Home' Greymouth Star : June 16th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, June 16, 2014
Militants from jihadist group
the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL) have executed dozens
of captured Iraqi security forces
members, according to photos posted
The authenticity of the photos,
shared on Twitter and elsewhere and
said to have been taken in Salaheddin
province, north of Baghdad, were still
to be independently confirmed.
The militants said in one photo
caption they executed hundreds of
soldiers. The photos showed dozens
A major offensive spearheaded by
ISIL but also involving supporters of
executed dictator Saddam Hussein
has overrun all of one province and
chunks of three others since it was
launched on Monday.
In one photo, militants watch as
men in civilian clothes, their backs
bent, faces staring at the ground and
feet bare, shuffle for ward in a line.
The men are then loaded into
trucks, including at least one captured
security forces vehicle.
Another photo shows men being
made to lie down in a shallow ditch,
as militants including a man bearing
the ISIL flag look on.
A man in a yellow shirt seems to
be pleading for his life. The armed
militants are then shown apparently
firing into the ditch.
Another picture shows a militant
aiming his Kalashnikov rifle into a
ditch holding a double line of men
with their hands behind their backs,
blood pooling in the sand.
A cloud of dust rises from the ditch,
apparently from gunshots.
Photos also show a man wearing a
red beret of the type issued to Iraqi
soldiers holding his Kalashnikov in
one hand as he fires into a line of men
in what appears to be a third ditch.
The photos appear to show at least
three separate places in which men
were executed and possibly a fourth,
though it is difficult to determine due
to varying camera angles.
On Saturday, Iraqi security forces
found the burned bodies of 12
policemen after retaking the town
of Ishaqi north of Baghdad, pointing
to another atrocity carried out by
militants. — AFP
Photos show extremists’ executions
PICTURE: Getty Images
Royals on the balcony during Trooping the Colour, Queen Elizabeth’s birthday parade, at the Royal Horse Guards in London.
Queen celebrates 88th bir thday with colourful ceremony
The royals have been out in force
on the Buckingham Palace balcony
to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s
Some 32 members of the family
joined the monarch to watch a
military flypast over central London
on Saturday as part of her official
However, baby Prince George,
whose first birthday is on July 22,
was not among them, his parents
Prince William and Catherine
leaving him to wait a little longer for
his first palace balcony appearance.
Earlier, on the Horse Guards
parade ground, senior royals
watched the Trooping the Colour
event, a lively ceremony that offers
an annual dose of traditional British
pageantry with soldiers in scarlet
tunics and black bearskin hats
marching in formation.
The parade, a hangover from
preparations for battle when colours
or flags were “trooped” down the
rank so soldiers could recognise
them, marks the Queen’s official
Her actual birthday is on April
21 but traditionally the monarch
has another in the summer months
because the weather is usually better
for open-air celebrations.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince
Philip — himself in a bearskin
hat — travelled to and from the
ceremony in an open carriage,
despite a light drizzle.
William, Prince Charles and
Princess Anne rode to the parade on
horseback in full military uniform.
Catherine rode in an open carriage
with Prince Harry and Camilla.
After the parade, the royals
appeared on the palace balcony
for the flypast, which saw modern
Typhoon and Tornado fighters roar
above the crowds.
Britain’s last remaining airworthy
World War Two Lancaster bomber
— which last week flew over the
French coast as part of the 70th
anniversary of the D-Day landings
— took part, flanked by two Spitfire
fighters from the conflict.
The Red Arrows, the Royal
Air Force’s aerobatics team, then
left trails of red, white and blue
smoke in the sky to round off the
As a smiling Queen Elizabeth
waved goodbye to the crowds,
Prince Philip, in jovial spirits, was
animatedly chatting to Harry.
The monarch’s no-nonsense
husband turned 93 on Tuesday with
a typical lack of fuss. Guests at a
palace summer garden party were
told to avoid wishing him a happy
New Zealander Samantha
Webster gave him a woolly scarf as
a present but the prince then joked
that he didn’t want to carry it about.
“ He made us laugh when he said,
‘Could you hand it to someone —
I don’t want to lug it around the
garden’, ” she said. — AFP
Easily distracted? Cannot be
separated from your smartphone?
Constantly checking your device for
no real reason? Chances are you are
an addict — and you may even need
Psychiatrists in Singapore are
pushing for medical authorities
to formally recognise addiction to
the internet and digital devices as
a disorder, joining other countries
around the world in addressing a
Singapore and Hong Kong top an
Asia-Pacific region that boasts some
of the world’s highest smartphone
penetration rates, according to a 2013
report by media monitoring firm
Some 87% of Singapore’s 5.4
million population own smartphones.
Singaporeans also spend on average
38 minutes per session on Facebook,
almost twice as long as Americans,
according to a study by Experian, a
global information ser vices company.
Adrian Wang, a psychiatrist at
the upmarket Gleneagles Medical
Centre, said digital addiction should
be classified as a psychiatric disorder.
“ Patients come for stress anxiety-
related problems, but their coping
mechanism is to go on-line, go on to
social media,” Wang said.
He recalled having treated an
18-year-old male student with
“ When I saw him, he was unshaven,
he had long hair, he was skinny, he
hadn’t showered for days, he looked
like a homeless man,” Wang said.
The boy came to blows with his
father after he tried to take away the
young man’s laptop computer.
After the father cut off internet
access in the house, desperation drove
the boy to hang around neighbours’
homes trying to get a wireless
He was eventually admitted to
hospital, put on anti-depressants and
received “a lot ” of counselling, Wang
“ We just needed to break the cycle.
He got better, he was discharged
from the hospital and I saw him a few
more times and he was okay.”
Tan Hwee Sim, a consultant
psychiatrist at The Resilienz Mind
clinic in Singapore, noted that the
symptoms exhibited by her young
adult patients have changed over the
Obsession with on-line gaming was
the main manifestation in the past,
but addiction to social media and
video downloading are now on the
In terms of physical symptoms,
more people are reporting “text
neck” or “iNeck” pain, according
to Tan Kian Hian, a consultant at
the anaesthesiology department of
Singapore General Hospital.
Singapore’s problem is not unique,
with a number of countries setting up
treatment centres for young internet
addicts, particularly in Asia where
South Korea, China and Taiwan have
moved to tackle the issue.
In Singapore, there are two
counselling centres — National
Addictions Management Ser vices
and Touch Community Ser vices
with programmes for digital
Trisha Lin, an assistant professor
in communications at the Nanyang
younger people face a higher risk
because they adopt new technology
earlier — but cannot set limits.
Lin defined digital addiction by a
number of symptoms: The inability
to control craving; anxiety when
separated from a smartphone; loss
in productivity in studies or at work;
and the need to constantly check
one’s phone. — AFP
Singapore grapples with smartphone addicts
Iran has warned that “any foreign
military inter vention in Iraq” would only
complicate the crisis, after the United
States said it was deploying a warship in
“ Iraq has the capacity and necessary
preparations for the fight against
terrorism and extremism,”
ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham
said, according to the ISNA news agency.
“Any action that complicates the
situation in Iraq is not in the interests of
the country nor of the region,” he said.
“The people and government of Iraq
will be able to neutralise this conspiracy.”
Iraq is battling an offensive by Sunni
militants who have advanced to within
80km of Baghdad’s city limits after
seizing a swathe of the country’s north.
Responding to the crisis, the Pentagon
said on Saturday the United States had
ordered an aircraft carrier, the USS
George H W Bush, into the Gulf.
Afkham’s comments come a day after
President Hassan Rouhani said he
believed the Iraqis have the capacity to
“repel terrorism” and that Iran had not
been asked for help by its neighbour.
But in surprise comments, he added
that Iran may consider co-operating
with its arch-foe the United States to
fight the Sunni extremist militants in
“ If we see that the United States takes
action against terrorist groups in Iraq,
then one can think about it,” he said,
despite the lack of diplomatic relations
between Tehran and Washington for
more than three decades.
“ We have said that all countries must
unite in combating terrorism. But right
now regarding Iraq . . . we have not
seen the Americans taking a decision,”
However, National Supreme Security
Council chief Ali Shamkhani dismissed
any US-Iran co-operation over Iraq.
