365 days of gratitude

May 23, 2018

For the second day in a row I’ve been working with other volunteers setting up for Rotary’s annual Bookarama.

It involves a lot of lifting, carrying and sorting.

My Fitbit tells me I’ve walked more than 23,000 steps today – that’s more than 14 kilometres – and my arms tell me they’ve done a lot more work than they usually do.

Tonight I’m grateful for the opportunity to relax and the satisfaction that comes from knowing I’ve earned it.

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Word of the day

May 23, 2018

Cedi – basic monetary unit of Ghana, equal to 100 pesewas.


Rural round-up

May 23, 2018

All you need to know about Mycoplasma bovis:

As the Mycoplasma bovis disease spreads, here is everything you need to know.

What is Mycoplasma bovis?

It’s a bacteria that can cause diseases in cattle. It can cause untreatable mastitis, abortions, pneumonia and arthritis.

How is it spread?

It’s spread from animal to animal through close contact and bodily fluids. Calves can be infected through drinking milk from infected cows. Farm equipment can play a role in spreading the disease. It’s spread between farms through the movement of cattle.

Can it be spread to other animals?

Other animals are very unlikely to be infected by the disease.

Had it been found in New Zealand previously?

No. The original July 2017 detection was the first time the disease had been found in New Zealand. . .  

A timeline of the Mycoplasma bovis spread around New Zealand :

Cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is spreading around New Zealand farms at a rate much faster than previously thought. RNZ maps out the spread of the virus over time.

July 2017 – Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) responds to the detection of Mycoplasma bovis on a dairy farm near Oamaru. The farm, part of the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group (VLDG), is put under legal controls to restrict movement of stock and other at-risk goods. Other farms in the group are also put under controls.

July 31, 2017 – A second farm in the VLDG is confirmed to have the disease.

August 2017 – Testing begins on farms bordering VLDG properties.

August 2017 – Four more properties test positive, bringing the total number of infected farms to six. . .

Farmer’s determination pays off – Sally Rae:

When Logan Wallace returned home to take over the family sheep farm in South Otago, he had a big task to take on.

He set some goals, including making sure he farmed sustainably, meeting both the environmental requirements of councils and expectations of consumers.

The young farmer’s determination and ability has already paid off. He and his parents, Ross and Alexa, were this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Award winners and he will also represent Otago-Southland in the grand final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest in Invercargill in July. . . 

Merino and natural fibres could help clothing companies battle scourge of microplastics – Jess Cartwright:

Microplastics are one of the biggest threats to oceans and synthetic textiles are a huge contributor to the problem, but now a New Zealand company is hoping to lead change by promoting the use of natural fibres like merino wool.

The issue of microbeads in beauty products is well known, but tiny plastic fibres from clothing are an even bigger issue for oceans and marine life.

For example, each time people wash their synthetic clothing these microplastic fibres break off and, because they’re so tiny, they’re then carried into rivers and eventually oceans. . .

From a ‘nasty little wet farm’ to an award-winning dairy property – Gerald Piddock:

Sandra McKinnon always remembers the unflattering description made of the farm she and husband Rob bought in 1992.

The 44 hectare property near Matamata was unkindly called by an industry colleague: “A nasty little wet farm and what did we think we were doing buying it.”

She admits it had little going for it at the time. But it did have a a stream and native bush and that was enough.

“It’s an ex-ballot farm, it hadn’t had a lot of work done to it,” she says. . . 

Farmer’s mid-life crisis results in buying a rare sheep breed – Peter McDonald:

 “Honey, I’ve just bought a sheep stud.”

That’s what I said as I put the phone down. I joke that I will just have to throw this one in the bucket with all my other mid-life crisis, although this is starting to wear a bit thin I’m told, as mid-life is well and truly in my rear vision mirror.

The ryeland is classified as a rare sheep breed in New Zealand with about six to seven mostly small flocks scattered throughout the country. Some could say they are a breed that time forgot, their popularity peaked in Great Britain in the 1800s and here through the 1960s.

To give you an idea of their long history as a breed it was reported that Queen Elizabeth requested before the onset of winter that stockings be knitted especially for her from ryeland wool, now this is not the current Queen Elizabeth this story refers to Queen Elizabeth the first who ruled from 1558-1603. . . 

EU co-funded Armenia wool value chain project kicks off in Shirak Province

Within the framework of the European Union (EU) Days in Armenia, Minister of Territorial Administration and Development Suren Papikyan on Sunday attended the official start of the EU co-funded EU4 Shirak: Wool for Jobs project, in Amasia rural community of the Shirak province.

Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Armenia, also was on hand at this event, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development informed Armenian News-NEWS.am. . . 


Electoral law isn’t working

May 23, 2018

The Electoral Commission is investigating an advertisement exhorting people to vote for New Zealand First.

It’s not hard to join the dots between tax breaks for fast horses and racing interests who back New Zealand First.

. . . Winston Peters has repaid the electoral support of the racing industry with changes to the bloodstock tax rules and plans for an all-weather track. 

Peters announced $4.8m for tax deductions towards the cost of breeding high quality horses, in Thursday’s budget. The change would encourage new investment in the breeding industry, he said, enhancing the country’s racing stock and making it a more financially attractive industry.  . . 

NZ First has not disclosed its party donors in the annual declarations to the Electoral Commission, this month, but Peters did have outspoken support at last year’s election from the Waikato thoroughbred and bloodstock industry.  . . 

Industry leaders were vocal in their support of NZ First, with thoroughbred breeders Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan taking out a full-page advertisement in industry newspaper The Informant to encourage racing participants to party vote NZ First in September last year.  . . .

It is permissible for people or groups to advertise in support of a party but Andrew Geddis raises some questions about this advertisement:

The advertisement definitely encouraged people to vote for New Zealand First. It was here on Sunday but if you click that link now you’ll get access denied. However it is in the link to the story at Stuff above and says:

There is only one horse to back, it’s New Zealand First. It has the race record.  It’s now imperative that you all take this opportunity to have what we want by  making our PARTY VOTE IN FAVOUR OF NEW ZEALAND FIRST.. . 

And under the signatures it says:

PLACE YOUR PARTY VOTE FOR NEW ZEALAND FRIST

It’s possible the Hogans and the industry magazine didn’t know the electoral law about third party promotion but ignorance isn’t a defence.

Although, like far too many instances when questions are raised about possible breaches of electoral law, the investigation is far too late, this horse has well and truly bolted.

Months after the election is far too late so whether or not there has been a breach of electoral law, this yet again raises questions about the effectiveness of the law.

However, it’s not too late to address any conflict the issue of Peters as Racing Minister.

David Farrar points out:

Jacinda Ardern said NZ First Ministers can’t be Minister of Fisheries due to their donations from the fishing industry. Yet she makes Winston Minister of Racing despite figures in the racing industry running advertisements campaigning for NZ First. . . 

If NZ First MPs can’t be Ministers of Fisheries because of donations from the fishing industry, this advertisement should disqualify Peters from being Racing Minister.


Quote of the day

May 23, 2018

A house is no home unless it contains fire and food for the mind as well a s the body –   Margaret Fuller who was born on this day in 1810.


May 23 in history

May 23, 2018

844 – Battle of Clavijo: The Apostle Saint James the Greater is said to have miraculously appeared to a force of outnumbered Spanish rebels and aided them against the forces of the Emir of Cordoba.

1430 Siege of Compiègne: Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne.

1498 Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake in Florence on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.

1533 The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.

1568 The Netherlands declared their independence from Spain.

1568  Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeated Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg and his loyalist troops in theBattle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years’ War.

1618 The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitated the Thirty Years’ War.

1701  After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd was hanged.

1706 Battle of Ramillies: John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, defeated a French army under Marshal Villeroi.

1805 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Cathedral of Milan.

1810 Margaret Fuller, American journalist and feminist, was born  (d. 1850).

1813  Simón Bolívar entered Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, and was proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”).

1820 James Buchanan Eads, American engineer and inventor, was born  (d. 1887).

1829 Accordion patent granted to Cyrill Demian.

1844  Declaration of the Báb: a merchant of Shiraz announced that he was a Prophet and founded a religious movement. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Bahá’í Faith, and Bahá’ís celebrate the day as a holy day.

1846 Mexican-American War: President Mariano Paredes of Mexico unofficially declared war on the United States.

1855 Isabella Ford, English socialist, feminist, trade unionist and writer, was born (d. 1924).

1861 – The first major gold rush in Otago started after Tasmanian Gabriel Read found gold ‘shining like the stars in Orion on a dark, frosty night’ near the Tuapeka River.

1863 Organisation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

1863  The Siege of Port Hudson.

1863  American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney became the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner.

1873  The Canadian Parliament established the North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

1875 Alfred P. Sloan, American long-time president and chairman of General Motors, was born  (d. 1966).

1907  The unicameral Parliament of Finland gathered for its first plenary session.

1911 The New York Public Library was dedicated.

1915  World War I: Italy joined the Allies after they declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1923  Launch of Belgium’s SABENA airline.

1928 Nigel Davenport, English actor, was born (d. 2013).

1929 The first talking cartoon of Mickey Mouse, “The Karnival Kid“, was released.

1933 Joan Collins, English actress, was born.

1934  American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.

1934 The Auto-Lite Strike culminated in the “Battle of Toledo”, a five-day melée between 1,300 troops of the Ohio National Guard and 6,000 picketers.

1939  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Squalus sank  during a test dive, causing the death of 24 sailors and two civilian technicians.

1945 World War II:  Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, committed suicide while in Allied custody.

1945  World War II: The Flensburg government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz was dissolved when its members are captured and arrested by British forces at Flensburg in Northern Germany.

1949 Alan Garcia, President of Peru, was born.

1949  The Federal Republic of Germany was established and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany was proclaimed.

1951 Tibetans signed the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with China.

1956 Mark Shaw, New Zealand rugby footballer, was born.

1958  Explorer 1 ceased transmission.

1958 – Mitch Albom, American journalist, author, and screenwriter, was born.

1966   Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the first Maori Queen,  was crowned.

Coronation of first Māori Queen

1967 Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and blockaded the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, laying the foundations for the Six Day War.

1995  Oklahoma City bombing: The remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building were imploded.

1995  The first version of the Java programming language was released.

1998 The Good Friday Agreement was accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with 75% voting yes.

2002  The “55 parties ca;use”of the  Kyoto protocol was reached after its ratification by Iceland.

2004 Part of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport‘s Terminal 2E collapsed, killing four people and injuring three others.

2005 The fastest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opened at Six Flags Great Adventure.

2006  Alaskan stratovolcano Mount Cleveland erupted.

2008  The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the two countries.

2010 – Jamaican police began a manhunt for drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, after the United States requested his extradition, leading tothree days of violence during which at least 73 bystanders were killed.

2013 – The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed in Mount Vernon, Washington.

2014 – Seven people, including the perpetrator,were killed and another 13 injured in a killing spree near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.

2015 – At least 46 people were killed as a result of floods caused by a tornado in Texas and Oklahoma.

2016 – Eight bombings were carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Jableh and Tartus, coastline cities in Syria. 184 people were killed and at least 200 people injured.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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