Home' Greymouth Star : July 28th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, July 28, 2014 - 5
ozens of Palestinian
bodies have been
recovered from rubble in
the Gaza Strip, medics
say, in the middle of a 12-
hour humanitarian ceasefire.
Residents flocked to food markets
and stocked up on basic supplies, as
a clearer picture of the large-scale
damage to the enclave was beginning
They also used the period of relative
of calm after 19 days of fighting to
bury the dead, which has killed 985
Palestinians in the coastal strip, most of
them civilians, and injured about 6000.
Just before the temporary truce
between Israel and Gaza militants went
into effect, at least 18 members of one
Palestinian family were killed in an
Israeli air strike.
The ceasefire, the second such lull
in the fighting, comes as American
Secretary of State John Kerry and six
other foreign ministers were meeting in
Paris to work on a more durable truce
proposal by using the current pause as a
Turkey and Qatar, which have
relations with Hamas, are involved in
the talks along with Europeans and the
Egyptians, which consider the Islamist
movement in control of the strip a
“ We have agreed to call on parties
to extend the humanitarian truce,”
German Foreign Minister Frank-
Walter Steinmeier said in Paris.
He added that a lasting ceasefire
could only be achieved when “Gaza no
longer ser ves as an arsenal for Hamas
and living conditions of the Palestinian
people are improved”.
The Israeli military said it would
continue destroying Hamas’s tunnel
networks under the Gaza border
even during the ceasefire and warned
residents who have fled their homes
during the fighting not to return.
Some residents disregarded the
warning, going back to check on loves
ones and gather belongings.
Many found their houses and personal
possessions badly damaged or destroyed.
In areas of eastern Gaza, entire blocks
of buildings have been razed to the
The United Nations says 162,000
people are taking shelter at its facilities,
several of which have been hit during
About half of Gaza, a densely
populated enclave, is deemed unsafe for
Medics said an air strike in Khan
Younis in southern Gaza killed at least
18 members of the al-Najjar family,
including 10 children, shortly before the
humanitarian pause went into effect.
Human rights groups estimate about
200 children have been killed since the
start of Israel’s offensive. — DPA
A Palestinian man salvages belongings from damaged buildings in the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during an Israeli
offensive, in Gaza City. Some 1060 Palestinians, mainly civilians and including many children, have been killed in the conflict. Israel says 43 of its soldiers have died, along with three civilians
killed by rocket and mortar fire out of the Mediterranean enclave.
Dazed Gaza residents sur vey destruction
People bury a casket holding the body of Palestinian Christian woman Jalila Faraj Ayyad, who medics said
was killed in an Israeli air strike.
Fighting subsided in Gaza
overnight after Hamas Islamist
militants said they backed a 24-hour
humanitarian truce and United
States President Barack Obama
called for a ceasefire but there was
no sign of any comprehensive deal
to end fighting with Israel.
Hamas said it had endorsed a
call by the United Nations for a
pause in the fighting in light of the
upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid
al-Fitr, which begins tonight.
Some firing of rockets continued
after the time that Hamas had
announced it would put its guns
aside and Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu questioned
the validity of the truce.
Obama spoke by phone with
Netanyahu and stressed the need
for an immediate, unconditional
humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, the
White House said.
Urging a permanent end to
hostilities on the basis of the 2012
ceasefire agreement, Obama added
that “ultimately, any lasting solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
must ensure the disarmament
of terrorist groups and the
demilitarisation of Gaza.”
Israeli artillery also fired barrages
into the Gaza Strip, Israeli media
reported, although the objects of
the fire was initially unclear.
“Hamas doesn’t even accept its
own ceasefire, it’s continuing to fire
at us as we speak,” Netanyahu said
in an inter view with CNN, adding
that Israel would “take whatever
action is necessary to protect our
Nonetheless, Gaza Strip residents
and media witnesses said Israeli
shelling and Hamas missile
launches had slowly subsided
through the afternoon, suggesting a
de facto truce might be taking shape
as international efforts to broker a
permanent ceasefire appeared to
However, Israel’s military has said
it will need more time to destroy a
warren of tunnels criss-crossing the
Gaza border that it says is one of its
Egypt had also destroyed 13
tunnels which crossed into its
territory, an Egyptian general said
on his Facebook page. It was “a
continuation of the efforts by the
armed forces in protecting the
borders of the State from smugglers
and terrorists,” Brigadier General
Mohamed Samir Abdulaziz
Israel and the Hamas Islamists
who control Gaza had agreed to a
12-hour ceasefire on Saturday to
allow Palestinians to stock up on
supplies and retrieve bodies from
under the rubble.
Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to
extend the truce until midnight
last night at the request of the
UN, but called it off when Hamas
launched rockets into Israel during
Palestinian medics said at least
10 people had died in the wave of
subsequent strikes that swept Gaza.
Some 1060 Palestinians, mainly
civilians and including many
children, have been killed in the 20-
day conflict. A Gaza health ministry
official issued revised figures, saying
that 30 fewer people than thought
had died in the conflict.
Israel says 43 of its soldiers have
died, along with three civilians
killed by rocket and mortar fire out
of the Mediterranean enclave.
The military said an investigation
into an attack last Thursday on a
UN-run school in which 15 people
were killed showed that a single
errant mortar shell landed in an
empty courtyard, denying it was
responsible for the deaths.
Israel launched its offensive on July
8, saying its aim was to halt rocket
attacks by Hamas and its allies.
bombardment failed to quell the
guerrillas, Israel poured ground
forces into the Gaza Strip 10 days
later, looking to knock out Hamas’s
rocket stores and destroy the vast
network of tunnels.
The army says its drive to find and
eliminate tunnels would continue
through any temporary truce.
A poll published by Israel’s
Channel 10 television said some
87% of respondents wanted Israel
to continue the operation until
Hamas was toppled.
Diplomatic efforts led by US
Secretary of State John Kerry to
end the conflict have shown little
sign of progress. Israel and Hamas
have set conditions that appear
Hamas wants an end to the
blockade of Gaza before agreeing
to halt hostilities. Israel has
signalled it could make concessions
toward that end, but only if Gaza’s
militant groups are stripped of their
“ Hamas must be permanently
stripped of its missiles and tunnels
in a super vised manner,” Economy
Minister Naftali Bennett said, “In
return we will agree to a host of
economic alleviations,” the security
cabinet member said on Facebook.
Kerry flew back to Washington
after spending most of the week in
Egypt trying to bridge the divide,
putting for ward some written
proposals to Israel on Friday.
Speaking off the record, cabinet
ministers described his plan as “a
disaster”, saying it met all Hamas
demands, such as lifting the Israeli-
Egyptian blockade completely
and ignored Israeli terms, such as
stripping Hamas of its rockets.
The obvious rancour added yet
another difficult chapter to the
already strained relations between
Netanyahu and Kerry, whose
energetic drive to broker a definitive
peace deal between Israel and the
Palestinians ended in acrimony in
In southern Gaza, residents of
villages near the town of Khan
Younis attacked the offices of the
International Committee of the
Red Cross, torching furniture
and causing damage, saying the
organisation had not done enough
to help them. — Reuters
Pope Francis made an emotional plea
for peace overnight in an impromptu
addition to comments delivered at his
weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s
As the Argentinian-born Pontiff
wrapped up his regular address to the
faithful, he spoke of the upcoming
centenary of the outbreak of World
War One and said his thoughts were on
the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in
With his voice appearing to crack with
emotion, the Pope broke off from his
scripted remarks to make a direct appeal
for fighting to end.
“ P lease stop! I ask you with all my
heart, it ’s time to stop. Stop, please!”
While he made no direct reference
to the situation in the Gaza Strip, the
comments came after a humanitarian
truce broke down with the resumption
of fighting in which more than 1000
people, mostly civilians including dozens
of children, have been killed.
“Brothers and sisters, never war,
never war! I am thinking above all of
children, who are deprived of the hope
of a worthwhile life, of a future,” he
“Dead childen, injured children,
mutilated children, orphaned children,
children whose toys are things left over
from war, children who can’t smile any
more,” he said. — Reuters
Pope makes emotional plea for peace
Heavy shelling around the crash site
of downed Malaysian flight MH17 has
forced D utch and Australian police to
scrap a planned trip, as the latest clashes
in east Ukraine claim 13 lives including
The unarmed contingent of law
enforcement officers were due to head
to the location 10 days after the disaster
following a deal with rebels aimed at
allowing a long-delayed probe to go
But international obser vers overseeing
the trip had to abruptly ditch their
plans on Sunday after clashes shattered
a supposed truce between government
forces and insurgents in the area around
the site, where some remains of the 298
victims still lie decomposing under the
“There is fighting going on. We can’t
take the risk,” Alexander Hug, deputy
chief monitor of the European security
body OSCE’s special mission in Ukraine,
“The security situation on the way
to the site and on the site itself is
unacceptable for our unarmed obser ver
mission,” he told reporters in the
insurgent stronghold Donetsk.
Artillery bombardments could be
heard just a kilometre from the rebel-
held town of Grabove next to the crash
site as black smoke billowed into the sky.
Terrified local residents were fleeing
and checkpoints controlled by separatist
fighters were abandoned.
The Dutch justice ministry confirmed
that security advisers had also halted a
trip by a team of forensic experts.
“ Because of fighting in the area, the
situation is still too unstable to work
at the crash site,” the ministry said in a
Earlier Australian Prime Minister
Tony Abbott said 49 officers from the
Netherlands and Australia — which
together lost some 221 citizens in the
crash — were due at the scene overnight
and that there would be “considerably
more on site in coming days”.
That came after Malaysian Prime
Minister Najib Razak said he had
reached an agreement with the pro-
Russian insurgents controlling the site
to allow the police deployment.
So far investigators have been able to
visit the site only sporadically because of
security concerns, even though a truce
had been called in the immediate area
around the site.
Fighting was raging elsewhere as the
Ukrainian army pushed on with its
offensive to retake the vital industrial
Local authorities said 13 people
including two children aged one and
five were killed in heavy fighting in
rebel holdout Gorlivka, about 45km to
the north of Donetsk, and which has
a population of about a quarter of a
Mining hub Donetsk itself was
also subject to heavy bombardment
throughout the night, some of it
apparently unguided Grad rocket fire.
The city of one million has been ser ving
as a base for international monitors and
journalists who are travelling daily to the
Ignoring safety warnings, an Australian
couple had travelled to the scene without
any escort on Saturday, saying they were
fulfilling a promise to their only child
they would be there.
“S he was full of life,” said Angela
Rudhart-Dyczynski of their 25-year-
old daughter Fatima, an aerospace
engineering student. — AFP
Shelling near MH17
site blocks police
The wreck of the Costa Concordia
cruise liner has ended its final journey
as it arrived in Italy’s historic port city
Genoa for scrapping, two and a half
years after 32 people died when it ran
aground off the island of Giglio.
The 300m, 114,000-tonne vessel set
off from the Mediterranean island on
Wednesday after a massive marine
salvage operation to stabilise and
refloat the ship.
The Costa Concordia was towed
north by four tug boats and 10
escort ships. Its voyage was closely
monitored for any toxic spillage.
The cruise liner was emptied of fuel
two months after it was shipwrecked,
but it still contains about 163
tonnes of oil and 12 tonnes of toxic
substances held in sealed containers,
according to Italian authorities.
A team of engineers who worked
on the salvage on behalf of owners
Costa Crociere, an Italian subsidiary
of the United States-based Carnival
Group, monitored nautical progress
from a special on-board control room,
installed in a container on top of the
Its dismantling in the waters off the
north-west city of Genoa is expected
to last two years and employ almost
1000 people. About 40,000 to 50,000
tonnes of steel are expected to be
recycled from the wreck.
The Concordia ran aground on
Giglio on January 13, 2012, after
being steered too close to shore.
Thirty-two of the 4229 people aboard
were killed, but one body has not been
recovered. A diver also died during the
salvage work in February.
Captain Francesco Schettino,
who earned worldwide ridicule for
abandoning the ship before it had
been fully evacuated, is being tried for
manslaughter. — DPA
Concordia’s final voyage
The Costa Concordia arrives at Genoa’s port, in northern Italy, where the
ship will be broken up for scrap.
Suspected Boko Haram militants
have kidnapped the wife of a senior
Cameroonian minister and a traditional
leader in attacks in the far north of the
country that left at least six dead.
Cameroon sent warplanes and elite
troops from its rapid inter vention
battalion overnight overnight to stop the
fighters after two attacks in Kolofata,
close to the Nigerian border, a regional
police source said.
Another source close to the local police
force said Boko Haram had “kidnapped
many people”, adding: “ There was the
sultan, the wife of the deputy prime
minster and several police officers.”
Four civilians and two police officers
were killed in the attacks on the
residence of Amadou Ali, the deputy
prime minster in charge of parliamentary
relations, and the sultan of Kolofata,
Seiny Boukar Lamine.
A source close to the sultan’s family
said “four people, including the younger
brother of the sultan were killed,
(while) he, his spouse and children were
The two attacks were carried out
simultaneously about 5am local time.
Another police officer said fighter
planes were deployed to Kolofata last
evening and “there was shelling in the
area” after the attacks, without giving
The Nigeria-based Islamist group
Boko Haram has stepped up raids into
northern Cameroon, murdering and
stealing with impunity despite military
efforts to clamp down on its insurgency.
Cameroonian soldier were killed as
they tried to defend a local village from
Cameroon, like other west African
countries, has beefed up its operations
against Boko Haram since the
kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian
schoolgirls over three months ago
sparked an international outcry. — AFP
Militants seize Cameroon
A baby girl born yesterday has officially
pushed the population of the Philippines
to 100 million, highlighting the
challenge of providing for more people
in the already-impoverished country.
The child, Jennalyn Sentino, was one
of 100 babies born in State hospitals all
over the archipelago who received the
symbolic designation of “100,000,000th
“This is both an opportunity and a
challenge . . . an opportunity we should
take advantage of and a challenge we
recognise,” Juan Antonio Perez, executive
director of the official Commission on
While a growing population means
a larger workforce, it also means more
dependents in a country where about
25% of people are living in poverty, he
He said the Philippines had to find
a way to bring ser vices to the poorest
families while also lowering the average
number of children that fertile women
will bear in their lifetimes.
“ We’d like to push the fertility rate
down to two children per (woman’s)
lifetime,” from the current level of an
average of three per woman, he said.
While celebrating the birth of the
babies with cake and gifts of clothing
and blankets, the government will also
monitor each of the designated 100
children over the coming years to see
if they are receiving the required health
ser vices, Perez added.
Jennalyn’s father, 45-year-old van
driver Clemente Sentino, said he was
grateful for the government aid, but
expressed confidence he could support
his child and his partner.
He and the child’s mother, Dailin
Cabigayan, 27, are not yet married.
“S he just happened to get pregnant.
But we do have plans to get married,” he
“ I make just enough to get by but at
least my job pays regularly. We will find
a way to make it fit,” he said.
Efforts to control the Philippines’
population growth have long been
hampered by the influence of the
Catholic Church, which counts about
80% of Filipinos as followers and which
disapproves of all forms of artificial birth
control. — AFP
100 millionth baby
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