Home' Greymouth Star : June 26th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, June 26, 2014
new kidnap claim
Jury deliberations will drag into a sixth
day at the Rolf Harris child sex abuse
trial in London.
Jurors have been considering their
verdicts in the case for almost 23 hours.
They were sent home yesterday after
again failing to reach consensus.
Justice Nigel Sweeney said the six men
and six women should not contact each
The judge first sent the jury out last
Harris has spent each day since waiting
for news at Southwark Crown Court
supported by his daughter, Bindi, and a
small group of other family and friends.
The 84-year-old is charged with 12
counts of indecent assault against four
girls in Britain between 1968 and 1986.
The entertainer’s main accuser is a
childhood friend of Bindi.
She claims the Australian abused her
from the age of 13, but he insists the pair
had a consensual affair that started after
she turned 18.
The second complainant is Australian
woman Tonya Lee, who alleges Harris
assaulted her when she travelled to
London in 1986 with a youth theatre
group. She was 15 at the time.
The two other complainants claim the
celebrity groped them near Portsmouth
in the late 1960s and in Cambridge in
the mid-1970s. The women were seven
or eight and a teenager, respectively,
at the time. Another six women gave
supporting evidence during the seven-
week trial that Harris abused them
in Australia, New Zealand and Malta
between 1969 and 1991. — AAP
jury still out
A Sudanese Christian woman
who faces death threats after a
court cleared her of apostasy has
been charged with forgery after
trying to leave the country, a
“S he is arrested,” Mohanad
Mustafa said overnight.
The charge against Meriam
Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 26, relates
to the travel documents she
was carrying when authorities
stopped the family from leaving
Sudan overnight following an
annulment of her apostasy death
Ishag is also charged with
providing false information,
She was detained by national
security agents at Khartoum
airport, despite the presence of
United States diplomats who were
escorting her and her family, her
American husband Daniel Wani
They were trying to travel to
Washington, Wani said, insisting
there was nothing wrong with the
“ We are worried. That’s why we
want to get out of here as soon
as possible,” Wani said of death
threats against his wife.
A lower court judge sentenced
Ishag to hang for apostasy on May
15, but an appeal court freed her on
Monday from the women’s prison
where she had been detained with
She immediately went into
hiding because of the threats to
Information Minister Ahmed
Bilal Osman said the woman
should have used a Sudanese
passport, but her lawyer said she
does not have one.
“That is the whole problem,
she took a foreign document for
travelling,” he said.
“ What she has done is an illegal
However, Osman suggested the
situation could be resolved.
“I’m sure she will clear herself,
get the passport and she can travel.
Kau Nak, charge d’affaires at
the South Sudanese embassy in
Khartoum, said he had signed the
papers and they were valid.
After being stopped at the
airport, the couple and their two
children, including a baby girl
born while Ishag was on death
row, were taken to a police station
in Khartoum’s Arkawet district.
Ishag remains in custody there.
On May 15, a lower court judge,
referring to her by her father’s
Muslim name Abrar al-Hadi
Mohamed Abdalla, sentenced her
to death for apostasy.
It convicted her under Islamic
sharia law that has been in force
in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws
conversions on pain of death.
A bomb exploded in a crowded shopping
centre in Nigeria’s capital Abuja overnight,
killing at least 21 people in a city already gripped
by fear after a series of deadly attacks by Boko
Haram Islamists, police and the government
The blast shook the Emab Plaza, not far from
the country’s parliament, at 4pm local time (3am
today), the National Emergency Management
Agency (NEMA) said, as shoppers were buying
groceries ahead of the country’s World Cup
match against Argentina, which kicked-off an
“The casualty figure for now is 21 persons
dead, 17 injured,” national police spokesman
Frank Mba said, adding that an arrest had been
Senior government spokesman Mike Omeri
confirmed that the blast was the result of “a
Rescue teams were deployed to the scene and
evacuated the victims from the area, NEMA
spokesman Manzo Ezekiel said.
“The explosion struck at peak business time,”
he said, adding that the area was busy at the
time of the blast and that 40 cars had been
The blast, at the entrance to the mall, was
powerful enough to blow out windows in
buildings on the opposite side of the street,
a reporter on the scene in the immediate
An employee of the nearby Newcastle Hotel
in the Wuse II area of the city, who did not
want to be named, said she clearly heard the
Soldiers and police cordoned off the area and
firefighters were at the scene, as thick smoke
billowed into the sky, a reporter said.
Boko Haram which sparked worldwide
outrage by kidnapping more than 200
schoolgirls in April, has attacked Nigeria’s
capital twice in the last 10 weeks.
A car bombing killed 75 people at the Nyanya
bus terminal on the outskirts of the city on
April 14 while a copycat bombing at the same
spot on May 1 left 19 people dead. — AFP
Bomb kills 21 in Nigerian capital
Sudanese Christian woman faces new charges
Nigeria’s government has denied claims that
Boko Haram militants abducted 60 women and
children from the country’s restive north-east,
saying there was no evidence despite eyewitness
Government spokesman Mike Omeri told
a news conference in Abuja that there was
“nothing on the ground to prove any act of
abduction, as reported”.
A local government official in the Damboa
district of Borno, a vigilante leader and an area
senator all said on Monday the women and
girls, some as young as three, were taken during
a raid on Kummabza village in the last week.
Nigeria’s military initially did not confirm
or deny the abduction and Borno governor
Kashim Shettima ordered an urgent probe,
highlighting a recent reported abduction of at
least 20 nomadic women from the same area.
Shettima said he was cautious because of
subsequent counter-claims that the women had
in fact moved elsewhere in the State as part of
migration patterns among ethnic Fulani cattle
Omeri claimed that Shettima had established
“that there were no sufficient facts on the
alleged abduction” and added that “based on
available facts before us there was no abduction
of 60 persons in Borno State”.
Residents from Kummabza and the
surrounding villages attacked over three days
from last Thursday, however, said they could not
understand the denial.
“This is happening. It has been confirmed,” one
man, who asked for his name to be withheld,
Establishing facts on the ground is notoriously
difficult in north-east Nigeria, which has been
hard hit by five years of violence at the hands of
the heavily-armed militant group.
Cellphone networks have been downed and
there are few functioning landlines, while travel
between towns and villages is fraught with the
danger of attack, news of which often takes days
Independent corroboration of claims is also
hard to come by, with the police and security
ser vices also unable to move freely because of
Nigeria’s government was heavily criticised
for its slow response to the mass abduction
by Boko Haram militants of more than 200
schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, also
in Borno, on April 14, that triggered global
outrage. — AFP
Beleaguered Iraqi premier
Nuri al-Maliki has warned
rivals against exploiting a Sunni
militant onslaught for political
gain and insisted that any new
government must be based on an
election he won.
His remarks came as United
States military advisers began
meeting with Iraqi commanders
faced with an offensive that
has overrun swathes of five
provinces, killed nearly 1100
people, displaced hundreds of
thousands and threatens to tear
the country apart.
continued to repel assaults on
critical towns and infrastructure,
fighters from al Qaeda’s Syrian
franchise, Al-Nusra Front, made
a local alliance with the jihadist
group leading the charge in Iraq,
bolstering its offensive.
In apparent response to calls
from Sunni tribal leaders to form
a government that ignores the
result of an April 30 election,
which they describe as a sham,
Maliki said that would be a “coup
against the constitution and the
The incumbent premier, whose
electoral bloc won by far the most
seats in April, said such a move
was “an attempt by those who
are against the constitution to
eliminate the young democratic
process and steal the votes of
the voters”. He warned against
exploiting “what the country
is facing in order to achieve
Though Washington has
pressed for Iraq’s leaders to unite
in the face of the two-week
campaign led by the Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL,
also known as ISIS) jihadist
group, the country’s fractious
political blocs have shown little
sign of coming together.
US “support will be intense,
sustained, and if Iraq’s leaders
take the necessary steps to bring
the country together, it will be
effective”, Secretary of State
John Kerry said during a visit to
Iraq in which he met numerous
politicians and urged them to
However, US President Barack
Obama has so far refrained from
carrying out air strikes on the
insurgents, as urged by Maliki.
Kerry is to hold meetings
with Middle East allies in Paris
tonight to brief them on his talks.
Maliki’s security spokesman
said US advisers had begun
meeting with Iraqi commanders,
adding: “ We hope that there will
be a true (US) inter vention in
order to offer real help for Iraq.”
Iraqi PM warns against exploiting assault
Prime Minister David Cameron has
apologised to the British Parliament
for hiring former tabloid editor Andy
Coulson, who has been convicted
of phone hacking, but faced fresh
embarrassment as the judge rebuked him
for speaking out about the case.
Cameron said it had been the “wrong
decision” to make the News of the
World editor his media chief in 2007,
though denied ignoring warnings about
Coulson’s activities at the tabloid, which
Rupert Murdoch shut down in disgrace
in July 2011.
The eight-month phone-hacking trial
came to an end as jurors were sent home
without reaching a verdict on two further
charges that Coulson faced relating to
alleged payments to police officers.
The judge at the Old Bailey court
reprimanded Cameron for making his
first apology for Coulson’s appointment
soon after Coulson was convicted for
hacking on Tuesday, but before the
bribery verdicts came.
Judge John Saunders said he had
rejected a request by Coulson’s defence
lawyers to halt proceedings on the basis
that jurors might be influenced by the
premier’s views, but added it did not
mean he was not concerned about what
Cameron hired Coulson just months
after he resigned as News of the World
editor in 2007, soon after the jailing of
the paper’s royal editor and a private
investigator for hacking.
Coulson, 46, always denied knowing
about the practice and the prime minister
stuck by him for almost four years despite
media reports to the contrary.
