Word of the day

January 19, 2016

Dulcimer – a musical instrument with a sounding board or box, typically trapezoid in shape, over which strings of graduated length are stretched, played by plucking or especially by being struck with handheld hammers;  a trapezoidal zither with metal strings that are struck with light hammers; an instrument used in American folk music that has three or four strings, is held on the lap, and is played with the fingers, a pick, or a small stick.


Glen Frey 6.11.48 – 18.1.16

January 19, 2016

Eagles guitarist Glen Frey has died.

. . . The Detroit-born Frey performed with groups in the Motor City area before he relocated to Los Angeles in the late Sixties, eventually living in an apartment with J.D. Souther, his partner in the short-lived Longbranch Pennywhistle, and singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. It was Souther who encouraged Linda Ronstadt, his girlfriend at the time, to hire Frey as well as three other artists – drummer Don Henley, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Bernie Leadon – to serve as her backing band during a 1971 tour. When the trek concluded, the Eagles were born.

A year later, the Eagles’ inaugural lineup released their 1972 self-titled LP, featuring the Frey and Browne-penned “Take It Easy” and the Frey-sung “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Eagles, one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, set the band on a trajectory toward being one of the biggest selling acts ever, a reputation that was cemented with the following year with the arrival of Desperado, featuring hit singles co-written by Frey like “Tequila Sunrise” and the title track.

Frey also had a hand in writing the Eagles’ “One of These Nights,” “Take It to The Limit” and “Lyin’ Eyes,” with the guitarist contributing lead vocals to the latter. The Eagles would reach their peak in 1976 with their landmark Hotel California, with the title track – penned by Frey, Henley and guitarist Don Felder – winning the Grammy for Record of the Year; “Hotel California,” like the album’s Frey, Henley and Joe Walsh-written “Life in the Fast Lane,” would become classic rock staples, and the LP itself would place Number 37 on Rolling Stone’s all-time list. . . 

The Eagles were one of my favourite groups when I was a student and I still like their music.


366 days of gratitude

January 19, 2016

North Otago didn’t used to feature on many people’s tourist itineraries and Oamaru was once just another town to crawl through for people driving on State Highway 1.

But the growing popularity of the little blue penguins which nest around the harbour, the town’s stunning old (by New Zealand standards) buildings and its Victorian precinct and becoming the country’s Steampunk capital  started attracting more visitors.

Oamaru was dubbed New Zealand’s coolest town by Lonely Planet which has helped attract more visitors and help locals appreciate what we have on our doorstep.

Visitors’ appreciation isn’t confined to the town and exploration of the wider district has been boosted by the development of the Alps 2 Ocean (A2O) cycleway which has been recognised as one of the world’s leading attractions:

North Otago’s Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail has made it on to a list of the world’s best destinations in 2016 by travel publishers Frommer’s.

The trail runs from Aoraki-Mt Cook to the coastal town of Oamaru in North Otago.

Being named as one of 16 of the “Best Places to Go” in the world in 2016 is priceless marketing and “something that the whole region should be really proud of”, Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill says.

“It’ll be an amazing thing for the trail,” Mr Gaskill said.

“This is extremely important – it’s recognition that the trail itself, the infrastructure around it, the people who are operating on it and the people who are supplying it are operating to a standard that people feel comfortable to promote.”

Frommer’s describes the trail as ‘‘stunning and cheerfully hospitable” and starting the trail at Aoraki-Mt Cook “sets a perfect standard for awesome”.

“Your local hosts along the trail are happy to greet you and warmly organise food and lodging – after all, they pitched in to create this route for tourists – so come meet them under wide landscapes and huge skies… before the hordes find their way here,” the Frommer’s website said.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is the only New Zealand attraction to feature on the list and appears alongside destinations including Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Mongolia. . . 

The A2O isn’t finished yet but is already bringing lots of visitors and providing business opportunities for people servicing and selling to tourists.

Tourism is broadening the district’s economy, lessening its reliance of agriculture and it’s opening the eyes of locals to the many charms of our home patch.

Today I’m grateful for visitors who appreciate what we’ve got and help us appreciate it to.

