National Velvet

February 27, 2010

Happy birthday Elizabeth Taylor – 78 today.

This film showed during school holidays at the Oamaru’s Majestic Theatre and we galloped home through the gardens, kicking up leaves, pretending we were riding like Velvet.


XT truth from Telecom

February 27, 2010

When I rang the Telecom desk for the second time in three hours yesterday because the mobile broadband kept disconnecting the bloke who answered was very helpful.

He also admitted the problem was the XT network.

Phone calls take precedence over data so if/when the system reaches capacity a single extra phone call pushes out the broadband connection.

“But we’re working fast to remedy that and add extra capacity,” he added.

Does this mean that XT has been more popular than the company thought it would be or that capacity was insufficient to begin with?

Whichever it is, I’m giving the company the benefit of the doubt for now and waiting hopefully for delivery to meet the promises soon.

After all, as Not PC points out, other telcos aren’t fault-free either.


Stating the obvious

February 27, 2010

Study: Smokers dumber than non-smokers.

Is that a surprise?


Performance based loans an improvement

February 27, 2010

The suggestion by Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce that student loans be tied to performance would be an improvement on the current system.

It is not in the best interests of the taxpayer or students to keep on paying loans to people who are failing significant parts of their courses.

With a limited amount of money available it should be going to ensuring high standards of teaching and helping students who help themselves, not funding those who fail.

Allowances are cut if students fail more than half their course in the previous year and that would be a sensible model to follow for loans.

Interest-free student loans were one of Labour’s election bribes. National came up with a better idea in 2005 but lost the election and swallowed the dead rat by promising to keep the loans in its 2008 campaign.

That doesn’t mean there can’t be changes to the system and stopping loans to those who fail would be a good place to start.

Helping people who graduate and work in hard to staff areas is better than propping up under-graduates who fail.

Voluntary bonding for health graduates is a good example of this and Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced the scheme will be widened.

South Canterbury has been added to the areas which are hard to staff and surgical nurses have been included in the list of hard to staff specialities.


Oceania Dairy gets resource consent

February 27, 2010

Environment Canterbury and Waimate District Council have approved Oceania Dairy’s resource consent application for a dairy processing plant at Glenavy.

The plant plans to process approximately 220 million litres of milk and produce around 32,000 tonnes of milk powder a year. It is expected to be operational for the start of the 2011/2012 season.

It’s a $95 million development and the company is now concentrating on its $74.75-million capital raising.

Farmers have the option of being shareholders and suppliers or just suppliers. The company is also seeking investment from non-farmers.

Farmers who supply Fonterra have to own shares in the company. With Oceania farmers could supply the company without having to make a capital investment. That could be attractive to people starting in the industry or those already in dairying who want to lower their debt levels.

However, this is a new company and farmers will have to weigh up whether or not they can get a return from a company without a track record which would be close to or better than that from Fonterra.

Only suppliers can own Fonterra shares. Oceania offers an opportunity to invest in dairying for non-farmers but no investment is risk free and only time will tell if this company can succeed in export markets.

Most forecasters are expecting stability or a slight reduction in milk prices in the short to medium term. But most also recognise that the world is short of food and any company from New Zealand selling milk does so with the assistance of our reputation for high standards of food safety.


February 27 in history

February 27, 2010

On February 27:

1560 The Treaty of Berwick, which expelled the French from Scotland, was signed by England and the Congregation of Scotland.

1594 Henry IV was crowned King of France.

1617 Sweden and Russia signed the Treaty of Stolbovo, ending the Ingrian War and shutting Russia out of the Baltic Sea.

1626 Yuan Chonghuan was appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians.

 

1700 William Dampier was the first European to discover the island of New Britain.

1797 The Bank of England issued the first one-pound and two-pound notes.

1807 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet, was born.

1812 Poet Lord Byron gave his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.

1844 The Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti.

1900 British military leaders received an unconditional notice of surrender from Boer General Piet Cronje at the Battle of Paardeberg.

Surrender of Cronje.jpg

1900 The British Labour Party was founded.

Labour logo
 

1902 John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel laureate, was born.

John Steinbeck with 19 year-old son John (left), visits President Johnson in the Oval Office,

1912 Lawrence Durrell, British writer, was born.

Durrell stands at a podium, gazing at the crowd as he addresses them. He wears a suit over a white shirt with a striped tie, and holds his left arm at his side, with his elbow bent upwards as if to shake his fist. A caption runs below the image that reads "Lawrence Durrell, 1986 - photo courtesy R. Rubrecht."

1921 The International Working Union of Socialist Parties was founded in Vienna.

1922 A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Leser v. Garnett.

1930 Joanne Woodward, American actress, was born.

1932  Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress, was born.

1933 Reichstag fire: Germany’s parliament building in Berlin was set on fire.

1934 Ralph Nader, American author, activist and political figure, was born.

1939 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sit-down strikes violated property owners’ rights and were therefore illegal.

1940  Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14

1942 During the Battle of the Java Sea, an allied strike force was defeated by a Japanese task force in the Java Sea

UmpCADH270K.jpg

1943 The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, exploded, killing 74 men.

 Memorial of the Smith Mine disaster

1943 – The Rosenstrasse protest started in Berlin.

 Part of the memorial “Block der Frauen” by Ingeborg Hunzinger, commemorating the protest

1945 Lebanon declared Independence.

     

1951 The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, was ratified.

1951 Troops were sent on to Wellington and Auckland wharves to load and unload ships during the waterfront dispute.

Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

1961 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation was inaugurated.

Italian Fascist flag

1963 The Dominican Republic got its first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch, since the end of the dictatorship led by Rafael Trujillo.

1964 The government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.

1967 Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom.

  

1973  The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

 

1974People magazine was published for the first time.

 

1976 The formerly Spanish territory of Western Sahara, under the auspices of the Polisario Front declared independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

1986 The United States Senate allowed its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

1989 Venezuela was rocked by the Caracazo riots.

1991 Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced that “Kuwait is liberated”.

1999 Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria‘s first elected president since mid-1983.

2002 Ryanair Flight 296 caught fire at London Stansted Airport.

2002 – Godhra train burning: a Muslim mob killed 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya;

2003 Rowan Williams was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

2004 A bombing of a Superferry by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack killed 116.

2007 The general strike against Lansana Conté in Guinea ended.

2007 – The Chinese Correction: the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell 9%, the largest drop in 10 years.


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