Home' Greymouth Star : March 13th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 5
A forensics expert has staged
a dramatic re-enactment of how
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius broke
down the door of the toilet where he
shot dead his girlfriend.
Police Colonel Gerhard Vermeulen
brought before the South African
court both the door and the cricket
bat --- two pieces of physical evidence
which could hold the key to the case.
In opening testimony Vermeulen
demonstrated how the door was
struck with the bat, which was in turn
used to wedge open a gap between a
panel and the inner frame.
" e bat went through the door
and there's actually marks on the tip
of the bat which correspond with
what happened," said Vermuelen, a
forensics expert with three decades of
" e person kind of twisted the bat
to break open the door."
e sequencing of gun shots and the
damage caused by the bat is crucial to
both prosecution and defence account
of events on February 14, 2013.
Pistorius says he mistakenly shot his
girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through
the locked dark wood door four
times, believing she was an intruder,
then realising his mistake broke it
down with a cricket bat.
e prosecution says Pistorius rst
hit the door with a bat in an e ort
to get to Reeva Steenkamp, then shot
through the door.
Vermeulen did not give details about
the sequencing, but demonstrated
that height measurements showed
that Pistorius was not wearing his
prostheses at the time he struck the
e gold medallist claims he had
his prostheses at the time having put
them on in an attempt to rst kick
the door down.
During eight days of testimony the
prosecution has already called upon
witnesses who have testi ed hearing
arguing, screaming and gunshots
coming from Pistorius's house.
A pathologist who conducted
Steenkamp's post-mortem report
has also testi ed, but did not detail
the exact sequence of events on the
He testi ed that Pistorius shot
Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model
and law graduate, with Black Talon
ammunition, hollow-point bullets
which mushroom open like a jagged
ower on contact to cause maximum
Earlier one of Pistorius's former
friends painted Pistorius as reckless,
disdainful of authority and as
someone with a penchant for guns.
But his defence lawyer, Barry
Roux, claimed the former friend was
"engineering false evidence." --- AFP
Pistorius court shown damaged bat, door
New York City re ghters examine the rubble at an apparent building explosion re and collapse in the Harlem section of New York.
Two dead, 22 hurt
as NY buildings
A major explosion caused by a gas leak
has reduced two residential buildings in
Manhattan to rubble, killing two women
and injuring 22 people, with a number of
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described
the incident as "a tragedy of the worst
kind", saying a number of people were still
unaccounted for as re ghters battled to
extinguish the blaze in East Harlem.
Witnesses said the explosion, which
sparked inevitable reminders for some New
Yorkers of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001
that brought down the Twin Towers, felt like
ere were 15 apartments in the two
buildings that collapsed, de Blasio and city
o cials told reporters overnight near the
scene of the disaster at 116th Street and
So far the only indication as to the cause
of the blast was a call from an adjoining
apartment building at 9.13am local time
alerting energy company Con Edison to the
smell of gas.
e explosion came barely 15 minutes later,
sparking a major re and engul ng the area
in a column of dense white smoke.
e New York Fire Department got an
emergency call at 9.31am, and re ghters
were on the scene two minutes later.
" ere was a major explosion that
destroyed two buildings. e explosion was
based on a gas leak," de Blasio said.
It is the rst deadly disaster of its kind
to strike the city of eight million since the
Democrat took o ce in January and will
raise concerns about safety in less a uent
" ere was no indication in time to save
people. We know we have lost two people
already," the mayor said.
" ere is a tremendous amount of anxiety,
but su ce it to say that every e ort is being
expended to locate each and every one of
these (missing) individuals," he added.
De Blasio was careful to caution that
some of those missing could simply be safe
elsewhere and out of contact.
A police spokesman said 22 people were
injured --- two were in critical condition and
ve others in serious condition.
Witnesses compared the explosion to an
earthquake and what they saw to a war zone,
after the blast ripped through their bustling
Train services in and out of Grand Central
Station in midtown Manhattan were
suspended as a result of the incident next to
Hundreds of police and more than 250
re ghters were on site with emergency
trucks, as a dense column of smoke spewed
into the sky over the Metro-North railway
line. --- AFP
A full review will be conducted into a power
failure that brought the city of Dar win to a
near-complete standstill, a ecting more than
Fourteen hours after a tripped circuit
breaker at Hudson Creek substation activated
a protection system at the Channel Island
power station, shutting down its transmission
capacity, about 80% of Darwin residents had
their power restored.
e blackout stretched all the way to
Katherine some 320km south-east, and also
a ected Palmerston and Pine Creek.
