Word of the day

July 25, 2013

Quillet – trivial  or banal objection; a subtlety; a quibble; small tract of land.


Rural round-up

July 25, 2013

Korean visit to address fears about trade direction – Marie

Prime Minister John Key heads for South Korea on Thursday for an official visit warning that New Zealand’s fifth biggest trading partner will slip down the rankings without a free trade agreement.

War commemorations will be a central feature of the visit, with 30 New Zealand veterans joining Key’s entourage to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. 

Key said outside those events, the priority was to make progress on reaching an FTA. . .

Farmer Confidence Rebounds, New Survey Finds:

Federated Farmers’ New-Season Farm Confidence Survey, undertaken at the start of the 2013/14 season, has shown a major turnaround in farmer confidence.  This result is in keeping with other recent farm and business confidence surveys.

“Farmers are showing a lot more optimism in both the wider economy and individual farm prospects,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“You could say farmers are in recovery mode but this bounce back comes off a low base.  There is still a large gap in the sentiment of dairy farmers when compared to the other farming sectors.

“Six months ago, farmers were fairly negative about the wider economy and were very pessimistic about their own profitability.   This was particularly the case for sheep and beef farmers. In contrast, dairy farmers were feeling more optimistic than they had been at this point last year [July 2012], thanks mainly to better dairy commodity prices and growing conditions. . .

Alliance lamb in Oliver’s Russian eatery – Alan Williams:

Alliance Group lamb from New Zealand will be on the menu at the new Jamie Oliver restaurant due to open in Russian city St Petersburg.

The contract was a good boost to the business Alliance had built with Russian food service companies and restaurants over the past 12 years, marketing general manager Murray Brown said.

It highlighted the growing status of the group’s Pure South brand as a leading red-meat export, he said. . .

Eliminating wool’s dirty secret:

With New Zealand’s main-shear approaching, Federated Farmers and the NZ Shearing Contractors Association are backing moves to cut the woolshed contamination of wool. If successful, it could boost farmgate returns by a couple of million dollars each year.

“When you are dealing with a $700 million export, cutting wool contamination translates into a big opportunity for fibre farmers,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“As a farmer, the easiest way for us to increase our returns is to focus on what we can control. Woolshed contamination is a perfect example of this. . .

Head in a bucket – he does that every morning – Mad Bush Farm:

 He’s old, muddy, grumpy and he wasn’t making it any secret he wasn’t going to be sharing his breakfast with Ranger and the other little horses. As for me well the black eye has at last waned to a faded reminder of Muphy’s visit last week to the farm. The cows and naughty little Tempest, are finding out the hard way that an electrified wire is now on the road fence. We’ve had a few fine days, it’s still a bog hole here. My complaints are going unheeded by Mr Winter. He won’t be leaving until the end of August – darn. I’m going back to the mud now to complain some more or mayube I’ll just go and have a coffee instead

Talking of horses I found this beautiful tribute to the Arabian horse done with clips from the Black Stallion and other films. . .

Jousting for poll position – Milk Maid Marian:

Scuffles broke out right across the paddock as the weak winter sun lit the stage for a bovine pugilism festival. The cows were feeling magnificent and, unable to contain their energy, were ready to take on all comers.

The kids and I love watching the cows “do butter-heads” and the cows seem to love it, too. For every pair or trio engaged in warfare, there will be a group of curious onlookers and one scuffle seems to inspire more outbreaks.

Does butter-heads have a serious purpose though? Yes, it does. The herd has a very structured pecking order. Cows come into the dairy in roughly the same order every milking and the smallest and most timid are inevitably last. Mess them up by splitting the herd into seemingly random groups for a large-scale vet procedure like preg testing and you can expect trouble. . .


Thursday’s quiz

July 25, 2013

1. Who said: It is a pleasant thing to reflect upon, and furnishes a complete answer to those who contend for the gradual degeneration of the human species, that every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.?

2.  Who was the founder of Plunket and why was to society named that?

3. It’s naissance in French, nascita in Italian, nacimiento in Spanish and wherereitanga in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What is the significance of the new Prince’s names: George  Alexander Louis?

5. If you’d been able to choose your own name, would you have the one you’ve got?


Boardrooms back Bill

July 25, 2013

Finance Minister Bill English has won well-deserved praise in the Herald’s annual Mood of the Boardroom  CEO’s survey.

