Home' Greymouth Star : June 5th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Thursday, June 5, 2014
PICTURE: Getty Images
British Normandy veterans attend a memorial ser vice overnight in the village of Thur y-Harcourt, near
Caen in Normandy, France.
Old para jumping into Normandy again
Seventy years ago, Jim “Pee Wee”
Martin parachuted into France,
behind German enemy lines, ahead
of the D-Day invasion.
This week, at the age of 93, the
Ohio World War Two veteran is
jumping into Normandy again to
mark the anniversary of the
June 6, 1944, seaborne landings by
Allied troops, although this time
he will not be making the leap
“They are making me do
a tandem,” Martin said in a
telephone inter view. “ They are
worried about me getting hurt. I
said, ‘Don’t worry about it. If I get
hurt or I get killed, what is the
difference? I’ve lived 93 years. I ’ve
had a good life’.”
Martin said he was jumping
now because he may be the last
man from his unit of the 101st
Airborne Division to ever do it
Martin, who lives near Dayton,
said he will use a round canopy
parachute like those in World War
Two, which drop more quickly
than modern parachutes. He is also
taking one of his jump jackets from
the war to France for a museum
After the war, he worked in a tool
shop until age 65.
A United States Veterans Affairs
doctor cleared him to make the
jump physically and pronounced
him mentally fit, he said.
“ You might ask some of my
friends around here if they believe
in that,” Martin said. “Some of
them think that I’m crazy.”
Martin, who was a private in
the 506th Parachute Infantry
Regiment, was among the first
Americans in combat in Europe.
After Normandy, where his unit
fought to capture key bridges,
he parachuted into Holland in
Operation Market Garden and
fought at Bastogne during the
Battle of the Bulge.
As a defence industry worker,
he had a deferment from military
ser vice, but Martin said he saw
that France and Germany could
not win the war in Europe on their
own and that men with families
were joining the ser vice and being
drafted. He enlisted at age 21 and
was later awarded a Purple Heart
and a Bronze Star.
“The one thing I want to
emphasise is that we were not
heroes. A hero is someone not
expected to do something,” he said.
“ When you volunteer, and you
get trained for it and get paid for
it, you may be brave as hell but you
are not a hero.” — Reuters
D-Day 70 th
World leaders meet in Normandy
tomorrow for the 70th anniversary
of the D-Day landings, but with
Europe in its worst security crisis
since the Cold War, the event will
be a backdrop to urgent diplomacy
Some 18 national leaders will
attend ceremonies along with 3000
veterans along France’s northern
coast where Allied forces landed on
June 6, 1944, in a seaborne invasion
that sped up the defeat of Nazi
Germany in World War Two.
Russian President Vladimir
Putin, United States President
Barack Obama and — thanks to a
last-minute invitation from France
Ukraine’s president-elect Petro
Poroshenko will be among the
leaders gathering for a closed-door
“ Yes, this is a day about the
veterans and remembering those
that died for basic freedoms, but it’s
also an opportunity to look ahead
and de-escalate the Ukraine crisis,”
one French diplomat, who declined
to be identified, said.
Putin is due to meet France’s
President Francois Hollande,
Germany ’s Angela Merkel and
Britain’s David Cameron on the
sidelines of the events — his first
encounter with western leaders
since Moscow ’s annexation of the
Crimea in March.
No separate meeting between
Putin and Obama is planned as
yet but French organisers say the
luxurious 18th century Chateau
de Benouville, where lunch will
be prepared by four Michelin star
chefs, will have rooms ready for
Speaking to French radio station
Europe 1 overnight, Putin offered
to meet Obama in France.
“There is no reason to think
President Obama does not want to
talk to the Russian President,” he
said. “It’s his choice. I am ready for
Hollande is due to meet with
Obama at a restaurant in central
Paris and then host Putin at the
presidential palace for a late supper
tonight, the eve of D-Day.
“ I’m meeting President Obama
and President Putin. It ’s late in the
day, but the objective is that it is
useful. What ’s at stake is Ukraine,
its stability and its security,”
Hollande told reporters in Poland
overnight, adding he would also try
to enable dialogue between Putin
and Ukraine’s Poroshenko.
Having been excluded from the
Group of Eight major powers for
its seizure of Crimea and its part
in the destabilisation of eastern
Ukraine, Russia was not included
in the Group of Seven summit in
Brussels this week.
