Home' Greymouth Star : October 5th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, October 5, 2017
Prankster, coughing fits mar Theresa May’s key speech
British Prime Minister Theresa
May ’s bid to reassert her dwindling
authority was marred overnight
by a calamitous keynote speech
interrupted by repeated coughing
fits, a prankster and even letters of
her slogan falling off the stage.
May had wanted to use the
Conser vative Party’s annual
conference to bring her divided
party together and pitch herself
as the only person able to deliver
Brexit and keep opposition Labour
leader Jeremy Corbyn out of power.
She started by apologising for her
botched bet on a snap June election
which stripped her party of its
majority in parliament, then pitched
a revitalised “British dream” for
which she proposed fixing broken
markets and uniting the country.
Her flow was interrupted by
British comedian Simon Brodkin,
who handed her a P45 letter, a
document given to employees when
they leave their job. The document
had been “signed” by the comedian
using the name of her ambitious
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Then May began a coughing fit
and was repeatedly forced to take
drinks of water, even coughing
into her glass, and was proffered
a lozenge from Chancellor of the
Exchequer Philip Hammond.
While she was speaking, several
letters fell off the slogans behind
her on the stage. Some Twitter
users seized on images of the
missing letters to poke fun at the
Conser vatives: One said their glue
was even failing to hold the party
The 61-year-old May won
standing ovations for pressing on
with the hour-long address.
Her speech sought to offer party
activists a renewal of Conser vative
values while making new promises
to a younger generation and those
“ just about managing”.
“This is a conser vatism I believe
in, a conser vatism of fairness and
justice and opportunity for all, a
conser vatism that keeps the British
dream alive for a new generation,”
she told the cheering crowd.
“That ’s what I’m in this for,” she
said, in a phrase she repeated at least
eight times. “ That ’s what we must
all be in this for.”
May, who was warmly embraced
by her husband on stage after she
had finished speaking, later poked
fun at her coughing fit by tweeting
an image of cough lozenges and
medicine laid beside a paper copy
of the address and her prime
Brexit minister David Davis said it
had been “a very good speech, it hit
all the issues people care about ”.
Other cabinet ministers also
Many in the audience said her
coughing fit and the sudden
appearance by the comedian had
helped to win them over.
Opponents were less kind.
Nigel Farage, the former leader of
the United Kingdom Independence
Party, said May was so useless that if
she remained as leader then Labour’s
Corbyn would soon be in power.
Labour lawmaker Seema Malhotra
said: “It just couldn’t get worse than
this. What a disaster. It’s a shambles,
not a government.”
There are few obvious successors
yet visible besides Johnson, who is
unpopular with some Conser vative
lawmakers. Some activists fear that
a divisive leadership contest would
pave the way for an election that
Corbyn’s Labour could win.
The conference in the northern
English city of Manchester was
a sombre affair, light on policy
and heavy on self-doubt. Despite
coming second in the June election,
the opposition Labour Party’s
annual meeting a week earlier was
May tried to compete with Labour
on its pledges to voters, offering
Â£2 billion ($3.7 billion) to build
cheaper houses, proposing a cap
on what she called “rip-off ” energy
prices and to ease the burden of
Labour leader Corbyn said May
had simply taken a few Labour
policies and watered them down.
Business leaders reacted warily to
May ’s plan for more government
inter vention in power and housing
markets, and said big unanswered
questions about Brexit would drag
on the economy. — Reuters
PICTURE: Getty Images
Comedian Simon Brodkin, aka prankster Lee Nelson,
hands May a P45 form during her keynote speech.
The wording on a slogan changed after letters fell away
from the backdrop immediately after May’s address.
PICTURE: Getty Images
British Prime Minister Theresa May takes a cough sweet as
she struggles with a cough during her speech.
Chief diplomat denies resignation thoughts
United States Secretary
of State Rex Tillerson
said today he had never
considered resigning and
was committed to President
Donald Trump’s agenda,
but failed to address
whether he had referred to
the president as a “moron,”
as NBC reported.
The State Department
later denied he had even
used the word, an issue
Tillerson earlier declined
to specifically address.
“The secretary . . . does
not use that language to
speak about anyone. He
did not say that,” State
Heather Nauert said at a
The top US diplomat,
whose tenure has been
dogged with rumors about
unhappiness with Trump’s
policies and rhetoric, said
he was as committed to
Trump’s agenda today as he
was when he accepted the offer to ser ve
as Secretary of State.
The episode is the latest controversy to
embroil Trump’s administration which
has witnessed a string of high-profile
departures and firings in recent months,
including his chief of staff, national
security adviser and the former Federal
Bureau of Investigation director.
