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Spain’s Juan Carlos, who announced
plans to abdicate last week, has
presided over his last military
ceremony as king before ceding the
throne to his more popular son Prince
Hundreds chanted “Long live the
king!” as the 76-year-old monarch,
dressed in a brown military uniform,
reviewed troops at Spain’s annual
armed forces day ceremony in central
The king, who walks with a cane after
several hip operations, was flanked
by his wife Q ueen Sofia, and Felipe,
who wore a white navy uniform, and
his wife Princess Letizia, a former
television news reader.
Felipe, 46, ascends to the throne
amid smouldering republican
sentiment in a nation with a towering
26% jobless rate which has fuelled
growing discontent with the political
Within hours of the king’s
announcement on June 2 that he
was abdicating in favour of his
son, thousands massed in central
Madrid and other cities to demand a
referendum on the monarchy.
More took to the streets again on
Saturday, calling for a popular vote on
whether it should be abolished.
Many waved the red, yellow and
purple Spanish republican flag and
brandished placards reading: “No more
kings, a referendum”.
Nearly two-thirds of Spaniards, 62%,
believe a referendum should be held “at
some point ” on the issue, according to
a poll published Sunday by centre-left
daily newspaper El Pais.
Among voters between the ages of 18
and 34, backing for a referendum rises
If such a vote was to be held, the
poll found 49% would prefer to have
a monarchy with Felipe as king while
36% would support a republic. The
rest were undecided or declined to
Spain restored the monarchy only
in 1975 after the death of General
Rejecting calls for a popular vote,
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy argues
that 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.
Felipe, 46, is due to be crowned,
probably on June 19, in a joint session
of parliament — whose members, both
in the ruling party and in opposition,
over whelmingly support the monarchy.
Spanish king presides over final ceremony
Princess Letizia, left, Crown Prince Felipe, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia attend a ceremony marking Spain’s
Armed Forces Day in Madrid.
At least five people have been killed
and one wounded in a militant siege of
Pakistan’s Karachi airport.
Dr Seemi Jamali, who is head of the
city’s main Jinnah Hospital, said early
this morning five dead bodies had been
brought in, and one injured person was
also brought to the hospital.
She added that three were Airport
Security Force (ASF) personnel and
two were civilian employees of Pakistan
International Airlines. The wounded
was also an ASF official.
The attack, last night, has raised fears
about the possibility of a prolonged
siege similar to other brazen attacks on
key installations in recent years.
An army spokesman, Colonel Nayer,
said that troops had been deployed
from the Malir cantonment near their
“They have reached the scene,” he
A spokesman for Airport Security
Force (ASF) said: “Four to five terrorists
have managed to reach the runway, they
are heavily armed with ammunition and
grenades and ASF commandos have
cordoned off the area along with police
“A gun battle is continuing between
terrorists and forces,” he added.
The spokesman said the gunmen had
entered the airport by cutting through
a barbed-wire fence at the airport ’s
old terminal which is no longer used
for passengers but instead has offices,
workshops and hangars.
“The old terminal is attached to the
runways being used for the new airport ’s
flight operations,” he added.
Senior police official Rao Muhammad
Anwar earlier placed the number
of attackers at “four to six”, while a
spokesman for the Civil Aviation
Authority added all flights had been
Television footage showed plumes
of smoke rising from the runway and
fires where planes were parked. It had
not been confirmed whether there were
casualties on either side.
There has so far been no claim of
responsibility for last night ’s incident
but similar raids in the past have been
claimed by Taliban militants who rose
up against the Pakistani State in 2007
in an insurgency that has claimed
thousands of lives. — AFP
Five dead in Karachi airport siege
Zimbabwe’s president Robert
Mugabe has branded his
information minister a “devil
accusing him of
appointing editors of State-
owned newspapers who were
sympathetic to the opposition.
Zimbabwe’s private media say
an intense battle to succeed the
90-year-old Mugabe has sucked
in the State-owned press.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru
and Justice Minister Emmerson
Mnangangwa are seen as the
front-runners, while the veteran
leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe
since independence from Britain
in 1980, has said the contest is
open to other ZANU-PF leaders
Moyo, appointed information
minister last year, was using
newspapers to sow divisions.
“I am saying this in light of what
is happening now. When you
have our minister of information
wanting to pit people one against
another, you don’t do things like
that,” Mugabe said in remarks
broadcast on State-owned radio.
Moyo was a strong critic of
Mugabe’s rule while lecturing
at the University of Zimbabwe
before his first appointment as
information minister in 2002.
He was fired from the post by
Mugabe in 2005 for standing
as an independent candidate
in parliamentary elections that
Moyo was withering in his
criticism of Mugabe, calling him
a “national security threat ” in
2008, before he rejoined ZANU-
PF in 2009 and became one of
the major architects of Mugabe’s
landslide victory in last July’s
Mugabe told mourners at a
funeral of a senior ZANU-PF
official that Moyo, a professor of
political science, was trying to use
his “knowledge and intellectual
ideas” to destroy ZANU-PF by
appointing editors sympathetic
to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
“ I am saying this because all
the men that we had, who were
leading the newspapers, were
fired and replaced by those from
the MDC,” Mugabe said.
“ You were all thinking you
had a trusted person,” he said,
referring to Moyo, adding that
the minister was in fact “a devil
Moyo has since his appointment
last year changed editors at major
and also suspended the chief
executive of State broadcaster
ZBC. — Reuters
Several families of those aboard
Flight MH370 have launched a drive
to raise $US5 million ($5,883,068) to
reward any insider who comes for ward
and resolves the mystery of the plane’s
disappearance exactly three months ago.
The Reward MH370 campaign
on fundraising website
Indiegogo and aims to raise at least $5m
“to encourage a whistleblower to come
for ward with information”, the families
said in a press release.
The Malaysia Airlines plane lost
contact on March 8 on the way from
Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239
people aboard, about two-thirds of them
The Boeing 777 is believed to have
crashed in the southern Indian Ocean,
but an extensive search has turned up no
sign of wreckage so far, leaving frustrated
and anguished families of those aboard
suspecting a cover-up.
“ We are convinced that somewhere,
someone knows something, and we
hope this reward will entice him or
her to come for ward,” Ethan Hunt,
a technology company chief who is
heading the project, said.
Sarah Bajc, partner of American
passenger Philip Wood, said a handful
of families were behind the campaign
to look at the unprecedented aviation
mystery with “a fresh set of eyes”.
“Governments and agencies have given
it their best shot but have failed to turn
up a single shred of evidence, either
because of a faulty approach or due to
intentional misdirection by one or more
individuals,” she said in the release.
Malaysia and Australia, which is
leading the search far off its western
coast, have promised that the hunt for
the plane will continue.
An international team is now
determining an expanded search zone
of up to 60,000 square kilometres based
on where the aircraft last communicated
with an Inmarsat satellite.
Australia has also released a request
for tenders for a company to be engaged
as a prime contractor and provide the
expertise, equipment and vessels needed
to carry out the deep-sea search from
Malaysia — ruled by the same coalition
since 1957 with a history of sweeping
scandals aside — has taken the brunt of
criticism from upset relatives.
The South-east Asian country has
insisted it is doing all it can and working
closely with Australia, China and other
countries to find the airliner. — AFP
to find plane
Italy has rescued about 5200 men,
women and children and recovered
three dead bodies from overcrowded
boats in the Mediterranean Sea since
Calm seas have led to this latest wave
of migrants who have left North African
shores for Italy over just three days, a
navy spokesman said, with merchant
ships and a Maltese vessel also aiding in
the rescue efforts.
The merchant tanker Norient Star
recovered three bodies from one of the
migrant boats, the spokesman said,
adding that he had no details about the
cause of the death or identity of the
Three merchant ships, including the
Norient Star, took aboard a total of 700
migrants, a navy statement said, and is
taking them to ports in Sicily.
The surge in arrivals is straining the
ability of the Italian naval mission —
called Mare Nostrum or “Our Sea”
to patrol the waters between Africa
and Italy on its own. It has prompted
local officials in Sicily, where most of
the migrants are taken, to call for more
“Europe can’t just turn its back on
us,” Lillo Firetto, mayor of the Sicilian
port city of Porto Empedocle, said in
a television inter view overnight. “ This
isn’t just Sicily’s border, but it ’s Europe’s
Italy has repeatedly asked for more
European Union countries to join Mare
Nostrum, which is Europe’s biggest
search-and-rescue mission in history,
but so far only Slovenia has chipped in,
offering one ship for two months late
Mare Nostrum began last October
after 366 migrants fleeing African
countries drowned when their boat
capsized a mile from Sicily. After the
tragedy, the EU pledged 30 million euros
($48.151 million) in emergency funding,
mainly targeted to fund immigration
facilities on land.
The number of boat migrants who
have reached Italy this year has already
topped the total of more than 40,000 for
the whole of 2013. The pace of arrivals is
on track to exceed the record of 62,000
set in 2011 during the Arab Spring
Two-thirds of the migrants, who come
from dozens of countries and include
Syrians fleeing civil war and Eritreans
evading military conscription, leave Italy
for other EU countries, the Interior
“The ones who arrived yesterday left
immediately. We saw them walking
down State road 115,” Firetto said in the
television inter view.
