Home' Greymouth Star : January 29th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Wednesday, January 29, 2014
A people smuggler behind a journey
to Australia that ended with up to 90
lives lost at sea has been jailed for
seven years by an Indonesian court.
Prosecutors yesterday recommended
up to 15 years in jail for the Pakistani
man, known as Bilu, who they said
organised a journey on a vessel that
sank in the Sunda Strait in 2012.
Also known as Hasan Bilu and
Jawed Muhmud, Bilu was arrested
in Jakarta in May last year in a
breakthrough joint operation
between Australian and Indonesian
In a Jakarta court, prosecutors
argued for a maximum of 15 years
jail for people-smuggling charges
and a ne of up to 1.5 billion rupiah
e court heard Bilu had been
charging asylum seekers around
$6000 per person to make the
perilous trip to Australia.
e 54-year-old was found guilty,
and a panel of three judges sentenced
him to seven years' jail, with a ne of
800 million rupiah ($83,765) that
could alternatively be converted to an
additional six months' jail.
In sentencing, chief judge Nasir
Simanjuntak said Bilu had caused
the deaths of numerous people and
that he had not been frank with
In his favour, the judge said Bilu
had been polite in court, had a wife
and child, and had never been in
Bilu's lawyers said their client
accepted the sentence and would not
He is believed to have admitted
to arranging the passage of four
asylum-seeker boats, but is suspected
of far deeper involvement in people-
He had been identi ed by another
man who was jailed in Indonesia last
year for his part in sending asylum-
seeker boats to Australia, including
the one which sank in 2012, causing
the deaths of 90 people.
Dawood Amiri is serving six years in
jail after pleading guilty to arranging
the unstable vessel, which capsized in
the Sunda Strait.
Of the 200 passengers on board,
110 survived. --- AAP
People smuggler behind deadly trip jailed
Documents leaked by former National
Security Agency contactor Edward
Snowden suggest that spy agencies have
a powerful ally in Angry Birds and a host
of other apps installed on smartphones
across the globe.
e documents, published today by
e New York Times, the Guardian,
and Pro Publica, suggest that the
mapping, gaming, and social networking
apps which are a common feature
of the world's estimated one billion
smartphones can feed America's NSA
and Britain's GCHQ with huge amounts
of personal data, including location
information and details such as political
a liation or sexual orientation.
e size and scope of the programme
are not publicly known, but the reports
suggest that United States and British
intelligence easily get routine access
to data generated by apps such as the
Angry Birds game franchise or the
Google Maps navigation service.
e joint spying programme "e ectively
means that anyone using Google Maps
on a smartphone is working in support of
a GCHQ system," one 2008 document
from the British eavesdropping agency
is quoted as saying. Another document
a hand-drawn picture of a smirking fairy
conjuring up a tottering pile of papers
over a table marked "LEAVE TRAFFIC
HERE" suggests that gathering the data
does not take much e ort.
e NSA did not directly comment
on the reports but said in a statement
Monday that the communications
of those who were not "valid foreign
intelligence targets" were not of interest
to the spy agency.
"Any implication that NSA's foreign
intelligence collection is focused
on the smartphone or social media
communications of everyday Americans
is not true," the statement said. "We
collect only those communications
that we are authorised by law to collect
for valid foreign intelligence and
counterintelligence purposes regardless
of the technical means used by the
GCHQ said it did not comment on
intelligence matters, but insisted that all
of its activity was "authorised, necessary
Intelligence agencies' interest in
mobile phones and the networks they
run on has been documented in several
of Snowden's previous disclosures, but
the focus on apps shows how everyday,
innocuous-looking pieces of software
can be turned into instruments of
Angry Birds, an addictive birds-versus-
pigs game which has been downloaded
more than 1.7 billion times worldwide,
was one of the most eye-catching
examples. e Times and Pro Publica
said a 2012 British intelligence report
laid out how to extract Angry Bird users'
information from phones running the
Android operating system.
Another document, a 14-page-
long NSA slideshow published to
the Web, listed a host of other mobile
apps, including those made by social
networking giant Facebook, photo
sharing site Flickr, and the lm-oriented
It wasn't clear precisely what
information can be extracted from
which apps, but one of the slides gave
the example of a user who uploaded a
photo using a social media app. Under
the words, "Golden Nugget!" it said that
the data generated by the app could
be examined to determine a phone's
settings, where it connected to, which
websites it had visited, which documents
it had downloaded, and who its users'
friends were. One of the documents
said that apps could even be mined
for information about users' political
alignment or sexual orientation.
Google Inc and Rovio Entertainment
Ltd, the maker of Angry Birds, did not
immediately return messages seeking
comment on the reports. --- AP
Angry Birds or Spying Birds?
e Catholic Church has
appealed to thieves to return a
reliquary containing the blood of
the late Pope John Paul II that
disappeared in what it called a
"vile and sacrilegious theft".
e gold reliquary was stolen at
the weekend from a small stone
church, San Pietro della Ienca,
in the mountains east of Rome,
where, in his younger days, the
Pope would slip away secretly
from the pressures of the Vatican
to hike and ski.
"I appeal to the those who
carried out this deplorable act,"
Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi
of the city of L'Aquila said in a
letter to local Catholics.
"Give it back," he said.
Many Catholic churches have
reliquaries, usually small, ornate
containers that hold relics, in
some cases body parts of revered
e one stolen at the weekend
contained a blood-soaked piece
of cloth, most likely from the
cassock John Paul was wearing on
May 13, 1981 when he was shot
in an assassination attempt, the
o ce of Monsignor Slowomir
Oder, the o cial in charge of
John Paul's sainthood cause, told
Oder's o ce could not specify
how many such blood relics of
John Paul existed but said Italian
media reports that there were
only three in the world were
Dozens of police with sni er
dogs were still scouring the
remote, snow-blanketed area for
Franca Corrieri, a custodian
of the church, told Reuters she
had discovered the break-in on
Sunday morning when she saw
that window bars had been sawn
Police found only the gold
reliquary and a cruci x missing
even though the thieves would
have had time to take other
objects during the night-time raid
in the isolated area.
is led them to believe
the theft might have been
commissioned or that the thieves
may intend to seek a ransom.
John Paul is due to be made
a saint of the Catholic Church
in May, meaning the relic will
become more valuable.
e Pope, who died in 2005
after reigning for 27 years, loved
the mountains in the Abruzzo
region because they reminded
him of those in his native Poland.
In 2011, John Paul's former
private secretary, Cardinal
Stanislaw Dziwisz, now
archbishop of Krakow in Poland,
gave the local community the
relic as a token of the love he had
felt for the area. --- Reuters
Church appeals to thieves for relic
A broken glass of a niche where the reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II was located is
seen next to a painting of the late Pope in the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the
city of L'Aquila
e reliquary with the blood of
the late Pope John Paul II.
Japan said overnight it was revising
teaching manuals to make clear that
two sets of remote islands at the centre
of disputes with China and South
Korea are integral parts of its territory,
prompting protests from an angry Seoul.
Japan's ties with Seoul and Beijing
are increasingly strained over a host of
issues, including the territorial rows
and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's visit late last year to the Yasukuni
Shrine, where convicted war criminals
are honoured along with millions of war
e conser vative Abe has said he wants
to revise Japanese history to have a less
apologetic tone, a sensitive topic for
Asian neighbours such as South Korea
and China, where memories linger of
Japanese aggression before and during
World War Two.
Education Minister Hakubun
Shimomura said the ministry was
revising the manuals to teach "properly"
about Japanese history and that it would
make diplomatic e orts to explain the
move to Japan's neighbours.
"It is extremely important that the
children who will bear our future can
properly understand our territory," he
told a news conference.
He said the teaching manuals would
be changed to make clear that the
rocky islets controlled by South Korea
but claimed by both nations, known as
Takeshima in Japan and Tokdo in South
Korea, were Japanese territory.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry
promptly summoned the Japanese
ambassador to protest.
Earlier, the Ministry called for Japan
to repeal the changes, which it said were
teaching children a false claim to the
"Our government strongly condemns
this and asks Japan to immediately
withdraw it," it said in a statement.
e manuals will also add reference to
the Senkakus, which are at the centre
of a dispute with China, which calls
them the Daioyus, and reiterate Tokyo's
stance that these are an integral part of
Japanese territory and there is no dispute
over their ownership.
ey will a ect classes in history,
geography and civics in junior and senior
high schools, but are not legally binding.
Asked about the territorial rows,
Shimomura said he felt it was too bad
that there were competing claims to the
islands and repeated that historically, the
islands were part of Japan.
"We must make e orts to politely
explain our position to both nations and
seek their understanding," Shimomura
e announcement came just
days after the head of Japan's public
broadcaster triggered a furore in Asia
with comments on military brothels
during World War Two. Yesterday he
expressed regret, terming his remarks as
Both China and Korea su ered under
Japanese rule, with parts of China
occupied in the 1930s and Korea
colonised from 1910 to 1945. --- Reuters
Storm brings rare snow to southern US
Billionaire Silicon Valley venture
capitalist Tom Perkins is at the
centre of a social media restorm
for likening protests against the
rich to Nazi persecution of Jews.
Perkins's publicly stated position
even prompted the powerhouse
investment rm bearing his name,
Kleiner Perkins Cau eld and Byers
(KPCB), to say he was not speaking
on its behalf.
"Tom Perkins has not been involved
in KPCB in years," the venture
capital rm Perkins helped create
said in a message red o at Twitter,
which was among its investments.
"We were shocked by his views
expressed today in the WSJ (Wall
Street Journal) and do not agree."
Meanwhile, Perkins overnight
stood behind what he had said in
a letter published in the Wall Street
Journal that ignited controversy.
"Writing from the epicentre of
progressive thought, San Francisco,
I would call attention to the parallels
of fascist Nazi Germany to its war
on its '1%', namely its Jews, to the
progressive war on the American
1%, namely the 'rich'," Perkins said
in the opening of the letter.
" is is a very dangerous drift in
our American thinking," he wrote.
"Kristallnacht was unthinkable in
1930. Is its descendent 'progressive'
radicalism unthinkable now?"
Perkins noted the Occupy
movement and recent protests in
San Francisco over buses provided
by Google to shuttle tech workers
to Silicon Valley.
Activists in San Francisco have
taken to blaming internet company
employees for driving up rents,
housing prices and other aspects of
living in the city.
"We have outrage over the rising
real-estate prices which these
'techno geeks' can pay," Perkins
Perkins later apologised for the
Kristallnacht reference but said he
still saw the demonisation of the
rich as a dangerous trend. --- AFP
Billionaire compares rich haters to Nazis
e Queen's nances
were at a "historic low "
with just £1 million
($2 million) left in reserve,
MPs said yesterday.
Her courtiers were
advised to take money-
saving tips from the
A report by the Public
found the Queen's advisers
were failing to control
her nances while royal palaces were
MPs said her advisers had overspent to
such an extent that her reser ve fund had
fallen from £35m in 2001 to just £1m.
e royal household had made
e ciency savings of just 5% over the past
ve years compared with government
departments, that are cutting their
budgets by up to a third.
MPs on the committee said the
Treasury must "get a grip" and help to
protect the royal palaces from "further
damage and deterioration".
Margaret Hodge, the Labour chairman
of the committee, said: "We believe
the Treasury has a duty to be actively
involved in reviewing the household's
nancial planning and management and
it has failed to do so."
Buckingham Palace and Windsor
Castle are reported to be in urgent need
Sta must catch rain
in buckets to protect art
and antiquities, while the
Queen's old boilers were
contributing to bills of
£774,000 a year.
household must get a much
rmer grip on how it plans
to address its maintenance
In April 2012 the
Sovereign Grant replaced
the old way of funding the
royal family through the Civil List and
various government grants.
e Sovereign Grant represents 15%
of the net surplus income of the Crown
Estate, land holdings that generate
money for the Treasury.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman
said the sovereign grant had made the
Queen's funding "more transparent and
scrutinised" and was resulting in a "more
e cient use of public funds".
He said that repairing the royal palaces
was a "signi cant nancial priority", and
that the royal household had almost
doubled its income to £11.6m since
A Treasury spokesman said: " e
new arrangements established by the
Sovereign Grant Act have made the
royal nances more transparent than
ever while providing the long term
stability necessary for good planning."
Queen down to last £1m
Keepers are searching for a missing
raccoon that escaped from a British zoo.
Female raccoon Missy excavated a large
hole in her cage to leave Tropiquaria in
e ground had softened thanks to
ooding --- allowing the 18-month-old
animal to dig its way out.
Chris Moiser, zoological director at
Tropiquaria, warned that Missy could
bite if handled by the public.
" e sad thing is that we have had
raccoons in that enclosure for two years
with no trouble whatsoever," Moiser
"It is only with the recent ooding that
the ground has softened su ciently for
her to dig out.
"We have had a number of problems
with the recent ooding and have had
to evacuate some animals from outside
enclosures, but we really thought that
the raccoons were safe.
"Missy will not have any problems in
surviving in the English climate but it
does worry us that she is out."
Moiser said Missy's partner, six-year-
old Rocky, had been left extremely upset
by its departure. --- PA
Raccoon digs out of zoo enclosure
An attack by suspected Islamist Boko
Haram insurgents on a north-east
Nigerian village on Monday killed 85
people, up from 40 previously reported,
o cials said overnight.
Boko Haram wants to impose sharia
(Islamic law) on a country split roughly
equally between Christians and Muslims.
It has killed thousands over the past
four and a half years and is considered
the biggest security risk in Africa's top
oil exporting State and second largest
economy after South Africa.
Suspected Boko Haram rebels stormed
the village of Kawuri, in remote north-
eastern Borno State where insurgents
are resisting a military crackdown.
A local government councillor Dala
Lawan said 85 people had been killed
by gunmen who arrived in several trucks,
dressed in military uniform, and opened
re on residents, burned houses and
torched small community mosques.
Lawan said some women were
kidnapped by the assailants and 50
people were receiving treatment in
hospital. --- Reuters
Nigerian attack toll reaches 85
A rare blast of snow, sleet and
ice hit the United States' south
overnight, prompting three states to
declare a state of emergency, closing
the New Orleans airport and
causing chaos on roads for drivers
unaccustomed to the dangerously
e southern cold snap is part of an
arctic front that has put much of the
Northeast and northern Plains under
warnings and advisories for severe
wind chills. Temperatures in parts
of those regions could feel as cold
as -34degC, the National Weather
Louisiana, Mississippi and North
Carolina each declared a state of
emergency, telling motorists to stay
o the roads.
"Residents should not overreact but
should make plans now to ensure they
are prepared for prolonged freezing
conditions and icy roadways,"
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant
e last ight left New Orleans
about 11am local time and its Louis
Armstrong International Airport
was then closed to commercial
tra c ahead of the predicted ice
storm. Authorities also shut the
39km Causeway Bridge, which spans
Lake Pontchartrain, because of icy
Residents and tourists excited by
the novelty of the conditions took
photos of icicles hanging from the
wrought-iron balconies of the city's
historic French Quarter.
Temperatures are forecast to hit
a low of -5degC in New Orleans
tonight and the city could see its rst
snowfall in years.
" is is pretty rare in New
Orleans," Mike E erson of the
National Weather Service O ce
in Slidell, Louisiana, said of the
" is happens about only every 10
Schools and government o ces
across a wide swath of the country
were closed. Airlines cancelled or
delayed thousands of ights, and
o cials closed roads as conditions
North Carolina and South Carolina
were expected to get the most snow,
while the heaviest ice accumulation
was forecast from Louisiana to the
Carolinas, the weather service said.
Temperatures 10degC to 20degC
colder than normal were expected
to continue for much of the eastern
US. In Washington, the National
Gallery's skating rink was closed,
with o cials saying it was too cold
for skaters to be out on the ice.
Jury selection in the corruption trial
of a former New Orleans mayor Ray
Nagin was suspended because of the
"We're getting a bit of everything,"
said Jody White, a police sergeant in
Opelousas, Louisiana. "It's cold. e
sleet is coming down in patches."
In Alabama, two people died and
ve others were admitted to hospital
after a seven-car pile-up on an ice-
covered bridge near Montgomery,
Robyn Litch eld, spokeswoman for
the Alabama Department of Public
Lawmakers in South Carolina
cancelled this week's session of the
State legislature, citing weather
e storm took a toll on air travel
across the region, with more than
3000 ights cancelled and hundreds
of others delayed, according
to the ight tracking website
e manager of a popular Louisiana
grocery store said it was packed with
shoppers stocking up on food and
supplies before it also closed.
" ey were buying hurricane
stu , including a lot of spirits, of
course," Edwin Moreno, manager at
Dorignac's Food Center in suburban
New Orleans, said.
e bad weather prompted a federal
judge in Knoxville, Tennessee, to
postpone court proceedings part way
through a sentencing hearing for
three peace activists, including an
Winter weather advisories were also
issued for a wide swath of eastern
and central Texas for tonight, with
predictions of up to 2.5cm of snow
near the State's border with northern
Rain and freezing temperatures
combined to snarl the morning
commute through large parts of
central Texas and Louisiana, where
roads and bridges were iced over.
Police in Austin, Texas, reported
more than 150 crashes caused by
icy roads but said there had been no
fatalities. --- Reuters
Links Archive January 28th 2014 January 30th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page