NBC reported that in a session
with Trump’s national security team
and cabinet officials at the Pentagon,
Tillerson had openly criticised the
president and referred to him as a
“moron,” citing three officials familiar
with the incident.
Tillerson sidestepped the issue
when taking questions after making a
statement at a hastily organised news
“I ’m not going to deal with petty stuff
like that,” he said, adding, “I’m not from
this place (Washington), but the places I
come from we don’t deal with that kind
of petty nonsense.”
Tillerson spoke after NBC reported
that Vice-President Mike Pence and
other top officials had inter vened to
persuade him not to resign this summer
as tensions rose between him and Trump.
“The vice-president has never had to
persuade me to remain as Secretary of
State because I have never considered
leaving this post,” Tillerson said.
“My commitment to the success of our
president and our country is as strong
as it was the day I accepted his offer to
ser ve as secretary of state,” he said.
Nauert said Tillerson and Trump had
spoken later and that it was a “good
conversation”. Tillerson did not offer an
apology to Trump because “one was not
Tillerson, the former chief executive of
Exxon and former president of the Boy
Scouts, said of Trump: “He’s smart. He
demands results. ”
Trump later told reporters in Las Vegas:
“ I’m very honoured by his comments. It
was fake news, it was a totally phony
story. It was made up by
NBC. They just made it up.
Total confidence in Rex. I
have total confidence.”
Trump had appeared to
undercut Tillerson over
the weekend when the
president tweeted that
he told him that he was
“ wasting his time” trying
to negotiate with North
Korean leader Kim Jong Un
over Pyongyang’s nuclear
and missile programs.
vigorous defence of both
the president and his
foreign policy even though
the White House and
State Department have at
times appeared to differ on
foreign policy goals break
the mould of what people
traditionally think is
achievable on behalf of our
country,” Tillerson said.
The embarrassing episode
underscored the sense of
disarray that US friends and foes alike
have detected in their dealings with
Trump’s foreign policy apparatus and
could further undermine US credibility
in world affairs.
Pence, in a statement, said he never
discussed with Tillerson the prospect of
the Secretary of State’s resignation.
In a tweet, Trump earlier urged NBC
to apologise for its story, but NBC
News anchor Hallie Jackson said on air:
“NBC will not be issuing an apology to
America as the president is calling for
because again . . . the secretary did not
refute directly some of the key points” in
Several NBC journalists who reported
the story also stood by their piece,
saying on MSNBC their reporting was
Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has
played down any tensions between
Trump and Tillerson over their apparent
split, most recently over North Korea.
Some administration officials have
privately described Tillerson
chafing against some of the president ’s
decisions, sometimes contrary to advice
from senior advisers.
One US official said the view of
many within the administration was
that despite Tillerson’s denial of having
contemplated resignation, “it ’s only a
matter of time” before he does consider
The official said there was no reason
to believe that Trump would give up his
habit of publicly contradicting Tillerson
and that each time speculation on his
future would resurface.
Tillerson has often found himself at
odds with the president on a range of
issues, according to current and former
US officials and media reports.
He has taken a more hawkish view on
Russia and tried to mediate a dispute
among key US Middle East allies after
four Arab nations boycotted Qatar over
its alleged extremist ties. — Reuters
Gunman’s girlfriend denies knowing of plan
The family of the Filipina-Australian
girlfriend of Las Vegas mass-murderer
she had nothing to do with Stephen
Paddock’s shooting massacre.
They say Paddock sent her to the
Philippines two weeks ago and wired
her more than $US100,000 before he
killed 58 people and wounded more
than 500 as he fired from a 32nd floor
casino hotel suite on Sunday night.
Marilou Danley has now returned
to the United States and is being
questioned by FBI agents.
She was named a person of interest
and her image flashed on media reports
around the world in the immediate
The 62-year-old former Queensland
resident left Australia in 1989 and lived
with Paddock in Nevada.
Her sister who lives in Q ueensland says
she is a good person and knew nothing
about Paddock’s plot to slaughter dozens
of revellers at a country music festival on
the Vegas Strip.
“He sent her away so he can plan what
he is planning without interruptions,”
her sister, whose name was not revealed,
said.“ In that sense, I thank him for
sparing my sister’s life. But that won’t be
to compensate the 59 peoples’ lives.
“ No one can put the puzzles together.
No one except Marilou. Because Steve is
not here to talk any more, only Marilou
can maybe help.”
Danley ’s sister said she would have
stopped the massacre if she knew it was
going to happen.
Danley assured her family she has a
“clean conscience” following Sunday
night’s rampage, her brother told the
US’s ABC News in the Philippines.
Danley was born in the Philippines
and moved to Queensland in the early
1980s before moving 28 years ago to the
US where she worked in casinos.
A former German actress and model
has told Swiss authorities that film
director Roman Polanski raped her at
his mountain chalet in 1972 when she
was 15 years old, local prosecutors said
A lawyer for the 84-year-old French-
Polish film director said he was aware
of the allegation by Renate Langer and
he dismissed it as an “absurd” attempt to
generate media attention.
Police in the north-eastern Swiss
canton of Saint Gallen confirmed they
had received a complaint from Langer,
61, last month about an alleged rape in
Polanski’s house in 1972. The New York
Times first reported the allegation.
Swiss prosecutors were being asked
to consider whether prosecution of
Polanski was possible under Swiss law
given the alleged crime occurred nearly
a half century ago.
Switzerland has eliminated the statute
of limitations on sex crimes against
children under the age of 12.
Prosecutors in Saint Gallen said
Langer had filed a complaint of rape
against Polanski on September 26. “ The
presumed act took place at the end of
February 1972 in a chalet in Gstaad,”
The case would be passed on to
colleagues in the canton of Bern, where
Polanski has a home in the up-scale ski
resort of Gstaad.
In Poland, Polanski’s lawyer, Jan
Olszewski, said he and his clients were
aware of the “notification” by Langer.
“ In my opinion, the situation is so
absurd that it is hard to even comment
on it. This initiative — after 40 years
is primarily aimed at causing media
noise,” he said.
Langer is the fourth woman to accuse
Polanski publicly of sexually assaulting
them when they were teenagers.
Catalonia signals independence
Catalonia will move on Monday
to declare independence from Spain
after holding a banned referendum,
pushing the European Union nation
towards a rupture that threatens the
foundations of its young democracy.
Puigdemont said he favoured
mediation to find a way out of
the crisis but that Spain’s central
government had rejected this.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ’s
government responded by calling on
Catalonia to “return to the path of
law ” first before any negotiations.
Mireia Boya, a Catalan lawmaker
from the pro-independence Popular
Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, said
a declaration of independence would
follow a parliamentary session on
Monday to evaluate the results of the
October 1 vote to break away.
“ We know that there may be
disbarments, arrests. But we are
prepared, and in no case will it be
stopped,” she said on Twitter.
Puigdemont told the BBC he
would ask the region’s parliament
to declare independence following
the referendum, which Spain’s
government and constitutional court
say was illegal and in which only a
minority of Catalans voted.
In a televised address last night,
Puigdemont said: “ This moment
calls for mediation. We have received
various offers in the last hours and
we will receive more.”
Without specifically mentioning
declaration, he added: “I am sure that
in the next few days we will show
the best of our country when the
institutions of Catalonia will have to
apply the results of the referendum.
“ Today we are closer than yesterday
to our historic wish.”
that Puigdemont had wasted an
opportunity to put Catalonia back
on a legal course. “ If Mr Puigdemont
wants to talk or negotiate, or wants to
send mediators, he knows perfectly
well what he must do first: Return
to the path of the law,” it said in a
Participants in the referendum
independence, but turnout was only
about 43% as Catalans who favour
remaining part of Spain mainly
boycotted the ballot.
Spain was restored to democracy
only following the death in 1975 of
military dictator Francisco Franco,
under whom the Catalan language
and traditions were suppressed.
Puigdemont criticised Spain’s King
Felipe VI who yesterday lambasted
the “irresponsible behaviour” of the
He said the king had disappointed
many people in Catalonia by failing
to call for dialogue and he accused
King Felipe of endorsing the policies
of Rajoy, which he said had been
“c atastrophic ” for Catalonia.
The EU executive called again
for the Spanish government and
Catalan authorities to open a
dialogue. “It’s time to talk,” the
European Commission’s deputy
head, Frans Timmermans, told the
Various attempts to find a mediated
solution to the crisis emerged
Pablo Iglesias, leader of the left-
wing Podemos party, proposed the
Spanish and Catalan governments
try to agree on a mediator while the
FC Barcelona football club said it
had joined other groups in Catalonia
seeking a negotiated solution.
Spanish media reports said the
Catalan regional government had
been in touch with senior church
figures to sound out the possibility
of them playing a mediating role.
But the Spanish government
Rajoy told Iglesias that Puigdemont
had to give up the idea of
unilaterally declaring independence,
a government source said. “ That is
not negotiable. You can’t deal with
people who plan to blackmail the
State so brutally,” the source added.
Rajoy, a conservative who has
taken a hard line on Catalan
independence, is considering the
unprecedented step of dissolving the
Catalan parliament and triggering
regional elections, ruling party
He is struggling to secure support
from across the traditional political
divide — a lack of consensus that
could compound Spain’s worst
political crisis for decades.