Relations between Russia and the
Ukraine as well as with Europe and
the US are in tatters after protesters
Ukrainian president from power in
February and Russia then annexed
Russia has deployed tens of
thousands of troops near the
Ukrainian border and warned
it could send them in to protect
Russian-speakers in the east, while
Poroshenko and Ukraine’s pro-
western government have ignored
Moscow ’s demands for an end to
Kiev ’s military operation against
One Russian diplomat said
D-Day could be an opportunity
to replicate a constructive meeting
between Putin and Obama at the
St Petersburg G20 meeting last
year, where the two men came to an
agreement over destroying Syria’s
Aside from the diplomatic
activity, Putin, whose country
lost more than 20 million people
during World War Two, will join
leaders including Britain’s Q ueen
Elizabeth and Polish President
Bronislaw Komorowski for a
display marking D-Day on Sword
Obama will give a speech in
the morning at the US cemetery
overlooking Omaha Beach where
about 2500 American troops died.
With the youngest sur vivors of
the landings now in their late 80s,
the events carry extra significance.
Anniversary may be last big gathering for veterans
Ireland is considering an inquiry
into what the government called a
“deeply disturbing” discovery of an
unmarked graveyard at a former
home run by the Roman Catholic
Church where almost 800 children
died between 1925 and 1961.
Ireland’s once-powerful Catholic
Church has been rocked by a series of
scandals over the abuse and neglect
of children, and the government
is concerned that research carried
out by a local historian in county
Galway has revealed another dark
The graveyard was discovered in the
former grounds of one of Ireland’s
“mother-and-baby homes” run by
the Bon Secours order of nuns.
Researcher Catherine Corless said
public records show that almost 800
children died at the home before it
was closed just over 50 years ago.
Flanagan said overnight that
consideration was being given to
the best means of addressing the
“ harrowing details” emerging on
burial arrangements for children
at the institutions that housed
unmarried pregnant women.
“ Many of the revelations are deeply
disturbing and a shocking reminder
of a darker past in Ireland when our
children were not cherished as they
should have been,” F lanagan said in
The Catholic Church ran many of
Ireland’s social ser vices in the 20th
century, including mother-and-baby
homes where tens of thousands of
unwed pregnant women, including
rape victims, were sent to give birth.
Unmarried mothers and their
children were seen as a stain on
Ireland’s image as a devout, Catholic
nation. They were also a problem
for some of the fathers, particularly
powerful figures such as priests and
wealthy, married men.
Like the Magdalene Laundries,
where single women and girls were
sent because they threatened Ireland’s
moral fibre, the mother-and-baby
homes were run by nuns but received
State funding. They acted as adoption
agencies and in that capacity were
overseen by the State.
In a synopsis of the research
published on her Facebook page,
Corless said some mothers who
gave birth in the western Ireland
home told her of long unattended
labours, mostly without help from a
sister or midwife, and that they were
examined only once by a doctor when
The Bon Secours order which
ran the home was not available for
comment. Archbishop of D ublin
Diarmuid Martin was quoted by the
Irish Examiner newspaper as saying
that work was needed to get an
accurate picture of what happened at
Opposition parties and government
members of parliament said an
immediate inquiry was required.
“ How can we show in Ireland that
we have matured as a society if we
cannot call out these horrific acts of
the past for what they were?
“They were wilful and deliberate
neglect of children, who were the
most vulnerable of all,” junior
minister for education Ciaran
“They were deser ving of love and
nurturing, but they received the exact
opposite. They were shunned by
society at the time.
“The only way we can address
that injustice is to tell their story, to
determine the truth.” — Reuters
Ireland mulls inquiry into children’s mass grave
Fugitive American intelligence
contractor Edward Snowden is seeking
to extend his refugee status in Russia,
despite saying recently he wants to move
to the United States or Brazil.
“ Everything is in order. We are
working on the questions of extending
his status, so everything is normal,”
Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena,
told the Interfax news agency overnight.
Snowden flew into Russia from Hong
Kong in June last year after shaking the
intelligence establishment to its core
with a series of leaks on mass sur veillance
in the US and around the world.
He was able to leave Moscow ’s
Sheremetyevo airport only on August 1
after obtaining temporary refugee status,
which lasts for one year.
“ If I could go anywhere in the world,
that place would be home,” he said in an
inter view last month.
He also told Brazil’s Globo television
in an inter view aired on Sunday that
he “ would love to live in Brazil” and
had formally applied for asylum there,
although this was later denied by Brazil’s
Washington says Snowden is welcome
to return home, but only to face trial
for exposing sensitive top-secret
information it says aided US enemies.
Little is known of Snowden’s life in
Russia, since he has only given a few
tightly-controlled inter views.
“The question of his security is pretty
relevant,” Kucherena said. “ He is the
most-pursued man on planet Earth.”
He also said since he began representing
Snowden, he had received “phone calls
from Hollywood saying ‘Give us some
material, we want to make a film’. ”
Russian President Vladimir Putin
hinted he would allow Snowden to
extend his stay in Russia during a speech
to business leaders in St Petersburg last
“How is he going to go on living? He
has been living in our country up to now,
but what next?” he said.
“ What can we do? Russia isn’t a
country that hands over freedom
fighters.” — AFP
Snowden wants to extend refugee status
NZ jeweller’s handles grace Queen’s ‘time capsule’
The Queen last night took her first
ride in the diamond jubilee state coach,
parts of which were New Zealand-
The coach — in which the Queen
rode to the opening of Britain’s
Parliament — is described as a “mobile
time capsule” because it contains relics
from the past, including wood from
the HMS Victory and a piece of Sir
Edmund Hillary’s Everest ladder.
The gold-plated door handles, made
by New Zealand master jeweller
Michael Baker, each contain 130
sapphires and 24 diamonds.
He said the carriage was exquisite
and everything for it had to be perfect.
The handles had taken him 30 hours
“That was the biggest challenge to
keep (the stones) looking beautiful and
blue in the background without them
Each individual stone had a claw over
it to attach it to the metal.
“ You couldn’t really put a price on
them to be honest. The hours and
the work that went into them — the
actual gold plating on them was just
His brother Les Baker, whose
paint-making firm Norglass provided
10 products for the coach, said it was
magnificent and held more than 100
artefacts from all over the world.
“It’s not just a coach. It’s really a
mobile time capsule.”
The three-tonne coach, designed and
built by Australian Jim Frecklington,
had been planned for the Queen’s 80th
birthday in 2006 but fell victim to
delays and a shortage in funding. The
Royal Collection Trust purchased it
and flew it from Australia to Britain
The diamond jubilee state coach
exudes luxury, with the seats made from
Sudbury gold silk brocade, aircraft-grade
aluminium wheels and armrests made
from the former royal yacht Britannia.
A small video camera in a crown on
top of the carriage gives the Q ueen a
360-degree view of the procession.
New Zealand kauri and a bit of one
of Ed Hillary’s ladders are among 72
small squares that make up the door
panelling, with pieces of 10 Downing
Street and Robert Scott ’s Antarctic
sled. — APNZ-AAP
Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prince Philip, travels in the new diamond jubilee state coach, to deliver her speech
for the state opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster overnight.
Germany ’s federal prosecutor says he
has opened an investigation over alleged
snooping by the United States National
Security Agency (NSA) on Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
“ I informed parliament ’s
affairs committee that I have started a
preliminary investigation over tapping
of a mobile phone of the chancellor,”
Harald Range said overnight.
The long-anticipated probe, which
follows an explosive allegations last
year that US spies had eavesdropped on
Merkel’s cellphone in the past, is against
unnamed persons, Range said after
addressing the committee.
However he said he had decided against
opening an investigation into claims of
wider NSA sur veillance against German
The move may again strain Berlin’s ties
with Washington that both countries’
leaders have been at pains to restore
following the reports of sweeping
NSA spying on internet and phone
communications overseas, which Merkel
has described as “grave”.
Data-sensitive Germans reacted with
outrage to the accusations by fugitive
intelligence contractor Edward Snowden
amid sensitivity over mass State spying
on citizens by the Stasi secret police in
the former communist East Germany.
A parliamentary panel has been
established to assess the extent of spying
by the NSA and its partners on German
citizens and politicians, and whether
German intelligence aided its activities.
US President Barack Obama sought
to quell the international furore over
the reports, announcing in January that
he had halted spy taps on friendly world
leaders and curtailed the reach of mass
NSA phone sur veillance.
In an inter view with a German
television channel a day later he assured
Merkel that he would not let intrusive
sur veillance harm their relationship, but
said intelligence gathering on foreign
governments would continue. — AFP
Criminals’ days may be numbered
after Dutch forensic experts discovered
how to accurately date fingerprints, a
breakthrough that could one day let police
date crime scene prints from years ago.
“ It’s not quite the Holy Grail of
fingerprinting, but it ’s a very important
discovery,” Marcel de Puit, fingerprint
researcher at the Dutch Forensic
Institute, said overnight, hailing what he
said was a world’s first.
“ Police regularly ask us if we can date
crime scene fingerprints,” he said, for
instance a neighbour’s prints found at
the scene of a burglary.
Were they left the last time the
neighbour came round for coffee or from
the night of the crime?
