Home' Greymouth Star : April 3rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, April 3, 2014
Nato's decision to suspend
co-operation with Russia will
a ect their co-operation in
countering the ow of Afghani
opium and keeping Afghani
military helicopters ying, a
Nato o cial said overnight.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said
yesterday the alliance was
suspending military and civilian
co-operation with Moscow after
its forces occupied Crimea.
Rasmussen said then that he
expected Russia's co-operation
with Nato in Afghanistan ---
on training counter-narcotics
personnel, maintenance of
Afghani air force helicopters and
a transit route out of the war-
torn country --- to continue.
However, a senior alliance
o cial said overnight the
counter-narcotics and helicopter
programmes would, in fact, be
Nato and Russia jointly ran
a counter-narcotics training
programme for o cials from
Afghanistan, Pakistan and central
Asia, designed to counter the
ow of drugs from Afghanistan,
and a "helicopter maintenance
trust fund" to provide technical
training and spare parts for
Afghan air force helicopters.
currently taking courses would
complete their training but there
would be no more courses jointly
organised by Nato and Russia
for now, the senior Nato o cial
said, speaking on condition of
"We are exploring avenues to
see if there are other ways we can
provide training to those counter-
narcotics o cials through other
agencies or in co-operation with
other partners," he said.
e Nato-led force still
has some 51,000 soldiers in
Afghanistan but they are due to
end combat operations by the
end of this year, leaving Afghani
forces entirely responsible.
Opium cultivation has hit a
record high as international
forces prepare to leave the
country, the United Nations
said last November. Moscow has
co-operated in ghting drugs
because Russia is a major market
for Afghani heroin.
Russia accused Nato overnight
of reverting to the "verbal
jousting" of the Cold War by
Co-operation through the
helicopter maintenance trust
fund would also be halted for
now, the o cial said.
e fund pays for Afghanistan's
air force technicians to be trained
in Russia to work on Russian-
made helicopters as well as
paying for spare parts.
"We will again look at
alternatives for how we can
provide training and more spare
parts for them without doing it
in co-operation with Russia," the
o cial said.
Co-operation will remain
suspended until Russia complies
with its international obligations
over Ukraine, he said.
Afghani Deputy Foreign
Minister Ershad Ahmadi, in
Brussels for talks with Nato, said
the Kabul government had urged
Russia and Nato to "decouple"
their dispute over Ukraine
from their co-operation over
Afghanistan. --- Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has
formally divorced his wife Lyudmila
after more than 30 years of marriage,
Kremlin spokesman said overnight,
following a surprise break-up
announcement last year.
" e divorce has taken place," Dmitry
Peskov said, without giving any further
Putin and his wife announced that
their marriage was over last June in
a live broadcast on Russian State
television, con rming longstanding
speculation that they had separated.
e Kremlin made clear at the time
their break-up had yet to be formalised.
e ex-KGB spy, 61, keeps his
personal life private and little is known
about his wife and two daughters, both
in their 20s.
In 2008, Putin said there was no
truth to a newspaper report that he
was preparing to marry Olympic
rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva,
who was born in 1983, the same year
he married Lyudmila.
Putin told journalists to keep their
"snotty noses" out of his private
a airs and the newspaper, Moskovsky
Korrespondent, folded shortly
Kabayeva, who was one of the torch
bearers at the Sochi Olympics opening
ceremony in February, also denied any
relationship with Putin. --- Reuters
Putin divorce official PICTURE: Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila Putina, who were formally divorced overnight.
San Jose (California)
A lawyer for Samsung denied the
company had stolen technology from
Apple, saying the South Korean tech
giant's mobile devices contain Android
software designed entirely by Google
Samsung lawyer Peter Quinn told
jurors in his opening statement at the
patent infringement trial that Apple
is a great company but does not own
everything, and its claims are unfounded.
e nger-pointing took place in the
United States District Court in San Jose,
where, Apple and Samsung are accusing
each other of stealing ideas from each
If Apple prevails, the cost to Samsung
could top $2 billion. Apple's costs, if it
loses the litigation, were expected to be
about $6 million.
e trial marks the latest round in
a long-running, worldwide series of
lawsuits between the two tech giants
over mobile devices.
Quinn told jurors Apple's gripe is
with Android, a Google-developed
smartphone operating system that now
makes up about 70% of the global market.
"Not one of the accused features on
this phone was designed, much less
copied, by anyone at Samsung,'' Quinn
said. " e accused features on this phone
were developed independently by some
of the software engineers at Google, up
the road in Mountain View.''
