Sydney siege

December 15, 2014

How terrifying it must be for the hostages in the Lindt café in Sydney, those who know them and those trying to help them.

After an update from NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn, this is what is known now about the Martin Place hostage crisis:

  • Burn says the situation is now a “negotiation” and the police intend to pursue it “peacefully.”
  • Burn will not say whether the five people to emerge from the cafe escaped or were released.
  • The crisis may continue into tomorrow. An exclusion zone is in place around the Lindt Cafe and Martin Place.
  • The police will not confirm what the gunman is asking for. Nor will they confirm how many people remain in the building. . . .

Five hostages have escaped from the café.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged people to go about their business as usual:

. . . “We don’t yet know the motivation of the perpetrator, we don’t know whether this is politically motivated although obviously there are some indications that it could be,” Mr Abbott said.

“We have to appreciate that even in a society such as ours, there are people who would wish to do us harm. . .

Hostages were being forced to hold an Islamic flag against the window of the Lindt Chocolat Café in Martin Place after at least one gunman stormed the premises on Monday morning.

“This is a very disturbing incident. I can understand the concerns and anxieties of the Australian people at a time like this, but our thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals who are caught up in this,” Mr Abbott said.

“I can think of almost nothing more distressing, more terrifying than to be caught up in such a situation and our hearts go out to these people.”

Mr Abbott said NSW police responding to the unfolding siege were receiving strong support from Commonwealth agencies.

“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves. Australia is a peaceful, open, and generous society,” Mr Abbott said.

“Nothing should ever change that and that’s why I would urge all Australians today to go about their business as usual.” . .

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government is monitoring the Sydney siege:

“Our hearts go out to those involved and our thoughts are very much with them and their families,” says Mr Key.

Prime Minister John Key contacted Prime Minister Tony Abbott directly to offer a message of support, shortly after the siege got underway today.

Currently, agencies are unable to confirm the nationalities of those involved, including whether any New Zealanders have been caught up in this situation.

Authorities in New Zealand and Australia will continue to stay in close contact as events unfold and facts become clearer. . .

It is almost impossible to guard against fundamentalists motivated by misguided beliefs.

The challenge is to be vigilant and prepared without unduly restricting the freedom of the majority who are innocent and pose no danger.


Word of the day

December 15, 2014

Mossback  – an old-fashioned or reactionary person; one holding extremely conservative views and values; an old turtle or shellfish with a growth of algae on its back.


Rural round-up

December 15, 2014

Commission releases final report on statutory review of Fonterra’s 2014/15 Milk Price Manual:

The Commerce Commission today released its final report on its statutory review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual (the Manual) for the 2014/15 dairy season. The Manual sets out the rules for how Fonterra will calculate the amount it will pay dairy farmers for raw milk this season. This is called the base milk price.

The Commission is required to report each dairy season on the extent to which the Manual promotes the setting of a base milk price that provides incentives for Fonterra to operate efficiently, while providing for contestability in the market for the purchase of milk from farmers.

This is the first of two statutory reviews that the Commission is required to undertake each dairy season under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA). . .

 

Fonterra back Mymilk for more milk:

Fonterra has today launched a separate milk sourcing subsidiary to grow market share in its New Zealand milk pool, and provide a new pathway to membership in the Co-operative.

Called mymilkTM, it will initially invite applications, from farms in the Canterbury, Otago and Southland regions that are not currently supplying Fonterra, for one year contracts, renewable for a maximum of five years, without the obligation to purchase Fonterra shares. At any time mymilkTM suppliers can apply to join the Co-operative, purchase shares and supply Fonterra directly.
Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said: “It is good for the Co-operative and the country for Fonterra to be the first name on the list for farmers considering their supply options. We know there are farmers who support the co-operative model, but are at the stage of development where sharing up is currently beyond their financial reach. . .

Fonterra Shareholders Council gives nod ‘with caveats’ to new milk supply plan – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The Fonterra Shareholders Council is “broadly supportive” of plans for the cooperative to start sourcing milk from South Island suppliers who are not also shareholders, with a couple of caveats.

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, yesterday announced a new milk sourcing subsidiary, mymilk, which would try to get milk in the Canterbury, Otago, and Southland regions where competition for milk supply is most intense from new suppliers on contracts on up to five years without the obligation to purchase shares. The feedback, particularly from new farmers who have recently spent a large amount of money converting farms to dairy, is that they can’t currently afford to now buy shares in the cooperative but would do so at a later date.

Shareholders Council chairman Ian Brown said the competition for milk supply at the farmgate was one of the biggest changes he’d seen in his farming career. “It’s a changed mindset to how to attract suppliers whereas in the old days it was what to do with new supply. That’s a mindset shift.” . . .

 

Mymilk likely to get up noses of Fonterra shareholders – Allan Barber:

Fonterra has launched a new company called mymilkTM which is specifically designed to attract supply from South Island dairy farmers who don’t currently supply Fonterra. The website says it’s cooperative, but that’s a bit hard to see when the supplier has no obligation to buy any shares within five years and only has to sign a one year contract.

The website also says somewhat cutely the company is ‘backed’ by Fonterra, when it is actually a wholly owned subsidiary. This new venture is no doubt directed at tempting Synlait and Westland suppliers to jump ship without having to stump up with any share capital (at least for five years).

It promises competitive payment – competitive with whom? Fonterra or one of the others? But it is not clear exactly how mymilkTM will avoid paying the same price or even a higher one (shades of meat industry schedule premiums) to secure a new sign up. Under Trading Among Farmers, it is expressly forbidden for Fonterra to have different classes of shareholders and under cooperative principles equality of payment is sacrosanct. . .

RBNZ sees 44% bounce in whole milk powder in 2015 – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – The Reserve Bank expects whole milk powder prices to rise by about 44 percent next year as the slump in global prices this year prompts less competitive processors to scale back their production in the face of smaller returns.

The central bank expects whole milk powder, which is New Zealand’s dominant dairy export, to rise to US$3,200 a metric tonne by early 2016, from its current price of US$2,229/tonne as international producers who were lured by record prices last year are squeezed out by this year’s decline, governor Graeme Wheeler told Parliament’s finance and expenditure select committee after this morning’s monetary policy statement.

New Zealand’s advantage is that it’s the most competitive dairy producer in the world and can operate with lower prices than its rivals, he said. . .

 

Sponsors provide choice cuts for Gate-to-Plate competition:

Cabernet Foods is the latest Gate-to-Plate sponsor to offer competition organisers added value – over and above a core contribution.

The Gladstone-based company has said, for every lamb that any 2015 Gate-to-Plate contestant consigns direct to Cabernet Foods (from 21st February 2015 to 20th February 2016), the business will donate $1 to the Masterton A&P Association to help further develop the Gate-to-Plate competition.

Lyndon Everton, Cabernet’s Managing Director, says, “This competition has the ability to showcase the Wairarapa’s primary sector not only on local menus but also nationally.

“The Gate to plate attachment to the A&P show is a fantastic opportunity for the pastoral farmer to win the hearts and minds of their urban cousins.” . . .

Aotearoa Fisheries back in black in 2014 as Sealord returns to profit – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – Aotearoa Fisheries, which manages more than $530 million of fisheries assets for its iwi shareholders, returned to profit in the 2014 financial year after its major investment, Sealord group, was back in black after exiting its unprofitable South American business.

The Auckland-based company reported a profit of $21.9 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, turning around a loss of $6 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. That was largely due to a $12.7 million contribution from Sealord, which Aotearoa Fisheries jointly owns with Japan’s Nippon Suisan Kaisha. Sealord posted a loss of $44.3 million in 2013, reflecting a $46.9 million loss on the sale of its Argentine business.

“Aotearoa Fisheries own divisions were ahead of target which is pleasing under difficult operating conditions like the exchange rate and soft demand for paua in Asia,” chief executive Carl Carrington said. “This year our business will ramp up efforts in becoming a leader in sustainability which is wholly in line with our tikanga. There is no question that our long term future hinges on how well we perform in this area.” . . .

Wool Firm For Better Styles:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the 6,000 bales of North Island wool at auction this week saw a 95 percent clearance with good style wools holding their ground and poorer styles easing.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was 0.56 percent stronger but had minimal impact on the market with supply/demand factors being the current market driver.

Mr Dawson advises that full length Fine Crossbred Fleece was firm to 3.5 percent dearer with shorter types generally firm to 2 percent easier. . .

 

 


Waiting til the cows come home

December 15, 2014

Dairy farms use artificial insemination for their herds but not still need bulls for cows which cycle late or don’t conceive with AI.

That’s why at this time of year bulls are running with the cows.

We use beef bulls and raise the calves as a form of diversification.

Sometimes the bulls get herded with the cows when they go to be milked usually they don’t.

They stay back in the paddock, waiting til the cows come home.

bulls


Can’t write, can speak

December 15, 2014

A farmhand has had his pay docked because he can’t read:

A 51-year-old farmhand says he’s being treated unfairly by his employer because he can’t read or write.

Ed Emery has worked on Tiroa Station, owned by the Ngati Rereahu iwi in the Waitomo district, for four years, and it’s never been an issue before.

But now, his employer has brought in new requirements that are costing Mr Emery money. . .

. . .  three months ago the farm owners said Mr Emery needed to write down what work he’d done each day. The trouble is he’s almost illiterate.

Mr Emery warned he’d struggle to use a diary system.

“When I got this diary I made it clear to the manager that I couldn’t read and write.”

Mr Emery’s employer, the managers of a Maori-owned trust, say they can’t watch their workers’ every move on a big, remote property, so they need a record of what they’ve done each day. So Mr Emery devised his own code to show what work he’d done – “c.up”, “wt” and “dg” mean clean up, in accordance with Wahi Tapu, a dead goat from the stream.

But that’s not good enough for his employer, who has docked Mr Emery’s pay by around $1400 in the past two months. Basically, he says if he doesn’t write down his tasks the way they want it, they don’t pay him.

The trust’s chairman sent 3 News two pages of background information, but there was one question we really wanted answered: Did it dock Mr Emery’s pay because of his diary entries or not? It won’t say, citing employee privacy issues. . .

There may well be more to this story than the report shows. Illiteracy is a problem when employing people but I docking pay because of it isn’t usually an appropriate response.

But there could be a simple solution to the requirement for reports.

Mr Emery can’t write but he can speak – how hard would it be to verbally report what he’s done either in person or by phone?


December 15 in history

December 15, 2014

37 –  Nero, Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, was born  (d. 68).

533 – Byzantine general Belisarius defeated the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, at the Battle of Tricamarum.

1161 – Military officers conspired against Emperor Hailingwang of the Jin Dynasty and assassinated him in a military camp near the Yangtze River front.

1167 – Sicilian Chancellor Stephen du Perche moved the royal court to Messina to prevent a rebellion.

1256 – Hulagu Khan captured and destroyed the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut in present-day Iran as part of the Mongols offensive on Islamic southwest Asia.

1467 – Stephen III of Moldavia defeated Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, who was injured thrice, at the Battle of Baia.

1778 – American Revolutionary War: British and French fleets clashed in the Battle of St. Lucia.

1791  The United States Bill of Rights became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.

1832 Gustave Eiffel, French engineer and architect (Eiffel tower), was born (d. 1923).

1863 The mountain railway from Anina to Oravita in Romania was used for the first time.

1891  James Naismith introduced the first version of basketball, with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of his school’s gymnasium, and two teams of nine players.

1892 –  J. Paul Getty, American oil tycoon, was born (d. 1976).
1905 The Pushkin House was established in St. Petersburg to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin.

1906 – The London Underground‘s Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opened.

1915 – Evacuation of Gallipolli began.

1915 – World War I: Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig replaced John French, 1st Earl of Ypres as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.

1930 Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and short story writer, was born.

1933  – Donald Woods, South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist, was born.

1939 Cindy Birdsong, American singer (The Supremes), was born.

1939  Gone with the Wind received its première at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

1942 – Dave Clark, English musician (The Dave Clark Five), was born.

1944 The Finance Act (No. 3) abolished the Chinese poll tax, introduced in 1881, which was described by Minister of Finance Walter Nash as a ‘blot on our legislation’.

Poll tax on Chinese immigrants abolished

1951 The towering Belmont railway viaduct, which bridged a deep gully at Paparangi, northeast of Johnsonville, Wellington, built in 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, was demolished by Territorial Army engineers.

Belmont viaduct blown up

1955  Jens Olsen’s World Clock started by Swedish King Frederick IX and Jens Olsen’s youngest grandchild Birgit.

1965  Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

1973  John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, was found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10, 1973.

1978  President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States would recognise the People’s Republic of China and cut off all relations with Taiwan.

1997 The Treaty of Bangkok was signed allowing the transformation of Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

2000 The 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was shut down due to foreign political pressure.

2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.

2006  First flight of the F-35 Lightning II.

2009 – Boeing’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.

2010 – A boat carrying 90 asylum seekers crashed into rocks off the coast of Christmas Island, killing at least 30 passengers.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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