Word of the day

June 20, 2015

Effable  – able to be described in words or spoken; capable of being uttered or expressed.


Rural round-up

June 20, 2015

Environment Commissioner warns water quality is “not out of the woods yet”:

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, today released two reports on water quality, calling for further steps to safeguard the quality of New Zealand’s fresh water.

“To its credit, the Government has invested heavily in developing policy to improve the management of fresh water,” said Dr Wright. “The 2014 National Policy Statement is a major step forward. Some regional councils have already begun to act and there is a real sense of momentum.”

“But we are not out of the woods yet. Some lakes and streams are below bottom lines and many others are not far above them. And in many places, water quality continues to decline.” . .

PCE report constructively points to next steps in water reform:

The Government has welcomed the two reports released today from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on managing New Zealand’s freshwater reforms.

“This report acknowledges the step change in improving freshwater management through the National Policy Statement in 2011 and the addition of the National Standards in 2014, but it also challenges the Government on the next steps. The report is timely in that it can feed into the work we are doing with iwi leaders and the reinvigorated Land and Water Forum. Our plan is to have a discussion document out on the next steps in freshwater reform early in 2016,” Dr Smith says.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has recommended six improvements to the Freshwater National Policy Statement. The recommendations are: . . .

 Federated Farmers supports PCE report:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on Managing Water Quality which supports our long held position that the National Policy Statement (NPS) is a major step forward for water management in New Zealand.

Dr Jan Wright has reflected on what has been an effective couple of years since her last report, with a sense of significant momentum in the regions. She has made six recommendations which overall we agree with excluding concerns around the exceptions policy.

Ian MacKenzie, Federated Farmers Environment Spokesperson, says “We agree with the Commissioner’s recommendation for a more strategic approach in prioritising the more vulnerable catchments. To date some councils have spread their efforts too far and thin when they needed to prioritise and make some real progress on the ones that are under the most pressure.” . . .

Landcorp says 2015 earnings ‘on track’ despite weaker dairy prices – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer, said it doesn’t need to downgrade its earnings outlook in the wake of falling dairy prices remain weak, as it sheltered from volatility by locking in a guaranteed price at the start of the season.

Dairy product prices slipped in this week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction to the weakest level in almost six years. State-owned Landcorp in October cut its forecast for this year’s operating profit to a range of $1 million to $6 million, from a previous forecast range of $8 million-$12 million, citing weaker milk prices. However the company said it is protected from some of the recent weakness by taking up Fonterra Cooperative Group’s guaranteed milk price. . .

Grass-fed infant formula venture for Synlait:

Canterbury dairy company Synlait is going into partnership with United States company Munchkin to create a new infant formula.

California-based Munchkin has seven offices around the world, and is a leading manufacturer of infant and toddler products.

Synlait’s managing director Doctor John Penno said the unique aspect of this agreement was the product will be grass-fed.

“We’re differentiating inside the farm gate and in a way that really epitomises the very good things about the New Zealand grazing system. . .

Fonterra debate on the wrong track – Andrew Hoggard:

The argument about how well Fonterra is performing is gathering pace. People are claiming there is a bloated management.  We have politicians calling for the CEO to take a pay-cut.  That CEO has just indicated possible redundancies as an outcome of an internal review.

The view seems to be that a number of support roles in New Zealand need to go and be replaced by people in the market.

Pub talk fixes on how many are earning more than what amount, and then assumes that if the pay is slashed the problem is sorted.

I think we sometimes forget how big Fonterra is.  You don’t pay small wages to top people to run a business like that. A far more sensible discussion for us to be having would be on what Fonterra pays in wages as a percentage of turnover. And then break that down by division.  Then compare with other successful dairy co-ops from around the world and see what lessons we can take. . .

Waikato Seasonal Outlook: A new drought and rainy period forecasting system is giving farmers and other primary producer a chance to adjust schedules to improve production and protect investments and livelihoods.

When it comes to climate risks in New Zealand, the bluster and rage of tropical storms can steal the stage. But what has really garnered attention over the last ten years are the recurring droughts some of which have affected not just regional New Zealand but the whole country. These events can flare up quickly, and can cause considerable economic damage and stress to farmers and the ecosystems under their stewardship.

Drought is often insidious and creeping, intensifying over many months, stunting or killing crops and limiting grass growth and quality as it develops, reducing groundwater levels and river flow and drying out water supplies. It represents a more frequently occurring and persistent climate hazards faced by New Zealand. Conversely, extended rainy periods and the occasional extreme rainfall event characterised by excessively high rainfall totals over a short duration and typically covering small geographical areas can lead to their own set of problems for the country. . .

 


Saturday’s smiles

June 20, 2015

A Skier’s Dictionary

Alp: A shouted request for assistance made by a European skier on a New Zealand mountain. An appropriate reply is, “What Zermatter?”

All-Mountain: A supposed selling-point for boots or skis that are designed to perform equally poorly under a variety of conditions and over many different types of terrain.

Avalanche: A cry of alarm to warn skiers that a large part of the hill is coming down the hill. One of several natural perils skiers face that needlessly frighten timid individuals away from the sport. See also: Blizzard, Fracture, Frostbite, Hypothermia, Lift Collapse.

 Bindings: Mechanisms that protect skiers from potentially serious injury during a fall by releasing skis from boots, sending the skis skittering across the slope where they trip two other skiers, whose bindings release their boots from their skis . . . . eventually causing most people on the entire slope to be protected from serious injury.

Bones: There are 206 in the human body, howeve, the two bones in the middle ear have never been broken in a skiing accident.

Cross-Country Skiing: Traditional Scandinavian all-terrain snow-travelling technique. It’s good exercise. It doesn’t require the purchase of costly lift tickets. It has no crowds or lines. It’s really skating on snow.

Cross-Country Something-or-Other: Touring on skis along trails in scenic wilderness, gliding through snow-hushed woods far from the hubbub of the ski slopes, hearing nothing but the whispery hiss of the skis slipping through snow and the muffled tinkle of car keys dropping into the puffy powder of a deep, wind-sculpted drift.

Exercises: A few simple warm-ups to make sure you’re prepared for the slopes: *Tie a cinder block to each foot with old belts and climb a flight of stairs. *Sit on the outside of a second-story window ledge with your skis on and your poles in your lap for 30 minutes. *Bind your legs together at the ankles, lie flat on the floor; then, holding a banana in each hand, get to your feet.

Gluhwein – après-ski medicine which dulls the pain and leads to exaggerated ideas of a skier’s proficiency.

Gravity: One of four fundamental forces in nature that affect skiers. The other three are the strong force, which makes bindings jam; the weak force, which makes ankles give way on turns; and electromagnetism, which produces dead batteries in expensive ski-resort parking lots.

Inertia: Tendency of a skier’s body to resist changes in direction or speed due to the action of Newton’s First Law of Motion. Goes along with these other physical laws: * Two objects of greatly different mass falling side by side will have the same rate of descent, but the lighter one will have larger hospital bills. * Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but if it drops out of a parka pocket, don’t expect to encounter it again in our universe. * When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, an unethical lawyer will immediately appear.

Prejump: Manoeuvre in which an expert skier makes a controlled jump just ahead of a bump. Beginners can execute a controlled prefall just before losing their balance and, if they wish, can precede it with a prescream and a few pregroans.

Shin: The bruised area on the front of the leg that runs from the point where the ache from the wrenched knee ends to where the soreness from the strained ankle begins.

Ski!: A shout to alert people ahead that a loose ski is coming down the hill.

Skier: One who pays an arm and a leg for the opportunity to break them.

 Splits – What happens to trouser seams when skis go too far, too fast in opposite directions.

Telemark: Norwegian for face plant.

Thor: The Scandinavian ski god of acheth and painth.

Traverse: To ski across a slope at an angle; one of two quick and simple methods of reducing speed.

Tree: The other method.

Velocity  – an irresistable force characteristically found in indirect proportion to a skier’s control.

 


Flag of the day

June 20, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There are more than 3000 in the gallery already.

This one is Kiwi flag design by Kim Crosland.

flags


Saturday’s soapbox

June 20, 2015

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

 

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear – George Orwell.


June 20 in history

June 20, 2015

451  Battle of Chalons: Flavius Aetius battled Attila the Hun. After the battle, which was inconclusive, Attila retreated, causing the Romans to interpret it as a victory.

1005 Ali az-Zahir, caliph, was born (d. 1036).

1214 The University of Oxford received its charter.

1631  The sack of Baltimore: the Irish village of Baltimore was attacked by Algerian pirates.

1652  Tarhoncu Ahmet Paşa appointed grand vezir of the Ottoman Empire, served until 21 March 1653.

1685  Monmouth Rebellion: James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth declared himself King of England at Bridgwater.

1723 Adam Ferguson, Scottish philosopher and historian, was born  (d. 1816).

1756  A British garrison was imprisoned in the Black Hole of Calcutta.

1782  The U.S. Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States.

1787  Oliver Ellsworth moved at the Federal Convention to call the government the United States.

1789  Deputies of the French Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath.

1791  King Louis XVI of France and his immediate family began the Flight to Varennes during The French Revolution.

1819 Jacques Offenbach, German-born French composer, was born  (d. 1880).

1819  The U.S. vessel SS Savannah arrived  at Liverpool, United Kingdom – the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic, although most of the journey was made under sail.

1837  Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne.

1840  Samuel Morse received the patent for the telegraph.

1862   Barbu Catargiu, the Prime Minister of Romania, was assassinated.

1863  American Civil War: West Virginia was admitted as the 35th U.S. state.

1877  Alexander Graham Bell installed the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario.

1893  Lizzie Borden was acquitted for the murders of her father and stepmother.

1909 Errol Flynn, Australian actor, was born (d. 1959).

1919  – 150 died at the Teatro Yaguez fire, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

1924  Chet Atkins, American guitar player and producer, was born  (d. 2001).

1934 Wendy Craig, English actress, was born.

1942 Brian Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.

1943 – Ten United States Navy personnel were drowned off the Paekākāriki coast near Wellington during a beach landing exercise.

US Navy tragedy at Paekākāriki

1944 World War II: The Battle of the Philippine Sea concluded with a decisive U.S. naval victory. The lopsided naval air battle is also known as the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”.

1944  Continuation war: Soviet Union demanded an unconditional surrender from Finland during the beginning of partially successful Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive.

1945  Anne Murray, Canadian singer, was born.

1946 Xanana Gusmão, President of East Timor, was born.

1948 Ludwig Scotty, President of Nauru, was born.

1948 Toast of the Town, later The Ed Sullivan Show, made its television debut.

1949  Lionel Richie, American musician (The Commodores) , was born.

1949  Alan Longmuir, Scottish bass guitarist (Bay City Rollers), was born.

1950  Nouri Al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, was born.

1954 Michael Anthony, American musician (Van Halen), was born.

1956  A Venezuelan Super-Constellation crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off Asbury Park, New Jersey, killing 74 people.

1959  A rare June hurricane struck Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence killing 35.

1960 John Taylor, English musician (Duran Duran), was born.

1960  Independence of Mali and Senegal.

1963  The so-called “red telephone“ was established between the Soviet Union and the United States following the Cuban Missile crisis.

1967 Nicole Kidman, American-born Australian actress, was born.

1970 – Josh Kronfeld, New Zealander rugby union footballer, was born.

1973  Ezeiza massacre in Buenos Aires  Snipers fired on left-wing Peronists. At least 13 were killed and more than 300 injured.

1979 ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot dead by a Nicaraguan soldier under the regime of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. The murder was caught on tape and sparked international outcry of the regime.

1987 The All Blacks won the inaugural rugby World Cup.

All Blacks win the first World Cup

1990  Asteroid Eureka was discovered.

1991  The German parliament decided to move the capital from Bonn back to Berlin.

2003 The WikiMedia Foundation was founded in St. Petersburg, Florida.

2009 – During the Iranian election protests, the death of Neda Agha-Soltan was captured on video and spreads virally on the Internet, making it “probably the most widely witnessed death in human history”.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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