Word of the day

December 6, 2012

Puissant – having great power, influence or strength; mighty, forcible.


Wise words

December 6, 2012

Writer Owen Marshall gave the address at the university of Otago’s graduation ceremony last weekend.

Among his wise words were these:

. . . if the university as a whole “ever loses that essential love of knowledge for its own sake, that scholastic enthusiasm and tolerance, then the spark will be gone”.

The university was then likely to be “a place of formal, empty pedantry, meal-ticket mentality, or a debased, bums-on-seats democracy”, . . .

And:

. . . “Everyone seems to be an expert on education, and a good deal of vehement and often ignorant criticism is advanced, for always there are people who are eager to find fault in the performance of others, yet unwilling or incapable of taking responsibility themselves.

“Of course we need accountability, efficiency and a response to modern youth and modern society.

“We also need to preserve and commend those values that are at the heart of the best universities – scrupulous scholarship, academic enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity, a fellowship of the heart and mind, and a desire to pass on knowledge.”

And:

He emphasised the need for gratitude, which was “not much in fashion these days”.

“We hear much of rights, accountability, consumers, performance and delivery, all in a mechanistic way, but not much about gratitude, and not much about dedication.”

Graduates owed gratitude not only to family and friends but also to Otago University itself.

And he thanked Otago staff who had “persevered through the squalls of restructuring and the doldrums of educational policy, to maintain a vision of senior study that upholds opportunity based on talent, an openness to intellectual possibility, the value of reason and knowledge of life generally.” . . .


Thursday’s quiz

December 6, 2012

It’s your turn to ask the questions again.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win an electronic Christmas cake.


Rural round-up

December 6, 2012

Innovative Wellington Entrepreneurs Identify Massive New Wool Markets

A small Wellington company The Formary has a plan that will help China reduce its air pollution, while at the same time creating a potentially massive new market for New Zealand wool.

After China’s rice crop is harvested in the paddy fields, millions of tonnes of rice straw are burnt, causing massive air pollution, closing airports, shutting out the sun and creating health issues for millions of people. Working with Massey University in Wellington, The Formary has developed a rice-straw-wool fabric prototype that could lead to a multi-million dollar business.

The Formary is owned by Bernadette Casey of Wellington and Sally Shanks from Gisborne and the idea is an extension of another product they developed, when they identified the potential of using waste fibre from Starbuck’s vast amount of unwanted coffee sacks and blending it with New Zealand crossbred wool to create fabric they called WoJo®. . .

Government to assist kiwifruit growers:

A package of support measures is to be made available to North Island kiwifruit growers affected by the Psa-V vine disease, Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced today.

Mr Carter has declared Psa a medium-scale biosecurity event under the Government’s Primary Sector Recovery Policy, triggering further assistance for growers dealing with the impacts of the disease. 

“The Government has worked closely with kiwifruit industry representatives to ensure that this declaration is timed to give maximum possible benefit to growers,” says Mr Carter. . .

Help for Kiwifruit Growers as Psa-V Declared an Adverse Event:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) welcomes Government approval for a financial and recovery support package, for kiwifruit growers hit by the vine-killing disease Psa.

NZKGI President Neil Trebilco says the organisation has worked very closely with the Government, to firstly extend the coverage of existing adverse events recovery provisions to include incursions on pests and disease, and then get the Psa-V support package approved for kiwifruit growers.

“This will give some growers most affected by Psa a level of financial and welfare support to help them through the impact of this disaster.” . .

Equity raising and change of listing to the NZX Main Board

Today, A2 Corporation Limited (“A2C” or “the Company”) announces that it is undertaking an equity raising to provide additional funding to accelerate the global growth initiatives outlined in the recently announced strategic review.

The Company will issue NZ$20 million in new equity and the Company’s three largest shareholders have resolved to sell a percentage of their holdings in the Company to new and existing investors (together “the Transaction”) at a fixed offer price of NZ$0.50 per new share (“Offer Price”) to provide additional liquidity, contemporaneous with a change in listing to the NZX Main Board, thus facilitating inclusion in the NZX50. . .

Commitment needed by wool growers to ensure sustainable, profitable wool future:

A key objective of Wools of New Zealand is to build the company, evolving within five years to be a fully commercial grower-owned sales and marketing business.

Wools of New Zealand has spent considerable time meeting with all sectors of the industry in New Zealand and internationally building strong collaborative relationships and is now pursing commercial opportunities with supply chain participants for mutual benefit. The Directors are pleased with the cooperation and progress made to date. Wools of New Zealand is, for example, very supportive of the New Zealand scouring industry which underpins the quality and integrity of our fibre which supports the Company’s branded, market-pull strategy. . .

ANZCO Foods’ new Foodplus programme – comments by Sir Graeme Harrison:

ANZCO Foods Chairman, Sir Graeme Harrison, who has worked in the meat industry in various roles since 1973, is enthusiastic about the potential of the new Foodplus programme to enhance business opportunities for the sector.

