Home' Greymouth Star : December 27th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, December 27, 2013
American intelligence leaker
Edward Snowden has declared
his "mission accomplished" after
unveiling huge United States
surveillance programmes, but
urged citizens to insist their
governments stop spying on
In his rst major media
appearance since claiming asylum
in Russia, Snowden --- who
sent shockwaves around the
world by revealing the extent
of Washington's electronic
eavesdropping --- issued a staunch
defence of individual privacy.
e former National Security
Agency (NSA) contractor
delivered a Christmas Day
broadcast on British television,
calling on citizens to work
together to end mass surveillance.
"Together we can nd a better
balance, end mass surveillance
and remind the government that
if it really wants to know how
we feel, asking is always cheaper
than spying," he said.
broadcast was Snowden's rst
television appearance since
arriving in Moscow in June.
e 30-year-old has also given
his rst in-person interview
since claiming asylum, telling the
Washington Post: "I already won.
"For me, in terms of personal
satisfaction, the mission's already
accomplished," he said.
"As soon as the journalists
were able to work, everything
that I had been trying to do was
validated," he added.
"Because, remember, I didn't
want to change society. I wanted
to give society a chance to
determine if it should change
Snowden leaked explosive
details of the secret surveillance
schemes to the Washington Post
and Britain's Guardian and ed
He arrived in Russia in June as
a fugitive and spent more than
a month holed up in a Moscow
airport before being granted a
US federal prosecutors have
led a criminal complaint against
Snowden, charging him with
espionage and felony theft of
His leaks have deeply
embarrassed President Barack
Obama's administration by
revealing the massive scale
of America's spying e orts,
including on the country's own
allies such as German Chancellor
In his Christmas Day broadcast
to Britain, Snowden said that
children born into today's world
will "grow up with no conception
of privacy at all.
" ey'll never know what it
means to have a private moment
to themselves --- an unrecorded,
unanalysed thought," he said.
" at's a problem because
privacy matters. Privacy is what
allows us to determine who we
are and who we want to be."
He signed o the broadcast
by wishing Britons a merry
Channel 4 has aired a short
"alternative" Christmas message
every year since 1993, intended
as a response to Queen Elizabeth
II's annual Christmas Day
broadcast on the rival BBC.
e channel caused a political
row in 2008 when it chose former
Iranian president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad as its Christmas
e NSA's collection of
communications data has grown
dramatically since the September
11, 2001 attacks.
Last week, Obama said he
welcomed a debate about the
NSA's role as he weighs possible
changes to its broad powers
amid a public outcry over rights
to privacy. e president said he
would make a "pretty de nitive
statement" in January about how
the NSA should be overhauled.
A panel of legal and intelligence
experts chosen by the White
House has recommended
curbing the agency's powers,
warning that its sweeps in the
war on terror have gone too far.
A federal judge has warned
that the NSA's routine collection
of nearly all Americans'
phone records was probably
Snowden insisted in the Post
inter view that he had not been
disloyal to his former employers.
"I am not trying to bring
down the NSA, I am working to
improve the NSA," he said. "I am
still working for the NSA right
now. ey are the only ones who
don't realise it."
e leaker said it had been
lawmakers' decision to keep
the NSA programmes hidden
and their failure to ask probing
questions that entitled him to
spill the secrets.
" e system failed com-
prehensively, and each level
of oversight, each level of
responsibility that should have
addressed this, abdicated their
responsibility," he said. --- AFP
against Christians, including
in countries where religious
freedom is in theory guaranteed
He delivered his traditional
noon prayer and address to
thousands of people in St
Peter's Square on the day
the Roman Catholic Church
commemorates St Stephen, its
e 77-year-old Argentinian
Pope asked the crowd for a
moment of silent prayer for
"Christians who are unjustly
accused and are subjected to
every type of violence".
Francis, celebrating his rst
Christmas season as Pope, said
"limitations and discrimination"
against Christians was taking
place not only in countries
that do not grant full religious
freedom but also where "on
paper, freedom and human rights
" is injustice should be
denounced and eliminated," he
Pope Francis did not name any
countries but the Vatican has
long urged Saudi Arabia, the site
of Islam's holiest places, to lift a
ban on Christians worshiping in
is year there have been
a number of incidents of
intolerance and attacks against
minority Christians in Egypt,
Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria
and other countries where their
rights are guaranteed by law.
Pope Francis, departing from
his prepared text, said he was
sure that Christians su ering
from either discrimination or
violence were "more numerous
today than in he early times of
In the past, the Vatican has
also expressed concern over
what Pope Emeritus Benedict
called "sophisticated forms of
hostility" against Christians in
rich countries, such as restricting
use of religious symbols in public
places. --- Reuters
Pope denounces discrimination
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was
reportedly "very drunk" when he gave the order
that a pair of aides close to his executed uncle
should be killed.
e North Korean dictator ordered troops to
round-up hundreds of relatives and associates of
Jang Song- aek, who was shot On December
12 after being accused of plotting to overthrow
e leader ordered the executions after they
did not hand business to the military --- a move
which left the dictator 'upset', according to
reports in the Japanese media.
e aides have been named as Ri Ryong-ha,
the rst deputy director of the administrative
department of the state's ruling Workers' Party,
and Jang Su-gil, a deputy director in the same
e pair are believed to have joined the grim
toll of Jang's aides --- eight are believed to
have been executed since the purge, Yomiuri
And reports suggest that the day after the
execution, Ministry of State troops arrived in
the Pyongchong area of Pyongyang and took
away hundreds of people.
In North Korea family members of people
found guilty of crimes are often punished.
In this case it is believed that the family
members have been taken to political prison
A source told the Daily NK newspaper,
which is run by defectors of the regime,
that they believed even relatives living away
from Pyongyang were not safe under the
ey also told the newspaper that close
relatives as well as distant family members were
taken away, including relatives of Song- aek's
Kim Jong Un's former mentor Mr Song- aek
was charged with 24 o ences.
ese included abusing his position of
power and "dreaming di erent dreams" to
North Korea stunned the world by announcing
the execution of the man once seen as the
dictator's political regent.
His death marks the biggest political upheaval
since the 30-year-old inherited power.
e Kim dynasty has ruled the isolated
country for more than six decades.
Mr Song- aek is the husband of Jong Un's
biological aunt, the sister of his father Kim Jong
Il. e source added: "Jang's crimes are 'anti-
party, counter-revolutionary factionalism', so
of course they will have to say that his family
challenged the system.
"For this reason, severe punishment awaits."
Agents at South Korea's National Intelligence
Service have a number of theories about the
purge, which many believe was the chilling nal
act of a power struggle.
But Jeong Chung-rae, a lawmaker from the
United Democratic Party, said the head of the
agency, Nam Jae-joon, played down the theory
of a simple power grab.
Jang's death may have been ordered because
he had acted outside his authority over business
deals involving the export of the secretive
nation's coal --- an abundant and lucrative
resource --- angering some o cals in other
Jang was purged for violating the supreme
leadership, according to the NIS report,' Jeong
said, CNN reported.
North Korea State media has made some
vague references to corrupt business practices
by Jang when they extensively listed his crimes.
Kim Jong Un 'very drunk'
Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
died of natural causes, not radiation
poisoning, the head of a Russian state
forensics agency that tested samples
taken from his body said overnight,
according to the Interfax news agency.
e Russian nding was in line with
an assessment by French scientists who
said earlier this month that Arafat, who
died in 2004, had not been killed with
"Yasser Arafat died not from the e ects
of radiation but of natural causes,"
Vladimir Uiba, head of the Federal
Medico-Biological Agency, was quoted
as saying by Interfax.
Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo
interim peace accords with Israel but
then led an uprising in 2000, died at 75 in
a French hospital four weeks after falling
ill following a meal in his Ramallah
compound surrounded by Israeli tanks.
e o cial cause of death was a massive
stroke, but French doctors said at the
time they were unable to determine the
origin of his illness. No autopsy was
Swiss forensic experts said last month
that their tests of samples taken from
Arafat's body were consistent with
polonium poisoning, while not absolute
proof of the cause of death.
Samples were taken from Arafat's body
in November 2012 by Swiss, French
and Russian experts after an al Jazeera
documentary said his clothes showed
high amounts of polonium. --- Reuters
60 hurt in
Piranhas on a Christmas Day feeding
frenzy have injured some 60 people in
the Argentinian city of Rosario.
ose injured in the frenzy by the
sharp-teethed sh included a girl who
lost part of a nger, Health Under-
Secretary Gabriela Quintanilla told
Quintanilla said the incident occurred
o the coast of Rosario, some 310km
north of Buenos Aires.
A medical o cial, Gustavo Centurion,
said it began mid-morning on Christmas
Day and was "very aggressive". " ere
were some people that the sh literally
had torn bits of esh from," he said.
e region has been hit by a heatwave
with temperatures soaring to some 38degC
prompting thousands to seek relief in the
waters of the Parana River, which is packed
with carnivorous sh. e unusually warm
weather also was apparently responsible
for the sh congregating on the river's
surface. --- AFP
Youths threw petrol bombs at two Kenyan
churches on Christmas Day, police said
overnight, in the latest bout of violence against
Christians on the country's predominantly
Police and witnesses said the churches on the
edge of port city of Mombasa were attacked
in the early hours of December 25 after
churchgoers held ser vices to usher in Christmas.
Police had no suspects but were exploring
the possibility that the attacks may have been
launched by Muslim militants or by supporters
of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC),
an illegal movement that wants the coastal
region to secede from Kenya.
Many Muslims on the Indian Ocean coastline
feel marginalised by Kenya's predominantly
Christian government and the historically
cordial relations between the two communities
have su ered strains in recent years.
Police said Muslim youths believed to be
controlled by radical preachers with links to
Somali militant group al Shabaab might be
behind the attacks, which left one church
" e churches are located in an area mainly
inhabited by Muslims, and church members
had reported threats before from some youth
who told them to close the churches down,"
Likoni area police chief Robert Mureithi said.
Al Shabaab in September raided a shopping
mall in Nairobi, killing at least 67 people in the
biggest attack on Kenyan soil since al Qaeda
bombed the U.S. embassy in the capital in 1998.
A senior Muslim cleric said the arson attack
might be part of an attempt by radicals to
provoke religious unrest.
" ey want Christians to begin a ght with
Muslims so that al Shabaab can thrive in Kenya,
but am glad Christians are wiser," Sheikh Juma
Ngao, head of the Kenya Muslim National
Advisory Council, told Reuters.
Mureithi said police are also examining the
possibility that one or both of the attacks were
by MRC members.
"To do this on Christmas Day is an attempt
to send a very strong message to us." --- Reuters
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