March 19, 2019

Injured snowmobiler rescued from remote northern Saskatchewan location

A 22-year-old snowmobiler was injured by a tree branch in a remote area of northern Saskatchewan on Monday afternoon.

The injured man, who is from Wollaston Lake, was with three other adults and one youth. 

They were stranded at a cabin on a trap line. The cabin is on a small island one-mile north of Snowshoe Island on Wollaston Lake. 

The group boated to the trap line and had planned on staying for the next few weeks until the water froze enough to snowmobile back to Wollaston Lake.

A beach along the island’s shoreline was large enough to land a helicopter from Stony Rapids. However, the helicopter couldn’t fly at night so it arrived the next day with medical assistance. 

The injured man was transported to Wollaston Lake to a waiting medevac. 

The rest of the group stayed at the cabin. 

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Injured snowmobiler rescued from remote northern Saskatchewan location

On This Day: Cyprus gains independence from Britain amid ethnic conflict

AUGUST 16, 1960: Cyprus gained independence from Britain amid a bloody ethnic conflict between Greek and Turkish-speaking residents on this day in 1960.

It ended 82 years of British rule after it was gifted the Mediterranean island by the Ottoman Empire in return for military support against Russia.

The decision followed a five-year insurgency by the members of the ethnic Greek majority, which wanted enosis (union) with Greece.

A total of 371 British soldiers and hundreds more Turkish Cypriots, who accounted for 18% of the population and opposed the idea, were killed during this period.

The Turkish Resistance Organisation had also carried out attacks against the Greek EOKA paramilitary group in a bid to gain an ethnic partition of the island.

A British Pathé newsreel shows UK troops struggling to comb the mountainous island for terrorists during the declared State of Emergency.

Yet, by the end of the 1950s, it was recognised by both the government in Greece and Greek Cypriots that Turkey, which is just 70 miles away, would not allow enosis.

The Greek Cypriot army stages a Pre-independence Day parade (Rex Features)The Greek Cypriot army stages a Pre-independence Day parade (Rex Features)

So both ethnicities agreed to a deal that would give the island independence while also prohibiting both enosis and partition (taksim).

Under the plan, Britain kept two sovereign military bases in the new Republic of Cyprus, which it continues to maintain to this day.

Soldiers from Greece and Turkey – at a 3:2 ratio – were also to remain present on the island in a bid to keep the peace.

And, under the new constitution, Greek Cypriots would elect the president from their own ethnicity and Turkish islanders would vote for vice president from among theirs.

[On This Day: Britain deports Archbishop Makarios from Cyprus for actively fostering terrorism]

Archbishop Makarios III, who was exiled during the guerrilla war, was elected the first head of the new independent state while Fazıl Küçük became his deputy.

Yet, despite agreeing to a power-sharing deal at the 1959 London and Zurich Conferences, this system did not secure peace and both sides continued the violence.

Makarios had secretly drawn up a plan to destabilise the government and pave the way for a referendum on enosis with the vain hope of international approval.

Archbishop Makarios III was elected the first head of the new independent state (Getty)Archbishop Makarios III was elected the first head of the new independent state (Getty)

Turkey threatened to invade in December 1963 when bloodshed followed the decision by Turkish Cypriots to quit parliament after refusing to water down power sharing.

Over two days, during what became known as Bloody Christmas, Greek islanders killed 133 ethnic Turks and forced 25,000 others to flee their homes.

It prompted the United Nations, which had earlier refused to support both enosis and taksim, to send a peacekeeping force composed of Canadian, Irish and Finnish troops.

Greek soldiers were also withdrawn from Cyprus, which finally ensured Turkey did not invade and brought temporary peace to the island.

[On This Day: Israel declares independence from Britain]

Intercommunity violence flared once again and a Cyprus Airline jet was blown up in 1967, which prompted Turkish Cypriots to form their own illegal administration.

Turkey finally invaded on July 20, 1974 after Greece’s military rulers supported a coup that ousted Makarios and installed the even more pro-enosis Nikos Sampson.

They took control of 38% of the island and prompted 200,000 Greek Cypriots to flee the northern occupation zone – with 60,000 Turks leaving their homes in the south.

The Greek Army contingent parading in Cyprus in 1964 on the anniversary of Greek Independence (PA)The Greek Army contingent parading in Cyprus in 1964 on the anniversary of Greek Independence (PA)

Since then the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus has ruled the south and remains the internationally recognised government of the whole island, except the British bases.

However, in reality, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus administration controls the northern part, although it is only recognised by Turkey.

The island has been largely peaceful since 1974, although bitter division continues and the UN patrols a 112-mile-long buffer zone that is up to 4.6 miles wide in places.

[On This Day: Ireland gains independence from Britain as Free State is born]

And Nicosia remains the only divided capital in the world, with the Green Line running through the city, although both citizens have been able to cross it since 2003.

Referendums were held across the island in 2004 over whether to accept a UN plan calling for Cyprus to be reunified as a federation of two states.

Turks overwhelmingly backed the idea, which would have ended a trade embargo – but only 24% of Greeks supported it.

[On This Day: Lynmouth floods killed 34 people in 1952 after three month’s worth of rain fell in just 24 hours]

But Greek Cypriots’ romantic quest for enosis was dealt a huge blow when its financial system followed Greece and collapsed under the weight of the euro.

Northern Cyprus, though poorer, has remained stable in large part due to subsidies from Turkey, which has the fastest growing economy in Europe and is thriving.

This changed scenario –and the discovery of huge gas fields off the northern shore – has prompted unprecedented talks, which remain ongoing.


On This Day: Cyprus gains independence from Britain amid ethnic conflict

Costa Concordia Completes Its Final Journey

The Costa Concordia has completed its final journey, after being towed into the Italian port of Genoa to be broken up and scrapped.

The cruise liner, around twice the size of the Titanic, struck rocks and capsized in January 2012 with more than 4,000 people on board.

The tragedy claimed 32 lives.

The damaged hull had been towed from the disaster site off the Tuscan island of Giglio to the northern port after a four-day, 175 mile (280km) journey.

The salvage operation, the biggest ever attempted, is expected to cost in the region of $2bn (£1.17bn).

“We can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” Italy’s environment minister Gian Luca Galletti said.

There were fears the damaged hull would break up under the strain and spill toxic waste into Europe’s biggest marine sanctuary, but these were unfounded.

The 114,500-tonne liner arrived overnight and weighed anchor around two nautical miles (3.6 miles) off shore.

Engineers then attached it to a number of tugboats, which manoeuvred into Voltri port at 11am UK time.

Curious locals gathered near the port on the outskirts of the city from first light to catch a glimpse of the battered ship.

The delicate operation of securing the ship is expected to be completed this afternoon.

Once the Costa Concordia is fastened in place, interior furnishings and fittings will be stripped out in order to make it light enough to tow into the scrapping area, where it will be split into three parts for dismantling.

More than 80% of it is expected to be recycled or reused.

Between 40,000 and 50,000 tonnes of steel will be melted down and reused for construction.

Undamaged copper wiring, plumbing, plastics, machinery and furniture will be recovered and sold on.

Any personal belongings recovered will be returned, while items such as the ship’s piano, which was being played as the liner struck rocks, could end up in a museum.

Another task will be to search for the body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose remains were never found and may have been trapped in a previously inaccessible part of the vessel.

The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is currently on trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel before all passengers had evacuated.

The 53-year-old, who is fighting the charges, is accused of deliberately altering the course of the Concordia in order to carry out a sail-by salute of the island to impress local residents and passengers.

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Costa Concordia Completes Its Final Journey