Finance Minister Bill English has emerged as the hidden “star” of the Key Government pole-vaulting boss John Key for the second year in a row to emerge as the highest rated Cabinet Minister by leading chief executives.

“Bill English has really been an exceptional Minister of Finance,” said BusinessNZ CEO Phil O’Reilly. “He has been sober, boring and sensible but the macro settings have been just right. He deserves more credit for that.”

English’s “Southland determination” to get the country’s books back into order and “dour, no-nonsense personality” are cited by chief executives as making him the perfect foil for a populist prime minister. “He can just get on with the business,” said a financial markets chief.

The Herald’s 2013 Mood of the Boardroom CEOs Survey, in association with BusinessNZ, found widespread support for English’s management of the economy. . .

This matters.

Businesses which have confidence in the government and the direction in which it is taking the country are more likely to make the investments which boost economic growth and crate jobs.

The Finance Minister’s ability to deliver on his aim to post a Budget surplus in 2014/2015 has been buoyed by growing taxation returns off the back of stronger corporate profits; the proceeds of the partial privatisation programme and a determination to keep government spending under control.

In his post-Budget speech to the Trans Tasman Business Circle John Key spelt out how he would like New Zealanders to remember his government. Key said if the Government can achieve a step change in New Zealand, “in years to come they will say ‘I think that it held its nerve and fundamentally guided us through the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes and it set the country up to grow during a period of dramatic change in Asia’ and that is going to be a far bigger gift.

“New Zealanders will have jobs and families will have independence.”

That is a legacy every government should aspire to leave.

Seventy-two per cent of chief executives responding to the CEOs survey agreed that the Key-led Government has achieved that positive legacy; 9 per cent said No and 19 per cent were unsure. . .

“Most New Zealanders will not realise until much later what a great job Messrs Key, English and others have done steering New Zealand through the challenges of the last few years,” added First NZ Capital’s Scott St John.

“The way they have protected NZ households by maintaining fiscal discipline and keeping interest rates low has been very important.

“Amazing that we have come through the Global Financial Crisis with a short recession, low unemployment, Government debt at under 30 per cent, credit ratings OK and earthquakes,” added a wholesale trade CEO. “Overall it is impressive stuff. . .

It needs at least one more term to bed in the progress and achieve more.


Civics in schools to boost election turn-out?

July 25, 2013

The government has responded to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s report on the 2011 election.

One recommendation, is to ask the Electoral Commission to liaise with the Ministry of Education on the feasibility of ongoing comprehensive civics education in schools.

While I’m loathe to add anything to an already very full curriculum, and whether or not it boosts voter turn out, I think this is a good idea.

We all ought to understand the process and institutions of government and our rights and duties as citizens.

Greater knowledge could lead to greater interest which could increase voter turn out and participation in other areas such as submissions to select committees.

 


United by good news

July 25, 2013

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their son George Alexander Louis.

He’ll be known as Prince George of Cambridge.

Their website has photos here.

With the exception of a few curmudgeonly remarks and some opportunistic rants from rabid anti-monarchists, the news of the Prince’s birth has been greeted with pleasure.

Every child should be as welcome and loved as this one and it’s good for us to be united now and then by good news.

 

 


Tripe or starvation

July 25, 2013

The majority of National Party supporters would like Prime Minister John Key to work with New Zealand First after the 2014 election, a new poll indicates.

This puts me firmly in the minority.

Then we see the reason behind the response:

Mr Key says National supporters want him to do a U-turn on previous promises and work with Mr Peters, if it means stopping a Labour-Greens government, and a 3 News/Reid research poll backs this up. . .

“I think partly it reflects that the country doesn’t want to see Labour and the Greens in office,” says Mr Key, “and so if it means having to deal with New Zealand First, a lot of our supporters would prefer to see that situation.”

If it makes National supporters prefer Peters the thought of the LabourGreen alternative must make them feel very, very bad.

It would be a bit like preferring tripe and liver to starvation.

 

 


July 25 in history

July 25, 2013

285 Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler.

306 Constantine I was proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops.

864 The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald ordered defensive measures against the Vikings.

1139  Battle of Ourique: The independence of Portugal from the Kingdom of León declared after the Almoravids, led by Ali ibn Yusuf, were defeated by Prince Afonso Henriques.

1261  The city of Constantinople was recaptured by Nicaean forces under the command of Alexios Strategopoulos, re-establishing the Byzantine Empire.

1536  Sebastián de Belalcázar on his search for El Dorado founded the city of Santiago de Cali.

1547 Henry II of France was crowned.

1567 Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela.

1593  Henry IV of France publicly converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.

1603 James VI of Scotland was crowned bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union.

1722 The Three Years War began along the Maine and Massachusetts border.

1755  British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the deportation of the Acadians.

1758 Seven Years’ War: the island battery at Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia was silenced and all French warships destroyed or taken.

1788 Wolfgang Mozart completed his Symphony number 40 in g minor (K550).

1792 The Brunswick Manifesto was issued to the population of Paris promising vengeance if the French Royal Famiy was harmed.

1795 The first stone of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was laid.

1797 Horatio Nelson lost more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife.

1799 David Douglas, Scottish botanist, was born (d. 1834).

1799 At Aboukir in Egypt, Napoleon I of France defeats 10,000 Ottomans under Mustafa Pasha.

1814 War of 1812: Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

1837 The first commercial use of an electric telegraph was successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone on 25 July 1837 between Euston and Camden Town.

1853 Joaquin Murietta, the Californio bandit known as “Robin Hood of El Dorado”, was killed.

1861 American Civil War: the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the U.S. Congress stating that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

1866 The U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army (commonly called “5-star general”). Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant becomes the first to be promoted to this rank.

1869 The Japanese daimyō began returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.

1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began when the Japanese fired on a Chinese warship.

1898  The United States invasion of Puerto Rico began with U.S. troops led by General Nelson Miles landing at harbour of Guánica.

1907  Korea became a protectorate of Japan.

1908 Ajinomoto was founded. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovered that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock was monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patented a process for manufacturing it.

1909  Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.

1915  RFC Captain Lanoe Hawker became the first British military aviator to earn the Victoria Cross, for defeating three German two-seat observation aircraft in one day, over the Western Front.

1917 Sir Thomas Whyte introduced the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure (lowest bracket 4% and highest 25%).

1920 Telecommunications: the first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast.

1925 Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was established.

1930 Murray Chapple,  New Zealand cricketer, was born (d. 1985).

1934 Nazis assassinated Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

1940  General Guisan ordered the Swiss Army to resist German invasion and makes surrender illegal.

1942  Bruce Woodley, Australian musician (The Seekers), was born.

1942 Norwegian Manifesto called for nonviolent resistance to the Nazis

1943  Jim McCarty, English musician (The Yardbirds), was born.

1943  Benito Mussolini was forced out of office by his own Italian Grand Council and replaced by Pietro Badoglio.

1944 Operation Spring – one of the bloodiest days for the First Canadian Army during WWII:  1,500 casualties, including 500 killed.

1946 Operation Crossroads: an atomic bomb was detonated underwater in the lagoon of Bikini atoll.

1946   Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a comedy team.

1948  The Australian cricket team set a world record for the highest successful run-chase in Test cricket history in the Fourth Test against England.

1951 Verdine White, American musician (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1953 Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, was born.

1956 Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collided with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sank the next day, killing 51.

1957  Republic of Tunisia proclaimed.

1958 The African Regroupment Party (PRA) held its first congress in Cotonou.

1959  SR-N1 hovercraft crossed  the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.

1965  Bob Dylan went electric as he plug in at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.

1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard Nixon declared the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States expected its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense.

1973 Soviet Mars 5 space probe launched.

1978 The Cerro Maravilla incident – two young Puerto Rican pro-independence activists were killed in a police ambush.

1978  Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” was born.

1981 The invasion of  Hamilton’s Rugby Park by 350 anti-tour demonstrators forced the Springboks-Waikato match to be abandoned.

Anti-Springbok protestors derail Hamilton match

1983  Black July: 37 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikada high security prison in Colombo were massacred by the fellow Sinhalese prisoners.

1984  Salyut 7 Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk.

1993  Israel launched a massive attack against terrorist forces in Lebanon.

1993 The St James Church massacre in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.

1994  Israel and Jordan signed the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948.

1995 A gas bottle exploded in Saint Michel station in Paris. Eight were killed and 80 wounded.

1996 In a military coup in Burundi, Pierre Buyoya deposed Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

1997  K.R. Narayanan was sworn-in as India’s 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called “untouchable”— to hold this office.

2000  Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashed just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground.

2007  Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India’s first woman president.

2010 – Wikileaks published classified documents about the War in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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