I Feel Good

03/05/2010

James Brown would have been 87 today.


Little Boxes

03/05/2010

Happy birthday Pete Seeger, 91 today.


Is Labour targeting women ministers?

03/05/2010

Kiwiblog’s has followed his rating of Labour MPs with one of government Ministers.

One of the stats shows that the ministers to whom Labour has directed written questions:

For written questions, the Opposition decides who to ask them to, but it does indicate how targeted a Minister may be. Top was Paula Bennett who had 4,650 (over 100 a week), followed by Anne Tolley on 3098 and Judith Collins on 1615.

They’re all women.

Is that deliberate or is it just coincidence that the ministers whose policies Labour has decided to question most  happen to be women?


Swinging On A Star

03/05/2010

Bing Crosby would have been 107 today.


Monday’s quiz

03/05/2010

1.  What does Otakou/Otago mean?

2. Who wrote The Man Whose Mother Was  A Pirate?

3. What does the Plimsol line indicate?

4. People who suffer from atelophobia are afraid of what?

5. What does q.e.d. (quod erat demonstrandum)  mean?


Hogsnort Rupert Medley

03/05/2010

Day three of New Zealand Music Month:

A Hogsnort Rupert medley which starts with Auntie Alice Bought Us This.


Norgate’s last stand?

03/05/2010

The Press (not online) reports that Craig Norgate has given up on Rural Portfolio Investments, the parent company of Rural Portfolio Capital:

Norgate has essentially thrown in the towel on Rural Portfolio Investments . . . saying he cannot raise enough funds for the next dividend on the $60m of preference shares.

It is unlikely the preference shareholders will get the face value of that $60m investment back in the short term and the market has already priced in a much lower return.

The security for the RPC preference shares is 46.76m PGG Wrightson shares (which closed at 53c yesterday) and 10m NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZFSU) shares (41c) was well as $742,314 held in a dividend escrow account. . .

RPI and its financing subsidiary Rural Portfolio Capital are the investment vehicles for Norgate and the Otago-based McConnon family, and will very likely be wound down. . .

Norgate contributed to the McConnon family fortune when, as general manager of Kiwi Dairy, he bought Mainland Products from them. He’s now taken a large chunk of that away through his encouragement for them to invest in PGW.

He thought he could capture the rural servicing market by amalgamating Williams and Kettle, Pyne Gould Guiness and Wrightson. But farmers never bought into his plans and the combined market share of those companies fell from more than 70% to less than 50%.  PGW’s share price went from around $2. 80  two years ago to just 53 cents on Friday.

The decline of PGW provided opportunities for competitors Combined Rural Traders and new companies of stock agents set up by former PGW agents, including Hazlett Rural and Rural Livestock.

The only positives for PGW at the moment are the arrivals of Sir John Anderson as chairman of the company and former PGG general manager George Gould as a director.

One of Norgate’s biggest mistake was failing to gain finance for the purchase of 50% of Silver Fern Farms. While the financial meltdown has been blamed for this many farmers cannot believe how he ignored the fundamental basics of business which require securing funding before doing a deal.

His foray into dairying in Uruguay was big on promises but has yet to deliver. Share prices peaked at $2 and were at 41 cents on Friday.

From the outside, the investment in Uruguay looked simple. However, Norgate failed to take full account the challenges of farming in South America with language, cultural and political difficulties and a very different climate from New Zealand.

You only have to look  at the difficulties New Zealand companies have when investing in Australia, where at least the language, culture, banking and legal systems are similar, to realise that what works so well here might not  transfer easily to Uruguay.


May 3 in history

03/05/2010

On May 3:

1469 Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and political author was born (d. 1527).

1491  Kongo monarch Nkuwu Nzinga was baptised by Portuguese missionaries, adopting the baptismal name of João I.

 

1494  Christopher Columbus first sighted what is now known as Jamaica.

1715 Edmund Halley’s total solar eclipse.

1768 Charles Tennant, Scottish chemist and industrialist, was born (d. 1838).

1791  The Constitution of May 3 (the first modern constitutionin Europe)  was proclaimed by the Sejm of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

 

1802  Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city.

1808  Finnish War: Sweden lost the fortress of Sveaborg to Russia.

1808 Peninsular War: The Madrid rebels were fired upon near Príncipe Pío hill.

 The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya

1815 Neapolitan War: Joachim Murat, King of Naples was defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Tolentino, the decisive engagement of the war.

Battle of Tolentino.jpg

1820 Missionary John Butler turned the first furrow at Kerikeri, becoming the first to use a European plough in New Zealand.

First European plough used in NZ

1830  The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway was opened – the first steam hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.

 

1837  The University of Athens was founded.

 
Uoa-logo.jpg

1844 Richard D’Oyly Carte, English theatrical impresario was born (d. 1901).

 

1849  The May Uprising in Dresden began – the last of the German revolutions of 1848.

Barricades - 1848 Germany.jpg

1860 Charles XV of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.  

1867 The Hudson’s Bay Company gave up all claims to Vancouver Island.

 

1877  Labatt Park, the oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world had its first game.

World's oldest ball park.jpg

1887 Margaret Cruickshank became the first woman to be registered as a doctor in New Zealand.

NZ's first woman doctor registered

1898  Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, was born(d. 1978).

1901 The Great Fire of 1901 began in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

1903  Bing Crosby, American singer and actor, was born  (d. 1977).

1913  Raja Harishchandra the first full-length Indian feature film was released.

1915 The poem In Flanders Fields was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.

1916 The leaders of the Easter Rising were executed in Dublin.

 

1919 Pete Seeger, American singer, was born.

1920 A Bolshevik coup failsedin the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

1921 Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer was born (d. 1989).

Sugarrayrobinson.jpg

1921 Joe Ames, American singer, was born (d. 2007).

1926  Ann B. Davis, American actress Alice on The Brady Bunch, was born.

1928  Japanese atrocities in Jinan, China.

1933  Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman to head the United States Mint.

1933 James Brown, American singer and dancer, was born (d. 2006).

1934 Frankie Valli, American singer (The Four Seasons), was born.

1937  Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Gone with the Wind cover.jpg

1942  World War II: Japanese naval troops invaded Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands during the first part of Operation Mo .

1945 World War II: Sinking of the prison ships Cap Arcona, Thielbek and Deutschland by the Royal Air Force in Lübeck Bay.

1946 International Military Tribunal for the Far East began in Tokyo with twenty-eight Japanese military and government officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

1947 New post-war Japanese constitution went into effect.

 

1948  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.

1951  London’s Royal Festival Hall openedwith the Festival of Britain.

 

1951 The United States Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees begin their closed door hearings into the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur by U.S. President Harry Truman.

1951 – The Kentucky Derby was televised for the first time.

Kentucky Derby.svg

1951 Christopher Cross, American musician, was born.

1952  Lieutenant Colonels Joseph O. Fletcher and William P. Benedict landed a plane at the North Pole.

 

1960  The Off-Broadway musical comedy, The Fantasticks, openedin Greenwich Village, eventually becoming the longest-running musical of all time.

Fantasticks.jpg

1960 – The Anne Frank House opensedin Amsterdam.

 

1963 The police force in Birmingham, Alabama switches tactics and responded with violent force to stop the “Birmingham campaign” protesters.

Three black high school students, two boys and a girl, facing into a storefront window to avoid being hurt by a water cannon striking one boy at his back; all three are dripping with water 

1973 The Sears Tower in Chicago was topped out as the world’s tallest building.

Sears Tower ss.jpg

1978  The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (later  known as “spam“) was sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.

1986  Twenty-one people were killed and forty-one are injured after a bomb exploded in an airliner (Flight UL512) at Colomb  airport in Sri Lanka.

1991 The Declaration of Windhoek was signed.

1999  Oklahoma City was slammed by an F5 tornado killing forty-two people, injuring 665, and causing $1 billion in damage. One of 66 from the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, this was the strongest tornado ever recorded with wind speeds of up to 318 mph.

2000  The sport of geocaching began, with the first cache placed and the coordinates from a GPS posted on Usenet.

 

2002 A military MiG-21 aircraft crashed into the Bank of Rajasthan in India, killing eight.

2003  New Hampshire’s famous Old Man of the Mountain collapsed.

 

2006 Armavia Flight 967 crashed into the Black Sea, killing 113 people on board, with no survivors.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia


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