"While it wasn't an emergency situation, it
was a crisis," Chief Minister Adam Giles told
reporters in Dar win yesterday afternoon.
It was catastrophic and unprecedented, said
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie.
"We've never, ever experienced anything
like this," she said.
Dar winites sweated it out through a long
night where the lowest temperature was just
below 26 degrees, and most people had the
day o , with schools, the public service and
most businesses shut, and the city bus ser vice
Tr a c lights across the city were out until
the early afternoon and police were manning
Emergency services attended several house
res yesterday morning, caused by people
cooking on camping stoves, but there were
no major accidents.
e CBD was almost deserted, and the
Mantra Pandanas hotel evacuated guests at
about 1.30am, with about 50 people sitting
outside on the street in the early morning.
A full review would be conducted within
the fortnight, Mr Giles said, including the
response of emergency services and the
Power Water Corporation (PWC) has a
history potted with power failures, and the
government has introduced legislation to
move it into three separate government-
owned enterprises, with the Opposition
claiming it is being primed for privatisation.
" e (Country Liberals government) has
come into this with an ideological point of
view that PWC is a pro t-making business;
they're putting pro t before people," Ms
"Power and Water is an essential service,
not a luxury item. We need it to go about our
Mr Giles said $80 million was being
spent on repairs and maintenance this year,
compared to $61 million in 2010 after the
last major blackout.
"It's not very palatable that (Ms Lawrie)
wants to play politics on a day that all
Territorians su ered, but pulled together in
a way only Territorians know how to do," he
"We're trying to structure reform and drive
competition into (PWC) ... if we had more
than one company generating power we
wouldn't be in this situation."
People inconvenienced by the power outage
for 12 hours or more would be eligible for
a Power and Water rebate, the government
Businesses can also apply for compensation.
Review after power failure
causes Darwin blackout
Satellite image shows suspected wreckage
England is calling in
maths teachers from
China to help boost
standards after scoring
poorly in international
rankings, o cials have
Up to 60 English-
speaking teachers from
cities such as Shanghai
will work in a number
of specialist schools
from September to
to local sta , the
Shanghai topped the
league table published
in December by the
(OECD), while Britain
languished in 26th
As part of an exchange
programme, a similar
number of English
sta will spend at least
a month in Chinese
schools to see how
teachers there cope with
struggling pupils and
Based on an assessment
of the abilities of
score was the same as
the OECD average and
ahead of the United
States and many EU
nations, but they were
all outshone by Asian
Elizabeth Truss visited
China last month, and
said the new exchange
help drive up maths
quali cations have
the greatest earnings
potential and provide
the strongest protection
teaching is an essential
part of that and this
programme is a fantastic
opportunity for us.
" ere is so much
evidence that teacher-to-
programmes are hugely
"We have some
brilliant maths teachers
in this country but
what I saw in Shanghai
--- and other Chinese
cities --- has only
strengthened my belief
that we can learn from
However, the National
Union of Teachers
(NUT) said there was
no need to seek Chinese
"It is ridiculous to
suggest that teachers
brought in from China
will have any more
knowledge or expertise
than teachers from other
countries or indeed our
own," she said.
to help boost
family is "con dent" the
Formula One legend
will recover from a
accident that left him
with severe brain injuries,
a spokeswoman said
Doctors put him in a
medically induced coma
after the December 29
accident in which he hit
his head on a rock while skiing at the
French resort of Meribel with his son
and a group of friends.
"We are and remain con dent that
Michael will pull through and will
wake up. ere sometimes are small,
encouraging signs, but we also know
that this is the time to be very patient,"
read the family statement, issued by
spokeswoman Sabine Kehm.
Schumacher remains in hospital in
the French Alpine city of Grenoble,
and his family said on January 30 that
drugs used to keep him in a coma were
being reduced with a view to bringing
him back to consciousness.
"Michael has su ered severe injuries.
It is very hard to comprehend for all
of us that Michael, who
had overcome a lot of
precarious situations in
the past, has been hurt so
terribly in such a banal
situation," the statement
Schumacher had already
survived a motorbike
accident in Spain in 2009,
during which he su ered
head and neck injuries but
was released from hospital
after just ve hours.