Apple's lawyer Harold McElhinny had
anticipated the tactic.
"Don't be misled by that,'' he said in
his opening statement. " is case is
not about Google. It is Samsung that
has made the decision to copy these
features, it is Samsung, not Google, that
chooses to put these features into their
phones, and it is Samsung that has made
the decision to keep on infringing on
Google declined to comment.
In his opening statement, McElhinny
asked jurors to remember where they
were on January 9, 2007, and he shared
video of former Apple chief executive
Steve Jobs proudly unveiling the iPhone
to cheering crowds that day in San
"Samsung went far beyond competitive
intelligence and crossed into the
dark side of intentionally copying,''
Quinn countered that Apple is
claiming overly broad rights to ideas.
" ey don't own the only way to search
on a phone, they don't own the only way
to sync, they don't own the only way to
unlock with a swipe,'' he said.
Consumers may end up paying the
ultimate price in the case. Experts say the
litigation could lead to more expensive
smartphones and devices, and slow the
overall pace of mobile innovation.
Rutgers Law School professor Michael
A Carrier said the litigation is "a drain
on employees' time and could lead to
companies reinventing the wheel to try
to steer clear of patents.''
Apple is accusing Samsung of
infringing on ve patents on newer
devices, including Galaxy smartphones
and tablets. Speci cally, Apple claims
Samsung stole a "tap-from-search''
technology that allows someone
searching for a telephone number or
address on the web to tap on the results
to call the number or put the address
into a map. In addition, Apple says
Samsung copied "slide to unlock,'' which
allows users to swipe the face of their
smartphone to use it.
In a counterclaim, Samsung says Apple
stole two of its ideas and used them for
iPhones and iPads, including a wireless
technology system that speeds up
sending and receiving data.
Apple is demanding that Samsung
pay an average of $33 for each of the
37 million Samsung devices running
software allegedly conceived by Apple,
and $40 per high-end device. e
gure is well above other precedents,
but Apple's legal team said it was fair
compensation for the losses.
Less than two years ago, a federal
jury in the same courthouse found
that Samsung was infringing on Apple
patents. Samsung was ordered to pay
about $900m but is appealing and
has been allowed to continue selling
products using the technology.
roughout three years of litigation,
Samsung's global market share has
grown. One of every three smartphones
sold last year was a Samsung, now the
market leader. Apple, with its typically
higher priced iPhones, was second, with
about 15% of the market.
e jury was selected from a pool
of about 100 people, many of whom
had opinions about the legal dispute
centered in the Silicon Valley and work
for companies a liated with Samsung
Two of the 10 jurors were excused for
health and nancial reasons.
"I have eight of you left, and you are
each precious,'' said Judge Lucy Koh,
jokingly admonishing jurors to avoid
bungy jumping and to eat health
supplements. --- AP
Syria is charging in a letter to the
United Nations that opposition
groups are planning a toxic gas attack
in a rebel-held area near Damascus so
they can then blame it on government
In a letter dated March 25 and
circulated by the UN this week,
Syria's UN envoy, Bashar Ja'afari,
said his government had intercepted
communications between "terrorists"
that showed a man named Abu Nadir
was secretly distributing gas masks in
the rebel-held Jobar area.
" e authorities also intercepted
another communication between
two other terrorists, one of whom
is named Abu Jihad," Ja'afari said.
"In that communication, Abu Jihad
indicates that toxic gas will be used
and asked those who are working
with him to supply protective
Ja'afari said in the letter addressed
to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon and the UN Security Council
that this information "con rms that
armed terrorist groups are preparing
to use toxic gas in Jobar quarter
and other areas, in order to accuse
the Syrian government of having
committed such an act of terrorism."
A United Nations inquiry found in
December that sarin gas had likely
been used in Jobar in August and also
in several other locations, including
in the rebel-held Damascus suburb
of Ghouta, where hundreds of people
e inquiry was looking at only
whether chemical weapons were
used, not who used them. e Syrian
government and the opposition have
accused each other of using chemical
weapons, and both have denied it.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
agreed to destroy his chemical
weapons following global outrage
over the large-scale sarin gas attack
in Ghouta in August. e gas attack
sparked a United States threat of
military strikes, which was dropped
after Assad's pledge to give up
chemical arms. --- Reuters
Syria accuses rebels of planning gas attack
ousands of Chileans have returned
to their homes after spending the
night on the hills, following a powerful
8.2-magnitude earthquake which
killed six people and sparked tsunami
e huge quake in the north of the
major mining country sent copper prices
jumping to a three-week high after
yesterday's tremors caused nearly one
million people to evacuate their homes
along the coast.
Some 300 inmates escaped after the
wall of a women's prison collapsed in
Iquique, the city closest to the quake's
Authorities said 110 of them were
recaptured, while police and soldiers
patrolled the streets to prevent any
Chilean television showed sagging
roofs, broken windows and shelves and
merchandise on the oor at shopping
centres in Iquique, located about
1800km north of the capital Santiago.
ousands of people had slept in
the open on hills surrounding the city
during the night.
Similar evacuation warnings were
issued in a ripple e ect up the Paci c
coast of South America and into Central
About 10 hours after the two-minute
quake, the Chilean government lifted
what remained of the nationwide
" e earthquake was quite violent.
" e hardest was spending the night
outside," Christian Martinez, a school
Martinez returned to survey his
classrooms in Iquique for any damage,
told Channel 13 television.
Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo
Penalillo said six people --- four men
and two women --- were killed in
Iquique and the nearby Alto Hospicio
Another nine people were injured in
neighbouring Peru, where some homes
were damaged. --- AFP
Chileans return home after huge quake
A group of children exposed to higher
radiation levels from the Fukushima
nuclear accident faces a slightly higher
risk of thyroid cancer, United Nations
However, there would be no measurable
rise of cancer in the Japanese population
overall, the UN Scienti c Committee
on the E ects of Atomic Radiation said
in its nal report on the accident at the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
About 1000 children who were
evacuated from the vicinity received a
radiation dose of up to 80 milligrays.
"If we are honest, we must say there
is a chance that a few of these children
will have received thyroid doses which
are high enough that sometimes in the
future, thyroid cancer can develop,"
German expert Wolfgang Weiss, who
co-ordinated the investigation, said.
For the study, more than 80 scientists
from 18 countries analysed the radiation
levels to which people in Japan were
exposed, and the likelihood that the rate
of cancers a ecting the thyroid, blood,
breasts or other organs will rise. --- DPA
Slightly higher cancer risk
for 1000 Fukushima children
British Prime Minister David
Cameron came under pressure
in parliament overnight over his
government's sale of Royal Mail
with the opposition Labour Party
accusing him of selling the rm
o too cheaply to a handful of rich
e government's handling of
the sale of a 60% stake in the
500-year-old state postal operator
last October at 330p a share has
come under renewed scrutiny after
the country's spending watchdog
concluded the government had set
the price too low.
Labour has seized upon the
otation, and the quick pro ts
made by big banks and City
investors, to reinforce one of its
central arguments ahead of next
year's general election --- that
Cameron's government is out of
touch with ordinary voters.
"He sold at 330p and this morning
the price was 563p," Labour leader
Ed Miliband told parliament. "It is
basic maths. Not so much the Wolf
of Wall Street; more the dunce
of Downing Street," he quipped,
referring to the street where
Cameron has his o ce.
"A third of the shares were sold
to just 16 city investors and there
was a gentleman's agreement that
those city investors wouldn't sell the
shares," Miliband said.
"What happened? Within weeks
half of those shares had been sold
and they had made a killing worth
hundreds of millions of pounds.
In other words 'mates rates' for his
friends in the City. is is a sale
nobody wanted and nobody voted
for --- a national asset sold at a
knockdown price to make a fortune
for the few."
e government has refused to
apologise for its handling of the
sale and Cameron said the oat had
raised £2 billion ($3.88 billion) for
the British taxpayer and created a
successful listed company.
" ere are now 140,000
shareholders working for the
Royal Mail, there are almost three-
quarters of a million members of
the public with shares, these are
signs for celebration," Cameron
"I will take a lecture from almost
anyone in the country about the
sale of Royal Mail but not from the
two muppets who advised the last
chancellor not to sell it at all," he
said, referring to Miliband and Ed
Balls, Labour's nancial spokesman.
Cameron feels heat over Royal Mail sale
e Duke of York has torn up hundreds
of years of protocol after he became the
rst member of the royal household to
take a sel e in a palace.
Hosting an event at St James's Palace,
at which 12 start-up businesses were
given the opportunity to woo investors,
Prince Andrew seized the opportunity to
snap a shot of himself and the assembled
He told the 350-strong audience: " is
is a unique day at the palace because we
are encouraging you to use your phones
and electronic gadgetry.
"As a result of that I've decided there's a
bit of a thing going around about sel es."
e duke then produced his smartphone
and snapped the shot.
