Home' Greymouth Star : May 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
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The United States has deployed
about 80 military personnel to Chad
in its effort to help find and return
more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls
kidnapped by Islamist militant group
Boko Haram, President Barack Obama
said in a letter to Congress overnight.
“These personnel will support the
operation of intelligence, sur veillance,
and reconnaissance aircraft for
missions over northern Nigeria and the
surrounding area,” Obama said in the
“The force will remain in Chad until
its support in resolving the kidnapping
situation is no longer required,” he said.
The girls were taken in April from
a boarding school close to Nigeria’s
border with Cameroon, Niger and
Chad in a sparsely populated region.
Their whereabouts are unknown.
US sur veillance aircraft have been
flying over remote areas of north-
east Nigeria for two weeks, and
the Pentagon struck an agreement
last weekend to allow it to share
intelligence directly with the Nigerian
The US government has also sent
officials from the State Department
and the FBI to Nigeria to help in the
search. — Reuters
US military personnel join hunt for seized girls
Chiroma Maina holds a picture of her abducted daughter Comfort Amos, next to her husband Jonah and her daughter
Helen, at their home in Maiduguri. Comfort Amos was abducted on April 14 by Boko Haram militants along with more
than 200 of her classmates from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state.
Israel restricts right-wing activists ahead of Pope’s visit
Israel issued restraining orders against
several Jewish right-wing activists
overnight, restricting their movements
over concern that they could try to
disrupt a May 24-26 visit to the Holy
Land by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis will visit Jordan, the
Palestinian Territories and Israel during
the trip, his first to the region as Pope.
An Israeli police spokesman said
police and the Shin Bet internal
security service handed restraining
orders to “a number of right-wing
activists” whom they believed intended
to cause “disruptions during the Pope’s
visit and be involved in provocative
The spokesman declined to say how
many activists received the orders. But
he said they would not be allowed to
enter certain areas “for security reasons”
for four days.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said three
Jewish youths would be barred from
Jerusalem starting on Saturday. Two
of the teenagers, it said, were students
at a seminary near the Cenacle in
Jerusalem, the traditional site of Jesus’s
Last Supper where the Pope will
celebrate a Mass.
Haaretz reported last week that
Israeli security ser vices feared that
Jewish radicals might carry out a
major hate crime against the Christian
population or institutions to drum up
media attention during Pope Francis’s
Last week, “Death to Arabs and
Christians and all those who hate Israel”
was daubed in Hebrew on an outer
column of the Office of the Assembly
of Bishops at the Notre Dame Centre in
Francis is due to meet Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the
Notre Dame Centre, which is Vatican
property located just outside the walls of
the old city, on the last day of his trip.
Chief Vatican spokesman Father
Federico Lombardi said earlier he was
not aware of any particular security
concerns for any part of the visit.
The Pope, he said, would shun
bulletproof vehicles during the trip and
use a normal car so he could be as close
to people as possible.
The last papal journey to the Holy
Land was by Francis’s predecessor, Pope
Benedict, in 2009. — Reuters
Six Iranians arrested for appearing in
a video singing along to an American
pop song were released overnight, one
day after being detained for what police
called their “obscene” behaviour, one of
them said in an on-line posting.
In the clip, the three women and three
men dance and lip synch to Pharrell
Williams’s Happy, imitating the official
video of the international hit. The
women are not wearing headscar ves, as
demanded by Iran’s Islamic law.
Their arrest caused outrage among fans
of the song — a catchy anthem about
feeling happy — who took to social
media to denounce what they saw as a
heavy-handed response by the Islamic
Republic to a piece of harmless fun.
Pharrell Williams himself criticised the
arrests. “It’s beyond sad these kids were
arrested for trying to spread happiness,”
he tweeted yesterday.
The incident has highlighted the
struggle between Iran’s conser vatives
and those who hope President Hassan
Rouhani, who has eased the country’s
antagonistic stance with the west, might
also relax the Islamic Republic’s social
Iran’s State-run television broadcast
a programme yesterday, apparently
showing the six expressing regret.
“They had promised us not to publish
the video,” one of the women said.
police chief, Hossein
Sajedinia, said he had ordered the arrest
of the six youngsters because they had
helped create an “obscene video clip
that offended the public morals and was
released in cyberspace,” the ISNA news
A source close to the six said they had
been released on bail.
