Home' Greymouth Star : November 7th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, November 7, 2013
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
was poisoned to death in 2004 with
radioactive polonium, his widow Suha
said overnight after receiving the results
of Swiss forensic tests on her husband's
"We are revealing a real crime, a
political assassination," she told Reuters
A team of experts, including from
Lausanne University Hospital's Institute
of Radiation Physics, opened Arafat's
grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah
last November, and took samples from
his body to seek evidence of alleged
" is has con rmed all our doubts,"
Suha Arafat said after the Swiss
forensic team handed over its report
to her lawyers and Palestinian o cials
in Geneva yesterday. "It is scienti cally
proved that he didn't die a natural death
and we have scienti c proof that this
man was killed."
She did not accuse any country
or person, and acknowledged that
the historic leader of the Palestine
Liberation Organisation had many
enemies, although she noted that Israel
had branded him an obstacle to peace.
Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo interim
peace accords with Israel and led a
subsequent uprising after the failure
of talks in 2000 on a comprehensive
Allegations of foul play
Arafat had foes among
his own people, but many
Palestinians pointed the
nger at Israel, which
had besieged him in his
Ramallah headquarters for
the nal two and a half
years of his life.
passed away as a victim
of an organised terrorist
by a State, that is Israel,
which was looking to get rid of him,"
Wasel Abu Yousef, member of the
executive committee of the PLO, said in
a statement overnight.
" e publishing of the results by the
Swiss institute con rms his poisoning
by polonium and this means that Israel
carried it out."
e Israeli government has denied any
role in his death, noting that he was 75
and had an unhealthy lifestyle.
" is is more soap opera than science,
it is the latest episode in the soap in
which Suha opposes Arafat's successors,"
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman
Yigal Palmor said.
e investigation amounted to "a
highly super cial attempt to determine
a cause of death".
An investigation by the Qatar-based
Al Jazeera television news channel
rst reported last year that traces of
polonium-210 were found on personal
e ects of Arafat given to his widow by
the French military hospital where he
at led French prosecutors to open
an investigation for suspected murder
in August 2012 at the request of
Suha Arafat. Forensic experts from
Switzerland, Russia and France all took
samples from his corpse for testing after
the Palestinian Authority agreed to open
e head of the Russian forensics
institute, Vladimir Uiba, was quoted by
the Interfax news agency last month as
saying no trace of polonium had been
found on the body specimens examined
in Moscow, but his Federal Medico-
Biological Agency later denied he
had made any o cial comment on its
e French pathologists have not
reported their conclusions publicly or
shared any ndings with Suha Arafat's
One of her lawyers said the Swiss
institute's report would be translated
from English into French and handed
over to the three magistrates who are
investigating the case.
Professor David Barclay, a British
forensic scientist retained by Al Jazeera
to interpret the results of the Swiss
tests, said the ndings from Arafat's
body con rmed last year's results from
traces of bodily uids on his underwear,
toothbrush and clothing.
"In my opinion, it is absolutely certain
that the cause of his illness was polonium
poisoning," Barclay told Reuters. " e
levels present in him are su cient to
have caused death.
"What we have got is the smoking gun
--- the thing that caused his illness and
was given to him with malice."
e Swiss scientists' report, posted in
full on Al Jazeera's website, was more
cautious. It concluded:
"Taking into account
the analytical limitations
time lapse since death and
the nature and quality of
the specimens, the results
moderately support the
proposition that the death
was the consequence
of poisoning with
Al Jazeera said the levels
of polonium found in
Arafat's ribs, pelvis and
in soil that absorbed his
remains were at least 18 times higher
e same radioactive substance was
slipped into a cup of tea in a London
hotel to kill defecting Russian spy
Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. From his
deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russian
President Vladimir Putin of ordering his
e British government refused to
hold a public inquiry into his death
after ministers withheld some material
which could have shed light on Russia's
Barclay said the type of polonium
discovered in Arafat's body must have
been manufactured in a nuclear reactor.
While many countries could have
been the source, someone in Arafat's
immediate entourage must have slipped
a miniscule dose of the deadly isotope
probably as a powder into his drink,
food, eye drops or toothpaste, he said.
Arafat fell ill in October 2004,
displaying symptoms of acute
gastroenteritis with diarrhoea and
vomiting. At rst Palestinian o cials
said he was su ering from in uenza.
He was own to Paris in a French
government plane but fell into a coma
shortly after his arrival at the Percy
military hospital in the suburb of
Clamart, where he died on November
11. --- Reuters
Queensland coal community fears ghost town
Two women who are ghting to
keep their central Queensland town
from going under have travelled
thousands of kilometres to ask the
head of mining giant Glencore-
Xstrata to rehire locals.
Coal has been mined at Collinsville
for more than 100 years, but
operations were suspended in August
and 400 people sacked.
Glencore-Xstrata plans to re-
engineer it with new technology to
make it more pro table and to reopen
But Donna Bulloch and fth-
generation Collinsville resident
Laurie-Anne Williams say the
miner is expected to prefer y-in y-
out workers and is refusing to give
preference to the former workforce,
which has operated the mine under a
contractor for 17 years.
ey have travelled to Sydney to talk
to chief executive Ivan Glasenberg
about the impact job losses have had
on the community.
However, he did not meet them
and instead they talked to company
representatives who the women say
refused to answer key concerns.
e 2000-strong community is
almost totally dependent on the mine
and at least eight businesses have
gone under since August.
"If locals don't get re-employed at
this mine, the town will die," Bulloch
said. "Families will leave, families that
can't leave are going to be separated
when husbands and fathers are forced
into a drive-in drive-out lifestyle.
"You hear about these ghost
towns, towns that used to be mining
communities, that's what we're afraid
of." --- AAP
A new species of tyrannosaur
has been unearthed in Utah,
with skull bones showing an 80
million-year-old beast that is
the oldest known cousin of the
legendary T rex.
e meat-eating Lythronax
argestes, which means "king of
gore", had wide-set eyes that
helped it track prey and a load of
teeth packed into a more slender
snout than the T rex's, researchers
said in the journal Plos One.
e Lythronax was among the
lighter, more compactly-built
tyrannosaurids, and may have
been about half as heavy as the
largest T rex.
e beast weighed about two
and a half tonnes and was 8m
long, the research team led by
Mark Loewen, adjunct assistant
professor in the Department of
Geology and Geophysics at the
University of Utah, said.
Its bones --- including parts
of the skull, hips, leg and tail
--- were found in the Wahweap
Formation within the Grand
Monument in south-central
" e width of the back of the
skull of Lythronax allowed it to
see with an overlapping eld of
view-giving it the binocular vision
--- very useful for a predator and
a condition we associate with T
rex," Loewen said.
It was also older --- T rex
roamed the Earth about 10 to 12
million years later, researchers say.
Tyrannosaurids ran upright
on two legs and had short arms,
and were renowned for attacking
other dinosaurs as well as
scavenging the carcases of dead
animals for food.
Researchers say they likely
originated in northern Laramidia,
then a swampy and humid island
which is now western North
Several species probably moved
south over time, while others
made their way toward Asia 70
to75 million years ago. --- AFP
'King of gore' T rex's
British defence giant BAE
Systems is to axe 1775 jobs across
its naval ships business and end
shipbuilding at one the country's
most historic yards.
e rm said 940 jobs will be
lost in Portsmouth, on the south
coast, and a further 835 in Glasgow,
Rosyth and Filton, near Bristol.
Shipbuilding operations will end
in Portsmouth in the second half of
next year, but an engineering team
will be retained to support the new
Type 26 warships, which will be
built in Glasgow.
BAE said it remained committed
to continued investment in
Portsmouth as the centre of its
maritime services and high-end
naval equipment and combat
BAE said it was being hit by a
"signi cant" reduction in workload
following the peak of activity
on the current aircraft carrier
e grim news was given to
workers at a series of meetings
overnight across the a ected sites,
before they were allowed to go
home for the rest of the day.
David Hulse, GMB national
o cer and chair of the
Confederation of Shipbuilding
and Engineering Unions' (CSEU)
shipbuilding national committee,
said: " ere is no doubt that this
is a devastating day for the UK
shipbuilding industry and the
company will have to justify to us
the job losses planned.
Hugh Scullion, general secretary
of the CSEU, said: " e CSEU
has been assured that further
discussions will take place in the
coming weeks with BAE over the
future of its marine division, which
has huge strategic importance for
the UK's defence industry.
"Getting an agreement which
avoids the need for compulsory
redundancies will be central to our
discussions with the company. e
CSEU will also make it a priority
to protect the future of the UK
shipbuilding industry by securing
investment to ensure the industry
doesn't just sur vive but prospers in
the future." --- PA
1775 British shipyard jobs scuttled PICTURE: Getty Images
Cranes are seen at the HM Naval Base in Portsmouth dockyard, the home of BAE Systems, in Portsmouth, England.
German lawmakers looking into secret
United States monitoring of Angela
Merkel's cellphone said overnight
they would try to take evidence from
former US spy agency contractor
Edward Snowden in Moscow without
compromising his status there.
In what might be a disappointment
to Snowden --- who wants to travel
to Germany or France, according to
a German politician who met him
last week --- o cials from Merkel's
government and the centre-left ruled out
bringing him to Germany.
"I made clear again that we will stick
to our decision from the summer that
Mr Snowden has no right to asylum in
Germany because he is not a political
refugee," Interior Minister Hans-Peter
Friedrich told reporters.
"We must now talk about the
circumstances under which it could be
possible to hear Mr Snowden in Moscow
and get further information from him,
if he has any," he said after a meeting
of a parliamentary committee which
monitors intelligence agencies.
Last week, opposition lawmaker
Hans-Christian Stroebele met Snowden
in Moscow and said the 30-year-
old American was ready to come to
Germany to assist the investigations
into wholesale electronic snooping by
the US which has angered its close ally
Revelations of eavesdropping by the
US National Security Agency (NSA)
and Britain's GCHQ, including from
their embassies a stone's throw from
the Brandenburg Gate, have struck a
raw nerve in Germany, where privacy
is sacrosanct and memories linger of
snooping by the Nazis and East German
Washington but stresses Germany's
gratitude for American support in the
Cold War and the vital importance of
the alliance. She is unlikely to agree to
asylum for a man branded a traitor by
many in the US.
omas Oppermann, an interior
policy expert with the Social Democrats
who are expected to form a coalition
government with Merkel's conser vatives
soon, echoed Friedrich's remarks, saying:
"A hearing in Germany is not up for
debate at the moment but we want to
see rst whether questioning is possible
However, Stroebele said Snowden
had told him he would not provide
information to the Germans from
Moscow and was keen for asylum in
a "democratic" country after his year-
long asylum in Russia expires. e
temporary asylum granted to him
by Moscow in early August can be
"After the year's asylum he has in
Russia, he wants a safe stay somewhere,
in a democratic state with rule of law,"
the Greens lawmaker, who sits on the
intelligence oversight panel, said, adding
that this could be France, Germany or
US Secretary of State John Kerry told
German daily Bild that Snowden should
be sent to the US "where our legal
system will guarantee him a fair trial in
accordance with American law ".
A meteor that exploded over
Russia in February was 20m
in diameter and caused a blast
equivalent to 600,000 tonnes
of TNT, according to scientists
studying the event.
e space rock blew apart
29.75km above the city of
Chelyabinsk, brie y outshining the
sun and in icting severe burns on a
number of observers below.
It was the largest object to hit the
Earth since the Tunguska event of
1908, when an exploding comet
or asteroid destroyed 2000 square
kilometres of Siberian forest.
Analysis showed that the rock
was a common type known as a
"chondrite" --- the kind most likely
to cause a major extinction event in
Professor Qing-Zhu Yin, from
the Department of Earth and
Planetary Sciences at the University
of California at Davis, United
States, said the meteor strike was a
"If humanity does not want to go
the way of the dinosaurs, we need
to study an event like this in detail,"
e team said the Chelyabinsk
object entered the Earth's
atmosphere at just over 19km per
second, slightly faster than had
previously been reported.
ree-quarters of the rock
evaporated in the explosion, the
researchers, whose ndings are
reported in the journal Science,
Most of the rest of the object
became a glowing orange dust
cloud and only a small fraction ---
still weighing 4000kg to 6000kg
--- fell to the ground.
e largest single fragment,
weighing about 650kg, was
recovered from the bed of Lake
Chebarkul in October.
Shock waves from the airburst
smashed windows, rattled buildings,
and knocked people o their feet,
more than 1200 of whom attended
Researchers visiting villages in the
area found a region of shock-wave
damage extending some 80km on
either side of the meteor's trajectory
e object may have come from
the Flora asteroid family in the
asteroid belt between the orbits of
Mars and Jupiter. But the chunk
that exploded over Chelyabinsk is
not thought to have originated in
the asteroid belt itself, the experts
believe. --- PA
Russian meteor strike
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, plunged
into a scandal over his crack use, is a
colourful character, known as much
for his drunken public antics as for his
populist anti-tax stance.
In confessing to having once smoked
crack cocaine --- albeit "probably in
one of my drunken stupors" --- the
rambunctious mayor of Canada's largest
city appeared unusually contrite.
Since he was elected in 2010, Ford has
starred in numerous escapades, most
linked to his admitted abuse of alcohol.
Born on May 28, 1969, in a suburb of
Toronto, a commercial and nancial hub
on the shores of Lake Ontario, Ford is
the youngest of two brothers and a sister
in a relatively wealthy family.
His older brother Doug is his most
loyal supporter at the municipal council,
where they are separated by just a few
At 28, he ran for the rst time for
Toronto's municipal council, winning a
seat three years later and elected mayor
a decade later.
As a politician, Ford's strategy has
been to promote a populist agenda.
Strongly linked to the right, like his
father, he is close to the conservatives at
both the federal and provincial levels.
At the heart of his agenda is a populist
defence of city taxpayers, a stance that
has won him diehard support among a
section of suburban voters now jokingly
dubbed the "Ford Nation."
After he was caught reading work
documents while driving his own car,
police encouraged him to accept a driver
for his own security and the safety of
others on the road.
"I think that's a waste of taxpayers'
money," the mayor retorted. "A million
people a day go to work in the city and
they drive. ey drive themselves. I don't
see why I am any di erent."
His many binges also have made him a
target, but he has steadfastly brushed o
criticism, along with drink-driving and
marijuana possession charges in Florida
during a break from his 1999 mayoral
e admission of crack use may be
Ford's most embarrassing crisis to date,
but he says he believes in redemption.
His polling numbers remain strong
and he has pledged to win back the trust
and support of Torontonians ahead of
his next year's re-election bid. --- AFP
Crack-smoking mayor's colourful past
Slender models and clothes draped
over stick-thin mannequins in shops
have long caused women untold anguish.
Now British department store chain
Debenhams has made a step for ward in
promoting body con dence by becoming
the rst high street retailer in the United
Kingdom to permanently introduce size
e new mannequins, which were
trialled three years ago, will be used at its
shop in Oxford Street, London.
ey will appear alongside size 10
dummies on all women's fashion oors,
before being introduced in all 170 of
Debenhams' UK stores.
Size 10 is the standard size for
mannequins on the high street, a far
cry from the dimensions of the average
Debenhams director Ed Watson said:
" e average British woman is a size 16,
but the high street has been showing
them clothing on a mannequin that is
three sizes smaller --- until now.
"Having worked on this project
for three years, we hope that it will
help people in some small way to feel
comfortable about their bodies and,
crucially, that other retailers will follow."
e move was backed by Equalities
Minister Jo Swinson, who has led a
British government drive to promote
body con dence among women.
She said: " e images we see in the
world of fashion are all pretty much the
same --- it's as if there's only one way of
being beautiful. Yet nine in 10 people say
they would like to see a broader range
of body shapes shown in advertising and
" at's why the government has fought
hard to challenge our looks-obsessed
culture. Our Body Con dence campaign
has been working with the retail industry
and others to encourage a diverse range
"Recent research found that women
are three times more likely to buy clothes
when the fashion models are their size,
so I hope more retailers will recognise
that meeting customer demand for more
diversity makes good business sense.
Debenhams has a history of defying
conventional fashion promotion, using
a disabled model when it launched its
Principles range, banning airbrushing
on swimwear advertising and running
a lingerie campaign featuring a model
over 50. --- PA
Chain store adds
Italy's former premier Silvio Berlusconi,
who blames his tax fraud conviction
on persecution by magistrates, says his
children "feel like the Jews under Hitler".
"My children tell me they feel like the
families of Jews in Germany must have
felt under Hitler's regime. e whole
world is against us,"he is quoted as saying
in an upcoming collection of interviews
with journalist Bruno Vespa, an extract
of which was released overnight.
e 77-year-old media magnate is
renowned for his o -colour comments
and diplomatic ga es, in the past
likening a German member of the
European Parliament to a Nazi guard
and describing United States President
Barack Obama as "suntanned".
Berlusconi was sentenced to 12 months
in prison earlier this year for tax fraud
and has subsequently also been barred
from holding public o ce for two years.
He insists he is innocent and blames
his long history of legal woes on left-
wing magistrates he says are determined
to ensure his political demise.
Italy's Senate on Tuesday announced it
will vote on November 27 on whether to
strip him of his seat under a law banning
convicted criminals from parliament.
Berlusconi's children 'feel like Jews under Hitler'
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