Home' Greymouth Star : March 4th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 7
European Union foreign ministers
held out the threat of sanctions
against Russia today if Moscow fails
to withdraw its troops from Ukraine,
while offering to mediate between
the two, alongside other international
At talks on the Ukraine crisis in
Brussels, they agreed no deadlines or
details about any punitive measures
that could be put in place against
Russia, but leaders of the bloc s 28
nations will hold an emergency
summit this week and could take
e EU discussions were convened
abruptly after Russian President
Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean
peninsula and said he had the right
to invade Ukraine.
"We need to see a return to barracks
by those troops that have currently
moved from where they have been
staying," the EU s foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton told reporters
after the foreign ministers meeting
" ere are serious concerns about
overflights, about reports of troops
and armed personnel moving."
In Monday s talks, EU governments
sought to strike a balance between
pressuring Moscow and finding a
way to calm the situation.
"We want the situation to de-
escalate to the position the troops
had before this began," Ashton said.
Europe s approach leaves it at slight
odds with the United States, after
US Secretary of State John Kerry
threatened visa bans, asset freezes
and trade restrictions against Russia,
which he accused of 19th century
behaviour in Ukraine.
Germany, France and Britain, the
EU s most-powerful nations, were
advocating mediation, possibly via
the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, while not
ruling out economic measures if
Moscow does not co-operate.
"Crisis diplomacy is not a weakness
but it will be more important than
ever to not fall into the abyss of
military escalation," German Foreign
Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
told reporters as he arrived in
e seizure of Crimea has created
the greatest confrontation between
Russia and the west since the collapse
of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event
Putin once described as the worst
geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th
France s foreign minister, Laurent
Fabius, said France would be
pushing on two fronts: " ere s
the condemnation of Russian
intervention and then there s the
need for mediation, for dialogue," he
Radoslaw Sikorski, the foreign
minister of Poland, a neighbour of
Ukraine, took a harsher stance.
" e EU is saying that it will revise
its relations with Russia if there is no
de-escalation," he told reporters after
One possible measure mentioned
by the EU ministers after their
meeting was a suspension of talks on
visa issues with Russia.
"In the absence of de-escalating
steps by Russia, the EU shall decide
about consequences for bilateral
relations between the EU and Russia,
for instance suspending bilateral talks
... on visa matters ... and will consider
further targeted measures," they said
in a statement.
Russia and the European Union
have been discussing visa co-
operation since 2007, with Russia
keen to have visa-free access to
the EU s member states. It is an
issue raised at nearly every meeting
between Moscow and Brussels.
"Targeted measures means sanctions
in normal language, visa and financial
sanctions," Sikorski said.
Ministers also considered the
possibility of imposing an arms
embargo on Russia but after several
hours of talks, no decision was taken
on the issue after some governments
Underlining the need for dialogue,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
spoke to Putin late on Sunday and
suggested a "fact-finding" mission to
Ukraine, possibly led by the Vienna-
based OSCE, currently chaired by
e OSCE said it was ready to play
Speaking to Merkel by telephone
on Sunday, US President Barack
Obama underscored the "complete
illegitimacy" of Russia s actions. A
senior US official said Obama would
make the same point to the leaders of
Britain and Poland.
But many Europeans are concerned
about pushing Putin too far, mindful
of their economic links with Russia,
including a heavy dependence on
Moscow s gas and oil exports. ere is
also concern about the time required
for sanctions and the legal hurdles
that must be cleared.
European sanctions also require
unanimity among the 28 member
states, something that would be
extremely difficult to achieve when
it comes to Russia, with some small
countries, such as Cyprus, having
close ties to Moscow.
Moscow has said it is protecting
the lives of Russian citizens and
speakers in Ukraine, and appears to
be calculating that the west cannot
afford to risk a wider conflagration by
taking anything approaching military
Russia is the EU s biggest trading
partner after the United States and
China, with $170 billion of goods
exported there in 2012. It is also the
EU s most important single energy
supplier, accounting for more than a
quarter of all EU consumption of oil
and gas. --- Reuters
EU foreign ministers meet to discuss situation in Ukraine
A stray dog has chased away an
adult leopard that had wandered
into a residential area in Mumbai
from a wildlife park nearby.
surveillance cameras published
in the Mid-Day newspaper
shows the big cat sidling into
the apartment premises in the
Goregaon area and approaching
a couple of strays in the parking
e canines did not scamper to
safety. And one of them, Rocky,
barked and managed to chase
away the ferocious feline.
e incident took place early
on February 26 and Rocky has
become a hero for the residents,
the report said, calling it
"Mumbai s chase of the year."
ey said the brave dog deserves
a new name --- Tiger.
