Home' Greymouth Star : December 17th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
10 - Tuesday, December 17, 2013
e price of bread in Syria has soared
by 500% since its 33-month con ict
erupted, the International Rescue
Committee has said, warning of dire
consequences as winter takes hold.
e IRC also said overnight that four
out of ve Syrians were now worried
about food running out, while more than
half of them were struggling for access
to clean water.
" e price of bread has risen by up
to 500%," the IRC said in a statement
issued as temperatures plummeted to
below freezing in parts of Syria.
"Material goods are also in short
organisation said in a report based on its
surveys of more than 500 communities
At $30, the cost of blankets is
prohibitively high at around "93% of the
average monthly income", it added.
e International Rescue Committee
also pointed to "severe shortages of
basic medical items such as antibiotics,
painkillers, and gauze in eight
e United Nations says more than 9.3
million Syrians are in need of aid.
" ese ndings show that star vation
is now threatening large parts of the
Syrian population," IRC president
David Miliband said.
"With polio on the loose, and a sub-
zero winter already here, the people of
Syria now face months of more death
"We are witnessing a humanitarian
catastrophe that is receiving far too
little attention and funding around the
world," Miliband said. --- AFP
SAS not involved in Diana's death: police
Bread price soars 500%
as food runs out
New British police inquiries have
rejected suggestions that the Special
Air Service was involved in the
deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales
and Dodi Fayed.
It emerged in August that the
police were looking at claims that the
couple were murdered by a member
of the British military.
Scotland Yard said it was "scoping"
the information and "assessing its
relevance and credibility".
It was understood the allegation
was made by the former parents-
in-law of a former soldier based
on information that the ex-soldier
talked about in the past, according
to a military source.
Scotland Yard said in a statement
overnight that the "scoping exercise"
had been completed.
"Assistant Commissioner Mark
Rowley wrote to all parties and
provided them with a summary
report of the scoping exercise.
"In that letter AC Rowley made an
undertaking that in order for them
to consider the report, the MPS
would not make a formal statement
until Tuesday, December 17."
However, Sky News reported that
the Metropolitan Police had said
there was "no credible evidence" the
SAS was involved.
e network said it had obtained a
letter written by Rowley which said
that "while there is a possibility that
the alleged comments in relation
to the SAS's involvement in the
death may have been made, there is
no credible or relevant evidence to
support a theory that such claims had
any basis in fact".
"Having reviewed the exercise and
its ndings, I am satis ed that there
is no evidential basis upon which
therefore to reopen any criminal
homicide investigation or refer the
matter back to the coroner."
Diana, Dodi and chau eur Henri
Paul died after their Mercedes
crashed in a Paris tunnel after leaving
the Ritz Hotel on the morning of
August 31, 1997. --- PA
PICTURE: Getty Images
Smoke and ash erupts from Mount Etna in Sicily.
Eruption keeps Sicilian airpor t shut
Catania airport in Sicily remains
shut due to an ongoing eruption
of nearby Mount Etna, the
highest active volcano in Europe,
airport o cials say.
Catania, along with the smaller
airport of Comiso, was closed
yesterday due to the clouds of ash
in the sky.
e company that manages
Catania, Sec, said the "direction
and intensity of the wind" meant
that ash from the eruption was a
danger to ights.
Five ights were cancelled
yesterday and were re-routed
to Palermo also in Sicily or
to Reggio Calabria in the
neighbouring Calabria region.
Eruptions on Etna are
relatively frequent but the
latest activity, which began on
Saturday, is the most intense in
e lava ow can be seen from
Catania and Taormina. --- AFP
e head of UNESCO sounded
an alarm about widespread illegal
archaeological excavations across
war-ravaged Syria, saying the United
Nations cultural, education and science
arm has warned auction houses,
museums and collections about the
More than 100,000 people have died
in Syria's two and a half-year civil
war, which has forced millions to ee
their homes and created a massive
humanitarian crisis. In addition to the
loss of life and destruction of property,
UNESCO says Syria's cultural heritage
--- and reporters trying to the cover the
war --- are increasingly under threat.