P.S. The Frommer’s Best Places to Go list is here.

 


End of Ag subsidies in sight

January 19, 2016

The 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference concluded with an agreement of eliminate agricultural subsidies.

. . . Hailed by WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo as “the most significant outcome on agriculture” in the history of the WTO, this decision includes a commitment to eliminate subsidies for farm exports.1 Developed countries have made a direct commitment to eliminate export subsidies immediately, with the exception of a few agricultural products; subsidies on some of the most sensitive products, such as processed foods, dairy products, and meat, must be phased out by 2020. Developing countries have been granted until 2023 to remove their subsidies, with Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and net food-importing countries having until 2030 to meet their commitments.

The decision to end agricultural export subsidies is widely supported by research from institutions such as IFPRI’s Markets, Trade and Institutions Division, which contributed several reports to this year’s discussions with the WTO Secretariat and a number of WTO member countries. In a recentFSP blog post based on a forthcoming IFPRI Working Paper, IFPRI researchers David Laborde and Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla explained the potential impacts of the full use of existing export subsidy allowances. During recent years of high global agricultural prices, export subsidies were not needed by countries to sell on the global market; thus, the subsidy levels allowed by the WTO were higher than the level of subsidies actually being used. As prices have started to fall, however, this unused portion of allowable subsidies (sometimes called “the water”) could come into play. Using a CGE model, the authors find that if global agricultural prices continue to fall, the unused portion of export subsidies allowed by the WTO could reach US$11 billion. The full use of this amount, the authors estimated, could displace agricultural production in middle- and low-income countries by about US$12 billion, negatively impacting poverty reduction and food security throughout developing regions. The decision in Nairobi to eliminate agricultural export subsidies represents an important step in the right direction to protect poor populations from these harmful effects. . . 

Subsidies benefit a relatively few, generally inefficient producers at the cost of more efficient producers, consumers and taxpayers.

They reduce choice and increase costs.

They also divorce producers from market signals.

When the milk price dropped, New Zealand farmers cut back production but farmers in countries with subsidies didn’t, adding to the problem of supply outstripping demand.

Losing subsidies can cause short-term pain as New Zealand farmers found in the 1980s when we were dragged into the real world, but the medium to long term gains are worth it.

That we’ve already faced up to market realities is one of the reasons we have more to gain from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) than the USA:

New Zealand stands to reap considerably greater benefits from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement (TPP) than the United States, says a new study of the controversial pact by economists at the World Bank.

However, the biggest long term benefits are likely to be in emerging economies like Vietnam and Malaysia, where a combination of manufacturers shifting production to their more competitive economies and structural economic reforms are expected to deliver more than in countries where many of those transitions have already largely occurred. . . 

The World Bank study estimates an increase in economic output for New Zealand by 2030 from TPP of around 3 percent, compared to less than 1 percent for the US and Australia.

New Zealand would be the fourth largest gainer behind Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, roughly equal with gains estimated for Singapore.

New Zealand could expect small increases of around 2 percent in output growth, with slightly greater gains in unskilled than skilled labour-intensive industries. . . 

Those opposing the TPPA are fighting against an agreement that will help developing countries and provide greater gains for unskilled workers here.

At least some of the opponents are ideologically opposed to free trade per se. They also ignore the costs of being outside this large and influential trade tent:

. . . Claims that New Zealand has given up sovereignty appear misinformed at best, highly politically-motivated at worst. 

The TPPA sets the rules for more than a third of the world’s trade. More than that, it will play a large role in defining the world we live in should it be voted through by each of the 12 member states.

And for New Zealand’s part in pushing the deal through, it seems likely we’ll take the auspicious role of hosting the document’s signing by all 12 member nations, next month.

But it seems prudent to ask – of those who have done the economic modelling – what would New Zealand look like if it was left behind? 

The World Bank Report is here.


Quote of the day

January 19, 2016

I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it. – Edgar Allan Poe who was born on this day in 1809.


January 19 in history

January 19, 2016

1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England completing his reconquest of Normandy.

1511 – Mirandola surrendered to the French.

