Home' Greymouth Star : April 6th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 7
Hundreds still missing in mudslide
Rescuers look for bodies in a destroyed area after flooding and mudslides, caused by heavy rains leading several rivers to overflow, pushing
sediment and rocks into buildings and roads, in Mocoa, Colombia.
Colombian President Juan
Manuel Santos says the mudslide
that obliterated part of the city
of Mocoa has killed at least 293
people and a large number of
people are still missing.
“This morning, 467 people have
reported relatives to be missing.
“Of those, 153 have been
located, 119 of them alive
but, unfortunately, 34 of them
deceased,” said Santos in a
statement in Bogota.
Although the president provided
no concrete figures, the number of
complaints suggests there could
be more than 200 people buried
under tonnes of rocks and mud that
swept into and over several Mocoa
The death toll from the mudslides
and flooding in Mocoa, the
capital of the southern Colombian
province of Putumayo, now stands
at 293, the coroner’s office said in a
statement issued overnight.
Getting good quality sleep and
enough of it has been proven to be a
nightmare for older people.
It is well known that as people age,
they sleep less and wake up more
New research suggests the ageing
process affects the quality of sleep
people get, wreaking havoc on a
person both mentally and physically
and could even be implicated in the
prevalence of many diseases and
A review of scientific literature
published in medical journal Neuron
found that adults may be losing their
ability to produce deep, restorative
sleep from their mid-30s.
“S leep changes with ageing, but
it doesn’t just change with ageing;
it can also start to explain ageing
itself,” review co-author Matthew
Walker, who leads the Sleep and
Neuroimaging Laboratory at the
University of California, Berkeley,
“ Every one of the major diseases
that are killing us in first-world
nations — from diabetes to obesity
to Alzheimer’s disease to cancer —
all of those things now have strong
causal links to a lack of sleep. All of
those diseases significantly increase in
likelihood the older that we get, and
especially in dementia.”
As the brain ages, neurons and
circuits in the areas that regulate
sleep slowly degrade, resulting in a
decreased amount of non-REM sleep.
Since non-REM deep sleep plays a
key role in maintaining memory and
cognition, that is a problem, Walker
said. There is a debate in the literature,
he said, as to whether older adults
need less sleep, or rather, older adults
cannot generate the sleep they need.
“The evidence seems to favour one
side — older adults do not have a
reduced sleep need, but instead, an
impaired ability to generate sleep. The
elderly therefore suffer from an unmet
sleep need,” Walker said.
The authors stress that there is
variability between individuals when
it comes to sleep loss.
However the review did find that
women seem to experience far less
deterioration in non-REM deep sleep
With loss of deep sleep starting in
the mid-30s, Walker says this must
been seen as an important health issue.
“ We need to recognise the causal
contribution of sleep disruption in
the physical and mental deterioration
that underlies ageing and dementia.
More attention needs to be paid to
the diagnosis and treatment of sleep
disturbance if we are going to extend
healthspan, and not just lifespan,” he
said. — AAP
Getting older a nightmare for sleep
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi
said ethnic cleansing was too strong a
term to describe what was happening in
the Muslim-majority Rakhine region,
the BBC reported overnight.
“ I don’t think there is ethnic cleaning
going on,” Suu Kyi told the BBC in an
inter view when asked if she would be
remembered as the Nobel Peace Prize
winner who ignored ethnic cleansing in
her own country.
“ I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an
expression to use for what is happening,”
said Suu Kyi who is facing international
criticism for her government ’s handling
of a crisis in the Muslim-majority
Attacks on Myanmar border guard
posts in October last year by a previously
unknown insurgent group ignited the
biggest crisis of Suu Kyi’s year in power,
with more than 75,000 Rohingya fleeing
to Bangladesh in the ensuing army
A United Nations report issued earlier
this year said Myanmar’s security forces
had committed mass killings and gang
rapes against Rohingya during their
campaign against the insurgents, which
may amount to crimes against humanity.
The military has denied the accusations,
saying it was engaged in a legitimate
“ What we are trying to go for is
reconciliation not condemnation,” Suu
Kyi said. “It is Muslims killing Muslims
Whenwhether perceptions of her as an
amalgam of Indian independence hero
Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa of
Calcutta were incorrect as she was more
similar to former British leader Margaret
Thatcher, she said: “ Well no. I am just a
politician. I am not quite like Margaret
Thatcher, no. But on the other hand, I am
no Mother Teresa either.” — Reuters
Aung San Suu Kyi
A British burglar who stole 18
stuffed animals including lions, a
giraffe and a snarling chimpanzee
in a top hat and tie has received
a suspended jail sentence, police
The loot, which also included
a stuffed rhinoceros, a crocodile,
a sloth, a zebra, a penguin and
a pink flamingo, belonged to
a licensed taxidermy company
and was worth about £100,000
($178,852) in total, police said.
Jason Hopwood, 47, had
pleaded guilty to burglary and
fraudulent use of a registration
plate. He was sentenced to 21
months in jail, suspended for
two years, and ordered to do 200
hours of community ser vice work.
The animals were stolen in March
last year from a warehouse in
Wimbledon, south-west London.
After receiving an anonymous
tip-off, police found an
abandoned van in Essex, east
of London, with all 18 animals
inside and sticky patches
where fake number plates had
been attached. Hopwood was
subsequently identified as the
van’s owner. — Reuters
Stuffed menagerie recovered from burglar
Some of the stuffed animals stolen by Jason Hopwood during a burglary in Wimbledon after they were
Bones on Bondi Beach
A member of the public alerted police
after discovering “human bones” washed
up on Bondi Beach.
Officers were called to the beach in
Sydney ’s east at 9pm on Tuesday after
reports of unidentified remains on the
sand near the water’s edge.
The bones have been taken away for
forensic examination and the death is
not yet being treated as suspicious.
The examination will try to determine
how long the remains had been at the
beach for and where they came from.
At least 10 police officers were seen
searching the beach yesterday for more
bones. Some carried what appeared to be
metal detectors and shovels and combed
the rocks at North Bondi as well. —AAP
Cash is crucial, Germany ’s
economy minister said overnight,
defending the role of notes and
coins in a debate in Europe
about the merits of limiting cash
payments to counter terrorism.
The European Commission is
weighing stricter rules on the use
of cash to cut terrorists’ funding,
and Germany ’s finance ministry
led by conser vative Wolfgang
Schaeuble — has said Berlin
could imagine talking about a
ceiling of 5000 euros ($7653).
Such a prospect is unwelcome
to many Germans, who are
renowned for their love of cash.
The Bundesbank, Germany ’s
central bank, said they carry an
average of 103 euros on their
important means of payment,”
Economy Minister Brigitte
Zypries, a Social Democrat, said.
“Even in the era of digitisation,
it is valid,” she added, echoing a
similar message from European
Central Bank President Mario
Draghi at the launch of a new
50-euro note yesterday.
Draghi said three-quarters of
euro zone payments are made in
cash, and that it remains essential
for the economy despite the rise
of digital payments.
The Bundesbank has warned
that an upper limit on cash
payments could lead to a loss of
faith in the euro as a currency .
The ECB’s decision last year to
phase out the 500-euro banknote
irritated some at Germany ’s
central bank, who feared people’s
freedom to store their savings in
cash was being curtailed.
Cash must stay: German minister
Isis has directly addressed American
citizens and claimed the country is
drowning and “being run by an idiot ”.
In the first official remarks by the
group referring to Donald Trump since
he assumed office, spokesman Abi al-
Hassan al-Muhajer unloaded on the
“America you have drowned and there
is no saviour, and you have become prey
for the soldiers of the caliphate in every
part of the earth, you are bankrupt and
the signs of your demise are evident
to every eye,” he said in the statement
“There is no more evidence than (that)
you being run by an idiot who does not
know what Syria or Iraq or Islam is.”
The statement continued: “Die of spite
America, die of spite, a nation where
both young and old are racing to die in
the name of God will not be defeated. ”
The first comments directly about
Trump were released after he spent
much of his campaign talking up his
ability to immediately defeat the group.
United States-backed forces are
currently fighting to retake Islamic
State’s two biggest cities — Mosul in
Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.
The president is examining ways to
accelerate the American-led coalition’s
campaign that US and Iraqi officials
have deemed largely successful in
uprooting Islamic State militants in Iraq
The loss of Mosul, Isis’s last major
stronghold in Iraq, would deal a major
defeat to the terrorist group.
US and Iraqi officials are preparing for
smaller battles after the city is recaptured
and expect the group to go underground
to fight as a traditional insurgency.
The statement was released just one
day after Trump topped a “kill-list ”
released by a pro-Isis hacker group.
The United Cyber Caliphate posted a
video over the weekend in which they
threatened the US and Trump — while
also revealing their full new “ list.”
The list included both the names and
addresses of 8786 Americans.
“ Kill them wherever you find them,”
said the UCC in their message according
to Site Intelligence Group.
“ We have a message to the people
of the US and most importantly your
President Trump,” the group says at the
start of the message.
“ Know that we continue to wage war
against you. Know that your counter
attacks only make us stronger. The UCC
will start a new step in this war against
you. So expect us soon Insha Allah!”
This is not the first time that UCC
has released a kill list, with this now
becoming a common practice for the
It comes after a top commander
branded Trump a “complete maniac ” last
year, and said his “utter hate” towards
Muslims would help the terror group.
Abu Omar Khorasani, who heads up
the terror group in Afghanistan, said
Trump’s shock election victory would be
used to recruit disaffected youths in the
Jihadists plan to use Trump as a
propaganda tool to rally thousands of
new fighters and inspire terror attacks
across the world.
“This guy is a complete maniac,”
“ His utter hate towards Muslims will
make our job much easier because we
can recruit thousands.”
Khorasani described President Barack
Obama as a moderate infidel with at
least a little brain in comparison to
He added: “O ur leaders were closely
following the US election but it was
unexpected that the Americans will dig
their own graves and they did so.” —
‘Drowning’ US run by an idiot: IS
SYRIAN GAS ATTACK
Russia is denying that Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad was to blame for a
poison gas attack and said it would
continue to back him, opening a rift
between the Kremlin and Donald
Trump’s White House, which initially
sought warmer ties.
Western countries, including the
United States, blamed Assad’s armed
forces for the worst chemical attack in
Syria for more than four years, which
choked scores of people to death in the
town of Khan Sheikhoun in a rebel-held
Washington said it believed the deaths
were caused by sarin ner ve gas dropped
by Syrian aircraft. But Moscow offered
an alternative explanation that would
shield Assad: The poison gas belonged to
rebels and had leaked from an insurgent
weapons depot hit by Syrian bombs.
A senior White House official,
speaking on condition of anonymity, said
the Russian explanation was not credible.
“ We don’t believe it,” the official said.
The US, Britain and France have
proposed a draft United Nations
Security Council resolution that would
pin the blame on Damascus. But the
Russian Foreign Ministry called the
resolution “unacceptable” and said it was
based on “fake information”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
said Russia would take its case blaming
the rebels for the poisoning to the UN.
“Russia and its armed forces will
continue their operations to support the
anti-terrorist operations of Syria’s armed
forces to free the country,” Peskov told
Video uploaded to social media showed
civilians sprawled on the ground, some
in convulsions, others lifeless. Rescue
workers hose down the limp bodies of
small children, trying to wash away
chemicals. People wail and pound on the
chests of victims.
The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres
said one of its hospitals in Syria had
treated patients “with symptoms
dilated pupils, musc le spasms,
involuntary defecation — consistent
with exposure to neuro-toxic agents
such as sarin”.
The World Health Organisation also
said the symptoms were consistent with
exposure to a ner ve agent.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
said the attack had killed more than
100 people. That death toll could not be
“ We’re talking about war crimes,”
French UN Ambassador Francois
Delattre told reporters in New York.
Hasan Haj Ali, commander of the
Free Idlib Army rebel group, called the
Russian statement blaming the rebels
a “ lie” and said rebels did not have the
capability to produce ner ve gas.
“Everyone saw the plane while it was
bombing with gas,” he said from north-
western Syria. “Likewise, all the civilians
in the area know that there are no
military positions there, or places for the
manufacture (of weapons).” The incident
is the first time Washington has accused
Assad of using sarin since 2013, when
hundreds of people died in an attack
on a Damascus suburb. At that time,
Washington said Assad had crossed a
“red line” set by then-President Barack
Obama threatened an air campaign to
topple Assad but called it off at the last
minute after the Syrian leader agreed to
give up his chemical arsenal under a deal
brokered by Moscow, a decision which
Trump has long said proved Obama’s
The new incident means Trump is
faced with same dilemma that faced
his predecessor: Whether to openly
challenge Moscow and risk deep
involvement in a Middle East war
by seeking to punish Assad for using
banned weapons; or compromise and
accept the Syrian leader remaining in
power at the risk of looking weak.
Trump described yesterday’s incident
as “heinous actions by the Bashar al-
Assad regime”, but also faulted Obama
for having failed to enforce the red line
four years ago. Obama’s spokesman
declined to comment.
The draft UN Security Council
statement condemned the attack and
demanded an investigation. Russia has
the power to veto it, which it has done to
block all previous resolutions that would
harm Assad, most recently in February.
the chemical attack showed Assad
was testing whether the new US
administration would stand by Obama-
era demands that he be removed from
“It’s a test. That ’s why France repeats
the messages, notably to the Americans,
to clarify their position,” Jean-Marc
Ayrault told RTL radio. “I told them that
we need clarity. What ’s your position?”
Trump’s response to a diplomatic
confrontation with Moscow will be
closely watched at home because of
accusations by his political opponents
that he is too supportive of Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
He has previously said the US and
Russia should work more closely in
Syria to fight against Islamic State.
Over the past several months western
countries, including the US, had been
quietly dropping their demands that
Assad leave power in any deal to end the
war, accepting that the rebels no longer
had the capability to topple him by force.
Brandi Benner posted the doll photo on Facebook.
Tot defends choice of doll
Columbia (South Carolina)
A toddler’s brilliant response to a
cashier who questioned her choice of a
black doll has been shared by thousands
of social media users.
The cashier reportedly told Sophia:
“ We have lots of other dolls that look
more like you.”
Her mother Brandi Benner, from
South Carolina, shared her story on
social media, explaining they were
paying for the doll in a Target store
when the woman asked if she “ was
going to a birthday party”.
Benner adds the cashier then asked:
“Are you sure this is the doll you want,
“S he then pointed to the doll and
asked Sophia if she picked her out for
a friend. Sophia continued to stare
blankly and I let the cashier know that
she was a prize for Sophia being fully
potty trained,” Benner wrote.
“The woman gave me a puzzled look
and turned to Sophia and asked, ‘Are
you sure this is the doll you want,
Benner said her daughter replied: “ Yes,
The cashier allegedly replied: “But she
doesn’t look like you . . . ”
She added: “I immediately became
angry, but before I could say anything,
Sophia responded with, ‘Yes, she does.
She’s a doctor like I’m a doctor. And
I’m a pretty girl and she’s a pretty
girl. See her pretty hair? And see her
“Thankfully the cashier decided to
drop the issue.”
Benner said the incident confirmed
her belief “that we aren’t born with the
idea that colour matters”.
“Skin comes in different colours just
like hair and eyes and every shade is
beautiful,” she added. — EF E
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