Word of the day

April 3, 2017

 Antipode – the direct opposite of something; a point, place or region that is diametrically opposite another.


Film based on medical hoax endangers children

April 3, 2017

A film which  premiered in Auckland yesterday, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe   is putting children at risk:

Paediatric Society president David Newman says parents are still being caught out by the film’s debunked claims.

“I understand that parents who make these choices passionately want to protect their children from harm, and because of their anxiety, make a choice that is not supported by the scientific evidence,” he told Newshub.

Dr Newman says it’s insulting to the medical profession that people think they can all be deceived in such a way.

“I think it is insulting and indeed ludicrous to claim that the medical community could be hoodwinked at a global level for very long.”

He says if an overwhelming majority of people are vaccinated it protects those who can’t be, due to allergies, health or their age. This is known as ‘herd immunity’. It prevents disease from easily finding a new host.

“It is possible that people will not get their child vaccinated because of this [film],” says Dr Newman. “That puts their child at risk, and it puts the community at risk.” . . 

“The movie is scare-mongering,” says Immunisation Advisory Centre director Nikki Turner. “The science around MMR is very clear. It’s an excellent vaccine, it’s a horrible disease.” 

There is no scientific evidence at all vaccines cause autism. The claims originate from a fraudulent research paper published in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield, the director of Vaxxed.

It was later discovered Mr Wakefield had manipulated evidence and had various conflicts of interest. He was later struck off the medical register.

His fraud was described as “the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years” in a 2011 journal article.

 

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Rural round-up

April 3, 2017

NZ red meat sector must pursue both ‘value and volume’ growth into China:

The New Zealand red meat sector must focus on creating greater value from its exports into China, as the rate of import growth slows in this major export market, according to new research from Rabobank.

In its recently-released report, China’s Animal Protein Outlook to 2020, the specialist global agribusiness bank says while Chinese imports of sheepmeat and beef will continue to grow out to at least 2020, the rate of growth will not be as rapid as it has been in the past.

In addition, says Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate, as China has continued to open its market to New Zealand’s competitors in recent years, the NZ red meat sector no longer enjoys the same unique competitive advantage it had when it was the first developed country to enter into a free trade agreement with China in 2008. . . 

Rural doctor shortage: GPs considered ‘lesser beings’ – Joanne O’Brien:

For 25 years, Dr John Burton has been a lifeline for people in the isolated Waikato community of Kawhia, but, he says, GPs are considered “lesser beings” so job training is not producing good doctors for rural areas.

He said being the only doctor within an hour’s drive might deter some, but it made life fun.

“One of the things that often puts people off coming to a place like Kawhia is you’re always on call and anything can happen.

“Yet if I look back over the years I’ve had here, the times I’ll be remembering will probably be the times when, yes, I delivered a baby in the back of the ambulance or somebody was in a life-threatening condition.” . . 

Cows could infect humans with different strain of leptospirosis – Alexa Cook:

About 30 percent of New Zealand’s dairy herds pose a risk of infecting humans with a different strain of Leptospirosis not covered by the existing animal vaccine, a study has revealed.

People can pick up the disease if they come into contact with cow urine and rodents. It can lead to serious illness or death.

Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic occupational disease for farm and abattoir workers. In the past year cases of the disease have jumped by nearly 50 per cent, compared to 2015.

The Massey University study, which started in 2015 and is government funded, collected blood and urine samples from 200 dairy farms. . . 

Fonterra produces a solid half-year set of results but it is not all plain sailing ahead – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra has produced a solid set of results for the first half of the 2016/17 season, with after-tax profit up two percent to $418 million.

Results were broadly in line with market expectations. Prices for Fonterra units had been drifting down on the NZX in the weeks prior to the announcement from a high of $6.39 to $6.20 and lost another five cents over the following two days down to $6.15.

As always, the half-yearly and annual reports from Fonterra are a masterful exercise in communication. It takes effort to scratch beneath the surface to figure out what the numbers are really telling us. . . 

Cervena to be marketed in Germany:

Cervena venison is to be marketed in Germany during the northern hemisphere summer as part of a market development trial.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson says the trial, while relatively small, is symbolically very important. Traditionally, the deer industry has been heavily reliant on sales of venison to the German game trade which is highly seasonal, with demand and prices peaking in the northern autumn and winter, she says.

“Marketing Cervena venison there as a lighter summer eating option, suitable for grilling, is a challenge but it’s a journey we want to begin. Chefs across Europe are now showing more interest in innovative summer menu items, so the timing is positive.” . . 

NZ exporters gain access to international agfood innovations portal:

The FoodHQ Innovation Club has become a partner of World Food Innovations, an internationally recognised online portal that profiles innovative agfood solutions to attract global business.

The FoodHQ Innovation Club helps food and beverage companies tackle the multiple challenges associated with innovating their products and businesses to meet consumer demands in New Zealand and overseas. It provides one-door access to 2,200+ researchers, leading-edge knowledge, and innovation tools from internationally recognised research and innovation organisations.

WorldFoodInnovations.com, an initiative by Food Valley, the Netherlands, was established in 2016. Food Valley has built up a deep insight into the challenges of the agrifood industry and vast network of companies and knowledge institutions that can help to tackle these challenges effectively. . . 

Rabobank NZ annual profit falls 14% on higher provisioning for bad dairy debt – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Rabobank New Zealand posted a 14 percent decline in annual profit last year as the rural lending specialist boosted its provisioning for bad debts in the face of the dairy slowdown.

Net profit fell to $89.5 million in calendar 2016 from $104 million a year earlier, the Wellington-based lender said in a statement. The decline in profit was largely due to the bank booking $15.1 million in impairment charges on bad debt. In 2015 Rabobank booked a $5.6 million gain, writing back the value on impairments. Net interest income edged up 2.6 percent to $251.3 million, outpacing a 2.2 percent increase in the size of Rabobank’s NZ net loan book to $9.65 billion. . . 

Dairy – the new cream of choice in China:

For chefs across China, it’s out with the old mock cream and in with the UHT cream as Fonterra ups capacity to meet growing demand.

UHT cream, one of Anchor Food Professionals top selling products, is fast becoming the cream of choice for chefs in China and other parts of the world as they look for a product that has the freshness of pure dairy, won’t over whip and holds its shape for longer.

Fonterra has recently completed a new one litre UHT line at its Waitoa site. However, with continued growth, the Co-operative has already begun construction on a second line which will produce an additional 45 million litres each year for consumers across Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. . . 


Just a Little extra tax

April 3, 2017

The ink is barely dry on the Labour and Green Parties’ attempt to convince voters they won’t overtax and overspend which includes a promise for no tax increases.

But Andrew Little is already calling for a new tax:

Labour leader Andrew Little wants a “tourist tax” charged at the border to help pay for tourism infrastructure, rejecting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett’s concerns it risked making New Zealand look like a “rip-off.”

Little said a “modest” levy would be ring-fenced to pass on to local councils to use on tourism-related infrastructure. . . 

On Friday Rob Hosking pointed out the difficulty with the Labour-Green framework:

The real question is about the other promises Labour and the Greens are making and how these might fit within that framework.

The short answer is, they don’t.

The ability to fund free tertiary education and start payments into the NZ Superannuation Fund alone will test the limits of that framework. Those two policies alone will cost literally billions of dollars.

That is going to make it difficult to fit within one of the other joists in the Labour-Green fiscal framework: keeping government spending at around 30% of GDP.

One of these things is sheer spin: either the promises of new spending policies or the fiscal framework itself.

Take your pick.

Little’s suggestion of a new tax just days after the attempt to convince us of the Labour and Greens fiscal prudence has shot a very big hole in the framework.

