Word of the day

01/04/2012

Argute – sharp, shrill; shrewd; sagacious; acute; subtle.


Donations helps delivery of best medicine

01/04/2012

Museum Hotel owner and philanthropist Chris Parkin has donated $30,00 for clown doctors in Wellington:

“I thought ‘here’s an opportunity, someone’s got to step up’ and I agreed to  funding the first year of the programme.

“It’s a tremendous cause, it’s something that anybody can get involved in,  especially anyone who has spent time in hospital themselves as a young  person…they’ll see the value in this straight away,” Mr Parkin says.

His donation will be enough for eight new clowns – they will rotate in pairs  to cover an afternoon shift at the hospital once every week.

Clown Doctors New Zealand introduced clown doctoring into Christchurch  hospital in 2009 and it has since spread to Auckland’s Starship Hospital and now  to Wellington Regional  Hospital.

Clown doctors – also known as medical clowns – are not actual doctors but  artists and performers who are trained in medical care and in the art of clown  doctoring.  

Founder and chief executive of Clown Doctors New Zealand Tom Petschner says  the programme right across the country relies on donations and support from  charities.

Auditions for the clown doctors will be held today at the Museum Art Hotel.

I did a weekend laughter yoga workshop last year which was lots of fun. Among the information we got was references to scientific studies proving the physiological and psychological benefits of laughing.

Laughter really is the best medicine and the donation will ensure it’s delivered to children in Wellington hopsitals.

TV3 has a video on clown doctors here.

There’s more about laughter yoga here.


Grabaseat Straightup fares

01/04/2012

Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat has introduced straight up fares for passengers who can ‘stand it’.

Cheap airfare website grabaseat lowered ticket prices even further today with the launch of ‘straight up fares’ – standing-room-only tickets on planes which are already full.

Effective immediately, aircraft on selected grabaseat domestic routes will be fitted with hand-straps attached from the ceiling, in a style instantly familiar to anyone who’s travelled to work on a bus. Unlike buses, passengers will not be able to request stops.

Thanks to the design innovation, capacity on a 737-300 will be increased from 133 passengers to 202 passengers. The additional 69 passengers will pay a substantially discounted ticket price, as consideration for the reduced inflight comfort, and the involuntary stranger-touching during turbulence.

grabaseat manager Duane Perrott says the idea for these new fares came from customer feedback:

“People always say to me ‘Duane, we love buses, but we hate how they can’t travel a thousand kilometres an hour, or traverse large bodies of water’.Well thanks to our new ‘straight up fares’, our customers can now have the best of both worlds – the speed and distance of air travel, plus the snug affordability of standing up on a bus.”

Perrott says grabaseat also has an option for older passengers who may not be tall or flexible enough to enjoy the new fares.

“We’ve modified a couple of Jolly Jumpers and hung them in the gap between the aft toilets”, he says proudly. “We wanted to offer our elderly customers a solution with dignity, and I’m proud to say we’ve achieved that.”

Full pricing details and availability can be viewed at http://www.grabaseat.co.nz.

See more here.


Safest place on earth

01/04/2012

Sky today has compiled a list of the 10 safest places on earth if World War 3 breaks out.

The #1 spot is New Zealand about which they say:

New Zealand  might be the most isolated and expansive fully developed nation in the world. It shares no borders, sits relatively distant from any other nation, has no real national enemies, has a safe democracy and a diverse landscape with many remote places to hide away within. Furthermore, it ranked #1 on the Global Peace Index in 2009.

Numbers 2 – 9 are: Bhutan, Iceland, Tuvalu, Finland, Seychelles, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica and Switzerland.

 

 


Landcorp farm sell-off

01/04/2012

Landcorp has announced it will slowly sell-off all its farms with the eventual goal of disestablishing itself.

Company media liaison officer Gladly Gumboot said the company had realised that its dismal return on assets wasn’t acceptable and the best thing the company could do for the nation was put its farms on the market in a measured and orderly way until they were all gone.

“It’s no use selling the company, no-one would want it,” she said with refreshing honesty. “But given the urgent need to reduce the burden of state we decided the best way for us to do our bit was to quietly sell-up and disappear.

“We asked ourselves what’s the best use of more than a billion dollars of public money and the answer wasn’t state-owned farms.”

“The plan is to sell farms individually, one by one so as not to flood the market. the money received could be used to reduce debt and invest in agricultural education and research and irrigation infrastructure.”

 

 


At last

01/04/2012

At last, daylight saving has ended.

That makes this my favourite morning of the year when I get to enjoy an extra hour’s sleep without losing time from the day.

I’d have been even happier had it happened two or three weeks earlier.


April 1 in history

01/04/2012

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

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.

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 (d. 1898).

1826  Samuel Morey patented the internal combustion engine.

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

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.

1867 Singapore became a British crown colony.

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

1875 Edgar Wallace, English writer, was born (d. 1932).

1887 Mumbai Fire Brigade was established.

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.

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

1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force was formed.

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.

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.

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.

1992 Start of the Bosnian war.

1997 Comet Hale-Bopp is seen passing over perihelion.

1999 Nunavut was 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.

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 became 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.

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

2009 – Croatia and Albania joined NATO

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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