Home' Greymouth Star : April 16th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 5
Heavily-armed Boko Haram
Islamists have abducted more
than 100 girls from a secondary
school in north-east Nigeria,
sparking a search by soldiers to
track down the attackers.
Some of the schoolgirls in
the Chibok area of southern
Borno State narrowly escaped
their kidnappers by jumping
o a truck in the middle of the
night as the gunmen sought to
cart them away, according to
A security source who
requested anonymity said the
attackers were members of Boko
Haram, a radical group whose
name means "western education
e group has repeatedly
attacked schools in the north-
east during an insurgency that
has killed thousands since 2009.
Asked to con rm media
reports that 200 girls had been
taken from the Government
Girls' Secondary School in
Chibok, the source said: " e
number is not up to 200, but it
is over 100."
e gunmen stormed the town
after sundown, torching several
buildings before opening re on
troops who were guarding the
school, Chibok resident Salisu
Ibrahim said in an account
supported by other witnesses.
e Islamists loaded the girls
on to trucks and drove away,
"We were able to follow the
path of the truck and we found
it broke down deep in the bush,"
the security source told AFP.
"We are now trying to locate
the whereabouts of the abducted
girls," he added.
Borno, Boko Haram's
stronghold and where the group
was founded more than a decade
ago, is a remote region with
notoriously bad roads.
Ibrahim, also speaking from
Maiduguri, said "some of the
girls jumped out of the truck," as
it moved and some of those who
escaped managed to make it back
to Chibok. --- AFP
Nigerian Islamists seize over 100 schoolgirls
Oscar Pistorius did himself more harm than
good when he took the witness stand, South
African lawyers say.
roughout ve gruelling days on the
witness stand, the Paralympic gold medallist
contradicted himself, a nail in the co n for his
defence, lawyers watching the case said.
Initially, Pistorius had said he believed he was
under attack by an intruder when he red four
shots at the toilet door. at strategy sought
protection for the use of deadly force under the
principle of self-defence.
But in his cross-examination, the 27-year-old
athlete changed his testimony to say he red the
shots at the door accidentally.
His testimony went downhill the moment he
took the stand, Martin Hood, a Johannesburg-
based criminal lawyer, said.
"He went into a dangerous situation with his
rearm, safety disengaged, and he proceeded
down the passage in what he described as a
tactical manner," Hood said.
"So all of his decisions were conscious,
Pistorius blamed his legal team for
inconsistencies between his accounts and
claimed police moved key pieces of evidence
that appeared to incriminate him, a sign,
observers said, that he had abandoned his legal
"He suddenly went on his own, he now got
angry with Nel and he now is going to take him
on," William Booth, another criminal lawyer,
"I think it's a desperate man."
e star sprinter made textbook mistakes in
the witness stand, Booth said, saying Pistorius
was evasive, did not answer questions, and was
"His lawyer tried in re-examination very
brie y to resurrect things, but I think he was
probably sensible to leave alone," Booth said
from Cape Town.
"I think in retrospect they're probably
regretting calling him as a witness, but the point
is that he had to testify in his defence --- he was
the only witness to the incident." --- AFP
e owner of a nine-storey building that
collapsed and killed 1135 Bangladeshi
garment workers in April last year is to
face murder charges and a possible death
sentence, police say.
Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza
factory complex on the outskirts of the
capital Dhaka, was one of about 40 people
who would be charged in connection
with the disaster, lead investigator Bijoy
Krishna Kar said overnight.
"We are planning to press murder
charges against Sohel Rana and some
other accused," Kar, of the Bangladesh
police's Criminal Investigation
Department, told AFP.
If convicted, Rana could be sentenced
It was the rst time police have said
they would le murder charges against
Rana, who was arrested on the western
border with India as he tried to ee the
country days after the April 24 disaster.
Rana, a junior o cial in the ruling
Awami League party, became the
country's public enemy number one after
survivors recounted how thousands of
them were forced to enter the compound
at the start of the working day despite
complaints about cracks appearing in the
Among the others expected to be
charged are Rana's father, who is a co-
owner of the building, and ve bosses of
the garment factories operating within
the complex who also allegedly ignored
e collapse was the worst industrial
disaster in Bangladesh's history. --- AFP
Gruelling cross-examination ends
Oscar Pistorius has stepped down from
the witness box after ve gruelling days of
cross-examination that raised serious doubts
about his account of killing girlfriend Reeva
e relieved and tearful 27-year-old
Paralympic gold medallist hugged younger
sister Aimee from the stand after lead
prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court he had
"nothing further for this witness".
For nearly a week, Nel had spent hour after
antagonising hour dragging Pistorius over the
coals, accusing him of lying, tailoring evidence
and even crying to avoid tough questions.
Nel began his interrogation in shocking
fashion, forcing the weeping athlete to look at
gruesome images of 29-year-old Steenkamp's
blood-splattered head, which, the prosecutor
claimed, "exploded like a watermelon".
Nel --- nicknamed "the bulldog" --- demanded
Pistorius acknowledge he made more than a
mere "mistake", as the athlete insisted time after
time as he maintained he shot the model and
aspiring television actress on Valentine's Day
after mistaking her for an intruder.
Concluding his questioning, Nel demanded to
know whom to blame for Steenkamp's death if
Pistorius would not take responsibility.
"Should we blame Reeva? She never told you
she was going to the toilet," he said.
"Should we blame the government?" he asked
Pistorius has claimed the police contaminated
the crime scene, moving objects around and
even stealing some of his watches.
In taking the stand Pistorius had hoped to
show the court he and Steenkamp had been in
a happy and loving relationship and her death
was a tragic accident.
