Home' Greymouth Star : February 19th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 7
An asylum seeker was killed and at
least 77 injured in the second riot this
week at a detention centre in Papua New
Guinea used to process asylum seekers,
Australia s Immigration Minister said
One person was in critical condition
with a head injury and another sustained
gunshot wounds during clashes that
erupted after asylum seekers forced their
way out of the centre on a small island in
impoverished Papua New Guinea.
e facility is part of Australian Prime
Minister Tony Abbott s tough stance
against asylum seekers but it has come
under fire over human rights concerns.
"Our sympathies are extended to the
transferees --- that person s family and
friends who would have been in the
facility as well," Immigration Minister
Scott Morrison said in reference to the
dead asylum seeker.
"If people choose to remove themselves
from that centre then they re obviously
putting themselves at much greater risk
and in an environment where there is
violent behaviour," he told reporters in
Canberra s tough stance on asylum
seekers, including offshore processing
and a blanket ban on people arriving by
boat ever settling in Australia, has been
criticised by the United Nations and
other groups as illegal and inhumane.
Australia uses detention centres
at Manus Island and another on
the tiny Pacific island of Nauru to
process would-be refugees sent there
after trying to get to Australia, often
in unsafe boats after paying people
smugglers in Indonesia.
Refugee advocates say that long-term
detention, combined with a lack of
clarity on where and when the asylum
seekers may be resettled, contribute to
a host of mental health problems at the
Last month, detainees at a detention
centre in the remote Australian territory
of Christmas Island sewed their lips
together as part of a hunger strike in
protest over their treatment.
Morrison said the latest riot began
when detainees forced their way
through fences surrounding the centre
and clashed with Papua New Guinea
police, although it remains unclear
whether others were involved in the
e incident followed an attempted
breakout from the Manus Island facility
on Sunday night, when 35 asylum
seekers briefly escaped. Nineteen were
injured and eight arrested in that
Security guards have regained control
of the centre, which had not been
damaged, and PNG police had caught
most of the detainees who had escaped
during the latest incident, Morrison
said. He said it was possible some were
e unrest in Papua New Guinea
quickly drew calls from critics to shut
the facility. e United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees said in a
November report the centre failed to
provide "safe and humane conditions of
treatment in detention".
Sarah Hanson-Young, a Greens
Party senator and vocal critic of the
government s asylum seeker policies,
said responsibility lay with Abbott and
" e government was warned about
the toxic environment on Manus
Island repeatedly by organisations like
Amnesty International and the UN
but those warnings were ignored and
dismissed," she said in a statement.
Asylum seeker dies in detention centre riot
e parents of corporal Cameron
Baird have accepted his posthumous
Victoria Cross in a ceremony where
his bravery was recalled.
He became Australia s 100th
recipient of the Victoria Cross, the
nation s highest military honour, for
repeatedly drawing enemy fire away
from his mates in actions which
claimed his life.
Bryce paid tribute to the soldier in
an official citation at the ceremony
in Canberra, read by her secretary
Baird, 32, was killed as he
assaulted an insurgent-held
compound during a special forces
mission in Afghanistan.
In the June 2013 operation, Baird
repeatedly drew enemy fire away
from his mates in an operation to
attack an insurgent network in
He charged through an enemy-
held building and at one point was
forced to reload his gun in close
proximity to the enemy.
As dust and smoke obscured
visibility, shots were fired at Baird
in his third attempt to draw fire
away from his mates.
It was in this act of selflessness,
which secured the safety of Baird s
mates, that he was killed.
"Corporal Baird s acts of valour and
self-sacrifice regained the initiative
and preserved the lives of his team
members," the citation read.
Bryce paid tribute to the fallen
soldier and his parents, Doug and
Kaye, saying it was a "great honour"
to stand with them.
"I want you to know how much
it means to us that you are with us
today to take this Victoria Cross
and to hand it to your much-loved
son, a son who we too love," she
Baird was the 40th Australian
soldier to die in Afghanistan, the
fourth awarded a VC, and the first
to get the award posthumously
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said
Baird s legacy will endure.
"We will always draw strength
from his actions, we are a nation
of memory not just of memorials,"
"His name will live forever.
"What can we say but this ---
greater love hath no man than to
lay down his life for his friend."
VC winner died saving mates
In another blow to manufacturing,
Alcoa has announced it will
permanently close its Point Henry
aluminium smelter at Geelong in
August because it has "no prospect
of becoming financially viable".
e aluminium giant will also
close its rolling mill in Geelong,
along with a second rolling mill
in Yennora, New South Wales,
affecting almost 1000 workers.
