Home' Greymouth Star : May 20th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Thirty-one children are dead after
fire engulfed their bus, triggering
an explosion in northern Colombia.
Another 25 people including an
adult were seriously burned in the
blaze, in the town of Fundacion, in
the department of Magdalena, Red
Cross spokesman Cesar Uruena
“The injured have second and
third-degree burns, and many
are still in a critical condition” in
hospitals in the area and in the city
of Santa Marta, Uruena said.
The children were between the
ages of one and eight and returning
home after a religious ser vice,
Fundacion Mayor Luz Stella
Duran told reporters.
Local police said the bus
exploded about noon and the fire
was so intense they had problems
determining the number of
Stella Duran said according to
sur vivors the bus driver had been
handling a container with petrol
aboard the vehicle. Police initially
blamed the fire on a mechanical
The driver has vanished, and
angry locals went to his home and
threw rocks at his windows, the
Colombian President Juan
Manuel Santos travelled to
Fundacion after a final re-election
campaign rally on Sunday in
Bogota ahead of the May 25
“The entire country is in
mourning for the death of these
children,” Santos said upon arriving
in Fundacion, accompanied by his
Santos said the government
would pay for all hospital and
funeral expenses relating to the
The bus, which was being used
by an evangelical church group,
caught fire one block away from
the church where the children had
earlier attended ser vices.
The Red Cross said it was
sending four psychologists and two
volunteer specialists in psychosocial
aid to help the wounded and the
relatives of those killed. — AFP
31 children burn to death in bus
Colombian policemen stand alongside recovered bodies of children who died in a burned bus in Fundacion, northern Colombia.
Jurors in the New York trial of
British hate preacher Abu Hamza
have found him guilty of kidnapping
and terrorism offences.
The former imam of the north
London Finsbury Park mosque,
whose real name is Mustafa Kamel
Mustafa, showed no reaction to the
verdict, which carries a possible life
His sentencing has been set for
The charges against him pre-dated
the September 11, 2001, attacks on
New York and were over the 1998
abduction of 16 western tourists in
Yemen, four of whom were killed in a
military rescue operation.
He was also accused of trying to
set up a terrorist training camp in
the United States in 1999, and of
promoting “violent jihad” on a global
The jury deliberated for 12 hours
over two days before reaching a
verdict, after a four-week trial in
which Abu Hamza took the stand
for three days of testimony in his own
Blind in one eye and with no
hands after an accidental explosion
in Pakistan, the 56-year-old had
denied all the charges, though he
acknowledged he occasionally used
strong words in his sermons and fiery
speeches — numerous extracts of
which were played for the jury.
He admitted supplying a satellite
phone to the Islamist group that
kidnapped the western tourists in
Yemen, but said he was only told of
the abduction after the fact.
He also said he threw in the
rubbish bin a fax message in which
a young man who attended his
mosque told him of plans to build
a jihad training camp in Oregon in
He said he did not know another of
the young men at his mosque had left
to fight in Afghanistan.
Abu Hamza was arrested in August
2004 in Britain at Washington’s
request, and sentenced in a British
court to seven years in jail in 2006
for inciting murder and racial
He was extradited to the US in
October 2012. — AFP
Hate preacher Abu Hamza found guilty in US
Cholera has broken out in the capital
of South Sudan where five months of
civil war has left thousands homeless
and disrupted food supplies and health
ser vices, according to the World Health
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said
overnight nine people were believed to
have died of cholera, which can kill in
days if not treated. An estimated 138 had
been registered so far in and around Juba.
A WHO spokeswoman in Juba said
by phone: “ The outbreak has just started
and it’s spreading. Although they are not
confirmed, we’ve got reports that other
people in other areas are equally affected,
so it is certainly spreading. ”
UNICEF has supplied tents, hygiene
equipment, clean water and oral
rehydration solutions for a treatment
centre. Hundreds of people have been
trained over the past 24 hours to inform
and mobilise communities, the agency
said in a statement.
The outbreak began days after South
Sudan’s army and rebel forces signed a
ceasefire to try to stop five months of
United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon said earlier this month that if
fighting continued, half the population
of 12 million will be fleeing, star ving or
dead by the end of the year.
Cholera is an extremely virulent disease
of the small intestine, often accompanied
by severe nausea and diarrhoea. It can kill
within hours if left untreated, but up to
80% of cases can be successfully treated
with oral rehydration salts, the WHO
says. — Reuters
Entertainer Rolf Harris
Australian girl aged 11
or 12 immediately after
asking her how old she
was, a London court has
The assault allegedly
occurred in Dar win in 1969
when the girl was dressed
only in her pyjamas.
The alleged victim, now
in her mid-50s, was off
school sick at the time and
staying with family friends.
Harris was also a guest.
The girl went downstairs to an area
under the house where Harris was
working with wood, the entertainer’s
indecent assault trial heard overnight.
He allegedly asked her how old she
was and, after being told, said: “Good, I
want to be the first one to introduce you
to a tongue kiss.”
The girl froze and the “very tall” Harris
rubbed his hands up her sides and
enveloped her in a hug, the witness told
Southwark Crown Court.
“He put his tongue in my mouth and
gave me a tongue kiss,” she said.
“It seemed like it lasted forever but it
must have been quite quick.
“I was . . . absolutely repulsed. ”
The alleged victim subsequently told
girlfriends that “my first tongue kiss was
with Rolf Harris” but no one believed
Later in life, the Australian woman told
her husband when explaining why she
had an aversion to people approaching
her for a kiss.
“It makes me feel very frazzled and
scared — I almost have a panic attack,”
the witness said.
The court also heard from a New
Zealand woman who claimed she was
assaulted by Harris as a teenager in
When she found out in 2013 the artist
and singer been arrested in the United
Kingdom she exclaimed, “ They finally
got the b—.”
She met the entertainer while working
for a wine company at a party in New
Zealand. She was 16 or 17 at the time.
The alleged victim asked Harris for his
autograph and posed for photographs
before he asked for a dance.
“ In a flash, in a moment,
man who I thought could
be trusted,” the woman
said before being overcome
“ He slid his hand down
my back against my bottom
and then in a moment put
his hand up my skirt and
tried to put his hand in
between my legs.”
She told her mother
within days that Harris
was a “disgusting, vile and
repulsive man” who had
destroyed her trust.
Years later she told her husband and
in 2013 after it was reported Harris
had been arrested she contacted British
Defence lawyer Sonia Woodley, QC,
suggested Harris’s hand may have
“ innocently” wandered down her back.
During a heated exchange the witness
snapped: “How do you sleep at night?”
The court further heard from a woman
who said Harris pushed her against a
wall and slobbered over her when she
was holidaying in Malta in 1970.
The then-18-year-old had been
discussing one of the artist ’s paintings
hanging in a bar when he allegedly said:
“I ’ve got some more if you’d like to see
The teenager followed Harris into a
side room where he started kissing her
in a “slobberly” way.
He allegedly touched her breasts before
putting his hand inside her underpants.
After wards she was relieved.
“I was happy that was it,” the witness
explained to the jury.
“I thought I was going to be raped.”
Ms Woodley suggested Harris never
touched her but the woman insisted: “I
can assure you he did.”
The three women who gave evidence
overnight are supporting witnesses for
The entertainer cannot be charged
over the incidents because they occurred
outside Britain before 1997. The law has
subsequently been changed.
Harris is charged with indecently
assaulting four girls in the UK between
1968 and 1986. The 84-year-old denies
The trial continues. — AAP
He was a Romanian-born historian,
professor and philanthropist who
intrigued American popular culture
by writing a book linking the fictional
Count Dracula to the 15th-century
Romanian prince Vlad the Impaler.
Radu Florescu died Sunday
at age 88 in Mougins, France,
from complications connected to
pneumonia, his son John Florescu
told Associated Press overnight.