At one stage he even revealed the contents
of a Valentine's Day card in which Steenkamp
said: "I think today is a good day to tell you that
I love you."
But inconsistencies in his account, sometimes
evasive and antagonistic answers, and his
sketchy memory of some details may have
weakened his case.
e athlete blamed his legal team for
inconsistencies in his accounts and appeared
to change his defence midway through cross-
examination, saying that he pulled the trigger
"accidentally" rather than in self-defence.
Nel "managed to elicit con icting versions
from Oscar", according to David Dadic, a South
African lawyer not involved in the case.
"He de nitely achieved what he set out to
achieve." --- AFP
e budget might be tight but
the government is considering
funding a new centre in France
to better explain Australia's role
in the nal victories of World
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
says perhaps this period more than
any other was when Australians
most shaped world history.
While Gallipoli was a
magni cent defeat, the Western
Front was a terrible victory,
Foundation dinner at the
Australian War Memorial last
Abbott said historian Robin
Prior had observed that these
nal battles were the only
occasion when Australian troops
fought the main enemy on the
main battle eld and made an
appreciable di erence to the
Between March and November
1918, the ve Australian divisions
fought as a single united corps
commanded by General John
Abbott said the Australians
were less than 10% of the British
empire forces but achieved
almost a quarter of all the gains
in the war's nal months.
He says the government is
considering creating a new
"interpretive centre" next to the
Australian National Memorial
at Villers-Bretonneux in France
as a lasting tribute to General
Monash and his men.
Abbott said Gallipoli was
Australia's "baptism of re", akin
to what the War of Independence
was to the United States, which
shaped the nation's thinking
about the Great War, but when
all was said and done, it was a
" ere may be more lessons in
defeat than in victory. Still, we
should remember our victories
at least as much as our defeats,"
Charles (C E W ) Bean
was Australia's o cial war
correspondent, serving alongside
troops. He edited the o cial
history series and was the driving
force behind creation of the
Australian War Memorial.
New Aust Great War centre planned for France
Iraq shuts notorious prison
Iraq has closed Abu Ghraib prison, made
infamous by Saddam Hussein's regime and
United States forces, due to security concerns
following a mass breakout last year, the justice
e country is su ering a protracted surge in
violence that has claimed more than 2550 lives so
far this year, and the area west of Baghdad where
the prison is located is particularly insecure.
" e ministry of justice announced the
complete closure of Baghdad Central Prison,
previously (known as) Abu Ghraib, and the
removal of the inmates in co-operation with
the ministries of defence and justice," it said
overnight in an on-line statement.
e statement quoted Justice Minister
Hassan al-Shammari as saying that 2400
inmates arrested or sentenced for terrorism-
related o ences have been transferred to other
facilities in central and northern Iraq. It was
not immediately clear whether the closure was
temporary or nal.
e prison is located between Baghdad and
the city of Fallujah, which has been held by
anti-government ghters since early January.
e prison served as a notorious torture centre
under executed dictator Saddam Hussein, with
an estimated 4000 detainees perishing there.
Abu Ghraib later became a byword for
abuses carried out by US forces following the
2003 invasion when photographs surfaced the
following year showing Iraqi detainees being
humiliated by American guards, igniting
In July 2013, militants assaulted Abu Ghraib
prison and another in Taji, north of Baghdad.
O cials said hundreds of inmates escaped
and over 50 prisoners and members of the
security forces were killed in the assaults, which
were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and
the Levant, a powerful jihadist group. --- AFP
A court overnight ordered former
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to
serve a tax fraud sentence by doing
community service with the elderly, in a
ruling that restricts his movements but
not his political activity.
e court ruled that Berlusconi, one
of Italy's richest men, must spend four
hours a week in a Catholic old people's
home on the outskirts of Milan for a
year. e home's director said the media
tycoon would keep residents company
and take them to Mass.
e four-time prime minister, 77, will
not be allowed to travel outside Lom
bardy, the region around Milan where
he has his main residence, except for
restricted trips to Rome.
However, Berlusconi's allies said he
would still be able to campaign for next
month's European Parliament election
and play a political role. e ruling does
not mention any restrictions on holding
political rallies or giving inter views.
Following a de nitive tax fraud
conviction last year, Berlusconi was
stripped of his seat in the Italian Senate
and barred from holding public o ce for
But he remains the most in uential
politician on Italy's centre-right as leader
of the Forza Italia party.
A court statement said the trips to Rome
could take place weekly, from Tuesday to
ursday, with Berlusconi ordered to be
back at his Lombardy residence by 11pm
each ursday. Berlusconi is expected to
begin his community ser vice duty by the
end of the month.
His lawyers Franco Coppi and Niccolo
Ghedini said in a statement that the
ruling "appears balanced and satisfactory
even with regards to the needs of political
activity", and political allies said they
were pleased with the decision.
Milan prosecutors did not press for
house arrest and agreed with Berlusconi's
lawyers to ask for community service.
Five people died overnight in a stabbing
rampage at a house party held to mark the end
of university classes in the Canadian city of
Calgary, local media said overnight.
Police were reportedly called about 1.30am
to a home in a quiet suburban neighbourhood
where paramedics found three people dead.
Two more died in hospital.
Public broadcaster CBC said all of the victims
--- four men and one woman --- were in their
late teens or 20s.
A suspect has been arrested after a chase
involving police dogs, CBC said.
Authorities were not immediately available to
comment. --- AFP
Five stabbed to death at party
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Speight's Gold Medal
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330ml 15 Pack Bottles
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