There is a case for more spending on tourism infrastructure but Lincoln University professor of Tourism David Simmons has calculated that the government made a $630m surplus once tourism related costs – such as those for Tourism New Zealand and Department of Conservation visitor services – were deducted from the GST take.

We don’t need a new tax, whether it’s levied on New Zealanders or visitors.

A new tax is a tax increase by another name. That Little is considering the idea shows how flimsy the fiscal framework is.


Quote of the day

April 3, 2017

Vulgarity begins when imagination succumbs to the explicit. Doris Day  who celebrates her 95th or 93rd  (there is a dispute over her year of birth) birthday today.


April 3 in history

April 3, 2017

1043 Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England.

1077 The first Parliament of Friuli was created.

1559 The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis treaty is signed, ending the Italian Wars.

1593  George Herbert, English poet and orator, was born  (d. 1633).

1791 – Anne Lister, English diarist, mountaineer, and traveller, was born, (d.1840).

1807  – Mary Carpenter, English educational and social reformer, was born (d. 1877).

1834 The generals in the Greek War of Independence stood trial for treason.

1860 The first successful United States Pony Express run from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California began.

1865 American Civil War: Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia the capital of the Confederate States of America.

1876  – Tomáš Baťa, Czech businessman, founded Bata Shoes, was born (d. 1932).

1882 Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford.

1885 Gottlieb Daimler was granted a German patent for his engine design.

1895  Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde began, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

1898 – Henry Luce, American publisher, co-founded Time Magazine, was born (d. 1967).

1900 – Camille Chamoun, Lebanese lawyer and politician, 7th President of Lebanon, was born (d. 1987).

1911  – Michael Woodruff, English-Scottish surgeon and academic, was born (d. 2001).

1912  – Dorothy Eden, New Zealand-English author, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Piet de Jong, Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1967 until 1971, was born.

1917 Vladimir Lenin arrived in Russia from exile, marking the beginning of Bolshevik leadership in the Russian Revolution.

1922 Doris Day, American actress and singer, was born.

1922 Joseph Stalin became the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1924 Marlon Brando, American actor, was born  (d. 2004).

1934 Jane Goodall, English zoologist, was born.

1936 Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh II, the baby son of pilot Charles Lindbergh.

1943 – The Battle of Manners Street between soldiers and civilians.

'Battle of Manners Street'

1944 Tony Orlando, American musician, was born.

1946  Japanese Lt. General Masaharu Homma was executed in the Philippines for leading the Bataan Death March.

1946 – Hanna Suchocka, Polish lawyer and politician, 5th Prime Minister of Poland, was born.

1948  Carlos Salinas, former President of Mexico, was born.

1948 President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

1948  The Jeju massacre began.

1956 Hudsonville-Standale Tornado: The western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was struck by a deadly F5 tornado.

1961 Eddie Murphy, American actor and comedian, was born.

1968 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

1973 The first portable cell phone call was made in New York City.

1974 – The Super Outbreak occurred, the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history. The death toll was 315, with nearly 5,500 injured.

1975 Bobby Fischer refused to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default.

1982 The United Kingdom sent a naval task force to the south Atlantic to reclaim the disputed Malvinas/Falkland Islands from Argentina.

1996 Suspected “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski was arrested.

1996 A United States Air Force airplane carrying United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 on board.

1997 The Thalit massacre began in Algeria; all but 1 of the 53 inhabitants of Thalit were killed by guerrillas.

2000 United States v. Microsoft: Microsoft was ruled to have violated United States antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.

2004  Islamic terrorists involved in the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks were trapped by the police in their apartment and killed themselves.

2007  Conventional-Train World Speed Record: a French TGV train on the LGV Est high speed line set an official new world speed record.

2008 ATA Airlines, once one of the 10 largest U.S. passenger airlines and largest charter airline, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years and ceases all operations.

2009  Australia formally adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

2013 – More than 50 people died in floods resulting from record-breaking rainfall in La Plata and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2016 – The Panama Papers, a leak of legal documents, revealed information on 214,488 offshore companies.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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