“That is part of a psychological war,
and is totally unreal,” Shamkhani said,
denouncing “information published in
the west ’s media”. — AFP
Iran warns against
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s
official car, an Alfa Romeo convertible,
has fetched 180,000 euros ($281,031)
at auction in France, the auctioneer
An unnamed Russian museum
bought the car, which needs complete
restoration, at a sale in Caen-
Carpiquet in north-western France.
Originally fitted with a silver
dashboard and handles, the car was
custom-built in 1937 for Italian King
Victor Emmanuel III before becoming
Mussolini’s official car, according to
expert Xavier Aiolfi. — A AP
Mussolini’s Alfa Romeo sold to Russia
Mussolini in his Alfa Romeo convertible which has been sold to a Russian
Malaysia says there will be no let-up in
the search for missing Malaysia Airlines
flight MH370, in a statement to mark
100 days since the plane disappeared.
“ We cannot and will not rest until
MH370 is found,” Transport Minister
Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday.
The Beijing-bound aircraft, with
239 people on board, including six
Australians and two New Zealanders,
disappeared about an hour after it took
off from Kuala Lumpur International
Airport on March 8.
“ We cannot and will not abandon the
families of the crew and passengers of
MH370,” he said, following criticism of
how the search operation was handled,
particularly from relatives of the
Hishammuddin expressed gratitude to
Australia, China and all the countries
that have joined the so far fruitless
“Indeed, as the search transitions to a
more challenging phase, we reaffirm our
commitment with renewed vigour to
locate the missing MH370,” he added.
Hishammuddin said he was confident,
despite the criticisms aimed at the
Malaysian authorities, that “Malaysia
will be credited for doing the best to
our abilities under near-impossible
circumstances and history will judge us
favourably for that ”.
On Thursday, seven relatives of people
aboard the missing plane received
$US50,000 ($57,640) as an initial
payout from Malaysia Airlines’ insurers.
The insurers are processing the papers
of the other relatives in preparation for
receiving the initial compensation, the
chief of the government committee
dealing with the families, Hamzah
He said a final payment would be
determined only after the search
operation is concluded. — D PA
Malaysia vows no let-up
in search for MH370
overnight his first trip
to a European country
would be to Albania in
September to pay tribute to
those who suffered under
He will make a day trip to
Tirana, the capital of one of
Europe’s poorest countries,
on September 21, he told
pilgrims and tourists in
St Peter’s Square.
The Vatican spokesman
said the Pope wanted his first trip
in Europe to be to a “country on the
margins” with a past of social and religious
persecution and continuing poverty.
proclaimed Albania, for decades one of
the world’s most isolated countries, the
world’s first atheist State
in 1967. Many mosques,
churches and religious
libraries were destroyed
and imams and priests
Pope Francis said he
wanted to make the trip
to “encourage a country
that has long suffered from
the consequences of the
ideologies of the past ”.
in Albania in 1992 and
the late Pope John Paul II
visited the following year.
Pope Francis, elected in March last
year, has made two international trips, to
Brazil and the Middle East. He is due
to visit South Korea in August and Sri
Lanka and the Philippines in January.
Pope plans to visit Albania
NSW nurse union backs medicinal cannabis
One of Australia’s largest nursing
unions has taken the significant
and potentially controversial step of
supporting the use and possession
of medical cannabis.
The New South Wales Nurses
(NSWNMA), which has 59,000
members, said the drug could
benefit patients suffering from
committee has adopted a resolution
backing recommendations from
a bipartisan NSW parliamentary
which in 2013
suggested Aids and terminally-ill
patients be allowed to possess and
use up to 15g of dry cannabis.
knocked back by the then-
O’Farrell-led NSW government.
But the issue has since come back
on to the State political agenda and
Premier Mike Baird is said to be
“sympathetic” about people who use
cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The premier is against recreational
cannabis use but his advisers have
repeatedly refused to answer further
questions about his stance on the
drug, including whether or not he
has ever tried it.
Association general secretary Brett
Holmes said late yesterday: “O ur
members recognise the importance
of exploring improved options
for effective pain management,
particularly for those patients who
suffer from constant chronic pain.”
The union pointed to the fact that
medical cannabis is already used in
other parts of the world by patients
suffering from “nausea, Parkinson’s
disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s
disease and other chronic pain or
post-traumatic stress disorders”.