“Hi, I’m back, thank you @pharrell and
everyone who cared about us,” Reihane
Taravati wrote on her Instagram account.
“Love you all so much and missed you so
President Rouhani has delivered few
social reforms since his election last
year, apparently intent on conser ving
his political capital for seeking an end to
the nuclear dispute, something that has
involved a politically risky engagement
with the United States — a move
criticised by hardliners.
But in a tweet overnight, the president
who has championed internet
freedoms in a country that has sweeping
bans on social and news media sites —
appeared to express support for the six.
“#Happiness is our people’s right. We
shouldn’t be too hard on behaviours
caused by joy,” he wrote on his English-
language Twitter account, without
specifically saying he was referring to
It is not the first time young Iranians
have used social media sites to buck
A Facebook page entitled My Stealthy
Freedom, where Iranian women can
send in pictures of themselves without
their hair covered, has garnered 331,000
“They arrested the Happy kids because
it was easier than arresting women from
that Facebook page,” a young Iranian
from Tehran said. — Reuters
United States on-line giant
eBay says cyber-attackers broke
into its database with customer
passwords and other personal
data in what could be one of the
biggest breaches of its kind.
The Californian company
said it was notifying its
customers, urging them to
change passwords to protect
their personal and financial
An eBay statement said the
between late February and early
March and “included eBay
customers’ name, encrypted
physical address, phone number
and date of birth”.
But it added that it “did not
contain financial information
or other confidential personal
An eBay spokeswoman said the
attack did not affect data from
Paypal, the finance and payments
unit of the company, noting that
Paypal data is stored separately.
“For the time being, we
cannot comment on the specific
number of accounts impacted,”
spokeswoman Kari Ramirez said
in an e-mail.
“However, we believe there may
be a large number of accounts
involved and we are asking
all eBay users to change their
Potentially affecting eBay ’s 128
million active users globally, the
attack could be one of the largest
affecting a retailer, and comes just
months after retail giant Target
disclosed a breach which could
affect more than 100 million.
The company said it detected
“compromised employee log-in
credentials” about two weeks ago
and began an investigation.
a small number of employee
unauthorised access to eBay’s
corporate network,” the company
Target has been dealing with
the fallout from its massive data
breach since news was disclosed
Earlier this month, chief
executive Gregg Steinhafel
announced he was stepping
In its fourth-quarter report,
Target booked a $US17 million
($19.825 million) net charge
for the breach, but warned it
could not estimate future costs
that might stem from claims for
customer losses and payments for
civil litigation and investigations.
Cyber attack hacks
into eBay users’
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
has felt widespread Budget anger
at first hand, cancelling a visit to
a Victorian university yesterday
because of student protests.
On talkback radio he fronted
calls from outraged voters,
including a bitter exchange with
a grandmother who said she had
already been forced by near-
poverty to work on an adult sex
Facing a $A850 ($915) increase
for doctors bills and medication,
Gloria told the embattled Prime
Minister: “I’m a 67-year-old
pensioner with three chronic
incurable medical conditions, two
“I just sur vive on around $400
a fortnight once I pay my rent
and I work on an adult sex line to
make ends meet. That ’s the only
“ What do you suggest I cut
out, Mr Abbott? Food, electricity,
firewood, Christmas and birthday
presents to my grandchildren? Or
should I just die and get out of
Abbott, who was filmed during
the ABC inter view, smiled and
winked at host John Faine when
Gloria mentioned her occupation.
His office later said the wink
had been to assure Faine he
would take the call rather than a
But Greens Senator Sarah
Hanson-Young said Abbott ’s
reaction was poor. “Rather than
taking seriously her concerns
of poverty and illness he gave a
wink and a smirk, and all I have
to say to the Prime Minister on
this is what a creep. What a total
Other callers, unmoved by
Abbott ’s claims they would be
better off because they would
keep compensation payments
after the carbon tax was
scrapped, said he was treating
them like idiots, fear-mongering
Abbott and Education Minister
Christopher Pyne were to have
visited Deakin University in
Geelong yesterday, but on the
advice of the federal police they
cancelled their appearance.
Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella
was last week howled down
by protesters during a lecture
at Melbourne University and
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie
Bishop was jostled by chanting
demonstrators at Sydney’s
University of Technology and the
University of Sydney.
A students’ national day of
protest drew thousands to
demonstrations to challenge the
decision to allow universities to
charge fees without restraint and
to increase rates on student loans
while lowering the point at which
they need to start paying back the
Faced with protests at Deakin,
Abbott said: “Giving the students
an excuse for a riot is not actually
going to ser ve that purpose. It
was going to take probably up
to 50 police off the streets who
may have been more useful
elsewhere (and) it was going to
inconvenience a lot of people.”
National Union of Students
president Deanna Taylor said the
cancellation of the visit was “a bit
cowardly”. — AAP
‘What a total creep’: Abbott’s unwise wink
Tony Abbott winks during a radio phone-in yesterday.
China’s glaciers have shrunk by
thousands of square kilometres
over the past 30 years as a result
of climate change, State-run
The Qinghai-Tibet plateau
in western China has seen its
glaciers shrink by 15%, or 8000
square kilometres, the official
Xinhua news agency cited the
Chinese Academy of Sciences
(CAS) as saying.
Glacier melt in the region,
which includes the Chinese
portion of the Himalayas, has
accelerated since the 1990s,
the report cited researchers as
saying, the latest sign of the
impact of climate change in the
researcher Kang Shichang as
saying that “more and bigger
cracks” have appeared in ice on
Mount Everest, a sign of “rapidly
The Qinghai-Tibet plateau
covers the area China calls the
Tibetan Autonomous Region
as well as highland parts of
Kang added that over the
long term the glacial melt could
substantially reduce the flow
into several of Asia’s main rivers,
which originate on the Tibetan
Climate change poses a
major threat to water security
worldwide, according to a
March report by the UN’s
Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC).
The panel said last year it was
95% certain that humans were
the main cause of increases in
average global temperatures,
which it predicts will rise by
between 0.3 and 4.8degC by the
end of this century.
The report said the increase
could be limited to 2degC if a
major change in energy sourcing
and consumption took place.
The IPCC has said that
Himalayan glaciers will shrink
by nearly half if global average
temperatures rise by 1.8degC by
2100. — AFP
Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
The United Arab Emirates is finally
acknowledging it is standing in for one
corner of George Lucas’s galaxy far, far
Abu Dhabi’s government-backed
twofour54 media hub said overnight
that the next instalment of Star Wars is
currently filming in the Middle Eastern
It was the first official word from the
Gulf nation that filming had begun.
Emirati officials previously had refused
to confirm or comment on filming.
Speculation has been high about the
shoot since government-backed UAE
daily newspaper The National reported
last month on apparent preparations for
the filming deep in the desert.
The paper later reported that the police
and army had been deployed around the
site to keep onlookers away.
Disney ’s Star Wars: Episode VII film
is being directed by J J Abrams. — AP
Star Wars filming begins in Dubai
An Australian makeup artist has
dramatically stared down Rolf Harris in
a London court after alleging the “dirty
old man” groped her more 20 times in
one day in the mid-1980s.
As she walked from the witness stand to
the court door after giving her evidence
the woman looked unwaveringly at
Harris sitting in the glass-walled dock.
When she passed the 84-year-old
entertainer, who had been listening with
the aid of a hearing loop, she turned up
her nose and made a humph sound of
Subsequently the court ’s door slammed
The woman was employed by Channel
7 in 1986 to do Harris’s make-up before
he filmed a promotion for a television
The then-24-year-old, wearing baggy
cut-off denim shorts and a t-shirt,
worked on the star in a small make-up
room just two metres square.
The alleged victim, now in her early
50s, told Southwark Crown Court
overnight that Harris first put his hand
on her leg just above the knee and slid it
under her shorts to her hip.
The make-up artist did not say
anything because she was in shock and
Harris was “fairly fast ”.
The witness said her first thought was:
“Oh my God, I can’t believe he works
The make-up artist, who cannot be
named for legal reaasons, said Harris
touched her again when she was taking
him to the studio.
The artist and singer put both hands
up both of her legs.
He openly discussed her legs with the
middle-aged male director “as if I wasn’t
there”, the witness said.
