Home' Greymouth Star : March 5th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Wednesday, March 5, 2014
A key witness in Oscar Pistorius's
murder trial has wept in court, saying
she still relives the "terrifying screams"
heard from his home the night Reeva
Steenkamp was killed.
In vivid testimony that cast doubt on
the star sprinter's defence, Michelle
Burger, her husband and a third
neighbour each told the court that they
heard a commotion then gunshots on
Valentine's Day 2013.
e trio's account directly contradicts
Pistorius's claim that he shot the
29-year-old model and law graduate
Steenkamp through a locked toilet door
after mistaking her for an intruder.
In an emotionally-charged second day
of the South African Paralympian's trial,
Burger broke down in the witness box
after erce cross-examination, saying
events of that February 14 still haunt her.
"When I'm in the shower, I relive
her shouts. e terrifying screams,"
the university lecturer said, her voice
cracking with emotion.
Another neighbour, Estelle van der
Mer we, who lives less than 100m from
Pistorius's home, said she heard arguing
coming from the house when she woke
just before 2am.
"It lasted about an hour," she said,
adding later that she recalled waking up
to the sound of loud bangs.
Burger's husband, Charl Johnson, also
took the stand, telling judge okozile
Masipa that a woman's screams woke
him up and that he ran to his balcony,
less than 200m from Pistorius's home.
"At that point the fear and intensity of
her voice escalated and it was clear that
this person's life was in danger," he said.
" at's when the rst shots were red,"
although Johnson could not recall how
Both Johnson and Burger also said
they heard a male person shout for help,
a point that was seized upon by the
defence as evidence Pistorius was calling
Pistorius, 27, a double amputee known
as the "Blade Runner" for his carbon-
bre running blades, has pleaded not
guilty to murder and three unrelated
While admitting killing Steenkamp,
the sprinter described it as a "tragic
accident", denying murderous intent and
saying "we were in a loving relationship".
If found guilty of premeditated murder,
Pistorius faces 25 years in South Africa's
notoriously brutal jails and an abrupt
end to his glittering sporting career.
In the face of the prosecution's
onslaught, Pistorius' lawyer Barry Roux
spent most of the day trying to pick
apart the witnesses' account of events.
In terse exchanges, he accused Burger of
rejecting Pistorius's account out of hand,
moulding her testimony to t media
reports and jumping to conclusions.
Outrage at Irish bookie's Pistorius advert
Almost 100,000 people have signed
a petition against an "o ensive"
advertisement by Irish bookmaker
Paddy Power o ering to refund bets
made on a guilty verdict in the Oscar
Pistorius trial if he walks free.
e advert shows an Oscar statuette
with the face of the South African
Paralympic athlete and the words:
"It's Oscar Time. Money Back If He
Walks. We will refund all losing bets
on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is
found not guilty."
No stranger to publicity stunts,
Paddy Power timed the ad to coincide
with Sunday's Academy Awards and
the start of Pistorius's murder trial in
He is accused of murdering his
girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on
Valentine's Day last year.
Campaigners against domestic
violence have condemned the ad,
which appeared in the Irish and
British press, and more than 97,000
people have signed an on-line
petition demanding the bookmaker
take no further bets on the trial.
e petition on change.org says:
" e brutal death of a woman at the
hands of her partner is not 'sport' or
'entertainment' and promoting the
opportunity to make money from it is
a vile and o ensive act which anyone
with a sense of human dignity and
respect for human life must reject."
A spokesman for the Advertising
Standards Agency (ASA), Britain's
advertising watchdog, told AFP it
had received 46 complaints about the
"We are currently assessing the
complaints to establish whether there
are grounds for investigation," he
In a blog posted when the ad was
published, the rm said: "If you bet
on Pistorius being jailed (7/4) and he
is sent down, you've seen justice done.
"Bet on him going down but he
walks free, then you get your money
back amidst what's sure to be an
international howl of news about
'injustice'." --- AFP
A New South Welshman is to face court
accused of trucking almost $1 million worth of
cannabis across the State during a six-month
e 47-year-old was arrested in Wagga Wagga
yesterday following a year-long investigation
into the large-scale supply of cannabis around
Wollongong, police say.
Between February and August last year, they
allege, he loaded his truck at Wagga with heat-
sealed sacks of the drug and drove them to a
home at Pheasants Nest, to Sydney's south.
" e total quantity of drugs supplied during
this six-month period was 118kg, which has
an estimated street value of $910,000," police
e man has been refused bail after being
charged with supplying a commercial quantity
of a prohibited drug.
He is due before Wagga Wagga Local Court
today. --- AAP
Man busted with $1m of cannabis
An amateur treasure hunter with a hand-
held metal detector has turned Canadian
history on its head after nding a 16th
century shilling buried in clay on the shores
of Vancouver Island.
e 435-year-old coin discovered in
western-most Canada has rekindled a theory
that a British explorer made a secret voyage
here two centuries before it was discovered by
O cial historical records show the Spanish
were the rst Europeans to set foot in what
is now Canada's British Columbia province
in 1774, followed four years later by British
Royal Navy Captain James Cook.
Retired security systems installer Bruce
Campbell found the coin in mid-December,
along with a rare 1891 Canadian nickel, a
1960s dime and penny from 1900.
"I was getting fat and tired of watching tv,"
he said about what got him into his hobby,
surrounded in his Victoria, British Columbia,
home by a trove of adventure novels and a few
dug up treasures.
He never imagined, he said, stirring up
controversy with his latest nd.
According to conspiracy theorists and some
historians, the silver coin (produced between
1551 and 1553) is evidence that English
explorer Sir Francis Drake travelled as far
north as Canada's Paci c Coast during an
expedition to California in 1579, in search of
the famed North-west Passage.
But he covered it up at the behest of Queen
Elizabeth I, who supposedly wished to avoid
confrontation over the new territory with
Spain. --- AFP
Coin could rewrite Canadian history
e silver British shilling which could rewrite Canadian history.
Putin among Nobel
Russian President Vladimir Putin has
been nominated for the 2014 Nobel
Peace Prize --- but the con ict in
Ukraine is also likely to be on the Nobel
A record 278 candidates, including 47
organisations, received nominations for
the 2014 prize, the Norwegian Nobel
Institute's director, Geir Lundestad, said.
Committee members, who met
overnight, added their own proposals with
a focus on recent turmoil around the globe.
"Part of the purpose of the committee's
rst meeting is to take into account
recent events, and committee members
try to anticipate what could be the
potential developments in political hot
spots," Lundestad said.
Pope Francis and former United States
National Security Agency contractor
Edward Snowden also received
nominations as well as Putin.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai,
shot in the head by the Taliban for
advocating girls' right to education, is
also thought to be among the candidates.
e committee narrowed its list to
between 25 and 40 overnight and it will
cut its list to about a dozen by the end of
April. First awarded in 1901, the prize
includes eight million Swedish crowns
($1.24 million) in cash. e winner will
be announced on the second Friday of
October and the prize will be presented
on December 10, the anniversary of
Alfred Nobel's death. --- Reuters
NY Times runs correction 161 years on
e New York Times has run a correction on
an article it wrote 161 years ago about Solomon
Northup, a free black man sold into slavery,
whose memoir 12 Years a Slave was adapted
into an Oscar-winning lm.
"An article on January 20, 1853, recounting
the story of Solomon Northup . . . misspelled
his surname as Northrop," the newspaper
" e errors notwithstanding, e Times
described the article as 'a more complete and
authentic record than has yet appeared'."
e error was discovered by a Twitter user
as the archived article was making rounds on
e lm adaptation, directed by Steve
McQueen, won this year's Academy Award
for best picture, supporting actress and adapted
screenplay. --- DPA
Minnelli unhappy with Ellen's Oscars gag
United States singer and dancer Liza
Minnelli was not as thrilled by Oscars host
Ellen DeGeneres' drag joke as the comedienne
thought she was.
DeGeneres' "Well done, sir" gag at Sunday's
awards ceremony has became one of the
Academy Awards' top talking points.
Ellen insisted after the awards that she had
not upset her friend.
"She's a totally cool lady. I went up to her later
and she was funny and ne, but I think people
thought I was o ending her in some way,"
DeGeneres said yesterday.
However, Minnelli admited she could
understand why some people thought she was
Speaking to TMZ.com Minelli said, "I think
she thought it would be funny but she never
stopped after she said it and said, 'My friend,
Liza Minnelli,' so I think it went a little stray
"I don't think she meant any harm at all and
she's a wonderful lady."
Minelli, who was once married to Australian
entertainer Peter Allen, attended the Academy
Awards to honour her late mum's role in e
Wizard of Oz, which is celebrating its 75th
anniversary this year. --- WENN
Liza Minnelli at the Oscars this week.
Protein diets 'nearly as bad as smoking'
People on high-protein diets are likely to lose
years of life along with the weight they shed,
according to two studies.
It is nearly as bad as smoking, Dr Valter
Longo, co-author of a study in the journal Cell
e most healthy mix is high-carbohydrate,
low protein diet, Australian scientists who have
published a study in the same journal said.
is leads to increased body fat, but a longer
lifespan, the scientists from the University of
Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre said.
ey tested 25 di erent diet combinations on
900 mice to see what happened to their appetite,
metabolic health, ageing and lifespan.
Calories are not all the same, Professor Steve
Simpson, academic director at the centre, said.
"We need to look at where the calories come
from and how they interact."
Although the mice on a high-protein diet ate
less and were slimmer, they also had a reduced
lifespan and poor heart and overall health.
ose on a high-carbohydrate, low-protein
diet ate more and got fat, but lived longest.
e mice that ate a high-fat, low-protein diet
"It is an enormous leap in our understanding
of the impact of diet quality and diet balance
on food intake, health, ageing and longevity,"
Co-author Professor David Le Couteur
said the study was an important step towards
understanding what constituted a healthy,
It indicated it might be bene cial for people
to eat the right diet in the right proportions and
let the body dictate the correct amount of food.
"If people want to live long, healthy lives they
can look at their diet and exercise. at will do
more good than taking all the pills in the world."
He says the healthiest mice had the lowest
levels of the branched-chain amino acids
derived from animal protein and often used by
body builders. e results were entirely parallel
with the US study.
ey found meat, sh and dairy products were
probably causing harm.
"We provide convincing evidence that a
high-protein diet, particularly if the proteins
are derived from animals, is nearly as bad
as smoking," the University of Southern
California's Longo said.
His study analysed the diet of 6831 middle-
aged and older adults. ose who derived
more than 20% of their calories from protein
were four times more likely to die of cancer or
diabetes than other people. --- AAP
President Vladimir Putin
delivered a robust defence of
Russia's actions in Crimea
overnight and said he would use
force in Ukraine only as a last
resort, easing market fears that
east-west tension over the former
Soviet republic could lead to war.
But tension remained high on
the ground. Russian forces red
warning shots in a confrontation
with Ukrainian servicemen at an
air base, and Russian navy ships
were reported to have blockaded
the strait separating the
Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula
At his rst news conference
since the crisis began, Putin said
Russia reserved the right to use
all options to protect compatriots
who were living in "terror" in
Ukraine, but force was not
needed for now.
Putin denied the Russian armed
forces were directly engaged in
the bloodless seizure of Crimea,
which former Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev transferred
from Russia to Ukraine in 1954
when both republics were part
of the Soviet Union, saying
the uniformed troops without
national insignia were "local self-
"As for bringing in forces, for
now there is no such need, but
such a possibility exists," he said.
"What could serve as a reason
to use military force? It would
naturally be the last resort,
absolutely the last."
Western sanctions under
consideration against Russia
would be counter-productive,
he said. A senior United States
o cial said Washington was
ready to impose them in days
rather than weeks. e Russian
Foreign Ministry warned that
Moscow would retaliate.
In Washington, US President
Barack Obama acknowledged
that Russia had legitimate
interests in Ukraine but said that
did not give Putin the right to
inter vene militarily.
US Secretary of State John
Kerry, on his rst visit to Kiev
since the overthrow of Russian-
backed President Victor
Yanukovich, accused Moscow of
seeking a pretext to invade more
of the country. He met Ukraine's
interim leaders and announced a
$1 billion economic package and
technical assistance for the new
Putin said there had been
an unconstitutional coup in
Ukraine, and Yanukovich, who
ed to Russia last week, was
still the legitimate leader. No
Ukrainian government elected
"under such terror as we see now"
would be legitimate, he said.
Kerry said the US was not
seeking a confrontation and
would prefer to see the situation
managed through international
institutions such as the pan-
European Organisation for
Security and Co-operation in
Ukrainian Prime Minister
Arseny Yatseniuk said in Kiev
that the Ukrainian and Russian
governments had begun consul-
tation on the crisis "at the level
of ministers". He gave no details.
e February 22 ousting of
Yanukovich after months of
street protests in Kiev and
Russia's seizure of control in
Crimea have prompted the most
serious confrontation between
Moscow and the west since the
end of the Cold War.
Western governments have
been alarmed at the possibility
that Russia may also move into
eastern and southern Ukraine,
home to many Russian speakers,
which Putin did not rule out.
" ere can be only one
assessment of what happened in
Kiev, in Ukraine in general. is
was an anti-constitutional coup
and the armed seizure of power,"
he said, looking relaxed as he sat
before a small group of reporters
at his residence near Moscow.
Earlier in the day, Putin ordered
troops in an exercise in western
Russia, close to the border with
Ukraine, back to their bases.
But in a sign of the extreme
fragility of the situation in
Crimea, a Russian soldier red
three volleys of shots over the
heads of Ukrainian ser vicemen
who marched bearing the
Ukrainian ag towards their
aircraft at a military air eld
surrounded by Russian troops at
Belbek, near Sevastopol.
After a stand-o in which the
two commanders shouted at
each other and Russian soldiers
levelled ri es and rocket-
propelled grenade launchers at
the Ukrainians, the incident
was defused and the Ukrainians
eventually dispersed. No one was
hurt. --- Reuters
Military force 'last resort'
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