366 days of gratitude

April 21, 2016

The news can often be a bit depressing – crime, death and destruction, malaise and mayhem while the good goes unreported.

It’s important to remember that the bad makes the news because, common place as at least some of it seems to be, it is out of the ordinary and I”m grateful for that.


Word of the day

April 21, 2016

Groupuscule – a very small political group, especially a radical or extremist splinter.


Rural round-up

April 21, 2016

Farmers’ urged to make their voices heard at local elections:

With local authority elections less than six months away, Federated Farmers is urging farmers to get engaged and involved.

Federated Farmers spokesperson on local government, Katie Milne, says local government elections is vitally important for farming on many levels, and is encouraging farmers to make their voices heard.

“It is absolutely crucial that farmers get involved in holding their councils to account. This includes being engaged on the issues and when the time comes make an informed vote.

“It’s also important that we get good candidates, including farmers and other business-minded people, to stand for election,” she says. . . 

New UHT milk plant for Canterbury:

The official opening of Westland Milk Products’ new UHT plant in Rolleston is a significant boost for the Canterbury dairy industry and is a sign of the continuing shift to value-added products, says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew. 

“It is important to celebrate good news stories such as this new UHT facility, which combined with the strong medium to long-term outlook for the sector, gives dairy farmers confidence that the period of low prices they are currently experiencing is only temporary,” Mrs Goodhew says.

The new plant can process 14,000 litres of milk per hour and has been constructed by Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative and third biggest dairy company overall. . . 

A2 Milk’s push into China bolstered by results of human clinical trial in that country – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Specialty milk marketer A2 Milk has bolstered its push to sell more products in China through a recently completed human clinical trial comparing the gastrointestinal and cognitive effects of consuming milk containing the A1 beta casein with that of the A2 variant on people with self-reported lactose intolerance.

The results of the Chinese study were published this month in the Nutrition Journal and are due to be released at a Beijing press conference late tomorrow by the company.

It’s part of a bid by A2 to get more credible scientific validation of its marketing claims, that have been in contention since the late 1990s, that its products might be better for people intolerant to standard cow milk. . . 

Protect our most precious and vulnerable waterways first, says Environment Commissioner:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has welcomed the Government’s latest discussion document on water quality, but has called for councils to give priority to the most precious and vulnerable rivers and lakes.

“Water quality has been declining for years and significant improvements will take time,” says Dr Wright. “Not everything can be done quickly, so regional councils must focus on immediate problems and pressure points.”

Dr Wright today released her advice to Parliament in response to the ‘Next steps for fresh water’ consultation document.

In her submission, Dr Wright states that the Government has made significant progress and has called for councils and communities to follow through and make the policy work. . . 

Farming 9 til 5: The farmers putting people before production – Jendy Harper:

On one farm near Waimate, the mantra “people before production” underpins employment decisions.

On Cara Gregan’s farm, workers must pass what she calls the “gumboot test”. 

Cara says she asks herself whether if her children or husband were wearing the gumboots, how she would feel about their conditions of work.

“I’ve got teenaged children, and I wouldn’t be prepared for them to work 12-14 hour days.” . . 

PGG Wrightson seed site hit by Uruguay flooding – Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – Agricultural products and services company PGG Wrightson has warned investors that its seed cleaning site in Uruguay has fallen victim to that country’s widespread flooding.

The company told shareholders in February that its South American business was expected to perform better between January and June. In a statement to the NZX today, chief executive Mark Dewdney said that was no longer anticipated.

“The strength of beef prices gave us reason to believe we would see a recovery in our Uruguayan business at the full year, he said. “While it remains too soon to quantify the full impact of the current flooding, we are now not expecting to see that full recovery in the current financial year”. . . 

Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker 2016:

Blending knowledge, skill and passion for New Zealand’s premium winemaking future

Entries are now open for 2016. Who will take out the title this year?

This exciting competition for NZ winemakers under 30 years old was held for the first time last year and proved to be a challenging yet fun and very rewarding competition. Contestants felt it increased their winemaking skills, knowledge and confidence as well as building important contacts for their future careers. . . 

Greg Mccracken New Shareholders’ Councillor for Southern Northland:

Today, following the close of voting in the Shareholders’ Council by-election in Southern Northland, Greg McCracken was announced as the successful candidate.

Mr McCracken, who has been farming in the Northland region for more than 30 years and currently farms at Wellsford, will take up his new role effective immediately. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

April 21, 2016

This is your chance to pose the questions with no need to follow the five-question format I used.

Should you stump us all, at Teletext’s suggestion,  you’ll win a virtual  smoked salmon from Ladybird Hill


On-line voting answer to wrong question

April 21, 2016

Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston says the online voting trial proposed for this year’s local body elections won’t proceed as more work is required to ensure a trial meets public and government expectations.

