Home' Greymouth Star : May 8th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, May 8, 2017
Emmanuel Macron was elected
president of France early today with a
business-friendly vision of European
integration, defeating Marine Le Pen, a
far-right nationalist who threatened to
take France out of the European Union.
The centrist ’s emphatic victory,
which also smashed the dominance of
France’s mainstream parties, will bring
huge relief to European allies who
had feared another populist upheaval
to follow Britain’s vote to quit the EU
and Donald Trump’s election as United
Five projections, issued within minutes
of polling stations closing at 8pm (6am
today NZT), showed Macron beating
wider than the 20 or points that pre-
election sur veys had pointed to.
Even so, it was a record performance
for the National Front, a party whose
anti-immigrant policies until recently
made it a pariah in French politics, and
underlined the scale of the divisions
that Macron must now try to heal.
Le Pen’s high-spending, anti-
globalisation “France-first ” policies
may have unner ved financial
markets but they appealed to many
poorer members of society against a
background of high unemployment,
social tensions and security concerns.
Macron’s immediate challenge will
be to secure a majority in next month’s
parliamentary election for En Marche
(Onwards), his political movement
that is barely a year old, in order to
implement his programme.
The 39-year-old former investment
banker, who ser ved for two years
as economy minister but has never
previously held elected office, will
become France’s youngest leader since
Napoleon with a promise to transcend
outdated left-right divisions.
At least one opinion poll published
in the run-up to the second round has
indicated that the majority he needs
could be within reach.
Despite having ser ved briefly as
economy minister in President Francois
Hollande’s deeply unpopular Socialist
government, Macron managed to
portray himself as the man to recast a
political landscape moulded by the left-
right divisions of the last century.
While Macron sees France’s
way for ward in boosting the
competitiveness of an open economy,
Le Pen wanted to shield French
workers by closing borders, quitting
the EU’s common currency the euro,
radically loosening the bloc and
scrapping trade deals.
Socialist Prime Minister Bernard
Cazeneuze said France had chosen to
retain its place at the heart of Europe.
Shortly after the first projections were
published, Le Pen, 48, said she had
congratulated Macron. But she defiantly
claimed the mantle of France’s main
opposition in calling on “all patriots to
join us” in constituting a “new political
force”. Her deputy said this new force
would not be called National Front.
When he moves into the Elysee
Palace after his inauguration next
weekend, Macron will become the
eighth — and youngest — president of
France’s Fifth Republic.
He plans to blend a big reduction
in public spending and a relaxation of
labour laws with greater investment
in training. He will be the youngest
leader in the current Group of Seven
(G7) major nations and has elicited
comparisons with youthful leaders past
and present, from Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau to British ex-
premier Tony Blair and even President
John F Kennedy in the US. — Reuters
Macron in emphatic presidential victory
French President elect Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux celebrate at his victory rally near the Louvre
China will further tighten its
internet regulations with a pledge
overnight to strengthen controls
over search engines and on-line
news portals, the latest step in
President Xi Jinping’s push to
maintain strict Communist Party
control over content.
Xi has made China’s “cyber
sovereignty” a top priority in his
sweeping campaign to bolster
security. He has also reasserted
the ruling Communist Party’s
role in limiting and guiding on-
development and reform plan
released by the party and State
Council, or cabinet, calls for a
“perfecting” of laws and rules
related to the internet.
That includes a qualification
system for people working in on-
line news, according to the plan,
carried by the official Xinhua
“Strike hard against on-line
rumours, harmful information,
fake news, news extortion, fake
media and fake reporters,” it said,
without giving details.
Xi has been explicit that media
must follow the party line, uphold
the correct guidance on public
opinion and promote “positive
The plan comes on top of
existing tight internet controls,
which includes the blocking of
popular foreign websites such as
Google and Facebook.
The government last week
issued tighter rules for on-
line news portals and network
Regulators say such controls are
necessary in the face of growing
security threats, and are done in
accordance with the law.
Speaking more broadly about
the country’s cultural sector,
the plan calls for efforts to
reinforce and improve “positive
“Strengthen and improve
super vision over public opinion,”
The plan also calls for more
effort to be put into promoting
China’s point of view and cultural
soft power globally, though
without giving details.
Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls seized
three years ago by Boko Haram in
northern Nigeria have been released into
military custody, authorities say.
