Home' Greymouth Star : March 20th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Monday, March 20, 2017
Family members interrogated
Police questioned and then released
relatives of a man shot dead at a Paris
airport, as investigators sought clues
about why he attacked an army patrol
in an incident that has pushed security
to the forefront of France’s election
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said
late on Saturday that the man, named as
39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, had
shouted he was there to “die for Allah”
when he tried to seize a gun from a
woman air force member on patrol at
After throwing down a bag containing
a can of petrol and putting an air pistol
to the head of the soldier, he was shot
three times by her colleagues.
More than 230 people have died in
France in the past two years at the hands
of attackers allied to the militant Islamist
group Islamic State, making security a
key issue in the two-round presidential
election on April 23 and May 7.
Emmanuel Macron, the centrist
frontrunner, told France 2 television
overnight it was “essential” to maintain
the current state of emergency, in force
since November 2015. He reiterated that
he would strengthen military operations
and intelligence against Islamist
Conser vative Francois Fillon said
France was in a “situation of virtual civil
war” and spoke out against the idea of
lifting the emergency, as floated by the
justice minister last week.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen,
running on an anti-immigration, anti-
European Union ticket, told a rally that
the government was “over whelmed,
stunned, paralysed like a rabbit in the
Belgacem, who had been in and out
of prison for theft and drug offences
according to judicial sources, was already
on the authorities’ radar. They said he
became a radicalised Muslim when he
ser ved a prison term several years ago for
He had been reporting regularly to
police under the terms of a provisional
release from custody, and did not have
the right to leave the country.
Several hours before he was killed,
Belgacem had shot and wounded a
police officer with his air pistol after
being stopped for a routine traffic check
north of Paris, officials said. He then fled
He later entered a bar where he was a
regular customer in Vitry-sur-Seine on
the other side of Paris, and opened fire
with his air gun without hitting anyone.
He also stole a car before arriving at the
Belgacem’s father, who was initially
detained by police but released late
on Saturday, denied his son had been
involved in terrorism.
“My son has never been a terrorist. He
has never prayed: he drinks. And, under
the influence of alcohol and cannabis,
this is what happens,” the father, whose
name was not given, told broadcaster
He said he had received a phone call
from his son in which Belgacem referred
to shooting the police officer, saying: “I
ask your forgiveness. I screwed up with
a policeman. ”
A brother and cousin of Belgacem, also
questioned by police, were then released
overnight, a judicial source said.
Belgacem was born in Paris, according
to the prosecutor. French media said his
family was of Tunisian origin. — Reuters
Seventy-five people have died,
263 have been injured, 20 are
missing and about 100,000 have
suffered property damage in
A report by the National
Emergency Operations Centre,
which includes damage registered
since the rainy season began in
December, does not count the four
people who disappeared on Saturday
when a bridge collapsed and they
fell into a flood-swollen river.
The flooding has also destroyed
12,000 homes, 25 schools and eight
hospitals or clinics, along with
about 2000km of roadways and
almost 9000ha of crops.
Most of the victims are in
the northern regions of Piura,
Lambayeque, La Libertad and
Ancash, where 25 people have died,
111 are injured, eight are missing,
81,000 have lost their homes and
about 8200 houses have been
The heavy rains are due to El
Nino, which has heated the ocean
along the Peruvian coast to an
abnormal degree, producing intense
and unusual rainfall. — EF E
75 die in Peruvian flooding
A destroyed home next to the Rimac River after torrential rains, causing flooding and widespread destruction in Huachipa, Lima, in Peru.
A propeller is still missing after falling
off a regional passenger plane during a
flight from Albury to Sydney.
The right propeller fell off the Regional
Express Saab 340 on Friday when it
was approaching Sydney Airport, the
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
The plane, carrying 16 passengers
and three crew, was nonetheless able to
perform a safe landing just after midday.
But the propeller, which is believed to
have broken off as the plane flew over the
Camden area, was yet to be found.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
spokesman Peter Gibson said the
propeller was important to the
investigation of the incident.