The association has also signed
a petition started by retired
Tamworth nurse Lucy Haslam,
whose 24-year-old son Daniel has
terminal bowel cancer and uses
cannabis to help with the side-
effects of chemotherapy.
The Haslam family’s on-line
petition has attracted more than
50,000 signatures and calls for the
decriminalisation of cannabis for
people with terminal cancer.
“ We can see the changes in him
and fully believe that cannabis is
absolutely the right path for him to
go down as conventional treatments
have failed him,” Haslam said of
her son. — AAP
Scottish independence vote gap narrows
The campaign for Scottish
independence continues to gain
ground against its pro-union rival,
two sur veys showed overnight, as
pollsters near consensus that the
race is getting tighter ahead of the
A record 43% back the campaign
for independence, according to
the latest poll by Panelbase, up
two points from May, with the
percentage against dropping one
point to 46%.
The Panelbase poll of 1060
voters, commissioned by the
“yes” campaign, found that once
undecideds were excluded, support
for secession grew to 48%, with
In ICM’s latest poll, support
for separation improved by two
points to 36% while those rejecting
independence fell by three points to
Scotland votes on September 18 on
whether to end its 307-year union
with England and leave the United
Kingdom. Polls have consistently
shown the pro-union “no” campaign
in the lead, but five of the six major
pollsters have found the gap between
the two sides is narrowing.
Earlier this month, Ipsos-Mori
and Sur vation both found the “yes”
vote closer than ever to overtaking
the “no” campaign. TNS said the
gap has stayed narrow for the last
Differences in how the polls are
conducted mean that the likelihood
of a “yes” vote is not consistent across
the polls. Ipsos-Mori still shows the
unionists with an 18-point lead.
The campaign has entered its
final phase, with both sides laying
out economic projections for an
Nationalists have also used the
good showing of Eurosceptic
parties in European elections
in May to highlight Scotland’s
differences with the rest of Britain.
Sunni insurgents seized a mainly
ethnic Turkmen city in north-western
Iraq overnight after heavy fighting,
solidifying their grip on the north after
a lightning offensive that threatens to
Residents reached by telephone in the
city of Tal Afar said it had fallen to the
rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant after a battle which saw
heavy casualties on both sides.
“The city was overrun by militants.
Severe fighting took place, and many
people were killed. Shi’ite families have
fled to the west and Sunni families have
fled to the east,” a city official who asked
not to be identified said.
Tal Afar is a short drive west from
Mosul, the north’s main city, which the
ISIL fighters seized last week at the start
of a drive that has plunged the country
into the worst crisis since United States
Most of the inhabitants of Tal Afar are
members of the Turkmen ethnic group,
who speak a Turkic language. Turkey has
expressed concern about their security.
The city had been defended by an unit
of Iraq’s security forces commanded by a
Shi’ite major general, Abu Walid, whose
men were among the few holdouts from
the government ’s forces in the province
around Mosul not to flee the rapid ISIL
After sweeping through towns in the
Tigris valley north of Baghdad, ISIL
fighters appear to have halted their
advance outside the capital, instead
moving to tighten their grip on the
The Turkmen and other residents of
Tal Afar are divided among Sunnis and
Shi’ites in a part of Iraq with a complex
ethnic and sectarian mixture. The city is
just outside Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish
region, whose own security forces have
taken advantage of the collapse of
government control to advance into the
city of Kirkuk and rural areas with oil
ISIL fighters aim to establish a
caliphate on both sides of the Syria-
Iraqi frontier based on strict medieval
Sunni Muslim precepts. Their advance
has been assisted by other Sunni Muslim
The advance has alarmed Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite
supporters in Iran as well as the US,
which helped bring Maliki to power
after its 2003 invasion that toppled
Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
US President Barack Obama has said
he is reviewing military options, short of
sending troops, to combat the insurgency,
and Iran has held out the prospect of
working with its longtime US arch-
enemy to help restore security in Iraq.
Washington said overnight it was
beefing up security at its embassy in
Baghdad and moving some staff out.
The vast mission is the largest and
most expensive embassy built anywhere
in the world, a vestige of the days when
the United States had 170,000 troops
in Iraq battling to put down a sectarian
civil war that followed its invasion.
Iraq now faces the prospect of similarly
vicious warfare, but this time with no
US forces on the ground to inter vene.
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