1520  – Sten Sture the Younger, the Regent of Sweden, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bogesund.

1607 San Agustin Church in Manila, now the oldest church in the Philippines, was officially completed.

1736 James Watt, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1819).

1764  John Wilkes was expelled from the British House of Commons for seditious libel.

1788  Second group of ships of the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay.

1795  Batavian Republic was proclaimed in the Netherlands. End of theRepublic of the Seven United Netherlands.

1806 – The United Kingdom occupied the Cape of Good Hope.

1807  Robert E. Lee, American Confederate general, was born  (d. 1870).

1809 Edgar Allan Poe, American writer and poet, was born (d. 1849).

1817 An army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, crossed the Andes from Argentina to liberate Chile and then Peru.

1829 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s Faust Part 1 premiered.

1839  Paul Cézanne, French painter, was born (d. 1906).

1839 The British East India Company captured Aden.

1840 Captain Charles Wilkes circumnavigated Antarctica, claiming what became known as Wilkes Land for the United States.

1845 Hone Heke cut down the British flag pole for the third time.

Hone Heke cuts down the British flagstaff - again

1848 Matthew Webb, English swimmer/diver  first man to swim English Channel without artificial aids, was born (d. 1883).

1853 – Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera Il Trovatore premiered in Rome.

1875 –  Ethel Rebecca Benjamin – University of Otago’s and New Zealand’s first woman law graduate, was born (d. 1943).

Ethel Rebecca Benjamin

1883  The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, began service at Roselle, New Jersey.

1893 Henrik Ibsen‘s play The Master Builder premiered in Berlin.

1899 – Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was formed.

1915  Georges Claude patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

1915  German zeppelins bombed the cities of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn killing more than 20, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

1917 German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent theZimmermann Telegram to Mexico, proposing a German-Mexican alliance against the United States.

1917 – Silvertown explosion: 73 killed and 400 injured in an explosion in a munitions plant in London.

1918 Finnish Civil War: The first serious battles between the Red Guardsand the White Guard.

1923 Jean Stapleton, American actress, was born.

1935 Coopers Inc.  sold the world’s first briefs.

1935  Johnny O’Keefe, Australian singer, was born (d. 1978).

1937 Howard Hughes set a new air record by flying from Los Angeles, California to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

1939 Phil Everly, American musician, was born (d 2014).

1942  Michael Crawford, British singer and actor, was born.

1943 Janis Joplin, American singer, was born (d. 1970).

1943  Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, was born.

1945  Soviet forces liberated the Łódź ghetto. Out more than 200,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived the Nazi occupation.

1946  Dolly Parton, American singer and actress, was born.

1946 General Douglas MacArthur established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.

1947 Rod Evans, British musician (Deep Purple), was born.

1951  Dewey Bunnell, American singer and songwriter (America), was born.

1953 – 68% of all television sets in the United States were tuned in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth to Desi Arnaz, Jr., American actor.

1966 Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India.

1967 – 19 men were killed in an explosion in the Strongman mine, at Rūnanga.
19 killed in Strongman mine explosion at Runanga
1972 – Princess Kalina of Bulgaria, was born.

1977 – Snow fell in Miami, Florida for the only time time in the history of the city.

1978  The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany left VW’s plant in Emden.

1981 United States and Iranian officials signed an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

1983  Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia.

1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, was announced.

1996  The barge North Cape oil spill occurred as an engine fire forced the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

1997 Yasser Arafat returned to Hebron after more than 30 years and joined celebrations over the handover of the last Israeli-controlled West Bank city.

2006 – The New Horizons probe was launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto.

2007 – Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated in front of his newspaper’s office by 17 year old Turkish ultranationalist Ogün Samast.

2012 – The Hong Kong-based file-sharing website Megaupload was shut down by the FBI.

2013 – A failed attempt to assassinate Ahmed Dogan, chairman of the Bulgarian political party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, on live television is foiled by security guards.

2014 – A bomb attack on an army convoy in the city of Bannu killed at least 26 soldiers and injured 38 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online, Te Ara encyclopedia of NZ & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: