Home' Greymouth Star : July 1st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Tuesday, July 1, 2014
The United States says the
declaration by Sunni militants of an
“Islamic caliphate” on territory they
have seized in Iraq and Syria has “no
“ We have seen these types of words
from ISIL before,” State Department
spokeswoman Jen Psaki told
reporters, referring to militants of the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“This declaration has no meaning
for the people in Iraq and Syria,” she
said, adding that the militants —
who have now renamed their group
the Islamic State — were just trying
“to control people by fear.”
The White House said the jihadists
spearheading the offensive in Iraq
had waged “a campaign of terror of
gross acts of violence and repressive
ideology that pose a grave threat to
“ ISIL is not fighting for a stronger
Iraq. ISIL is fighting to destroy
Iraq. That ’s why you’ve seen this
administration work closely with
Iraq’s political leaders to encourage
them to unite the country as they
confront this existential threat,”
spokesman Josh Earnest said.
With Iraq’s parliament scheduled to
hold its opening session tonight, Psaki
said Washington was “continuing
to urge Iraqi leaders to come to an
agreement on the critical posts key ” for
the formation of a new government.
The jihadists, in an audio recording
released on-line on Sunday, said their
caliphate would spread from Aleppo
in northern Syria to Diyala in eastern
Iraq, and ordered Muslims in those
areas to “obey” and pay allegiance to
their new leader.
Ever since the Prophet Mohammed’s
death, a caliph was designated “the
prince” or emir “of the believers”.
After the first four caliphs who
succeeded Mohammed, the caliphate
lived its golden age in the Omayyad
empire from the year 661 to 750, and
then under the Abbasids, from 750 to
It was abolished in 1924 after the
Ottoman empire collapsed. — AFP
Caliphate declaration has no meaning — US
The murder trial of Paralympian Oscar
Pistorius has resumed with experts
saying they had found no sign of mental
illness after a month of psychiatric tests.
“Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a
mental illness or defect that would have
rendered him criminally not responsible
for the offence charged,” State prosecutor
Gerrie Nel said overnight, reading from
one of two psychologist reports prepared
during four weeks of examination by a
psychiatric panel and a psychologist.
Both said Pistorius could be held
The star runner is accused of murdering
his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
on Valentine’s Day last year.
He admits shooting Steenkamp with a
9mm pistol through a locked toilet door,
but says it was a mistake as he thought
she was an intruder coming to attack
him in the dead of night.
“Mr Pistorius was capable of
appreciating the wrongfulness of his act,”
Nel said. Sitting in the dock, Pistorius
stared straight ahead as Nel read the
The month-long mental assessment was
ordered by Judge Thokozile Masipa after
his defence called a witness who testified
that the Paralympic gold medallist has
“generalised anxiety disorder”.
The defence team claimed the condition
could have resulted in a heightened fear
of crime that affected his judgment on
the night he shot his girlfriend.
Nel who has been described as a pit bull
terrier for his ruthless cross-examination
style in the trial, asked the court to
closely interrogate the psychiatrist ’s
diagnosis, fearing Pistorius may exploit
concerns about his mental health to reset
Defence lawyer Barry Roux said his
team agreed with the report, but asked
for more time to review it.
“I also got this this morning,” Judge
Masipa said. “ I didn’t know where to
look, so I decided not to touch it.”
The trial continues with the defence
calling its final witnesses.
The prosecution argues the shooting
of Steenkamp was cold-blooded murder
following a row between the young
couple and has gathered evidence of a
His defence team has claimed the
sprinter suffers from deep-seated anxiety
dating back to the amputation of his
lower legs as a child and the influence of
a mother who abused alcohol and slept
with a pistol under her pillow out of fear
of South Africa’s high crime rates.
Pistorius spent a month attending daily
sessions as an outpatient at Weskoppies
Hospital outside Pretoria from May 20.
The athlete has often broken down
during the proceedings, sobbing and
vomiting when graphic details about
Steenkamp’s death were presented to the
His outbursts were so frequent that his
defence team started keeping a bucket
close by the dock.
His trial started in March and has
attracted global media attention. He
has pleaded not guilty to Steenkamp’s
murder and other charges related to
He faces a maximum of 25 years in
prison if convicted of murder. — AFP
‘No sign of
Rolf Harris will be stripped of
the BAFTA Fellowship he was
awarded two years ago and could
lose his CBE from the Q ueen after
being found guilty of indecent
Harris was crestfallen as he
walked slowly from Southwark
Crown Court early today after a
jury unanimously found him guilty
of all 12 charges.
The 84-year-old — holding hands
with his wife Alwen and daughter
Bindi — remained silent as
reporters fired questions at him.
An Australian voice yelled out:
“ What have you got to say for
That was followed by: “Sinister
Those two words were how
prosecutor Sasha Wass, QC,
described Harris in her closing
address almost three weeks ago.
Overnight the jury agreed with her.
A BAFTA spokesman confirmed
the children’s entertainer’s honour
will be removed in light of the
“The British Academy of Film
and Television Arts (BAFTA) has
made the decision to annul the
BAFTA Fellowship bestowed upon
Rolf Harris in 2012 following his
conviction,” the spokesman said.
While the British Cabinet Office
said it could not comment on
individual cases normal protocol
sees honours from Buckingham
Palace forfeited in circumstances
where the person is considered
to have brought the system into
A recommendation can be made
by the Honours and Appointments
Secretariat to the Forfeiture
Committee to revoke an honour if
a person has been found guilty of a
The decision to revoke an honour
must be approved by the Q ueen.
Harris was first honoured at
the palace in the late 1960s with
an MBE, followed by an OBE a
decade later, and a CBE in 2006.
A year earlier the Q ueen sat for
Harris while he painted a portrait,
commissioned by the BBC for
television programme The Q ueen
by Rolf, to mark her 80th birthday.
In 2012 Harris took centre
stage as one of the performers
at the Q ueen’s diamond jubilee
celebrations outside the palace.
Ahead of his BAFTA Fellowship
just a few weeks earlier he had been
described as “one of the world’s
most iconic entertainers” by the
Following the honour he said: “I’m
hugely honoured and very thrilled.”
Harris’s portrait of the Queen was
on display at the palace during the
summer of 2006 to be viewed by
members of the public before being
returned to the BBC.
Asked about the whereabouts of
the portrait now, a BBC spokesman
said: “ We’ve been asked about
this before and the position hasn’t
changed. The BBC does not have
this painting in its collection. ”
Harris faces losing his honours
PICTURE: Getty Images
Artist and television personality Rolf Harris leaves court after being found guilty of 12 indecent assault charges at Southwark Crown Court after a
seven-week trial in London.
Nigeria’s military says it has busted a
terrorist intelligence cell and arrested a
businessman who “participated actively”
in the April mass abduction of more
than 200 schoolgirls.
It was unclear if the first arrest of a
suspect could help in rescuing at least
219 girls who remain captive.
Boko Haram Islamic extremists are
threatening to sell the girls into marriage
and slavery if Nigeria’s government
does not exchange them for detained
Defence Ministry spokesman Major
General Chris Olukolade said in a
statement that businessman Babuji Ya’ari
belonged to a vigilante group fighting
Boko Haram and used that membership
as cover “ while remaining an active
He said information yielded by Ya’ari’s
detention has led to the arrests of two
women: Haj Kaka, who he said was
a spy who also procured arms for the
extremists, and Hafsat Bako, described
as a paymaster. Bako told soldiers that
operatives are paid a minimum of 10,000
naira (about $70) depending on the task,
the statement said.
Olukolade’s statement accused Ya’ari of
“spearheading” last month’s assassination
of the emir of Gwoza, the head of a royal
family in north-east Borno State, and of
co-ordinating attacks that have killed
hundreds in Maiduguri, the capital of
Borno State and birthplace of Boko
“ Babuji has been co-ordinating several
deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011,
including the daring attacks on customs
and military locations as well as the
planting of IEDs (explosive devices) in
several locations,” the statement said. “A
terrorists’ intelligence cell headed by a
businessman who participated actively in
the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok
has been busted by troops. ” — AP
rebounds after rehab
Halhul (Palestinian territories)
Israel has found the bodies of three
missing teenagers, accusing Hamas of
their murder and vowing to make the
Islamist movement pay.
But a senior Hamas official warned
Israel against any reprisals, saying it
would open “the gates of hell”.
The discovery of the three bodies in a
field in the southern West Bank came 17
days after the youngsters disappeared,
triggering a huge manhunt during
which five Palestinians were killed and
more than 400 arrested.
It also triggered a surge in rocket
attacks against southern Israel by
militants in the Gaza Strip, which
triggered retaliatory Israeli air strikes
Israel has publicly blamed Hamas for
the teenagers’ abduction and staged
a major crackdown on the Islamist
movement ’s West Bank network.
But so far, the military has held back
from attacking Hamas’s power base in
the Gaza Strip.
“This evening, we found three bodies
and all the signs indicate that they
are the bodies of our three kidnapped
youngsters,” Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu told ministers at the start
of an emergency session of his security
“They were kidnapped and murdered
in cold blood by human animals. Satan
has not yet invented vengeance for the
blood of a small child,” he said.
“Hamas is responsible and Hamas will
The bodies were found in the southern
West Bank near the town of Halhul,
some 10 minutes from the roadside
where they were last seen hitchhiking.
“D uring the search for Eyal Ifrach,
Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frankel, the
IDF discovered three bodies,” the Israeli
army said on Twitter.
One of the civilian volunteers involved
in the search told army radio the bodies
had been found under a pile of branches
and stones in a remote area.
“ Today, during a sweep with the army,
one of the guys spotted something
unusual, they started to move branches
and stones and found the bodies,”
volunteer Benny Truper said.
“ It was a very isolated area, more or less
at the end of the world.”
Shortly before the news was made
public, Netanyahu convened a meeting
of his security cabinet with ministers
expected to take “operative” decisions,
public radio said.
Deputy defence minister Danny
Danon called for a widespread operation
to “eradicate” the Islamist movement.
“ We will not stop until Hamas is
completely defeated,” he said.
“The homes of the terrorists must
be demolished and their arms caches
Following the teenagers’ disappearance,
Israel launched a vast search and arrest
operation, which also sought to lay
waste to Hamas’s West Bank network.
More than 400 Palestinians were
arrested, two thirds of them Hamas
members, and another five people killed
in clashes sparked by the campaign,
dubbed Operation Brother’s Keeper.
But Hamas overnight warned Israel
against any punitive action against the
“ If the occupiers carry out an escalation
or a war, they will open the gates of hell
on themselves,” Hamas spokesman Sami
Abu Zuhri said.
Hamas has dismissed the Israeli
allegations as “stupid” with Abu Zuhri
accusing Israel of fabricating the
kidnapping as an excuse to crack down
onit. — AFP
Israel vows revenge over teens’ deaths
Facebook secretly manipulated
the feelings of 700,000 users to
understand “emotional contagion”
in a study that prompted anger and
forced the social network giant on
For one week in 2012 — and
without the explicit consent or
knowledge of users — Facebook
tampered with the algorithm used
to place posts into their news feeds
to study how this affected their
The researchers wanted to see if
the number of positive, or negative,
words in messages they read
affected whether users then posted
positive or negative content in their
Facebook, Cornell University, and
the University of California at San
Francisco, appeared in the June 17
edition of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.
Results of the study spread — and
with it anger and disbelief — when
the on-line magazine Slate and The
Atlantic website wrote about it on
transferred to others via emotional
contagion, leading people to
experience the same emotions
without their awareness,” the study
“These results indicate that
emotions expressed by others
experimental evidence for massive-
scale contagion via social networks.”
While other research has used
metadata to study trends, this
appears to be unique because it
manipulated the data to see if there
was a reaction.
Facebook, which says that it has
more than one billion active users,
said a statement: “ This research
was conducted for a single week in
2012 and none of the data used was
associated with a specific person’s
“ We do research to improve our
ser vices and to make the content
people see on Facebook as relevant
and engaging as possible.
“A big part of this is understanding
how people respond to different
types of content, whether it’s
positive or negative in tone, news
from friends, or information from
pages they follow. We carefully
consider what research we do
and have a strong internal review
In the paper, the researchers
said the study “was consistent
with Facebook’s Data Use Policy,
to which all users agree prior to
creating an account on Facebook.”
But that did nothing to stem the
growing anger of Facebook users.
USER FEEDS FOR MASSIVE
PSYCH EXPERIMENT... Yeah,
time to close FB acct!” read one
Other tweets used words like
“super disturbing,” “creepy ” and
“e vil,” as well as angry expletives,
to describe the psychological
University professor who edited
the report for publication, told The
Atlantic that she was concerned
about the research and contacted
Fiske said the authors allayed her
concerns, saying they had received
approval from a ethics review board
before conducting the experiment.
Nevertheless, Fiske admitted to
being “a little creeped out ” by the
study. — AFP
Outrage over Facebook ’s ‘mood test’
Mayor Rob Ford is to return to
work today more popular than
ever after a stint in rehab for
alcohol and drug abuse.
Ford, 45, moved into second
or third place in the lead-up to
municipal elections in October,
according to the latest polls,
despite being absent from the
campaign trail for a month to
attend a rehab centre.
His surprise rebound in
popularity comes after support
plunged to a low of 32% at the
beginning of June when he
disappeared from the limelight.
“ With his return now imminent,
interest in the mayor is beginning
to grow, and with it, as usually
happens, his approval,” Lorne
Bozinoff of Forum Research,
which published a poll showing
Ford behind frontrunner Olivia
Chow by seven points, said.
“ We’ll see if this is a temporary
phenomenon, or a sustained surge.”
Ford took a leave from City
Hall in May in the middle of
his re-election campaign to
enter rehab after several videos
surfaced showing him apparently
smoking crack cocaine. The
latest video reportedly showed
him smoking the drug with his
sister in her basement in April,
contradicting Ford’s claims that
he had kicked the habit. — AFP
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi has pledged “retribution” after
two police officers were killed defusing
bombs outside his Cairo palace,
almost a year after he overthrew his
An Islamist militant group, one of
several that have carried out attacks
since president Mohamed Morsi’s
ouster on July 3 last year, warned
several days ago that it had planted
bombs near the east Cairo palace.
It was not immediately clear whether
Sisi, who was the defence minister
when he toppled Morsi and then won
a May presidential election, was in the
Ittihadiya palace at the time.
Sisi pledged “retribution” in a pre-
recorded speech aired last evening to
mark the anniversary of mass protests
against Morsi last year, that prompted
the military led by Sisi to oust him
three days later.
The interior ministry said a colonel
was killed and several other policemen
wounded when a bomb they were
trying to defuse went off.
Almost an hour later, as policemen
cordoned off the area and tried
to defuse a second bomb, it too
detonated, killing a lieutenant colonel
and wounding several other officers.
A paramedic’s hand was blown off
by the blast and blood spattered over a
nearby white police van.
A disposal robot moved a third
bomb to the middle of the street,
where sappers safely defused it.
Attacks by militants have killed
almost 500 police and soldiers since
Morsi’s overthrow and incarceration,
according to the government.
Last Wednesday, five small bombs
went off in Cairo metro stations,
wounding five people, followed
by two bombs on Saturday in a
telecommunication tower that killed a
watchman’s wife and daughter.
Egyptian officers killed defusing bombs
The body of a police officer is carried away from the site of bomb blasts in
A rare Roman coin dating back to the
fourth century AD has been unearthed
in north-western Russia, archaeologists
The copper coin was found on Friday
at an excavation site in the Russian city
of Veliky Novgorod located some 550km
north-west of Moscow.
“The coin bears the image of a she-
wolf with Romulus and Remus — the
founders of Rome — on one side and the
image of a Roman goddess on the other
side,” Oleg Oleynikov, the head of the
excavation expedition, said.
The find is dated to the time of the
founder of Constantinople, Constantine
I, at the beginning of the fourth century
AD, Oleynikov said.
The coin is “the most ancient ” of
some 4000 artefacts that have so far
been discovered in the city by a search
organised by the Archaeology Institute
of the Russian Academy of Science.
“This discovery is a new page in the
history of ties between Constantinople
and Russia of those times,” Oleynikov
said. — AFP
The deaths of 30 boat migrants has
sparked anger and frustration in Italy, as
critics accused the government of failing
to deal with an immigration crisis which
has seen more than 5000 people rescued
in the past 24 hours.
Rescuers had found the bodies stuffed
into the hold of a fishing boat from north
Africa when they boarded the vessel to
help the most vulnerable of almost 600
migrants in the vessel.
A navy doctor said the migrants had
“probably suffocated” in the tiny space,
and “advised against removing the
bodies” as it was not yet clear whether
there were poisonous gases in the hold
which might affect others.
“Another 30 dead in a boat. Another 30
deaths on the consciences of those who
defend Mare Lorum,”said Matteo Salvini,
head of the anti-immigration Northern
League party, in an ironic reference to the
country’s “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”)
operation to rescue boat immigrants.
The league has warned Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi’s government that
plucking asylum seekers and immigrants
to safety from their rickety boats only
encourages more people to set out across
the Mediterranean for Europe.
“Renzi and Alfano’s shirts are soaked
in blood. Stop the departures, help them
in their own countries, immediately!” he
said in a post on Facebook, pointing the
finger not only at the centre-left leader,
but also at Interior Minister Angelino
Maurizio Gasparri, the Senate leader
of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia
party, blasted Renzi’s
navy operation and the “thousands of
landings, deaths, tragedy, chaos. We
cannot go on like this”.
The navy said some of the 30 may have
drowned rather than suffocated, though
it would not confirm whether there was
water in the hold or how much.
It is not the first time Italian rescuers
have found migrants dead on the
overcrowded boats, but not previously in
such a large number.
The boat is being towed by the Italian
navy and is to arrive tonight in Pozzallo
on the south-east coast of Sicily.
“ We cannot face this emergency alone,”
the mayor of Pozzallo, Luigi Ammatuna,
said. “ The only two refrigerated rooms in
the cemetery are occupied by the bodies
of migrants. Where will we put the 30
victims of this atrocious tragedy?”
30 migrants die in boat
Murder trial resumes
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