Home' Greymouth Star : June 4th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 9
Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese polices work at an area in Praia da
Luz, near Lagos in Portugal.
Praia da Luz (Portugal)
Sniffer dogs and specialist teams have
been used to search an area of scrubland
close to where Madeleine McCann went
missing in Portugal seven years ago.
The development came as British
accompanied by their
Portuguese counterparts, spent a second
day investigating the hilly area in the
resort of Praia da Luz on the Algar ve.
The large area of scrubland was a hive
of activity overnight as police carried out
fingertip searches in the undergrowth,
scouring the ground for clues as to
what happened to Madeleine, who
disappeared in May 2007 aged three.
The officers, who were in Metropolitan
Police uniform, searched the long grass
on their hands and knees, accompanied
by one of the two sniffer dogs as they
scanned the rubbish-strewn ground.
Police have also been granted
permission to probe two others areas of
land, it is understood.
One of these is believed to be even
closer to the holiday apartment where
the McCann family was staying. But
they have been given a deadline of Friday,
and it is understood that if nothing of
significance is found before then, they
Soil samples could be seen being taken
while officers in Met Police uniform
used a spade to dig nearby.
One held a black bucket for the other
to shovel earth into before taking it away
to be looked through.
In the same area, forestry workers
used weedeaters to cut back swathes of
undergrowth to aid the search.
Specialist teams are also expected to use
ground-penetrating radar equipment to
probe the ground and look for disturbed
earth, although none has been seen yet.
A number of small tents have been
erected inside the cordon and a number
of Portuguese police vans could be seen
on top of a large mound in the middle of
the area, which overlooks the sea.
Officers were overseen by the Met ’s
Detective Chief Inspector Andy
Redwood, the senior officer investigating
the case who has also flown out to
The large area of land is being guarded
day and night by armed local police with
dogs, and a cordon was put in place
ahead of the search.
Local police officers on horseback
patrolled it while others walked up and
down with German shepherds.
The sniffer dogs being used are from
South Wales Police.
The English springer spaniels, called
Tito and Muzzy, were also used during
the search for murdered schoolgirl April
Jones in 2012.
The land, a few minutes’ walk from
the Ocean Club resort apartment where
Madeleine was staying with her family,
has been searched before.
Television crews and journalists from
around the world have gathered as the
search — seen as one of the biggest
developments in the investigation in
recent years — takes place.
Gerry, have not flown out to Portugal
but are being kept informed of any
developments that occur. — PA
The successful trial of a new
leukaemia drug could herald the
end of chemotherapy as the main
weapon against the blood cancer, an
Australian specialist says.
The results of human trials show
the drug ibrutinib could save people
with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
(CLL) after the disease develops
resistance to chemotherapy.
It gives them a much better chance of
sur vival than the standard treatment,
according to a presentation at the
annual meeting of the American
Society of Clinical Oncology.
More than four in 10 patients
on ibrutinib entered remission,
compared with four in 100 on the
standard treatment, Dr Con Tam,
of Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum
Cancer Centre, said.
CLL is the most common form
of leukaemia in Australia and other
western countries. About 50% of
people with the disease never develop
serious symptoms and do not need
But the disease is life-threatening
for the other half and eventually
becomes resistant to chemotherapy.
After one year, overall sur vival on
ibrutinib was 90%, compared with
81% on standard treatment.
“These resistant patients have no
other treatment option,” Tam, co-
author of a New England Journal of
Medicine report on the international
trial involving 391 patients, said.
Unlike chemotherapy, ibrutinib has
few side-effects. It works by disabling
an enzyme crucial for leukaemia’s
Patients in the trial responded
quickly and reported a greatly
improved quality of life, Tam said.
The drug was so effective its
superiority was confirmed after
an average follow-up of only nine
months, and approval of its use in the
US has been fast-tracked.
“This pill works extremely well when
chemotherapy stops working,” Tam,
who participated in the Australian
trial, said. “ The next question is
whether this should be the main
treatment for leukaemia. We might
not need chemotherapy at all.”
Hundreds of Australians a year
could benefit from the US-developed
drug, Tam said.
