Home' Greymouth Star : March 1st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Wednesday, March 1, 2017
African leadership prize fails to find a winner — again
Sudanese telecoms magnate Mo
Ibrahim failed to award a $5 million
African political leadership prize
overnight, the second year running
the gong designed to foster regional
democracy has gone begging due to a
lack of suitable candidates.
Since its launch in 2006, the
Ibrahim Prize has only been awarded
four times — to Mozambique’s
Festus Mogae, Cape Verde’s Pedro
De Verona Rodrigues Pires and
Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba in
democratically elected African
heads of State or government who
have left office in the previous
three years at the end of their
Although such figures
becoming less rare on a continent
infamous for its coups and
gerontocrats, a peaceful departure
after years of plunder does not
guarantee the prize as the hopeful’s
record while in office is also
“The prize is intended to highlight
and celebrate truly exceptional
leadership, which is uncommon by
its very definition,” prize committee
chairman Salim Ahmed Salim said in
a statement accompanying the 2016
The prize is meant to set the winner
up for life, with $5m paid out over 10
years followed by a $200,000-a -year
pension. However, it does not appear
to be gaining much traction with
Africa’s ruling elite.
Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou
Nguesso and Rwanda’s
Kagame have recently pushed
through changes to their respective
constitutions to extend their stays in
power, while Democratic Republic
of Congo’s Joseph Kabila has gone
nowhere since his mandate expired in
One surprise late entry could have
been eccentric Gambian autocrat
Yahyah Jammeh, who stunned
his 1.8 million countrymen —
and most of the rest of Africa
when he accepted defeat in a
December election after 22 years in
However, he then changed his mind
and left power a month later only
after an invasion by thousands of
Senegalese, Ghanaian and Nigerian
troops. — Reuters
North Korean special envoy, former Deputy United Nations ambassador Ri
Tong Il, speaks to the media outside the North Korea embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Two women — an Indonesian and a
Vietnamese — will be charged today
with murder over the killing in Malaysia
of the estranged half-brother of North
Korea’s leader, Malaysia’s Attorney-
Police have said the women smeared
VX ner ve agent, a chemical on a
United Nations list of weapons of mass
destruction, on Kim Jong Nam’s face in
an assault recorded on security cameras
in the Malaysian capital’s airport on
United States and South Korean
officials believe Kim was the victim of
an assassination orchestrated by North
Korea. He had been living in exile, under
Beijing’s protection, in the Chinese
territory of Macau, and had criticised
the regime of his family and his half-
brother Kim Jong Un.
Malaysian police arrested Doan Thi
Huong, the Vietnamese woman, and
Indonesian Siti Aishah in the days after
Police are also holding one North
Korean man and have identified
seven other North Koreans wanted in
connection with a case that reads like
the plot to a spy movie.
Both women will be formally charged
under section 302 of the penal code,
which carries the death penalty.
“I can confirm that,” Attorney-General
Mohamed Apandi Ali said.
He said the North Korean in custody
would not be charged yet. His remand
period ends on Friday.
The security camera footage, which
has been released in the media, showed
two women assaulting Kim Jong Nam
in the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur
International Airport, and the victim
stumbling into a clinic. He died within
20 minutes of the assault.
Both women have told diplomats from
their countries that they had been paid
to take part in what they believed was a
prank for a reality television show.
Huong, the Vietnamese woman, was
detained 48 hours after the murder in
the same airport terminal where Kim
Jong Nam was killed.
She is believed to be the woman
wearing a white shirt emblazoned with
the acronym “LOL”, whose image
was caught on security cameras while
waiting for a taxi after the attack.
The daughter of a rice farmer in
northern Vietnam, Huong had left
home at 18 more than a decade ago. She
was described by Malaysian police as
working for an “entertainment outlet ”,
but they gave no details of where she
had been employed or her immigration
A South Korean police official said
Huong visited the holiday destination
of Jeju Island in November for four days
and they were looking into what she may
have been doing there.
The Indonesian woman, Siti Aishah,
was detained a day after Huong.
Indonesian diplomats said Aishah
claimed she had been paid about $125
for her role in what she thought was a
prank for reality television.
Old neighbours in a slum in Indonesia’s
capital, Jakarta, said before she left to
find work in Malaysia, she had lived a
quiet life, working from home in her
ex-husband’s family tailoring business
before the couple separated in 2012.
Aishah’s former father-in-law said she
had returned to Jakarta on January 28 to
visit her seven-year-old son.
Police have said that the women knew
what they were doing when they attacked
Kim Jong Nam and were instructed
to wash their hands after wards. But
regardless of whether they did or not
know of the murder plot, both appear
to have been viewed as expendable by
whoever gave them the VX.
Police said Aishah fell sick, vomiting
repeatedly while in custody possibly as
a side-effect of VX, though Indonesian
embassy officials have subsequently said
she is in good health.
Malaysia’s investigation into the killing
has sparked diplomatic tension with
North Korea, and yesterday a high-
ranking delegation arrived in Kuala
Lumpur from Pyongyang in a bid to
Ri Tong Il, North Korea’s former
deputy ambassador to the UN, repeated
requests that Malaysia hand over the
victim’s body to the embassy and release
the North Korean in custody. He said he
was in Malaysia for “the development of
friendly relations between the DPRK
and the Malaysian government ”, media
North Korea’s official name is the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The rates of sexually transmitted
Australians are rising because their
knowledge on condoms is lacking,
according to a new study.
A study of more than 2000 Australians
over the age of 60 found three in four
had had sex in the last five years.
Almost 90% had good general
knowledge about STIs but when
researchers at La Trobe University
quizzed them about their knowledge on
safe sexual practices they were less clear
about the protection condoms offered
Women had better knowledge than
men. Just 64% were aware that condoms
do not provide 100% protection for all
STIs because they could break or might
not fully cover the affected area.
Rates of STIs are rising among older
adults in many high-income countries,
including Australia, say the authors of
the study published in the Australian and
New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
While overall rates for specific STIs
for older adults are much lower than
those for younger groups, the number of
notifiable STIs other than HIV among
those 60 years and older increased by
46% between 2009 and 2013.
The authors of the study say the
findings point to a need for education
campaigns and inter ventions targeted at
this particular demographic.
“O lder Australians commenced their
sexual lives prior to widespread condom
use, the discovery of HIV/Aids, and the
implementation of school-based sexual
health education,” the authors wrote.
Bright lava lit up the night sky
on the Italian island of Sicily as
Mount Etna erupted for the first
time this year.
The volcano, one of the most
active in the world, has been
largely dormant for the last two
years, but it sprung to life with
bright orange lava spewing out
high over the Mediterranean
Island, eventually easing off by this
Catania airport, situated within
50km of the volcano, remained
open, but authorities were
tracking the movements of the ash
Mount Etna, at 3330m, is the
highest volcano in mainland
Europe and can burst into action
several times a year.
The last major eruption was in
1992. — Reuters
Bright lava lights up Sicilian night sky
Italy’s Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest and most active volcano, spews lava as it erupts on the southern island of Sicily.
Siberia’s enormous “hell mouth”
crater in the melting permafrost is
growing fast — and it is opening a
portal to a 200,000-year-old world.
The Batgaika crater, known to the
local Yakutian people as the “door way
to the underworld”, is one of the largest
of a growing number of pits collapsing
across the Siberian landscape as the ice
beneath the surface turns to slush —
and methane gas.
This crater in particular offers some
form of silver lining.
It is revealing aeons of climate
change in the region, along with long-
buried animal carcases and petrified
The 1km wide, 85m deep crater is
growing at the rate of 10m to 30m a
year as the ice about its edges gives
way. Researchers say it is also getting
But a study in the science journal
Quarternary Research says that, along
with its ominous release of greenhouse
gas, the stratified layers of the crater’s
sides are releasing immense historical
Preser ved among the melting
permafrost are layers of pollen
revealing it was once covered by
open tundra. But there are also two
prominent bands of tree stumps,
showing the land was covered in dense
Among it all are the remains of
ancient mammoth, musk ox and even
a 4400-year-old horse.
Put together it is all painting a
picture of past gradual changes in
c limate over the course of tens of
thousands of years. Researchers hope
it will help them predict what will
happen in coming decades.
University of Sussex professor of
permafrost science Julian Murton says
the last time Siberia appears to have
experienced the formation of “hells
mouth” craters was 10,000 years ago
— when the Earth woke from the last
One forest-bed remnant sits above
an even older landscape that had been
“This was probably when permafrost
thawed in a past episode of climate
warming,” Murton said.
Greenhouse gas levels in our
atmosphere are much higher now
than then. Current figures place
the saturation level at 400 parts per
million of CO2. Back then, it was 280
parts per million. — news.com.au
Crater reveals ancient world
The Batgaika crater.
Pakistan International Airlines
(PIA), Pakistan’s national carrier,
is being investigated for breaching
airline safety regulations and
potentially putting passengers’ lives
at risk after it allegedly allowed seven
people to travel while standing on a
flight from Karachi last month.
The three-hour flight to Medina,
Saudi Arabia, operated on a Boeing
777 aircraft which has a seat capacity
of 409 (including jump seats used by
crew members), reportedly carried
416 passengers, forcing the extra
passengers to stand in the aisle of the
plane for the duration of the journey,
Dawn, the Pakistani daily newspaper,
The situation would have posed a
serious risk to passengers as those
standing would not have had access
to oxygen masks in the case of an
in-flight emergency and would have
contributed to overcrowding on the
plane in the case of an emergency
Passengers on board were also
allegedly issued handwritten
boarding passes, while a computer-
generated list of passengers provided
to cabin crew by ground traffic staff
was said to have not highlighted
the excess number of passengers,
according to Captain Anwer Adil,
who operated the flight.
