Peter Ellis 30.3.58 – 4.9.19

September 4, 2019

Peter Ellis has died.

Ellis, 61, died at a hospice about noon on Wednesday after battling advanced bladder cancer. He had been fighting to clear his name some 26 years after he was convicted of sex offences against seven children at the Christchurch Civic Creche. . . 

The Supreme Court indicated it would consider hearing Ellis’ appeal even if he died before the hearing date.

The court had scheduled the appeal to be heard over four days from November 11 to 14 with one reserve day if needed. . . 

Lynley Hood, the author of A City Possessed, a book about the case, convinced me of Ellis’s innocence.

I hope the case is heard and gives his family and supporters the justice for which they’ve been fighting.

 

 


Word of the day

September 4, 2019

Semiotics – the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation; the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language,gestures, or clothing;  a general theory of signs and symbolism, usually divided into thebranches of pragmatics, semantics, and syntactics.


Thatcher thinks

September 4, 2019


Rural round-up

September 4, 2019

‘Cut the red tape binding Fonterra’ – Pam Tipa:

The time has come to reduce aspects of Fonterra’s regulatory burden, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

National opposed the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment (DIRA) Bill at its first reading.

Competitive pressure — rather than half-baked regulation — should drive the dairy market forward, Muller says.

“National believes it is vital we have an efficient and innovative dairy industry that supports the long term interests of farmers and consumers. This means having a strong Fonterra, strong smaller manufacturers and a robust domestic liquid milk and retail market.” . . .

Hawke’s Bay shepherd seizes agri-food sector opportunities

Chris Hursthouse is proof you don’t have to grow up on a farm to be successful in the agri-food sector.

The 22-year-old is a shepherd for the R+C Buddo Trust at Poukawa, near Hastings in Hawke’s Bay.

The trust finishes 15,000 lambs and 500 bulls a year across four blocks totalling 825 hectares.

“The operation has a big emphasis on using plantain and clover forage.  . . 

Poultry virus likely at Otago chicken farm

A poultry virus is highly likely to be present at an Otago egg farm which is now under voluntary biosecurity controls.

Biosecurity New Zealand is managing the possible outbreak of Infectious Bursal Disease Virus type 1 at the Mainland Poultry egg farm in Waikouaiti.

The virus poses no risk to human health or the health of other animals, but can affect the health of infected chickens.

Testing of other South Island layer and meat chicken farms is underway.
In the meantime Biosecurity New Zealand has stopped issuing export certificates for the export of chicken products to countries which require New Zealand to be free of the virus. . . 

MPI pair helping farmers through `M. bovis’ process– Toni Williams:

Empowering farmers working through the Mycoplasma bovis process involves Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) regional managers Charlotte Austin and Lydia Pomeroy working long hours.

But, as a way of being prepared to fight for their cases and keeping up to date with the issues, it is something they are only too happy to do.

”We certainly lose sleep, but we also understand that it’s not nearly as big an impact on us.

”That’s why we will quite happily work a 12, 13 or 14-hour day ‘cos we understand that these individuals are living it,” said Ms Austin, speaking to media after the recent Mid Canterbury Mycoplasma bovis Advisory Group meeting in Ashburton.

Included in the group are others from MPI, Federated Farmers, Canterbury District Health Board, Rural Support Trust Mid Canterbury and Ashburton District Council. . . 

Expect more disruption – Nigel Malthus:

Food and fibre is the most “activist disrupted” sector globally, second only to petroleum, says KPMG’s global head of agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot.

“People desperately want us to grow more food, but how it’s being grown is challenging people and causing them to think clearly about what they expect,” Proudfoot said.

He told the Silver Fern Farms annual farmers’ conference that they could choose to see disruption as either a threat or an opportunity.

The fourth industrial revolution is underway, melding the biological, physical and digital, he said.  . .

Rain-resistant wheat variety developed using genome editing :

Scientists have created a rain-resistant wheat variety using genome-editing technology, a breakthrough that could lead to the development of higher-quality flour.

The research team from the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Okayama University said genome editing enabled them to develop the variety in just about a year.

It takes nearly 10 years to develop such a wheat species using conventional breeding technology because the plants must be bred over generations.

The wheat used for the study is not a species currently sold on the market, but the team believes the method utilized could someday succeed in developing an edible variety resistant to rain. . .


Who knows best?

September 4, 2019

Former PM Helen Clark is telling us to vote yes to legalising marijuana:

. . . The recommendation comes off the back of a report released by her foundation, The Case for Yes.

“If you go back to 1994, in a speech that I gave at the time on cannabis, I took a position then that was based on what the Department of Health had been telling me, which was this shouldn’t be criminalised,” she told The Spinoff. “And so I took a stand on partial decriminalisation or partial prohibition. But my thinking has changed.”

Today, more than 80% of New Zealanders will try cannabis before the age of 25, said Clark, and irregular policing and systemic racism means it’s Māori who disproportionately suffer the most at the hands of the law. Therefore, legalisation is preferable to decriminalisation as it avoids the racial pitfalls of a system based on discretion.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act that was passed in August goes some way in doing this, but Clark said it still has two issues.

“One, it leaves supply criminalised, and there’s often quite a fine line between possession and supply – there are plenty of people who end up in jail for supply who were actually just in possession. 

“And secondly, there’s discretion, and as our paper points out, we have a huge social justice inequity issue on discretion because we see with cannabis – as with everywhere else in the criminal justice supply chain – Māori disproportionately are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and receive custodial sentences.”  . . 

