Word of the day


Milagro – the Spanish word for miracle.

¡Qué increíble los mineros chilenos han sido salvado!


How incredible, the Chilean miners have been saved.

The last of the 33 men who were trapped in the San José mine near Copiapó since August 5, shift foreman,Luis Urzúo has been winched to safety.

No-one knew if anyone had survived the cave-in until rescuers heard tapping on the drill which had bored 688 metres down in an attempt to find if anyone was alive. The miners tied a note to the drill saying 33 of them were alive.

Since then the eyes of the world have been on Chile as the technically challenging and potentially dangerous work of rescuing the miners proceeded.

That all 33 of the men who were trapped have been freed is a tribute not only to the people who rescued them but to the men themselves. We can only guess at the strength of character,  discipline, leadership and faith which kept them alive for the 17 days before the first contact was made and the weeks of waiting and hoping which followed.

They will need all of that and more as they adjust to life on the surface again.

Reuters has a timeline on the two-month ordeal here.

The ODT calls it  miner miracles.

TV3 listed the miners in the order they were rescued. I’ve copied it after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s get together


Something good has come out of a united from the unification of Auckland already – South Island mayors are getting together to take a co-operative approach to ensure the Mainland’s voice is heard.

There’s around 800,000 people in the South Island, we’ll achieve much more with a united stance from our leaders than a competitive one.

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton was a guest on Afternoon’s panel yesterday afternoon when this was discussed.



7/10 in the Dominion Post’s political trivia quiz.

My answer to Heather Roy’s list place differed from the one given but I’m not sure they’ve got it right.

Also missed the number of people to get medals and the name of the spider.

UPDATE: 8/10 – Kiwiblog confirms that I was right about the answer for Heather Roy’s list ranking being wrong.

Law change could save cost of by-election with bob-each-way candidates


When then-Waitaki District deputy mayor Gary Kircher decided to stand for the mayoralty he chose to make it all or nothing – standing for mayor and not the council as well.

It was always going to be tough to beat a first-term mayor when there were no defining issues. Gary came a credible second which means now he’s neither mayor nor councillor.

Had he taken the bob each way approach he’d probably still be on the council. But had he done that and won, the District would be facing a by-election, as it did three years ago when then-councillor,  Alex Familton stood for council and mayor and won both. When reporting on that, the ODT said a by-election cost about $11,000 in 2007.

Central Otago is facing the expense of a by-election this time round for the same reason. Tony Lepper won a seat as councillor in the Earnscleugh-Manuherikia ward and his bid for the mayoralty.

There is nothing in legislation to stop people standing for more than one position on the same council even though success in both will trigger a by-election and I’m not sure it would be in the best interests of democracy if there was.

However, a law change could enable the next-highest polling candidate to take the council seat with the proviso that a petition by 10% of registered voters could request a by-election.

That would save the expense of a by-election if the bob-each way candidates won two seats and still safeguard democracy by enabling people to request a by-election if enough of them objected to the runner-up taking the seat.

October 14 in history


On October 14:

1066  Norman Conquest: Battle of Hastings – the forces of William the Conqueror defeated the English army and kill King Harold II of England.

1322  Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.


1644 William Penn, English founder of Pennsylvania, was born (d. 1718).

1656  Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

1758  Seven Years’ War: Austria defeated Prussia at the Battle of Hochkirk.

1773  The first recorded Ministryof Education, the Komisja Edukacji Narodowej was formed in Poland.

1805 Battle of Elchingen, France defeated Austria.

Battle of Elchingen from an engraving by Johann Lorenz Rugendas (1775-1826). French infantry storm the abbey while dragoons chase fleeing Austrians. 

1806 Battle of Jena-Auerstädt France defeated Prussia.

1840  The Maronite leader Bashir II surrendered to the British Army and then is sent into exile on the islands of Malta.


1843  The British arrested the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell for conspiracy to commit crimes.


1863  American Civil War: Battle of Bristoe Station – Confederate troops under the command of General Robert E. Lee failed to drive the American Union Army completely out of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

1867  The 15th and the last military Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate resigned in Japan, returning his power to the Emperor of Japan and thence to the re-established civil government of Japan.

1882 Eamon de Valera, Irish politician and patriot, was born (d. 1975).

1882 University of the Punjab was founded in a part of India that later became West Pakistan.

1884  The American inventor, George Eastman, received a U.S. Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.

1888 Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand writer, was born (d. 1923).

1888  Louis Le Prince filmed first motion picture: Roundhay Garden Scene.


1890  Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th President of the United States, was born (d. 1969).

1894  E. E. Cummings, American poet, was born (d. 1962).

1912 While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the former President Theodore Roosevelt, was shot and mildly wounded by John Schrank.With the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still within it, Mr. Roosevelt still carried out his scheduled public speech.


1913  Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, the United Kingdom’s worst coal mining accident claimed the lives of 439 miners.

1926  The children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, was first published.

Pooh Shepard 1926.png

1927 Roger Moore, English actor, was born.


1938  The first flight of the Curtiss Aircraft Company’s P-40 Warhawk fighter plane.


1939 Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer, was born.

Ralph Lauren 3x4.jpg

1939 The German Kriegsmarine submarine U-47 sank the British battleship HMS Royal Oak in the harbour at Scapa Flow.

A three-quarter view of a heavily-armoured battleship at anchor. There are two main turrets visible before the bridge, each housing a pair of 15-inch guns. 6-inch guns are housed in a row of individual sideways-facing sponsons. The flank of the ship has a conspicuous bulge at the waterline.

1940 Cliff Richard, English singer, was born.

1940 Christopher Timothy, British actor, was born.

1940  Balham subway station disaster, in London during an air raid.


1943 Prisoners at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland revolted against the Germans, killing eleven SS troops who were guards there, and wounding many more.

1943 – The American Eighth Air Force lost 60 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers in aerial combat during the second mass-daylight air raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factories in western Nazi Germany.

B-17F formation over Schweinfurt, Germany, August 17, 1943.jpg

1944 – Athens was liberated by British Army troops.

1946 Justin Hayward, English musician (Moody Blues), was born.

1947 Captain Chuck Yeager of the U.S. Air Force flew a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft, the Glamorous Glennis, faster than the speed of sound.

Charles Yeager photo portrait head on shoulders left side.jpg

1949 – Chinese Civil War: Chinese Communist forces occupied the city of Guangzhou.

1952  Korean War: United Nations and South Korean forces launched Operation Showdown against Chinese strongholds at the Iron Triangle. The resulting Battle of Triangle Hill was the biggest and bloodiest battle of 1952.

A colored photograph showing a howitzer recoils with fumes covering the front of the howitzer. A pair of GIs are standing besides the howitzer breech while another pair are crouching besides the howitzer trails. The heads of a third pair of GIs are at the bottom of the photograph near the howitzer shells.

1956  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian Untouchable caste leader, converted to Buddhism along with 385,000 of his followers (see Neo-Buddhism).

1957  Queen Elizabeth II became the first Canadian Monarch to open up an annual session of the Canadian Parliament, presenting her Speech from the Throne in Ottawa, Canada.

1958 The American Atomic Energy Commission, with supporting military units, carried out an underground nuclear weapon test.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis began: A U.S. Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane and its pilot flew over  Cuba and took photographs of Soviet missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

1964 Leonid Brezhnev became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.


1967 Joan Baez was arrested concerning a physical blockade of the U.S. Army’s induction centre in Oakland, California.


1968 – An earthquake rated at 6.8 on the Richter Scale destroyed the Australian town of Meckering, Western Australia, and ruptured all nearby main highways and railroads.

1968  Jim Hines of the United States of America becomes the first man ever to break the so-called “ten-second barrier” in the 100-meter sprint in the Summer Olympic Gamesheld in Mexico City with a time of 9.95 seconds.

1969  The United Kingdom introduced fifty-pence coin, which replaced, over the following years, the British ten-shilling note, in anticipation of the decimalization of the British currency in 1971


1973  In the Thammasat student uprising over 100,000 people protested in Thailand against the Thanom military government; 77 were killed and 857 are injured by soldiers.


1979 The mutilated body of Marty Johnstone, leader of the Mr Asia drug syndicate, was found in Eccleston Delft, a flooded disused quarry in Lancashire.

'Mr Asia' murder victim found

1979  The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, demanded “an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people”, and draws 200,000 people.

1981  Amnesty International charged the U.S. Federal Government with holding Richard Marshall of the American Indian Movement as a political prisoner.

1981 – Vice President Hosni Mubarak was elected as the President of Egypt.


1982 U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed a War on Drugs.

1994 Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and Foreign Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, received the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the establishment of the Oslo Accords and the framing of the future Palestinian Self Governing.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

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