Home' Greymouth Star : February 23rd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, February 23, 2017
More than $4 billion is needed by
the end of March to help nearly 20
million people who risk star vation in
Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and
Yemen, United Nations Secretary
General Antonio Guterres said today.
Citing armed conflicts and climate
change as part of the reasons for the
food emergency, Guterres led a call
for $5.6b in funding for humanitarian
operations in the four countries this
year, of which $4.4b is needed by
the end of next month “to avert a
“ Despite some generous pledges,
just $90 million has actually been
received so far,” Guterres said, about
2c for every dollar needed.
“ We are in the beginning of the year
but these numbers are very worrying.”
consequences, Guterres said, calling
climate change “key enhancer” of the
Last week, the UN World Food
Programme’s chief economist said
more than 20 million people in the
four countries were at risk of dying
from star vation within six months.
Guterres said today women and
girls are disproportionately affected
by the crisis and nearly half a million
children are suffering severe acute
“ Famine is already a reality in parts
of South Sudan,” Guterres said.
“Unless we act now, it is only a matter
of time until it affects other areas
and other countries. We are facing a
Yemen, where more than 10,000
people have died as part of a two-
year-long conflict, is facing the
largest food insecurity emergency
in the world, Guterres said, with an
estimated 7.3 million people needing
Earlier today, a senior UN official
said more than seven million
people face star vation in Nigeria’s
insurgency-hit north-eastern region
and around Lake Chad. — Reuters
UN urgently seeks $4b aid to avert famine in Africa, Yemen
The Christian Brothers’ regional leader
says the Catholic order will disappear
from Australia in the coming decades.
Oceania provincial leader Peter
Clinch says the country’s youngest
Christian brother is in his 50s and the
order no longer seeks applicants for its
He was asked whether he thought
the Christian Brothers would become
nothing more than a “ brand” on schools
run by lay people in 30 to 40 years.
“I don’t think even the brand will be
there,” he told the Royal Commission
into Institutional Responses to Child
Sexual Abuse in Sydney yesterday.
“I think the brand Christian Brothers
will be no more.”
Marist Brothers provincial Peter
Carroll said his order was also ageing
and receiving few candidates.
The Christian Brothers, despite
$1.5 million defending convicted abuser
Brother Robert Best.
The commission yesterday heard the
order was forced to fork out $14m to top
up payments to 165 victims.
The additional payments were made
after a 2014 royal commission hearing
prompted a review of about 200
Victims of Christian Brothers’
abuse were paid a total of $48.5m
between 1980 and 2015 — the highest
compensation of all the Australian
Clinch was asked why he thought
so many settlements had been
“ We thought we were going to be taken
to the cleaner, which we could still,” he
“It was kind of a defensiveness, a
reluctance to come and speak with legal
Data released at the start of the present
royal commission hearing indicated 22%
of Christian Brother members between
1950 and 2010 were alleged sexual
The royal commission heard protocols
about what to do with a member found
to be a sexual abuser differed among the
male Catholic religious orders.
Carroll said known abusers among
the Marist Brothers were subject to
ministry restrictions and super vision,
while Clinch said his order would ask a
member to leave or recommend him for
dismissal if the public perception of him
was too strong.
Carroll and Clinch were among a panel
of religious leaders giving evidence at the
The hearing continues today with the
country’s metropolitan archbishops
expected to be called. — AAP
Muslim Americans have helped
raise more than $78,000 ($116,750)
to repair vandalised headstones
at a Jewish cemetery in St Louis,
Missouri, according to an on-line
fundraising page, amid attacks and
threats against Jewish institutions.
About 170 headstones were toppled
or damaged at the century-old Chesed
Shel Emeth Society cemetery over
the weekend, according to cemetery
Some Jewish groups described the
vandalism and threats as the latest
evidence that anti-Semitic groups
have been emboldened by the
election of Donald Trump as United
States president. His campaign
last year drew the support of white
nationalists and right-wing groups,
despite his disavowals of them.
“ Muslim Americans stand in
solidarity with the Jewish-American
community to condemn this horrific
act of desecration,” the fundraisers
said on their website. More than
2700 people had donated $78,546 as
of early today.
Jewish community centers across
the US have reported a surge in
bomb threats, all of which have so
far proved to be hoaxes. Yesterday
afternoon, the Anti-Defamation
League, one of the country’s most
prominent Jewish advocacy groups,
said its national headquarters in New
York City received an anonymous
bomb threat but was later given the
Trump condemned the threats as
anti-Semitism for the first time after
repeatedly declining to do so when
asked by journalists last week. Some
Jewish organisations have criticised
his approach, saying they fear that
the groups that supported Trump had
become more active.