He had earlier defaced a sign banning
cellphones so that it instead read 'Mobile
phones are allowed inside the State
A Buckingham palace source said:
" is was a tech-heavy event and the
duke quickly got into the spirit of things.
"He resisted the temptation to refer to
the royal photograph as a 'onesie'." --- PA
e Moon was formed about 95
million years after the birth of our solar
system, in a collision that also settled
the structure of Earth as we know it,
according to the latest attempt at dating
A study in the journal Nature said the
crash between an early, proto-Earth and
a Mars-sized object that dislodged what
would become the Moon, happened
some 4.470 billion years ago --- give or
take 32 million years.
Apart from creating our satellite, the
event is also believed to have marked
the nal phase of Earth's core formation
from molten metals sinking to the centre.
e solar system itself is known to
be 4.567 billion years old and Earth is
believed to have formed at some time
during the rst 150 million years.
For the new study, a team of planetary
scientists from France, Germany and the
US created a computer model of how
dust and rock accumulated to form tiny
planets called planetesimals.
ese grew into "planetary embryos"
that ended up as the rocky planets we
know today --- Mercury, Venus, Earth
and Mars --- through a succession of giant
impacts, according to the new model.
In Earth's case, the lunar impact would
have marked its nal major growth
e evidence suggested Earth took 95
million years to form, "which con rms
it as the planet in our solar system
that took the longest to form", study
co-author Alessandro Morbidelli said.
Moon estimated at
4.470 billion years
A Russian MP behind a
controversial anti-gay law has
called for the creation of a
morality police force to ne
people who violate "traditional
Vitaly Milonov, a politician
in the local parliament of
the north-western city of St
Petersburg, said: "My concept
is to create a morality police
that would crack down on
misdemeanours that are
connected to a threat to morals
and traditional values."
e outspoken politician was
the author of a regional law
banning the dissemination of
gay "propaganda" to minors
that entered into force in St
Petersburg in 2012.
A similarly-worded national
law was signed by President
Vladimir Putin last year.
Milonov proposed that the
morality police be made up
of "spiritually whole people
belonging to traditional faiths
for Russia, without rotten liberal
eir role would include
protecting children from gays, he
"Children must be shielded
from debauchery, propaganda
of sodomy, asocial lifestyles and
sects," he said.
Milonov said he had made the
proposal in a letter to Interior
Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev,
suggesting the morality police
have powers including imposing
nes and drawing up crime
"Of course they should not
replace the regular police, but
they should have the right to
issue nes and draw up crime
reports according to local laws,"
Countries including Iran and
Saudi Arabia have morality
police who crack down on those
whose behaviour is judged
inappropriate under Islamic law.
Gay-rights activists have
spoken out against Russia's
anti-gay legislation, which has
coincided with a more general
crackdown on the right to protest
during Putin's third term.
Milonov has clashed with
openly gay British actor Stephen
Fry, who interviewed him for
a documentary on gay rights.
Milonov later described Fry as a
"bringer of evil". --- AFP
Russian MP calls
for 'morality police'
Belgian 'crown' knocks
migraine on the head
A small technology company based
in southern Belgium is set to take on
the giant United States market with its
crowning achievement: an anti-migraine
A product of years of medical and
technological research, the device is a
diadem tted with electrodes designed
to take the edge o migraines before
they develop into acute blinding pain.
Migraine, a deep headache that
develops behind the eyes and can last
for days, is estimated to a ect about one
in seven adults around the world, World
Health Organisation data shows.
It appears to be less common in the
Far East, but overall it a ects up to three
times more women than men because of
di erences in hormonal activity.
e band, developed by the Belgian
company Cefaly Technology, is worn
across the forehead, and sends electric
currents to facial nerves.
Although the device is not a cure for
severe headaches, the manufacturers
believe it could stop the transition from
"episodic" migraines to the more severe
e WHO says that migraine is one of
the top 20 causes of disability in terms of
years of healthy life lost.
e battery-powered headband, which
was approved by the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) in March, will be
the rst device with this design available
in the US.
According to Cefaly Technology's
managing director Pierre Rigaux, while
the headband is already on the European
market, the long-awaited FDA approval
will open the way to a 25% boost in sales
over the next ve years.
e device will hit the US market at a
time when medical experts are putting
more trust in non-pharmaceutical
responses to migraines.
Giles Elrington, the medical director
of the National Migraine Centre, a
British charity research centre, said that
techniques targeting the patient's head,
in contrast to the use of drugs a ecting
the whole body, will be a "huge area of
development in coming years". --- AFP
Links Archive April 2nd 2014 April 4th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page