“ It ’s the other equation to look at in
terms of where the damage happened,
where the failure occurred,” Gibson said.
The ATSB has urged anyone who spots
suspected aircraft debris not to handle it.
The bureau is investigating the
malfunction, examining the aircraft,
inter viewing the flight and cabin crew
and collecting maintenance records and
recorded flight data, it said.
REX Airlines does not plan to ground
their other Saab 340 planes while the
investigation continues, a spokeswoman
The airline operates a fleet of more
than 50 Saab 340 aircraft on about 1500
weekly flights to 58 destinations across
Australia. — AAP
Archaeologists working at a
former burial ground in London
hope to find the remains of
Matthew Flinders, who led the
first circumnavigation of Australia
and proved it was a continent.
In what is believed to be the
largest ever exhumation in
Britain, around 61,000 bodies will
be dug up from the site next to
Euston Station, with the body of
the Royal Navy captain believed
to be among them, The Times
The dig is being undertaken as
part of London’s HS2 rail project
in which St James’s Gardens,
a former cemetery, will be
Flinders circled mainland
Australia as commander of HMS
Investigator between 1801 and
1803, charting the coast in detail to
make the first full map of Australia.
The navigator and cartographer
also came up with the name of
“Australia” for the continent.
Lead HS2 archaeologist Helen
Glass told The Times that
discovering Flinder’s remains
would not be easy given the large
number of bodies.
She said her team’s best chance
would be if an intact coffin with
a metal name plate or other
identifiable decoration was found.
Heading back to England in
1803, while England and France
were at war, Flinders called at
French-controlled Mauritius as
his vessel needed urgent repairs.
He thought the scientific nature
of his work would ensure safe
passage but a suspicious French
governor kept him under arrest
for more than six years.
Flinders finally reached home
in 1810 after a nine-year absence
from his wife but he died in
1814 a day after the publication
to great acclaim of his work, “A
Voyage to Terra Australis”.
A statue of Flinders is at Euston
Station and another is outside
the State Library of New South
Wales in Sydney along with his
cat Trim who accompanied him
on his Australian explorations.
61,000 bodies for exhumation in rail project
Burial ground monuments in St James’s Gardens, Euston, London.
Prague’s medieval Old-New
Synagogue received two new Torah
scrolls overnight, the first ones since
World War Two shattered the country’s
once-thriving Jewish community.
The Torahs, funded by donations
to the Prague Jewish community,
were written in Israel and brought
into the synagogue in a ceremony
that included scripting of the final
letters by guests and members of the
community, and a street dance.
“After years when Torahs were being
destroyed, burned . . . the community
today celebrates with its rabbi a new
Torah scroll after many, many years.
That is the best expression of the
development of the Prague Jewish
community,” the deputy head of
the Jewish Community of Prague,
Frantisek Banyai, said.
The Old-New Synagogue is over 700
years old, one of the oldest existing
synagogues in Europe. Apart from
its significance to the community,
it is the main attraction of Prague’s
Jewish Town, a popular destination for
Before World War Two, there were
about 125,000 Jews living in what
is now the Czech Republic. About
80,000 were killed during the war.
The Czech Federation of Jewish
Communities estimates 15,000
to 20,000 Jews live in the Czech
Republic now, although only about
a quarter is registered with Jewish
communities or other Jewish groups.
Synagogue gets first new Torahs since WW2
Members of the Czech Jewish community write final words in a new Torah
scroll during a ceremony in the medieval Old-New Synagogue in Prague.
Lawmakers from both United
States major parties said they had
seen no proof to support the claim by
Republican President Donald Trump
that his predecessor Barack Obama
had wiretapped him last year, adding
pressure on Trump to explain or back off
his repeated assertion.
Several Republicans last week urged
Trump to apologise for the allegations
he made in a series of tweets on March 4.
The maelstrom also caused tension with
key US allies and threatens to distract
Republicans from campaign promises
on health care and taxes.
“I don’t know the basis for President
Collins, a Republican, said on NBC’s
Meet the Press. “I do believe he owes us
Collins said she supported Trump as
president, but she would not side with
him if he “mis-stated what the facts are”.
Federal Bureau of Investigation director
James Comey is expected to be asked
about Trump’s claims when he testifies
at a rare public hearing tomorrow about
alleged Russian meddling in the 2016
presidential election. Russia has denied
the assertion it was involved in hacked
e-mails and other attempts to influence
Representative Adam Schiff, the top
Democrat on the House Intelligence
Committee holding the hearing, called
Trump’s claims “patently false” and said
he expected Comey to say as much.
The Justice Department on Friday
delivered documents to congressional
committees to help clear up whether the
Obama administration spied on Trump.
Republican Representative Devin
Nunes, who leads the House intelligence
panel, said after receiving the material,
he saw no evidence of wiretapping.
But Nunes, who ser ved on Trump’s
transition team, joined the White
House in seeking to shift attention
away from the controversies by calling
for investigations of leaks to the news
Nunes said on Fox News Sunday that
leaks to reporters about former Trump
national security adviser Michael Flynn
were criminal and that his panel was
probing whether other names were
Trump has been dogged by allegations
that his associates had ties to Russian
officials. He fired Flynn last month
after reports he had discussed sanctions
with Russia’s ambassador before Trump
took office, without telling other White
“The one crime we know that ’s been
committed is that one: the leaking of
someone’s name,” Nunes said. “ Were
there any other names that were leaked
Nunes also said ahead of tomorrow ’s
hearing he had seen “no evidence”
of collusion between Russia and
Trump’s team. But Schiff, the panel’s
top Democrat, said there was enough
“circumstantial evidence” that he still
Meanwhile, the White House has not
backed down on Trump’s sur veillance
The administration was forced to
reassure key ally Britain after White
House press secretary Sean Spicer
repeated a Fox News analyst ’s claim
that a British intelligence agency helped
Obama wiretap Trump. The British
government strongly denied it.
The issue led to an awkward moment
at a joint press conference with visiting
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
when Trump was asked about the
wiretap claims by a German reporter.
Trump said he and Merkel had
“something in common,” apparently
referring to reports during the Obama
administration that Merkel’s phone was
bugged. The quip left the German leader
Senior Republican Representative
Tom Cole said Trump owed Obama an
apology. Representatives Charlie Dent
and Will Hurd, also Republicans, made
“ I see no indication that that ’s true,”
Cole said of the wiretapping charge.
Unless Trump produces convincing
proof, Cole added, “President Obama is
owed an apology.” — Reuters
Trump told: ‘Put up or shut up’
Beijing shuts last major coal power station
The last major coal power plant
in Beijing has ceased operations,
making the Chinese capital the
first city in the country to have all
its power plants fuelled by clean
The Huaneng Beijing thermal
operating in 1999, had five coal-
fired units with a total installed
capacity of 845,000 kilowatts and
a heating capacity of 26 million
Following its closure on Saturday,
emissions of 1.76 million tonnes of
coal, 91 tonnes of sulphur dioxide
and 285 tonnes of nitrogen oxide
will be reduced annually, State-run
agency Xinhua reports.
The shutdown is part of a pledge
by Beijing, one of the most polluted
cities in the world, to improve air
quality by cutting coal consumption.
The city promised to shut its four
coal-fired power plants between
2013 and 2017 and build four
plants fuelled by natural gas. Three
of these gas plants have already
been built and are operational.
In addition to Huaneng, three
plants which consumed over 6.8
million tonnes of coal annually
were closed in 2014 and 2015.
Beijing has 27 power plants, all
of which rely on clean energy and
have a total capacity of 11.3 million
Despite this symbolic shutdown,
the Hong Kong-based South
China Morning Post daily reported
on Sunday that the city, which has
over 30 million inhabitants, cannot
produce enough electricity to meet
its own energy demand.
