Home' Greymouth Star : February 21st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
10 - Friday, February 21, 2014
ree suspected former guards of
the Auschwitz death camp run by the
Nazis during World War Two have been
arrested in south-western Germany, the
public prosecutor s office in Stuttgart
It said the three accused, aged 88, 92
and 94 years old, are believed to have
been involved in the murder of prisoners
at Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland.
ey were arrested after police
searched six homes in the State of
Baden-Wuerttemberg using information
released to several German States last
autumn by the Central Office of the
Judicial Authorities for the Investigation
of National Socialist Crimes.
Various documents from the Nazi
era were seized during the search on
Wednesday and are being evaluated,
Some 1.5 million people perished at
Auschwitz, mostly Jews but also Roma,
Poles and others, between 1940 and
German officials are trying to track
down other low-level collaborators in a
"last chance" hunt for ageing perpetrators
of the Holocaust, in which some six
million Jews were murdered. --- Reuters
People pray near the bodies of anti-government protesters killed during clashes with riot police. Ukraine has suffered its bloodiest day since Soviet
times with a gun battle in central Kiev.
Ukraine reels in bloodbath
Ukraine suffered its bloodiest day
since Soviet times overnight with a gun
battle in central Kiev as President Viktor
Yanukovich faced conflicting pressures
from visiting European Union ministers
and his Russian paymasters.
ree hours of fierce fighting in
Independence Square, which was
recaptured by anti-government
protesters, left the bodies of over
20 civilians strewn on the ground, a
few hundred metres from where the
president met the EU delegation.
e ministers, from Germany, France
and Poland, shuttled through "a night of
difficult negotiations" with him and the
opposition, said EU officials who hoped
a plan for an interim government and
early elections could bring peace.
Earlier in the day, riot police were
captured on video shooting from a
rooftop at demonstrators in the plaza,
known as the Maidan. Protesters hurled
petrol bombs and paving stones to drive
the security forces off a corner of the
square the police had captured in battles
that began two days earlier.
e health ministry said 75 people
had been killed since Tuesday afternoon,
which meant at least 47 died in
yesterday s clashes. at was by far the
worst violence since Ukraine emerged
from the crumbling Soviet Union 22
e trio of EU foreign ministers
met for a marathon four hours with
Yanukovich and extended their stay
until tonight to put a plan for a political
solution to opposition leaders after
colleagues in Brussels imposed some
targeted sanctions and threatened more
if the authorities failed to restore calm.
Vitaly Klitschko, an opposition leader,
said he hoped for a deal but added there
was no clear result so far.
In global diplomacy at the highest level,
United States President Barack Obama
spoke to German Chancellor Angela
Merkel who in turn discussed Ukraine
with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin "stressed the critical importance
of an immediate end to bloodshed, the
need to take urgent measures to stabilise
the situation and suppress extremist and
terrorist attacks" the Kremlin said ---
sharing Yanukovich s view that he faces
e White House said Obama and
Merkel agreed it was "critical" US
and EU leaders "stay in close touch in
the days ahead on steps we can take
to support an end to the violence and
a political solution that is in the best
interests of the Ukrainian people".
Earlier this month, bugged and leaked
diplomatic phone calls exposed EU-US
disagreement on Ukraine.
e EU plan "offers a chance to
bring an end to violence," Polish Prime
Minister Donald Tusk said in Warsaw,
adding that Yanukovich was willing to
hold rapid elections to parliament and
the presidency --- the latter something
Yanukovich has so far appeared reluctant
to consider, a year before his term ends.
Medics carried bodies on stretchers
through lines of protesters who chanted,
"Heroes, heroes" to the dead.
ough armed militants on the
barricades tend to be from the far-right
fringe, the opposition has broad support.
But many Ukrainians also fear violence
slipping out of control.
" is is brother fighting brother," Irina,
a local woman walking to Independence
Square to donate syringes for blood
transfusions, said. "We need to realise
we re all one people."
In a sign of faltering support for
Yanukovich, his hand-picked head of
Kiev s city administration quit the ruling
party in protest at bloodshed in the
But core loyalists were still talking
Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko
said police had been issued with combat
weapons and would use them "in
accordance with the law" to defend
themselves --- or to free 67 of their
colleagues his ministry said were being
Demonstrators said captured police
had been allowed to go.
Russia criticised European Union and
US actions, calling them "blackmail"
that would only make matters worse.
Putin dispatched an envoy to Kiev to
join the mediation effort.
Ukraine is caught in a geopolitical tug-
of-war between Moscow --- which sees
it as a market and ally and fears protests
spreading to Russia --- and the west,
which says Ukrainians should be free to
choose economic integration with the
Raising pressure on Yanukovich
to restore order if he wants another
desperately needed loan, Russian
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said
Moscow would not hand over cash to a
leadership that let opponents walk over
it "like a doormat".
e morning s bloodshed, in which
both sides used firearms, traumatised
many Ukrainians, whose 2004-05
Orange Revolution for democracy
passed off largely peacefully.
It heightened concern voiced by Tusk
earlier this week that Ukraine could
descend into civil war or split between
the pro-European west and Russian-
Video of the clashes on the edge of
the Kiev square showed Berkut riot
policemen firing bursts from automatic
rifles on the run as they covered
retreating colleagues fleeing the plaza.
One policeman used a sniper rifle. An
opposition militant in a helmet was
filmed firing from behind a tree.
Other protesters used police riot shields
for cover, while some fell wounded as the
protest camp became a killing zone. A
presidential statement said dozens of
police were wounded or killed during
the opposition offensive, hours after
Yanukovich and opposition leaders had
agreed on a truce.
e interior ministry s website advised
citizens to avoid central Kiev because of
the danger from "armed and aggressive
individuals". Schools, restaurants and
many shops in the normally bustling city
of three million were closed, the metro
was shut down and bank machines were
running out of cash.
A statement from Yanukovich s office
said organised gangs of protesters were
using firearms, including sniper rifles.
Wounded protesters were given
first-aid treatment in the lobby of the
Ukraine Hotel, where many foreign
correspondents are staying. Reporters
said there were bullet holes in the walls
and windows of the hotel overlooking
the square. --- Reuters
Some of the world s top experts in
lemurs sounded the alarm overnight
about an imminent extinction threat
to these primitive primates that live
only in Madagascar and unveiled
a three-year plan to try to prevent
them from disappearing altogether.
Lemurs are now the world s most
threatened mammal group.
fragmentation caused by illegal
slash-and-burn farming, logging
of rosewood and ebony trees
and mining are major threats to
lemurs, as is bushmeat hunting
by impoverished local people, the
A five-year political crisis in
Madagascar and a broad breakdown
of environmental law enforcement
have worsened the situation for the
roughly 100 species of lemurs, they
"Extinctions could begin very
soon if nothing is done," Christoph
Schwitzer, head of research at the
Bristol Zoological Society in Britain,
who led a team of 19 scientists
that drafted the emergency lemur
preservation plan, said.
e rarest species, the northern
sportive lemur, is down to 50
individuals in one or two tiny forest
fragments, he said.
"One cyclone or other natural
event could wipe out the entire
population. In fact, anybody who
decides to go out lemur hunting
could tip the species over the edge,"
eir plan identifies 30 priority
sites for lemur conser vation. It calls
for management of protected areas
at the local level and a long-term
research presence in key locations,
and it advocates an expansion of
ecotourism focused on lemurs to
attract money to the cause.
e scientists, who presented their
plan in the journal Science, argue
that a significant amount of habitat
could be preser ved for a relatively
small sum in international aid ---
$7.6 million ($9.15 million) --- and
that ecotourism could help pay for
e scientists said they are
appealing to foreign governments
and private sources to fund the
preser vation bid.
Madagascar, an Indian Ocean
island off the coast of Africa known
for its unique wildlife, has been in
political turmoil for five years.
A new president, Hery
Rajaonarimampianina, took office
in January, a month after winning
the first election since a 2009 coup
which plunged Madagascar into a
crisis that sharply slowed economic
growth and deepened poverty.
Lemurs are one of the most
primitive types of primate, less
advanced than monkeys, apes and
humans. ey range in size from the
30g (1oz) Madame Berthe s mouse
lemur --- the smallest living primate
--- to the 9kg indri.
Arboreal creatures, they eat leaves,
fruits and bugs and have long limbs,
flexible toes and fingers and long
ey appeared early in primate
evolution, about 62 million years ago,
not long after the dinosaurs went
extinct. More advanced primates
never made it to Madagascar,
allowing lemurs to thrive and evolve
into many different species.
But most of Madagascar s forest
land has been eliminated and 94%
of lemur species are now considered
vulnerable, endangered or critically
"I would certainly not want to tell
my children in 10 or 20 years time,
when they are old enough to travel to
Madagascar, Look, this island was
once inhabited by creatures called
lemurs, but they have gone extinct
because your dad, along with many
others, was unable to avert their
extinction at the time," Schwitzer
said. --- Reuters
Lemurs face imminent extinction --- scientists
A single ticket bought in the San
Francisco bay area has scooped the sixth
highest lottery jackpot in United States
history, winning roughly $US425 million
($511.6 million), lottery officials said.
e ticket matched all six winning
numbers in a nationwide game,
California lottery officials said on
Twitter. ey were 1, 17, 35, 49, 54, and
34, according to organiser Powerball s
ere was no immediate word on the
winner s identity.
e top prize for the lottery, which is
drawn twice a week, had rolled over and
swelled 15 times since the last jackpot
on Christmas Day, said a Powerball
spokeswoman in New York.
Yesterday s winning ticket was sold at
a Chevron gas station in Milpitas, near
San Francisco. e winner can either opt
to take the full amount as an annuity
paid over 30 years or a $242.2m lump
sum, a lottery official said.
In the last two years, Powerball prizes
have increased sharply due to ticket
prices doubling to $2, and California, the
nation s most populous State, joining 42
other States, Washington DC and the
US Virgin Islands in playing the game.
e biggest winner in Powerball
history, from Florida, took home $590m
before taxes in May 2013.
A delivery driver who shared a $648m
jackpot with one other winner in a Mega
Millions lottery game in December
bought his ticket from a gift shop in
San Jose, about 16km from Milpitas.
Volvo to turn cars
into post boxes
Swedish car maker Volvo says it is
developing a system to enable on-line
shopping deliveries direct to customers
cars rather than their homes.
e company said it had created a
single-use digital key, which postal or
delivery ser vices can use to locate a
vehicle and open it.
e system "will allow consumers to
have shopping delivered straight to
their car, no matter where they are", the
company said in a statement overnight.
"Via a smartphone or a tablet, the
owner will be informed when a delivery
company wants to drop off or pick up
something from the car," they added.
e owner of the car then accepts the
delivery and can track when the car is
opened. e technology would provide a
solution for people who are on the move
and need to receive deliveries away from
their home or office. --- AFP
prosecutors have admitted
that Oscar Pistorius may
not have had his prostheses
on when he fired the shots
that killed his girlfriend,
removing a key argument
According to a document
obtained by local television
news channel ENCA,
the State s own ballistics
expert believes Paralympic
star Pistorius was "most
likely" on his stumps when
he shot Reeva Steenkamp through the
During an extensive bail hearing,
prosecutors argued that Pistorius took
time to put on his prosthetic legs before
firing the shots through the locked
bathroom door, showing he was not
panicked by the prospect of an intruder.
Pistorius, who goes on trial March 3,
denies the charge of murder and says he
mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
ENCA also reported that prosecutors
believe security guards at Pistorius s
gated community called the Olympian
after the shooting to see if
everything was okay, and
that he said it was fine and
did not require assistance.
ey also believe that a
neighbour who lives less
than 100m away, heard
shouting on Valentine s
Day, the night of
Steenkamp s death.
e National Prosecuting
Authority said it had not
leaked the documents.
" e defence has access
to everything, to the docket
and all evidential material
we have," spokesman Nathi Mncube
"We don t give anything to any other
person other than the defence and if it
gets leaked, it won t be us, we can t do
that because it s damaging to our case."
Pistorius, 27, whose legs were
amputated below the knee when he
was a young boy, is known worldwide
as the Blade Runner for competing
on two carbon fibre blades and
running against able-bodied athletes
in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Pakistani aircraft have launched strikes
on Taliban hideouts in the north-west,
killing at least 30 people, in retaliation
for attacks by the militants that have
derailed peace talks.
e first raid confirmed by security
officials came early yesterday when
aircraft bombed several locations
including a compound in the town of
Mir Ali and surrounding parts of the
North Waziristan tribal district.
" ere are confirmed reports of 15
militants including foreigners killed in
these air strikes," a senior security official
told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Another official later confirmed that at
least 16 Uzbeks were also killed during
the strikes in Mir Ali.
e raids in troubled North Waziristan
come a day after Taliban insurgents
said they were ready to obser ve a
ceasefire to allow the resumption of
stalled peace talks, provided Pakistani
security forces stop killing and arresting
them. --- AFP
Strikes on Taliban kill 30
sacked after orgy
A senior bishop from the
Bulgarian Orthodox Church has
been dismissed after an on-line
video emerged of him at an orgy
with four women.
Bishop Boris, who headed the
second-largest monastery in the
country, was relieved of his duties
overnight after being found
guilty of acts "unworthy of his
post", said a statement from the
Church s supreme clerical body,
the Holy Synod.
It followed allegations that
emerged in the daily Trud, which
reported on a video clip of the
bishop with the four women.
e orgy is just the latest
scandal to hit the church, which
counts 80% of all Bulgarians as
On the opening of government
archives in January 2012, it was
revealed that 11 members of the
Holy Synod had been agents of,
or had collaborated with, the
former communist regime.
One of those was the hugely
controversial Bishop Kiril.
Well-known for driving an
American luxury car around his
seaside diocese of Varna, his body
was found on a Black Sea beach
last summer, though foul play
was later ruled out. --- AFP
A former French policeman has
denied any role in the killing of
a British-Iraqi family in 2012
as police extended his detention
despite admitting that he seemed
to have no link to the case.
A source close to the probe said
the custody had been extended by
48 hours as investigators pursue
suspicions the man was involved
in arms trafficking.
A second man arrested in
connection with the case also
remained in detention.
e 48-year-old ex-policeman
has denied any role in the
quadruple murders on September
5, 2012 in the French Alps, his
lawyer said overnight.
Investigators had earlier said
cellphone records showed the
man was near the crime scene on
the day of the horrific killings.
e ex-officer was detained
on Tuesday in what appeared to
be the first breakthrough in the
murder case, which has baffled
investigators on both sides of the
But prosecutors said it was
"highly unlikely" he would be
charged in the case but may face
charges of arms trafficking.
A large cache of weapons was
found in the home of the man.
Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old
Iraqi-born British tourist, was
gunned down 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.
e couple s two daughters,
aged seven and four at the
time, survived the attack, but
a 45-year-old French cyclist,
Sylvain Mollier, was killed after
apparently stumbling upon the
scene. --- AFP
role in Alps murder
As Africa s oldest leader
and Zimbabwe s ruler since
Mugabe turns 90, high-
profile celebrations risk
being overshadowed by
rumours of ill health and a
raging succession battle.
Mugabe s aides insist he
is fighting fit but another
medical trip to Singapore
this week, reportedly for
eye surgery, has rekindled
He is not expected back
in Zimbabwe until shortly
before an elaborate stadium
birthday celebration on
Sunday that is said to be costing about
e man who took power in 1980 on
Zimbabwe s independence from Britain
has long been rumoured to be seriously
ill.A leaked 2008 United States
diplomatic cable cited then central
bank governor Gideon Gono as saying
Mugabe had prostate cancer, a claim
denied by officials.
Whether true or not, the run-up to
this year s birthday bash
has seen evidence that his
ruling ZANU-PF party
is readying for "life after
In an interview to
be broadcast by State
television channel ZBC
overnight, Mugabe insisted
talk of succession was
"Why should it be
discussed when it is not
due? Is it due?" he was
quoted as saying by State
newspaper e Herald.
" e leadership still exists
that runs the country. In
other words I am still there."
Mugabe also used the interview to
castigate groups supporting would-be
successors, accusing them of stoking
During his 34-year rule Mugabe has
studiously avoided naming a successor
and often moved against those, like
independence hero Joshua Nkomo.
Born on February 21, 1924, Mugabe
won disputed elections last year when
he beat his arch-rival, former prime
minister Morgan Tsvangirai. --- AFP
Succession weighs as
Mugabe turns 90
Britain s News of the World tabloid
paid out £250,000 ($502,206) for an
exclusive interview with Hollywood
prostitute Divine Brown after she was
caught performing oral sex on actor
Hugh Grant, the phone-hacking trial
Rebekah Brooks, a former editor and
executive at the Rupert Murdoch-
owned title, said Brown was paid about
£100,000 but large sums were also spent
moving her and her family to a desert
hideout to stop other papers stealing the
"It was probably one of the biggest
expenses that I had ever dealt with,"
Brooks, who was features editor of the
News of the World at the time, said.
Brooks, 45, was giving testimony at
her trial at London s Old Bailey court
on charges of phone hacking, paying a
public official for information and trying
to conceal evidence from the police.
Grant, 53, was arrested with Brown
on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles
on June 27, 1995, sparking headlines
around the world.
e News of the World secured an
exclusive interview with Brown, whose
real name is Estella Marie ompson,
and went to great lengths to stop rival
papers from spoiling it.
Brooks said the News of the World
hired a plane to fly Brown and her
family to a resort in "the desert" --- an
enterprise that completely blew her
weekly spending limit of £50,000 to
A few weeks after the arrests, Brown
was sentenced to 180 days in jail for lewd
conduct and violating her probation on
several prostitution convictions.
Meanwhile Grant managed to salvage
his reputation by giving a series of
contrite television interviews.
Since the hacking scandal, the British
actor has become one of the most high-
profile campaigners for tighter press
regulation. --- AFP
Tabloid paid $502,000 for
Hugh Grant hooker scoop
A Chinese manufacturer has
set the record for the world s
thinnest latex condom with one
measuring 0.036mm, Guinness
World Records says.
e AONI condom made by
Guangzhou Daming United
Rubber Products beats one
created in Japan, it said.
" e previous record-holder
was Okamoto. eir thinnest
condom had a thickness of
0.038mm," Charles Wharton,
records manager of Guinness
World Records Greater China
division, said. e Guangzhou
firm makes 200 million condoms
annually and they are mainly sold
in mainland China. --- AFP
China sets thinnest latex condom record
Links Archive February 20th 2014 February 22nd 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page