“ I always said that if (Coulson’s)
assurances turned out to be wrong I
would apologise fully and frankly to
this House of Commons and I do so
today from this despatch box. This was
the wrong decision,” Cameron told the
House of Commons.
Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband
said the charge against Cameron was
“not one of ignorance, but one of wilful
The high-profile trial centred on the
News of the World’s efforts to hack the
phones of Britain’s royal family, politicians,
celebrities and victims of crime.
In a dramatic conclusion to one of the
most expensive cases in British criminal
history, Coulson was found guilty, but
his fellow former editor and one-time
lover Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all
Coulson will learn next week his
sentence for hacking — which could be
a jail term of up to two years — and also
whether prosecutors will seek a retrial on
the bribery claims. — AFP
A Spanish court has upheld corruption
charges against Cristina de Borbon, sister
of newly-crowned King Felipe VI, and her
husband in one of the last steps before a trial
that could cloud the monarchy’s bid to rebuild
The rulings by the Palma de Mallorca court
come barely a week after King Juan Carlos
abdicated in favour of his son, who sought to
repair the royal family’s scandal-worn image
with a promise of honesty and transparency
when he took the throne.
The court said it had formalised charges
of tax fraud and money laundering against
Princess Cristina, 49, who was caught up
in an investigation of her husband Inaki
Urdangarin’s business dealings.
Urdangarin, 46, a former Olympic handball
player, is accused of using his connections to
win public contracts to put on events through
his non-profit organisation Noos Foundation,
and of embezzling several millions of euros in
The couple, who have four children, are
now a few administrative steps away from
being put on trial. They have both denied
Defence lawyers for Cristina de Borbon
and Urdangarin told reporters they would
appeal the overnight ruling, as did the anti-
corruption prosecutor of the Balearics, where
the investigation is centred. The prosecutor
has said repeatedly that he does not believe
there is evidence that the princess committed
Under Spanish law, prosecutors can file
briefs on behalf of the defense if they disagree
with the examining magistrate who is
investigating a case and who has a dual role as
prosecutor and judge.
In his 167-page ruling, Palma Examining
Magistrate Jose Castro said there was
evidence that the couple had paid for dozens
of personal items — from parking tickets to
children’s birthday parties to a trip to Rio
de Janeiro — out of a shell company he said
was used to launder proceeds from the Noos
He also complained of receiving pressure
from many quarters — political, judicial,
media and institutional — over the time it
took him to investigate Urdangarin. He said
it was a complex case and that the four-year
investigation was justified.
Princess Cristina and Urdangarin, if found
guilty in a trial, could face sentences of years
The royal family has lost favour after a
series of scandals, including the Noos case, as
Spaniards battle economic hardship and high
unemployment, though Felipe has distanced
himself from his sister and remained
untouched by the case.
Princess Cristina did not attend last week’s
coronation, and she and Urdangarin have
been barred from official royal events since
the investigation gathered pace.
If the ruling is not thrown out on appeal,
it could still take months for the case to go
to trial. Corruption cases in Spain often take
many years to conclude. — Reuters
Spain’s Cristina de Borbon, sister of the newly-crowned King Felipe VI, leaves a
courthouse after testifying in front of judge Jose Castro over tax fraud and money-
laundering charges in Palma de Mallorca in February.
Princess on graft charges
The son of legendary French explorer and
film-maker Jacques Cousteau says ensuring the
protection of the Great Barrier Reef will draw
tourists to Q ueensland.
Jean-Michel Cousteau, an environmentalist
and film producer like his father, was speaking
from Queensland’s tropical north this week
where he is campaigning to encourage north
American tourists to visit the State.
“ We need to do everything we can to protect
it,” Cousteau told reporters in Cairns last
“These are jewels, so whether you are a
snorkeler or a scuba diver or whatever . . . if (the
coral) is not there people won’t come any more,
people will go somewhere else.”
Cousteau, founder of marine conser vation and
education organisation Ocean Futures Society,
says he was encouraged by the work Australia
was doing to protect the reef.
However, he said there were a number issues
affecting the reef ’s health, including run-off
from developments and farms, fishing and
He said the reef is a “special place” and has
some of the best coral anywhere in the world.
Cousteau said tourism and education were
This is because people want places they visit
protected and tourists also encourage others to
visit areas they feel are being looked after.
He said a barrier for north American travellers
wanting to visit Australia was the belief the
country is too far from home, a mindset he
hopes to change.
North America is an important international
market for Queensland, with the State
welcoming 205,000 visitors in the year to
March 2014. — A AP
Cousteau goes in to bat for reef
Salt Lake City
A prominent Mormon feminist, who
was excommunicated by the Utah-based
church this week after pushing for the
ordination of women, said overnight she
plans to appeal the decision.
Kate Kelly, 33, was stripped of her
membership in the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday
after a three-man disciplinary council
ruled she had violated the “ laws and
orders” of the faith and that her actions
amounted to apostasy.
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