Word of the day

28/08/2013

Twerking – dancing to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance; a dance move that involves a person shaking the hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer to shake, wobble and jiggle; the rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience; the deliberate placement of provocative material on a news website with the intention of generating hits.


Scorpion smugglers stung by MPI

28/08/2013

Four people who smuggled scorpions into New Zealand have been charged after a Ministry for Primary Industries sting.

Four men are charged with various breaches to the Biosecurity Act 1993 after six Black Rock Scorpions (Urodacus manicatus) were allegedly smuggled from Australia through Christchurch International Airport and then into Queenstown.

In April 2013, MPI received information that a Queenstown man was in possession of scorpion. As a result of this information a search was carried out in April and a live scorpion was discovered.

Further investigations, including obtaining cell phone records, suggested that there were more scorpions. A further search warrant was carried out at two addresses in Queenstown and Arrowtown. Questioning of the defendants during the searches indicated that a total of four men were involved in the smuggling ring and that all of the scorpions had been destroyed. MPI is satisfied that all of the smuggled scorpions have been accounted for. . .

Breaching bio-security like this isn’t funny but sub-editors will enjoy the opportunity to headline a story about a scorpion sting in the figurative sense of the word.


Pipe cleared, demands apology

28/08/2013

The precautionary recall of products containing Fonterra whey protein concentrate wasn’t a joke.

But now it’s been declared a false alarm some people are seeing the funny side with tweets on  #fonterra:

  1. Further tests will reveal we might be 100% Pure, but can’t be 100% Sure. #Fonterra

    1. Somewhere there’s a lab tech saying “I’ve made a huge mistake” #fonterra

      Trish Sherson@TrishSherson 48m

    1. Botulism false alarm: Pipe demands apology after ‘dirty’ label cuts business to a trickle #Fonterra #Botulism

      1. So, turns out the botulism…wasn’t botulism. But someone sure botched something #fonterra

         

 


Fonterra scare false alarm

28/08/2013

The Ministry for Primary Industries says 195 tests here and in the USA have shown the Fonterra botulism scare was a false alarm.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has received results confirming that the bacteria found in the whey protein concentrate (WPC) manufactured by Fonterra is not Clostridium botulinum. The organism is confirmed as Clostridium sporogenes. It is therefore not capable of producing botulism causing toxins.

There are no known food safety issues associated with Clostridium sporogenes, although at elevated levels certain strains may be associated with food spoilage.

“When MPI received information from Fonterra on 2 August that it had detected Clostridium botulinum in some of its products, I immediately adopted a precautionary approach to protect consumers both here and overseas,” acting director-general Scott Gallacher said today.

“We needed to act on what we knew at that time. The information we had then said there was a food safety risk to consumers and we moved quickly to address it.”

At the same time, MPI commissioned a further array of tests to validate the initial results Fonterra reported. A total of 195 tests using a range of technologies have been conducted in laboratories here and in the USA. Results from the most definitive of these tests arrived over night, and were assessed with appropriate technical advice on hand today.

“We sought additional testing at both local and international laboratories, seeking the most robust results we could get. Scientists used a range of methods – all came back negative for Clostridium botulinum,” said Mr. Gallacher.

“MPI has today informed overseas regulators of these results, and we will be providing them with a full diagnostic report shortly. I will also be revoking my Director-General’s statement, issued under the Food and Animal Products Acts, about this issue.”

A failure of hygiene during processing remains a concern for customers incorporating WPC into their products. However, the concern primarily relates to quality and the potential for spoilage when used in foods that support growth of Clostridium sporogenes from spores.

The scare was a false alarm but it was a wake up call to not just Fonterra but everyone who depends on our reputation for high quality, safe food.

We can not afford to be complacent.

If we want to trade on our reputation we must ensure that it is matched by the highest possible standards in what we do and how we do it.


Some even more unequal than others

28/08/2013

Labour’s rules allowing affiliate unions to vote for its leader makes some members more equal than others.

Those who are both individual members of the party and a voting delegate of an affiliate union or a member of a union which will allow all its members a vote will get two votes.

Rob Hosking points out that a few members are even more unequal.

All MPs get two votes, one as a member of caucus and the second as a member of the party. But those who are members of affiliate union will get a third vote.

That is a perversion of democracy where all people are supposed to be equally equal.


I have a dream

28/08/2013

Fifty years ago today,  (tomorrow in the USA) Martin Luther King Jr. made his I Have a Dream speech.

The speech gets its name from this segment:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. . .

The full transcript is here.

The USA and the world have come a long way since August 28th 1963, but King’s dream has not yet been fully realised everywhere.


Rural round-up

28/08/2013

Badger cull beings in Somerset in attempt to tackle TB

A badger cull is under way in England despite protests, the National Farmers’ Union has confirmed.

About 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed in controlled shootings over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Supporters say the cull is necessary to tackle bovine TB, which can be spread from infected badgers, but opponents say it is inhumane and ineffective.

The RSPCA said it was “saddened”, while anti-cull protesters held a vigil as the pilot began, initially in Somerset.

It is understood the cull in Gloucestershire will start later this week. . .

Non-chemical varroa control shows promise:

A bee breeding project that promises another non-chemical option for varroa control is gaining ground.

Nelson company, Rainbow Honey is continuing a programme started by Plant and Food Research to build up populations of honey bees that control the killer parasites in hives by interfering with their breeding cycle.

The bees carry a genetic trait, called the varroa sensitive hygienic or VSH trait.

Project leader Rae Butler says they’ve been building up VSH bee numbers in 80 trial hives to the stage where they’ve been able to reduce the number of chemical treatments needed to keep varroa under control. . .

Native larvae attacks grass grub:

Scientists are investigating a potential new biological control for one of New Zealand’s most voracious pasture pests, the grass grub.

Researchers from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) made the discovery in Southbridge, Canterbury when they found grass grub pupae being eaten alive by maggots.

They identified the maggots as the larvae of a little known native carnivorous fly. . .

International Standard for Manuka Honey Already Exists Says Airborne Honey:

New Zealand’s oldest honey brand urges producers to stand together and support current international honey guidelines to save industry’s reputation

According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest honey brand, embracing the existing CODEX International Standard for Honey would be the most appropriate and immediately effective response to global criticism of Manuka honey and how it is labelled and tested. This call for the industry to stand together comes as New Zealand honey hits the headlines again. Problems have surfaced in the UK about Manuka honey not being true to variety and also in Hong Kong where it has been reported that a large amount of honey is mislabeled as well as being significantly heat damaged. . .

MPI initiative to boost industry partnership a success:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has welcomed two new secondees from industry to its policy branch, after an initial secondment into the standards branch has proven to be a success.

Alistair Mowat from Zespri International Limited and Mark Ward from the Riddit Institute bring industry expertise to the policy group’s strategic team which focuses on long-term decision making and future work programmes. This follows on from an initial secondment in March.

“Having worked with a range of primary sectors at different levels of development enables me to add a unique set of strategic and innovative skills to the team,” says Mr Mowat who is working on the Export Double programme. . .

Increased forecast milk price, a positive for dairy farmers and all of New Zealand: Brown:

All of New Zealand will benefit from today’s announced 30 cent increase in the Forecast Farmgate Milk said Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown.

The Fonterra Board of Directors today announced a revised Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7.80 per kg/MS for the 2013/14 season, a 30 cent increase, keeping the advance rate at $ 5.50 and the previously estimated dividend at 32 cents per share.

Ian Brown: “This result shows the strength of demand on the international market for dairy products and the benefits will flow through New Zealand from farmers increased ability to spend on the inputs required to operate our dairy farms. . .

Entries open for 2014 Ballance Farm Awards:

Entries are now open for the 2014 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The Awards, which have been running in the region for 11 years, celebrate responsible land stewardship and sustainable farm management practices.

Jocelyn Muller, the Canterbury Regional Coordinator for the Ballance Awards, said the awards continue to go from strength to strength in Canterbury.

“The Awards recognise and celebrate that best practice on-farm management is good for business and good for the environment. . .

Positive start to season for Zespri SunGold:

Zespri’s recently-commercialised gold kiwifruit variety SunGold is enjoying solid sales in 2013 and a great reception from consumers around the world.

Zespri President of Global Sales and Marketing Dan Mathieson gave growers an update from the markets on a recent visit to New Zealand and spoke about the growing level of confidence Zespri’s customers have in SunGold (also known as Gold3 in New Zealand).

“We’ve had an overall positive response to this juicy new variety and its refreshing sweet/sour taste balance in Japan, the rest of Asia, Europe and North America. With an increased volume, we’re now able to transition from Hort16A (Gold) to SunGold in more key markets and sales are going well,” says Dan. . .


Pure as

28/08/2013

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about Tourism New Zealand’s 100% Pure slogan.

Environmental campaigner Peter Nuttall argued that research into the state of New Zealand’s environment contradicted the claims made in the tourism campaign. . .

In its decision, the Advertising Standards Authority said the slogan is a positioning statement, not an absolute claim.

The slogan is a very successful one for the tourism industry.

It uses the country’s natural beauty but it was never meant to be taken literally.

Nowhere is literally 100% pure, even in its natural state.

Decay and degeneration are part of nature too.

But New Zealand is as pure as it needs to be to sustain a very successful tourism advertising campaign for those sensible enough to take the slogan  figuratively.

Dark green radicals are attacking the slogan as part of their anti-people, anti-business political agenda.

By showing they’re stupid enough to take any advertising slogan literally they’re sabotaging their own credibility.


Higher taxes discourage work

28/08/2013

Quote of the day:

What this Government did was lower the effective marginal tax rates. In fact, if you want to discourage people from being in the labour markets, the very biggest thing you can do is keep raising taxes and raising those effective rates. When you lose 100 percent of every extra dollar you earn, why on earth would people bother trying to earn more money? John Key.

Governments need money to operate and provide public services and infrastructure.

There is debate on how much they should do and how much they need to do it.

But increasing taxes on the wealthy as the left wants to do is dog-whistle politics based on ignorance and envy.

Increasing tax rates doesn’t necessarily increase the tax take.

When taxes get high enough to make working more not worth the effort, productivity drops and the tax take drops with it.

If Fonterra is able to deliver the extra 30 cents in the forecast payout it announced yesterday, that will do far more to increase the tax take than increasing tax rates.


Another reason to vote National

28/08/2013

Green co-leader Russel Norman is still hoping to be Finance Minister in a Labour-led government but he’s also got a plan B:

. . . He says another possibility in an arrangement with Labour would be for the Green co-leaders to share the role of deputy prime minister.

Bill English, the current Finance Minister is also Deputy Prime Minister and doing both jobs extremely well.

So well, even the Australians are praising him.

The thought of having one or more Green MPs in either of those positions, undoing the good work the incumbent is doing, is yet another reason to vote National.

 

 


Labour’s abaondoned the south

28/08/2013

Labour’s holding 12 meetings around the country to let its three aspiring leaders meet members.

But in further evidence the party has abandoned the south, the southernmost meeting is in Dunedin.

Sterling service from the local MPs, Clutha Southland’s Bill English and  Invercargill’s Eric Roy have painted the south of the south blue.

But if Labour had any interest in that part of the country you’d think the leadership meeting would be a good opportunity to garner some interest and reconnect with Southlanders.

The cost of getting to Invercargill can’t be the excuse for not going because the three candidates are travelling the country on the public purse.


August 28 in history

28/08/2013

489  Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths defeats Odoacer at the Battle of Isonzo, forcing his way into Italy.

1189  Third Crusade: the Crusaders began the Siege of Acre under Guy of Lusignan.

1349 6,000 Jews were killed in Mainz, accused of being the cause of the plague.

1511  The Portuguese conquered Malacca.

1542 Turkish-Portuguese War (1538-1557) – Battle of Wofla: the Portuguese were scattered, their leader Christovão da Gama captured and later executed.

1609  Henry Hudson discovered Delaware Bay.

1619  Ferdinand II was elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

1640 Second Bishop’s War: King Charles I’s English army lost to a Scottish Covenanter force at the Battle of Newburn.

1749 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and scientist (d. 1832).

1774 Elizabeth Ann Seton, American-born Catholic saint, was born (d. 1821).

1789  William Herschel discovered a new moon of Saturn.

1810  Battle of Grand Port – the French accepted the surrender of a British Navy fleet.

1828 Leo Tolstoy, Russian author, was born (d. 1910).

1830  The Tom Thumb presaged the first railway service in the United States.

1845 The first issue of Scientific American magazine was published.

1859  A geomagnetic storm caused the Aurora Borealis to shine so brightly it was seen clearly over parts of USA, Europe, and as far away as Japan.

1862 American Civil War: Second Battle of Bull Run.

1879  Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, was captured by the British.

1884 Peter Fraser, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born (d. 1950).

1898  Caleb Bradham renamed his carbonated soft drink “Pepsi-Cola”.

1901  Silliman University was founded in the Philippines,  the first American private school in the country.

1906 John Betjeman, English poet, was born (d. 1984).

1913 Queen Wilhelmina opened the Peace Palace in The Hague.

1914  World War I: the Royal Navy defeated the German fleet in the Battle of Heligoland Bight.

1916  World War I: Germany declared war on Romania.

1916 – World War I: Italy declared war on Germany.

1917  Ten Suffragettes wre arrested while picketing the White House.

1924 Janet Frame, New Zealand author, was born (d. 2004).

1924 The Georgian opposition stages the August Uprising against the Soviet Union.

1930 Windsor Davies, British actor, was born.

1931  France and Soviet Union signed a treaty of non-aggression.

1937  Toyota Motors became an independent company.

1943  World War II: in Denmark, a general strike against the Nazi occupation started.

1944  World War II: Marseille and Toulon were liberated.

1948 Danny Seraphine, American musician (Chicago), was born.

1951 Wayne Osmond, American singer (The Osmonds), was born.

1953  Nippon Television broadcast Japan’s first television show, including its first TV advertisement.

1954 Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme were convicted of murdering Parker’s mother Honora.

'Heavenly Creatures' found guilty of murder

1955  Black teenager Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

1961 Motown released what would be its first #1 hit, “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes.

1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech.

1963 Emily Hoffert and Janice Wylie were murdered in their Manhattan flat, prompting the events that led to the passing of the Miranda Rights.

1964  The Philadelphia race riot began.

1965 Shania Twain, Canadian singer, was born.

1979  An IRA bomb exploded on the Grand Place in Brussels.

1986  United States Navy officer Jerry A. Whitworth was sentenced to 365 years imprisonment for espionage for the Soviet Union.

1988 Ramstein airshow disaster: three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collided. The wreckage fell into the crowd killing  75 and seriously injuring 346.

1990  Iraq declared Kuwait to be its newest province.

1990 The Plainfield Tornado: an F5 tornado hit Plainfield and Joliet, Illinois, killing 28 people.

1991  Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

1991 Collapse of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

1992 Canterbury’s “Big Snow“.

Canterbury's 'Big Snow'

1996  Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales divorced.

2003  An electricity blackout cut off power to around 500,000 people living in south east England and brought 60% of London’s underground rail network to a halt.

2011 – Hurricane Irene struck the United States east coast, killing 47 and causing an estimated $15.6 billion in damage.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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