Home' Greymouth Star : November 20th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Wednesday, November 20, 2013
At least one person was
killed and up to 50 more were
trapped under rubble overnight
after a half-built shopping
mall collapsed near the South
African coastal city of Durban,
emergency ser vices and police
A further 26 people had been
taken to hospital in the town of
Tongaat, 30km north of Durban,
Chris Botha, a spokesman for
the Netcare 911 emergency
service, told Reuters.
It was not yet clear what had
caused the collapse of the three-
storey building, which had been
under construction for some
time, residents told Reuters.
If safety regulations are found
to have been breached, the
accident could sour already
fraught labour relations in South
Africa s construction sector
and might have ramifications
for the ruling African National
Congress as it moves towards an
election next year.
Television footage showed
police and rescue workers
walking over large piles of
rubble and twisted metal lying
next to a railway track. Large
parts of the building had
completely given way.
" e scene is extremely horrific
... concrete big blocks have
fallen on to people," Botha told
broadcaster ENCA from the
scene. " e guys are busy using
hydraulic rescue equipment to
break through the concrete and
get to some of the patients."
Ambulances ferried the injured
to nearby hospitals, which
initiated full-scale disaster plans.
" ere are no really severe
injuries," said Jenny Meer,
manager of the Mediclinic
Victoria hospital in Tongaat that
had admitted eight patients.
"It s mainly broken bones, soft
tissue injuries and a bit of shock.
But obviously there are a lot of
patients that are still trapped on
site," she said.
Emergency services spokesman
Botha said others were more
Durban and the surrounding
province of Kwa Zulu-Natal
is the home of President Jacob
Zuma. e region has enjoyed
a massive construction boom in
the last few years, based in part
on huge government investment
in infrastructure improvements.
Zuma and the ruling African
National Congress face a general
election in April or May next
year. --- Reuters
50 trapped in mall collapse
Emergency workers search for sur vivors after a building collapsed in Tongaat, north of Durban.
Peanut Island (Florida)
e dingy, cavernous steel
fallout shelter hastily built on a
man-made island off Florida s
east coast is a stark reminder
of the harsh realities President
John F Kennedy faced from the
first days of his presidency at
the height of the Cold War.
As the Kennedy family
vacationed minutes away at the
Palm Beach compound known
as the Winter White House,
the shelter s main chamber sat
ready at a moment s notice with
15 sets of bunk beds, a desk for
the president and a conference
e heavily protected
hideaway, fully stocked with
military K rations, barrels of
water and radiation detection
kits, could serve as home for
30 of Kennedy s family and key
staff for a month in the event of
a nuclear attack.
" ey tested bringing him
here," said Anthony Miller,
general manager of Palm Beach
Maritime Museum, which
maintains the shelter. "It was 10
minutes from his front door on
Palm Beach to here."
Shortly before Kennedy took
office in January 1961, Navy
Seabees undertook "Operation
Hotel" and in 10 days piled
7.6m of earth, lead and
concrete above the corrugated
Half a century after
Kennedy s assassination
during a Dallas motorcade,
his memory lingers in Palm
From his boyhood on,
Kennedy s family was a fixture
in the ritzy, oceanside enclave
where billionaire investors like
William Koch rub shoulders
with wealthy entertainers such
as singer Jimmy Buffett.
e Honey Fitz, the yacht
that served Presidents Truman
through Nixon, still moors
in the waters near the once-
secret shelter. e 80-year-old
wooden boat is a floating
museum and travels regularly
between Palm Beach and
Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
"All the footage you see of
JFK out on the water during
his presidency was on this boat
and all of the still photos were
taken on it," said Paul Ocepek,
the Honey Fitz s first officer.
Getting to the fallout
shelter s main living quarters
required passing through a
series of narrow passages that
held a generator, air pumps
and filters, a radiation detector
and a sterilisation chamber.
At the back of the largest
room was an emergency escape
hatch that led to a helipad in
case the shelter itself came
under attack. e United
States government did not
acknowledge its existence until
e island where it sits was
dredged up from the Palm
Beach inlet in 1918 to serve as
a port for peanut oil shipping.
Although that business
failed, the name of Peanut
Island remained. It was closed
to the public from the time the
Coast Guard took it over in
1936 in preparation for World
War Two until 1995, when
the museum secured a 45-year
lease on the property.
At the time, the shelter
was partially flooded and in
disrepair, Miller said. Nearly
all of its contents had been
removed or destroyed.
e museum opened to the
public in 1999, and efforts
continue to restore the bunker
to its original condition.
e steel hatch that leads
to a dark, downward sloping
steel tube was once hidden
from sight by a thicket of
trees. Miller said he planned
to replant the trees, which
for visitors will recreate the
dramatic effect of stumbling
upon the entrance in a small
Despite the long-lasting
interest in the Kennedys
and their fairy-tale image,
maintaining the shelter
remains a challenge. It sees
about 12,000 visitors annually
and relies on volunteer efforts
to help with maintenance.
It receives no financial
contributions from the federal
government or the Kennedy
family, even though Ethel
Kennedy, the widow of slain
former Attorney General
Robert F Kennedy, visits the
bunker almost every year with
Kennedy s Cold War bunker stark reminder
Guests visit the Cold War era nuclear fallout shelter constructed for President John F Kennedy on Peanut Island near Riviera
Spain s chief prosecutor has denied
preferential treatment is being given to King
Juan Carlos s daughter Cristina, who has so
far avoided a court summons in corruption
and tax probes.
Cristina, 48, known as the infanta, is linked
to the business affairs of her husband Inaki
Urdangarin, who is under investigation for
alleged embezzlement of public funds.
She is herself being probed over her fiscal
Despite this, "there is nothing to justify
indicting the infanta, so there is no
preferential treatment," the head of the State
prosecution service, Eduardo Torres-Dulce,
e judicial investigation into Urdangarin
and a separate probe of the tax affairs of
Cristina, the youngest of the king s two
daughters, have thrown Juan Carlos family
into the biggest popularity crisis of his four-
In the first case, a court is investigating
allegations that Urdangarin and a former
business partner embezzled $8.71 million
in public funds via the Noos Institute, a
charitable foundation that he chaired.
e judge leading the investigation, Jose
Castro, named Cristina as a suspect in the
case in April and ordered her to appear in
court for questioning, but that summons
was later cancelled after public prosecutors
It was the first time a direct relation of the
king had been called to appear in a court of
law on suspicion of wrongdoing.
Castro then launched an investigation into
whether Cristina had engaged in tax evasion
A prosecutor in Spain s Balearic Islands,
where the investigations are being carried out,
said last week that he was against indicting
Cristina in that case.
" ere is not a single piece of evidence that
could link Cristina de Borbon with criminal
activities," Pedro Horrach, the Balearics chief
anti-corruption prosecutor, wrote in a report.
A judicial source said that the court had
yesterday received a report from the tax
authorities on Cristina and was waiting to
receive further information.
El Mundo reported that Urdangarin s
defence was proposing a plea bargain to avoid
going to trial, asking for a sentence of less
than two years.
Under Spanish law, a convict does not serve
time in jail if the sentence is less than two
Torres-Dulce denied that report. --- AFP
India s prime minister has inaugurated the
country s first State-owned bank for women,
aimed at strengthening their financial
security and empowering them after a string
of sex crimes highlighted gender inequality.
Premier Manmohan Singh opened the
Bharatiya Mahila Bank (Indian Women s
Bank) in south Mumbai, home to one of
seven branches that are now operational.
e bank was announced in February, when
India was still reeling from the fatal gang-
rape of a student in the capital.
It focuses on lending to women and aims
to employ mostly women, although men will
also be able to open accounts.
Currently only 26% of women in India have
formal bank accounts.
" e sad reality is that women in India
face discrimination and hardship at home, at
school, at their place of work and in public
places. eir social, economic and political
empowerment remains a distant goal," said
Singh at the launch.
" e setting up of the Bharatiya Mahila
Bank is a small step towards the economic
empowerment of women," he added.
While this is the first such state initiative,
there are existing co-operative banks run
for and by women, such as the Mann Deshi
Mahila Sahakari Bank in the western State
According to its website, the Mann Deshi
bank was set up in 1997 and is now the
State s largest microfinance bank with over
e new Bharatiya Mahila Bank,
headquartered in New Delhi, is due to have
25 branches by next March and is chaired
by Usha Ananthasubramanian, a former
executive director of the Punjab National
Over a seven-year period, it plans to open
e board of directors is made up of
eight women, said Finance Minister P
Chidambaram, who set aside 10 billion
rupees ($172.26 million) to capitalise the
new bank in his 2013-14 budget.
"It will create more job opportunities for
women and it will pay special attention to
the weaker and more neglected sections
of women," he told reporters at the new
e bank presently has 86 employees across
the country and more than 55% are women,
a senior official said yesterday at the swanky
Delhi office, on the ninth floor of a sky-
blue glass high-rise in the city s commercial
centre. --- AFP
India opens first State bank for women
Belgium s Flemish separatist party, tipped
by polls for success in elections next May, is
preparing for a part in government with a
programme of income tax cuts to please its
e Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (New
Flemish Alliance or N-VA), which advocates
more powers for the Dutch-speaking region
of Flanders and a steady hollowing out of
the federal Belgian State, became Belgium s
biggest party in 2010.
Belgium s division is as much economic as
linguistic. In French-speaking Wallonia the
unemployment rate is about twice the level
of northern Flanders, where many voters
feel they are subsidising left-wing policies of
Belgium s south.
"Federal elections are on the 25th of May,
on the 26th of May we want to work on
a government of socio-economic reform,"
Ben Weyts, vice president of the N-VA, told
Weyts said Belgium would have to cut
income taxes, which are among the highest in
the OECD grouping of industrial countries,
and rein in government spending to reduce
Belgium s sovereign debt of about 100% of
annual economic output.
Belgium s regions already have considerable
powers in areas such as foreign trade, public
works and agriculture.
A government with the N-VA would transfer
even more power to the regions, Weyts added.
" e goal of our confederalism and
nationalism is to give the Flemish voters the
policies they have been voting for so long," he
e N-VA did not join the current
government of French-speaking socialist
Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, which was
formed after record-breaking coalition talks
which lasted 541 days.
Weyts said that because regional elections
fell on the same day as the federal vote,
alliances made in the formation of the Flemish
government could be carried for ward to the
federal level, expediting federal coalition talks.
e N-VA, which is already part of the
Flemish government, would seek to be
constructive in these talks, he added.
"Our plans are an ideal, it s not a case of take
it or leave it , we want to talk and negotiate
about them," Weyts said.
Commentators have said that the N-VA
would not be keen to put forward a prime
ministerial candidate, as it would mean
heading the state they so oppose. But Weyts
said he saw no problem in doing so next year.
Belgium s Flemish separatists prepare for part in government
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