But Australian approval is about a
year away and it could take two years
to be listed on the pharmaceutical
benefits scheme. — AAP
Pill signals blood cancer breakthrough
Spanish King Juan Carlos’s abdication
has revived anti-royalist fer vour in the
young democracy, sending thousands
into the streets clamouring for a
referendum on the monarchy itself.
Rather than hand over the 76-year-old
monarch’s throne to his more popular
son, the future King Felipe VI, leftist
political parties and anti-monarchist
protesters demanded a vote on the
sur vival of the institution.
widespread in Spain, which restored the
monarchy only in 1975 after the death
of General Francisco Franco, who had
ruled for four decades.
“ I think the monarchy has the support
of the great majority in Spain,” Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy said when
asked about calls for a referendum on the
future of the monarchy.
“ Propose a constitutional reform if
you don’t like this constitution. You
have the perfect right to do so. But
what you cannot do in a democracy is
bypass the law,” Rajoy told a conference
Spain’s 1978 constitution, which
established a parliamentary democracy
with the king as a mostly ceremonial
head of State, was supported by a great
majority in a referendum at the time, the
prime minister said.
Yet late into the night after the king’s
abdication announcement, thousands of
people filled Madrid’s central Puerta del
Sol square as rallies were called in major
cities around the country.
Protesters filled the square and
police closed access to the royal
palace just a short walk away from the
“ Tomorrow, Spain will be a republic!”
chanted crowds of demonstrators
brandishing placards reading “No more
kings, a referendum”; “A royal transition
. . . without a king”; and “Bourbons up
“ I think now would be a good time
to proclaim a republic,” Paola Torija, a
24-year-old therapist for the disabled,
“ He had his moment of glory but today
it is a bit archaic, a bit useless, an extra
cost especially in the crisis we are living
in,” she said. — AFP
Tadrart Acacus (Libya)
Vandals have destroyed
prehistoric rock art in lawless
southern Libya, endangering a
sprawling tableau of paintings
and carvings classified by
UNESCO as of “outstanding
Located along Libya’s south-
western tip bordering Algeria, the
Tadrart Acacus mountain massif
is famous for thousands of cave
paintings and car vings going back
up to 14,000 years.
The art, painted or carved on
rocks sandwiched by spectacular
sand dunes, showcase the changing
flora and fauna of the Sahara
stretching over thousands of years.
Highlights include a huge
elephant car ved on a rock face as
well as giraffes, cows and ostriches
rendered in caves dating back to
an era when the region was not
But in a visit to Libya’s remote
far south, Reuters found many
paintings destroyed or damaged by
graffiti sprayers or people car ving in
Tourist officials in Ghat, the
nearest large town, said the
vandalism started around 2009
when a former Libyan employee
of a foreign tour company sprayed
over several paintings in anger after
he had been fired.
But the destruction has
accelerated since the 2011 civil war
which ousted dictator Muammar
Gaddafi and then plunged the
sprawling North African country
into widespread armed anarchy.
With tourist and archaeologists
staying away on safety grounds,
hunters have taken over the Acacus
massif, shooting much of the
wildlife across the arid, rugged
Weapons are available anywhere
these days in a country where
the central government based
in Tripoli on the northern
Mediterranean coast exerts scant
authority and the nascent armed
forces are no match for armed
tribesmen and militias.
“The destruction is not just
affecting the paintings but also
the natural reser ve. Hunters are to
blame,” a tourist ministry official in
Ghat, Ahmed Sarhan, said.
“ It ’s even a problem in Algeria.
Authorities are too weak to stop
it,” he said, adding that wildlife
such as gazelles and wolves had
been almost extinguished by local
“It (Acacus) contains some of the
most extraordinary scenery in the
world and has its unique natural
wonders,” UNESCO, the United
Nations cultural agency, said on
its website. UNESCO has listed
Acacus as a World Heritage site,
one of 981 worldwide recognised
for their outstanding universal
value to humanity.
“Many tourists (once) visited
the area, in particular Acacus
since it is one of the best touristic
locations in Libya,” said al-Amin
al-Ansari, a local tour operator.
“The destruction of paintings is
regrettable,” he said, standing in
front of a cave with desecrated
paintings of camels and other
animals. — Reuters
Vandals destroy prehistoric rock ar t
Vandalised rock art is pictured at Tadrart Acacus, in Ghat, Libya. Vandals have destroyed prehistoric rock art in lawless southern Libya.
Replica of Van Gogh’s ear on display
A German museum has put on
display a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s
ear that was grown using genetic
material provided by one of the 19th-
century Dutch artist ’s living relatives.
The Centre for Art and Media in
Karlsruhe said artist Diemut Strebe
made the replica using living cells
from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-
great-grandson of Vincent ’s brother
Using a 3D-printer, the cells were
shaped to resemble the ear that
Vincent van Gogh is said to have cut
off during a psychotic episode in 1888.
“ I use science basically like a type
of brush, like Vincent used paint,”
Strebe said in a telephone inter view
The United States-based artist says
the ear, which was grown at Boston’s
Brigham and Women’s Hospital,
is being kept alive inside a case
containing a nourishing liquid and
could theoretically last for years.
Convincing Lieuwe van Gogh to
take part was easy. “ He loved the
project right away,” Strebe said.
Lieuwe and Vincent van Gogh
share about 1/16th of the same genes,
including the Y-chromosome that is
passed down the male lineage.
But hopes of using genetic
material that belonged to the post-
Impressionist master himself were
dashed when DNA extracted from
an envelope turned out to belong to
someone else. “ The postman messed it
up,” Strebe joked.
Still, work is under way with
a female relative to include
mitochondrial DNA — passed
down the mother’s line — for future
The exhibition, where visitors
can speak into the ear through a
microphone, lasts until July 6. Strebe
says she plans to display the ear in
New York next year. — AP
The ear made of human cells grown from samples provided from a distant
relative from Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, in the Centre for Art and
Media in Karlsruhe.
Twenty-two people have been
killed in an accident at a coalmine
in the south-west Chinese city of
Chongqing, State media reports say.
The accident at the Yanshitai coal
mine in Chongqing municipality’s
Wansheng district occurred about
5.40pm local time yesterday and
was described as a “gas incident ” by
local authorities, official news agency
Rescuers have recovered the
bodies of all the missing miners, the
news agency reported, citing local
authorities. Six of the 28 miners who
were working in the shaft at the time
of the incident managed to escape,
The mine is owned by State-owned
Nantong Mining Company, Xinhua
reported. Accidents are common in
China, the world’s largest consumer
of coal, where mine operators often
skirt safety regulations. — AFP
22 die in Chinese mine gas incident
Cambodia has officially welcomed
the return of three ancient statues
looted from the kingdom more than
40 years ago, including one retrieved
after a long legal battle in the United
Authorities say the 10th-century
sandstone artworks were stolen in the
1970s as the country was gripped by
civil war, from the Koh Ker temple site
near the famous Angkor Wat complex.
The statues, part of a nine-
strong ensemble, depict warriors
Duryodhana and Bhima locked in
combat — as well as a bystander
They were recently returned
from the US and are considered
pieces of extraordinary value to the
Cambodian people and part of their
“ In a long 40-year journey, sur viving
civil wars, looting, smuggling and
travelling the world, these three
(statues) have now regained their
freedom and returned home,”
Deputy Prime Minister Sok An
said overnight in remarks during a
“The facts are now established. Their
odyssey ends here. These precious
symbols of our heritage have returned
to their rightful owners,” he said.
Sok An said Cambodia would
continue to search for three more
statues from the Koh Ker site that
The statue of Duryodhana was
stolen in 1972 and first sold at
auction in London in 1975.
It was nearly auctioned again at
Sotheby’s in New York in March
2011 but the sale was stopped after
Cambodian authorities launched an
appeal through UNESCO.The 1.58m
statue was eventually transferred to
the Cambodian government in early
May after a long legal struggle.
The second warrior statue, Bhima,
was bought in 1976 by the Norton
Simon Museum in California.
After months of discussions, the US
museum agreed to return its statue as
a “gift” to Cambodia last month.
Balarama was returned as part of an
agreement between the Cambodian
government and Christie’s auction
house in the US, according to the
“These are beautiful works of art.
They also have something to say.
They tell a story,” Martin Wilson, a
representative from Christie’s who
attended the ceremony, said.
The repatriation of the three statues
follows the return in June last year
of two other Khmer 10th century
statues known as the Kneeling
Attendants which Cambodia says
were also looted in the 1970s from
the Koh Ker temple site.
They were on show for 20 years at
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of
Art. — AFP
Looted Khmer statues returned to Cambodia
Madonna labelled ‘Granny Gaga’
France’s National Front
has branded Madonna a
“Granny Gaga” after the
famous pop singer became
embroiled in a new row
with the resurgent far right
Madonna enraged the
FN in 2012 by showing a
video depicting its leader
Marine Le Pen with a
swastika over her forehead
at a Paris concert.
She took another swipe
at the party on Monday with a post on
The post featured the front page of
French newspaper Liberation from May
26, the day after the FN topped the polls
in European elections with a record 25%
of the vote.
The page shows a
triumphant Le Pen cele-
brating the victory next to
the headline, “FN France”.
read: “Russia. Ukraine.
Venezuela ...., now France?
“#fight Fascism #fight
#fighthatred #fight for
freedom #revolution of
love,” Madonna wrote.
FN vice-president Florian
Phillipot responded with
a sarcastic suggestion Madonna was
seeking controversy to court publicity at
a time when her career has been eclipsed
by the global stardom of younger rival
“In politics too, Granny Gaga has lost
the plot,” Philippot tweeted. — AFP
The Catholic Church in Ireland is
facing fresh accusations of child neglect
after a researcher found records for 796
young children believed to be buried in
a mass grave beside a former orphanage
for the children of unwed mothers.
The researcher, Catherine Corless, says
her discovery of child death records at
the Catholic nun-run home in Tuam,
County Galway, suggested a disused
septic tank filled with bones is the final
resting place for most, if not all, of the
Death records found that the 796
children, mostly babies and toddlers, died
of disease and illness in the orphanage,
which operated from 1926 to 1961.
Locals discovered the bone repository
in 1975 but, before Corless’s discovery,
believed they were mostly victims of
Ireland ’s mid-19th century famine.—AP
Church under fire over
Irish children’s mass grave
Floods in Bosnia last month
have unearthed a secret mass grave
containing corpses with hands
tied behind their backs, apparently
Muslim Bosniak victims of the
country’s 1992-95 war, an official
“ We unearthed four complete
bodies whose hands were tied behind
their backs and two incomplete
bodies,” Lejla Cengic, spokeswoman
for the government ’s Institute for
Missing Persons, said, adding that
exhumations will continue.
Forensic experts are combing the
banks of the Bosna river for another
six victims still missing from a group
of 16 killed by Bosnian Serb forces
nearby, Cengic said. Four other
victims from the group were found
nearby during earlier exhumations.
Devastating floods across Bosnia,
Serbia and Croatia last month
struck particularly hard in the
central and northern parts of
impoverished Bosnia, submerging
completely the central towns of
Doboj and Maglaj and northern
towns of Samac and Orasje.
“ We assume the victims are
Bosniaks from the nearby village
Jablanica, the men aged from 19
to 57,” Cengic said as bulldozers
removed mud from the river bank
and forensic experts cleared rubbish
and branches from the site.
Workers repairing power lines
on the outskirts of the town found
some remains after flood waters that
reached up to 3m in Doboj receded.
Some 35,000 people went missing
in Bosnia during the war. About
8000 are still unaccounted for while
1000 have been found but not
identified yet, Cengic said.
Doboj is located on the border
autonomous regions established
after the war, the Serb Republic
and the Federation dominated by
Bosniaks and Croats.
The town belongs to the Serb
region but its southern part is in
the federation. When the Bosna
river burst its banks, the first help
came from the nearby towns in the
federation spared from the flooding.
At least nine people drowned in the
flooding. — Reuters
Bosnian floods unearth
grim war secret
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