Beijing is therefore dependent on
supply from coal-fired power plants
in the neighbouring provinces of
Hebei and Inner Mongolia, where
environmental regulations are not
enforced so strictly. — EF E
More assassination arrests hinted
Malaysian police are expected
to make a few more arrests,
including an “important person”,
in connection with the murder of
Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-
brother of North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un, State media reported
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar
declined to elaborate on details
when speaking to the State media,
adding that the arrests would be
made at the appropriate time.
“I don’t deny we are targeting
new individuals including North
Korean nationals involved in this
murder and we will use all legal
channels to apprehend them.
Although I can’t reveal who
they are, we believe there is an
‘important person’ among them,”
The police chief did not respond
immediately when contacted for
Malaysian police have previously
identified eight North Koreans
connection with the killing of
Kim Jong Nam, some of them
hiding in the North Korean
A Vietnamese woman and an
Indonesian woman have already
been charged in the case.
Kim Jong Nam was killed on
February 13, when Malaysian police
say two women smeared extremely
toxic VX ner ve agent on his face
at Kuala Lumpur International
On Thursday, police said Interpol
issued a “red notice”, the closest
to an international arrest warrant,
for four North Koreans wanted in
connection with the murder.
Racism may be the reason a priest was
stabbed in the neck moments before he
was about to say Mass at a Melbourne
A man armed with a knife approached
Rev Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, 48, in the
church foyer moments before the 11am
Italian-language Mass at St Matthew ’s
Parish in Fawkner yesterday.
It is believed that the offender told
the priest that because he was Indian,
he must be a Hindu or a Muslim and
therefore could not be saying Mass.
The Catholic Archdiocese of
Melbourne said the priest was doing
well in hospital and wanted to get back
to work soon.
“His thoughts are only for his
parishioners,” Vicar-General Monsignor
Greg Bennet said.
“This is appalling behaviour and
people should never be treated like this,”
archdiocese spokesman Shane Healy
Police say the offender, in his 50s,
remains at large despite witnesses
following him down residential streets
after the attack.
“At this stage, we believe the incident
is isolated. There’s nothing to suggest
he’s a danger to anyone else,” detective
senior constable Rhiannon Norton said.
Priest stabbed in Melbourne church
Drug dealers sentenced to death
A military court in the Hamas-run
Gaza Strip overnight sentenced two
drug dealers to death, the first such
punishment handed down by the
Palestinian judiciary in a narcotics case,
Marijuana and prescription painkillers
have been flooding into the Gaza Strip,
prompting officials from Hamas, an
Islamist group, to seek tougher penalties
for smuggling drugs.
Both convicted dealers were caught
smuggling marijuana, opium and
tramadol through tunnels under the
border with Egypt, according to a list of
“Such actions represented a threat to
Palestinian national security, with its
economic and political dimensions,” the
One of the dealers was sentenced to
death by firing squad and the other by
hanging. — Reuters
New drug may cut heart attacks
A new drug can prevent heart attacks
and strokes by cutting bad cholesterol
levels, scientists have found.
An international trial of 27,000
patients found that those who took
the drug evolocumab saw their bad
cholesterol levels fall by around 60% on
The patients in the trial were already
taking statins, which are used to
reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
Despite this, the patients who took
evolocumab saw their bad cholesterol
levels fall even further.
Patients who took the drug were also
less likely to suffer from a heart attack
or stroke than those who took the
The study found that for every 74
people who took the drug for two years,
one heart attack or stroke would be
However, the findings, published in
the New England Journal of Medicine,
found that the drug had no impact on
the rate of cardiovascular mortality.
Professor Peter Sever, from Imperial
College London, which led the British
branch of the study, said: “ This is one of
the most important trials of cholesterol-
lowering since the first statin trial,
published 20 years ago.
“Our results suggest this new, extremely
potent class of drug can cut cholesterol
dramatically, which could provide great
benefit for a lot of people at risk of heart
disease and stroke.”
There are about 2.3 million people
living with coronary heart disease in
the United Kingdom, according to the
It is responsible for more than 73,000
deaths a year in the UK, and occurs when
fatty substances build up in the arteries,
making it harder for blood to get to the
heart. — PA
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