“Public confidence in local elections is fundamentally important. Given real concerns about security and vote integrity, it is too early for a trial,” says Ms Upston.

“Due to timing restrictions, preparations for the proposed trial have not yet met the legislative requirements and cannot guarantee public confidence in the election results.

“Security testing has been planned but has not yet occurred. Without seeing the results of testing we cannot be confident the systems are secure enough, and the trial could not be authorised.” . . 

This is a good move.

Postal voting was instituted for local body elections in te hope it would increase turnout but it is open to misuse and abuse.

I know of a parent who cast votes in a local body election for an adult child who was overseas; a man who voted for a parent who was in a rest home and a family who voted for a dead parent.

The traveller and the elderly parent didn’t mind and the family were as sure as they could be they knew who their deceased parent would have ticked but that’s not the point.

One person, one vote free of fear, favour or influence from anyone else is a basic tenet of democracy.

Postal voting is inherently insecure and online voting would be even worse.

Besides, the question shouldn’t be, how to make voting easier. It’s not very difficult in the first place.

The question should be how to get more people engaged in the electoral process so they want to vote.

People are literally dying to vote in other countries.

The problem here isn’t that people can’t vote easily, it’s that they don’t care enough to do so.

 

 

 


Quote of the day

April 21, 2016

No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.Charlotte Brontë who was born on this day in 1816.


April 21 in history

April 21, 2016

753 BC – Romulus and Remus founded Rome (traditional date).

43 BC Battle of Mutina: Mark Antony was again defeated in battle by Aulus Hirtius, who was killed.

1509  Henry VIII ascended the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.

1519 Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz.

1651 Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon, was born.

1671 John Law, Scottish economist, was born  (d. 1729) .

1729 Catherine II of Russia, known as ‘Catherine the Great’, was born  (d. 1796) .

1792 Tiradentes, a revolutionary leading a movement for Brazil’s independence, was hung, drawn and quartered.

1809 Two Austrian army corps were driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France as two French corps to the north held off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmühl.

1816  Charlotte Brontë, English author, was born  (d. 1855) .

1836 Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto – Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeated troops under Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

1838 John Muir, Scottish environmentalist, was born (d. 1914) .

1863 Bahá’u’lláh, considered the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, declared his mission as “He whom God shall make manifest“.

1894 Norway formally adopted the Krag-Jørgensen rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.

1898 Spanish-American War: The U.S. Congress, recognised that a state of war existed between the United States and Spain.

1915 Anthony Quinn, Mexican-born American actor, was born (2001) .

1918 World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron”, was shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme.

1922 The first Aggie Muster was held as a remembrance for fellow Aggies who had died in the previous year.

1923 John Mortimer, English barrister and writer, was born (d. 2009) .

Rumpole.png

1926  Queen Elizabeth II was born.

1942 World War II: The most famous (and first international) Aggie Musterwas held on the Philippine island of Corregidor, by Brigadier General George F. Moore (with 25 fellow Aggies who are under his command), while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a 5 hour attack.

1952 Secretary’s Day (now Administrative Professionals’ Day) was first celebrated.

1959 Robert Smith, British musician (The Cure), was born.

1960 Brasília, Brazil’s capital, was officially inaugurated. At 9:30 am the Three Powers of the Republic were simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.

1960 – Founding of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith in Washington, D.C.

1961 The first Golden Shears contest was held – won by Ivan Bowen.

First Golden Shears competition

1962 The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opened – the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.

1963 The Universal House of Justice of the Bahá’í Faith was elected for the first time.

1964 A Transit-5bn satellite failed to reach orbit after launch; as it re-entered the atmosphere, 2.1 pounds of radioactive plutonium in its SNAPRTG power source was widely dispersed.

1965 The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opened for its second and final season.

1966  Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visited Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.

1967  A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos led a coup d’état, establishing a military regime that lasted for seven years.

1970 The Hutt River Province Principality seceded from Australia.

1975  Vietnam War: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu fled Saigon, as Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, fell.

1987 Tamil Tigers were blamed for a car bomb that exploded in Colombo, killing 106 people.

1989 – Tiananmen Square Protests: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.

1993 – The Supreme Court in La Paz, Bolivia, sentenced former dictatorLuis Garcia Meza to 30 years in jail without parole for murder, theft, fraud and violating the constitution.

1994 – The first discoveries of extrasolar planets were announced by astronomer Alexander Wolszczan.

2004 – Five suicide car bombers targeted police stations in and around Basra, killing 74 people and wounding 160.

2010 – The controversia Kharkiv Pact (Russian Ukrainian Naval Base for Gas Treaty) was signed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, by Ukrainian PresidentViktorYanukovych and Russian PresidentDimitryMedvedev.

2012 – Two trains were involved in a head-on collision near Sloterdijk, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, injuring 116 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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