December 2 in history

December 2, 2015

1409 – The University of Leipzig opened.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in the United States.

1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag(the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himselfEmperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a joint Russo-Austrian force.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: US President James Monroe delivered a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: US President James K. Polk announced to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1848 – Franz Josef I became Emperor of Austria.

1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French (Napoleon III).

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter was born (d. 1891).

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper’s Ferry.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1884 – Sir Erima Harvey Northcroft, New Zealand lawyer and judge, was born (d. 1953).

1899 – Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1908 – Child Emperor Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1917 – Six p.m. closing of pubs was introduced in New Zealand as a ‘temporary’ wartime measure. It ushered in what became know as the ‘six o’clock swill’, as patrons aimed to get their fill before closing time.

'Six o'clock swill' begins

1917 – An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk began.

1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.

1923 – Maria Callas was born (d. 1977).

1924 – Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician, was born (d. 2010).

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A .

1930 – Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover went before the United States Congress and asked for a US$150 million public works programme to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s La Guardia Airport opened.

1942 – Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

1943 – A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

1946 – The British Government invited four Indian leaders, Nehru, Baldev Singh, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to obtain the participation of all parties in the Constituent Assembly.

1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots broke out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

1954 – Red Scare: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemnJoseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and China, was signed in Washington, D.C..

1956 – The Granma yacht reached the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castrodeclared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain formed the United Arab Emirates.

1972 – Gough Whitlam became the first Labor Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years.

1975 – Pathet Lao seized power in Laos, and establishes the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1977 – The first World Series Cricket “supertest” match played between Australia and West Indies.

1980 – Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, were murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1990 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín.

1993 – STS-61 – NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

1999 – Glenbrook rail accident near Sydney.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.

2001 – Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2008 – Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after the 2008 Thailand political crisis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day

December 1, 2015

Otorhinolaryngology – the  medical specialty concerned with diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.

Quote of the day

December 1, 2015

Through books and photographs, I saw a world that was not my own – and I realized that there was another world. That’s why I’m concerned about education, because it helps our children see other worlds. – Bette Midler who celebrates her 60th birthday today.

December 1 in history

December 1, 2015

800 – Charlemagne judged the accusations against Pope Leo III.

1420 – Henry V of England entered Paris.

1640 – End of the Iberian Union: Portugal acclaimed as King, João IV of Portugal, thus ending a 60 year period of personal union of the crowns of Portugal and Spain and the end of the rule of the House of Habsburg (also called the Philippine Dynasty).

1761 Marie Tussaud, French creator of wax sculptures (Madame Tussauds), was born (d. 1850).

1768 – The slave ship Fredensborg sank off Tromøy in Norway.

1821 – The first constitution of Costa Rica was issued.

1822 – Pedro I was crowned Emperor of Brazil.

1824 – U.S. presidential election, 1824: Since no candidate had received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives was given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1826 – French philhellene Charles Nicolas Fabvier forced his way through the Turkish cordon and ascended the Acropolis of Athens, which had been under siege.

1834 – Slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with theSlavery Abolition Act 1833.

1898 – The first movie was shot in New Zealand.

1864 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.

1913 – The Buenos Aires Subway started operating, the first underground railway system in the southern hemisphere and in Latin America.

1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduced the first moving assembly line.

1913 – Crete, was annexed by Greece.

1918 – Transylvania united with Romania.

1918 – Iceland became a sovereign state, yet remained a part of the Danish kingdom.

1918 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as theKingdom of Yugoslavia) was proclaimed.

1919 – Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons (she had been elected to that position on November 28).

1925 – World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty was signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements.

1932  – Matt Monro, English singer, was born.

1933 – Pilot E.F. (‘Teddy’) Harvie and his passenger, Miss Trevor Hunter,set a record for the longest flight within New Zealand in a single day. They flew approximately 1880 km between North Cape and Invercargill in 16 hours 10 minutes.

1934 – Politburo member Sergei Kirov was shot dead by Leonid Nikolayevat the Communist Party headquarters in Leningrad.

1935 Woody Allen, American film director, actor, and comedian, was born.

1939 Lee Trevino, American golfer, was born.

1940  Richard Pryor, American actor, comedian, was born.

1941 – Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol.

1945 Bette Midler, American actress and singer, was born.

1946  Gilbert O’Sullivan, Irish singer, was born.

1952 – The New York Daily News reported the news of Christine Jorgenson, the first notable case of sexual reassignment surgery.

1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws.

1958 – The Central African Republic became independent from France.

1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire in Chicago killed 92 children and three nuns.

1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.

1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany, after accusations of attempted arson.

1961 – The independent Republic of West Papua was proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.

1965 – The Border Security Force was formed in India as a special force to guard the borders.

1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States was held since World War II.

1971 – Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensified assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.

1971 – The Indian Army recaptured part of Kashmir occupied forcibly by Pakistan.

1973 – Papua New Guinea gained self government from Australia.

1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashed northwest of Dulles International Airport killing all 92 people on-board.

1974 – Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 6231, crashed northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

1981 – A Yugoslavian Inex Adria Aviopromet DC-9 crashed in Corsica killing all 180 people on-board.

1981 – The AIDS virus was officially recognized.

1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was appointed Prime Minister of Pakistan.

1989 – 1989 Philippine coup attempt: The right-wing military rebel Reform the Armed Forces Movement attempted to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed bloody coup d’état.

1989 – Cold War: East Germany’s parliament abolished the constitutional provision granting the communist party the leading role in the state.

1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.

1991 – Cold War: Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approve a referendum for independence from the Soviet Union.

2001 – Captain Bill Compton brought Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA’s purchase by American Airlines.

2001  Aiko, Princess Toshi of Japan, was born.

2009 – The Treaty of Lisbon, which amended the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, which together comprise the constitutional basis of European Union, came into effect.

2013 – China launched Yutu or Jade Rabbit, its first lunar rover, as part of the Chang’e 3 lunar exploration mission.

2013 – At least four were killed and 61 injured following a Metro-North Railroad train derailment nearSpuytenDuyvil, Bronx, New York City.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Word of the day

November 30, 2015

Multipotentialite – a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits; an individual whose interests span multiple fields or areas, rather than being strong in just one; the ability of a person, particularly one of intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields.

Apropos of which Emilie Wapnick gives an interesting Ted Talk.

Rural round-up

November 30, 2015

Climate change: Call to recognise farmers’ efforts – Anders Crofoot:

The Paris climate change meeting represents an opportunity for the world to agree the terms for the next global effort to reduce emissions.

Negotiations have continued for a number of years and, with the Kyoto Protocol having effectively lapsed at the end of 2012, farmers are hopeful of an agreement which better recognises the services we provide civil society.

For better or worse, the Kyoto Protocol bundled biological emissions from food production together with fossil fuel emissions from industry, energy and transport. With agricultural emissions representing a relatively minor proportion of national emissions among most countries, the focus naturally remains on other sources. . . 

Season has contrasting impact on Silver Fern Farms and Alliance – Allan Barber:

The two biggest meat processors had contrasting experiences during the 2015 season to judge by their annual results and accompanying comments. There is no doubt Silver Fern Farms found life easier than Alliance, with respect to the year in question. SFF must also have heaved an enormous sigh of relief after its improvement from the previous three years.

The bare facts of the differing results are NPAT of $24.9 million and dramatically reduced debt for SFF and $4.6 million NPAT for Alliance accompanied by a marginal reduction in equity ratio. Alliance’s performance was slightly worse than 2014, disappointing as chairman Murray Taggart agreed, whereas SFF’s result was a massive improvement on the previous year. Neither result represented a satisfactory return on assets, but signs for the future are positive. . . 

Federated Farmers signs Land & Water Forum Report but with conditions attached:

Federated Farmers has today added its name to the signatories of the fourth report of the Land & Water Forum after receiving the conditional support of its National Council.

The National Council, meeting in Wellington over 26 and 27 November, comprises the presidents of Federated Farmers’ 24 provinces, its National Board and representatives of its seven industry groups.

“Federated Farmers has been deeply involved in and committed to the Land & Water Forum since its formation in 2009, playing an active role in the development of this and the previous three forum reports,” says Federated Farmers Water spokesperson Chris Allen. . . 

Farm gate milk price won’t recover until mid-2016 – Westland:

Westland Milk Products believes the farm gate milk price will not recover until the middle of next year because overseas buyers have already reacted to predictions of falling production and drought.

Chief executive Rod Quin said the brief upward spike in prices at the Global Dairy Trade auction six weeks ago was overseas buyers moving to secure supply.

Westland Milk Products, which has about 500 shareholders, held its AGM this week and Mr Quin said the payout forecast remained around $4.90 to the early five dollar mark, which was less than farmers needed to break even.

He said that was unlikely to change because it looked like there would be more pressure on prices in the next couple of months. . . 

Silver Fern Farms paid former CEO Keith Cooper more than $1.8M in 2015 – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s largest meat processor, paid former chief executive Keith Cooper more than $1.8 million last financial year, reflecting his long service with the company.

Cooper, who joined the cooperative in 1989 and was chief executive for eight years, was paid between $1.84 million and $1.85 million in the company’s 2015 financial year ended Sept. 30, Silver Fern Farms said in its annual report, where it is required to detail the number of employees that it paid $100,000 or more.

“The payments made to him reflect a combination of base salary for a period, a short-term incentive related to the prior year, a retention incentive that related to prior and future years, annual and long-service leave as well as a payment that reflected his significant contribution to the company over the prior 18 years, the most recent eight as chief executive,” the Dunedin-based company said. . . 


NZ Farming's photo.



Aberrant and abhorrent

November 30, 2015

Cows like all other mammals have to deliver a baby before they start lactating.

If animals are farmed to produce milk their offspring, be they calves, lambs or kids, are a by-product.

Dairy farms here usually keep most of their heifer calves to raise as replacements or for later sale.

Some might raise some bull calves for beef but most are sold to others to raise or sent for slaughter as bobby calves.

Normal practice is to treat all animals well and make the process from birth to death as fast and humane as possible for the calves.

The mistreatment of calves  shown on Sunday last night is not normal practice.

It is aberrant, abhorrent and appeared to be illegal.

No-one is trying to excuse it.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating and DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and the New Zealand have condemned it:

Dairy industry bodies say they are appalled at the bobby care practices revealed in video footage recorded by animal rights group Farmwatch and released as part of a SAFE public campaign launched against dairy farming.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says cruel and illegal practices are in no way condoned or accepted by the industry as part of dairy farming.

“We are shocked and farmers are too,” he says. “We will be asking questions of everyone involved. Farmers don’t see what goes on when calves leave their farm and we need to be holding the transport operators and processing plants to account to ensure bad practices get stamped out of our industry.

“Our surveys show that 95 percent of farmers are compliant with all animal welfare codes and they take great care of their animals including calves. We obviously want to see that even higher because the dairy industry takes its animal welfare responsibilities seriously and we are committed to farming to high standards,” he says.

“There is a range of industry initiatives already in place and we will be boosting our actions with other groups to ensure the care of calves.”

Federated Farmers’ dairy section chair, Andrew Hoggard says “farmers have to farm within strict animal welfare rules and the vast majority care for their animals humanely and responsibly”.

He says the footage released by SAFE and Farmwatch includes some appalling behaviour, by a minority of farmers but also by transport companies and slaughterhouse workers. “This is something we and the industry will not tolerate.

“Federated Farmers strongly, and each season, reinforces to its members that the highest standards of animal welfare must apply when dealing with all calves. The federation will also put resources behind any industry initiatives to review the handling, transport and processing of bobby calves,” says Mr Hoggard. 

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand executive director Kimberly Crewther says that compliance with the New Zealand codes of welfare is important to dairy companies.

“These codes are internationally recognised as robust.  Where there are breaches we fully support and expect Ministry for Primary Industries’ compliance action,” she says.

This abuse of animals is an indictment on the perpetrators, it should not be taken as a reflection on the whole industry in which most people in the production chain strive for, and achieve, high standards of practice with animal welfare a priority.


Fonterra says any mistreatment of animals is completely unacceptable to the company and its farmers:

Fonterra has seen the upsetting footage of bobby calves being ill treated provided by SAFE NZ, the subject of this week’s Sunday show on TVNZ.

Any mistreatment of animals is completely unacceptable to Fonterra and our farmers.

Immediate action

We’re taking immediate steps to deal with it alongside the rest of the New Zealand dairy industry:

  • We’ve requested a meeting with SAFE, and will let them know that we share their concern for the treatment of animals, and to seek further information from them on the footage
  • We’re in contact with representatives from the meat industry to discuss what we have seen in the footage to express to them our concerns around the treatment of bobby calves

Animal welfare is our priority

While bobby calves will always be part of the dairy industry, they must be treated with care and respect. Behaviour in this footage in no way represents the vast majority of New Zealand farmers who care about their animals.

As a Co-operative we take a hard line on animal welfare. We’re investigating this and will be taking strong action if any of our people were involved.

Five Freedoms

We work proactively with our farmers to embed best practice and uphold the Five Freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger or thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress through conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Responsible dairying

Fonterra is absolutely committed to responsible dairying. We work with our farmers to ensure they maintain the highest standards of animal welfare and they have a strong track record when it comes to on-farm animal welfare practices.

We audit farms annually and have strict controls in place in any instance where these Five Freedoms are not being observed.

Working together with the dairy industry

This includes working with industry representative bodies like Dairy NZ and MPI to support our farmers and ensure best practice is observed on-farm.

We want to let our customers and consumers know that we are taking action to ensure these practices do not happen on Fonterra farms and will be front-footing this issue with other primary industries.


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