365 days of gratitude

March 31, 2018

When I first saw hot cross buns in shops in January a few years ago I vowed I wouldn’t buy any until Easter.

Food for special occasions is special because it’s kept for special occasions.

This year I didn’t buy any hot cross buns, I decided to make them instead.

However, by the time the dough had risen yesterday it was too near dinner to eat them so I punched the dough down and left it over night.

It had risen again this morning, I shaped it into buns, left it to rise and cooked them this afternoon.

They were all the more delicious for the knowledge there wouldn’t be any more until next Easter and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

March 31, 2018

Foliation – the process of splitting into thin sheets or laminae;  repetitive layering in metamorphic rocks; set of layers visible in many metamorphic rocks as a result of the flattening and stretching of mineral grains during metamorphism; the process of forming into a leaf; the state of being in leaf; vernation.


Saturday’s smiles

March 31, 2018

God and St Francis were discussing life on earth:

GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and stuff I started aeons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s just one colour. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilising grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilise grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn the leaves fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?”

ST. CATHERINE: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a really stupid movie about…..

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.


Rural round-up

March 31, 2018

Synthetic clothing damaging to ocean says NZ Merino chief – Gerard Hutching:

Wool could be part of the answer to the scourge of microplastics, the New Zealand Merino Company says.

A grouping of manufacturers spearheaded by the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) will soon launch an international campaign highlighting the virtues of natural fibres.

new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) shows 35 per cent of minute plastic particles in the ocean are caused by washing synthetic clothing such as polar fleeces.

The Government has moved to ban microbeads, which make up just 2 per cent of the oceans’  plastic particles. . . 

Shearathon raises money for suicide help groups – Annette Scott:

The success of a 24-hour shearathon raising awareness of suicide prevention has virtually blown its organisers off the board.

Hosted at White Rock in North Canterbury, the shearathon pulled in more than $45,000 including close to $18,000 raised in a charity auction after the shearing.

Spokesman Mark Herlihy said the event exceeded any expectation.

Herlihy lost his young brother to suicide in 2016.

The tragedy left the family questioning why he hadn’t asked for help, prompting the drive for greater awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.  . . 

Meat processors gearing up for extra cattle from Mp. bovis outbreak:

New Zealand’s meat processors are gearing up for the extra cattle expected to go through the plants as a result of the Mycoplasma Bovis (Mp. bovis) cull.

“Over the past five years, the average number of adult cattle processed in April has been 278,000, but this has ranged between 254,000 and 318,000 head for the month over this period. The average number of adult cattle processed in May over the last five years has been just under 349,000 thousand, ranging from 310,00 to 392,000 during the month over the period,” says Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Tim Ritchie, adding the numbers fluctuate from year to year dependent on climate and other factors. . . 

Anchor cheese is back with a difference:

Anchor cheese is back and this time there’s a guaranteed lactose free option. For years milk, butter and yoghurt have all been part of Fonterra’s Anchor range and now cheese is coming into the fold. 

Fonterra Brands New Zealand Director of Marketing, Clare Morgan, says the addition of cheese to Fonterra’s Anchor family continues Anchor’s tradition of a love of dairy and innovation.  

“When pioneer Henry Reynolds launched Anchor in 1886 he would have never imagined that over a century later more than 150 Anchor products would be sold every minute. This week it’s set to grow even more.”

As well as the traditional Tasty, Colby and Edam, there are two new additions – Protein+ and Zero Lacto. . . 

Sheep farmers in row with WWF after wildlife foundation claimed lamb stew environmentally unfriendly – Francesca Marshall:

Sheep farmers have butted heads with a national wildlife foundation after it published a report labelling lamb stew as one of the most environmentally unfriendly meals in the UK.

Farmers’ Unions have been left “astonished” and “disappointed” by a report published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which labelled Welsh lamb cawl as the most polluting classic British meal.

The report, published to highlight how some of Britain’s favourite dishes could change as a result of climate change, said a bowl of lamb cawl produced as much pollution as boiling a kettle 258 times because of methane from sheep. . . 

Don’t blame growers and bakers for the $10 heirloom loaf. Blame American farm policy – Stephen S. Wade:

The day is cold and windy, a sunny but bracing 32 degrees in New York City. But at the Union Square Greenmarket, one of more than 50 farmers’ markets in the city, and a stalwart in operation since 1976, a brisk business is afoot at the Regional Grains Project stand. While the winter tends to be quiet for many regional farmers who sell their products at the market, it’s high season for the stand, a collaborative effort between the Greenmarket and a number of farmers, millers, and distributors in the Northeast.