The dramatic development came
yesterday after the mass abduction that
brought the extremist group’s rampage
to world attention.
A Nigerian government official said
five Boko Haram commanders were
released in exchange for the freedom of
Confirmation of the swap comes a day
after the young women were liberated
after more than three years in captivity
by the Islamic militants, but authorities
say 113 schoolgirls remain missing of the
276 girls abducted from their boarding
school in 2014.
Nigeria’s Government said the
schoolgirls were expected to meet
President Muhammadu Buhari today in
Family members said they were eagerly
awaiting a list of names and “our hopes
and expectations are high”.
It was the second group release
government in October announced that
21 girls had been freed after negotiations
with Boko Haram, saying another group
of 82 would be released “ very soon”.
Before yesterday’s release, 195 of the
girls had remained captive.
“Huge numbers,” the personal assistant
to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmad,
A Nigerian military official said the 82
freed girls were found near the town of
Banki in Borno state near Cameroon.
Nigeria thanked Switzerland and the
International Committee of the Red
Cross for helping secure the release of
the girls after “lengthy negotiations”, the
presidency said in a statement.
The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from
Chibok in April 2014 are among
thousands of people abducted by Boko
Haram over the years.
The mass abduction shocked the world,
sparking a global #Bringbackourgirls
campaign supported by former United
States first lady Michelle Obama and
other celebrities. It has put tremendous
pressure on Nigeria’s Government to
counter the extremist group, which has
roamed large parts of the north and into
Many of the kidnapped girls, most of
whom were Christians, were forced to
marry the Islamic extremists and became
pregnant. Human rights advocates
believe others could be among young
girls used to carry out suicide bombing
The group representing the families of
the girls said they were awaiting direct
confirmation from the Government.
“This is a very, very exciting news for us
that we have over 80 of our girls coming
back again,” Bukky Shonibare with the
#Bringbackourgirls campaign said.
George Michael’s former partner Kenny
Goss has claimed he used to flush the singer’s
drugs down the toilet to try to end his
Michael, 53, who was found dead on
December 25 last year, was killed by heart
disease and a build-up of fat in his liver, which
can be linked to drug and alcohol abuse.
Goss, who was in a relationship with the
British singer for 15 years, said he would get
rid of the drugs he found around the house
but watched Michael decline in front of
In an inter view to raise awareness about the
pair’s charitable Goss-Michael Foundation,
Goss told The Sun overnight: “I would find
drugs and flush everything down the toilet,
thinking, ‘If I just get rid of it he won’t get
more’. He was absent-minded, so would just
think he’d lost them.”
He added: “I don’t think George necessarily
thought he’d die young, but every time I
looked into his eyes I thought, ‘My God I’m
losing you, what is going on’.”
Goss said when they first met, Michael
smoked only a small amount of marijuana
adding: “ That was a gateway drug to the
others. But it escalated. At one point he was
smoking 25 joints a day.
“I saw him smoke weed all the time but
never hardcore drugs. I heavily disapproved
so he wouldn’t be around me in that state.
“He shielded me and his family. He had
another group of friends he’d do that with. ”
Michael’s battle with substances was well
documented and in October 2006 he was
found slumped over the wheel of his car.
The following May he pleaded guilty to
driving while unfit through drugs and was
banned from driving for two years.
In 2008 he was cautioned for possession of
class A drugs, which included crack cocaine,
and class C drugs and in September 2010 he
received an eight-week prison sentence and a
five-year driving ban after he pleaded guilty
to driving under the influence of drugs and
Goss, 58, said Michael’s drug use and his
own drinking led to arguments between the
pair, telling the paper: “ When I confronted
him, he never denied it, never apologised. He
was hard on me about drinking, because I
developed a problem. ”
He added he believes if the pair had stayed
together they could now both be dead.
“Of course I wish we’d never split up. But
things would have had to change or we would
both be dead.
“I wish we’d both been able to clean up.
“O ur psychiatrist encouraged us to stay
together even though it was a dysfunctional
“I asked him if I should leave George and
he looked me in the eye and said, ‘I think you
are the only reason George stays alive’.”
He added: “ There was never a day I didn’t
worry about him. Right until the end, I still
loved him.” — PA
George Michael’s ex tells of flushing drugs
Australian counter-terrorism police
are investigating a photo believed to be
Australian terrorist Khaled Sharrouf ’s
six-year-old son in a graphic propaganda
image for the Islamic State group.
New South Wales p olice have
confirmed they’re aware of a photo
“depicting a minor making threats in the
name of Isis”.
A police spokeswoman said in a
statement the Joint Counter Terrorism
Team was investigating the image.
However, there was no specific threat
and the current national terrorism threat
level remains at probable. — A AP
Terrorist uses son in propaganda images
Chinese scientist Liu Shanghe
has sur vived having 71,000 volts
of electricity pass through his
body as part of an experiment to
test the human body’s threshold
for static electricity, according
to the China Army ’s official
The scientist began his
experiment on static electricity
in the human body in 1993
while working at the Ordnance
Engineering College in north-
east China, at a time when the
number of deaths due to electric
shocks was on the rise.
“On the road to understanding
electric static, I have never
thought about giving up,” Liu
told the PLA Daily, China’s
Army’s official newspaper.
Liu sur vived more than 70,000
volts despite experts’ earlier
warnings that the human body
could tolerate a maximum of
between 20,000 and 50,000 volts,
which might prove to be lethal.
The various tests that he
conducted on himself over the
course of more than 50 years
have affected his health adversely,
including weight loss and
reduced red blood cells.
According to the newspaper,
these studies are of great use to
the military as they reveal how
static electricity in people can
affect the explosion of certain
artillery shells. — EF E
after two years
Cape Canaveral (Florida)
The United States military’s
experimental X-37B space
plane landed overnight at the
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration’s Kennedy Space
Centre in Florida, completing
a classified mission that lasted
nearly two years, the air force
The unmanned X-37B,
which resembles a miniature
space shuttle, touched down
on a runway formerly used for
landings of the now-mothballed
space shuttles, the air force said
in an e-mail.
The Boeing-built space plane
blasted off in May 2015 from
nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station aboard an Atlas 5 rocket
built by United Launch Alliance,
a partnership between Lockheed
Martin Corp and Boeing Co.
The X-37B, one of two in
the air dorce fleet, conducted
unspecified experiments for
more than 700 days while in
orbit. It was the fourth and
longest mission so far for the
secretive programme, managed
by the air force’s rapid capabilities
The orbiters “perform risk
the air force has said without
providing details. The cost of the
programme is also classified.
The Secure World Foundation,
a non-profit group promoting
the peaceful exploration of space,
says the secrecy surrounding the
X-37B suggests the presence of
being tested or evaluated aboard
The vehicles are 9m long and
have a wingspan of 4.5m, making
them about one quarter of the
size of Nasa’s now-retired space
The X-37B, also known as
Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV,
first flew in April 2010 and
returned after eight months.
A second mission launched
in March 2011 and lasted 15
months, while a third took flight
in December 2012 and returned
after 22 months. — Reuters
Kanye West quits
Kanye West has left fans
confused after deactivating his
social media accounts.
The American rapper closed
down both his Instagram
and Twitter pages, with no
Fans trying to access the
accounts were greeted with
messages saying that the pages
did not exist.
The musician’s followers have
expressed their disappointment
at his sudden disappearance.
One posted on Twitter: “Kanye
West deactivated his Twitter my
life is over.”
“ What! am I supposed to do
without Kanye on Twitter? I used
to read his tweets for motivation.
come back,” urged another.
But one person quipped:
“Anybody miss Kanye West on
Twitter or Instagram? Has the
world ended or descended into
West ’s wife Kim Kardashian
has not mentioned her husband’s
social media silence on her own
Earlier this week Kardashian
stepped out at the Met Gala in
New York alone, with West not
attending. — PA
Old bombs force 50,000 out
German authorities are evacuat-
ing about 50,000 people from
their homes in the northern city
of Hanover while five suspected
aerial bombs from World War
Two are made safe for removal.
suspected bombs were found
at a construction site and three
more nearby. Germany was
heavily bombed by Allied planes
during the war and such finds are
Leaflets in German, Polish,
Turkish, English and Russian
were delivered door-to-door to
make sure everyone was evacuated.
The city’s museums were open for
free and the senior citizen’s agency
organised an afternoon of scrabble
and card-playing gatherings so
evacuated residents would have
places to go.
The X-37B after landing at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre
at Cape Canaveral.
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