Music for Royal Fireworks


Handel’s Music for Royal Fireworks was first performed on this day in 1749.

For Your Eyes Only


Happy birthday Sheena Easton – 51 today.

Für Elise


It’s 200 years today since Beethoven composed Für Elise.

Milk payout up again


Fonterra has announced an increase in the forecast  milk price and distributable profit which should take the payout up to $6.30 – $6.40.

In a newsletter to shareholders board chair Henry Van der Heyden says:

  • The Board met today and has announced an increase in the forecast Milk Price for 2009/10 to $6.10 per kgMS. This is up 40 cents from $5.70.

  • We are holding our forecast Distributable Profit range at 40-50 cents per share.

  • The forecast Dividend to farmers remains unchanged – we’re still targeting 20-30 cents per share. This means 10-30 cents per share of the Distributable Profit will likely be retained.

  • The board will discuss the opening forecast for next season at its May meeting and is advising farmers to budget on a similar price to this season’s.

    This is the second best payout Fonterra has made and will be particularly welcomed by farmers who’ve had to dry off early because of the drought.

    The company will make progressive increases in payments over the next six months which will help cash flow.

    It might also help persuade farmers to buy more dry shares.

    A media release from the company says:

    Fonterra CEO, Andrew Ferrier, said that, since the last Milk Price forecast, dairy prices had remained relatively high and more stable than expected for several months, and had recently increased further.   

      “The global supply/demand balance for dairy products has shifted to a slight supply deficit.  Demand from Middle East/North Africa and Asian markets continues to grow.  On the supply side, global milk production has continued to slow, with production contracting in several key markets.  For instance, supply has been affected by a tough winter in Europe, while North America and Australia production is also down.   In New Zealand, the effects of drought mean Fonterra’s production is now projected to be similar to last season, compared to the modest increase that we forecast at the beginning of the season,” Mr Ferrier said.

     Although the net effect was good news for the Milk Price in the short term, Mr Ferrier cautioned that the market continues to show significant volatility. 

    Jamie Mckay spoke to Andrew about the payout increase on the Farming Show today.

    Tuesday’s answers


    Monday’s questions were:

    1. What does Waitaki  mean?

    2. Name four of the seven heavenly virtues.

    3. What does sapid mean?

    4. Who said: “ There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”? 

    5. Whose autobiography is called Bums on Seats?

    I got my translation of Waitaki  from A.W. reed’s Dictionary of Place Names.  It says rumbling waters but given Richard’s expertise in this area I’m accepting weeping waters too.

    Points for answers:

    David 3 plus 1/2 for two of the four virtues requested.

    Richard got two and a bonus of satire.

    Bearhunter got 3 and like David 1/2 for two virtues.

    Paul got three plus 1/4 of the virtues (without losing anything for obsequiousness) and a bonus for satire.

    Ray wins the electronic bunch of flowers this week with three plus 1/2 for two virtues and a bonus for the extra information on Waitaki.

    The answers follow the break.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    It’s not the age it’s the attitude


    The root cause of problems with alcohol isn’t the purchase age, it’s our attitude.

    The Law Commission’s report on alcohol  leaked by Kiwiblog last week is due out today.

    It had some radical recommendations including a 50% excise tax on alcohol. Listening to Bill English on the Farming Show yesterday, I don’t think that’s likely.

    Another suggestion was raising the purchase age. Voting on that has always been a conscience vote and I don’t think it’s likely to be a measure on which MPs are whipped.

    I was in favour of reducing the purchase age to 18.

    Now I have reservations and would favour keeping the age for drinking alcohol on licensed premises at 18 but raising the purchase age from off licences to 20.That would allow young adults access to alcohol in supervised environments where it is easier to control irrsponsible drinking but restrict access for unsupervised drinking. It would also make it a bit more diffcult for people under the age of 18 to get alcohol.

    However, that too treats the symptom not the cause.

    Problems caused by the misuse of alcohol may be reduced a little by increased taxes, increasing the purchase age and reducing the number and/or operating hours of liquor outlets.

    But they won’t go away until there’s a change of attitude.

    Information on the dangers of smoking and action to reduce the harm it caused were just starting when I was leaving school. That was more than 30 years ago and it’s only in the last decade that there’s been a real change in attitude which has put non-smokers’ right to fresh air above that of tobacco addicts’ right to smoke.

    The attitude to driving drunk has changed, although there’s still room for improvement. But the message that it’s not what we’re drinking it’s how we’re drinking, hasn’t yet made much traction.

    Until it does and the attitude which at best doesn’t condemn, and at worst condones and even encourages, drunkenness changes any change of law will make little impact on the problems caused by alcohol abuse.

    Drought breaker


    We’ve had another 20 mls of rain since we measured 10 mls yesterday morning.

    It’s still raining and it’s still a steady, heavy drizzle.

    That’s exactly what we need for a drought breaker without any damage to soil, fences, tracks, roads, bridges or danger to stock and people.

    Southland isn’t so lucky with roads closed and phone lines severed but so far stop banks are holding.

    Camembert and brie are healthy


    It’s official – camembert and brie and healthy.

    So are lamb racks and oysters.

    So is canned and dried fruit – even if it has more sugar and preservative than vitamins.

    So is pizza and full cream, high sugar yoghurt but, alas, not low fat ice cream.

    So are Cactus Kate’s favourite dishes at Euro.

    Gooner at No Minsiter thinks McDonalds’ burgers are and Whaleoil reckons most food at KFC is too.

    The Maori Party’s Goods and Services Tax (Exemption of Healthy Foods Bill says so:

    • Fruit and vegetables (including fresh, frozen, canned and dried):
    • Breads and cereals (including all bread, grains, rice and pasta):
    • Milk and milk products (including cheese, yoghurt and plain milk, but excluding ice cream, cream products, condensed and flavoured milk):
    • Lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes

    The Visible Hand in Economics asks several good questions about the research behind the desire for exempetions.

    I reckon it just proves that while good tax is an oxymoron, simple taxes are better.

    April 27 in history


    On April 27:

    1124 David I became King of Scots.


    1296Battle of Dunbar: The Scots were defeated by Edward I of England.

    A man in half figure with short, curly hair and a hint of beard is facing left. He wears a coronet and holds a sceptre in his right hand. He has a blue robe over a red tunic, and his hands are covered by white, embroidered gloves. His left hand seems to be pointing left, to something outside the picture.

    1495 Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was born (d. 1566).

    1509 Pope Julius II placed the Italian state of Venice under interdict.


    1521 Battle of Mactan: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines by people led by chief Lapu-Lapu.


    1539  Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), by Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar.


    1565  Cebu was established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

    1578  Duel of the Mignons claimed the lives of two favourites of Henry III of France and two favorites of Henry I, Duke of Guise.

    1650 The Battle of Carbisdale: A Royalist army invaded mainland Scotland from Orkney Island but was defeated by a Covenanter army.

    Carbisdale castle.jpg

    1667 The blind and impoverished John Milton sold the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10.

    Milton paradise.jpg

    1749 First performance of Handel’s Fireworks Music in Green Park, London.


    1759  Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher and early feminist, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was born (d. 1797).

    Left-looking half-length portrait of a slightly pregnant woman in a white dress 

    1773 The British parliament the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

    1777 American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Ridgefield: A British invasion force engaged and defeated Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars.

    1791 Samuel F. B. Morse, American inventor, was born (d. 1872).

    1805 First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attacked the Tripolitan city of Derna (The “shores of Tripoli” part of the Marines’ hymn).


    1810 Beethoven composed his famous piano piece, Für Elise.


    1813  War of 1812: United States troops captured the capital of Upper Canada, York (present day Toronto).

    1822 Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1885).

    Ulysses S. Grant in a formal black and white photo. Grant is seated with arms folded. Grant looks weary and his beard is greying. This is the photo used for the $50.00 bill.

    1840 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster was laid by Lady Sarah Barry,  wife of architect Sir Charles Barry.


    1861 President of the United States Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

    1865 The New York State Senate created Cornell University as the state’s land grant institution.

    The Cornell University Seal

    1865 – The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom were Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.


    1893 New Zealand’s Premier John Ballance died.

    Death of Premier John Ballance

    1904 The Australian Labor Party becomes the first such party to gain national government, under Chris Watson.

    Australian Labor Party Logo

    1904 Cecil Day-Lewis, Irish poet and writer, was born (d. 1972).


    1909 Sultan of Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid II was overthrown, and succeeded by his brother, Mehmed V.

    1911 Following the resignation and death of William P. Frye, a compromise was reached to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

    1927  Carabineros de Chile (Chilean national police force and gendarmery) was created.

    Roundel of Carabineros de Chile.svg

    1927 Coretta Scott King, American civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr, was born (d. 2006).

    1927 Sheila Scott, English aviatrix, was born (d. 1988).

    1932 Pik Botha, South African politician, was born.


    1941 – World War II: The Communist Party of Slovenia, the Slovene Christian Socialists, the left-wing Slovene Sokols (also known as “National Democrats”) and a group of progressive intellectuals established the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People.

    1945 World War II: German troops were finally expelled from Finnish Lapland.

    1945 World War II: The Völkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceased publication.


    1945 World War II: Benito Mussolini was arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.


    1947 Peter Ham, Welsh singer and songwriter (Badfinger) (d. 1975), was born.

    1948  Kate Pierson, American singer (The B-52’s), was born.

    1950  Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act was passed formally segregating races.

    1951 – Ace Frehley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

    1959  The last Canadian missionary left China.

    1959 Sheena Easton, Scottish singer, was born.

    1960  Togo gained independence from French-administered UN trusteeship.

    1961 Sierra Leone was granted its independence from the United Kingdom, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister.


    1967 Expo 67 officially opened in Montreal with a large opening ceremony broadcast around the world.


    1967 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Dutch heir apparent, was born.

    Close-up of Willem-Alexander wearing a military peaked cap

    1967 Erik Thomson, Australian actor, was born.


    1972  Constructive Vote of No Confidence against German Chancellor Willy Brandt failed under obscure circumstances.

    1974 10,000 march in Washington, D.C. calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon.

    1977 28 people were killed in the Guatemala City air disaster.

    1981 Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse.

    1987 The U.S. Department of Justice barred the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.

    1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, was proclaimed.

    1992 Betty Boothroyd becamethe first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history.

    1992 Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics became members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

    1993 All members of the Zambia national football team lost their lives in a plane crash off Libreville, Gabon in route to Dakar to play a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.

    Shirt badge/Association crest

    1994  South African general election, 1994: The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote.

    Nelson Mandela.jpg

    1996 The 1996 Lebanon war ended.

    2002 The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.


    2005 The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 made its first flight from Toulouse.


    2006 Construction began on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Centre.

    Freedom Tower New.jpg

    2007 Estonian authorities removed the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia.


    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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