The fundraising effort was launched
by Linda Sarsour, a liberal political
activist, and Tarek El-Messidi, the
founding director of Celebrate
Mercy, a non-profit organisation that
teaches the public about Mohammed,
the founder of Islam.
Sarsour posted on Twitter that she
was raising the funds “in solidarity
with our Jewish sisters and brothers”.
Sarsour was a supporter of Senator
Bernie Sanders in his bid to become
the Democratic Party’s presidential
candidate, and went on to become
one of the organisers of the Women’s
March on Washington, which drew
record crowds to the capital on
January 21, the day after Trump’s
Cemetery staff, who did not respond
to a request for comment, were still
calculating the cost of repairing the
damaged tombstones. The organisers
of the fundraising campaign said
they would donate any excess funds
to repair “any other vandalised Jewish
centres.” — Reuters
Muslims raise $84,000 for vandalised Jewish cemetery
Cape Canaveral (Florida)
Astronomers have found a nearby
solar system with seven Earth-sized
planets, three of which circle their
parent star at the right distance
for liquid surface water, raising the
prospect of life, research published
The star, known as TRAPPIST-1,
is a small, dim celestial body in
the constellation Aquarius. It is
located about 40 light years away
from Earth. Researchers said the
proximity of the system, combined
with the proportionally large size
of its planets compared to the
small star, make it a good target
for follow-up studies. They hope
to scan the planets’ atmospheres
for possible chemical fingerprints
“ I think that we’ve made a crucial
step towards finding if there is life
out there,” University of Cambridge
astronomer Amaury Triaud told
reporters on a conference call.
The discovery, published in
this week’s issue of the journal
Nature, builds on previous research
showing three planets circling
TRAPPIST-1. They are among
more than 3500 planets discovered
beyond the solar system, or
Researchers have focused on
finding Earth-sized rocky planets
with the right temperatures so that
water, if any exists, would be liquid,
a condition believed to be necessary
The diameter of TRAPPIST-1
is about 8% of the sun’s size. That
makes its Earth-sized planets
appear large as they parade past.
From the vantage point of
telescopes on Earth, the planets’
motions regularly block out
bits of the star’s light. Scientists
determined the system’s
architecture by studying these dips.
“The data is really clear and
unambiguous,” Triaud wrote in an
Because TRAPPIST-1 is so small
and cool, its so-called “habitable
zone” is very close to the star. Three
planets are properly positioned
for liquid water, lead researcher
Michael Gillon, with the University
of Liege in Belgium, said.
“They form a very compact system,”
Gillon said. “ They could have some
liquid water and maybe life.”
Even if the planets do not
have life now, it could evolve.
TRAPPIST-1 is at least 500
million years old, but has an
estimated lifespan of 10 trillion
years. The sun, by comparison, is
about halfway through its estimated
In a few billion years, when the
sun has run out of fuel and the
solar system has ceased to exist,
TRAPPIST-1 will still be an infant
star, astronomer Ignas Snellen,
with the Netherlands’ Leiden
Obser vatory, wrote in a related
essay in Nature.
“ It burns hydrogen so slowly that
it will live for another 10 trillion
years,” he wrote, “which is arguably
enough time for life to evolve. ”
Astronomers’ find seven planets where life may be possible
Space Telescope Science Institute astronomer Nikole Lewis uses a graphic to compare the size of Earth (bottom) with a recent discovery of an
Malaysian police have named a senior
official in North Korea’s embassy and a
staff member at its State airline, who are
wanted for questioning over the murder
last week of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged
half-brother of North Korea’s leader.
Kim Jong Nam, 46, was killed at
Kuala Lumpur International Airport on
February 13, while preparing to board a
flight to Macau, where he lived in exile
with his family under the protection of
South Korean and United States
officials believe the killing of the elder
half-brother of North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un was an assassination
carried out by agents of the North.
Kim Jong Nam had spoken out publicly
against his family’s dynastic control of
the isolated, nuclear-armed State.
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar named
the North Korean diplomat wanted
for questioning as 44-year-old Hyon
Kwang Song, and said he held the rank
of second secretary at the embassy.
The police chief identified the Air
Koryo staffer as Kim Uk Il, 37.
He said both were in Malaysia, but
gave no further details.
“They ’ve been called in for assistance.
We hope the embassy will co-operate
with us and allow us to inter view them
quickly or else we will compel them to
come to us,” Khalid told reporters at a
Calls to the North Korean embassy
for comment on the latest developments
Police have stepped up security at the
morgue where Kim Jong Nam’s body is
being held after an attempted break-in
earlier this week, Khalid said.
Malaysia has denied North Korea’s
request for the body to be handed over
to its embassy directly and has urged the
victim’s next of kin to come for ward to
help with the investigation.
Malaysia has so far identified a total of
eight North Koreans suspected of being
linked to killing.
One, Ri Jong Chol, is in custody, and
another, Ri Ji U, remains at large. Khalid
said police “strongly believed” four others
were back in the North Korean capital of
Pyongyang, having fled Malaysia on the
day of the attack.
Police have not stated Ri Jong Chol’s
role in the killing. He lived in Malaysia
for three years without working at the
company registered on his employment
permit or receiving a salary.
The first suspects to be arrested
last week were two women — one
Vietnamese, one Indonesian — who
are suspected of carrying out the fatal
assault on Kim Jong Nam using a fast-
Khalid said both women wiped a
liquid, containing an as yet unidentified
toxic substance, on Kim Jong Nam’s face.
“ Yes, the two female suspects knew that
the substance they had was toxic. We
don’t know what kind of chemical was
used,” he said, dismissing speculation the
women had thought they were part of a
“They used their bare hands,” he said,
adding that they were instructed to wash
their hands after wards.
The women had rehearsed the attack
at two shopping malls in central Kuala
Lumpur before assaulting Kim Jong
Nam, he said.
Diplomatic tensions have deepened
between North Korea and Malaysia
since the killing, with the countries
trading barbs over Malaysia’s handling
of the investigation.
Malaysia is one of the few countries
in the world that maintains ties with
the nuclear-armed nation. Earlier this
week Malaysia recalled its ambassador
from Pyongyang, and Prime Minister
Najib Razak rebuked the North Korea
ambassador in Kuala Lumpur for
making “diplomatically rude” comments.
Break-in bid at morgue where body held
A wrought iron gate with the
chilling inscription “Arbeit macht frei”
(“Work sets you free”) was returned
to Germany ’s Dachau concentration
camp overnight, more than two years
after it was stolen.
The theft in 2014 of the symbol of
suffering inflicted by Hitler’s Nazis
on Jews and others caused outrage
around the world. Police in Nor way
found it in December after an
More than 41,000 people died at
Dachau, and more than 200,000
people had been imprisoned at the
camp by the time it was liberated at
the end of World War Two.
Bavaria’s culture minister said the
theft had been an attack on the
integrity of the memorial site at the
“This gate was deliberately
taken. Dachau has global symbolic
significance. This is the healing of the
wound,” minister Ludwig Spaenle
said at the official ceremony to bring
it back and place it in the camp’s
A replica of the gate, 1.87m high
and weighing 108kg, was installed
in 2015 in time to mark the 70th
anniversary of Dachau’s liberation by
United States soldiers in April 1945.
The replica will remain in place.
Police in Nor way found the stolen
gate in a wooded area near the city of
Bergen, partly covered with branches.
Forensic experts examined it, but
it had been outdoors too long to
retain evidence such as fingerprints, a
“There were no technical clues to
follow up. The case has been closed,”
Paal Duley, a senior police officer in
Bergen, west Nor way, said.
The Nazis set up the camp in
Dachau, outside Munich, just weeks
after Hitler took power in 1933.
Initially designed to incarcerate
political foes, it became the prototype
for a network of concentration camps
at which some six million Jews were
Television footage showing piles of
bodies and star ved inmates from the
camp were among the first images the
world saw of the Holocaust.
A sign bearing the same slogan at
the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz,
Poland was stolen in 2009, but was
also later recovered. — Reuters
Gate returned to Nazi death camp
Workers hold an iron gate from Dachau concentration camp with the
notorious “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”) which was returned after
it was stolen in 2014.
A Japanese zoo has culled 57 of its
164 monkeys after finding they carried
“ invasive alien” genes, a local official says.
The monkeys, which were originally
believed to be pure Japanese macaques,
were killed by lethal injection at
Takagoyama Nature Zoo, 60km south of
Tokyo, in January, Tsutomu Hirano said
A Buddhist monk held a funeral
ser vice for the monkeys at the zoo on
February 8, the Futtsu city official said.
The culling was carried out to protect
the native environment after DNA
testing showed they were crossbred with
rhesus macaque, which is designated as
an “invasive alien species” in Japan, he
Japanese law prohibits the possession
and transport of invasive species.
Japanese macaques, also known as snow
monkeys and native to Japan, are one of
the country’s tourist attractions. — DPA
Zoo puts down
Healthy gut key to
The “most exciting” story in medicine
in recent years has been the link between
the gut and disease.
An unhealthy gut microbiota has been
linked to many cancers, including colon
cancer. It has also been linked to asthma,
mental illness and autism.
Australia is now poised to become the
global frontier in navigating this still
mostly unchartered territory with the
establishment of a new research centre
dedicated to micro gut health research.
Federal funding of $4 million,
by Health Minister
Greg Hunt yesterday, will go to The
Microbiome Research Centre at
Sydney ’s St George and Sutherland
The new centre would improve research
capacity by attracting more expert
researchers to the region, Hunt said.
Living inside the bowel, or intestine,
is a community of thousands of good
and bad bacteria known as the gut
microbiota. The “organ” also homes more
than three million genes.
Professor Emad El-Omar, professor
of medicine at the St George and
Sutherland Clinical School, at the
University of New South Wales, says it
makes sense that a healthy gut produces
a healthy individual.
“ You’ve got this organ growing within
your bowel that has 10 times more cells
than human cells, 100 times more genes
than your own human genes, it weighs
the same as the brain and it has the same
metabolic activity as the liver, so clearly
it has an impact on very aspect of your
health and disease,” El-Omar said.
It is estimated that half the Australian
population will complain of a digestive
problem over the next 12 months.
Research into this area is vital if we
want to prevent disease because the
microbiota imbalance impacts many
aspects of health, El-Omar said.
“Understanding how that imbalance
occurs is very key because we can
manipulate it, that ’s the beauty of it. ”
A former dog breeder from
Sydney ’s north-west has been
found guilty of animal cruelty
after officers found five dead
dogs in freezers on his property
and others living in “grotesque”
RSPCA New South Wales and
police also found the partially
burned remains of a dog in a
fire pit near live dog pens, and
pools of blood and bodily fluids
in a kennel where an animal is
believed to have decomposed.
Eighteen dogs of varying
breeds were seen to be suffering
from potentially life-threatening
conditions during the March
2016 inspection of a Vineyard
property that had previously
been used by Herizon Kennels to
breed dogs, the RSPCA said in a
statement late yesterday.
Ex-breeder Todd Baker, 41, was
convicted of 15 counts of animal
cruelty in the Penrith Local
Court last week and sentenced
to a three-year good behaviour
bond, prohibited from owning
animals for 10 years and ordered
to pay over $80,000 in costs.
Inspector James Arentz said
the state of the animals on
Baker’s property was hard to
“ Every single dog had serious
health problems — some of
them truly grotesque and
heartbreaking,” he said.
“The mind boggles how
someone that has a history
of breeding for profit could
let so many dogs get in such
The RSPCA said the live dogs
were flea-ridden and dehydrated,
with injuries such as ulcerated paw
pads and severe osteoarthritis,
while the concrete floors they
slept on were “all heavily laden
with faeces and urine”.
One of four rottweilers was
chained up with no access to food,
water or shelter and another dog
had burned testicles “consistent
with sitting on hot concrete”.
The animal welfare group said
Baker was hostile, aggressive
and verbally abusive towards
investigation and once confronted
staff face-to-face at a shelter.
He claimed the animals died
in dog attacks or of old age and
he intended to use a company
to cremate them “ but admitted
to burning them in his fire-pit
once room in the freezers was
Seized dogs have been rehomed
after extensive veterinary work
and behavioural rehabilitation.
A man and woman convicted of
swindling more than $100,000 from
desperate men through a wedding visa
scam have been handed jail sentences.
Cheetah Mashru, a former migration
officer, and celebrant Divya Gowda
arranged the bogus marriages of 16
Indian men to Australians in a “one-stop
shop” set up at their Oxley townhouse in
Mashru was sentenced to at least
two years and three months’ jail while
Gowda will spend 18 months behind
bars before being released on a good-
“ You both entered into this enterprise
for financial reward,” Judge Terry
Martin told the Brisbane District Court
yesterday as he sentenced the pair for
a total 66 charges, and “brazen and
persistent ” offending. — AAP
Wedding scammers jailed
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