Word of the day

April 11, 2014

Linguipotencemastery of language or languages; ability to use language.


Hallelujah

April 11, 2014

A priest added a pitch-perfect rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to a couple’s wedding service:

The video of Fr Ray Kelly’s unique version of the often-covered song was filmed at the weekend and has been watched on YouTube more than 2.7 million times in the space of four days.

The parish priest of Oldcastle, County Meath, told BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme that the couple had no idea what was going to happen.

“Normally local people know I sing at weddings, funerals or when I’m asked, but they didn’t know – the bride Leah is from Dublin and the groom Chris is from Cookstown in County Tyrone,” he said. . .

Fr Kelly changed the original lyrics to be more suitable for a wedding. It begins: “We join together here today, to help two people on their way.” . . .


Sue Townsend 2.4.46 – 10.4.14

April 11, 2014

Sue Townsend, author of the Adrian Mole books has died.

Townsend, 68, died at home on Thursday after a short illness.

The first of her comic series, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, was published in 1982 and the eighth instalment, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, was released in 2009.

Her other best-selling novels included The Queen and I.

Townsend, who was left blind after suffering from diabetes for many years, achieved worldwide success following the publication of the books about teenager Adrian Mole. . . .

To write as well as she did is admirable, doing so with severe health problems is even more so.


Rural round-up

April 11, 2014

Farmers back irrigation feasibility study:

A planned large-scale irrigation scheme in South Canterbury has got enough farmer backing for it to carry out an in depth feasibility study.

The Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme, which could irrigate up to 40,000 hectares of land from Waitaki to just south of Timaru, also has significant financial backing from the Government.

Hunter Downs Irrigation chairman Andrew Fraser says they’ve been going through a capital raising process over the last several weeks – and have managed to get over the threshold of 20,000 hectares of farmer uptake.

“This funding will enable us to do a feasibility study and so that will tell us whether the scheme is economically and technically viable so we hope to have that result back out to the shareholders and farmers by the end of the year.”

Mr Fraser says the capital raising period has been extended as the scheme gauges corporate interest and speaks to more farmers in the area. . .

Winners committed to pushing farming change - Gerald Piddock:

Mike and Sharon Barton’s innovative approach to farming in an environmentally sensitive area has earned them the supreme title in the 2014 Waikato Farm Environment Awards.

The Western Taupo beef farmers were presented with the award as well as category awards for soil management and innovation at a ceremony near Karapiro last night.

The Barton’s farm at Glen Emmreth Farm near Tihoi. They purchased the 142ha property in 2004 at a time when strict environmental legislation to protect the health of the lake was looming.

They faced this challenge head-on, determined to make their farm as environmentally sustainable as possible. . .

Farmers warned to tidy up act:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers not to risk making the dairy industry a scapegoat at this year’s general election through poor farm practices.

In a message to farmers, dairy chairman Willy Leferink said he was worried they could be negatively portrayed during the election campaign and they needed to do the basics properly to avoid bad publicity.

Visual aspects of the industry needing to be tidied up, and that could help create a better public image, Mr Leferink said. . .

Call for better health and safety on farms after death -  Collette Devlin:

Farming is a hazardous occupation and the number of injuries and deaths on Southland farms must come down, industry insiders say.

They are calling for better health and safety awareness on farms.

The issue has been put in the spotlight by the tragic death of fertiliser truck driver Les Cain, killed when the truck he was driving overturned on a northern Southland farm on Tuesday.

Southland Federated Farmers president Russell MacPherson said one farm death was one too many.

The old attitude of ‘she’ll be right’ needed to disappear from the industry. . .

Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year – Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – RivettingKateTaylor:

Well done to Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year.

I’ve just been writing about Hugh lately as I am doing the Nuffield NZ newsletter and he has just retired after 12 years as a trustee (we also went through Young Farmers together, although I hasten to add he is older than me!!!  Hugh, Shane Tilson and I won a national debating final in 1995!)

So last night (back to the important news) they were awarded the prestigious Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title in front of 350 people at a dinner at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay (well done on great night Hillary). . .

D2S ‘growing at a rate of knots’:

Wool growers have rallied behind Wools of New Zealand’s Direct-to-Scour (D2S) spot market sales option.

Launched in October last year, volumes under D2S are doubling month on month and have now reached around 350,000 kgs, with annualised volumes expected to reach between 3.5m – 4m kilograms within its first year, about 8% of the market.

Ross Townshend, Chief Executive of Wools of New Zealand told shareholder growers and supporters during the company’s roadshow series of 12 national meetings this week that the system was “simpler and put more money into the pockets of growers than the conventional model. It makes logical sense for growers’ wool to go to the first point of processing which is the scour where it can be core-sampled, independently tested, objectively assessed and fairly priced. . . .

Wool Market Defies Dollar:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a resurgent New Zealand dollar the South Island offering of 11,500 bales saw most types range from firm to 3 percent dearer. Even with the strength of the sale and an 86 percent clearance, some growers were still unprepared to accept current market levels with 13 percent of the offering being passed in.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was 1.36 percent up on the last sale on 3rd April.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were between 1 and 3 percent firmer. . .


Friday’s answers

April 11, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.

2. What are an ampersand  and an  octothorp?

3. It’s  écriture  in French,  scritto   in Italian, escritura in Spanish and  tuhituhi  in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What is a libretto?

5. How much does how you write/speak matter?

Points for answers:

Willdwan got two right and a right-track for #3.

J Bloggs got 4 1/2.

Andrei wins an electronic peach crumble for five right and a bonus for extra information.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


If no-one rides free . . .

April 11, 2014

An ex-staff or Kim Dotcom has revealed that no-one rides for free with him:

A former employee of Kim Dotcom says he was told to lavish ACT Party leader John Banks with gifts and travel offers, possibly to build up favours from the politician. . .

“If you’re thinking as I was – I was thinking ‘how generous, how nice – he must be really liking this gentleman and […] wants to show his hospitality’”.
But in hindsight, he thinks Dotcom was trying to “trap” Mr Banks.

“Looking at the situation in hindsight yeah, it would look as if like he was being stitched up,” Mr Mardikian says.

“No one rides for free with Kim. And if you think about it, and go through every situation, there’s never been a time of just open generosity; it’s always been for something in return.” . . .

If no-one rides for free, what price will Kim Dotcom expect the Mana party to pay for an alliance with his Internet Party?

He will provide money, but what will he want to extract in return?


Remember the wreckage

April 11, 2014

The latest IMF report on New Zealand is by and large a positive one.

Finance Minister Bill English reminds us that it wasn’t nearly as positive a few years ago:

Louise Upston: What comments has the International Monetary Fund made previously about the New Zealand economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: In the light of recent discussion about the history of the New Zealand economy, I looked for the IMF reports from 1975. That seems to have been the focus of economic debate in the House, but actually I could not find any. Instead, I went to the 2008 IMF report, where the IMF talked about a number of issues facing New Zealand, including what it described in careful bureaucratic language as “rapidly appreciating house prices”. It noted that in response to rising inflation the official cash rate reached 8.25 percent and homeowners faced floating mortgage rates of 11 percent. The current account deficit was 8 percent. All of those numbers are about double what they are now, and they are measures of the wreckage that the previous Labour Government did to the New Zealand economy.

It’s important to remember that wreckage because anything Labour is threatening us with should it return to government in September is more of what caused the problems in the last term – higher taxes and higher spending.

That’s what put New Zealand into recession before the global financial crisis.

It’s careful management by National which has turned round the forecast decade of deficits and has got the economy growing again.

One result of that is more jobs:

. . . Nationwide job numbers have been rising for the last 18 months with more people seeking work and successfully finding jobs across the country.

 According to the recruiter’s latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand for the April to June quarter, the jobs growth is being led by professional, technical and administration workers.

 Significantly, it’s not only the rebuild in Christchurch that is generating new employment opportunities in New Zealand; jobs growth is gathering pace across all regions of the country. . .

Employment has lagged other positive indicators but that too is changing for the better.


More wind generation less power

April 11, 2014

If renewable energy good is more better?

What if more renewable generation results in less power?

Household fridges and freezers will need to be automatically switched off at times when Britain’s electricity demand is high, in order to keep the lights on as Britain becomes more reliant on wind energy, experts say.

The current electricity grid will struggle to cope with the number of wind farms expected to be built by the early 2020s because the power they produce is so intermittent, according to a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

A radical overhaul of the way the electricity system is managed – including a “smart grid” that can control household appliances to reduce demand when power supply is inadequate – will be needed, it finds.

Britain will also need to build more power import and export cables to the continent to help manage variable wind power output, and develop storage technologies to keep surplus power for times when there is a shortfall.

The measures will be necessary to avert blackouts under a vast expansion of wind power – unless Britain instead builds an expensive new fleet of reliable power stations to be fired up as backup when the wind doesn’t blow, it found. . .

Most of New Zealand’s renewable energy comes from hydro generation.

That is at risk from low precipitation but it is generally easier to monitor it and manage its consequences than it is to predict and manage shortages of wind.

For all that people say they support renewable generation, I wonder how many would continue to do so if it meant a less reliable supply and higher prices?

 


Leaders lead but do followers follow?

April 11, 2014

David Cunliffe declared that a pre-election coalition between Labour and the Green Party was not going to be an option.

But was that the decision of his caucus or just his own?

The second tweet has a recording of David Parker saying that the decision was that of the leadership group but when asked to clarify that he suggests it was Cunliffe’s because “leaders lead”.

Leaders do lead but followers don’t always follow.

A caucus with a majority which didn’t consider Cunliffe their first choice as leader is quite likely to give less than its wholehearted support to any initiatives he takes.

Whether or not they do it’s yet another story which shows Labour hasn’t got its own act together and is, therefore, still not ready for government.


April 11 in history

April 11, 2014

491 – Flavius Anastasius became Byzantine Emperor, with the name of Anastasius I.

1079 – Bishop Stanislaus of Krakow was executed by order of Bolesław II of Poland.

1241 – Batu Khan defeated Béla IV of Hungary at the Battle of Muhi.

1512 – War of the League of Cambrai: French forces led by Gaston de Foix won the Battle of Ravenna.

1689 William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

1713  War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War): Treaty of Utrecht was signed.

1775 The last execution for witchcraft in Germany took place.

1814 The Treaty of Fontainebleau ended the War of the Sixth Coalition against Napoleon Bonaparte, and forces him to abdicate unconditionally for the first time.

1828  Foundation of Bahia Blanca.

1856 Battle of Rivas: Juan Santamaria burned down the hostel where William Walker’s filibusters were holed up.

1865 President Abraham Lincoln made his last public speech.

1868 The Shogunate was abolished in Japan.

1869 – The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred, arrived in Wellington as captain of HMS Galatea. His was the first visit by a member of the Royal Family to New Zealand.

1873 Edward Lawson, Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, was born  (d. 1955).

1876  The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organised.

1888 The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam was inaugurated.

1899 Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States.

1907 Ivor Spencer-Thomas, English farmer and entrepreneur, was born (d. 2001).

1908 Jane Bolin, first African-American woman judge, was born (d. 2007).

1908 Masaru Ibuka, Japanese industrialist (Sony), was born (d. 1997).

1919 Soldiers’ votes over turned initial results of a referendum which had shown a majority of 13,000 favouring prohibition.

Soldiers' votes derail prohibition campaign

1919 The International Labour Organisation was founded.

1921 The Emirate of Transjordan was created.

1945 World War II: American forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp.

1951  Korean War: President Harry Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of overall command in Korea.

1951 The Stone of Scone, the stone upon which Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned, was found on the site of the altar of Arbroath Abbey. It had been taken by Scottish nationalist students from its place in Westminster Abbey.

1952 The Battle of Nanri Island took place.

1953 Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium, was born.

1955 The Air India Kashmir Princess was bombed and crashed in a failed assassination attempt on Zhou Enlai by the Kuomintang.

1957 Britain agreed to Singaporean self-rule.

1960 Jeremy Clarkson, British journalist, was born.

1961  The trial of Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem.

1963 Billy Bowden, New Zealand umpire, was born.

Billy Bowden.jpg

1965 The Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965: Fifty-one tornadoes hit in six Midwestern states, killing 256 people.

1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

1970 Apollo 13 was launched.

1976 The Apple I was created.

1979 Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was deposed.

1981 A massive riot in Brixton, South London, resulted in almost 300 police injuries and 65 serious civilian injuries.

1986 The FBI Miami shootout between eight Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and two heavily-armed and well-trained gunmen.

1987 The London Agreement was secretly signed between Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein of Jordan.

1990 – Customs officers in Middlesbrough,  said they had seized what they believed to be the barrel of a massive gun on a ship bound for Iraq.

1993 – 450 prisoners rioted at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, and continued to do so for ten days, citing grievances related to prison conditions, as well as the forced vaccination of Nation of Islam prisoners (for tuberculosis) against their religious beliefs.

2001 The crew of a United States EP-3E aircraft that landed in Hainan, China after a collision with an J-8 fighter was released.

2002 The Ghriba synagogue bombing by Al Qaeda killed 21 in Tunisia.

2002 – An attempted coup d’état in Venezuela against President Hugo Chávez took place.

2006 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had successfully enriched uranium.

2007  2007 Algiers bombings: Two bombings in the Algerian capital of Algiers, killed 33 people and wounded a further 222 others.

2011 – Minsk Metro bombing.

2012 – A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit Indonesia, off northern Sumatra at a depth of 16.4 km. After that there are still more continuation earthquake. Tsunami had hit the island of Nias at Indonesia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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