August 4 in history

August 4, 2014

1265 Second Barons’ War: Battle of Evesham – the army of Prince Edward defeated the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort and many of his allies.

1532 the Duchy of Brittany was annexed to the Kingdom of France.

1578 Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir – the Moroccans defeated the Portuguese. King Sebastian of Portugal was killed leaving his elderly uncle, Cardinal Henry, as his heir which initiated a succession crisis in Portugal.

1693 Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of Champagne.

1704  War of the Spanish Succession: Gibraltar was captured by an English and Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Rooke and allied with Archduke Charles.

1789 In France members of the National Constituent Assembly tookan oath to end feudalism and abandon their privileges.

1790 A newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard).

1791 The Treaty of Sistova was signed, ending the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.

1792 Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet, was born (d. 1822).

1821  Atkinson & Alexander published the Saturday Evening Post for the first time.

1821 Louis Vuitton, French designer, was born (d. 1892).

1824 Battle of Kos  between Turks and Greeks.

1834  John Venn, English mathematician, was born (d. 1923).

1854 The Hinomaru was established as the official flag to be flown from Japanese ships.

1870 Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer, was born (d. 1950).

1873  The United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashed for the first time with the Sioux, one man on each side was killed.

1900 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother), was born (d. 2002)

1901 Louis Armstrong, American jazz musician, was born (d. 1971).

1902 The Greenwich foot tunnel under the River Thames opened.

1906  Central Railway Station, Sydney opened.

1914   Germany invaded Belgium. In response, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. The United States declares its neutrality.

1916  Liberia declared war on Germany.

1923 – The 8.5-km Ōtira tunnel, which pierced the Southern Alps and linked Christchurch with Greymouth, was formally opened by Prime Minister William Massey.

1936  Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas suspended parliament and the Constitution and established the 4th of August Regime.

1942 David Lange,  former New Zealand Prime Minister, was born (d. 2005).

David Lange Posts a Letter.jpg

1943 Vicente Alberto Álvarez Areces, President of the Government of the Principality of Asturias in Spain, was born.

1944 A tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they foundd  Anne Frank and her family.

1946 Dominican Republic earthquake of magnitude 8.0;  100  killed and 20,000 left homeless.

1947 The Supreme Court of Japan was established.

1952 Moya Brennan, Irish singer, was born.

1954  The Government of Pakistan approved Qaumi Tarana, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla, as the national anthem.

1958  The Billboard Hot 100 was founded.

1960 – Tim Winton, Australian author, was born.

1960 Paul Henry,  New Zealand broadcaster, was born.

1960 José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1961  Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born.

1964  Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were found dead after disappearing on June 21.

1964  Gulf of Tonkin Incident: United States destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy reported coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1965  The Cook Islands gained Self Government.

Cook Islands achieve self-government

1965 Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, was born.

1969  Vietnam War: at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy began secret peace negotiations.

1974  A bomb exploded in the Italicus Express train at San Benedetto Val di Sambro, Italy, killing 12 people and wounding 22.

1975  The Japanese Red Army took more than 50 hostages at the AIA Building housing several embassies in Kuala Lumpur.

1984  The African republic Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso.

1987 The Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.

1991  The Greek cruise ship MTS Oceanos sank off the Wild Coast of South Africa.

1995 Operation Storm began in Croatia.

2002 Soham murders: 10 year old school girls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells went missing from Soham, Cambridgeshire.

2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Michaëlle Jean would be Canada’s 27th — and first black — Governor General.

2006 2006 Trincomalee massacre of NGO workers by Sri Lankan government forces, killing 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF).

2007 NASA’s Phoenix spaceship was launched.

2007 – Airport police officer María del Luján Telpuk discovered a suitcase containing an undeclared amount of US$800,000 as it went through an x-ray machine in Buenos Aires’ Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, sparking an international scandal involving Venezuela and Argentina known as “Maletinazo“.

2010 – California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage passed by the state’s voters in 2008, was overturned by Judge Vaughn Walker in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Rural round-up

June 23, 2014

Leave TPP slowcoaches behind, New Zealand farmers urge

With Prime Minister John Key and President Barack Obama showing strong support for a comprehensive Trans Pacific Partnership, New Zealand farmers will support leaving countries behind that are not prepared to eliminate agricultural tariffs.

“The Trans Pacific Partnership was established to eliminate all tariffs and bring a new level of discipline to the use of non-tariff barriers,” says Bruce Wills, the National President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“If we have a country that is not prepared to accept this reality, then they should not be allowed to slow down progress for all. . .

US milk exports affecting NZ farms – Tim Cronshaw:

Fonterra’s milk suppliers are wary of the ability of United States feedlot farmers to step up or slow down milk production faster than they can.

When grain is cheap and commodity prices are high, as was the case in the soon-to-finish 2013-14 season, this can be to the advantage of operators keeping cows in confined feedlots. As they ramp up milking, this has a bearing on world supplies and the prices Kiwi farmers receive.

Logic would say they will ease off as global commodity prices falter, but narrowing down their next move is complicated. . . .

The noblest of farmersBruce Wills:

The word nobility, to me at least, describes people who give of themselves without thought of personal advancement or enrichment.

As this will be one of my final columns as the President of Federated Farmers, I am in awe of the people who work incredibly hard for this organisation and farmers in general. To be fair, having a good team makes leadership easy and in our provinces and branches we are blessed with great people.  People who meet councillors and officers on plan changes one day, maybe Worksafe NZ the next and then may help to resolve a dispute among neighbours.  Being available 24/7, they work with the Rural Support Trusts when either we don’t have the right kind of weather or too much of it. 

Throughout it all, they still have their farm to run and their family to care for.

Our people do this because they are not just passionate about farming but they care for its future. They believe, as I do, that farmers and farming are a force for good in our country. While farming defines part of our national identity we are not immune from the odd ratbag.  In saying that, farmers are overwhelmingly honest, decent and generous folk who genuinely care. . . .

Techno Expo gets off to a flyer:

AN INAUGURAL Technology Expo run as part of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Central Otago ‘Farming For Profit’ programme has been hailed a success by organisers.

The event, in Alexandra earlier this month, featured parallel presentations from a string of companies and organisations with products, services, and – in the case of Otago Regional Council – regulations, which are set to change the way we farm.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” BLNZ central South Island extension manager Aaron Meikle told Rural News. “Both seminars have been busy all day. I’d suggest there’s been well over a 100 people come through during the day.” . . .

Couple getting in the olive groove – Gerard Hutching:

There are several ways to harvest olives: laboriously beating the trees with sticks, using a hand rake, or using a mechanical rake.

But Helen Meehan, owner of olive grove Olivo in Martinborough, in the Wairarapa, prefers the relatively new method of mechanically shaking the tree until the olives drop into nets.

It’s all about saving time, she explains, even though about 20 per cent of the crop stays on the tree. . . .


Political story of the day

June 21, 2014

The relationship between New Zealand and the USA has never been stronger – Barack Obama

Had a very successful meeting with President Obama today where we discussed the strength of the New Zealand - United States relationship, the economy, trade and global issues.

 


TPP not plaything of corporates

February 9, 2014

Pattrick Smellie writes on the TPP:

. . . The way the story’s told here, the TPP is a plaything of US corporate interests hell-bent on imposing the very worst of American imperialist views on such important principles as the ownership of patents and copyright, at the expense of supposedly “weak” negotiators like New Zealand.

The implication is that the US political-industrial machine is driving this outcome not just inexorably, but inevitably to a conclusion that will only benefit existing corporate power.

Well, maybe.

But if that’s really the case, why is it that hardly a day passes without coverage in the US media of the mounting trouble that US President Barack Obama faces in getting the permission he needs from Congress and the Senate to agree to a TPP-style deal?

If anything, the political dynamic in the US indicates that vast economy is becoming more instinctively protectionist and unwilling to grant the “fast-track” legislation required to allow the US to be a nimble participant in the TPP negotiations. They now involve 13 trading nations around the Pacific Rim, and perhaps a 14th if South Korea is allowed to join too.

In the last fortnight, Obama has lost support for fast-track legislation from the Democrat Leader of the Senate Majority, Harry Reid, but a swathe of other leading Democrats. On the Republican side, where liberal sentiment towards global trade might have been expected to reign, hard-right Tea Party-ites have further eroded support for free trade.

Indeed, no US President has managed to secure fast-track legislation since 2002. Efforts since 2007 by both the George W Bush and Obama administrations to renew fast-track authority have foundered to date.

So if TPP’s most ardent critic in New Zealand, University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, is right and the Pacific Rim trade deal is a stitch-up between evil US corporate interests and its puppets on Capitol Hill, then clearly the puppet-masters are doing a pretty crappy job.

The recent Wiki-Leaked documents from TPP negotiations suggest much the same thing. They show the US on the backfoot on many of the most contentious intellectual property and environmental issues.

Recent US media reporting suggests the US is facing opposition to proposed environmental safeguards that developing economies regard as trade barriers dressed up as principle.

If anyone is succeeding on Capitol Hill at present, it would seem to be American trade unions, who would much rather kick TPP negotiations beyond the 2014 mid-term US elections later this year because they fear trade liberalisation will cost the Democrats votes. . .

New Zealand has much to gain and little to lose from the TPP thanks to already being an open economy with few restrictions on trade.

Heavily protected sectors in other countries will have to undergo the adjustment to a more liberal trading environment. But any short-term pain will be worth the long term gains for producers, consumers and taxpayers who pay a high price for tariffs and other trade barriers.


How often do people like a leader?

January 21, 2014

Richard Prebble makes an interesting observation in The Listener:

. . . The polls are amazing. John Key is not only our most popular Prime Minister in the history of polling, but also the most popular leader in the Western world. Key is on 62%; Barack Obama is on 41%. Tony Abbott was elected in a landslide and, still in the honeymoon period, is on 47%. The Queen asks Key to Balmoral for the same reason Obama asks him to play golf: they like him. Heck, I like him. There is no one we would rather have in charge in a crisis. . . .

How often do people really like a leader and when was the last time we had a leader who wasn’t just popular but who was widely  liked here and further afield?

We’ve had popular Prime Ministers, we’ve had ones who have been admired, more than a few who were disliked and some who were feared. But widely liked well beyond their parties and personal friends?  I can’t remember one.

Leaders often aren’t likeable but John Key is. Not universally of course, some people won’t be able to see beyond their politics to the person. But people who know him like him and so does the general public.

Prebble thinks National will win the election and the PM’s likeability is a major reason for that.

He may or may not be right about the outcome of the election, but he is right about people liking the PM and that gives him, and National, a huge advantage.

The popularity of Prime Ministers and Presidents fluctuates for all sorts of political reasons. A leader’s likeability is more stable and will often trump politics.


Who are we talking about?

January 14, 2014

From a few days before Christmas until at least the second week in January, most politicians and the people who report their words and deeds take a break.

There might be the odd media release from a duty minister or even odder – in whatever sense you like of that word -one from an opposition MP desperately hoping to be noticed, but they are lucky to make even very small headlines.

John Key’s golf-game with Barrack Obama got attention here and abroad, but there hasn’t much else newsworthy to prompt discussion around the barbecues.

But this week, look who’s popped up – Colin Craig telling the world he smacks his children and that repealing the anti-smacking legislation will be a bottom line for his Conservative Party in coalition negotiations.

This will do nothing for the minority who supported the legislation and the much bigger number of people who didn’t but don’t think it’s a major issue.

But it doesn’t need to.

All it needs to do is keep Craig in the headlines and keep people talking about him because he doesn’t need majority support.

All he needs is 5% of voters, or an electorate seat, and he and his party will be in parliament at the next election.

He’s getting noticed and it doesn’t matter that most would consider that’s for the wrong reasons. He’s not aiming at most of us.

He’s aiming at the disaffected and discontented and those who feel they’re not being represented at the moment.

They don’t need to feel strongly about the  particular issues he picks, or even agree with his stance on all of them.

They just need to believe he’s someone who’s different from the rest and who could represent them.

The fact he’s managed to do what no minor party leader out of parliament has managed, when he’s not in parliament – keep being noticed and have people talking about him while the political world is on holiday – will help.


Key to be US president for day

January 4, 2014

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is to be US president for a day after winning a game of golf against Barack Obama.

President Obama said they’d agreed to a wager with the winner taking on running the loser’s country for a day to add a bit of interest to the game played in Hawaii yesterday.

“We haven’t decided which day it is to be yet, but I’m looking forward to having a real break from the responsibility of running the USA and I am confident it will be in safe hands,” the President said.

“I’d hoped John would agree to bring Bill English with him so we could get the benefit of both of them, but John said Bill would have to look after New Zealand that day.”

Mr Key said he was looking forward to the experience.

“I realise that the USA is a bit bigger than New Zealand but I’m pretty relaxed about the challenge,” he said.


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