Piled high with freshly milled flours, whole grains, beans, and cooking oils, all sourced from the northeastern United States, the stand sees a steady early morning stream of visitors. Home bakers, interested eaters, and regulars all pop by to pick up bulk bags of rolled oats for the hot breakfasts that sustain them through winter’s last gasp. A baker connected to Greenmarket favorite She Wolf Bakery, stops by to pick up several bulk bags of rye flour—a stopgap measure meant to last until the company can get a full pallet of flour from the same mill. . . 

 


Saturday soapbox

March 31, 2018

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.

Hierarchy of disagreement:

Refuting the central point: explicitly refutes the central point.

Refutation: finds the mistake and explain why it’s mistaken using quotes.

Counterargument: contradicts and then backs it up with reasoning and/or supporting evidence.

Contradiction: states the opposing case with little or no supporting evidence.

Responding to tone: criticises the tone of the writing without addressing the substance of the argument.

Ad hominem: attacks the characteristics or authority of the writer without addressing the substance of the argument.

Name calling: sounds something like, “Your are an ass hat”.


March 31 in history

March 31, 2018

1146 Bernard of Clairvaux preached his sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade.

1492 Queen Isabella of Castille issued the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.

1596 René Descartes, French mathematician, was born (d. 1650).

1621 Andrew Marvell, English poet, was born  (d. 1678).

1717 A sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy.

1732 Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1809).

1774 American Revolutionary War: The Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.

1822  The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix.

1851 – Francis Bell, New Zealand lawyer and politician, 20th Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born (d. 1936).

1854 Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.

1864 – Rewi’s last stand. The last battle of the Waikato War began when the spearhead of a 1200-strong British force charged an apparently weak Māori position at Ōrākau, south-east of Te Awamutu.

1866 The Spanish Navy bombed the harbour of Valparaíso, Chile.1885  The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Bechuanaland.

1889 The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated.

1903 Richard Pearse made a powered flight in an early aircraft.

1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (laterNational Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.

1909 Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia and Herzegovina..

1909 Construction began on the RMS Titanic.

1910 – the Hocken library opened at the Otago Museum.

Hocken Library opened at Otago Museum

1912 Construction was completed on the RMS Titanic.

1917 The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

1920 – Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, British aristocrat, socialite and author, was born (d. 2014).

1921 The Royal Australian Air Force was formed.

1926 John Fowles, English author, was born (d. 2005).

1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next thirty eight years.

1931  An earthquake destroyed Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000.

1933 The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment.

1934  – Richard Chamberlain, American actor, was born.

1935 Herb Alpert, American trumpeter and band leader, was born.

1936 Marge Piercy, American writer, was born.

1940 The funeral of Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage took place.

Funeral of Labour PM Savage

1942  World War II: Japanese forces invaded Christmas Island, then a British possession.

1942 Holocaust in Ivano-Frankivsk (then called Stanislawow), western Ukraine. German Gestapo organised the first deportation of 5,000 Jews from Stanislawow ghetto to Belzec death camp.

1946 – The first election was held in Greece after World War II.

1947  César Gaviria Trujillo, former President of Colombia, was born.

1948 Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1951 Remington Rand delivered the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.

1955 Angus Young, Scottish-born Australian guitarist (AC/DC), was born.

1955  Robert Vance, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1959 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crossed the border into India and was granted political asylum.

1964 The Dictatorship in Brazil, under the aegis of general Castello Branco, began.

1965 Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashed into the sea on approach to Tangier, killing 47 of 51 occupants.

1966 The Soviet Union launched Luna 10 which became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.

1967 – Fred Ladd flew under the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

1970 Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (after 12 years in orbit).

1970 Nine terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.

1972 Alejandro Amenábar, Spanish film director, was born.

1979 The last British soldier left Malta which declared its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).

1986 – Six metropolitan county councils were abolished in England.

1990 200,000 protestors took to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.

1991 The Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Hadas, was established in Kuwait.

1991 Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters supported the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

1992 The USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active United States NavyBattleship, was decommissioned.

199 The journal Nature reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first completeAustralopithecus afarensis skull.

