Word of the day

July 6, 2012

Monomyth –  a cyclical journey or quest undertaken by a mythical hero.

Hat Tip: Bowalley Road


Friday’s answers

July 6, 2012

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ?

2. Who wrote Cold Comfort Farm?

3. It’s  hiver in French, inverno in Italian, invierno in Spanish and takura  in Maori.

4. Where was New Zealand’s coldest temperature recorded? There’s a bonus point if you can say what it was.

5. What’s best for keeping a house warm in winter – electricity, gas or fire?

Points for answers:

Alwyn wins an electronic fruit cake with a clean sweep – though I prefer a real fire to heat pumps.

GD got two, a close for # 3 and bonuses for reasoning for # 4 and very full answer to #5 – I share your enthusiasm for merino mink, under or outer.

Andrei got four and close with a I presume that was supposed to be negative 15 for #4?

Adam got two and a surprised look for #5.

Paul got 3 1/2 – right temperature, wrong place – with a bonus for making me smile.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Colin Wheeler 1919 -2012

July 6, 2012

One of North Otago’s most acclaimed artists, Colin Wheeler, died last week.

Born in Dunedin in 1919, he studied at the Canterbury School of Art and Camberwell School of Arts and Craft in London.

He moved to Oamaru in 1951 to work as art master at Waitaki Boys’ High School. Former pupils have very fond memories of his class.

I once had the privilege of visiting him in his home. He was a very modest man but his enthusiasm for his art and knowledge of the subjects he painted was inspirational.

His books of paintings of historic sheep stations which were first published in the 1960s were very popular and he has left a huge legacy of paintings of rural New Zealand.

His work also established a record of North Otago landscapes and buildings and an invaluable collection depicting Oamaru scenes. He gifted many of his paintings to the Forrester Gallery, some of which can be seen here.

His contribution to art was recognised with a Queens Service Medal.

The Artist’s Room also has examples of his work.

The Oamaru Mail pays tribute to him here and this website has more on his career.


Someone like us

July 6, 2012

Chris Trotter has a theory on why John Key has retained his popularity even when the government is doing unpopular things:

. . . John Key’s extraordinary success as a political leader owes a great deal to how closely his own career conforms to the heroic monomyth.

 The story begins with John, an ordinary Kiwi joker with a head for figures, setting out on a risky journey into the fantastic world of high finance, where all but the hardiest and most cunning traders are eaten alive. Having mastered the magical art of making money, and acquired a vast fortune, John returns home from his adventures determined to put his hard-won skills to good use among his own people.
 
It is difficult to imagine a “hero” better suited to the needs of twenty-first century New Zealand. John Key’s very ordinariness confirms his “Everyman” status, and amplifies the potency of his success. The power he wields is not his own, but a weapon forged from the capacities inherent in every Kiwi: those mysterious qualities that allow New Zealanders to“punch above their weight”; that national essence which sanctions John Key’s followers’vicarious participation in his personal and political success. He is Us, and We are Him. It’s why, until an even more emblematic hero comes along, John Key will remain invincible. . .
The address in this morning’s first post gives a very good idea of John Key’s character and what drives him.

I believe in a government that looks after its citizens and provides them with opportunities to flourish, but recognises that people are  responsible for their own lives and the well-being of their families.  The way to a better future is ultimately in your own hands.

I  believe in a government that gives people security in times of  misfortune and hardship but doesn’t trap them in a life of limited  income and limited choices. I’ve often said that you can measure a  society by how it looks after its most vulnerable. Yet you can also  measure a society by how many vulnerable people it creates – people who  are able to work, yet end up depending for long periods on the State.

I believe in a government that supports people’s hard work and enterprise, and encourages them to set high aspirations.

I have had a successful career in international finance.

But I have learned that the most valuable assets in life are those closest  to home. As a husband, and as a father of two wonderful children, I can  say that families are in my view the most important institution in our  society.

So I believe in a government that supports families.

He was brought up by a strong woman who imbued him with these principles, which are closely aligned with those of the National Party and the government he leads.
That didn’t used to be extraordinary and for many of us it still isn’t. Maybe Chris is right, we see in the Prime Minister someone like us, or someone like someone we can aspire to be.