"When the leopard entered our
building, it was Rocky who chased
it out, not only saving his life, but
that of another dog lying next to
him," resident Rajan Mayekar was
quoted as saying.
"Running a leopard out of a
building is a big task for a dog
and from today, we have decided
to call Rocky, Tiger, because only
a tiger can chase away a leopard,"
Residents said the leopard could
have strayed from the nearby
Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
is is the second instance of a
leopard wandering into a city and
sparking panic in recent days.
In the last week of February,
another big cat entered an army
hospital terrifying patients, before
it strayed into the northern city of
Meerut, prompting the closure of
markets and schools.
Rampant deforestation around
Indian cities is forcing wild
animals to come out of their
Similar incidents have been
reported from other states,
pointing to a growing conflict for
space. --- DPA
Stray dog chases away leopard
Two families sat on the same wooden bench
in a South African High Court, one mourning
their beloved daughter Reeva Steenkamp,
another supporting Oscar Pistorius, the man
charged with her murder.
Amid the media circus, pointed legal
arguments and delays, the two families whose
lives have been utterly transformed by the
events of February 14, 2013, came face-to-
In the front row of the public gallery
Reeva s mother June Steenkamp, clad in
black, sat stony-faced as a witness described
the "terrified screams" of a woman in the
early morning hours of that Valentine s Day.
She dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief
and from time to time looked over toward
the man with whom her daughter seemed so
besotted just weeks before her brutal death.
She looked on as the star athlete --- in a
black suit and tie, clean-shaven and his hair
cut short --- sat just 8m away jotting down
"I want to look at Oscar, really look him in
the eyes, and see for myself the truth about
what he did to Reeva," she told a British
newspaper before the trial.
His demeanour was calm, a far cry from the
sobbing figure he cut during his bail hearing
immediately after killing Steenkamp.
It was the first time the two saw each other
in person. e athlete gave little indication
of recognising his slain girlfriend s
During a short recess, June stood up alone
and looked toward the athlete, who sat with
his back to the public gallery.
She then sat down, throwing an angry
glance to his relatives sitting to her left.
At other times tensions between the two
clans were subtle, but manifest.
At the end of a string of members of
Pistorius s friends sat elder brother Carl,
directly next to one of Reeva s friends.
ey left a small space between them, facing
slightly away from each other and studiously
avoiding eye contact.
Carl, who bears a striking resemblance to his
younger brother, at times appeared impatient,
while his sister Aimee looked weary.
eir father, Henke, who is not close to his
children, was not present.
When court adjourned the Steenkamps
took the long way to the single exit to avoid
having to slide past the Pistorius family.
Both families had a nervous wait at the start
of the day.
e trial started over an hour late after an
Afrikaans-to-English interpreter pulled out
at the last minute, perhaps spooked by the
fierce scrutiny the trial would bring.
ree discreet cameras, mounted in the two
front corners and in the back of the room,
broadcast much of the testimony live around
As the session wore on the interpreter s
decision seemed prescient, as the replacement
made occasional translation mistakes, leaving
many in the gallery shaking their heads.
e families also had to wait as court
officials escorted a woman --- who identifies
herself only as Annemarie and who twice
before disrupted Pistorius bail hearings ---
out of the courtroom.
"I know Oscar s character. I knew him
before this," she said, repeatedly asking that
Pistorius undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
She claims to be the ex-wife of the surgeon
who amputated the athlete s legs when he
was a young boy.
Diminutive Judge okozile Masipa,
wearing a red toga, was business-like and in
control of her courtroom. --- AFP
Pistorius, victim s
family, face to face
A huge snake has won a life and
death battle against a crocodile in
Australia, swallowing the animal
whole after a lengthy struggle before
Travis Corlis, who watched
the fight at Queensland s Lake
Moondarra, near the mining town of
Mount Isa, said the snake, thought to
be a python, was about three metres
long and "healthy looking".
e crocodile, which the snake
coiled itself around, was about one
metre in length, he said.
" ey had quite the struggle in
the water," he told AFP. "It was an
"We were just standing there in
amazement watching it."