Harris allegedly touched her “more
than two dozen times” throughout the
course of the day ’s filming.
The witness wryly noted that it was
her job to constantly re-work the star’s
make-up, which was referred to as
“touching him up”.
She told the crew on set that she was
being groped and at the end of the day
complained to her super visor that she
was upset and annoyed.
“The dirty old man groped me all day
— I ’m really p—d off,” she told her.
After wards the 24-year-old told her
parents and friends.
She explained to one mate in particular
that Harris was “obsessed” with her legs
and could not keep his hands off her all
“ Harris was called ‘the Octopus’, I
found out at the end of the day,” she told
him, adding, “He’s all hands.”
Defence lawyer Sonia Woodley, QC,
suggested the harassment did not
happen to which the witness replied: “It
Another Australian witness, Tony
Porter, told the court he saw Harris
grope another makeup artist in the mid-
The actor worked alongside Harris on
his variety show during a three-week
On one occasion, Porter recalled, the
star was having his make-up applied by
a slight woman in her late 20s or early
“As she moved in front of him she
leaned for ward and at that moment
both his arms shot up and he went to
tickle her up,” the witness said.
“ He went straight for her breasts.”
Porter said there was brief contact and
Harris made a “ lascivious” noise.
The make-up artist jumped back,
clearly not welcoming the attention, he
The witness added he did not say
anything at the time “and I take no pride
in the fact I let it go”.
The trial continues. — AAP
Alleged victim stares down Harris in court
A construction rigger who died while
working on a cherry picker at a coalmine
was minutes away from stopping work.
The man, who police say was in his
30s, was working on the construction of
a coal-handling plant at Boggabri coal
mine in north-west New South Wales.
Reports about how the man died vary
but it appears he was working on a
cherry picker when he was hit by a piece
of machinery yesterday morning.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and
Energy Union (CFMEU) Newcastle
organiser Peter Harris was at the
Boggabri mine expansion project for a
monthly union meeting when he heard
“ We could see everyone screaming and
yelling and trying to do CPR,” Harris
“(Paramedics) let us know after 20
minutes that he had died. ”
Harris said the man had only about
five minutes to go before he would have
left the construction site to attend a 9am
He said it looked like a mechanical
failure prompted the bucket on the
cherry picker to tip, hitting the man and
breaking his neck.
“The bucket itself, we could see it was
leaning over at a precarious level,” he
“I have never seen reported the type of
mechanical failure that has occurred.
“It is something fairly extreme that has
made the bucket drop off the angle it
A police spokesman said the man was
crushed between the cherry picker and
It is understood the man was from
“This site has a good safety record,
there has never been a serious incident,”
Idemitsu Australia Resources is
expanding the mine, for which Thiess
Sedgman has the construction contract.
In a statement Idemitsu said all mining
had ceased at the site until further notice.
“ We will work closely with our
construction contractor to provide the
appropriate support and assistance at
this time,” the company said.
Counselling is being provided to
Union NSW assistant secretary Rebel
Hanlon said the death came on the back
of last month’s double fatality at a mine
site in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Jamie Mitchell, 49, and Phillip Grant,
35, died after a wall collapsed on them
500m below ground at a coalmine in
Paxton on April 15. — AAP
Third NSW coalmine
death in six weeks
Zuma re-elected president
Jacob Zuma has been
re-elected president of
South Africa for a second
term by the National
Zuma’s African National
Congress (ANC), which
has ruled the country since
the end of apartheid 20
years ago, won the May 7
elections with about 62%
of the vote.
The main opposition
re-election, saying he
was unfit for the post, because an
ombudsman’s report had shown he had
unduly profited from security upgrades
to his rural homestead.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s
said that Zuma spent
$20 million in taxpayers’ money on the
upgrades which included
a swimming pool and an
Chief Justice Mogoeng
Mogoeng, who swore in
the new MPs, accepted the
ANC argument that any
member of the assembly
could be elected president.
chairwoman Baleka Mbete
was elected Speaker of
The big novelty was the
presence of the new radical
left-wing party Economic
Freedom Fighters (EFF),
which came third in the elections, taking
6% of the vote.
EFF members wore red boiler suits or
dressed like domestic workers to show
they represented the poor, in contrast
to most other MPs, who chose formal
attire. — D PA
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