I Know Him So Well


Happy birthday Susan Boyle – 49 today.

Love Story


Happy birthday Ali MacGraw – 72 today.

It’s not one of my favourite songs, but I sobbed my way through the book and the film when I was a teenager:



Happy birthday Debbie Reynolds – 88 78 today.

I thought I rememberd Hayley Mills singing this in a film, but perhaps I’ve remembered incorrectly.

Good but could do better – IMF


The International Monetary Fund says New Zealand came through the recession better than many other developed countries and expects continuing modest growth.

However, it notes there are risks:

3. On the external front, the main downside risks are that the global recovery stalls and Chinese demand drops sharply, with negative spillovers for commodity prices. In addition, , risk premiums could rise for countries with high external debt, such as New Zealand, which could raise the cost of capital, constrain growth, and worsen the current account deficit. An increase in global risk appetite is also possible, which may lead to a further appreciation of the exchange rate, making it difficult to rebalance growth toward the tradables sector. An upside risk is that a sharper-than-expected global recovery could raise export income.

4. On the domestic front, a stronger-than-expected recovery may force an earlier tightening in monetary policy, putting upward pressure on the exchange rate. However, faster-than-expected deleveraging by households and businesses may slow the recovery.

 The report commends the government’s fiscal stimulus to 2010 and spending reductions but recommends further spending restraints to enable a return to surpluses sooner.

Finance Minister Bill English is committed to both economic growth and  spending restraint:

“I welcome the IMF’s comments that shifting the tax burden from income to consumption would raise incentives to work and invest – increasing growth over the medium term and improving New Zealand’s competitiveness.

“We are taking a considered and pragmatic approach to addressing New Zealand’s long-standing economic challenges.

“At the same time, we’re significantly reducing the amount of extra government spending and demanding better public services from government agencies. We believe we have struck the right balance on this score,” Mr English says.

Spending restraints and better services are important so too is sustainable growth.

Agriculture will continue to play an important role in that and – if we can get past the emotion that’s clouding discussion – so too could mining.

Tighter control on public spending and improved services can only go so far. Broadening our economic base, as more mining could, would strengthen our economy and make it more resilient. That would have social benefits and it need not come at too high an environmental cost.

Which is the joke?


The ODT has a fine tradition of April Fool stories but this morning it’s got two stories which could fit the bill:

Ambitious plan to roof the Octagon  and Varsity buying, closing bar.

The second story refers to the University of Otago’s plans to buy the Gardens Tavern. But I heard that first on Jim Mora’s Afternoons yesterday so although it’s April 1 that story isn’t a joke.

The Gardies opened in the 1960s. It was not far from St Margarets where I spent my first year as a student and Dundas and Leith Streets where I flatted in my second and third years.

The legal age for going to a pub was 20 in those days so of course I didn’t go to the Gardies until my third year as a student.

Baaccoli to the rescue of meat industry


Desperation over a child’s refusal to eat vegetables was the catalyst for the discovery of Baaccoli which will revolutionise sheep farming and return the meat industry to profitability.

Baaccoli, a new breed of sheep which combines the nutritional properties of broccoli with those of meat has been the subject of a top secret project at Invermary Research Centre in North Otago.

The research team is led by Dr Truly Clever who said concern that her daughter would develop scurvy because she wouldn’t eat her vegetables planted the seed for the project.

“She loves meat but I couldn’t get anything green or orange to pass her lips,” Dr Clever said. “When I asked her why she said, ‘I don’t need to because the lamb eats the greens and I eat the lamb.’

“That made me realise I had to find a way to add the vitamins and fibre from vegetables to sheep.”

Dr Clever said it had taken several years for the research team to develop the breed but it was now ready for commercial release.

“We started working with a variety of vegetables but found broccoli was the best and that’s what led us to naming the new breed Baaccoli,” she said.

“This will revolutionise the meat industry and stem the tide of dairy conversions.

“The foundations of the frozen meat industry started in North Otago and now we’re building on that with the launch of Baaccoli which will change the way we eat for ever.

April1 in history


On April 1:

527 Byzantine Emperor Justin I named his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne.

Tremissis-Justin I-sb0058.jpg

1293 Robert Winchelsey left England for Rome, to be consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.


1318 Berwick-upon-Tweed was captured by the Scottish from the English.

Curtain Wall Berwick.jpg

1340 Niels Ebbesen killed Gerhard III of Holstein in his bedroom, ending the 1332-1340 interregnum in Denmark.


1572  In the Eighty Years’ War, the Watergeuzen captured Brielle from the Spaniards, gaining the first foothold on land for what would become the Dutch Republic.


1789 The United States House of Representatives held its first quorum and elected Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania as its first House Speaker.

1815 Otto von Bismarck, 1st Chancellor of Germany, was born.

1826  Samuel Morey patented the internal combustion engine.

1854 Hard Times begins serialisation in Charles Dickens‘ magazine, Household Words.

Hardtimes serial cover.jpg

1857 Herman Melville published The Confidence-Man.


1865 American Civil War: Battle of Five Forks – In Siege of Petersburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee began his final offensive.

Petersburg seige.jpg

1867 Singapore became a British crown colony.

1873 The British steamer RMS Atlantic sank off Nova Scotia, killing 547.

RMS Atlantic.jpg

1875 Edgar Wallace, English writer, was born.


1887 Mumbai Fire Brigade was established.

Mumbai Fire Brigade Logo Enhanced.jpg

1891 The Wrigley Company was founded in Chicago.

1908 The Territorial Force (renamed Territorial Army in 1920) was formed as a volunteer reserve component of the British Army.

1912 The Greek athlete Konstantinos Tsiklitiras broke the world record in the standing long jump jumping 3.47 meters.

1918 The Royal Air Force was created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

Royal Air Force Badge

1924 Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in jail for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch“.

Bundesarchiv Bild 119-1486, Hitler-Putsch, München, Marienplatz.jpg

1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force was formed.

Ensign of the Royal Canadian Air Force.svg

1932  Debbie Reynolds, American actress, was born.

1933 The recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organised a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany.

1937 Aden became a British crown colony.

1938 – Ali MacGraw, American actress, was born.

1939 Generalísimo Francisco Franco announced the end of the Spanish Civil War, when the last of the Republican forces surrendered.


1941  The Blockade Runner Badge for the German navy was instituted.


1944  Navigation errors lead to an accidental American bombing of the Swiss city of Schaffhausen.

1945 World War II: Operation Iceberg – United States troops land on Okinawa in the last campaign of the war.

Two Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines advance on Wana Ridge on May 18, 1945

1946 Aleutian Island earthquake: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a tsunami that struck the Hawaiian Islands killing 159.

1946 – Formation of the Malayan Union.

1948  Cold War: Berlin Airlift – Military forces, under direction of the Soviet-controlled government in East Germany, set-up a land blockade of West Berlin.


1948 Faroe Islands received  autonomy from Denmark.

1949  Chinese Civil War: The Communist Party of China held unsuccessful peace talks with the Kuomintang in Beijing, after three years of fighting.

1949 The Canadian government repealed Japanese Canadian internment after seven years.


1949 – The twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland.

1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorised the creation of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.


1955 The EOKA rebellion against The British Empire starts in Cyprus, with the goal of obtaining the desired unification (“enosis”) with Greece.


1957 BBC Spaghetti tree hoax broadcast on current affairs programme Panorama.


1961 Susan Boyle, Scottish singer, was born.

1965 TEAL became Air New Zealand.

TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

1969 The Hawker Siddeley Harrier entered service with the RAF.

1970   President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring the Surgeon General’s warnings on tobacco products and banning cigarette advertisements on television and radio.

1973 Stephen Fleming, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

Stephen Fleming slip.jpg

1973  Project Tiger, a tiger conservation project, was launched in the Corbett National Park, India.


1976 Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

The Apple Logo

1976 Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect is first reported by the astronomer Patrick Moore.


1979  Iran became an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.

1980  New York City’s Transit Worker Union 100 began a strike lasting 11 days.

1987 State Owned Enterprises came into existance.

State-Owned Enterprises are born

 1989 Margaret Thatcher’s new local government tax, the Community Charge (commonly known as the ‘poll tax’), was introduced in Scotland.

Booklet titled "The Community Charge (the so-called Poll Tax) How it will work for you". 

1992 Start of the Bosnian war.

1997 Comet Hale-Bopp is seen passing over perihelion.

Comet Hale-Bopp, shortly after passing perihelion in April 1997.

1999 Nunavut is established as a Canadian territory carved out of the eastern part of the Northwest Territories.

2001 An EP-3E United States Navy surveillance aircraft collided with a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Shenyang J-8 fighter jet. The crew made an emergency landing in Hainan, China and was detained.

EP-3 Hainan Island 2001.jpg

2001 – Former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević surrendered to police special forces, to be tried on charges of war crimes.

2001 – Same-sex marriage beccme legal in the Netherlands, the first country to allow it.

2002 The Netherlands legalised euthanasia, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

2004 Google introduced  Gmail – a launch met with skepticism on account of the date.

Gmail's logo

2006 The Serious Organised Crime Agency, dubbed the ‘British FBI’, is created in the United Kingdom.

SOCA Logo.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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