Home' Greymouth Star : March 6th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, March 6, 2014
Oscar Pistorius's defence is seeking
to prove that a married couple who
heard screams on the night of Reeva
Steenkamp's death colluded in their
Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux
attempted overnight to show written
statements and testimony from husband
and wife couple Charl Johnson and
Michelle Burger contained "remarkable
coincidences" that could not be
Earlier, in vivid testimony that cast
doubt on the Paralympian's claims of a
"tragic accident," the pair told the court
they heard screams then gunshots on
Valentine's Day 2013 at Pistorius's home.
e couple's account would undermine
Pistorius's claim that he shot his
girlfriend, a 29-year-old model and law
graduate, through a locked toilet door
after mistaking her for an intruder.
As the trial resumed overnight, Roux
sought to put the defence back on
the front foot, submitting Johnson to
pointed cross-examination a day after
his wife was reduced to tears in the
"You have not favoured the court with
a strong, independent version," he railed
at Johnson, citing identical syntax and
vocabulary used in Johnson and his
wife's written statements to police.
e allegation could lessen the impact
of the pair's testimony.
"Maybe you and your wife should have
stood together in the witness box," Roux
said, prompting Judge okozile Masipa
to step in.
"Aren't you going a bit far?" she asked.
Masipa did not comment on Johnson's
complaint that his "privacy has been
compromised severely" by the reading in
court of his cellphone number, and that
he had received threatening messages.
Johnson earlier told the court that on
February 14, 2013 he was woken by a
woman's screams and 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
Yesterday the court heard emotional
evidence from Burger about her
recollection of that event.
"When I'm in the shower, I relive
her shouts. e terrifying screams,"
the university lecturer said, her voice
cracking with emotion as she was unable
to hold back the tears.
Another neighbour, second witness
Estelle van der Merwe, who lives less
than 100m away from Pistorius's home,
also told the court she heard arguing
coming from the house.
"I woke up in the morning at 1:56am
to sounds of someone talking loudly and
ghting," she told the court. "It lasted
about an hour."
Later she recalled waking up to the
sound of loud bangs.
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
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.
e track star has appeared composed
in court during three days of prosecution
testimony, except when the court heard a
statement explaining the violent nature
of Steenkamp's death.
Seeking to cast doubt on the witnesses'
statements, the defence has disputed
their claims they continued to hear
Steenkamp's fading screams after
she su ered a nal shot to the head.
Estonia's top diplomat has told
European Union foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton in an audio leaked
overnight about allegations that
Ukraine's pro-western leaders may
have had a hand in the February 20-
21 bloodbath in Kiev.
" ere is now a stronger and
stronger understanding (in Kiev)
that behind the snipers, it was
not (ousted president Viktor)
Yanukovich, but it was somebody
from the new coalition," Urmas Paet
tells Ashton in the audio leaked on
Dozens of protesters and about
15 police o cers were killed and
parliament impeached Yanukovich
the next day.
In the audio of the February 26 call,
whose authenticity was con rmed
by Estonia, Paet told Ashton he was
informed in Kiev that "they were the
same snipers killing people from both
Paet, who had had talks with
Ukraine's new leaders on February
25, added: "It's really disturbing that
now the new coalition, they don't
want to investigate what exactly
Ashton responds, saying: "I think
we do want to investigate. I mean
I didn't know. I didn't pick that up.
Paet's spokeswoman Minna-
Liina Lind con rmed the audio's
authenticity, saying the minister
"regrets very much" that the
conversation was leaked.
"We reject the claim that Paet
was giving an assessment of the
opposition's involvement in the
violence," she said. --- AFP
Leaked audio raises Kiev sniper questions
A man who snapped secret pictures
up women's skirts on a Boston subway
train --- a practice known as upskirting
--- did not violate the State's "peeping
Tom" law, Massachusetts' top court said
overnight, pointing to a loophole in
Massachusetts law prohibits secretly
lming or photographing a person who
is nude or partly nude, but that does not
apply to people who are fully clothed,
according to a Supreme Judicial Court
decision written by Justice Margot
e ruling comes in the case of a man
who was arrested by transit police in
2010 for using his cellphone to take
pictures and video up women's skirts on
the subway and who fought to have the
charges of voyeurism dismissed.
e law "does not apply to
photographing persons who are fully
clothed and, in particular, does not
reach the type of upskirting that the
defendant is charged with attempting
to accomplish on the MBTA," it said.
e court said that, while women have
a "reasonable expectation of privacy in
not having a stranger take photographs
up her skirt" the law "in its current form
does not address it."
A legal expert took the ruling as a cue
for the State legislature to bolster the
" is can be resolved by lawmakers
very quickly," Chris Dearborn, a law
professor at Su olk University in
Boston, said. "If peeping Toms are
jumping for joy because they think they
have carte blanche to do this, I suspect
it will be short lived."
Su olk District Attorney Daniel
F Conley's o ce issued a statement
urging the legislature to act fast.
Pope Francis, leading the
world's Roman Catholics into the
penitential season of Lent on Ash
Wednesday, urged them not to be
obsessed with possessions and to
shun a culture where everything
can be bought and sold.
Ash Wednesday is the day
Christians are reminded of
mortality and hear the phrase 'from
dust you came and to dust you shall
return' as ashes are smudged on to
Pope Francis led a traditional
procession between two churches
on the streets of Rome's Aventine
Hill to begin the pre-Easter season
of Lent, when Christians are called
on to fast, pray and give alms to the
In the second church, a cardinal
smudged ashes on to the Pope's
head and then the Ponti , wearing
purple vestments, did the same to
cardinals accompanying him.
"We live in a world that is
always more arti cial, in a culture
of 'making,' of 'pro t,' where
without realising it, we exclude
God from our horizon," he said in
his homily at a Mass concluding
"Often today, giving freely is not
part of daily life, where everything
can be bought and sold, where
everything is calculated and
measured," he said.
Pope Francis, leader of the
world's 1.2 billion Roman
Catholics, said the best way to
give was to not expect anything in
is way, he said, people can free
themselves "from the obsession of
possession, from the fear of losing
what we own, from the sadness of
those who do not want to share
their well-being with others".
Next Monday, the Pope will leave
the Vatican with his top aides for a
week-long Lenten spiritual retreat
at a religious institute south of
It is the rst time in living
memory that the retreat, a week of
preaching and prayer, will be held
outside the Vatican.
It is the latest example of Pope
Francis instilling more simplicity in
the Vatican. He has already given
up the spacious papal apartments
for a suite in a guest house and uses
a Ford Focus instead of the papal
Pope Francis, the rst Jesuit
ponti , is carrying on a tradition of
his religious order to hold spiritual
retreats away from peoples' usual
place of work in order to inspire
detachment and contemplation.
Don't be obsessed by possessions, plea from Pope
A cardinal is sprinkled with ashes by Pope Francis during the Ash Wednesday Mass at the Santa Sabina Basilica in Rome.
United States technology giant Apple has moved
almost $9 billion ($9.6 billion) in untaxed pro ts
to from its Australian operations to an Irish tax
haven in the past 10 years, media reports say.
Fairfax Media claims to have obtained a decade's
worth of nancial accounts for Apple Sales
International, the Irish company at the centre of
Apple's international tax arrangements.
e accounts reveal the mark-up Apple charges
for intellectual property on its global products, the
Australian Financial Review reports.
Last year, Apple reported pre-tax earnings in
Australia of only $88.5 million after sending an
estimated $2b from its Australian sales to Ireland
via Singapore, where Apple negotiated a secret tax
deal in 2009, it said.
Apple Sales International has reported more
than $US100b ($118.8b) of pro ts in the last ve
years, but its accounts indicate it has paid less than
50c in tax on every $1000 of income, the AFR
e report comes after last month's Group of
20 nance ministers meeting decided that by
November the world's top economies would
start to deliver e ective and practical measures to
counter tax avoidance.
G20 members expect to start automatically
exchanging information on tax matters from 2015.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon said
the report showed Apple was "rotten" and the
government must act.
"When it comes to paying tax, it seems that this
apple is rotten to the core," Senator Xenophon
said in Canberra today. " is, if true, is a scandal."
Apple is being contacted for comment. --- AAP
Zimbabwe is holding gold coins valued
at $501,390 as its only reserves, enough
to buy only 1400 tonnes of maize,
the nance minister said overnight,
highlighting the parlous state of the
e economy of the southern African
country, which has slowed to 4-6%
growth after four years of near-double
digit growth, is the biggest challenge
to veteran President Robert Mugabe,
who was re-elected last July in elections
disputed by the opposition.
" e (central) bank does not hold
any gold reser ves except for gold coins,
which were valued at $501,390 as at the
end of January 2014," Chinamasa said.
Zimbabwe produced 13 tonnes of gold
last year, well below the record of 29
tonnes in 1998. e cash-strapped and
impoverished country plans to spend
70% of its $4.1 billion budget on paying
salaries this year. --- Reuters
one year on
Paralympian star Oscar Pistorius
red a gun in an upmarket restaurant,
grazing his boxer friend's foot, then
asked another to take the blame, a
South African court has been told.
ree days into the athlete's trial for
his lover's premeditated killing, the
State called his friend Kevin Lerena to
testify about one of three other charges
A bullet Pistorius allegedly red
in a Johannesburg eatery Tashas in
January 2013 grazed the 21-year-old
professional boxer's foot, he testi ed
before Judge okozile Masipa.
"A shot went o in the restaurant,
then there was just complete silence,"
Lerena said .
"I looked down, and just where my
foot was stationary, there was a hole in
"I had a little graze on my toe. I wasn't
hurt or injured," he said, but added that
"there was blood".
e athlete apologised profusely, but
then asked his friend Darren Fresco, the
owner of the gun, to take the blame.
"Please, I don't want any attention
around me. Just say it was you," he
pleaded, according to Lerena.
e gun allegedly went o after Fresco
passed it under the table to Pistorius.
He is also charged with ring a gun
through a moving car's sunroof and
with the illegal possession of
e State is expected to use these
incidents to illustrate past reckless
behaviour in their argument to prove
the runner planned to kill his girlfriend
Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day
Pistorius maintains he shot the
29-year-old through a locked bathroom
door in the early morning hours
thinking she was an intruder.
Broadcast live on television and radio,
the case has elicited worldwide interest.
'Blade Runner' fired
shot in restaurant
Samsung says the Oscars sel e
that went viral was a "surprise for
everyone", after reports it was part of
a pre-planned marketing stunt by the
company, a sponsor of the Academy
But the South Korean tech giant,
which earned huge publicity when
Ellen DeGeneres used a Samsung
device to take the photo, said it would
donate $US3 million ($3.56 million)
to charities of the Oscar host's choice.
e Wall Street Journal reported
that the stunt "wasn't entirely
unplanned", saying that a Samsung
smartphone was used in the show as
part of a sponsorship and $US20m
advertising deal with ABC, the
United States network that broadcasts
During rehearsals Samsung
executives trained DeGeneres how to
use the Samsung Galaxy, it reported.
Other media noted that, while the
host used the Samsung device for the
viral sel e, she used her own iPhone
to tweet other posts from back stage.
In a statement that arguably fell
short of a denial that the stunt was
pre-planned, Samsung said the sel e
was something "nobody expected".
"While we were a sponsor of the
Oscars and had an integration with
ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen
organically incorporate the device into
the sel e moment that had everyone
talking," it wrote.
"A great surprise for everyone, she
captured something that nobody
expected," it wrote.
It added that "in honour of this epic
moment", which has generated over
three million retweets so far, it would
donate $1.5m to two charities chosen
by DeGeneres: St Jude's and the
DeGeneres corralled a crowd of stars
including Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper,
Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Lupita
Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence for
the sel e.
DeGeneres, who said Twitter
o cials contacted her to say she
broke the record, had her eyes on the
prize even before posting the photo,
encouraging viewers of the widely-
watched show to retweet it and break
Viewers obliged. Within ve
minutes, it had nearly 100,000
retweets. Less than 90 minutes after
that, her tweet had garnered more
than 1.9 million retweets and nearly
By this morning the photo had been
retweeted over 3.25 million times.
Oscars 'selfie' a Samsung set-up
Host Ellen DeGeneres, top, takes a "sel e" photo with actress and singer
Liza Minnelli at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood.
$9b untaxed Aust Apple profit moved to Ireland
Misao Okawa, a Japanese
woman believed to be the
world's oldest person, turned
116 yesterday and celebrated
by tucking into a white cake
decorated with strawberries and
She credits a healthy appetite
and getting plenty of rest for
Okawa was born in 1898 ---
the year that the United States
annexed the Hawaiian islands,
a new drink named Pepsi-Cola
was launched and the USS
Maine exploded in Havana
Accepting bouquet from
well-wishers at a small party
in the nursing home where
she lives in the western city of
Osaka, Okawa sat by the cake,
decorated with "116" in candles,
and later pronounced it as
She wore a pink kimono
patterned with cherry blossoms
and a blue cardigan for the
event. Asked if she was happy
to have lived so long, she
replied, according to the Asahi
Shimbun daily: "Kind of."
Born the daughter of a fabric
merchant in Osaka in 1898,
on the same day as Chinese
revolutionary leader Zhou Enlai,
Okawa married in 1919. Two of
her three children are still alive,
both of them in their 90s. She is
known for her appetite and one
of her favourite foods is sashimi,
or raw sh. In the past six
months she has gained 4kg.
She is the 10th person
veri ed to have reached 116
and the third oldest Japanese
person ever. --- Reuters
World's oldest person turns 116
Misao Okawa, the world's oldest woman, eats her birthday
cake as she celebrates her 116th birthday in Osaka.
Zimbabwe gold reserves limited
Followers of late socialist leader Hugo
Chavez ooded the streets of Venezuela
yesterday for the anniversary of his death,
an emotional but welcome distraction for
his successor from violent protests raging
for the last month.
A year after Chavez succumbed to
cancer,his self-proclaimed 'son,'President
Nicolas Maduro, faces the biggest
challenge to his rule from an explosion
of anti-government demonstrations that
have led to 18 deaths since February.
ough the protests do not appear
likely to topple Maduro, neither do they
seem to be going away. A hard core of
students are determined to maintain
street barricades and militant opposition
leaders organise daily rallies around
Wednesday's military parade and other
events to honour 'El Comandante' gave
Maduro, 51, an opportunity to reclaim
the streets and show that he too can
mobilise his supporters.
" is anniversary is enormously sad.
ere's not a single day I don't remember
Hugo," Chavez's cousin, Guillermo Frias,
60, said from Los Rastrojos village in
rural Barinas State, where the pair used
to play baseball as kids.
Tens of thousands of red-clad
'Chavistas' gathered for rallies in Caracas
and elsewhere in honour of Chavez.
Cannon-shots marked the precise time
of his death, 4.25 p.m.
Maduro presided over a parade in the
capital before leading crowds up to the
hilltop military museum where Chavez
led a 1992 coup attempt that launched
his political career. His remains have
been laid to rest in a marble sarcophagus
Cuban President Raul Castro joined
the lavish ceremonies in Caracas.
One year after his death, debate in
Venezuela is no longer about Chavez,
but his would-be heir.
Maduro, a former bus driver and union
activist, lacks Chavez's charisma and
grip on the ruling Socialist Party, and
has been unable to x Venezuela's many
problems, ranging from soaring prices
to deteriorating services and runaway
crime. --- Reuters
Links Archive March 5th 2014 March 7th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page