“After take-off when I came out of
the cockpit, Ms Turab informed me
that there were some extra people
who (had been) boarded by the traffic
staff. I also noticed some people were
those who were categorically refused
jump seats by me at the check-in
counter before the flight,” the captain
said in a statement. “ I had already
taken off and the senior purser did
not inform me about extra passengers
before closing the aircraft door.”
“Therefore after take-off immediate
landing back at Karachi was not
possible as it required a lot of fuel
dumping which was not in the
interest of the airline.”
In the case of an excess number of
passengers on board a flight, the plane
should have returned to its departure
airport to unload its extra fliers
before resuming its flight, according
to standard protocol, sources told
Dawn. — DPA
Standing room only on f light from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia
Two amateur treasure hunters
have found what is thought to be
the oldest Iron Age gold jewellery
ever discovered in Britain.
Life-long friends and metal
detectorists Mark Hambleton
and Joe Kania said they could
not believe their eyes when they
found gold buried in a muddy
Staffordshire field last year.
Disbelief then turned to shock
as the enthusiasts unearthed
a total of four torcs — three
necklaces and a bracelet —
thought to be up to 2500 years
old, a metre apart.
Experts said the “unique”
find, uncovered on farmland in
Leekfrith in the Staffordshire
Moorlands, had international
The county is gaining a
reputation as a hiding place for
some of the country’s greatest
historical treasures with the latest
discovery following the 2009
Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard
find, officially valued at £3.285
million ($5.656 million).
This latest discovery was found
near Lichfield — the site of the
vast Saxon hoard, which is perhaps
the most famous discovery made
by a metal detector operator.
That seventh century find, which
dates back to the Kingdom of
Mercia, is made up of 3900 pieces
of precious metal, currently on
display in British museums.
This latest find of Iron Age
jewellery, thought to be equivalent
to 18-carat gold, was found just
beneath the surface of farmland
just before Christmas last year.
It is not known why the
Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs were
buried, but it could have been
for safekeeping, an offering
The decoration on the sole
bracelet has excited experts because
it is thought to be some of the
earliest Celtic art from Britain.
After scouring the ground in the
mid-winter cold last year, both
men were ready to call it a day
when suddenly Kania got a signal.
Hambleton, 59, said: “ We have
found the odd Victorian coin, but
mostly it has just been junk.”
He added: “Joe said to me ‘I
think I’ve found something a bit
special’ and he was dangling it in
front of my face.
“That ’s when I started to get a
bit dizzy and weak at the knees. I
said to him ‘You know what this
means — we have to search the
area now ’.”
The gold was handed over to
experts at Birmingham Museums
with archaeologists from
Staffordshire County Council
and Stoke-on -Trent City Council
brought in to investigate the finds
site. — PA
Pair unearth ‘oldest Iron Age gold’ in UK
Part of the treasure unearthed in a Staffordshire field.
Australia is facing the possibility of a
warmer and drier 2017, with weather
forecasters saying the chances of an El
Nino weather pattern are rising.
The Bureau of Meteorology says recent
changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean
and atmosphere, and international
climate model outlooks suggest there is
a 50% chance of El Nino forming this
“Sea surface temperatures have been
increasing in the eastern Pacific Ocean
and are now warmer than average for
the first time since June 2016, while the
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has
been trending downwards,” the bureau
Seven out of eight international climate
models also indicate steady warming in
the central tropical areas of the Pacific
Ocean during the next six months,
meaning an El Nino could form by July.
“Some caution must be taken at this
time of year, with lower model accuracy
through the autumn months compared
to other times of the year,” it said.
El Nino is associated with below
average winter-spring rainfall over
eastern Australia and warmer than
temperatures in southern States. —AAP
El Nino likely for Aust
Domestic violence hits SPCA
The RSPCA is struggling to cope with
the high number of Queensland pets
affected by domestic violence.
Its Pets in Crisis programme was
established 12 years ago to help DV
Connect assist women and children who
felt they could not leave violent homes
because of their pets.
It provides temporary refuge to animals
who cannot go with domestic violence
victims to refuges.
Last year, the ser vice cared for 236
pets, almost double the number (126) it
helped in 2015.
Foster care co-ordinator Julie Herbert
said the RSPCA was “struggling to
“ However it remains our long-term
commitment to help address the
disturbing links between animal abuse,
child abuse and domestic violence,” she
In 2016, the Pets in Crisis programme
looked after 147 dogs, 68 cats, nine
kittens, four birds, four guinea pigs, three
reptiles and one horse.
They spent a total of 7356 days in
care and came at a cost of more than
$230,000 to the RSPCA. — AAP
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