Home' Greymouth Star : February 7th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 9
Britain has brought in emergency
funding to cope with devastating oods
after what o cials say has been the
worst spell of winter rainfall in at least
Prime Minister David Cameron's
government has faced criticism for its
handling of a crisis that has left swathes
of the country under water, with a key
railway line washed away.
Several people had to be rescued from
deluged homes overnight while more
storms are expected this weekend.
Across the English Channel, France's
western tip was placed on alert for
ooding as high tides wreaked havoc
along Europe's Atlantic coast.
Britain's Communities Secretary Eric
Pickles said the government would make
an extra £30 million ($59.3 million)
available for emergency repairs, on top
of £100 million announced by Cameron
Pickles said the winter was the "wettest
since George III was on the throne",
referring to Britain's monarch from
Britain's Meteorological O ce released
gures con rming Pickles' assessment.
For southern England, "regional
statistics suggest that this is one of, if not
the most, exceptional periods of winter
rainfall in at least 248 years", it said in a
Parts of the region received ve months
of rainfall between December 12 and
e rainy winter has set records
tumbling, being the wettest combined
period of December and January across
the UK since 1910, the Met O ce said.
It was also the windiest December
since 1969, based on the occurrence of
winds over 111kph.
Fire ghters in Somerset and Devon
rescued 14 people from homes and
stranded vehicles late yesterday and early
Rescuers in in atable boats rescued
four adults and three children from one
house after a river burst its banks in
Stoke St Gregory, a village that Prince
Charles visited on Tuesday.
Prince Charles said on his trip to the
region that the "tragedy is that nothing
happened for so long".
Cameron personally took charge of the
government's response on Wednesday
after facing a growing tide of criticism
for being too slow to aid stricken
But the damage has kept coming,
with the main train service connecting
Devon and Cornwall with the rest of
Britain being suspended after part of the
sea wall under the coastal railway line
collapsed. --- AAP
PICTURE: Getty Images
Environment Agency sta build a oodwall to ght rising oodwaters
surrounding a house in the village of Moorland on the Somerset Levels near
Bridgwater in Somerset, England. e Environment Agency has issued two
new severe ood warnings --- one for the Fordgate and Northmoor area and the
second for the A361 from East Lyng to Burrowbridge and Avon and Somerset,
police recommending that Northmoor, Saltmoor and Fordgate residents
evacuate the villages because of the warnings.
A group of American celebrities
and other activists want President
Barack Obama to refuse to sign an
international trade agreement until
Japan bans the capture and slaughter
of dolphins in the shing town of
Backing the e ort are Oscar-
winning performers Sean Penn, Cher,
Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Hudson,
Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize
eron as well as tv stars Ellen
DeGeneres and William Shatner,
and many others.
e Oscar-winning 2009
documentary e Cove chronicled
the dolphin roundup in Taiji and
helped spark protests over the annual
hunt and ensuing slaughter.
Japanese law allows a hunting
season for dolphins, and shermen
defend it as a tradition.
In a letter dated Wednesday that
included dozens of names, hip-hop
producer Russell Simmons asked
Caroline Kennedy, the United
States ambassador to Japan, to urge
Obama not to sign the Trans-Paci c
Partnership, or TPP, until Japan bans
Kennedy recently tweeted that
she was deeply concerned about
the dolphin hunt, which has drawn
widespread news coverage.
Simmons' letter said those signing
don't oppose the TPP but seek to
make stopping the dolphin hunt a
key factor in negotiations.
e free trade agreement is being
negotiated by 12 nations that
account for about 40% of global gross
e letter said that corporations
have spent the past two years crafting
language in the TPP "to ser ve their
"Should human compassion not
be a orded the same privilege as
business interests?" the letter stated.
It added: " e world is looking
to you, Ambassador Kennedy, and
to our government to send a clear
message to Japan that this atrocity
must be banned now."
After Kennedy's tweet, a State
Department spokeswoman told
reporters that the US was "concerned
with both the sustainability and the
humaneness of the Japanese dolphin
Simmons said more than 600
dolphins have been slaughtered since
the hunting season began September
1.Anti-hunt activists reported that
dozens of shermen helped to herd
about 250 dolphins into a cove one
day last month.
Of those, about 40 were eventually
killed for their meat.
At least 50 others were kept alive
for sale to aquariums and others, and
the remaining dolphins were released.
Celebrities, activists turn up heat over Japanese dolphin slaughter
Pound ruled out
Taliban ghters say they have
captured a dog belonging to the
United States military following a
raid in eastern Afghanistan late last
A video posted on the insurgents'
website yesterday and later on
Facebook shows the animal, named by
the Taliban as 'Colonel', being held on
a leash in a small, well-lit courtyard
surrounded by ve men holding guns
Wearing a black vest with pouches
for equipment, the dark brown canine
wags its tail and later perks up its ears
as the militants begin chanting "Allah
hu Akbar" (God is greatest).
e video's narrator says three guns,
one pistol and other equipment
including a GPS and a torch were
seized from the dog, which was
captured after a US operation
in Alingar, a volatile district in
Afghanistan's Laghman province.
A spokesman for the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Kabul said they were aware of the
reports, but declined to comment.
" e Americans conducted an
operation on the positions of
Mujahideen in Alingar district
(of Laghman province)," Taliban
spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said
" e Mujahideen put up erce
resistance and repelled the attack. e
Mujahideen seized some weapons and
also a dog which we later learned the
Americans called 'Colonel'."
e Taliban spokesman said that
"Colonel" is alive and well, adding his
fate would be determined later.
Hundreds of canines have been
deployed by US forces in Afghanistan
for tasks such as seeking out
improvised explosive devices (IED)
responsible for the vast majority of
both military and civilian casualties in
the war-torn country.
e bravest among them are awarded
medals and wounded animals are
airlifted from the front line to be taken
Dogs are seen as unclean creatures
by some Muslims and viewed with
suspicion by the Taliban. --- AAP
Taliban fighters capture US forces dog
A video shot of captured American forces dog Colonel with Taliban ghters.
Scotland would not be able to
use the pound as its currency
if it voted to break from the
United Kingdom later this year,
the British minister for Scotland
said overnight, issuing the
Government's strongest warning
on the subject yet.
As Scots prepare to vote on
whether to stay in the UK
on September 18, Scottish
nationalists are basing their post-
independence economic plans on
a currency union with Britain.
But the British government,
which wants the Scottish public
to vote against independence, has
already said such a plan would be
"Independence means leaving
the United Kingdom's monetary
union," Secretary of State for
Scotland Alistair Carmichael
told Britain's parliament.
" e only way for Scotland to
be sure of keeping the UK pound
United Kingdom. No one should
vote for an independent Scotland
on the basis that they will get to
keep the UK pound sterling," he
Opinion polls show that about
42% of Scots plan to vote against
independence and 29% in favour.
e British government says
Scotland and the rest of Britain
are better o together, while
Scottish nationalists wants to
end what they say are decades
of economic mismanagement by
Much of the political debate
over the referendum has so far
focused on nance and currency-
Scottish nationalists say they
could keep using the pound by
ceding control of monetary policy
to the Bank of England and
agreeing broad scal guidelines.
ey believe both sides would
bene t from a currency union.
"Scotland is the UK's second
largest trading market. It would
be absurd for Westminster (the
British parliament) to stand
in the way of protecting the
bene ts this brings to businesses
and consumers in the rest of the
UK," said Stewart Hosie, the
Scottish National Party's treasury
But Carmichael was one of
several lawmakers who spoke in a
debate on the future of Scotland
to say that any currency-
sharing arrangement would be
Andrew Tyrie, head of an
committee that scrutinises
nancial policy, said any
monetary union would need to
be accompanied by a common
scal policy to prevent a repeat of
problems seen in the euro zone.
e euro zone currency bloc
has undergone four years of
political and nancial turmoil
after doubts about the ability of
weaker states to repay their debts
led to big losses for banks and
meant several countries needed
to be bailed out.
"A British monetary union
would need something
dramatically tougher than euro
zone rules," Tyrie said. "So tough
that on both sides of the border,
if fully explained, I'm con dent
our respective electorates would
not want it."
Tyrie said he doubted that
Scots, if they did vote for
independence, would relish the
prospect of a British government
picking over Scottish spending
But in the absence of such a
joint scal policy, British voters
would resent bailing out Scottish
banks if investors lost faith in
Scotland's ability to balance its
books, he said.
Tyrie urged both sides to rule
out a currency union well in
advance of the referendum, to
allow Scots to make a fair choice.
"Not to do so, it seems to me,
would be to deceive our respective
electorates that there is some
third way, some relatively painless
option, enabling the Scots to
imagine that they are fully in
control of their own a airs and
the rest of the UK to avoid large
contingent obligations," he said.
A long-time star of the British
soap opera Coronation Street was
cleared today of multiple charges
of sexual assault against young
A jury at Britain's Preston
Crown Court found 81-year-old
William Roache, who plays Ken
Barlow on the show, not guilty
of four counts of indecent assault
and two counts of rape.
Five women had accused
Roache of assaulting them
between 1965 and 1971, when
they were aged 16 or under.
Prosecutors had argued that
Roache took advantage of
his fame to abuse star-struck
girls and then keep them from
But Roache said he did not
know the women accusing him
and had never assaulted anyone.
"In these situations, there are
no winners and I think we should
all be much kinder to ourselves,"
Roache said as he left court
surrounded by his family.
Roache was one of several
veteran United Kingdom show
business gures arrested after
revelations that the late BBC
entertainer Jimmy Savile was a
serial sexual predator who abused
scores of young people over
Defence lawyer Louise Blackwell
told the court that Roache was
an innocent man swept up in the
wake of the Savile scandal.
Coronation Street, set in a
ctional working-class district in
north-western England, is among
the longest-running programmes
on British television and Roache
has played the much-married
Barlow since its rst episode in
He had not been appearing
on the show while he faced the
In a statement, Coronation
Street broadcaster ITV said: "We
look forward to talking to Bill
soon about his return to work."
Coronation Street star cleared of rape
PICTURE: Getty Images
Actor William Roache, centre, with his daughter Verity Roache, right, and Linus Roache, left, speaks to
the media after leaving Preston Crown Court after being found not guilty over historical sexual o ence
Legionaries of Christ denounce founder 'immoral'
A disgraced Catholic religious order
whose late founder lived a double life as
a paedophile, womaniser and drug addict
o cially denounced him overnight and
apologised to his "many victims".
e Legionaries of Christ, which
former members said was run like a cult
rooted in secrecy, accused Father Marcial
Maciel of "reprehensible and objectively
immoral behaviour" as head of the order
from 1941 until former Pope Benedict
removed him in 2006.
Once a darling of the Vatican because
it attracted many Catholics to religious
vocations and made sizeable nancial
donations to the Church, the order has
been in Vatican receivership since 2010
and came close to being disbanded.
e apology, issued by delegates from
around the world meeting in Rome to
set a new direction for the order, came
a day after a United Nations committee
singled it out in a scathing report
accusing the Church of ignoring child
abuse by priests.
e statement denounced "the
magnitude of the evil and scandal
caused" by Maciel, who died in 2008,
and said the conservative order was now
ready to turn a page.
e meeting, which began on January
8 and is due to end in late February,
elected Father Eduardo Robles Gil as
the order's new leader. Like Maciel, the
61-year-old hails from Mexico.
"We want to express our deep sorrow
for the abuse of minor seminarians, the
immoral acts with men and women
who were adults, the arbitrary use of his
authority and of material goods ..." the
For decades the Vatican dismissed
accusations by seminarians that Maciel
had abused them sexually, some when
they were as young as 12. e order's
rules forbade criticising the founder or
questioning his motives.
Pope John Paul II, set to become a
saint in April, strongly backed Maciel
even as criticism of him mounted and
appreciated the order's faster growth
than other religious groups.
e order also had many wealthy
conservative benefactors who saw it
as a bulwark against liberalism in the
In 2006, a year after John Paul's death,
a Vatican investigation concluded
the previously denied accusations of
molestation were true. Pope Benedict
ordered Maciel to retire to a life of
"prayer and penitence".
After his death, Vatican investigations
found Maciel had also fathered several
children with at least two di erent
women, visited them regularly and sent
"We are grieved that many victims
and other a ected persons have waited
so long in vain for an apology and an
act of reconciliation on the part of Fr
Maciel. Today, we would like to issue
that apology as we express our solidarity
with these persons," it said.
e order runs private Catholic
schools and charitable organisations
in 22 countries through its network of
some 950 priests and 1000 seminarians.
It operates a Catholic university in
Rome and its lay movement, known
as Regnum Christi, has around 30,000
members. --- Reuters
Actor Tom Sizemore has issued
an apology to former United States
President Bill Clinton and Elizabeth
Hurley for suggesting they were
involved in a year-long a air two
e Saving Private Ryan star claimed
he had helped to set Clinton up on a
date with his one-time girlfriend during
a meeting at the White House in a
taped interview that fell into the hands
of editors at Radaronline.com and US
tabloid the Globe.
e British beauty denied the story on
Twitter and revealed she was planning
to sue, writing, "Ludicrously silly stories
about me and Bill Clinton. Totally
untrue. In the hands of my lawyers.
Now Sizemore has come clean about
the tale, admitting he made up the
scandalous story years ago while under
the in uence of drugs.
In an interview with Hu Post Live,
he says, "I've never met former President
Clinton, I've never known him to know
"I'm not denying that I said these
"I don't remember saying them,
but it's an old video tape, and they're
the rantings of a guy. It's been well-
chronicled that I had a very severe drug
"I'd like to apologise to her for any hurt
or BS I caused her or the Clintons or
anybody else I may have mentioned."
I made up Hurley story: Sizemore
A Stradivarius violin worth millions
of dollars, which was stolen from a
concert violinist in an armed robbery
last week, has been recovered from a
suitcase in the attic of a Milwaukee
house, law enforcement o cials said
e 300-year-old instrument was being
held at the city's police headquarters and
will be returned after it is inspected by
experts, Milwaukee police chief Ed
At least one of the three suspects
arrested in connection with the theft
could be charged as soon as today,
Milwaukee County District Attorney
John Chisholm said.
"We have very strong con dence that
the violin is ne," Mark Niehaus, the
president and executive director of the
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, said.
Milwaukee police had arrested two
men, aged 36 and 41, and a woman, 32,
in connection with the theft. e culprits
had used a stun gun on violinist Frank
Almond and took the Stradivarius from
the musician after a concert in suburban
Milwaukee, police said.
An anonymous donor o ered a
$100,000 reward for information
leading to the safe return of the violin,
the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
e so-called Lipinski Stradivarius had
been on loan inde nitely to Almond.
Made in 1715, the instrument can be
distinguished by unique striations on its
e violin has a fair replacement value
of $5 million for insurance purposes,
according to Darnton and Hersh Fine
Violins, the designated curator of the
instrument when it was loaned to
Almond in 2008 by its owner.
e Lipinski is one of roughly 600
violins, violas and cellos still in existence
that were built by famed Italian artisan
A similar Stradivarius violin sold
at auction for $2.3m in December,
according to the BBC. --- Reuters
Two Israeli combat pilots were
jailed for ve days and 12 others were
disciplined for storing operational maps
on their smartphones, Israeli Army
Radio reported yesterday.
Israeli military authorities discovered
the security breach after one of the
pilots reported he had lost his cellphone
and that it contained sensitive data.
It was recovered, the report said, and
investigators found he had loaded
maps, waypoints and other classi ed
Other members of his squadron had
done the same, so they could have the
information readily at hand, the radio
e 14 pilots were court-martialed:
two sent to jail, 11 received suspended
sentences and one was ned. --- Reuters
Stolen Stradivarius recovered
Israeli pilots kept
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