitted it was all a
lie except for one element.
“ I love curries,” she said.
Mashru and Gowda have
pleaded not guilty to arranging
marriages for visas while Mashru,
who is representing himself
in court, is also charged with
delivering a false or misleading
document and influencing a
The trial continues. — AAP
The Israeli parliament ’s move
to legalise thousands of settler
homes in the occupied West Bank
goes against international law and
will have legal consequences for
Israel, United Nations Secretary-
General Antonio Guterres was
quoted as saying overnight.
Palestinians have condemned
the legislation approved by
Israeli lawmakers yesterday as a
blow to their hopes of statehood,
but its passage may only be
largely symbolic as it contravenes
Israeli Supreme Court rulings on
The legislation retroactively
legalises about 4000 settler
homes built on privately owned
“The Secretary-General deeply
regrets the adoption of the (bill).
This bill is in contravention of
international law and will have
far-reaching legal consequences
for Israel,” Stephane D ujarric,
spokesman for Guterres, said in
“The Secretary-General insists
on the need to avoid any actions
that would derail the two-state
solution,” D ujarric said, referring
to longstanding international
efforts to resolve the Israeli-
Israel’s attorney-general has
said the law is unconstitutional
and that he will not defend it at
the Supreme Court. — Reuters
UN decries Israeli move
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