1995 In Corpus Christi, Texas, Latin superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her own fan club.

1998 Netscape released the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement; with code name Mozilla and which was spun off into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

2004 In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, were killed and their bodies mutilated after being ambushed.

2016  – Occupy movement known as Nuit debout began in France, spreading within days to Belgium, Germany, and Spain.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


365 days of gratitude

March 30, 2018

Isn’t it frustrating when the perfect answer only comes to you hours after you needed it?

Isn’t it satisfying when the right words come just when you need them?

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I”m grateful for it.


Word of the day

March 30, 2018

Selenophile – someone who loves or is obsessed with the moon; a plant that when growing in a seleniferous soil tends to take up selenium in quantities greater than can be explained on a basis of chance.

Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud and nature

I chose this word because there’s a full moon. It’s the first full moon after the northern spring equinox which dictates when Easter is.


Rural round-up

March 30, 2018

P****d off Feds want straight thinking – Pam Tipa:

When people say New Zealand should be a leader in agricultural climate change technology and systems, Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard says he gets “pissed off”.

“We are already a leader, if you look at carbon footprint per km of land or per kilo of milk solids or whatever,” he told Dairy News.

“Most things we produce we are already producing at world’s best or we are setting the target for world’s best. I don’t know how much more of a leader you can be. . .

Methane not a villain:

Many people do not grasp that methane is a short-lived gas that recycles, says Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard.

This statement in the PCE report is important, he says: “Given its shorter lifetime, emitting methane will not [cause] the same irreversible inter-generational warming that carbon dioxide or the release of nitrous oxide have.”

“It was good to hear that being mentioned,” says Hoggard. . .

Pampered pets push venison prices:

A growing appetite for venison from a booming global pet food market has helped drive autumn venison schedules to record highs.

While schedule prices normally peak in spring, pampered pets have continued to push prices upward to an autumn peak of $11/kg.

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup said the popularity of venison as a pet food component is driven by a worldwide shift in attitudes towards companion animals from owners who want the best for their pets.

That includes an increasing interest in feeding them natural paleo-type diets. . . 

‘Fitbit for cows’ set to revolutionise beef industry from paddock to plate – Tom major:

An electronic tracking ear tag being developed for cattle could forever change the way graziers manage both livestock and farmland.

Researchers from James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville are collaborating with the Queensland Department of Science, the CSIRO and commercial partner Ceres Tag to adapt GPS technology for small, affordable livestock ear tags.

Computational chemistry expert, Ian Atkinson said the project would ultimately enable more accurate assessment of livestock condition. . . 

What if Africa’s farmers had access to needed seed technology? – Gilbert Arap Bor:

We’ve been told by trusted media and researchers that Kenya is on the brink of accepting biotechnology in agriculture.  I’ve said it myself. And now, President Kenyatta appears to be saying the same.  Business Daily recently reported “President Uhuru Kenyatta is betting on mass production of genetically modified cotton to create 50,000 jobs.”  

Another recent report, this one by the Africa Center for Biosciences International (CABI) affirms that “agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and yet average crop yields in Africa are among the lowest in the world.  Over 80% rely on it but many face challenges in growing sufficient good quality produce”.

True, farmers know that some years are good and some years are bad. . . 

Morrisons promises all lamb sold over Easter will be British – Katie Grant:

Morrisons has pledged that all of the lamb it sells this Easter will be British. The supermarket said it had taken the decision not to offer lamb sourced from New Zealand or Australia over Easter after “listening to customers”.

Supporting British farmers

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of shoppers said they wanted to support British farmers, according to the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by Morrisons last year. . .


Friday’s answers

March 30, 2018

Teletext gets my thanks for posing Thursday’s questions and can claim a virtual batch of hot cross buns for stumping us all by leaving the answers below.


Stabat Mater

March 30, 2018

Music for Easter – Antonio Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater:


Quote of the day

March 30, 2018

There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham. Anna Sewell who was born on this day in 1820.


March 30 in history

March 30, 2018

240 BC 1st recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.

1282 The people of Sicily rebelled against the Angevin KingCharles I, in what became known as the Sicilian Vespers.

1296 Edward I sacked Berwick-upon-Tweed, during armed conflict between Scotland and England.

1746 Francisco Goya, Spanish painter, was born  (d. 1828).

1811 Robert Bunsen, German chemist, was born (d. 1899).

1814 Napoleonic Wars: Sixth Coalition forces marched into Paris.

1814 – Joachim Murat issued the Rimini Declaration which later inspired Italian Unification.

1820 – Anna Sewell, British author, was born (d. 1878).

1842 Anesthesia was used for the first time in an operation by Dr Crawford Long.

1844 One of the most important battles of the Dominican War of Independence from Haiti took place near the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.

1853 Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter, was born  (d. 1890).

1855 Origins of the American Civil War: Bleeding Kansas – “Border Ruffians” from Missouri invaded Kansas and forced election of a pro-slavery legislature.

1856 The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.

1858 Hymen Lipman patented a pencil with an attached rubber.

1863 Danish prince Wilhelm Georg was chosen as King George of Greece.

1864 Franz Oppenheimer, German sociologist, was born (d. 1943).

1867 Alaska was purchased for $7.2 million, about 2 cent/acre ($4.19/km²), by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward. The media called this Seward’s Folly.

1870 Texas was readmitted to the Union following Reconstruction.

1885 The Battle for Kushka triggered the Pandjeh Incident which nearly gave rise to war between the British and Russian Empires.

1909 The Queensboro Bridge opened, linking Manhattan and Queens.

1910  The Mississippi Legislature founded The University of Southern Mississippi.

1912 Sultan Abdelhafid signed the Treaty of Fez, making Morocco a French protectorate.

1913 Frankie Laine, American singer, was born (d. 2007).

1918 Outburst of bloody March Events in Baku and other locations of Baku Governorate.

1928 Tom Sharpe, English satirical author, was born (d. 2013).

1930 Rolf Harris, Australian artist and entertainer, was born.

1937 Warren Beatty, American actor and director, was born.

1939 The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph.

1939 – First flight of the Australian C.A.C. CA-16 Wirraway.

1940 – Funeral procession for Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

1940 Sino-Japanese War: Japan declared Nanking to be the capital of a new Chinese puppet government, nominally controlled by Wang Ching-wei.

1941 Graeme Edge, British musician (Moody Blues), was born.

1945  Eric Clapton, British guitarist, was born.

1945 World War II: Soviet forces invaded Austria and captured ViennaPolish and Soviet forces liberated Danzig..

1945 – World War II: a defecting German pilot delivered a MesserschmittMe 262A-1 to the Americans.

1949  A riot broke out in Austurvöllur square in Reykjavík, when Iceland joined NATO.

1950 Robbie Coltrane, Scottish actor and comedian, was born.

1954  Yonge Street subway line opened in Toronto, the first subway in Canada.

1959 Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, who was convicted of child abuse at the Christchurch Civic Creche, was born.

1961  The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was signed in New York.

1962 MC Hammer, American rap musician, was born.

1964 Tracy Chapman, American singer, was born,

1965 Vietnam War: A car bomb exploded in front of the US Embassy, Saigon, killing 22 and wounding 183 others.

1968 Celine Dion, Canadian singer, was born.

1972  Vietnam War: The Easter Offensive began after North Vietnamese forces cross into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of South Vietnam.

1979 Airey Neave, a British MP, was killed by a car bomb as left the Palace of Westminster. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

1979 Norah Jones, American musician, was born.

1981 President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley, Jr.

1982 Space Shuttle programme: STS-3 Mission was completed with the landing of Columbia at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

2004 – Historian Michael King died.

Historian Michael King dies

2006  The United Kingdom Terrorism Act 2006 became law.

2009 – Twelve gunmen attacked the Manawan Police Academy in Lahore, Pakistan.

2017 – SpaceX conducted the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


365 days of gratitude

March 29, 2018

A knock on the door preceded the entry of a friend.

A few minutes later another knock was followed by the entry of two more friends.

Tonight I”m grateful for casual visits and entertaining conversation.


Word of the day

March 29, 2018

Lunt – a match; the flame used to light a fire;  smoke or steam, especially smoke from a tobacco pipe; to emit or produce smoke or steam; to smoke a pipe; to kindle a fire.


Rural round-up

March 29, 2018

Free trade trumps protectionism, we hope – Allan Barber:

It’s ironical the same week the CPTPP agreement was signed President Trump proudly announced new tariffs on steel and aluminium which threaten to undermine the World Trade Organisation’s function as the global regulator of international trade. The jury is still out on whether Trump can get the tariffs signed off by Congress and he has already created exemptions, at the time of writing for Australia, Canada and Mexico. But it’s an uneasy period, particularly for a country as dependent on trade for its economic survival as New Zealand, because we might well get caught in the crossfire from a trade war.

Meanwhile supporters of free trade can celebrate the signing of the CCTPP which I admit I didn’t rate as a certainty in my tips for 2018 in January. There has been a lot of noise from those against the agreement, either because it doesn’t differ markedly from the original TPP since rejected by Trump or because 22 clauses negotiated by the USA, including Investor State Settlement Disputes provisions, have only been suspended rather than removed altogether. But I suspect the antis would have objected regardless, wanting neither the original nor current agreement to be signed under any circumstances. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand urges farmers to comply with NAIT:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is urging all farmers to comply with the National Animal Identification Tracing (NAIT) scheme requirements following the announcement of a programme to track cattle movements as part of the Mycoplasma bovis response.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will stop trucks in the upper South Island to check that farmers moving cattle from the South to the North Island are complying with their legal obligations under the NAIT Act.. . . 

Technical advice and pathway tracing reports released following compliance searches:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released reports by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to its Mycoplasma bovis response and an internal report examining potential entry routes (pathways) to New Zealand for the disease.

The TAG report contains a reference to possible legal breaches in relation to how the disease entered the country.  While these have largely been redacted from the report, MPI has been unable to release it until those matters were sufficiently examined by compliance investigators.

Note: Redactions have been made to the TAG and pathways reports consistent with provisions of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). Where required, the Ministry for Primary Industries has considered the public interest when making decisions on the information being withheld. . . 

Environment under the spotlight at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Annual Meeting:

The sheep and beef sector is well-placed to turn the challenges into opportunities and reap the rewards, farmers were told at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Annual Meeting in Gisborne today.

James Parsons, outgoing Chair at Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) said strong prices and recent trade gains such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will undoubtedly help lift the profitability of sheep and beef farming. . . 

First Tauranga kiwifruit for 2018 sailing tomorrow

As chocolate eggs are being dispensed this weekend, New Zealand kiwifruit growers are shipping a much healthier alternative to Chinese consumers.

The Klipper Stream will carry New Zealand’s first load of Zespri Kiwifruit from the Port of Tauranga to China for the year, marking the start of what looks like another record-breaking season. Loading began this morning and the ship is scheduled to pass through the harbour entrance on Good Friday. . . .

Nigel Woodhead to put his ploughing skills to the test in Southland:

One of the country’s most recognisable young farmers will put his ploughing skills to the test in Southland next month.

Nigel Woodhead has been invited to compete at the New Zealand Ploughing Championships in Thornbury on April 14th-15th.

The 30-year-old is a sheep and beef farmer at Milton and was named the FMG Young Farmer of the Year last July. . . 

Go for 5G, but bring rural NZ along too:

New Zealand’s ambitions to get on with the roll-out of 5G technology should be applauded but don’t put dealing with woeful rural coverage on the back-burner, Federated Farmers Vice-President Andrew Hoggard says.

Tests of 5G mobile technology were carried out on the streets of downtown Wellington this week and industry players are talking about putting this next generation of digital communications infrastructure in place from 2020. Meanwhile plenty of towns and provincial hinterland limp on without broadband, and patchy or non-existent mobile coverage.

“Primary producers play a dominant role in earning the nation’s living and technology is pervading every aspect of agriculture. With poor or no access to ultra-fast broadband and mobile, faming businesses – and family life – suffers,” Andrew says. . . 

2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards Winners Announced:

The major winners in the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards are relatively new to the dairy industry and believe their success is due to their full involvement in their business.

Daniel and Paula McAtamney were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Addington Raceway and Events Centre last night. The other big winners were Will Green, who was named the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Salem Christian, the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Second time lucky for 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards winners:

A Hokitika couple have been announced as major winners in the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards.

Carl Wilmshurst and Anna Boulton were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held in Nelson last night. The other big winners were Anthony Lamborn, who was named the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year, and Sam Goffriller, the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .  

Inventors and innovators wanted for the 2018 Fieldays Innovation Awards:

Calling all agricultural inventors and innovators: entries are now open for the 2018 National Agricultural Fieldays Innovation Awards.

The Innovation Awards showcases innovation across several industry areas: dairy and drystock farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile-based software, animal health and genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and leading research. . . 

Fewer weeds, more wheat:

A herbicide to control problematic weeds in wheat crops and so increase crop yield, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

An application from Bayer New Zealand Limited to import Sakura 850 WG was considered by a decision-making committee convened by the EPA. This product contains pyroxasulfone, an active ingredient not used before in New Zealand. It will be imported ready-packaged for sale, and is intended for use by commercial growers and contractors, not home-gardeners.

“The EPA has concluded that this product offers considerable benefits to wheat growers,” said General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

March 29, 2018

You are invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual batch of hot cross buns.


Casually wasting diplomatic capital

March 29, 2018

Is the government deliberately setting out to upset international friends?

It started with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s repeatedly sticking her nose into Australia’s affairs over Manus Island refugees.

She followed up by making the mistake of telling a story about Donald Trump mistaking her for Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s wife which she ought not to have shared.

Then came the reluctance by her and Foreign Minister Winston Peters to condemn Russia for the nerve agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

And now New Zealand is an international laughing stock over the PM’s claim we have no undeclared Russian spies here.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and foreign affairs minister, Winston Peters, say they would expel Russian spies from the country, if there were any.

More than 100 Russian diplomats alleged to be spies in western countries have been told to return to Moscow, in response to the use of a chemical weapon in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a former Russia/UK double agent, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England on 4 March.

The New Zealand government has condemned the attack and supports the international action, but says there are no such “Russian intelligence agents” in the country. . . 

The ABC explains the difference between declared and undeclared spies:

. . . Spy is the conventional term for someone who gathers intelligence overseas, without letting their host country know what they are doing.

They often present themselves as diplomats and work out of embassies, alongside declared intelligence officers.

The difference between declared and undeclared intelligence officers is that the legitimate ones present their credentials to their host country and make it known they are there to make contact and to formally share mutually beneficial information.

Spies appear on an embassy’s list of diplomats, but they are involved in gathering other intelligence.

According to Ian Lincoln, a former diplomat who is now president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (New South Wales), spies have the same objectives as intelligence officers but use different methods, such as gathering intelligence through unofficial contacts, sometimes by finding a weakness in an individual.

John Blaxland, a professor of international security and intelligence studies, says undeclared intelligence officers pretend to comply with regular protocols, appearing at events and doing other things that make them look like regular diplomats, but on the side, they are carrying out a range of other activities. . . 

Richard Harman’s Politik morning e-newsletter says:

There has been no comment on whether any of the 16 staff with diplomatic status at the Russian Embassy [ in Wellington] may be undeclared intelligence officers — but it is a comparatively  large staff for a country which would seem to have only peripheral interests here..
In comparison’ Australia has 13; China 23 and the USA, 48. 

David Lange’s government burned off friends with its anti-nuclear policy but that was a matter of principle.

This government’s stand doesn’t look to be done on principle:

Whether or not we are seeing the emergence of a new Peters Doctrine is moot. We shall have to wait to see. But it’s curious that Labour has been dragged into this line of thinking.

It may be that Ardern & Co have an instinctive willingness to not necessarily fall in behind the great powers of the West. But is this really the time? Given the personalities in charge of what can be loosely called the West – especially President Donald Trump – there may well be a time quite soon when we want to play an independent hand. There may soon be issues where we want to stand apart from the US and other Western (or Five Eyes) allies on issues of real importance.

So why waste your card playing it now? Why raise the eyebrows – and perhaps the ire – of our traditional friends over this case? New Zealand bases its foreign policy on the international rule of law, so when there is a global consensus that Russia has blatantly and murderously broken those rules, why would we not rush to stand alongside those protesting such an action? Surely this is an opportunity to earn show some solidarity with Britain, the US and others, given that down the track we may want to spend some diplomatic capital distancing ourselves from them.

It seems a careless, overly casual and unnecessary waste of diplomatic capital; one I suspect this government will soon regret.

If the government was acting on principle its words and actions might be understood.

But rather than principle, it looks like it’s fooling round with foreign policy, carelessly and casually wasting hard-won diplomatic capital.

In doing so it’s dangerously out of step with both security and trading partners in a time when the foreign and trading environments are anything but benign.


Quote of the day

March 29, 2018

Childbirth takes place at the intersection of time; in all cultures it links past, present and future. In traditional cultures birth unites the world of ‘now’ with the world of the ancestors, and is part of the great tree of life extending in time and eternity. – Sheila Kitzinger who was born on this day in 1929.


March 29 in history

March 29, 2018

1461 Battle of Towton – Edward of York defeated Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England.

1549 Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, was founded.

1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed, returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it in 1629.

1638 Swedish colonists established the first settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden.

1790 John Tyler, 10th President of the United States, was born  (d. 1862).

1792 King Gustav III of Sweden died after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball 13 days earlier.

1799 Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1869).

1806 Construction was authorised of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, the first United States federal highway.

1809 King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden abdicated after a coup d’état.

1809 At the Diet of Porvoo, Finland’s four Estates pledged allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, commencing the secession of the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden.

1831 Great Bosnian uprising: Bosniak rebel against Turkey.

1847 Mexican-American War: United States forces led by General Winfield Scott took Veracruz after a siege.

1849 The United Kingdom annexed the Punjab.

1857 Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry revolted against the British rule in India and inspired a long-drawn War of Independence of 1857 also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.

1865 American Civil War: The Battle of Appomattox Court House began.

1867 Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North America Actwhich established the Dominion of Canada on July 1.

1870 Pavlos Melas, Greek officer who organized and participated in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia, was born  (d. 1904).

1871 The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.

1879 Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeated 20,000 Zulus.

1882 The Knights of Columbus were established.

1886 Dr John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.

1900 John McEwen, eighteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born  (d. 1980).

1901 Skipppers Bridge over the Shotover River opened.

Skippers Bridge opened

1902 William Walton, English composer, was born  (d. 1983).

1911 The M1911 .45 ACP pistol became the official U.S. Army side arm.

1916 Eugene McCarthy, American politician, was born (d. 2005).

1929  – Sheila Kitzinger, English activist, author, and academic (d. 2015).

1930 Heinrich Brüning was appointed German Reichskanzler.

1936 In Germany, Adolf Hitler received 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany’s illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland, receiving 44.5 million votes out of 45.5 million registered voters.

1937 – Smarck Michel, Haitian businessman and politician, 6th Prime Minister of Haiti, was born (d. 2012).

1941 World War II: British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy forces defeated those of the Italian Regia Marina off the Peloponnesus coast of Greece in the Battle of Cape Matapan.

1942 Nazi sabotage hoax – career criminal Sydney Ross met the minister of national service, Robert Semple, in Wellington and claimed he had been approached by a German agent to join a sabotage cell and that Nazi agents had landed by submarine and were living at Ngongotaha, Rotorua. Ross was taken to see Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who referred the matter to Major Kenneth Folkes, a British intelligence officer brought to New Zealand to set up the Security Intelligence Bureau.

Nazi sabotage hoax

 

1942 The Bombing of Lübeck was the first major success for the RAF Bomber Command against Germany and a German city.

1943 Eric Idle, English actor, writer, and composer, was born.

1943 Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1943 Vangelis, Greek musician and composer, was born .

1945  Last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England.

1957 The New York, Ontario and Western Railway made its final run.

1959 – Evangelist Billy Graham arrived in New Zealand for an 11-day crusade.

1961 The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.

1963 Elle Macpherson, Australian model, was born.

1968 Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress and singer, was born.

1971 – A Los Angeles, California jury recommended the death penalty forCharles Manson and three female followers.

1973 Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers left South Vietnam.

1974 NASA’s Mariner 10 became the first spaceprobe to fly by Mercury.

1982 The Telegu Desam Party (India’s regional political party) was established by N. T. Rama Rao.

1982 – The Canada Act 1982 (U.K.) received the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, setting the stage for the Queen of Canada to proclaim theConstitution Act, 1982.

1987 WrestleMania III set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome with 93,173 fans.

1993 Catherine Callbeck became premier of Prince Edward Island and Canada’s first female to be elected in a general election as a premier.

1999 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark (10,006.78) for the first time ever, during the height of the internet boom.

2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO as full members.

2004 The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants.

2008-  35 Countries & more 370 cities joined Earth Hour for the first time.

2010 – Two female suicide bombers hit the Moscow Metro system at the peak of the morning rush hour, killing 40.

2013 – At least 36 people were killed when a 16-floor building collapsedin the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2013 – A landslide killed 66 people in China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region near Lhasa.

2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales were performed.

2017 – The United Kingdom invoked Article 50, beginning the formal process of Brexit.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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