Home' Greymouth Star : July 17th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Thursday, July 17, 2014
Over 450 children saved from squalid shelter
A Palestinian man carries the body of a boy, whom medics said was killed by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat, on a beach in Gaza City.
Children killed on Gaza beach
Parents of some of the 458 children
rescued from the festering squalor of
a shelter in western Mexico have told
horror stories after authorities raided
it for sexual assaults and other abuses.
“I came to get my daughter back,”
an emotional Rosalba Karina
Contreras told television network
Televisa overnight outside the facility,
La Gran Familia (The Big Family),
in the town of Zamora in Michoacan
She said her 13-year-old daughter
and other children at the residential
shelter had been subjected to
beatings” by Rosa del Carmen
Verduzco, the director and founder of
Another mother, Bertha Saucedo,
told Foro Television the facility had
effectively kidnapped her daughter,
who has Down’s syndrome.
“They took my daughter away from
me when she was three months old.
When she was six years old I started
coming to see her and she (the
director) never let me see her because
she had Down’s syndrome, a nd if I
didn’t pay her she was never going to
give her back,” she said.
“ I didn’t file a complaint because I
was afraid they would treat her badly,
hit her and take her food away. ”
Police found 596 people, including
138 adults, living amid rats and
insects when they raided the home
yesterday, after complaints of abuse
Early investigations indicate the
director and her staff inflicted “a
variety of physical and psychological
abuse” on the residents, Tomas Zeron
de Lucio, an investigator at the
attorney-general’s office, said.
The children were forced to beg in
the street, sleep on the floor and eat
unfit food, he told journalists.
Verduzco and eight people who
worked for her have been arrested,
Overnight, the children were being
kept at the facility under the care of
social workers, Foro reported.
La Gran Familia had operated
for more than 40 years and housed
residents ranging from newborns to
adults more than 40 years old.
Authorities did not explain how the
adults at the facility had been held
against their will.
Michoacan governor Salvador Jara
said the raid was prompted by a report
of five kidnapped children that was
filed more than a year ago. — AFP
A court in the Netherlands has ruled
that the D utch State is liable for the
deaths of over 300 Bosnian Muslim men
and boys in the Srebrenica massacre, the
worst atrocity on European soil since
World War Two.
Families of the victims had brought
a case against the D utch government
over the 1995 killings, accusing Dutch
United Nations peacekeepers of failing
to protect the 8000 slaughtered by ethnic
Serb troops just a few months before the
end of the Bosnian war.
The judgment overnight was greeted
with a mixture of satisfaction and dismay
by relatives after the court found the
State was liable for those killed after
being expelled from a UN compound,
but not all of the deaths.
“ Today we got justice for one group,
that ’s good,” Munira Subasic, one of
the representatives of the Mothers of
Srebrenica group who were in court, said.
“But how do you explain to a mother
that the Dutch are responsible for the
death of one son that stood on one side
of the fence, and not for the one on the
other side?” she asked through tears.
“The Dutch compound was so big that
everyone should have been let in the
compound. We will continue to seek
truth and justice,” she said, adding they
would appeal the ruling.
The tiny Muslim enclave was under
UN protection until July 11, 1995, when
it was overrun by ethnic Serb forces
under the command of Ratko Mladic,
who is on trial on genocide and war
crimes charges over the war in Bosnia,
Mladic ’s troops brushed aside the
lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers in a
“safe area” where thousands of Muslims
from surrounding villages had gathered
In the subsequent days, almost 8000
Muslim men and boys were slaughtered.
“The State is liable for the loss suffered
by relatives of the men who were
deported by the Bosnian Serbs from the
Dutchbat (Dutch battalion) compound
in Potocari in the afternoon of July 13,
1995,” Judge Larissa Elwin said.
“D utchbat should have taken into
account the possibility that these men
would be the victim of genocide and that
it can be said with sufficient certainty
that, had the Dutchbat allowed them to
stay at the compound, these men would
have remained alive,” she ruled.
“By co-operating in the deportation of
these men, Dutchbat acted unlawfully. ”
However, the court ruled the State was
not liable on all counts.
“D utchbat ’s acts prior to the fall of
Srebrenica can neither be attributed to
the State, nor are they considered to be
unlawful,” the judge said.
“The fact that air support failed to
materialise or that it was stopped,
cannot be attributed to the State either,
just as the fact that the enclave was not
The ministry has not yet announced
whether it will appeal. — AFP
Israel intensified its bombardment of
Gaza overnight, killing four children on
a beach in an apparent naval salvo and
launching deadly air strikes, as regional
leaders sought to end the killing.
The punishing air campaign, aimed
at halting cross-border rocket fire
by Hamas militants, resumed after
So far, Israel’s campaign, now in its
ninth day, has killed 220 Palestinians,
with a Gaza-based human rights group
saying more than 80% of them were
In the same period, militants fired
more than 1200 rockets towards Israel,
which yesterday claimed their first
Hamas said it had rejected the
Egyptian truce efforts because it had not
been included in the discussions.
The peace initiative continued
overnight, however, with a Hamas
official meeting Egyptian leaders as
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas
arrived in Cairo to join the diplomatic
In the latest violence, four children
died and several were wounded in an
apparent Israeli naval bombardment of
a beach in Gaza City in the afternoon,
The first strike hit about 2am NZT,
prompting terrified children and adults
on the beach to scatter.
A second and third struck as they ran,
setting fire to huts on the beach.
Several children ran inside a hotel
where journalists saw at least three with
They were evacuated by ambulances,
which also picked up more injured
people from the beach, including a man
who had part of his leg torn off.
The four bodies were later taken to
Abu Hasira mosque, near where the
boys had died.
The Israeli military dropped flyers and
sent text messages warning 100,000
people in north-eastern Gaza to evacuate
their homes ahead of an air campaign
targeting “terror sites and operatives”
in Zeitun and Shejaiya, two flashpoint
districts east of Gaza City.
An identical message was sent to Beit
Lahiya in the north, echoing a similar
army warning on Sunday, when more
than 17,000 residents of the north fled
for their lives, most seeking refuge in
United Nations-run schools.
Overnight, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu’s security cabinet authorised
the call-up of another 8000 reser vists,
media reports said, joining 43,000
reser ve troops who have already been
mobilised. — AFP
A single protein jab has been shown
to reverse diabetes in the laboratory,
raising hopes of effective new
In obese mice with a rodent version
of type 2 diabetes, just one injection
of the protein FGF1 restored blood
sugar levels to a healthy range for
more than two days.
Continued treatment with the
protein not only kept blood glucose
under control, but reversed insulin
insensitivity, the root cause of the
People with type 2 diabetes
gradually become less sensitive to the
effects of the hormone, forcing up
their blood sugar.
Lead researcher Professor Ronald
Evans, director of the Gene
Expression Laboratory at the Salk
Institute in La Jolla, California,
said FGF1 offers a new method to
control glucose “in a powerful and
Currently available diabetes
treatments aim to boost insulin levels
and reverse insulin resistance by
altering gene activity.
But the drugs cause unwanted
side-effects and may lower blood
glucose levels too far, leading to life-
In 2012, the Salk team discovered
that FGF1 — a long-ignored
“growth factor” protein — helps the
body respond to insulin.
Mice lacking FGF1 quickly
developed diabetes when placed on
a high fat diet, suggesting that the
protein played a key role in managing
blood glucose levels.
The scientists were surprised when
they injected FGF1 into obese mice
with diabetes to assess the protein’s
effect on metabolism.
In every mouse, a single dose
rapidly caused blood sugar to drop to
“Many previous studies that
injected FGF1 showed no effect on
healthy mice,” Dr Michael Downes,
also from the Salk Institute, who took
part in the research published in the
journal Nature, said.
“However, when we injected FGF1
into a diabetic mouse, we saw a
dramatic improvement in glucose,”
FGF1 had a number of advantages
over the diabetes drug Actos, which
is associated with side-effects
ranging from unwanted weight
gain to dangerous heart and liver
Even at high doses, the protein
did not trigger such effects or cause
glucose levels to drop dangerously
Instead, the body’s own ability to
regulate insulin and glucose was
restored, keeping blood sugar within
a safe range.
About three million people in
Britain have diagnosed diabetes and
90% of cases are the type 2 form of
the disease, while a further 850,000
people may have the condition
without knowing it. — AP
Protein jab gives hope in diabetes fight
One of China’s renowned ancient
towns is under water as heavy rain hit
the centre of the country, with tens of
thousands of people evacuated from
The old town district of Fenghuang
nestles on the banks of a winding
river in a picturesque, mountainous
part of Hunan province, and boasts
stunning Qing and Ming dynasty
architecture dating back hundreds of
It can attract 30,000 visitors a day
and has applied for world heritage
status recognition from UNESCO,
but pictures showed it inundated, with
the central span of a bridge poking up
through the waters.
Reports overnight said electricity
had been cut off and 50,000 tourists
and locals had been evacuated from
Fenghuang and the surrounding
“ Torrential downpours have led
to Fenghuang old town becoming a
water town,” a posting on a discussion
page on the topic set up on Sina
Weibo, China’s version of Twitter,
said. — AFP
Ancient Chinese town flooded
Street lamps and a partly inundated arched bridge are seen next to partially
submerged buildings swamped by an overflowing river at the ancient town as
heavy rainfall hits Fenghuang county.
The number of child marriages has
doubled among Syrian refugee girls in
Jordan because of poverty and fear of
sexual violence, international agencies
Save the Children, in a report, Too
Young to Wed, said children marrying
in Syria before the country’s conflict
erupted in 2011 accounted for 13% of all
But “early and forced marriage
among Syrian refugee girls in Jordan
has doubled since the onset of war,”
according to the report.
It said 48% of them were forced into
unions with men at least 10 years their
“Child marriage is devastating for those
girls concerned,” Saba al-Mobaslat,
Save the Children’s country director in
“Girls who marry before 18 are more
likely to experience domestic violence
than their peers who marry later, and
they have much more limited access to
sexual and reproductive health, putting
their young bodies at extreme risk if and
when they become pregnant. ”
Figures from the United Nations
children’s agency UNICEF show that
among Syrian refugees in Jordan, the
rate of child marriages rose from 18% of
all marriages in 2012, to 25% in 2013.
Latest figures show this rate jumped
to 32% in the first quarter of 2014,
UNICEF said overnight.
Jordan, home to more than 600,000
Syrian refugees, allows girls under the
age of 18 to marry with court approval.
Government figures show that 735
marriages of Syrian girls under 18 were
registered in 2013, compared to 42 in
“As refugees, Syrian families are reliant
on dwindling resources and lacking
economic opportunities,” the Save the
Children report said.
“At the same time, they are all too aware
of the need to protect their daughters
from the threat of sexual violence,” it
“Given these pressures, some families
consider child marriage to be the best
way to protect their female children and
ease family resources. ” — AFP
A man has been arrested after breaking
into the Kennedy family estate in
Massachusetts in the hope of spotting
pop star Katy Perry.
Police were called to the Hyannis Port
home of America’s famous Kennedy
clan on Tuesday night after lawyer Ted
Kennedy Junior, nephew of late President
John F Kennedy, phoned the property’s
landline to check on his teenage son,
only for the intruder, James Lacroix, to
Lacroix, 53, was taken into custody and
charged with breaking and entering.
A spokesman for Barnstable police
said there was no sign of forced entry
and the suspect had allegedly walked
into the compound through an unlocked
door. He started cooking dinner and was
later found by police sitting on a couch,
reading a book.
Kennedy Junior’s son reportedly
thought Lacroix was just a house guest.
It is not known why Lacroix thought
singer Perry would be present, but
authorities claim he was clearly
“detatched from reality”. — WENN
An Istanbul bus driver has been
sacked after video footage showed him
immersed in a book while travelling at
high speed on a busy street in the Turkish
In the video shot by a passenger, the
burly, bearded driver holds his book open
over his steering wheel on the Asian side
of the city, paying far more attention to
the words than the road.
He is filmed talking into his cellphone
before returning to his book.
He only occasionally glances at the
street and does most of the steering with
It was not clear what book he was
Goksel O vacik, the head of the bus
ser vice company, told private CNN-Turk
television the man had been sacked and
had his driving licence revoked after the
passenger who filmed the video sent it to
The passenger also launched a criminal
complaint against the driver for risking
the lives of those in the bus, CNN Turk
The identity of the driver has not been
Istanbul’s chaotic and traffic-clogged
roads are notorious for the sometimes
dangerous and eccentric behaviour of
drivers. — AFP
Court upholds Assange arrest warrant
A Swedish court overnight
upheld an arrest warrant for
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
who has spent two years at
Ecuador’s London embassy to
avoid extradition to Sweden over
allegations of sexual assault.
to question Assange over the
allegations made by two female
Assange denies the allegations
and has been fighting a legal battle
against extradition since his arrest
in Britain in December 2010.
Assange says he fears Sweden
could in turn extradite him to the
United States to be tried for one
of the largest leaks of classified
information in US history.
“All in all, the District Court
makes the assessment that the
reasons for the arrest warrant
offset the infringement and adverse
effects the measure entails for
Julian Assange,” District Court
Judge Lena Egelin said.
“He should therefore continue to
be wanted for arrest in his absence.”
Assange’s lawyers have argued the
arrest warrant should be repealed
because it cannot be enforced
while Assange is in the embassy
and the Swedish prosecutor had
not considered the possibility of
interrogating him in London.
Thomas Olsson, one of Assange’s
Swedish lawyers, said he would
appeal the verdict.
Ecuador, which has granted
Assange political asylum, wants
London to assure him safe
passage to Quito. But Britain
has surrounded the Ecuadorian
embassy with police officers round
the clock ready to detain him if he
British police say they have spent
£6 million ($11.799 million) from
June 2012 until March this year on
policing costs at the Ecuadorian
In an inter view last year, Assange
said he would not leave the sanctuary
of the embassy in London even
if Sweden stops pursuing sexual
assault claims against him because
he feared arrest on the order of the
United States. — Reuters
Syrian refugee child
Fugitive United States intelligence
agent Edward Snowden deser ves
shielding from prosecution for
having thrown the spotlight on
state snooping, United Nations
human rights chief Navi Pillay says.
“Those who disclose human rights
violations should be protected. We
need them,” Pillay told reporters.
“In the case of Snowden, his
revelations go to the core of
what we are saying about the
need for transparency, the need
for consultation,” she said as she
launched a report on the right to
privacy in the digital age.
Pillay, a former judge at the
International Criminal Court,
declined to call on US President
Barack Obama to pardon Snowden.
Pressed repeatedly on the issue,
she said: “I’m not going to say
whether he should be pardoned.
He’s facing charges, and as a former
judge I know that if he’s facing
judicial proceedings, we should
wait for that outcome.
“ I’m raising some very important
arguments that could be raised on
his behalf so that these criminal
proceedings are averted,” she added.
“If he’s given a fair trial and all
these points are raised about him,
about the way people view his role,
that would also be a good outcome,”
the former South African High
Court judge said.
Snowden’s leaks last year sparked a
massive row over the huge internet
and phone data sweeps conducted
by US National Security Agency,
including of allied nations and their
“ We do owe it to him for drawing
our attention to this issue,” Pillay
“ I think that his revelations have
also encouraged national authorities
to be more accountable,” she added.
Snowden fled to Russia after
he leaked details of the secret
state sur veillance programmes,
and Moscow is reportedly likely
to extend his temporary asylum
permit when it runs out at the end
of July. — AFP
Snowden ‘deserves protection’
Fresh bid for ceasefire
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