Home' Greymouth Star : June 18th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 5
Fighting has erupted at the
northern approaches to Baghdad
as the United Nations warns Iraq
is in danger of disintegrating in
the face of the assault by Sunni
Washington deployed some
275 military personnel to protect
its embassy in Baghdad, the first
time it has sent troops to Iraq
since it withdrew its forces at the
end of 2011 after a bloody and
costly inter vention launched in
It was also mulling air strikes
against the militants, who are led
by the jihadist Islamic State of
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but
include loyalists of now-executed
Sunni Arab dictator Saddam
A relative calm in Baghdad
ostensibly as militants have
focused on their northern assault
was shattered by a string of
bombings that left 17 people
dead, while the bodies of 18
soldiers and police were found
near the city of Samarra, all shot
in the head and chest.
More than a week after
lightning assault, Prime Minister
several senior officers, including
the commander for the northern
province of Nineveh, the first to
Maliki also ordered that one
of them face court-martial for
The dismissals came after
soldiers and police fled en
masse as insurgents swept into
Nineveh’s capital Mosul, a city
of two million, abandoning their
vehicles and uniforms.
Since the insurgents launched
their lightning assault on June
9, they have captured Mosul, a
city of two million people, and a
big chunk of mainly Sunni Arab
territory stretching towards the
The offensive has displaced
hundreds of thousands of people
and sent jitters through world
oil markets as the militants
have advanced ever nearer
Baghdad leaving the Shi’ite-led
government in disarray.
Officials said overnight that
militants briefly held parts of the
city of Baquba, just 60km from
They also took control of most
of Tal Afar, a strategic Shi’ite-
majority town between Mosul
and the border with Syria, where
ISIL also has fighters engaged
in that country’s three-year-old
The overnight attack on
Baquba, which was pushed back
by security forces but left 44
prisoners dead at a police station,
marked the closest that fighting
has come to the capital.
In Tal Afar, militants controlled
most of the town but pockets of
personnel abandoned the Iraqi
side of a key crossing on the
border with Syria, officers said.
Syrian rebel groups opposed
to ISIL, who already controlled
the other side of the Al-Qaim
crossing, advanced across the
border to take over.
A cameraman was also killed
and a correspondent wounded
while covering the unrest, their
television channel said.
the militants has sparked
international alarm, with UN
envoy to Baghdad Nickolay
Mladenov warning that Iraq’s
territorial integrity was at stake.
The violence has stoked regional
tensions, with Iraq accusing
neighbouring Saudi Arabia of
“siding with terrorism” and of
being responsible for financing
The comments came a day
after the Sunni kingdom blamed
“sectarian” policies by Iraq’s
Shi’ite-led government for
triggering the unrest.
The prime minister of Iraq’s
autonomous Kurdish region told
the BBC it would be “almost
impossible” for the country to
return to how it was before
the offensive, and called for
Sunni Arabs to be granted an
autonomous region of their own.
Senior Sunni and Shi’ite
Maliki and his rival parliament
speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, jointly
issued a televised statement
pledging continuous dialogue
and promising to preser ve the
country’s unity. — AFP
Fighting near capital
Iraqi PM fires officers over extremists’ advance
A British scientist who was left brain damaged
after waiting more than 100 minutes for an
ambulance has been awarded a compensation
package worth £5 million ($9.8 million).
When Caren Paterson collapsed in the
bedroom of her flat in Islington, north London,
in October 2007, her boyfriend called 111
reporting that she was unconscious, breathing
abnormally and her lips had turned blue.
But, law firm Irwin Mitchell said, because
the address in Hargrave Road was inexplicably
flagged as being on the “high risk” register, the
ambulance crew was told to wait for a police
There were no police available at the time
and, despite two more 111 calls, the emergency
medical team waited for over an hour just 100m
from the flat.
Paterson eventually suffered a cardiac arrest,
five minutes before police and an ambulance
The delay has left the 36-year-old, who was
working as a genetic scientist at King’s College,
London, with chronic amnesia, confusion and
disorientation with the result she will never
work again and need 24-hour care for the rest
of her life.
Overnight, Judge Richard Parkes approved a
settlement against London Ambulance Ser vice
NHS Trust consisting of a £1.4m lump sum
plus lifelong annual payments.
He paid tribute to the support and devotion
of Caren’s mother, Eleanor Paterson, from
Warkworth, Northumberland, who was at
London’s High Court for the hearing.
After wards, Mrs Paterson said: “My daughter
was a successful and ambitious scientist but
it is so distressing that all of her aspirations
and ambitions have been taken away from her
because of her brain injury.
“I was determined to ensure Caren had access
to the best possible care and support for the rest
of her life and it is such a huge relief that the
settlement has been approved today.
“Clearly we would rather not be in this
situation at all and nothing will ever return
our daughter to how she was before. But it is
a weight off our minds to know that she will
now be able to continue to receive the care,
treatment and specialist attention that she
“The thought of an ambulance crew sitting
waiting round the corner while my daughter lay
in her flat as her condition went from serious
to life-threatening, causing irreparable damage
to her brain, is still shocking and I hope no one
ever has to go through what we have.” — PA
Ambulance delay ends
in $9m payout
Dozens of people in Guinea have been
admitted to hospital after eating rice
cooked with petrol.
“ In all, 114 people were admitted” to
the main hospital in Guinea’s capital
Conakry, a doctor, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said.
The patients suffered stomach aches,
diarrhoea and vomiting, the doctor
said, adding that they were “treated
after having consumed rice with sauce
prepared with petrol”.
Another doctor confirmed the hospital
admissions, adding that it appeared a
cook in a small restaurant in Conakry
had “mistaken petrol for peanut oil”.
The mass admission caused panic
among patients and visitors at the
hospital, prompting dozens to flee as
they thought the incoming patients had
contracted the Ebola virus — a highly
contagious haemorrhagic fever that has
claimed more than 200 lives in Guinea.
British-designed “smart glasses” that
provide a new set of eyes for the visually
impaired are being tested in public for
the first time.
The devices, which use a pair of video
cameras to enhance residual vision, have
the potential to transform the lives of
thousands of registered blind people in
the United Kingdom.
The glasses are being trialled by 30
visually impaired volunteers at testing
venues in O xford and Cambridge.
Dr Stephen Hicks, of the Nuffield
Department of Clinical Neurosciences
at Oxford University, who led
development of the glasses, said:
“The idea of the smart glasses is to
give people with poor vision an aid
that boosts their awareness of what ’s
around them, allowing greater freedom,
independence and confidence to get
about, and a much improved quality of
“ We eventually want to have a product
that will look like a regular pair of
glasses and cost no more than a few
hundred pounds — about the same as a
The device consists of a pair of video
cameras mounted in a headset, a pocket-
sized computer processor, and software
that projects images of close-by objects
on to displays in the see-through
The software interprets nearby
surroundings to make important
objects such as kerbs, tables, chairs
or groups of people stand out more
In some cases, details such as facial
features can become easier to see.
Of the more than 300,000 severely
sight impaired people in Great Britain,
it is believed about a third could benefit
from the technology.
Twenty volunteers with a range of eye
conditions and levels of vision took part
in preliminary tests of an earlier version
of the glasses conducted last year by the
The new trials are being conducted
with support from the Royal National
Institute of Blind People. — PA
of fer hope
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he will be back
at work at the end of June following a stint in
rehab for his internationally publicised alcohol
and drug abuse.
In a letter to the city clerk, Ford said he “will
be returning to City Hall on Monday, June 30,
2014, in the later portion of the afternoon, to
resume my duties as mayor of Toronto.”
He also asked to have the locks restored on
Ford, 44, took a leave of absence from city hall
in May in the middle of his re-election campaign
to enter rehab after several videos surfaced over
the past year showing him allegedly smoking
The latest video reportedly showed him
smoking the addictive cocaine derivative with
his sister in her basement in April, refuting
Ford’s claims that he had kicked the habit.
The mayor’s drug abuse was first revealed last
year when an alleged drug dealer tried to sell
another video of him smoking crack to the media.
At first, Ford denied using the illicit drug but
later acknowledged he had smoked the crack
while in a “drunken stupor” and yet insisted he
was not an addict.
Since then, Ford has been filmed numerous
times in public behaving erratically.
Toronto City Council stripped the mayor
of most of his powers in November over his
misconduct. — AFP
Ford returning from rehab
Blast hits Nigerian football fans
An explosion tore through a venue in the
north-east Nigerian town of Damaturu where
fans had gathered to watch a World Cup soccer
match overnight, a police official said, declining
to give further details.
Several pick-up trucks carrying bodies arrived
at the nearby General Sani Abacha Specialist
Hospital, a hospital source said, adding: “ There
are also many casualties in the emergency
It was not immediately clear if anyone had
been killed, or how many people had been
injured. A witness near the scene heard a loud
boom, and some residents said they also heard a
Police Commissioner Marcus Danladi
confirmed the explosion, adding that police
were still trying to gather information.
Damaturu is the capital of Yobe State, an
area that has been devastated by attacks from
militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which
in April abducted more than 200 girls from a
school in neighbouring Borno State.
The Nigerian government has advised
residents to avoid gathering in public to watch
the World Cup, concerned about possible
attacks. — Reuters
Sydney man shot in backside
Sydney ’s gangsters often shoot people in the
legs — the kneecapping method being the
preferred way to freak out their rivals in the
city’s ongoing drug and turf wars.
But last night a 27-year-old man took a bullet
to the bum.
Police were called to Foy Street in the inner-
west suburb of Balmain about 8pm (local time)
after reports of the shooting.
They scoured the area and found the 27-year-
old with a bullet wound on his buttocks.
He was taken to hospital in a stable condition
and is expected to live.
Police say two people are believed to have sped
away in a Mazda stolen from the scene.
The full circumstances of the shooting — the
latest in a very long line across the city (although
most have occurred in the west and south-west,
not the inner-west) — remain unclear.
It is being investigated by Strike Force Talon
the operation set up to combat street gun
crime. Inspector Michael Dykes made a plea for
help and witnesses late last night. — AAP
71 children gassed at daycare centre
Seventy-one children at a Quebec daycare
centre have been rushed to hospital with carbon
monoxide poisoning, Canadian authorities say.
Workers at the daycare in Saint-Eustache,
45km north-west of Montreal, called for help
after they and several of the children began
vomiting and complaining of violent headaches.
Symptoms in only a few of the children were
initially dismissed because daycare staff believed
they could be signs of flu.
But they quickly realised something was
seriously wrong when they too began to fall
ill, Q uebec government minister Francine
Charbonneau told a press conference.
“Five children developed symptoms a bit
more severe than the others” and were treated
in hospital while the others remained under
obser vation, she said.
Carbon monoxide can cause headaches,
nausea and fatigue. Prolonged exposure can be
fatal. — AFP
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