There’s a third issue – it’s decriminalisation by stealth.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. A. where several states have legalised the drug the Surgeon General Jerome Adams warns of the dangers of using it:

. . . “While the perceived harm of marijuana is decreasing, the scary truth is that the actual potential for harm is increasing,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Thursday during a press conference to announce the new advisory.

Surveys show that an increasing number of adolescents and pregnant women use the drug, which can be eaten, smoked or vaped.

But the surgeon general told NPR in an interview that many people are not aware of just how potent the drug can be.

“This ain’t your mother’s marijuana,” he said. The THC concentration in marijuana plants has increased threefold between 1995 and 2014, according to the report, and concentrated products can contain up to 75% THC.

“The higher the THC delivery, the higher the risk,” Adams said.

Young people who regularly use marijuana are “more likely to show a decline in IQ and school performance [and] are more apt to miss classes,” Adams said. And frequent use of the drug can also impair a child’s attention, memory and decision-making.

In addition, it can be habit-forming.

“Nearly 1 in 5 people who begin marijuana use during adolescence become addicted,” Adams said. “That’s scary to me as the dad of a 15-, a 13- and a 9-year-old.”

Symptoms of marijuana dependency include “irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And marijuana becomes addictive “when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life,” according to NIDA. . . 

Who knows best?

A former PM who’s arguing about the theory or a Surgeon General who has evidence about the use in practice?

 

 


Quote of the day

September 4, 2019

What is democracy? It is what it says, the rule of the people. It is as good as the people are, or as bad.Mary Renault who was born on this day in 1905.


September 4 in history

September 4, 2019

476 Romulus Augustus, last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was deposed when Odoacer proclaimed himself King of Italy.

626  Li Shimin, posthumously known as Emperor Taizong of Tang, assumed the throne of the Tang Dynasty of China.

1666 In London, the worst damage from the Great Fire occurred.

1781 Los Angeles, California, was founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola) by 44 Spanish settlers.

1812  War of 1812: The Siege of Fort Harrison began when the fort was set on fire.

1862  Civil War Maryland Campaign: General Robert E. Lee took the Army of Northern Virginia, and the war, into the North.

1863 Soon after leaving Nelson for Napier, the newly built brig Delaware was wrecked. Accounts of the incident often focus on the heroism of Huria Matenga, the only woman in a party of five local Maori who assisted the crew to shore.

1870  Emperor Napoleon III of France was deposed and the Third Republic  declared.

1884  The United Kingdom ended its policy of penal transportation to Australia.

1886  Indian Wars: after almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo, with his remaining warriors, surrendered to General Nelson Miles.

1888  George Eastman registered the trademark Kodak and received a patent for his camera that used roll film.

1894  In New York City, 12,000 tailors struck against sweatshop working conditions.

1901 William Lyons, British industrialist (Jaguar cars), was born (d. 1985).

1905 – Mary Renault, English-South African author (d. 1983).

1913 – Shmuel Wosner, Austrian-Israeli rabbi and author was born (d. 2015).

1917 Henry Ford II, American industrialist, was born (d. 1987).

1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk gathered a congress in Sivas to make decisions as to the future of Anatolia and Thrace.

1923 – Maiden flight of the first U.S. airship, the USS Shenandoah.

1926 – George William Gray, British chemist who developed liquid crystals that made displays possible was born (d. 2013).

1937 Dawn Fraser, Australian swimmer, was born.

1941  World War II: a German submarine mades the first attack against a United States ship, the USS Greer.

1942 – Merald “Bubba” Knight, American singer was born (Gladys Knight & the Pips).

1944  World War II: the British 11th Armoured Division liberated the Belgian city of Antwerp.

1948  Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicated for health reasons.

1949  Maiden flight of the Bristol Brabazon.

1949  The Peekskill Riots erupted after a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, New York.

1950  First appearance of the “Beetle Bailey” comic strip.

1950  Darlington Raceway was the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race.

1951 Martin Chambers, English drummer (The Pretenders), was born.

1951  The first live transcontinental television broadcast took place in San Francisco, California, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference.

1956  The IBM RAMAC 305 was introduced, the first commercial computer to use magnetic disk storage.

1957  American Civil Rights Movement: Little Rock Crisis – Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, called out the National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling in Central High School.

1957  The Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel.

1963  Swissair Flight 306 crashed near Dürrenäsch, Switzerland, killing all 80 people on board.

1964  Scotland’s Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh officially opened.

1967  Vietnam War: Operation Swift began: U.S. Marines engaged the North Vietnamese in battle in the Que Son Valley.

1969 – Inga Tuigamala, Samoan-New Zealand rugby player, was born.

 

 

 

 

1971  A Boeing 727 Alaska Airlines Flight 1866 crashed near Juneau, Alaska, killing all 111 people on board.

1972 Mark Spitz became the first competitor to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games.

1975  The Sinai Interim Agreement relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict was signed.

1977 The Golden Dragon Massacre in San Francisco, California.

1981  – Beyoncé, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actress, was born.

1984  Brian Mulroney led the Canadian Progressive Conservative Party to power in the 1984 federal election, ending 20 years of nearly uninterrupted Liberal rule.

1995 The Fourth World Conference on Women opened in Beijing with more than  4,750 delegates from 181 countries in attendance.

1996  War on Drugs: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attacked a military base in Guaviare, starting three weeks of guerrilla warfare in which at least 130 Colombians were killed.

1998  Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford University.

2010 – Magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked Canterbury.

Magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocks Canterbury

2010 – A plane crashed soon after taking off from Fox Glacier airstrip, killing all nine people on board.

Fox Glacier plane crash

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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