Given the thousands who have arrived
in just the past few days, Firetto said he
was very worried the situation would get
worse in coming weeks.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has
urged the United Nations to inter vene
in Libya, where criminal gangs charge
migrants more than $1000 each for a
spot on unsafe vessels, to try to limit the
The recent flood of boat migrants has
helped revive Italy’s anti-immigrant
Northern League party, which had lost
much of its support over the last two
years due to corruption scandals and
leadership changes. — Reuters
Italy saves 5200 migrants from sea London
A super computer has duped
humans into thinking it was a
13-year-old boy to become the first
machine to pass the “ iconic” Turing
test, experts say.
Five machines were tested at the
Royal Society in central London to
see if they could fool people into
thinking they were humans during
The test was devised in 1950
by computer science pioneer and
World War Two code-breaker
Alan Turing, who said that if a
machine was indistinguishable
from a human, then it was
previously passed the Turing test,
which requires 30% of human
interrogators to be duped during
a series of five-minute keyboard
conversations, organisers from the
University of Reading said.
But “Eugene Goostman”,
computer programme developed
to simulate a 13-year-old boy,
managed to convince 33% of the
judges that it was human, the
Professor Kevin War wick, from
the University of Reading, said: “In
the field of artificial intelligence
there is no more iconic and
controversial milestone than the
“It is fitting that such an
important landmark has been
reached at the Royal Society in
London, the home of British
science and the scene of many great
advances in human understanding
over the centuries. This milestone
will go down in history as one of
the most exciting.”
The successful machine was
created by Russian-born Vladimir
Veselov, who lives in the United
States, and Ukrainian Eugene
Demchenko who lives in Russia.
Veselov said: “It’s a remarkable
achievement for us and we hope
it boosts interest in artificial
intelligence and chatbots.”
War wick said there had been
previous claims that the test was
passed in similar competitions
around the world.
“A true Turing test does not set
the questions or topics prior to the
conversations,” he said.
“ We are therefore proud to declare
that Alan Turing’s test was passed
for the first time.”
War wick said having a computer
with such artificial intelligence
had “implications for society” and
would ser ve as a “wake-up call to
The event on Saturday was
poignant as it took place on the
60th anniversary of the death of
Turing, who laid the foundations of
modern computing. — PA
Super computer passes Turing test
extremely dangerous by police
have escaped from a Canadian
jail in a helicopter, the second
such daring prison break recently
in Q uebec.
In March 2013, two inmates
were lifted on a hijacked
helicopter from a prison north
of Montreal. They were both
quickly re-arrested, along with
the two accomplices.
Police are now asking for the
public’s help in tracking down
Yves Denis, 35, Denis Lefebvre,
53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49 —
all accused of mafia ties — after
the Saturday night jailbreak in
“The helicopter landed in
a courtyard at the detention
Ann Mathieu told the French
news channel RDI overnight.
The helicopter set down at
7.45pm then took off to the west,
The three escaped prisoners
were accused of being the leaders
of a drug trafficking network
linked to the Hells Angels. They
were to appear in court in January
2015 on charges of premeditated
The fugitives were also facing
charges of drug trafficking,
conspiracy, and other crimes. A
trial on those charges got under
way on April 8.
The men were
in 2010 as part of an
operation to dismantle a drug
trafficking network in Abitibi-
Temiscamingue, in western
Quebec. — AFP
Inmates escape Quebec
prison in helicopter
Sex store worker
attacked with toys
As one of the few bands from
the 1960s still with their original
line-up, The Seekers have proved
their staying power. Now they are
being recognised in the Queen’s
Judith Durham, Athol Guy,
Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley
have been appointed officers in
the Order Of Australia (AO) for
their ser vices to the performing
Celebrating 50 years since they
began their distinguished career,
The Seekers have been on the
road performing sold-out shows
across Australia, the United
Kingdom and Ireland.
Speaking from London after
one of the group’s shows at the
Royal Albert Hall, double bass
player Athol Guy said there was
a nice “royal connection” about
their award and tour location.
“It was a perfect bit of timing
because we’ve just finished our
50th-anniversary tour over here
in London with two sell-out
shows at the Royal Albert Hall,
so there’s a nice royal connection
coming up to the Q ueen’s
birthday,” he said.
With each member being
recognised for their career, whose
hits have included Georgy Girl,
I’ll Never Find Another You
and A World of Our Own, Guy
said the honour was particularly
“ It ’s a lovely moment for the
four of us, to each individually
be named in that way,” he said.
“Collectively, we’ve had so many
honours as a group, it’s hard to
imagine that there’d be any more
to come. And this one came right
out of the blue for all of us.”
The group suffered a setback in
2013 when singer Judith Durham
was admitted to hospital with a
cerebral haemorrhage after the
first Melbourne show of their
However, after three months
of rehabilitation, doctors gave
Durham the okay to perform.
Durham said she hoped the
award would encourage others.
for The Seekers
A male thief wearing a dress and
crotchless pants attacked a Brisbane
sex store worker with sex toys during a
Police say the 34-year-old man forced
his way through the ceiling of the store
in the northern suburb of Aspley in the
early hours of Saturday.
The female manager of the store was
alerted when the man set off an alarm.
When the owner confronted the
man, who was wearing a wig, dress and
crotchless pants, he allegedly threw a
number of sex toys at the woman.
The thief climbed back through the
ceiling and on to the roof where he was
arrested by police.
The Murrumba Downs man has
been charged with break and enter and
possessing dangerous drugs.
Earlier this week, another man fell
through a sex shop roof during a botched
burglary in Cairns.
Police allege the 22-year-old man
grabbed a Fantasy Fetish pack, which
contained items including a saddle, after
crashing through the ceiling in the early
hours of Thursday.
Witnesses called police who arrested
the man nearby. He faced a Cairns court
on Friday on five theft and burglary
related charges. — AAP
Police in Portugal are likely to inter view
“several suspects” in the near future
over the disappearance of Madeleine
McCann, media reports say.
British police have spent the last
week searching an area of scrubland
close to where she went missing in the
Algarve holiday resort just over seven
It was reported on Friday that Scotland
Yard has been granted permission from
the Portuguese authorities to question
three suspects about the case.
But according to a BBC report,
Portuguese police said more than three
people will be inter viewed over the
Portuguese officers would conduct the
inter views in the presence of British
officers, who would not be allowed to
inter vene in questioning them, the BBC
Scotland Yard declined to comment.
The area of scrubland, a few minutes’
walk from the the Ocean Club resort
apartment in Praia da Luz where
Madeleine and her family were staying,
has been searched before.
Two other areas are also expected to be
searched by investigators.
The operation is likely to continue next
week after British police applied to the
judiciary to spend an extra seven days
Madeleine disappeared from the
holiday resort in May 2007, aged three.
Portuguese police to
quiz Madeleine suspects
Armed men have burst into a church in
eastern Democratic Republic of Congo,
killing more than 30 people including
women and children.
Local sources say the victims were
ethnic Bafuliru who were staying
overnight on Friday in the South Kivu
province church after a meeting.
In all, “eight men, 14 women, 10
children and a soldier” were killed, a
local councillor said, adding that 28
people were wounded.
South Kivu’s Interior Minister Jean-
Julien Miruho said the attack was likely
a revenge killing over cattle raids in the
“It is a problem of cattle and one side
went to seek revenge,” he said.
The identities of the assailants are
unclear but the Bafuliru people have
been in conflict with the Barundi ethnic
group for years over property and custom
issues. — AFP
30 killed in Congo church raid
Australia’s oldest person has died at
112 surrounded by many members
of her large family at her bedside in a
western Sydney nursing home.
Jane Gray, who died on Saturday at
Smithfield, is also believed to be the
35th oldest person in the world, the
Seven Network reports.
She is sur vived by two children, nine
grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren
and two great-great-children. — AAP
Oldest Australian dies at 112
Victim found inside croc
The remains of a man taken by a
crocodile in front of his family in the
Northern Territory’s Kakadu National
Park have been recovered.
Two crocodiles were shot and killed
by rangers who were searching for the
62-year-old on Sunday.
One of the crocs, which was 4.7m long,
contained the remains of the man, a
police spokesman told reporters.
The man was on a boat with his son,
wife and daughter-in-law when he was
attacked on a billabong near Cooinda,
on Saturday afternoon.
“D uring daylight hours today Kakadu
rangers using their expertise of crocodile
management behaviour managed to
locate two large saltwater crocodiles
in the billabong,” sergeant Andrew
“ Two of the crocs were shot and killed.
“One of those crocs was later examined
and a quantity of human remains was
Hocking said the remains were yet to
be formally identified.
The reptiles were found about 1.5km
from where the man was taken.
There was no indication the man was
swimming when the incident happened,
although investigations are continuing,
He also said reports the man and his
family were in a closed area of the park
were incorrect, as the area had recently
been opened to the public.
Crocodile expert Graeme Webb said it
was unusual for a croc to attack at this
time of year, as the reptiles usually laid
low during the cooler months.
“They tend to move around a lot more
when it warms up . . . and that’s when
they’re more dangerous,” he said.
“But crocs will still take prey during
the cooler months.
“I don’t know what has happened in this
case but it just sounds horrific. It’s just
awful, you just can’t begin to understand
how (the man’s family) must feel.”
Webb, chairman of the International
Union for Conser vation of Nature’s
Crocodile Specialist Group, said there
have been a number of reports in the
past of reptiles approaching and going
Police have not released the dead man’s
name. — AAP
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