Home' Greymouth Star : August 15th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, August 15, 2017
A mudslide killed more than 200
people on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s
capital Freetown overnight, sweeping
away homes and leaving residents
desperate for news of missing family
The Red Cross said at least 205 bodies
had been taken to the central morgue in
Freetown. Police and military personnel
were at the scene in the mountain town
of Regent searching for people trapped
in the debris.
Many people living at the foot of
Mount Sugar Loaf were asleep when
the mountainside collapsed, burying
dozens of houses, including two-storey
buildings, witnesses said.
Standing in the rain, residents sobbed
as they mourned family members
and waited for news of those missing.
Adama Kamara wept as she described a
failed attempt to rescue her seven-week-
“ We were inside when we heard the
mudslide approaching. I attempted to
grab my baby but the mud was too fast.
She was covered alive,” Kamara, who
escaped with bruises, said. She said she
was not sure what had happened to her
A man said he had left early in
the morning to buy bread. When he
returned, his wife, children, siblings and
in-laws were all dead.
The death toll is expected to rise as
more bodies are recovered, Red Cross
spokesman Abu Bakarr Tarawallie said.
Vice-President Victor Foh said at the
scene: “It is likely that hundreds are
lying dead underneath the rubble.” He
said a number of illegal buildings had
been erected in the area.
“The disaster is so serious that I myself
feel broken,” he said. “ We’re trying to
cordon the area. Evacuate the people.”
An excavator ploughed away at the
mountainside and ambulances rushed
back and forth to the city centre with
bodies and wounded, but rescue efforts
were hampered by bad roads and the
weather, a witness said.
Community chief Fatmata Tarawallie
said she started calling for help at 4am
(local time) but it did not come soon
enough. “Now our community has
sunk,” she said.
Mudslides and floods are fairly
common during the rainy season in west
Africa, where deforestation and poor
town planning has put residents at risk.
Attorney-General George Brandis does
not share his prime minister’s absolute
confidence in the High Court ruling to
save the political career of Barnaby Joyce.
Malcolm Turnbull told parliament
yesterday the deputy prime minister
was qualified to sit in the House of
Representatives and “the High Court
will so hold”.
Senator Brandis was not nearly as
“ You can never be absolutely certain of
outcomes in the High Court,” he said
today, noting none of the seven judges
on the Bench sat on earlier cases that
considered section 44 of the constitution.
Labor has accused the prime minister
of trying to influence the judges and
ignore the separation of powers that
exists between government and the
“These were the comments of an
arrogant prime minister who came
perilously close to directing the High
Court,” shadow attorney-general Mark
Brandis denied Turnbull was telling the
court what to rule.
“It is not a directive at all,” he said.
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne also
played down Turnbull’s prediction of a
favourable ruling, saying the government
was “pretty confident ” based on legal
advice from the solicitor-general.
The court is being asked to decide
whether Joyce, who was born in Australia
to the father of a New Zealand citizen,
holds dual citizenship. — AAP
Elephants helped rescue hundreds
of tourists from a flooded jungle
safari park in Nepal, officials said
overnight, as the death toll from
flash floods and landslides after
four days of heavy rain rose to 70.
The Rapti River overflowed its
banks in Sauraha, 80km south of
the capital, Kathmandu, inundating
hotels and restaurants and leaving
some 600 tourists stranded.
Sauraha, on the fringe of Chitwan
National Park, is home to 605
rhinoceroses and is popular with
foreign tourists, including Indian
and Chinese visitors, mainly for
rhino watching and elephant rides.
“Some 300 guests were rescued on
elephant backs and tractor trailers
to (nearby) Bharatpur yesterday and
the rest will be taken to safer places
today,” Suman Ghimire, head of a
group of Sauraha hotel owners, said
by telephone overnight.
Floods have also swept the nearby
north-east Indian State of Assam
in the past two days, killing at least
15 people and displacing nearly 2.3
million, officials said.
Nearly 90% of Assam’s Kaziranga
national park, home to the
world’s largest population of the
endangered one-horned rhinoceros,
was under water, Forest Minister
Pramilla Rani Brahma said. The
animals have moved to higher
In Nepal, relief workers said 26
of the country’s 75 districts were
either submerged or had been
hit by landslides after heavy rains
lashed the Himalayan nation,
home to Mount Everest and the
birthplace of Lord Buddha.
The death toll was expected
to rise with another 50 people
reported missing, Information and
Communications Minister Mohan
Bahadur Basnet said.
Basnet said more than 60,000
homes were under water, mainly
in the southern plains bordering
India. Estimates of losses were not
available, with rescuers yet to reach
villages marooned by the worst
floods in recent years.
“The situation is worrying as tens
of thousands of people have been
hit,” Basnet said.
Large swaths of farmland in
the southern plains, Nepal’s
breadbasket, are under water
and the country could face food
shortages due to crop losses, aid
“The heavy rains hit at one of
the worst times, shortly after
farmers planted their rice crop
in the country’s most important
agricultural region,” Sumnima
Shrestha, a spokeswoman for
United States-based non-profit
group Heifer International, said.
Monsoon rains, which start
in June and continue through
September, are important for farm-
dependent Nepal, but they also
cause heavy loss of life and property
damage each year. — Reuters
Elephants help rescue hundreds from flooded Nepalese park
Villagers ride elephants to safety in Nepal.
Clergy who refuse to report
child sexual abuse after hearing
a confession could end up facing
The child abuse
commission wants a new criminal
offence of failing to report child
sexual abuse in institutions, with
no exemption for clergy who
learn about the abuse during a
It means priests would have to
break the seal of confession in
institutional child abuse cases,
something Sydney ’s Catholic
Archbishop Anthony Fisher
has likened to bugging the
understands the inviolability of
the confessional seal particularly
to the Catholic faith but the
children from sexual abuse
means c lergy should not be able
to refuse to report child abuse
because the information was
received during confession.
The inquiry has heard evidence
of perpetrators who made a
religious confession to sexually
abusing children went on to
reoffend and seek forgiveness
again, the royal commission
noted in its wide-ranging report
calling for reform of Australia’s
criminal justice system.
“ We are satisfied confession is
a forum where Catholic children
have disclosed their sexual abuse
and where clergy have disclosed
their abusive behaviour in order
to deal with their own guilt,” the
The commission noted the
Anglican Church’s doctrine
commission has recommended
the practice of
confidentiality be reconsidered
for confessions of serious crimes
such as child sexual offences.
The new offence of failing
to report abuse in institutions
would apply to people in
institutions who know, suspect or
should have suspected a child is
being or has been sexually abused
by an adult associated with the
The commission believes it is
necessary to impose criminal
liability for failure to report in
cases where a person should have
suspected the abuse.
It said it has heard evidence
from a number of senior
representatives of institutions
effectively denying they had any
knowledge or had formed any
belief or suspicion of abuse being
committed “in circumstances
where their denials are very
difficult to accept ”.
Some witnesses have conceded
they should have suspected or
they should have reported, it said.
Making it an offence to fail to
report where the person should
have suspected abuse will also
help overcome any conflict
between their duty to report
and their interest in protecting
the institution’s reputation, the
The commission also wants all
States and territories to make it
a crime to fail to protect a child
within an institution from a
substantial risk of sexual abuse
by an adult associated with the
Its 85 recommendations for
reform include broadening the
conduct that applies in grooming
offences and extending them to
include the grooming of a child’s
parents or carers.
It also wants the law changed
to allow greater use of evidence
by multiple victims in relation
to a single perpetrator and more
joint trials in child abuse matters.
Abuse confessions could see clergy charged
Police have escorted a koala from a
Sydney home after it wandered from its
eucalypt into a woman’s laundry.
Officers were called to the home at
Engadine after the woman said she had
a koala in her laundry on Saturday night.
The resident told police she was
not able to contact an animal welfare
“An officer, who is a current Wires
(wildlife rescue) volunteer, escorted the
adventurous marsupial from the laundry,
into the backyard and watched it return
to its eucalypt home,” NSW police said
in a statement. — A AP
Police escort koala out of laundry
Girl dies as car ploughs in to diners
Scientists believe they have found
the largest volcanic region on Earth —
under the ice of Antarctica.
A remote sur vey discovered 91
volcanoes ranging in height from 100m
to 3850m in a massive region known as
the West Antarctic Rift System.
Geologists and ice experts say the range
has similarities to east Africa’s volcanic
ridge, acknowledged to be the densest
concentration of volcanoes in the world.
University of Edinburgh researchers
remotely sur veyed the underside of
the ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt
rock, like those of other volcanoes in the
region whose tips push above the ice.
They analysed the shape of the land
beneath using measurements from ice-
penetrating radar and compared the
findings with satellite and database
records, as well as geological information
from aerial sur veys.
The study, which is the first of its
kind, was proposed by Max van Wyk
de Vries, a third-year student at the
University of Edinburgh. The study has
been published in the Geological Society
Special Publications series. — PA
Venezuelan food crisis worsens
An estimated 25,000 Venezuelans trek across
the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into
Colombia each day for work or to trade goods
on the black market.
Increasingly, they are also coming to eat in
one of half a dozen facilities offering struggling
Venezuelans a free plate of food.
Border cities like Cucuta have become
firsthand witnesses to the neighbouring South
American nation’s escalating humanitarian
The Colombian government has crafted
contingency plans in the event of a sudden,
Church groups and non-profit organisations
already are stepping in, moved by images of
mothers carrying star ving babies and skinny
men trying to make a few dollars on Cucuta’s
Seeking to highlight the growing plight in
Venezuela, United States Vice-President Mike
Pence met with people who have fled the
country to Colombia.
Pence visited the Calvary Chapel in Cartagena,
where he met with faith leaders and Venezuelan
families before planning to depart to Buenos
His wife, Karen Pence, helped to lead a prayer
circle, where she prayed for “comfort to the
The vice president and his wife also spent time
speaking with the migrants, listening to their
emotional stories. Reporters were not able to
hear their conversations, but watched the vice
president comfort several women, including at
least one who was seen wiping away tears.
He said he heard “heartbreaking” stories of
their struggle for food.
“President Trump’s made it very clear we will
not stand by while Venezuela collapses into
dictatorship,” Pence said, arguing that “a failed
state in Venezuela threatens the security and
prosperity of our entire hemispheres and the
people of the United States”.
Pence is trying to rally the region against
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s
attempts to consolidate power. Pence yesterday
denounced Maduro’s tactics and said the US
will not stand by as Venezuela “crumbles”. —AP
A car ploughed into the outdoor terrace of a
pizzeria in the small town of Sept-Sorts east of
Paris early today, killing a 12-year-old girl and
seriously injuring several other people.
The driver deliberately targeted the diners,
a local prosecutor said, announcing he was
ruling out terrorism and opening a murder
“There is no doubt that he voluntarily decided
to create what happened,” prosecutor Eric de
Valroger said at the scene.
No weapon was found in the vehicle, the
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry
Brandet said the driver was a “depressive” aged
32 and described him as an unstable character.
The incident occurred on a warm summer’s
evening on the eve of a national holiday and
witnesses said the outdoor eating area was busy.
A photograph published on social media
showed a grey BMW car surrounded by
upturned tables in the outdoor seating area of
Brandet said five victims were being treated
in hospital for life-threatening injuries. Eight
others suffered minor injuries and seven were
treated for shock. “ Everyone on the terrace was
hit,” one witness told BFM Televsion.
A police source said the driver lived in a
neighbouring village to Sept-Sorts, about 41km
to the east of Paris, and had tried to commit
suicide on Sunday.
The incident occurred less than a week after
an Algerian national was arrested on suspicion
of deliberately ramming a hire car into a group
of soldiers on a patrol in the Paris suburb of
Levallois-Perret, injuring six of them.
The soldiers were part of Operation Sentinel,
launched in the wake of Islamist attacks in Paris
in early 2015. The Levallois-Perret attack was
the 15th on troops and police in the last two
and a half years, many of them Islamic State-
inspired. — Reuters
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