Home' Greymouth Star : August 30th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Chinese fishermen caught
6000 sharks in Galapagos
An Ecuadorean judge has jailed 20
Chinese fishermen for up to four years
for illegally fishing off the Galapagos
Islands, where they were caught with
The Chinese-flagged ship Fu Yuan
Yu Leng 999 was apprehended in
mid-August with some 300 tonnes of
near-extinct or endangered species,
including hammerhead sharks.
The crew received jail time of between
one and four years, the judge said late on
Sunday. They were also fined a total of
Ecuador’s foreign ministry said it had
sent a formal protest to China over the
presence of ships near the Galapagos,
which inspired British naturalist Charles
Dar win’s theory of evolution.
It reported earlier this month that
China’s ambassador in Q uito, Wang
Yulin, said his country wanted to take
all measures necessary to “put an end
to these illicit practices.” The islands are
about 1000km west of Ecuador’s Pacific
The Environment Ministry said
the Chinese vessel was fishing in the
Galapagos’ marine reser ve.
The boat will be taken over by Ecuador
and the dead animals thrown out to sea,
the government said overnight.
Shark fin is a status symbol for many
Chinese, prized as nourishment and
consumed in a shredded jelly-like soup.
Restaurants across China ser ve it at
traditional banquets, despite a 2014
crackdown by President Xi Jinping on
extravagance and a ban on ser ving the
delicacy at official functions.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying
said China opposed any form of illegal
fishing, and was paying great attention
to the case.
However, she said there was no
evidence the ship was fishing in
Ecuadorian waters but that the ship
had transited through the Galapagos
protected zone without permission as it
did not understand Ecuadorian rules.
China hopes Ecuador can fairly handle
the case and protect the legitimate rights
of the Chinese nationals, Hua added.
Centenarian tortoises and blue-footed
boobies inhabit the Galapagos alongside
some 18,000 islanders who earn a living
from fishing and the tourism industry.
Thousands flee flooding
President Donald Trump visited Texas
to sur vey damage from the first major
natural disaster to test his leadership in
a crisis, as record rainfall from tropical
storm Har vey lashed Houston and tens
of thousands of people fled flooded
Harris County officials warned
residents to evacuate as they released
water from overflowing reser voirs to
alleviate pressure on two dams, a move
that would add to flooding along the
Buffalo Bayou water way that runs
through the area.
The slow-moving storm has brought
catastrophic flooding to the State,
killing at least 11 people and paralysing
Houston, the fourth most-populous
American city. Damage was expected
to run well into the tens of billions of
dollars, making it one of the costliest
natural disasters in the United States.
City officials were preparing to shelter
some 19,000 people, with thousands
more expected to flee the area as the
flooding entered its fourth day.
Nearly a third of Harris County was
under water, an area 15 times the size
of Manhattan, the Houston Chronicle
newspaper reported. Forecasters warned
the rain would continue to Friday
(NZT), badly straining the dams and
drainage systems that protect the low-
lying US energy hub.
Trump, speaking in Corpus Christi
near where Har vey first came ashore last
week as the most powerful hurricane to
strike Texas in more than 50 years, said
he wanted the relief effort to stand as an
example of how to respond to a storm.
“ We want to do it better than ever
before.” Trump later spoke to a crowd of
people affected by the storm.
“This storm, it’s epic what happened.
But you know what, it happened in
Texas and Texas can handle anything,”
Trump said, before waving a Texas State
flag over the crowd, standing on a step
ladder near a fire truck.
Har vey has drawn comparisons with
Hurricane Katrina, which devastated
New Orleans 12 years ago, killing
1800 people. Former President George
W Bush was widely criticised for his
administration’s handling of the response
to that disaster, taking a heavy toll on
public support of his administration.
Trump clearly was aiming to avoid a
An 11th death was reported today —
Houston police sergeant Steve Perez,
60, a 34-year veteran of the force who
apparently drowned while attempting to
drive to work on Sunday, police chief Art
Acevedo said in an emotional press
conference that Perez’s family had urged
him not to leave the house because of
the dangerous flooding but the officer
told them, “ We have work to do.”
Some 3500 people have been rescued
from high waters in the Houston area
with police, firefighters and National
Guard troops continuing to locate those
marooned in high waters.
Large numbers of civilians also formed
ad hoc rescue groups, many using boats
to pluck neighbours from flooded homes.
Gloria Stilwell, 44, who described
herself as a stay-at-home mum, said she
agreed with Trump’s assessment that
Houston residents were well equipped
to handle the storm.
“I totally agree with him. Texas can
definitely handle it,” Stilwell said as she
registered to volunteer at a shelter. “ I’ve
lived here since 1980, through plenty of
hurricanes. Texans have always banded
Nurse Lisa Ike, 39, was less impressed.
“ Texas can handle anything? I just lost
my house and three cars. We need help,”
Ike said, adding that she had not voted
in the presidential election and had not
yet made up her mind about Trump.
“My opinion will be made by how he
handles this situation,” she said
The National Hurricane Centre said a
preliminary report from Texas shows a
record 131.78cm of rain has fallen due
to Har vey, a record for any storm in
the continental US. The gauge was in
Highlands, Texas, east of Houston.
This breaks the previous record of
121.93cm set during tropical storm
Amelia in 1978 in Medina, Texas,
the NHC said. Medina is west of San
Har vey has wrought damage estimated
to be in the billions of dollars, with
rebuilding likely to last beyond Trump’s
four-year term in office.
After Corpus Christi, Trump headed
to the State capital Austin to meet with
officials. Houston was not on his itinerary
because much of it is impassable.
About 9000 evacuees were staying at
Houston’s George R Brown Convention
Centre and Houston Mayor Sylvester
Turner said his office had asked the
Agency for assets to allow the city to
shelter another 10,000 people. Other
shelters were set up in Dallas, about
400km to the north, for about 8000
people, and Austin, 258km west, to take
in 7000 people. — Reuters
Residents use boats to evacuate flood waters from tropical storm Harvey along Tidwell Road in east
Drone drug deliveries
take off in Tanzania
Tanzania is set to launch the world’s
largest drone delivery network in
January, with drones parachuting blood
and medicines out of the skies to save
the lives of women giving birth and
children struck by malaria, in a country
larger than Nigeria.
California’s Zipline will make 2000
deliveries a day to more than 1000 health
facilities across the east African country,
including blood, vaccines and malaria
and Aids drugs, following the success of
a smaller project in nearby Rwanda.
“ It’s the right move,” Lilian Mvule,
51, said by phone, recalling how her
granddaughter died from malaria two
“S he needed urgent blood transfusion
from a group O, which was not available,”
Malaria is a major killer in Tanzania
and children under the age of five often
need blood transfusions when they
develop malaria-induced anaemia. If
supplies are out of stock, as is often the
case with rare blood types, they can die.
Tanzania is larger than Nigeria and
four times the size of the United
Kingdom, making it hard for the cash-
strapped government to ensure all of
its 5000-plus clinics are fully stocked,
particularly in remote rural areas.
The drones fly at 100kph, much faster
than travelling by road. Small packages
are dropped from the sky using a
The government also hopes to save the
lives of thousands of women who die
from profuse bleeding after giving birth.
Tanzania has one of the world’s worst
maternal mortality rates, with 556 deaths
per 100,000 deliveries, government data
“It’s a problem we can help solve with
on-demand drone delivery,” Zipline’s
chief executive, Keller Rinaudo, said in
“African nations are showing the world
how it’s done.”
Companies in the United States and
elsewhere are keen to use drones to
cut delivery times and costs, but there
are hurdles ranging from the risk of
collisions with aeroplanes to ensuring
battery safety and longevity.
All options open, Trump warns North Korea
President Donald Trump warned
all options were on the table for the
United States to respond to North
Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile
over northern Japan’s Hokkaido
island into the sea in a new show
The missile test further increased
tension in east Asia as US and
South Korean forces conducted
annual military exercises on
the Korean peninsula, angering
Pyongyang which sees the war
games as a preparation for invasion.
North Korea has conducted
dozens of ballistic missile tests
under its leader, Kim Jong Un,
in defiance of United Nations
sanctions, but firing projectiles over
mainland Japan is rare.
Trump, who has vowed not to
let North Korea develop nuclear
missiles that can hit the mainland
US, said the world had received
North Korea’s latest message “ loud
“Threatening and destabilising
actions only increase the North
Korean regime’s isolation in the
region and among all nations of the
world. All options are on the table,”
Trump said in a statement.
Trump and Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe spoke and
agreed that North Korea “poses a
grave and growing direct threat ” to
the US, Japan and South Korea, the
White House said.
The North Korean missile was
probably an intermediate-range
ballistic missile (IRBM) and
further analysis was under way
to determine whether it was a
success or failure, two US officials
said. It appeared to be a KN-17, or
Hwasong-12, according to initial
data, they said.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel
Robert Manning said diplomacy
was still Washington’s preferred
option with Pyongyang.
North Korea was defiant.
“The US should know that it
can neither browbeat the DPRK
with any economic sanctions and
military threats and blackmail nor
make the DPRK flinch from the
road chosen by itself,” North Korea’s
official Rodong Sinmun said, using
the initials of the North’s official
name, the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea. — Reuters
Japan wary of Sea Shepherd’s tactics
Japan says it will not lower its
guard over its whaling even though
its biggest foe — the Sea Shepherd
conser vation group — has said it
will not send ships to disrupt its
fleet this year.
Paul Watson, founder of the
Society, said yesterday the group’s
limited resources made it difficult
to compete with the military
technology Japan employs to guard
its whaling fleet and it would not
send ships to the Southern Ocean
The decision comes after Japan
introduced new whaling laws in
June that lock in public funding for
its whaling programme and allow
government agencies to dispatch
vessels to disrupt the activists.
At the time, Attorney-General
George Brandis said Australia
would continue to fight for whale
conser vation and uphold the
global moratorium on commercial
Watson accused the United
States, Australia and New Zealand
of turning a blind eye to Japan’s
whaling vessels in favour of “trade
deals”. — AAP
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