" e biggest danger there, apart from
the destruction we have seen of the world
heritage sites, is the illicit archaeological
excavations,"Irina Bokova, head of Paris-
based UNESCO, told reporters. " is is
something that is not very high on the
radar of the international community."
Bokova was in New York on Friday
to speak at an informal UN Security
Council meeting hosted by France
and Guatemala on the protection of
journalists, something she said was an
issue of growing concern in Syria and
other con ict zones around the world
where reporters are being targeted.
organisations called on Syrian rebel
leaders to stop armed groups kidnapping
journalists, saying dozens of abductions
were preventing full media coverage of
In February, Maamoun Abdulkarim,
head of Syria's antiquities and museums,
said illegal archaeological digs have
threatened tombs in the desert town of
Palmyra and the Bronze Age settlement
Bokova said the problem has grown.
She said UNESCO has raised the issue
of illegal excavations with UN Syria
peace mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby.
"We were showing (them) the map of
these illicit sites, excavations," Bokova
said. " is is our biggest concern
nowadays, that we don't know what's
happening there, this illicit tra cking
(and) exports" of artefacts.
She did not say whether those involved
in such excavations had any alignment
with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
or rebels seeking to oust him.
"Anybody can do it," she said. Bokova
did not disclose details of the locations
of the illicit excavations in Syria.
In September the International
Council of Museums in co-operation
with UNESCO issued what it called
a "red list" of types of artifacts to alert
museums, collectors and auction houses
what to be on the lookout for from
Syria. Bokova said illicit Syrian artifacts
have surfaced in neighboring Jordan.
United States intelligence leaker
Edward Snowden e ectively stole
the "keys to the kingdom" when he
swiped more than 1.5 million top
secret les, a senior National Security
Agency o cial says.
Rick Ledgett, who heads the NSA
taskforce in charge of assessing the
impact of Snowden's leaks, told 60
Minutes on CBS that the contractor
possessed a "roadmap" of the US
intelligence community's strengths
Ledgett said of particular concern
was Snowden's theft of about 31,000
documents he described as an
"exhaustive list of the requirements
that have been levied against the NSA".
"What that gives is what topics
we're interested in, where our gaps
are," Ledgett said.
"Additional information about US
capabilities and US gaps is provided
as part of that."
e information could potentially
o er a rival nation a "roadmap of
what we know, what we don't know,
and give them --- implicitly --- a way
to protect their information from the
US intelligence community's view",
the NSA o cial added.
"It is the keys to the kingdom."
Ledgett said he would be open to
the possibility of an amnesty for
Snowden, who remains exiled in
Russia, if he agreed to stop further
leaks of classi ed information.
"My personal view is, yes, it's worth
having a conversation about," he said.
But NSA chief General Keith
Alexander rejected the idea of any
amnesty for Snowden.
" is is analogous to a hostage-
taker taking 50 people hostage,
shooting 10 and then say, 'You give
me full amnesty and I'll let the other
Snowden has been charged with
espionage by US authorities for
divulging reams of secret les.
e former NSA contractor has
insisted he spilled secrets to spark
public debate and expose the NSA's
Alexander also challenged the
view that the NSA was engaged
in widespread sur veillance of
He said that suggestions the agency
was routinely eavesdropping on
the phone calls of Americans was
false, insisting that fewer than 60
"US persons" were currently being
targeted worldwide. --- AFP
Snowden 'stole keys to kingdom'
An allegedly bogus sign language
interpreter hired for a Nelson
addressed by the likes of Barack
Obama, has dismissed media
claims he had faced murder charges
in the past.
e signer, amsanqa Jantjie,
stood just feet from the United
States president and other world
leaders on the stage at last week's
event at Soweto's World Cup
Enraged sign language experts said
the signing by Jantjie, who claims
to be schizophrenic, amounted to
little more than " apping his arms
Raising further security questions,
the Sunday Times newspaper
reported that Jantjie had admitted
being part of a mob that burned
two people to death in 2003.
"It was a community thing ---
what you call mob justice --- and I
was also there," Jantjie was quoted
as telling the paper, which said
charges against him were dropped
on grounds that he was mentally
un t to stand trial.
Contacted by AFP, Jantjie
dismissed the report as "nonsense".
"I don't know that. Sunday Times
is talking nonsense," he said, but
refused to elaborate.
Jantjie directed AFP to the
national prosecuting authority to
verify if he had any criminal record.
But the prosecution agency has
already declined to "con rm or
deny" the allegations, and said it
does not keep records of closed
e government has said it was
probing whether a security lapse
had occurred in hiring Jantjie,
as claims emerged of a string of
criminal violence charges.
e private tv channel eNCA
reported on Friday that the signer
had also faced rape, kidnapping and
e African National Congress
(ANC), South Africa's ruling party,
said it was probing claims that some
of its members were directors of
the company for which the signer
Last week, the government
formally apologised for any o ence
caused, and admitted a "mistake"
had been made.
It claimed the company that
Jantjie worked for had "vanished
into thin air". --- AFP
Hard as it may be to swallow, it is no
secret that a diet of cakes, sweet treats
and burgers will impact the waistline.
But research from the University of
New South Wales suggests an unhealthy
diet can also take a toll on the memory.
Research released today and published
in the Brain, Behaviour and Immunity
journal showed rats on a diet high in fat
and sugar had impaired memories after
almost a week.
"Interestingly, our rats were not obese
and these changes emerged at day ve,"
research co-author Professor Margaret
Morris told AAP.
"So you don't have to be obese, you just
have to eat poorly."
Morris noted there was pressure in
society to be thin yet not all thin people
kept healthy diets.
Researchers placed groups of rats on
di erent diets, including low-fat food
with sugar water, low-fat food with
water, cafeteria food with water and
cafeteria food with sugar water.
All rats on the diets with high sugar
and fat, including cake, chips and
biscuits, showed de cits, Morris said.
"It suggests you don't need to be eating
high fat to get it, you can be eating high
sugar," she said.
e a ected animals showed a poorer
ability to notice when an object had been
shifted to a new location.
e rats also had in ammation in the
brain's hippocampal region, which is
linked to spatial memory.
" e rats with the biggest in ammation
of the hippocampus had the biggest
memory loss," Morris said.
Data showed the memory damage was
not reversed after the rats switched back
to healthy diets, but Morris said that was
based on one experiment.
Scientists will attempt to establish how
to stop the in ammation in the brains
of animals with unhealthy diets. --- AAP
e $US111.05 ($134) New York
restaurant receipt includes a $1000 tip
and the words "God bless!" scrawled
e handle @tipsforjesus is stamped
next to an illegible signature.
In recent weeks, similar tabs have
popped up in restaurants across the US
and even in Mexico, with tips of as much
as $10,000 all charged to American
So who is the anonymous tipster
leaving a trail of generosity across the
Tips for Jesus --- an Instagram account
lled with photos documenting the
tips --- has more than 50,000 followers.
e account displays photos of smiling
servers holding receipts with outlandish
gratuities on bills also tallied in Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago,
Phoenix and Ann Arbor, Michigan. On
Twitter, Tips for Jesus has nearly 3000
followers but no tweets.
e Instagram feed comes with the
tagline, "Doing the Lord's work, one tip
at a time."
ree Manhattan restaurants were
especially blessed in the rst weekend
of December. A waiter in the restaurant
of the NoMad Hotel got a $7000 tip,
another at e Smith restaurant was left
$3500, and $1000 went to Aruj Dhawan,
a 25-year-old fashion marketing student
and immigrant from India working at
Bo's Kitchen and Bar Room.
Dhawan ser ved three guests. eir
order amounted to $111, plus $1000 for
When they were gone,
approached me, handed me the receipt
and said, 'Is this for real?'," general
manager Benjamin Cramer said.
Again, before leaving, the tipster had
snapped the waiter with the cheque and
posted it on Instagram.
e tipster also wrote his cellphone
number at the bottom of the tab, telling
Cramer to call him if American Express
had any issues with processing the
After seeing the amount, Cramer
said he understood why the credit
card company might be suspicious and
he himself was curious. So he called
the number. e man who answered
reassured the manager that the tip was
real. e man demanded anonymity.
A $1000 tip also went to a waiter at the
Hungry Cat in Los Angeles after three
men nished their dinner, restaurant
spokeswoman Jannis Swerman said.
One of them stamped the cheque @
In another photo, a Phoenix bartender
beams looking at his $2500 tip.
" is middle-aged gentleman came
in with a woman, and they sat at the
bar," Micah Olson, the bartender at
Crudo who ser ved them one of the most
expensive whiskeys at $70 an ounce,
said. " ey sat at the bar and had ve
ounces total," Olson says. " e guy was
really cool and bought me two ounces."
e man asked for the cheque ---
$530.67 --- and paid with his Amex card.
"When they left, I saw the tip and I
went, 'Wow'," the 35-year-old bartender
"I hope one of these days, we'll nd out
Diner puts some
joy on his bills
Mandela 'signer' rubbishes murder claims
Junk food affects
days --- study
Television cook Nigella Lawson was
unhappy in her marriage to Charles
Saatchi and was blocked from working
abroad by him, her former personal
assistant has told a court.
Francesca Grillo, 35, and her sister
Elisabetta, 41, are accused of defrauding
the celebrity couple by spending
£685,000 ($1.352 million) on credit
cards belonging to them.
Isleworth Crown Court, west London,
heard the siblings bought designer
clothes, shoes and luxury holidays.
But Francesca told the jury she was
given a bank card to withdraw her own
salary and buy "anything I wanted".
She described her relationship with
Saatchi and Lawson, who divorced
earlier this year, as being as close as
Lawson would often con de in her
about her job, her husband and her
desire to break America.
Lawson appeared on an American
television programme this year but kept
putting o an earlier o er before that
show began because her then-husband
did not approve, the jury was told.
"Charles didn't like the idea of her
being away for too long," said Francesca.
Asked by defence counsel Karina
Arden if Lawson was happy, Francesca
replied: "I think in general, no. In her
"She's a very social woman. She likes
people. She is a people person and
Charles is quite opposite.
"Many, many occasions she had to turn
down things, going out, because Charles
Francesca said she was handed a bank
card upon rst being employed more
than a decade ago, with the simple
instruction to withdraw her £300 a week
wages and to buy anything she, Saatchi,
Lawson or their children needed.
She told the court the card was used to
furnish her new accommodation in the
annex of Saatchi's house, as well as pay
for essentials such as groceries.
Francesca admitted she liked designer
labels, and there were times when she
bought herself expensive items, but said
all were authorised by Lawson.
e court heard logs on the credit card
included one in excess of £5000 at the
high-end fashion retailer Miu Miu.
She stressed that Ms Lawson always
knew about the purchases. ---PA
Court told Nigella
unhappy in marriage
Britain overnight accused Argentina of
"bullying tactics" over what it said were
baseless attempts by Buenos Aires to
outlaw oil and gas drilling in the waters
around the Falkland Islands, a disputed
British Overseas Territory.
e accusation is the latest in a long-
running feud over the sovereignty of the
islands which, just over three decades
after a failed Argentine invasion, has
intensi ed as London-listed rms look
to tap oil and gas deposits there.
Last month, Argentina introduced
a law that would impose criminal
sanctions for what it called "illegal
exploration" of hydrocarbons in the
Argentine continental shelf, including
15-year jail sentences and large nes.
e Falkland Islands lie within the
" is is a baseless gesture intended to
deter legitimate commercial activity,"
the British Foreign O ce said in a
statement, adding that Britain had
formally protested to Buenos Aires.
"It is shameful that Argentina is once
again adopting bullying tactics in an
attempt to strangle the Falkland Islands
Britain said rms seeking to tap oil and
gas reserves around the islands, which
are about 300 miles o the Argentine
coast, were governed by Falkland Islands
legislation, in accordance with United
A spokesman at the Argentine embassy
in London was not immediately available
e islands are designated a British
Overseas territory, meaning they are
self-governing but fall under British
rule. Argentina lays claim to the islands
--- known as the Malvinas in Spanish ---
and has urged Britain to open talks on
Britain has refused, pointing to the
fact that 99.8% of the islanders voted
to remain under British rule in a
referendum earlier this year. --- Reuters
Britain accuses Argentina
of Falklands 'bullying'
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