In a sign that Spanish police
reinforcements sent to Catalonia
might be there for an extended stay,
an army logistics unit sent bunks,
kitchens and showers to an army
barracks near Barcelona in case the
police need to use the military base
at some point, a Ministry of Defence
Pro-independence parties that
control the Catalan government
staged the referendum in defiance
of a Constitutional Court ruling
that the vote violated Spain’s 1978
constitution, which states that the
country is indivisible.
Catalonia has its own language and
culture and a political movement for
secession that has strengthened in
Outside Catalonia, most Spaniards
appear strongly opposed to its
independence drive. Opinion polls
conducted before the vote suggested
a minority of about 40% of residents
in Catalonia backed independence.
Desperate sweep in Las Vegas
hotel avoided deadly mistake
Before a lone gunman opened fire in
Las Vegas, the city’s police department
had studied the mass shootings that had
rocked the United States in decades
prior and learned a valuable lesson.
That lesson may have stopped the
massacre from turning out much worse.
Speaking to reporters today Las Vegas
sheriff Joseph Lombardo revealed his
officers had learned from the police
responses to the massacres at the Pulse
gay nightclub in Florida, Columbine
High School in Colorado and the
Boston Marathon bombing, among
At the time of the Columbine mass
shooting in 1999, police were generally
taught that the best way to respond to
an ongoing incident was to contain
the scene and prevent violence from
spreading. Orlando police were criticised
last year for responding too slowly when
a 29-year-old opened fire at the Pulse
nightclub, killing 49 and injuring 53
more. More than three hours elapsed
between the initial report of gunfire and
when police rammed into the building
with a vehicle, finding scores more
The same criticism was levelled at New
South Wales police in 2014 when they
waited 16 hours to storm the Lindt
Cafe during the Sydney siege, after Tori
Johnson had been executed.
For police, it is an excruciating decision:
Rush in and risk the lives of the officers
and captives; or engage with the shooter
in the hope of saving lives. Research
from past mass casualty shootings
suggest that one person is killed every 15
seconds, so police hesitation can make
Lombardo said his officers were taught
that police inter vention — no matter
how small — had the power to save
lives in situations such as the one they
were faced with when Stephen Paddock
rained gunfire down on a music festival
crowd, killing 59 and injuring more that
“I will not disparage another police
department ’s response, but I will tell you
we quite often learn from what other
people do,” he said. “As a result of what
occurred in Columbine, what occurred
in Sacramento, what occurred in Boston,
what occurred at the Pulse nightclub,
police response is changing.
“ We have found it ’s better, instead of
securing the perimeter and hoping the
person doesn’t continue to do acts of
carnage associated with their actions,
that even a small police response will
stop the suspect ’s actions.”
That is how Las Vegas police acted.
It took officers 72 minutes from the
first 911 call to find the shooter. The
response time was lengthened, the
sheriff said, because there was so much
confusion about where the gunfire was
Instead of waiting for the SWAT team
to arrive at the scene, a small group of
officers teamed up with the Mandalay
Bay security guards to perform a sweep
of the 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd floors
in a desperate attempt to find the exact
location of the shooter.
“Officers, on their own, without
direction of a super visor, knew what
they had to do,” Lombardo said. “ They
came together, formed a team, made a
response and they didn’t wait on SWAT.
They said ‘We have to stop (him).’
“It’s easy to say ‘We’ll wait on SWAT,
they’re the experts in tactical intrusion’,
but our officers took it upon themselves
to act. ”
In fact, it was a security guard who was
first to identify the shooter’s location.
The guard was shot at and hit by
Paddock as he approached his room as
part of the sweep.
By the time they had found Paddock’s
room on the 32nd floor, the SWAT team
had arrived and stormed in. Paddock
then took his own life.
Lombardo said he was proud of the
police response and believed it helped to
shut Paddock down earlier than might
have other wise been the case.
“I want to say kudos to those officers
who got together, said, This is what we
trained for, active shooter, we’ ll put an
element together, let ’s go engage this
individual and locate them’. And that ’s
what we did,” he said. — News.com .au
The search for victims of
an earthquake that killed
hundreds in Mexico City
ended overnight as rescue
workers recovered the
body of the last person
known to be missing
beneath the rubble of
Minister Roberto Campa
said all the bodies had
been recovered from the
ruins of an office building
in the upscale Roma
district of the capital. The
search at other buildings
that collapsed ended
several days ago.
In total 369 people
died in the September
19 earthquake, the most
deadly in a generation,
with almost two-thirds of
the fatalities in the capital.
Earlier that month, 98
people died when an even
more powerful tremor hit
the south of the country.
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