And after years of racing in the
risky world of formula one, he retired
but kept pursuing other high-thrill
hobbies as the holder of a pilot's
licence, an accomplished motorbike
rider, parachutist, skier and mountain
Kehm once again asked that the
privacy of Schumacher's wife Corinna
and their two children be respected,
while thanking well-wishers for their
"I would like to remind all of us
that Michael has always actively kept
his family out of the public eye and
consequently protected their private
lives," she said in the statement.
confident of recovery
e CIA's relationship with Congress
would be ruined if it is proven that the
agency illegally spied on the Senate
Intelligence Committee, the chairman
of the House Intelligence Committee
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat
who heads the Senate committee, said
yesterday the Central Intelligence
Agency may have broken the law when
it searched her panel's computers to
nd out how sta obtained an internal
agency review of the United States
interrogation programme of suspected
e internal review was more critical
than the o cial CIA report on the
controversial programme, which was put
in place after the September 11, 2001,
"It's troubling to see this, but I do have
immense respect for Senator Feinstein,
so if she's going down to the oor, she
clearly believes something untoward
happened," Representative Mike
Rogers, who heads the intelligence panel
in the House of Representatives, said in
an interview with CNN.
Rogers, a Republican, said that
Feinstein's charges needed to be
investigated to ensure the CIA did not
break any laws.
" at would be a pretty horri c
situation and would destroy that
legislative-CIA relationship," he said.
John Brennan, who has been CIA
director for a year, quickly denied
Feinstein also said the CIA had tried
to intimidate her committee's sta by
complaining about its investigation to
the Justice Department, a tactic that
Rogers said was troubling.
"I think that was a horrible decision,"
Rogers said. "So we need to unwind this,
get tensions down, and nd out what the
facts are so we can get this behind us.
"We need to nd out what happened,
was this a very senior level decision to do
something that violated the law? ... But
we shouldn't taint the whole agency. e
agency is well-overseen, lots of oversight,
and they're doing some really incredible
work to protect the United States of
America," he said. --- Reuters
CIA may have spied on the
Senate Intelligence Committee
A partly-built high-rise tower in
San Francisco whose upper oors
collapsed in a major re on Tuesday
was in danger of collapsing further,
and a nearby apartment building
remained evacuated, a re o cial said
A ve-alarm blaze that may have been
caused by a welding mishap broke out
late yesterday at the MB360 apartment
complex under construction in the
Mission Bay district, San Francisco
Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy
e tower that burned in the two-
building, partly built complex had
previously stood eight or nine stories
tall and was reduced to four stories in
the re, Talmadge said.
But there is a risk of further collapse,
and the structure is a total loss.
About 150 re ghters were
deployed against the ames, and
hot spots still remained at the site.
High-rise in danger of collapsing
A Chinese State agency
looking for the missing
Malaysia Airlines ight
MH370 has found suspected
wreckage at sea, reports say.
e Chinese State
Administration for Science,
Technology and Industry
for National Defence posted
images of what it described as a
suspected crash site today.
e pictures --- which were
taken on March 9, one day
after the plane went missing ---
show three pieces of debris in
the South China sea between
Malaysia and Vietnam.
eir sizes were listed as
13x18m, 14x19m and 24x22m,
e Guardian reported.
e objects' co-ordinates were
reported as 105.63E, 6.7N.
A New Zealand man said he
saw an object burning in the
sky on Saturday at the oil rig
Songa Mercur, near the site of
the suspected wreckage.
A New Zealand oil rig worker
has claimed to have seen the
missing Malaysian Airlines
plane burning in the sky.
Mike McKay told his
employers, in an e-mail made
public overnight, that he had
observed the plane burning at
"I believe I saw the Malaysian
Airlines plane come down. e
timing is right," he said.
"I tried to contact the
Malaysian and Vietnam
o cials several days ago. But I
do not know if the message has
When he obser ved the plane
it appeared to be in one piece,
"From when I rst saw the
burning (plane) until the ames
went out (still at high altitude)
was 10 to 15 seconds," he
Several on-line news outlets
have posted the letter, and
say the man's employer has
con rmed it's authentic.
ABC reported that Vietnam
o cials con rmed they had
received the e-mail but found
no wreckage in the area
e search for the missing
plane, which left Kuala Lumpur
for Beijing, has encompassed
92,600 square kilometres of
Southeast Asia and yesterday
expanded towards India.
--- New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
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