Florescu wrote a dozen books but
was most famous for In Search of
Dracula, which he co-authored with
Raymond T McNally in 1972. In it,
he asserted that Irish author Bram
Stoker based the Dracula character in
his 1897 novel on Vlad the Impaler.
Florescu’s work was translated into
15 languages and the pair went on to
write five more books on Dracula.
“ No American has educated more
Americans about Romania and
Dracula than Professor Florescu. I
was lucky to be one of his grateful
students,” Jim Rosapepe, a former
His son said Florescu was the
director of the East European
Research Centre at Boston College,
which he founded, from 1986 to
2008. In recent years, he provided
scholarships for gifted Romanian
students to study in the Boston
When former President Richard
Nixon visited Romania in 1969,
Florescu directed the US Embassy
media liaison, providing information
for the White House press corps.
condolences on behalf of former
Romanian King Michael, who was
forced to abdicate in 1947 by the
“Through his work, Professor
Florescu built a bridge between
Romania and the United States,
giving Romanian history . . . a drop
of universality,” the royal house said
in a statement, praising Florescu for
dedicating himself to his students.
Former US congressman Patrick
Kennedy called him “a needed
bridge between the United States
and Romania and a wise counsel” to
his father, the late Senator Edward
Kennedy, on Balkan affairs.
Born in Bucharest in 1925, Florescu
left Romania on the Orient Express
when he was 13 just as World War
Two broke out and travelled to
Britain, where his father was acting
ambassador. His father, also named
Radu Florescu, resigned the post
when pro-Hitler leader Marshal
Ion Antonescu rose to power in
The younger Florescu won a
scholarship to study at Oxford
University, where he was taught
by Sir William Deakin, Winston
Churchill’s biographer. Florescu later
moved to America, ending up in
Florescu urged Romanians to
embrace their new-found freedoms
after communism ended in 1989.
He received honours from former
Romanian Presidents Ion Iliescu
and Emil Constantinescu for his
contributions to Romanian society.
He is sur vived by his French wife,
Nicole, and their four children. He
was to be buried today in southern
France. — AP
Historian who debunked Dracula myth dies
Christopher Lee as Dracula
George Harrison’s 1962
Rickenbacker guitar has sold for
$US657,000 ($761,408) at auction.
Harrison purchased the guitar
in 1963 at Fenton’s Music store in
Mount Vernon, Illinois, while visiting
The Julien’s Auctions sale of rock
‘n’ roll memorabilia was held on
Saturday at the Hard Rock Cafe in
Harrison had the guitar refinished
from a Fireglo red to black to match
John Lennon’s Rickenbacker.
Other items in the sale included
Lady Gaga’s 1990 Red Rolls-Royce
Corniche III. It sold for $US125,000.
George Harrison’s 1962
Nine die in
“tweep” and “turducken”
were among more than 150 new words
and definitions added to the 2014
updated Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate
Dictionary, the publishing company said
The additions to the United States
dictionary reflect the growing influence
of technology and social networking, the
“So many of these new words show the
impact of on-line connectivity to our
lives and livelihoods,” Peter Sokolowski,
an editor for Merriam-Webster, said in
a statement. “ Tweep, selfie, and hashtag
refer to the ways we communicate and
share as individuals. Words like crowd
funding, gamification, and big data show
that the internet has changed business in
One new entry is “steampunk,”
defined as “science fiction dealing with
19th-century societies dominated by
historical or imagined steam-powered
The word catfish takes on an added
definition, referring to a person who sets
up a false social networking profile for
New culinary terms include pho, “a
soup made of beef or chicken broth and
rice noodles,” and turducken, “a boneless
chicken stuffed into a boneless duck
stuffed into a boneless turkey.”
Other notable additions include
Yooper, a nickname used for a native
or resident of the Upper Peninsula of
Dictionary, a unit of Encyclopaedia
Britannica Inc, has approximately
165,000 entries and 225,000 definitions.
Among the new entries included this
Selfie: An image of oneself taken by
oneself using a digital camera esp. for
posting on social networks.
Tweep: A person who uses the
Twitter on-line message ser vice to send
and receive tweets.
Gamification: The process of
adding game or gamelike elements to
something (as a task) so as to encourage
Hashtag: A word or phrase preceded
by the symbol # that clarifies or
categorises the accompanying text, such
as a tweet.
“These are words our editors have
decided to put in based on usage in the
English language,” Merriam-Webster
spokeswoman Meghan Lunghi said.
“They look for widespread, sustained
usage and when they think the usage
merits it, they include it.” — Reuters
Webster’s dictionary adds
‘selfie’ to definitions
Rock veteran Mick Jagger has become
The Rolling Stones frontman’s
granddaughter Assisi has given birth to
a baby girl, according to Hellomagazine.
No further details have been revealed.
The baby is the 21-year-old’s first child
with her chef boyfriend Alex Key.
The arrival means Assisi’s mum,
socialite and jewellery designer Jade
Jagger, is a grandmother at 42. She is also
currently expecting a child.
The pair celebrated in March with a
joint baby shower.
The birth brings some happy news
for the Jagger clan, which was rocked
following the suicide of Mick’s longtime
girlfriend L’Wren Scott in March.
Bosnia is witnessing “the biggest
exodus” since the 1990s war after
the worst floods in a century
inundated huge swathes of the
Balkans, killing at least 47 people.
Muddy waters from the Sava
River have submerged houses,
churches, mosques and roads in
Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia after
record rainfall last week wrought
havoc across the region.
There were fears that dead bodies
and animal carcases could lead to
disease outbreaks, while officials
warned that 120,000 unexploded
mines from the conflicts of the
1990s could be dislodged.
“More than 100,000 people”
have been evacuated from Bosnia
alone, Stanko Sliskovic of Bosnia’s
emergency ser vices said, with tens
of thousands more displaced in
“This is the biggest exodus since
the end of the 1992-95 war,” he
Dozens of towns and villages have
been cut off and more than 2000
landslides already reported, with
water levels expected to continue
rising in the coming days.
“This is Armageddon, I can’t
describe it other wise,” Nedeljko
Brankovic from Krupanj, a town in
the south-western town of Serbia,
“ Houses are literally washed away
and landslides are everywhere. ”
Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko
Lagumdzija said more than a
quarter of the country’s population
of 3.8 million “has been affected
by the floods” after the heaviest
rainfalls on record began last week.
“Right now, more than one
million people have no water,” he
In Serbia, some 600,000 of its
7.2 million inhabitants were affected
with “severe floods following the
heaviest rains the Balkans have
witnessed in 120 years,” the UN’s
World Food Programme said in a
“The damage caused by these
floods is comparable to the damage
caused during the war,” it said.
The death toll from the floods
rose to 47 overnight after two new
victims were found overnight in a
village near the western Serbian
town of Sabac.
Neighbouring Croatia has also
evacuated hundreds of people from
along the River Sava. — AFP
Balkans floods trigger exodus
India’s Sonia and Rahul Gandhi
offered to resign after leading the
once-dominant Congress party
to its worst election defeat in its
history last week, only for colleagues
to insist the dynasty stay in place.
Congress won just 44 seats in
the 543-member parliament in
the parliamentary election as the
Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) swept to power with
the first majority in 30 years.
Sonia, the 67-year-old Congress
campaigning for the first time to
her son and vice-president Rahul,
whose lacklustre performance failed
to convince voters as Congress
sought a third term in power.
“They both offered to resign but
the party rejected it unanimously,”
member of parliament Amarinder
Singh said overnight after a meeting
of the Congress’s top decision-
making body in New Delhi.
The Press Trust of India reported
the Congress Working Committee
passed a unanimous resolution
“expressing full faith in the
leadership of Sonia Gandhi and
The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has
provided three prime ministers,
including independent India’s
first, but analysts are increasingly
questioning if it is the vote-winner
it used to be.
Congress has ruled for all but 13
years of India’s post-independence
history and has run the country for
the last 10 years. — AFP
Congress sticks with Gandhis
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