Corlis said several hours after he
first saw the encounter, he noticed
the snake had pulled the crocodile
onto the banks of the lake and
released its prey, which by this stage
"About 10 minutes later the
crocodile was gone," he said, referring
to the creature being eaten.
His wife Tiffany described the
battle as "just unbelievable".
"We were sort of thinking that the
snake had bitten off a little more
than it could chew," she told the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"But it did. It actually ate the
She added: "When you actually
looked at the snake, you could
actually see the crocodile s ridges, legs
and everything inside its belly."
Tiffany said the crocodile had
struggled to keep its head out of the
water, and while both animals had
clearly tired during their marathon
fight for survival, "finally, the croc
sort of gave in".
Travis Corlis said while crocodiles
and snakes were both common in the
area, he had never seen them battle
each other in such a way.
Freshwater crocodiles are known to
inhabit Lake Moondarra and Travis
Corlis said a recent drought had seen
the water level drop, making them
"I think it might just have been
nature at its best," he said. --- AFP
Huge snake snapped eating crocodile
A snake killing a crocodile at Queensland s Lake Moondarra, near the
mining town of Mount Isa. Insert: e snake after eating the crocodile.
A wall in the ancient Roman city of
Pompeii collapsed overnight, the third piece
of the UNESCO World Heritage site to
crumble since the weekend after days of
heavy rain in southern Italy, authorities said.
One of the country s most popular
attractions, Pompeii was preser ved under
ash from a volcanic eruption in 79 AD
and rediscovered in the 18th century.
It has become a symbol for decades of
mismanagement of Italy s cultural sites
after a series of collapses that have sparked
e new damage may increase pressure
on new culture minister Dario Franceschini
at an emergency meeting today, which he
called after the wall of a tomb and part of an
arch supporting a Temple of Venus perished
over the weekend due to heavy rainfall.
e latest wall to come down was part of
a workshop on the corner of a street in the
ancient city called Via Nola which had been
partly restored and reinforced with an iron
It was at the boundary of the excavated
part of the site, an area at particular risk
because unexcavated ground becomes
waterlogged and swollen after rainfall,
pressuring the ancient masonry it rests
Securing those areas was one aim of the
Great Pompeii Project, a $145.02 million
restoration plan partly funded by the
European Union and launched a year ago.
e project hit delays amid disagreement
on who should be named to lead the
works. It announced last month it had
finished work on the first of five villas
marked for restoration, the House of the
Cryptoporticus, that was heavily damaged in
World War Two bombing. --- Reuters
Bricks and rocks are seen on the ground after they collapsed from the Porta Nocera
door way, in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, as a consequence of a rainstorm.
Pompeii crumbles after heavy rain
Former James Bond actor Sean
Connery has said an independent
Scotland is an opportunity "too good
to miss" and ending the union with
England would help boost artistic
creation north of their common
e Scottish-born star, 83, spoke
out six months before a referendum
that could split the United Kingdom.
A long-term supporter of separation,
the Bahamas resident has said he
could return to his native land if it
He was the latest in a number of
high-profile stars recently entering
the independence debate. Last
month, rock star David Bowie said
"Scotland, stay with us" in a message
read out by model Kate Moss at the
Brit pop music awards.
"As a Scot and as someone with a
lifelong love for both Scotland and
the arts, I believe the opportunity of
independence is too good to miss,"
Connery wrote in an article due to
be published on the New Statesman
"Simply put --- there is no more
creative an act than creating a new
nation," he said. e referendum on
whether to end
the 307-year union
will be held on
a matter for the
people who live and
work in Scotland,
argued that a "yes" verdict would
boost that country s film and creative
"Scotland has an opportunity to
make a step change," he wrote. "More
than anything else, culture defines
a country. It provides international
visibility and stimulates global
interest more than a nation s politics,
business or economy ever can.
"So, with our colourful history,
strong identity, deep rooted traditions,
a commitment to artistic innovation
and diverse and beautiful landscapes,
Scotland is truly blessed."
Scotland s First Minister Alex
Salmond will deliver a lecture in
London about independence.
Salmond is heading the campaign
for secession, battling London s
efforts to prevent a "yes" verdict by
undermining his Scottish National
Party s central case that oil-rich
Scotland could be a prosperous
Financial heavyweights such as the
Edinburgh-based Standard Life and
the Royal Bank of Scotland have
voiced concerns about uncertainties
over currency, regulation, and tax
regimes in the event of Scottish
By contrast, the head of the
International Airlines Group ,
the owner of British Airways,
said it could be good for business.
Scottish independence an opportunity too good to miss --- Connery
Australia s golden girl
Cate Blanchett almost
missed her big win at
the Oscars because she
was drinking at the bar
with fellow actress Julia
Blanchett scooped the
Best Actress Oscar for
her part in Woody Allen s
Blue Jasmine, but she
only just returned to her
seat in time to take to
the stage and receive the
Blanchett has now
revealed she lost track of
time while chatting to
Roberts at the bar.
She tells E! News: " e
blessing and the curse of
this is it happens at the
a*** end of the evening
and so you watch so
many other extraordinary
people get up there and
you lose track of the
fact that you re even
nominated. And then you
get taken by surprise, It s
my turn , and I was with
Julia Roberts in the bar
for rather too long and
just got back to my seat
Blanchett s win etched
her name into the
Australian record books
by becoming the only
actor to have won two
When asked about
the feat backstage at
the Academy Awards,
jokingly: "And don t you
f***ing forget it!".
Her choice to curse on
live tv shocking some in
Blanchett almost missed
big win at Oscars
Oscars 2014 host Ellen DeGeneres crashed
social networking site Twitter with the
biggest selfie ever.
Degeneres took a selfie with Jared Leto,
Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Meryl
Streep, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Bradley
Cooper, Brad Pitt, Lupita N yongo, Peter
N yongo and Angelina Jolie.
e chat show host headed into the
audience during the ceremony and whipped
out her smartphone, passing it to Cooper and
beckoning pretty much the entire front row
to assemble behind her.
e selfie saw about as much celebrity as
you could cram into shot, including 12 Years
aSlave actress Lupita N yongo s opportunistic
brother Peter, the only non-actor pictured.
Kevin Spacey arguably stole the pic
meanwhile, offering a rather wonderful open-
mouthed expression amid all the grins.
Ellen wrote: "If only Bradley s arm was
longer. Best photo ever."
De Generes swiftly posted the picture on
Twitter, with it attracting 80,000 retweets in
three minutes and more than a million at the
time of writing.
She later admitted to the crowd that she
had had an e-mail from Twitter saying the
tweet had been retweeted so much, Twitter
briefly went off-line. --- New Zealand Herald
Ellen s selfie at the Oscars has become a viral hit.
Ellen's Oscars selfie biggest tweet ever
Climbers scaling Mount Everest will
have to bring back 8kg of rubbish under
new rules designed to clean up the
world s highest peak, a Nepalese official
e rule, one of several new measures for
mountaineering in the Himalayan nation,
will apply to climbers ascending beyond
Everest s base camp from April onwards,
said tourism ministry official Madhusudan
" e government has decided in order to
clean up Mount Everest, each member of
an expedition must bring back at least 8kg
of rubbish, apart from their own trash," he
Burlakoti said authorities would take
legal action against climbers who failed to
comply with the new rule, although it was
unclear whether this would involve a fine or
Decades of mountaineering have taken
a toll on the peak, which is strewn with
rubbish from past expeditions, including
oxygen cylinders, human waste and even
climbers bodies, which do not decompose
in the extreme cold.
Expeditions will have to submit their
trash to an office to be set up next month
at base camp. It will also offer medical aid
and resolve conflicts, after a brawl between
European climbers and local guides last
Although expeditions currently have to
fork out a $4000 deposit, refunded once they
show they have brought back everything
they took to the mountain, enforcement has
been a problem.
"Our earlier efforts have not been very
effective. is time, if climbers don t bring
back rubbish, we will take legal action and
penalise them," Burlakoti said.
Last month Nepal slashed fees for
individual climbers to Everest and
other Himalayan peaks to attract more
mountaineers, sparking concerns of
increased traffic and more trash on the
In an overhaul of security on the mountain,
the new office at base camp will station
soldiers and police so climbers can approach
officers with any problems, officials said last
Environmental and climbing groups have
long sought to focus attention on the waste
problem while clean-up projects have also
Discarded oxygen and cooking gas
cylinders, ropes, tents, glasses, beer cans,
plastic and even the remains of a helicopter
made up 75 artworks commissioned for a
Kathmandu exhibition in 2012, highlighting
the environmental impact of alpine tourism.
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