“ Being able to date the prints means
you can determine when a potential
suspect was at the crime scene or
which fingerprints are relevant for the
investigation,” de Puit said.
marks on a surface that can be copied
and compared to a database to identify
a suspect, a police technique that rose to
prominence in the early 1900s.
The prints themselves are made up of
sweat and grease, including a complex
mix of cholesterol, amino acids and
“The chemicals in these fingerprints
can be analysed,” de Puit said.
“Some disappear over time and it ’s the
relative proportions of these chemicals
that allow us to date a fingerprint.”
Previous attempts to crack the
formula for dating fingerprints failed
because they focused on the amounts
of chemicals, rather than their relative
proportions, de Puit said.
Taking into account the temperature of
the original prints’ surroundings, which
affects the speed of deterioration, forensic
experts can now date fingerprints to
within “one or two days”, up to 15 days.
The new technique needs to be
extensively tested on real crimes scenes,
leading to the creation of a database,
before it can be used in prosecutions,
hopefully “within a year”, de Puit said.
Dutch scientists crack
Lewinsky scandal in past: Clinton
the cusp of a possible
White House bid, says
in an inter view that she
has “moved on” from the
Monica Lewinsky sex
scandal that consumed
the last two years of her
Clinton spoke to People
Magazine, which made her
its cover story in editions to
hit newsstands tomorrow.
In excerpts of the wide-
ranging inter view released overnight,
the former secretary of state brushed
aside any discussion of the former
White House intern, whose escapades
with then-President Bill Clinton helped
lead to his impeachment.
“ I’m not going to comment on what
did and didn’t happen. I think everybody
needs to look to the future,” Clinton told
People, adding, “I’ve moved on”.
Lewinsky, 40, for her part told Vanity
Fair magazine in an article published
last month that she, too, is ready to put
behind her the scandal that
has dominated her life.
The affair came to light
in the northern autumn of
1998, nearly crashing the
Clinton presidency and
leading to his impeachment
by the United States House
with the popular gossip
magazine comes out just
days ahead of next week’s
release of her latest memoir,
Clinton, 66, who lost to President
Barack Obama in their 2008 battle for
the Democratic presidential nomination,
is mulling a second White House run.
As has been her style, Clinton spoke
opaquely about her future political plans,
careful not to rule out, or rule in, a future
“ I am concerned about what I see
happening in the country and in the
world. Through the next months, I will
think more about what role I can or, in
my mind, should play. ” — AFP
Confusion over what to call Burma, or
Myanmar, depending on who and where
you are, seems to have surfaced once
For decades, Australia’s Foreign Ser vice
referred to the South-east Asian nation
as Burma, but after democratic reforms,
the previous Labor government in 2012
changed all official references to the
Union of Myanmar.
Now it has been confirmed the Abbott
government quietly switched back to
Burma in late 2013, as rumoured, when
the Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade (DFAT) website suddenly
reverted to the old title.
Consistency seems to be lacking,
DFAT’s country brief uses Burma, but
the Smartraveller website opts for Burma
followed by Myanmar in brackets.
Senator Helen Kroger
appeared unimpressed that references
to Myanmar remained at all, given the
directive from the prime minister in
In particular, the eagle-eyed senator
grilled DFAT officials at a Senate
estimates hearing about Australia’s
top envoy being confusingly called
the ambassador to the Republic of the
Union of Myanmar.
“There was a directive from the prime
minister in relation to this foreign policy
matter,” Kroger told a Senate estimates
“So you’re saying that his word doesn’t
amount to anything?”
DFAT secretary Peter Varghese assured
Kroger his officials were “faithfully
implementing” the prime minister’s
policy changes by the book.
Under the somewhat confusing
guidelines, the government ’s policy
is for diplomats and envoys to switch
freely between Burma and Myanmar,
depending on the circumstances.
When dealing with the government
in Yangon or countries that prefer
Myanmar, Australian officials follow
But in domestic contexts or dealing
with the United States or United
Kingdom, the older Burma title is
adopted. — AAP
Confusion over Burma’s name
The last of the 29 Navajos who
developed an unbreakable code that
helped win World War Two has died.
Chester Nez, of Albuquerque, New
Mexico, died yesterday of kidney failure.
He was 93.
Judy Avila, who helped Nez write his
memoirs, says his death was unexpected.
Nez was in the 10th grade when a
Marine recruiter went to the Navajo
reser vation looking for young men who
were fluent in Navajo and English. He
became part of the 382nd Platoon tasked
with developing a code that stumped the
Japanese. — AP
Last of Navajo code talkers dies
Links Archive June 4th 2014 June 6th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page