ANZCO Foods and the Ministry for Primary Industries announced joint funding for the $87million Foodplus programme earlier this week. MPI Director-General Wayne McNee approved funding from the Primary Growth Partnership, which is administered by MPI.

Sir Graeme says it will give a vital boost to the meat industry. . .


Denmark, Finland and New Zealand 1 = least corrupt

December 6, 2012

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied in first place in Transparency  International’s Global Corruption Perceptions Index.

While welcoming this recognition for New Zealand, the local chapter of Transparency International is promising that its newly launched National Integrity System assessment will provide a much more nuanced and detailed report on the country’s vulnerability to corruption.

“Our ambitious National Integrity System Assessment will give the most detailed answer yet to the question, ‘What factors cause New Zealand to rank consistently at the top?’” Says Suzanne Snively Chair of TINZ and NIS Steering Group Co-Chair.

Snively continues, “The NIS assessment is more ambitious and comprehensive than any previously conducted. The strong support we are receiving through funding agencies and participants indicates a commitment on the part of New Zealanders to remain a high trust society. New Zealanders are recognizing that not only is this ranking a source of pride, it represents a significant competitive advantage and economic benefits for New Zealand business.”

Lack of corruption is something most of us take for granted.

It’s usually not until we travel to other countries where the institutions and people can’t be trusted as they can be here that we understand and appreciate the value of integrity.

We met the head of an international bank a few month ago and were discussing which countries it operates in.

We asked if it had plans to do business in a couple of countries in South America.

His answer was swift – no, you couldn’t be sure you’d get your money back.

New Zealand’s high trust society is both a national treasure and an economic asset. Forbes magazine ranks New Zealand first on its most recent list of the Best Countries for Business thanks to a transparent and stable business climate. According to Phil O’Reilly Chief Executive of Business New Zealand “New Zealand’s high trust public sector is it’s greatest competitive advantage.”

We need inward investment and we’re far more likely to get it than other countries where transparency, stability and trust are less common.


New thinking

December 6, 2012

The opposition criticises what they call old fashioned thinking like only spending what you’ve got and not borrowing too much.

Finance Minister Bill English points out the big holes in the Green Party’s  new thinking:

 


December 6 in history

December 6, 2012

1060 – Béla I of Hungary was crowned king of Hungary.

1240 – Mongol invasion of Rus: Kiev under Danylo of Halych and Voivode Dmytro fell to the Mongols under Batu Khan.

1534 The city of Quito in Ecuador was founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Belalcázar.

1648 Colonel Pride of the New Model Army purged the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I  in order for the King’s trial to go ahead; -  “Pride’s Purge“.

1704 – Battle of Chamkaur.

1745 – Charles Edward Stewart’s army began retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.

1768 The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published.

1849 American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.

1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, banning slavery.

1877  The first edition of the Washington Post was published.

1877 – Thomas Edison created the first recording of a human voice, reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

1884 The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. was completed.

1897  London became the world’s first city to host licenced taxicabs.

1900  Agnes Moorehead, American actress, was born (d. 1974).

1907 -  A coal mine explosion at Monongah, West Virginia killed 362 workers.

1917 Finland declared independence from Russia.

1917  Halifax Explosion: A munitions explosion killed more than 1900 people and destroyed part of the City of Halifax.

1921 The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London by British and Irish representatives.

1922 The Irish Free State came into existence

1933 U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses was not obscene.

1935 New Zealand’s first Labour government took office with Michael Josepph Savage as Prime Minister.

First Labour government takes office

1947 The Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated.

1956 – Aged 14, swimmer Sandra Morgan became the youngest Australian to win an Olympic gold medal.

1957 –  A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 thwarted the first United States’ attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit.

1965 – Pakistan’s Islamic Ideology Advisory Committee recommended that Islamic Studies be made a compulsory subject for Muslim students from primary to graduate level.

1967 – Adrian Kantrowitz performed the first human heart transplant in the United States.

1975 – Balcombe Street Siege: An IRA Active Service Unit took a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London.

1977 – South Africa granted independence to Bophuthatswana, although it was not recognized by any other country.

1978 – Spain approved its latest constitution in a referendum.

1982 – Droppin Well bombing: The Irish National Liberation Army detonated a bomb in Ballykelly, killing eleven British soldiers and six civilians.

1988 – The Australian Capital Territory was granted self-government.

1989 The École Polytechnique Massacre (or Montreal Massacre): an anti-feminist gunman murdered 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

1992 – Extremist Hindu activists demolished Babri Masjid – a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya, India which had been used as a temple since 1949.

1997 – A Russian Antonov An-124 cargo plane crashed into an apartment complex near Irkutsk, Siberia, killing 67.

1998 – Hugo Chávez Frías, Venezuelan military officer and politician, was elected President of Venezuela.

2005 – Several villagers were shot dead during protests in Dongzhou, China.

2006 – NASA revealed photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.

2008 – The 2008 Greek riots broke out upon the murder of a 15-year-old boy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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