Home' Greymouth Star : July 11th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, July 11, 2014
Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city.
Gaza deaths mounting
France foiled an Islamist terrorist plot
to target the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre
and a nuclear power plant, it emerged
overnight, as the country unveiled
tougher anti-terrorism laws.
Police stumbled on the plans after
decrypting coded messages between a
29-year-old Algerian butcher living in
the Vaucluse, southern France, known
only as Ali M, and a high-ranking
member of al Qaeda in the Islamic
According to Le Parisien newspaper,
the married father of two was asked
by his Aqim contact in April last year
to make “suggestions concerning how
to conduct jihad in the place you are
Ali M suggested targeting nuclear
power plants, “planes at the moment of
take-off ”, and a number of landmarks,
including the Eiffel Tower and the
Louvre museum in Paris.
Failing that, he suggested attacks on
“the modest and poor French population”
in markets or nightclubs, as well as police
In an apparent reference to the famed
Avignon theatre festival, he also singled
out “cultural events that take place in the
South of France in which thousands of
Christians gather for a month”.
“The main walkways become black
with people and a simple grenade can
injure dozens of people, not to mention a
booby trapped device,” he said.
His contact then asked him to travel
with a fellow would-be terrorist to Algeria
to “ benefit from a military training and
training in combat techniques”.
After that, he would return to France,
stake out targets and “await your
“I am fully ready and prepared,” he
Although the plans were at the
discussion stage, French police arrested
the Algerian in June last year, a month
before he was due to fly to Tunisia and
then on to Algeria.
The revelations came as Bernard
Cazeneuve, France’s interior minister,
unveiled tougher anti-terrorist laws,
including proposals to ban a suspect
from leaving the country if it is thought
he intends to fight jihad abroad, such as
in Iraq or Syria.
Last month, police arrested Mehdi
Nemmouche, a French jihadist who
fought in Syria, and allegedly killed four
people at the Brussels Jewish Museum in
May after travelling back to Europe.
The legislation, to be presented to
parliament “in the coming days”, will
also create powers to force internet
providers to block Islamist hate
propaganda and also allow investigators
to use pseudonyms to go undercover in
Some 800 French nationals or residents
are thought to have left to fight in Syria
since the start of the civil war. — AP
UN chief appeals for ceasefire
United Nations (New York)
United Nations chief Ban Ki-
moon appealed for a ceasefire
between Israel and Palestinian
militants, calling on the international
community to do everything to halt
increasing violence in Gaza.
“It is now more urgent than
ever to try to find common
ground for a return to calm and a
ceasefire understanding,” he told
an emergency meeting of the UN
Security Council in New York
Ban said Hamas and Islamic Jihad
had fired more than 550 rockets and
mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip
into Israel in the last few days and
that Israel had launched more than
500 air strikes on Gaza.
Eighty-eight Palestinians, many of
them civilians, are reported to have
been killed and 339 injured, with
150 homes destroyed or severely
damaged and nearly 900 people
displaced, he said.
Ban said all parties, including
Palestinian armed groups, must
respect international law.
“Once again civilians are paying
the price for the continuation of
“My paramount concern is the
safety and well-being of all civilians
no matter where they are,” he told
“ Today we face the risk of an all-
out escalation in Israel and Gaza
with the threat of a ground offensive
still palpable and preventable only if
Hamas stops rocket firing. ”
The UN secretary-general said he
had been in contact with Israel and
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas,
as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
Egypt, the Arab League, the United
States and the European Union.
At least 88 Palestinians, most of them
civilians, have been killed in Israel’s
Gaza offensive, Palestinian officials said
overnight as militants in the enclave kept
up rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem
and other cities.
As Israeli officials seemed to hint at
a possible invasion by ground forces,
eight members of one family, including
five children, were killed in an air strike
that levelled two homes at Khan Younis
in the south of the Gaza Strip near the
Egyptian border, the Palestinian Health
Israel’s military made no comment on
what would be the deadliest strike since
its began its assault on Tuesday. The
defence minister spoke of “long days of
French President Francois Hollande
voiced his concern at the civilian deaths
in the Palestinian enclave and called
for a truce. A spokeswoman for United
States Secretary of State John Kerry,
who like Hollande spoke to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas, said of
possible escalation: “Nobody wants to
see a ground invasion.”
The offensive followed a build-up in
violence after three Jewish students were
killed in the occupied West Bank last
month and a Palestinian youth died in a
suspected revenge attack.
officials in Hamas-
dominated Gaza said at least 60
civilians, including a four-year-old
girl and a boy aged five who were
killed overnight, were among the 88
Palestinians who have died in Israeli
attacks since Tuesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said in a televised statement:
“So far the battle is progressing as
planned but we can expect further stages
in future. Up to now, we have hit Hamas
and the terror organisations hard and
as the battle continues we will increase
strikes at them. ”
Netanyahu discussed options with his
security cabinet as air strikes continued
and officials hinted at a possible ground
offensive, there was no word on when or
if this would happen.
“ We have long days of fighting ahead
of us,” Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon
Sirens sounded in and around
Jerusalem in the evening and residents
ran for cover as a number of rockets were
launched towards the holy city. Two
were intercepted and others fell in open
ground. The remnants of one rocket fell
on a building in an Israeli community in
the hills near Jerusalem, police said.
Militants from Hamas’s Qassam
Brigades and the smaller Islamic Jihad
group said they had launched separate
The only Israeli casualties overnight
were two people who suffered minor
wounds when a mortar bomb exploded
near the Gaza border.
Israel says it has struck more than 860
targets in an offensive intended to halt
persistent rocket fire at its own civilian
population, which escalated after Israeli
forces arrested hundreds of Hamas
activists in the West Bank while hunting
for the abducted teenagers.
It says Hamas Islamists put innocent
Palestinians in harm’s way by placing
weaponry and gunmen in residential
areas. The movement has widespread
support among Palestinians.
Across the Gaza Strip, smoke and
rubble marked the aftermath of Israeli
attacks in the most serious hostilities
between the militants and Israel’s
powerful armed forces in two years.
“The Jews say they are fighting Hamas
and fighting gunmen while all the bodies
we have seen on television are those of
women and children,” Khaled Ali, 45, a
Gaza taxi driver, said.
Rocket salvoes on Israel — the military
said more than 470 projectiles have been
fired since Tuesday, including some
170 overnight alone — have caused
no fatalities or serious injuries. That
has been due in part to interception by
Israel’s partly US-funded Iron Dome
aerial defence system.
The wail of air raid sirens has paralysed
business in southern communities and
sent hundreds of thousands of people
scrambling for shelter in Tel Aviv, the
commercial capital where two rockets
were shot down overnight. But offices
and shops remain open and roads are
c logged with traffic.
One rocket fell in the West Bank
administrative centre Ramallah. It
landed in open ground close to a
Palestinian home. Some rockets have
landed more than 100km from Gaza.
Apartheid-era assassin Eugene
de Kock, a police colonel known as
“ Prime Evil”, has been refused parole
after ser ving 20 years in prison.
“I have not approved parole at
this stage,” South African Justice
Minister Michael Masutha told a
news conference overnight.
De Kock was sentenced to two
terms of life imprisonment plus 212
years for murder and other crimes as
head of a police death squad targeting
Masutha said a key reason why de
Kock would not be paroled was that
the families of the victims had not
“I am of the view that it is fair and
in the interests of the victims and
the broader community that the
families of the victims are afforded
an opportunity to participate in the
parole consideration process,” he said.
Masutha said, however, that de
Kock had “certainly made progress”
in jail and that he could try again for
parole within a year.
De Kock is one of a handful of
apartheid-era officials prosecuted
after being refused amnesty by
the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC), which was set
up in 1995 to consider amnesty for
those who openly confessed their
crimes during apartheid.
In chilling testimony before the
commission, de Kock turned on his
former commanders and returned to
the theme in his amnesty application.
“I am the only member of the South
African Police Ser vice that is ser ving
a sentence for crimes which I had
committed as part of the National
Party’s attempt to uphold apartheid
and fight the liberation movements,”
de Kock said in an affidavit supporting
his parole application.
“Not one of the previous generals or
ministers who were in the cabinet up
to 1990 have been prosecuted at all,”
“I would never have committed the
crimes if it was not for the political
context of the time, and the position
I was placed in, and in particular
the orders I had received from my
De Kock, a bulky man with a
hooked nose and prominent chin,
was commander of the Vlakplass
“counter-terrorism” unit, based on a
farm in the outskirts of Pretoria, from
1985 to 1993.
Testifying before the TRC in 1996,
the highly decorated former colonel
described the inner workings of the
unit, blamed for killing at least 70
He calmly described scores of
atrocities, from bombing the African
National Congress headquarters in
London to cross-border raids where
he was applauded for shooting dead
women and children. — AFP
Apartheid assassin refused parole
Germany to expel
Bollywood’s grand dame
Zohra Sehgal, whose seven-
decade career spanned theatre,
film, dance and television in
both India and Britain, has
died in hospital at the age of
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi led tributes to the star,
who was born in northern
India in April 1912, describing
her on Twitter as “prolific and
full of life”.
“Zohra Sehgal made a mark
through her acting, which is
admired across generations.
Saddened on her demise,” he
Sehgal’s daughter Kiran told
the Press Trust of India news
agency that her mother had
been ill for a few days and died
of a cardiac arrest in New Delhi
Sehgal began work as a
dancer in the 1930s before
moving to acting, becoming
known as the doyenne of
Indian theatre, although she
also won fans through her
various roles in Hindi and
English-language films and
television series over the years.
Her film debut came in the
1946 movie Dharti Ke Lal
(Son of the Soil).
After winning a drama
scholarship in 1962, she moved
In her memoir she told
of how, after finishing her
scholarship, she scraped by as
a dresser in London’s green
rooms and even managed to
educate her children there.
But her fortunes turned
when she landed significant
roles in British productions
such as the landmark 1980s
series The Jewel in the Crown,
and the film My Beautiful
Sehgal returned to India in
the 1990s at 80 and continued
acting until the age of 95.
Her most popular Hindi hits
included Dil Se (From the
Heart, 1998) and Hum Dil De
Chuke Sanam (I Have Given
My Heart, Darling, 1999).
Bollywood star Zohra Sehgal dies
Zohra Sehgal on her 100th birthday.
The chief United States Central
Intelligence Agency officer in Germany
is to be expelled in a sign of Berlin’s
anger at two cases of possible American
espionage uncovered in the past week, a
senior German legislator said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel declined to
confirm overnight the impending move,
which would be an act of diplomatic
hostility unprecedented in the seven
decades the two nations have been the
closest of allies.
The intention to ask the head of the
CIA’s Germany station to leave was
disclosed by Clemens Binninger, chief
of the German parliament ’s intelligence
committee, after his group received a
confidential briefing from intelligence
officials in Berlin. — D PA
Town fears for life
The small Northern
community of Pine Creek fears for
its future after indications its biggest
employer, the Frances Creek iron ore
mine, will close.
The 600-odd residents of the town,
about 200km south of Dar win, are
heavily dependent on the 320 jobs
generated by the mine, but many are due
to be cut by the end of the year.
“ It’s sad that the mine is finishing, but
I think it went longer than anyone was
expecting,” Victoria Daly Council board
member Gaye Lawrence said yesterday.
“(But) blind Freddy could see the price
of ore is dropping. ”
She was unable to attend a town
meeting on the subject last week but said
the community was abuzz with news the
mine will close.
“ I heard the FIFO (fly in, fly out)
workers are finishing up, but that anyone
who lives locally and isn’t a cost to the
mine because they don’t live in the camp
would stay on stockpiling ore until
December and then it was going to be
mothballed,” she said.
A resident who declined to be named
said she had heard up to 60% of workers
“ Nobody knows much . . . not even the
miners know,” she said.
It is understood the mine has not yet
made any formal announcement to the
NT government, and is operating at
Mine operator Territory Iron has
declined to comment, but in last week’s
issue of the Pine Creek community
newsletter stated that production and
processing of shippable ore had been
reduced in June due to the challenges
of accessing proposed satellite pits at its
Elizabeth Marion mine.
It said the proposed approval for
mining at that site would require an
unexpected and extensive environmental
impact statement before work could
This would begin immediately but
would not be completed until mid- to
late 2015, while iron ore prices also
remained down 30% on what was
projected for the year.
“ Rest assured our international teams
are working hard to maintain their
investment in the region,” it said.
Lawrence said the FIFO workers
did not contribute much to the town’s
economy because they lived on site, but
small contractors had distributed money
with local businesses.
The town was a good place to retire but
would struggle to attract young people
due to to a lack of work opportunities,
but it would turn to tourism and not go
under, she said.
“ Pine Creek is a mining town. It’s been
hard for a long time and the whole town
fluctuates with mining,” Lawrence said.
“The town will always sur vive.” — AAP
An American girl, who was thought to
have been cleared of HIV, has seen her
infection return, American scientists say.
The child, now four, was born in 2010 in
Mississippi to an HIV-infected mother
who was untreated during pregnancy.
The baby was given a potent dose of
anti-retroviral medication 30 hours after
birth, and tested positive for HIV.
She went off her medication to
suppress the human immunodeficiency
virus when she was 18 months old,
but somehow remained disease-free,
showing no detectable level of the virus
for more than two years.
Her case raised hopes that doctors may
have found a way to cure young children
who are born HIV-positive, simply by
treating them with drugs early.
“Certainly, this is a disappointing
turn of events for this young child, the
medical staff involved in the child’s care,
and the HIV-Aids research community,”
Anthony Fauci, director of the National
Institute on Allergy and Infectious
The girl was tested during a routine
c linical care visit earlier this month,
and was found to have detectable HIV
levels in her blood, as well as a decreased
T-cell count and the presence of HIV
All those factors signalled that HIV
was actively replicating again in her
She is now being treated once again
with anti-retroviral medication and is
doing well, Fauci said.
Researchers must now turn their
attention to understanding why and how
the child went into remission, with the
hope of extending that time period even
further in future cases. — AFP
Girl ‘cured of HIV’
has virus again
Meteorite dazzles Aust sky
A meteorite has blazed across the
night sky, dazzling witnesses across at
least two States.
Geosciences Australia was unable to
confirm the reports officially, but social
media websites reported sightings of the
meteorite across southern Victoria and
People in Melbourne, in the Gippsland
region of Victoria and in the northern
Tasmanian city of Burnie say they saw
the bright object burn across the sky.
Lisa Gent saw the meteorite while
driving in in Diamond Creek, an outer
north-eastern suburb of Melbourne,
about 9.50pm (local time).
“ My little man Jayden said, ‘Hey mum,
what ’s that? It looks like a shooting
star’,” she said.
“ It was amazing. My daughter Caitlin
was sitting in the front of the car and she
was like, ‘OMG! What is that?’. ”
“ It was an amazing bright light with a
really long, white tail with flecks of red.
It was just amazing.
“ It looked like absolutely nothing I had
ever seen. Quite scary once we knew it
was something like we had never seen
Meisha Hawkins was in Upper Burnie,
Tasmania, when she saw the meteorite.
“I thought it must have been real close
but clearly it was big and bright and
even had a tail like on the movies,” she
A Geoscience Australia spokeswoman
said its astronomical experts would not
be available for comment until later
today. — AAP
Gough Whitlam, who
turns 98 today, remains
an inspiration to millions
of Australians, according
to another of Labor’s
Veteran senator and ALP
historian John Faulkner
wished the former prime
minister happy birthday in
a Senate speech last night
that focused on a long and
active life after politics.
Whitlam had academic
posts in Australia and
overseas, with particular interests in
China, constitutional change and
He was Australia’s ambassador to
UNESCO and chaired the general
assembly of the World Heritage
Convention. Other posts included
the senate of Sydney University and
chairman of the National Gallery of
In 1999, he campaigned
for the republic.
“Any list of achievements
omits how often Gough
was there — in his office,
responding to sometimes
detailed inquiries that only
he could answer,” Faulkner
“Only he could add the
minutiae, the colour and
the human interest. ”
Faulkner said the former
PM’s “ long and fortunate
life” — Mr Whitlam’s own description
in 1997 — continued.
“Age may have limited his mobility, but
not his mission; his senses are slower but
his spirit still strong,” Faulkner said.
Last Thursday, the pair shared their
regular glass of Passiona soft drink.
The Whitlam verdict: “Bloody good,
comrade. ” — AAP
Tribute to Gough Whitlam
on his 98th birthday
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