"Despite the hard work of the
local teams, these assets are no
longer competitive and are not
financially sustainable today or into
the future," Alcoa chief executive
Klaus Kleinfeld said.
e Alcoa announcement follows
a tumultuous couple of months for
Australian manufacturing, with all
car makers announcing they would
stop production in Australia.
AWU Victorian branch Secretary
Ben Davis said it was an awful day
for the workers and the Geelong
"( e workers) have co-operated
and implemented productivity
improvements and workplace
change whenever it was asked
of them, and their reward for all
that blood, sweat and tears is to
lose their jobs. It is a shameful
announcement," he said in a
" is closure is not about wages
and conditions, or government
assistance, it s all about the high
Davis called on the Victorian and
federal governments to step up and
provide an Economic Assistance
package to Geelong as a matter of
Geelong has recently been hit by
job losses at workplaces such as
Ford, Target, and Qantas at Avalon
AWU NSW Secretary Russ
Collison said more than 400 jobs
would be lost with the closure
of the Yennora plant in western
Sydney and it was devastating news
for a region already reeling from job
" e AWU has done everything
in its power to save these jobs,"
Both federal and State
governments need to urgently
put their shoulder to the wheel
and develop a jobs plan for
manufacturing in western Sydney,"
Collison said in a statement.
"Let s be very clear --- this closure
is not about wages and conditions.
e AWU has always made job
security its No 1 priority."
Victorian premier Denis Napthine
said aluminium production rates
have outstripped demand, making
it hard for the 50-year-old Port
Henry smelter to compete.
" e combination of the
high Australian dollar and very
competitive world market for
products have made their business
not viable in Geelong," Napthine
"We ll certainly be working with
Alcoa and the workers during this
Alcoa also said it would seek a
buyer for the Anglesea coalmine
and power station, which currently
provides power to the Point Henry
e company said its Portland
Aluminium smelter in Victoria
would continue to operate, along
with its Australian bauxite mining
and Western Australian alumina
Alcoa said the cost of its
restructure and closures would
be between $US250 million and
$US270 million. --- AAP
Alcoa closing Victoria s
Port Henry smelter
e United Kingdom s intelligence-
gathering agency "spied" on people who
contacted Wikileaks, the whistleblowing
website s founder claims.
Julian Assange says new documents
reveal the Cheltenham-based listening
post was engaged in "hostile monitoring"
of the publisher s website.
Information from national security
whistleblower Edward Snowden detailed
the spying efforts against Wikileaks
undertaken by GCHQ and the United
States National Security Agency, he said
A document dated 2012 revealed that
GCHQ spied on Wikileaks and its
readers, Assange, who has been living
at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London
since the summer of 2012 for fear of
being extradited to the US, said.
He said: "Wikileaks strongly condemns
the reckless and unlawful behaviour of
the National Security Agency. We call
on the Obama administration to appoint
a special prosecutor to investigate the
extent of the NSA s criminal activity
against the media including Wikileaks
and its extended network.
"News that the NSA planned these
operations at the level of its Office of the
General Counsel is especially troubling.
No less concerning are revelations that
the US government deployed elements
of state power to pressure European
nations into abusing their own legal
systems, and that the British spy agency
GCHQ is engaged in extensive hostile
monitoring of a popular publisher s
website and its readers.
" e NSA and its UK accomplices
show no respect for the rule of law."
Wikileaks said it was surprised at the
"sweeping" scale of the monitoring as
well as the "blatant" way information
e organisation said there should be
an investigation into the activities of
" ere seems to be a lack of interest
in the UK to scrutinise the activities of
GCHQ," said a spokesman.
Wikileaks said one of the new
documents showed that GCHQ used its
surveillance system to secretly monitor
visitors to its site. --- PA
University role for Snowden
Edward Snowden, the
former United States
National Security Agency
analyst who revealed US
surveillance of phone and
has been elected rector of
nominated by a group of
students at the Scottish
institution who said they had received
his approval through his lawyer.
e group said: "We are incredibly
delighted to see Edward Snowden
elected as the new rector of Glasgow
e statement said the institution had a
"virtuous tradition of making significant
statements through our rectors".
It added: "Our opposition to per vasive
and immoral State intrusion has gone
down in the records.
"What is more, we showed Edward
Snowden and other brave whistleblowers
that we stand in solidarity
with them, regardless of
where they are."
e largely symbolic post
of rector mainly involves
representing the university s
students. e successful
candidate is expected to
attend meetings with the
governing body and other
temporary asylum in Russia in August
--- a move that infuriated the United
States --- and is believed to be living in
the Moscow area.
Previous holders of the rector s
post at Glasgow University include
Winnie Mandela and Israeli nuclear
whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.
e current holder is former Liberal
Democrat party leader Charles
Snowden defeated former champion
cyclist Graeme Obree, author Alan
Bissett and a local vicar. --- AFP
Ukraine is on the brink of a civil war
that has been inflamed by the West, a
top Russian MP who oversees foreign
Alexei Pushkov, the head of
the lower house s foreign affairs
committee, overnight condemned
the deadly violence that has erupted
in Kiev --- at least nine people have
been killed --- as an attempt to "seize
power through chaos and lawlessness"
in comments to the Interfax news
"I consider that a significant
amount of responsibility for this falls
on the west and western politicians,
who are constantly putting pressure
on the Ukrainian authorities,"
He said western powers had
prevented the authorities from
cracking down on "these ultra-radical
organisations that are now shooting
at police and special forces and are
leading the situation to civil war".
"Talking about the need to protect
the democratic will of the Ukrainian
people and the campaign of pressure
on the Ukrainian authorities could
well lead to a civil war starting there,"
"In fact, it is already present, in
e Russian foreign ministry
earlier blamed the policies of western
countries for the clashes.
"What is happening is a direct
consequence of the policy of
connivance among those Western
politicians and European agencies
that have been shutting their eyes to
the aggressive actions of Ukraine s
radical forces," the ministry said in a
statement. --- AFP
Ukraine heading for civil war, says Russian MP
Man arrested in Alps
Hoffman probe man seeks rehab
A musician arrested on
heroin possession charges amid
an investigation into Philip
Seymour Hoffman s death hopes
to go into treatment.
Robert Vineberg asked a
magistrate overnight for the case
to go to a drug court. His court
filing said he was a longtime heroin
addict. New York City prosecutors
have not yet responded and a
judge has not ruled.
Vineberg, 57, has pleaded not
guilty to possessing 300 packets
of heroin with the intent to sell
it. If he is approved for drug
court and succeeds in treatment,
the charges could eventually be
reduced or dismissed.
Vineberg was arrested as police
followed leads after Hoffm a n s
apparent heroin overdose. He
is not charged with any role in
Hoffman s February 2 death.
Vineberg is a longtime jazz
and pop studio musician who
has played, under the name
Robert Aaron, on albums by
artists including David Bowie,
Mick Jagger and the late Amy
Winehouse. But his musical
career has foundered in recent
years. --- AP
A man arrested in connection
with the 2012 murders of a
British-Iraqi family and a cyclist
in the French Alps is a former
policeman, a source close to the
Another source said overnight
the 48-year-old was sacked from
the police force in June last year.
He was described as a quiet type
who liked guns.
" e man, if it is indeed the
same person we think, was
dismissed in June" from the force,
Antoine de Menthon, the mayor
of the town of Menthon-Saint-
It is the first time anyone
has been arrested in France in
connection with the case, which
has baffled investigators despite
major efforts on both sides of the
Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old
Iraqi-born British tourist in
France, was gunned down in
September 2012 along with
his 47-year-old wife Iqbal and
her 74-year-old mother in a
woodland car park close to the
village of Chevaline in the hills
above Lake Annecy.
Each was shot several times in
their British-registered BMW
estate car and more than two
dozen spent bullet cases were
found near the vehicle.
Mr and Mrs al-Hilli s two
young daughters, then aged seven
and four, survived the attack.
A photo of a four-year-old Syrian
refugee has gone viral on social media
after claims he was wandering the
desert in search of his family, when he
was really just metres behind them.
Several media retweeted the picture
posted on Sunday by United Nations
refugee official Andrew Harper, saying
the boy had crossed the desert on his
own after being separated from his
e picture showed the boy, named
Marwan, clutching a plastic bag in his
hand as UN workers came to help him.
But Harper, the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees
representative in Jordan, said Marwan
had only been "temporarily separated"
from his family.
"Marwan was safely reunited with his
mother soon after being carried across
the Jordan border," Harper wrote on
"It was never stated that he was
alone. News agencies stated that,"
Another photo shows Marwan s
family being only several steps ahead
"Marwan was not crossing alone; he
was crossing with a wave of refugees.
He was just at the back of the group,"
Harper said, adding he had been
separated for "minutes."
"When you have a group of refugees
crossing you often have the most
vulnerable lagging behind, so you
have the people with wheelchairs, the
women, the elderly, the sick and often
the very young."
"When our team saw the young
boy there . . . many other vulnerable
people went there and helped him,"
" e mother had other children and
other luggage to carry and she had
both her hands full so sometimes it s
difficult to track all your children at
one time. Marwan reunited with his
family and we moved on."
Marwan will be settled in the Zaatari
refugee camp, home to more than
100,000 Syrians. --- AFP
'Lost' Syrian child photo debunked
United Nations staff with the apparently lost boy, straggling only a few metres behind his family and other refugees.
A South Florida artist is facing
a criminal charge after police
say he smashed a $US1 million
($1.203 million) vase by a Chinese
artist to protest what he called
favouritism for international rather
than local art.
Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged
with criminal mischief after Sunday s
incident at the Perez Art Museum
According to a Miami police
department arrest affidavit, a security
guard told officers Caminero picked
up a coloured vase by Chinese
dissident artist Ai Weiwei. When told
to put it down, the security guard said,
Caminero smashed it on the floor.
Caminero told officers he broke the
vase to protest the museum s lack of
local artist displays and because "the
museum displayed only international
artists art," according to the affidavit.
e museum released a statement
saying that "as an art museum
dedicated to celebrating modern and
contemporary artists from within our
community and around the world, we
have the highest respect for freedom
"But this destructive act is vandalism
and disrespectful to another artist
and his work, to Prez Art Museum
Miami, and to our community."
According to the Perez Art
Museum Miami s website, the vase
is one of more than a dozen that are
part of a floor installation.
Caminero had a recent showing at
the J F Gallery in West Palm Beach
that offered patrons a chance to meet
him and "view a sampling of the work
from his 30-year career as an artist."
Protesting artist smashes $1m vase in Miami museum
e Salvadorean fisherman who says
he survived 13 months adrift in the
Pacific was released from a hospital
overnight after a week-long stay, but his
destination is being kept secret.
"I m doing well, thank you very much,"
Jose Salvador Alvarenga told reporters
as he walked out of hospital near San
Salvador with the health minister and a
nurse holding his arms.
Alvarenga had been expected to
return to his family s coastal village of
Garita Palmera after he returned to his
homeland last week following an odyssey
that had taken him from Mexico to the
But the 37-year-old, who doctors say
has developed a phobia of the sea, told
reporters: "I don t want to return to
Alvarenga waved and hugged his
mother and father outside the emergency
room exit of the San Rafael National
Hospital in the Santa Tecla suburb
before disappearing from view.
In an apparent attempt to lose the
gaggle of reporters, several sport-utility
vehicles left the hospital in various
Doctors declared Alvarenga in
remarkable physical health despite an
ordeal in which he survived by eating
raw fish and bird flesh while drinking
turtle blood, rainwater and his own
But they warned last week that he
is psychologically weak, prescribing
him antidepressants and anxiety
Psychiatrist Angel Fredi Sermeno said
doctors will monitor his mental health.
Alvarenga washed ashore in the
Marshall Islands on January 30, telling
reporters he had survived a 12,500km
voyage in a 7m fibreglass boat after
setting off from Mexico s Pacific coast in
late 2012. --- AFP
out of hospital London
e speaker of Britain s
House of Commons has
launched a fresh effort
to curb the "yobbery" of
rowdy MPs screaming in
John Bercow, the
parliament s lower house,
said overnight he wanted
to reform the raucous
weekly prime minister s
questions (PMQs) session.
debate at midday on
Wednesday, is a chance for backbenchers
and the opposition leader to fire
questions at the PM.
It usually descends into half an hour
of partisan barracking and school
pumped-up MPs jeering and shouting
over each other.
Bercow has written to Conservative
Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour
opposition leader Ed Miliband and
Deputy PM Nick Clegg of the Liberal
Democrats in a bid to reform PMQs
and improve parliament s image.
Bercow told the Independent
newspaper he was not
expecting MPs to behave
like "Trappist monks"
and he understood that
"passions will be aroused".
people who think culturally
the atmosphere is very
male, very testosterone-
fuelled and, in the worst
cases, of yobbery and
public school twittishness,"
" ere s an inverse link
between decibels and
decorum; screaming is not
"I don t think we should be prissy about
this, but I am not sure we re setting a
good example to the next generation of
Week in, week out, Bercow goes
further than the regular speaker s cry for
"Order!" singling out and admonishing
MPs for yelling across the chamber.
He often tells them their infantile
behaviour alienates the public.
However, many daytime viewers tune
in specifically to watch the knockabout
scenes as the PM trades verbal barbs
with the opposition. --- AFP
Commons Speaker slates
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