Reflections from NZ

July 6, 2012
Prime Minister John Key gave the John Howard address to the Menzies Research Centre last night.
I was going to post some highlights but decided it was better to copy the whole speech and mark the highlights in bold. That would ahve left more in bold than not so I’ve left it as it was:
Thank you for your welcome.

Can I start by acknowledging some  of the special guests tonight – former Prime Minister John Howard,  Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott and members of his Parliamentary  team.

And I’d like to thank the Menzies Research Centre for inviting me to give this lecture.

The Menzies Research Centre has made an important contribution to public  policy thinking in Australia over many years. It is an impressive  institution.

I was delighted to accept its invitation, because I have a great deal of respect and admiration for John Howard.

I always remember the week I became Leader of the National Party, towards the end of 2006.

I was scheduled to fly to Canberra in my previous capacity as Finance  Spokesperson, but instead made the trip as the new Party Leader.

At short notice, Prime Minister Howard made time in his extremely busy  schedule to see me and to dispense his best wishes, along with some good centre-right advice.

Aside from the personal encouragement he  gave me, it was a very public signal that helped me, as a new Leader,  settle into my role.

Over the following years we developed a close relationship.

John was a great Prime Minister of Australia.

And he was a great friend of New Zealand, working hard to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

In doing so, he worked closely with my predecessor Helen Clark, despite their domestic political differences.

Following that example, I, too, have enjoyed a good, constructive relationship with Kevin Rudd and with Julia Gillard.

I learned a lot from John Howard, both from my discussions with him, and through watching him as Prime Minister.

I admired the economic programme he oversaw in Australia, his steady leadership through difficult times, and his tenacity.

By the time you’ve been Prime Minister for 11 years, let alone twice been  Leader of the Opposition, you’ve fought a lot of battles and faced a lot of challenges.

It reminds me of a story about the Civil War General Ulysses S Grant.

After a day in which his forces took a real beating, his second-in-command  General Sherman found him sitting under a tree chewing a cigar.

“Well,” said Sherman, “we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?”

“Yes,” said Grant. “Lick ’em tomorrow, though.”

That’s what being a Prime Minister is often like.

Can I also say that it’s a great pleasure to be here in Australia.

Australians and New Zealanders – all 27 million of us – share a very special corner of the globe.

Geography, our shared colonial history, and our cooperation in peace and in war, have made our two countries very close.

Our soldiers have served together in many distant parts of the world, and  continue to do so today in Afghanistan. These deployments are not  without risk, and I want to acknowledge the SAS soldier who lost his  life in Uruzgan just three days ago.

For a long time our two countries were isolated from the rest of the world.

We had little to do with the Asian countries to the north and west of us,  and England was anywhere up to six months’ hazardous sailing away.

Nowadays the world is a much smaller and far more interconnected place.

Yet our countries remain as close as ever.

We have a comprehensive trade and economic agreement without the drawbacks of a common currency.

Australia is New Zealand’s most important trading partner and our most important source of foreign investment.

And at a practical level we are always there for each other.

That was reinforced for New Zealanders in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes and the Pike River mine disaster.

When 300 Australian Police arrived at Christchurch airport they were met by a spontaneous standing ovation. It was a moving and visual demonstration  that we weren’t on our own. You had our back.

In return, New  Zealand has always been there to help Australia, most recently after the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods.

In your time of need we also gave you one of our best rugby coaches – Robbie Deans.

I hope that makes you more competitive, because from the time I became  Prime Minister in late 2008, the head-to-head record between our  national rugby teams reads All Blacks 9 – Wallabies 2.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that.

Tonight I want to talk about my approach to politics, what drives me, and what  the Government I lead in New Zealand has been doing.

I want to  make it clear that I am not here to suggest any particular policies or  approaches for Australia. That is for Australian politicians and  Australian voters to decide.

But I can give you a sense of where I come from and how the National-led Government has been dealing with  some the challenges facing New Zealand.

And there certainly have been challenges.

One has been to begin the long process of rebalancing the economy.

The New Zealand economy lost competitiveness in the 2000s because growth  was built on all the wrong things – debt, consumption and a 50 per cent  increase in government spending in just five years.

Those factors  acted together to suffocate the tradables sector in New Zealand, which  was effectively in recession from 2004 onwards.

So we have been  doing a lot of work to change some of the key settings in the economy,  help keep the pressure off interest rates and the exchange rate, and  ensure the public sector isn’t diverting too many resources away from  the tradables sector.

Another test for the country has been the  fiscal challenge posed by the combination of a domestic recession, the  impact of the Global Financial Crisis, and the cost of the Canterbury  earthquakes.

From the beginning of the recession, in early 2008,  the New Zealand economy shrank 3.3 per cent in 18 months, and tax  revenue fell 10 per cent.

And while most of the damage from the  earthquakes is covered by insurance, the Government is still expecting  to face a final bill of around $13 billion, or around six-and-a-half per cent of GDP.

As a Government, we absorbed much of the cost of the recession and the earthquakes on our balance sheet, thereby cushioning  New Zealanders from the worst impacts.

But that money has to be  paid back, so we have put a huge amount of effort into making savings  and, in particular, into changing some of the long-term term drivers of  government spending, so we can get back to surplus over the next few  years and start getting our debt down again.

The challenges we’ve faced haven’t just been economic, of course.

We have also been dealing with long-standing social problems that have defied easy solutions.

The 2000s in New Zealand were characterised by the idea that big increases  in government spending, dispensed across a whole range of areas and in a relatively untargeted way, could transform society.

However, that particular experiment ran out of money in 2008 with little genuinely  transformational to show for it, and the problems still remain.

As Prime Minister, I am responsible for leading the Government’s responses to these and other challenges.

As John F. Kennedy once said, we in government are not permitted the luxury of irresolution.

Everyone else can debate issues forever but, in the end, the government has to  cut through all that and make a decision, which will invariably please  some and disappoint others.

In making those decisions, my Government is very pragmatic.

We are guided by the enduring values and principles of the National Party, but we are also focused on what is sensible and what is possible.

Partly, that is the nature of the political system in New Zealand. It is  sometimes said that politics is about convincing 50 per cent of the  population plus one, and that has never been truer than under the MMP  system we have in New Zealand.

But, in any event, I think government is a practical business.

You don’t start with a blank sheet of paper; you start with the country as it is.

And by making a series of sensible decisions, which build on each other and which are signalled well in advance, and by taking most people with you as you go, you can effect real and durable change, which won’t simply  be reversed by the next lot who come into government.

Over time, a series of moderate changes can add up to a considerable programme.

That has been our experience in New Zealand.

In terms of the fiscal outlook, we have effected a significant turnaround.

The advice we had from the Treasury when we first came into office was that if we continued with the settings we inherited, net government debt was likely to reach 60 per cent of GDP by 2026.

Now, after all the  changes we have made, net debt is projected to be zero in 2026, despite  the Government also picking up much of the cost of the earthquakes.

We have also implemented the biggest changes to the tax system in a  generation, to increase the incentives to work hard, save and invest,  and decrease the incentives to consume.

That has included  increasing GST, bringing down personal tax rates across the board, and  dropping the company tax rate to 28 per cent.

We have reformed our planning laws and labour laws, and we are investing heavily in New  Zealand’s infrastructure, including state highways, ultra-fast broadband and the national electricity grid.

We have embarked on a process of selling minority stakes in four state-owned energy companies.

We are making significant changes to the welfare system, including work  obligations for sole parents when their youngest child turns five.

And we are undertaking a long-term programme of public sector reform. This  includes a real focus on results – getting traction on difficult issues  like reducing crime and long-term welfare dependency.

Throughout this time we have been consistent and up-front with New Zealanders about what we are doing and why.

And we have retained pretty broad support across New Zealand.

I want to stress, however, that while I think government is about  practical, considered decision-making, it is not a technocracy.

In the end, the biggest, most fundamental decisions governments are called on to make are not reducible to calculation in a spreadsheet.

Those decisions rely on the judgements of politicians around concepts like  fairness, opportunity, and the balance between individual and social  responsibility.

As a politician, my own gut-level judgements have been hugely influenced by my upbringing and my life experiences.

I was a kid who benefited from both the welfare state and a mother who pushed us to improve ourselves through hard work.

My father died when I was young. We had no other family in New Zealand and we had very little money. My mother was on a Widows Benefit for a time, before she started working as a cleaner.

The State provided us with somewhere to live, and ensured my mother had food to put on the table when we most needed it.

The State also gave me the opportunity to have a good education at the local high school and at university.

My mother made sure I seized that opportunity with both hands.

She was a very strong character, and had escaped persecution in Austria  before the Second World War. What she gave to my sisters and me was far  more valuable than money. Her constant refrain was that, “you get out of life what you put into it”.

My early life was therefore a mix of  strong influences: a close family; an emphasis on individual  responsibility and hard work; first-hand experience of the welfare  system; and a realisation of the opportunities that education offers to  kids from even the humblest of homes.

Those influences have undoubtedly shaped my views on the appropriate role of government.

I believe in a government that looks after its citizens and provides them with opportunities to flourish, but recognises that people are  responsible for their own lives and the well-being of their families.  The way to a better future is ultimately in your own hands.

I  believe in a government that gives people security in times of  misfortune and hardship but doesn’t trap them in a life of limited  income and limited choices. I’ve often said that you can measure a  society by how it looks after its most vulnerable. Yet you can also  measure a society by how many vulnerable people it creates – people who  are able to work, yet end up depending for long periods on the State.

I believe in a government that supports people’s hard work and enterprise, and encourages them to set high aspirations.

I have had a successful career in international finance.

But I have learned that the most valuable assets in life are those closest  to home. As a husband, and as a father of two wonderful children, I can  say that families are in my view the most important institution in our  society.

So I believe in a government that supports families.

At some point, years ago, I found that my own personal beliefs and drivers were a natural fit with the principles of the National Party.

Those principles won’t be a great surprise to you because the origins of the  New Zealand National Party are broadly similar to those of the  Australian Liberal Party.

The National Party was formed in 1936  from the merger of existing liberal and conservative parties. It was  formed to consolidate opposition to the Labour Party, which had won its  first general election the previous year.

The name “National” was  chosen in part because the new party sought to represent the whole  country, without favouring any one class, region, gender, race or  religion.

The name “National” also emphasised that the Party’s principles and policies were rooted strongly in New Zealand.

Its first leaders were men born and brought up in New Zealand – Hamilton,  Holland, Holyoake and Marshall – who thought of themselves first as New  Zealanders, not Irish, Scots, or English.

Keith Holyoake, for  example, was a fourth generation New Zealander, all eight of his  great-grandparents having arrived in New Zealand around the 1840s. While he maintained New Zealand’s traditional links, he also told Britain  quite bluntly that he saw New Zealand as a totally independent nation.

The Party’s founders were not people who saw the world in terms of a  fundamental class conflict, where people’s destinies were largely  foretold. In fact the Party was set up to oppose that view.

On the contrary, the early leaders of the Party had a belief in the  capabilities, and also the responsibilities, of individuals and their  families.

People had choices and could make better lives for  themselves. The government could help them by enabling better choices,  but couldn’t and shouldn’t tell them what to do.

Neither should  the government get in the way of people exercising those choices.  Holyoake, for example, said that while he believed in everybody having  the opportunity for success, he did not believe that, “success in one  individual should be thwarted by efforts to prevent the failure of  another”.

Many in the new Party were practical farmers and businesspeople who wanted common sense solutions to New Zealand’s problems.

As I said, they didn’t see New Zealand as a battleground where a conflict between workers and capitalists was playing out.

Nor were they interested in many of the things British conservatives and liberals exercised themselves about.

It seems to me they were a fairly straightforward and pragmatic bunch of  people who wanted to continue building what was still a relatively young country.

They didn’t believe in uniformity – they thought that  was a socialist idea as well. Rather, they thought that the individual  freedom promoted by National involved many diverse groups with  conflicting interests. Tolerance was the key to working through those  conflicts – giving everyone a say, but ensuring the Party ultimately  focused on the good of the country as a whole.

The National Party has also always understood that businesses large and small create jobs and prosperity.

It is extraordinary how many people, including a lot of Opposition MPs in  New Zealand, think the economy is something separate from the normal  life of the country – something that will just keep chugging along while Parliament worries about supposedly unrelated social issues, like  employment.

In fact – as I am at pains to point out most days in  Parliament – jobs are only created when business owners have the  confidence to invest their own money to expand what they are doing or to start something new.

Giving businesses that confidence is the  most important thing the Government can do to ensure people have jobs,  and that those jobs are sustainable and well-paid.

So those are  the general principles the National Party has been promoting for the  past 76 years: individual responsibility; equality of opportunity;  competitive enterprise; tolerance and respect for all New Zealanders;  and an essential pragmatism – a belief in the practical and the  possible.

Policies change over time, of course, as knowledge develops, attitudes change, and new challenges arise.

But principles and values are an intergenerational guide that ensures the  essence of the Party remains the same, even though individual policy  prescriptions may differ.

And they are an important guide for the future.

When they elect a government, voters accept that that government will have  to make decisions on issues yet to reveal themselves, and react to  situations no-one could have predicted.

It is important that voters have some idea of the considerations that will inform those future decisions.

Sometimes voters have been thoroughly surprised by the government they elected.

Those governments have never worked out very well.

So one of the things my Government has tried very hard to do over the past three-and-a-half years is to be predictable, consistent and upfront  with voters.

John Howard made the same point about the Liberal Party in his lecture to this Centre in 2009.

“Love us or loathe us,” he said, “and there were plenty of both, the  Australian people knew what we believed in and what we wished to achieve for their country.”

That is the approach we have been taking as well.

In particular, we have sought a mandate at each election to implement  certain policies, we have made assurances about others, and we have  stuck closely to our word.

Looking forward, the biggest challenge  to New Zealand is the on-going debt crisis in Europe and the prospect of subdued world growth, or even recession.

New Zealand makes up  less than a quarter of one per cent of the global economy so we can’t  help but be affected by events in the rest of the world.

But I remain optimistic about New Zealand’s prospects.

We have sound economic and financial institutions.

We are producing the sorts of products, and providing the sorts of services, that will be in demand over coming decades.

Sixty per cent of our exports now go to Australia, East Asia or Southeast  Asia. A strong Australia is critical for New Zealand. And Asia is the  most vibrant and growing region in the world.

In addition, the rebuilding of Christchurch is effectively a massive stimulus programme.

Compared to many other developed countries, New Zealand faces a relatively  favourable set of circumstances and opportunities. From what I can see,  looking across the Tasman, so does Australia.

Our corner of the  world, with its 27 million inhabitants, is in a good space. It’s now a  matter of making the most of the opportunities that are out there for  us.

Can I conclude by again thanking the Menzies Research Centre for inviting me to give this John Howard lecture.

A combination of Menzies and Howard represents an imposing total of 30 years of Prime Ministership.

The test of a Prime Minister is whether you left the country in better shape than when you inherited it.

If I can do as good a job as John Howard in that regard, I’ll be more than pleased.

Thank you.


July 6 in history

July 6, 2012

371 BC – The Battle of Leuctra, Epaminondas defeated Cleombrotus I.

1044 The Battle of Ménfő.

1189 Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) was crowned King of England.

1253  Mindaugas was crowned King of Lithuania.

1348  Papal bullof Pope Clement VI protecting Jews during the Black Death.

1415  Jan Hus was burned at the stake.

1483 Richard III was crowned King of England.

1484 Portuguese sea captain Diogo Cão finds the mouth of the Congo River.

1495  First Italian War: Battle of Fornovo: Charles VIII defeated the Holy League.

1535  Sir Thomas More was executed for treason against King Henry VIII.

1560 The Treaty of Edinburgh was signed by Scotland and England.

1573 Córdoba, Argentina, was founded by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera.

1609 Bohemia was granted freedom of religion.

1630 Thirty-Years War: 4,000 Swedish troops under Gustavus Adolphus landed in Pomerania, Germany.

1777  American Revolutionary War: Siege of Fort Ticonderoga: After a bombardment by British artillery under General John Burgoyne, American forces retreated from Fort Ticonderoga, New York.

1781 Sir Stamford Raffles, British statesman, was born (d. 1826).

1785 The dollar was unanimously chosen as the monetary unit for the United States.

1801  Battle of Algeciras: The French navy are defeated by the Royal Navy.

1809 The second day of the Battle of Wagram –  French victory over the Austrian army in the largest battle yet of the Napoleonic Wars.

1854  The first convention of the United States Republican Party was held.

1885 Louis Pasteur successfully tested his vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.

1887 Annette Kellerman, Australian swimmer, was born (d. 1975).

1887  David Kalakaua, monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was forced at gunpoint, at the hands of the Americans, to sign the Bayonet Constitution giving Americans more power in Hawaii while stripping Hawaiian citizens of their rights.

1892 Dadabhai Naoroji elected as first Indian Member of Parliament in Britain.

1892 – 3,800 striking steelworkers engaged in a day-long battle with Pinkerton agents during the Homestead Strike, leaving 10 dead and dozens wounded.

1893 Pomeroy, Iowa, was nearly destroyed by a tornado that killed 71 people and injured 200.

1905 Alfred Deakin became Prime Minister of Australia for the second time.

1907 Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter, was born (d. 1954).

1907 George Stanley, Canadian politician and designer of Canada’s Flag, was born  (d. 2002).

1917  Arthur Lydiard, New Zealand running coach, was born (d. 2004)

1917 World War I: Arabian troops led by Lawrence of Arabia and Auda ibu Tayi captured Aqaba from the Turks during the Arab Revolt.

1918  Sebastian Cabot, English actor, was born (d. 1977).

1919  The British dirigible R34 landed in New York, completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an airship.

1921 Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States, was born.

1923 An Auckland−Wellington express ploughed into a huge landslip that had slumped across the tracks at Ongarue, north of Taumarunui in the King Country. Seventeen people were killed and 28 injured.

Main trunk express train disaster

1925 Bill Haley, American singer, was born  (d. 1981).

1927 Janet Leigh, American actress, was born  (d. 2004).

1933  The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Chicago‘s Comiskey Park. The American League beat the National League, 4–2.

1936 Dave Allen, Irish comedian, was born  (d. 2005).

1936  A major breach of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal sent millions of gallons of water cascading 200 feet into the River Irwell.

1939 Holocaust: The last remaining Jewish enterprises in Germany were closed.

1942 Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

1944 The Hartford Circus Fire, one of America’s worst fire disasters, killed approximately 168 people and injured over 700.

1946 – Sylvester Stallone, American actor, was born.

1947  Richard Beckinsale, English actor, was born (d. 1979).

1947  The AK-47 went into production in the Soviet Union.

1951 Geoffrey Rush, Australian actor, was born.

1957 Althea Gibson won the Wimbledon championships, becoming the first black athlete to do so.

1958 Jennifer Saunders, English actress,comediene and screenwriter, was born.

1962 Nuclear test shot Sedan, part of Operation Plowshare.

1964  Malawi declared its independence from the United Kingdom.

1966  Malawi becomes a republic, with Hastings Banda as the first President.

1967 Biafran War: Nigerian forces invade Biafra, beginning the war.

1975 The Comoros declared independence from France.

1978 Kevin Senio, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1978 The Taunton sleeping car fire occurred in Taunton, Somerset killing twelve people.

1986 Davis Phinney became the first American cyclist to win a road stage of the Tour de France.

1988 The Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea was destroyed by explosions and fires. 167 oil workers were killed, making it the world’s worst offshore oil disaster.

1989  The Israeli 405 Bus slaughter -14 bus passengers were killed when an Arab assaulted the bus driver as the bus was driving by the edge of a cliff.

1998  Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport was closed and the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok becomes operational.

2003  The 70-metre Eupatoria Planetary Radar sent a METI message Cosmic Call 2 to 5 stars: Hip 4872, HD 245409, 55 Cancri, HD 10307 and 47 Ursae Majoris that will arrive to these stars in 2036, 2040, 2044 and 2049 respectively.

2006  The Nathula Pass between India and China, sealed during the Sino-Indian War, re-opened for trade after 44 years.

2009  Jadranka Kosor became the first female Prime minister of Croatia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: