Assart – a piece of land converted from forest to arable use; the act or offense of grubbing up trees and bushes, and thus destroying the thickets or coverts of a forest; to grub up trees and bushes to make land arable.
Snow does little to blunt Hurunui drought – Tim Cronshaw:
Melting snow has combined with the first decent rainfall in six months to provide some relief for dry Hurunui but it would be a stretch to call it a drought breaker.
Much of the snow over the last week has thawed and gone into soils to go some way to replenishing ground moisture that has taken a hammering in the district particularly extending from Hawarden to Cheviot.
The problem is that it’s arrived too late for farmers as winter pulls the plug on major grass or winter crop growth.
Snow, sleet and rain topped up gauges by 20mm to 50mm over Hurunui farmland in the first major rain of the year.
Federated Farmers North Canterbury Meat & Fibre chairman Dan Hodgen said the snow and rain event would be of little initial help for farmers. . .
US likely to force pace on TPP with fast track in place – Pattrick Smellie:
(BusinessDesk) – The United States is likely to try and force the pace of negotiations to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the next few weeks, following a vote in the US Senate last night that all but ensures President Barack Obama will gain so-called ‘fast track’ authority to complete the controversial agreement.
One more Senate vote is expected overnight tonight, New Zealand time, to confirm Trade Promotion Authority – an essential component to resuming the 12 nation talks that have been stalled for months while Obama cobbled together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans large enough to support the measure. . .
The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is firm in its view that a good deal on dairy in TPP is necessary for any deal to stack up for New Zealand.
“The facts are that dairy accounts for 35% of NZ exports. You can’t even come close to achieving an acceptable deal for New Zealand without a good deal on dairy” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.
DCANZ which represents the common policy interests of 11 New Zealand dairy companies, accounting for 98% of milk processed is following the negotiations carefully. . .
Landcorp sees NZ dairy conversion rate slowing – Tina Morrison:
(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, which has almost tripled its milk production over the past decade, expects the rate of dairy expansion will slow as environmental restrictions, and higher land and labour costs make it less viable.
Large tracts of flat land in New Zealand once used for sheep farming have been converted to dairy as farmers were lured by higher prices for dairy products while demand for sheepmeat and wool waned. The number of dairy cows has jumped to a record 6.7 million, while sheep numbers dropped below 30 million for the first time in more than 70 years, according to data published by Statistics New Zealand last month, covering the 2014 agricultural year. . .
John and Catherine own 1240ha Highlands Station – a productive and well-maintained hill-country farm south of Rotorua. Sitting within the Lake Tarawera and Rotokakahi catchments, the farm’s distinctive contour was shaped by volcanic activity which flattened forests, carved out hill faces and left the area covered in Phosphate-rich mud.
John’s father Allen began developing Highlands Station in the early 1930s and award judges noted the Ford’s “strong family history of commitment to agriculture”.
Highlands Station has a “much loved feel” and its outstanding meat and wool production puts it among New Zealand’s leading sheep and beef farming operations. . .
Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced 41 appointments to the 14 Conservation Boards across New Zealand.
“I want to congratulate each of the community representatives who are being appointed in 2015, particularly the 14 who will serve for the first time. I would also like to thank the outgoing representatives for their contribution to conservation in their region,” Ms Wagner says.
“A third of Conservation Board positions were open for renewal this year. The diverse range of appointees will bring a wide array of knowledge and skills to conservation management in the communities they represent. . .
Nobody’s happy with manuka honey definitions: MPI – Suze Metherell:
(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lack of definition for what constitutes manuka honey has overseas regulators worried about forgeries, with China likely to introduce a certification scheme for the honey imports, the Ministry for Primary Industries is telling the country’s beekeepers.
There is no industry-wide consensus on exactly what constitutes manuka honey, with MPI working to come up with a formal definition and a method for identification. While it isn’t a food safety issue, MPI “takes concerns about the authenticity of New Zealand products very seriously and is acting to address these,” according to its website. . .
Compressing photos is advised for posting on blogs or Facebook.
For years I’ve done this with Microsoft Office Picture Manager but my old computer was dying and its replacement has a new operating system which omits this feature.
I googled and followed the suggestion I found to download Microsoft Picture gallery but that doesn’t enable compression.
If there’s any technically minded person out there who knows how to compress photos I’d welcome your advice.
While I’m seeking advice, I haven’t found a way to compress photos on an iPad either and would appreciate advice on that too.
The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.
There are more than 4000 in the gallery already.
This one is Barking with the Stars by Warren Mara:
North Otago helicopter John Oakes received a Royal Humane Society award last week for risking his life saving those of others in Antarctica.
Rebecca Ryan tells the story of that rescue which John said was just doing his job:
On December 1, 2013, John Oakes saw the helicopter in front of him crash in a remote, heavily crevassed area in the Antarctic.
Mr Oakes was flying the other of two helicopters returning from a mission to survey a penguin colony.
Landing about 15m away in whiteout conditions, about 240km from Davis Base, Mr Oakes turned to his passenger and said:
”I hate to say it, but I don’t think anyone could’ve survived that.”
Then they saw movement.
One woman crawled through the snow away from the wreck and the pilot also appeared.
The other Australian expeditioner was found trapped in the wreck, hanging upside down, held by her seatbelt, with her foot caught in the seat panel.
They had all suffered serious injuries and Mr Oakes raised the alarm.
Two aircraft arrived overhead within an hour and a-half, but due to the deteriorating weather and the surrounding area of bad crevasses, they were unable to land and returned.
Frequent snow showers and blizzard-like conditions continued as Mr Oakes and his passenger tended to the injured, making sure all the three were protected from the elements, one in a bivouac shelter and the others in the rear of Mr Oakes’ helicopter.
They waited on the ice for 20 hours before there was a suitable weather window to fly to Sansom Island, where another plane was waiting to help return the injured to Davis Base.
He took two of the injured there, refuelled and returned to the crash site with a doctor and an engineer on board.
On the return to Davis Base, storms started to hit again, Mr Oakes said.
”We were back into 58 to 60 knots, the aeroplanes were getting a hammering, we were getting a hammering, so we were pretty happy to land back at base,” he said.
Arriving at Davis Base, Mr Oakes was totally exhausted at the end of what had been a harrowing 36-hour stretch and said it was his 28 years of North Otago Search and Rescue experience that had kicked in to get him through.
Last week, he was presented with a Royal Humane Society medal for his efforts in the rescue, which was a ”pretty humbling” experience.
The medals are given for acts of bravery in which rescuers put their own lives at risk to assist others whose lives are in peril.
Mr Oakes said he was ”just doing his job” – he was in the Antarctic, working for the Australian Antarctic Division, as helicopter support flying people to isolated places to assist in scientific studies. . .
This honour is well deserved.
It isn’t the first time John has risked his life to save people but you’d never hear that, or any of the other extraordinary stories of just doing his job from him.
. . . It’s not Craig’s inappropriate behaviour, whatever it was, that’s the problem.
It’s everything else.
A man that desperate to have a party that will have him, and give him power, is a man who should never have it.
It’s news all right. And we should care. – Rodney Hide
1149 Raymond of Antioch was defeated and killed at the Battle of Inab by Nur ad-Din Zangi.
1194 Sverre was crowned King of Norway.
1444 Skanderbeg defeated an Ottoman invasion force at Torvioll.
1613 The Globe Theatre in London burned to the ground.
1659 Battle of Konotop: Ukrainian armies of Ivan Vyhovsky defeatedthe Russians, led by Prince Trubetskoy.
1749 New Governor Charles de la Ralière Des Herbiers arrives at Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island).
1786 Alexander Macdonell and more than five hundred Roman Catholic highlanders left Scotland to settle in Glengarry County, Ontario.
1850 Coal was discovered on Vancouver Island.
1850 Autocephaly officially granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Church of Greece.
1861 William James Mayo, American physician, was born (d. 1939).
1864 Ninety-nine people were killed in Canada’s worst railway disaster near St-Hilaire, Quebec.
1874 Greek politician Charilaos Trikoupis published a manifesto in the Athens daily Kairoi entitled “Who’s to Blame?” in which he laid out his complaints against King George.
1880 France annexed Tahiti.
1891 Street railway in Ottawa commenced operation.
1895 Doukhobors burned their weapons as a protest against conscription by the Tsarist Russian government.
1900 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer, was born (d. 1944).
1901 Nelson Eddy, American singer and actor, was born (d. 1967).
1914 Jina Guseva attempted to assassinate Grigori Rasputin.
1916 Sir Roger Casement, Irish Nationalist and British diplomat was sentenced to death for his part in the Easter Rising.
1922 France granted 1 km² at Vimy Ridge “freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada, the free use of the land exempt from all taxes.”
1925 Canada House opened in London.
1926 Arthur Meighen returned to office as Prime Minister of Canada.
1927 First test of Wallace Turnbull’s Controllable pitch propeller.
1937 Joseph-Armand Bombardier of Canada received a patent for sprocket and track traction system used in snow vehicles.
1943 Little Eva, American singer, was born (d. 2003).
1945 Carpathian Ruthenia was annexed by Soviet Union.
1972 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual punishment”.
1974 Isabel Perón was sworn in as the first female President of Argentina.
1976 Bret McKenzie, New Zealand musician, (Flight of the Conchords) was born.
1976 The Seychelles became independent from the United Kingdom.
1990 Dr Penny Jamieson became the first woman in the world to be appointed an Anglican bishop.
1995 The Sampoong Department Store collapsed in Seoul, killing 501 and injuring 937.
2006 Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.
2007 Two car bombs were found in the heart of London at Piccadilly Circus.
2012 – A derecho struck the eastern United States, leaving at least 22 people dead and millions without power.
2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant self-declared its caliphate in Syria and northern Iraq.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia