Rural round-up

04/07/2017

Rare birds flourish in Canterbury cows’ paddocks – Conan Young:

A colony of 300 critically endangered birds has found an unlikely place to nest – in the middle of a paddock full of dairy cows.

The discovery was made late last year – black billed gulls building their nests on the Canterbury farm and then successfully raising their chicks, oblivious to the cows grazing nearby and the odd shower from a pivot irrigator.

Ornithologists were amazed to see the birds nesting in an area they had not been seen in for three years.

Last year’s unusual discovery was revealed on Thursday at a seminar organised by Braid – a group dedicated to saving the South Island’s braided rivers and the creatures that live there. . .

Common pesticides can harm bees, but the jury is still out on a global ban – Phil Lester:

Some of the world’s most widely used pesticides can be harmful to bees, according to the first large-scale studies aimed at measuring the impact of compounds called neonicotinoids on bees’ health. But the effects vary widely between different compounds and different countries, suggesting that more regional research will be needed to clarify the exact scale of the problem.

Neonicotinoids, which are typically coated onto seeds before planting rather than being sprayed onto crop plants, were developed with the aim of harming only those animals that eat the plants. But they are also found in the pollen and nectar of treated plants, potentially affecting beneficial organisms like bees. . . 

South Devon cattle ticket to world – Sally Rae:

South Devon cattle have taken Allanton farmer Brian Thomson all over the world.

And what he has discovered is that the breed, which originates from the southwest of England, adapts to whatever environment it is farmed in.

Mr Thomson recently stepped down as the president of the World South Devon Association after a three-year term.

He has been to every triennial world conference since 2005, seeing the breed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the United States and South Africa. . . 

McClay announces FTA negotiations with Pacific Alliance:

Trade Minister Todd McClay has announced the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru and says better market access and lower tariffs will be of real value to New Zealand exporters.

“This is a big win in the fight for better access for New Zealanders to important overseas markets. We’ve worked hard for trade talks with the Pacific Alliance over the last two years and today’s announcement will be welcome news for our exporters,” Mr McClay says. . . 

Fonterra Global Foodservice Takes Supreme ExportNZ Award:

Fonterra Global Foodservice has taken out the supreme award for the 2017 Air New Zealand Cargo ExportNZ Awards for Auckland and Waikato regions.

Judges were impressed with the $1.6 billion foodservice business (which is 80% exports) and growing at around 20% per annum, returning strong margins and true added value to the dairy industry and New Zealand. In tonight’s awards, it also won the Westpac Exporter of the Year (export revenue over $25 million) category. . . 

Supreme Award for Fonterra at 2017 ExportNZ Awards:

Winning the Supreme Award at the 2017 ExportNZ Awards for Auckland and Waikato is recognition the Co-operative’s product innovation is meeting changing customer expectations, says Fonterra Chairman John Wilson.

At an event in Auckland last night, ExportNZ Auckland and Waikato (divisions of the Employers and Manufacturers Association) gave their top award to Fonterra Foodservice after the Co-op earlier won the Westpac Exporter of the Year (total sales over $25 million) category. There were 25 finalists across seven categories of the awards, sponsored by Air New Zealand Cargo. . . 

Bayer Auckland/Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 announced:

Congratulations to Tim Adams from Obsidian who became the Bayer Auckland/Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year for the second year in a row on Friday 30 June at Goldie Estate.

Congratulations also goes to Jake Dromgool from The Landing in Kerikeri who came second and to Nick Pett from Cable Bay who came third.

The Auckland/Northern region was added to the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition last year and now in its second year the competition has grown already with seven contestants taking part.  . . 


Rural round-up

18/10/2016

Calf milk powder shortage dire – Neal Walllace:

Calf rearers battling a shortage of milk powder are unlikely to get a reprieve this season with a major retailer warning product delays could continue for another four weeks.  

As if that wasn’t enough, farmers report the price of calf milk replacer, or what some are calling white gold, has increased in recent weeks from $53 for a 20kg bag to $75.  

Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie said his company was not taking any new orders for calf milk replacer (CMR) because suppliers had advised they could not supply any product. . . 

World food trends favour dairy – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra has identified 11 modern consumer food trends it says are very positive for high quality milk production in New Zealand.  

Global consumer and food service chief operating officer Jacqueline Chow said Fonterra had invested $1 billion over the past decade in dairy innovation – in science, sustainability, nutrition and packaging – to position the co-operative to meet the trends.  

Its dairy farmers had also spent $1b over the past five years on environmental initiatives. . . 

More calls to rural support line reported -:

The Waikato Rural Support Trust is receiving unusually high numbers of calls from farmers as adverse weather conditions and the low dairy payout take a toll, it says.

Trust chairman Neil Bateup said a particularly wet spring had caused issues with feed quality and quantity and that had made farming very difficult.

Mr Bateup said the farmers calling were mainly in the dairy industry, with those people also struggling with the low payout of the past couple of years. . . 

Feral Activists Are Worse Than The Pests 1080 Fights:

Activism in New Zealand has sunk to a new low as conservation workers don’t even feel safe going about their daily jobs.

Federated Farmers is deeply concerned for the safety of the country’s conservation department staff and contractors, as so-called activists continue to ignore the fact that 1080 is working well for New Zealand.

“It is simply unacceptable for New Zealanders who go to work every day to protect our environment, to be made to feel unsafe doing their jobs,” says Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston.

“This is madness and it’s activism out of control. . . 

Ngāi Tahu adds horse treks to its tourism stable – Aaron Smale:

Ngāi Tahu has bought a horse trekking business in Glenorchy to add to its tourism portfolio.

The South Island iwi has bought Dart Stables in Glenorchy, which runs horse treks through a region that features heavily in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Ngāi Tahu Tourism chief executive Quinton Hall said the business fit well with its broader tourism strategy.

“The team at Dart Stables has an excellent reputation with customers and within the local community and has access to some of the most beautiful parts of the country,” he said. . . 

Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) entrants for 2016:

Six fantastic businesses are competing in three categories this year and the ultimate winner will receive the supreme prize for the Enterprising Rural Women Awards.

Rural Women New Zealand’s annual awards showcase rural women who run their own successful businesses. For the entrants, it is an opportunity to promote their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their contribution to their community.

Each category winner receives $1,000 in prize money and a trophy, with a further $1,000 being awarded to the supreme winner who is judged as an exceptional rural business women. Prizes also include clothing from Swazi Apparel and from the Agri-Women’s Development Trust $400 worth of executive coaching for each category winner and an additional $3,400 professional development package for the supreme winner.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

International Beef Alliance meets in Taupo:

New Zealand is hosting beef producers from the International Beef Alliance in Taupo this week.

The International Beef Alliance includes the national organisations representing beef cattle producers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States and it meets annually to progress issues of common interest.

This week the Presidents and CEOs from the Cattle Council of Australia, Associação dos Criadores de Mato Grosso, Associação Nacional dos Confinadores de Brasil, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, Asociación Rural de Paraguay, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will meet in Taupo. This group accounts for 46% of the world’s beef cattle production and 63% of global beef exports. . . 

Helping farmers save time and take control:

With volatility in the dairy payout, there has never been a more important time to have a clear picture of your farming business’ performance.

And according to Figured’s marketing manager Monica Shepherd, nearly 40 per cent of farmers surveyed at the New Zealand National Fieldays, said they wanted more advice from their accountants on how to achieve just that.

In response, Dairy Women’s Network is running a free dairy module called ‘Farming in the Cloud’ with its partners Figured, Xero, ASB Bank and Crowe Horwath. . . 

New Zealand’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards – Top Honours Announced:

Winners in New Zealand’s most prestigious competition for olive oil were announced last night at a formal dinner held at Parliament in Wellington and hosted by MP Paul Foster-Bell.

Robinsons Bay Olives from Akaroa took out the 2016 Best in Show as well as Best in Class in the Commercial Medium Blends Class at the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Awards, run by Olives New Zealand, the national organisation for olive oil growers.

The Old N’Olive Grove Partnership from Wairarapa won the Best in Boutique Category for growers who produce less than 250 litres of certified extra virgin olive oil, as well as Best in Class in the Boutique Intense Single Varietal Class with their Rockbottom Grove Picual. . . 

Image may contain: grass, outdoor, text and nature

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Two tales of one shipment

02/07/2015

The Ministry of Primary Industries has one story:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle, exported to Mexico are now at a holding farm following their 15-day journey from Timaru.

A total of 191 sheep and one cow died – 0.42% and 0.03% respectively of the sheep and cattle in the shipment. This compares favourably with the average mortality of 0.71% in 40 Australian live sheep shipments last year.

MPI’s Director Animal and Animal Products, Matthew Stone, said the exact cause of the deaths is not yet known but, as a matter of course, MPI has required a detailed voyage report by mid-July from the exporter, which will include information from the veterinarian who travelled with the shipment.

“Nothing unexpected happened in terms of the animals’ health and welfare during the voyage,” said Mr Stone.

“The stockmen on board report the sheep had a 10% to 12% weight gain on the 15 day voyage.”

Mexican authorities oversaw the completion of the vessel’s disembarkation process. . .

And SAFE has another story:

192 lives lost on export shipment

Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is appalled that 191 sheep and one cow perished on board a controversial live export shipment to Mexico. The shipment of a reported 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle was the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.

“192 animals have died and it begs the question, how many more will die on the next stage of their journey?” says SAFE’s executive director, Hans Kriek.

The sheep are being transported by truck for 1000 kilometres in 30-degree temperatures to a farm near Mexico City from where they will be distributed to smaller farms. It was reported that some sheep also died at the feedlots as they waited to board.

There are no reports yet on why the animals died, but it is known that on live export ships a number of animals die from illness or starvation. Some suffer from ‘inanition’ – not recognising the ship food of pellets as food as they were previously used to being on pasture.

When we were in Darwin at All Flex’s PPP conference a couple of weeks ago the preparation of animals for live shipments, which includes conditioning on the feed they will eat at sea, was explained.

Stock are monitored carefully and any not eating enough are culled before they embark and well before there is any danger of starvation.

I am certain that those caring for the sheep in New Zealand would take similar care for both animal welfare and financial reasons.

Although the shipment is purportedly for breeding purposes rather than for slaughter, which is illegal, SAFE says this latest shipment ignores the spirit of the ban on live export since the animals will still eventually be slaughtered in Mexico after they are no longer required for breeding, most likely in conditions that would be deemed cruel and illegal in this country. . .

 New Zealand’s meat works are world leading, I don’t know enough to comment on Mexico’s but the sheep and cattle would eventually be slaughtered had they stayed in New Zealand.

Apropos of dying at sea, another fact we learned in Darwin was that the death rate for people on cruise liners is as high as 2.5%.

Weight gain is also common among people on cruises though probably not as high as the 10-12% gain of the stock.


Rural Round-up

11/06/2015

Prime Minister officially opens Fieldays 2015:

Crowds filled the Village Green to see Prime Minister John Key officially open the 47th NZ National Agricultural Fieldays®, along with NZ National Fieldays SocietyTM President Warwick Roberts.

The Prime Minister arrived at Mystery Creek this morning and greeted Fieldays visitors before giving his midday Opening Ceremony speech.

Prime Minister Key said there is an importance for innovation in the farming and science sector to lift New Zealand’s profitability at the ceremony. . .

 

Fieldays fans get on site fast for opening day  – Libby Wilson:

When the sun went down on the first day of Fieldays at Mystery Creek, just under 30,000 people had already checked out what was on offer.

Day one had started fast for the agricultural expo, NZ National Fieldays Society chief executive Jon Calder said.

“We had 15,000 on site by 9 o’clock,” he said. . .

Inventions on show at Fieldays – Adrien Taylor:

A device that converts cow poo into water and fuel is one of the inventions to catch the attention of farmers at this year’s Fieldays.

At the four-day event near Hamilton, a group of business experts are on site to help innovators get their ideas into production.

Fieldays commercial general manager Nick Dromgool says innovation is one of the key pillars of the event. . .

Higher NZ milk production, increased payout to boost NZ economy by $1.8B, AgriHQ says – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Increased milk production and a higher forecast payout to dairy farmers for the upcoming season should bolster the New Zealand economy by $1.8 billion, according to AgriHQ.

The AgriHQ NZ milk production predictor forecasts growth of about 2.5 percent to 1,930 million kilograms of milk solids for the 2015/16 season, following 3 percent growth in the 2014/15 season.

The expectation for increased milk production comes as New Zealand dairy companies are forecasting higher payouts to farmers this year on the expectation global prices will pick up. Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, expects to increase its payout for the 2015/16 season to $5.25 per kilogram of milk solids, from $4.40/kgMS in 2014/15. Synlait Milk expects to pay $5.50/kgMS in the upcoming season, up from a range of $4.40-$4.60/kgMS this season. . .

 Livestock export ‘a win for both countries’:

Federated Farmers says the live sheep shipment headed to Mexico will help that country restock following a serious drought as well as farmers hit by drought here.

The shipment leaving Timaru this morning is New Zealand’s largest-ever live sheep export of 50,000 sheep.

Three thousand cows will also be shipped to Mexico.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said the animals were being sent to Mexico for breeding purposes and not for slaughter. Shipments of live animals for slaughter is banned. . .

Concerns at major live sheep shipment:

About 50,000 sheep – New Zealand’s largest live sheep export shipment for nearly a decade – are about to leave Timaru for Mexico.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has approved the export of the sheep, as well as about 3000 cattle, for breeding purposes, due to high demand in Mexico after a recent drought.

Since 2007, livestock cannot be exported for slaughter unless special approval is granted by the Director-General.

Agribusiness Agenda 2015 – volume 1

Growing value – an uncertain future

The uncertain future of the dairy sector is currently top-of-mind for many primary sector leaders, reports KPMG New Zealand.

That was a key theme arising from the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2015, titled “Growing Value”.

KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says conversations about the dairy industry’s future have “changed dramatically in the last year”. . .

 

Ministers welcome KPMG Agribusiness Agenda:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew have welcomed the annual KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, which shows strong industry support for the Government priorities of strengthening biosecurity and adding value to exports.

“This annual report surveys over 100 leaders in the primary sector and is a valuable snapshot of industry views,” says Mr Guy.

“It’s no surprise to see biosecurity highlighted again as the number one issue by industry, as it has been my number one priority since becoming Minister. . .

Combined rural firies take home top award

The district’s combined rural firies have scooped the Supreme Award at the 2015 Trustpower Ashburton Community Awards last night at Hotel Ashburton.

The Awards were announced and presented last night in front of almost a hundred spectators, entrant nominators and volunteers. . .

 

Opportunities for greater New Zealand-European Union agricultural partnerships:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says his visit to Europe over the last 10 days successfully highlighted opportunities for more agricultural partnerships between producers in the European Union and New Zealand.

Mr Guy visited France and Poland, and represented New Zealand at the International Agricultural Forum at the Milan Expo and at the 39th Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) conference in Rome. . . 

Rabobank Fertiliser Quarterly Q2: Neutral Nutrients:

Fertiliser markets will be neutral to slightly bearish the coming three months, according to the Rabobank Fertilizer Quarterly Q2. Across-the-board price support for fertilisers seems possible only if volumes discipline from suppliers remains or intensifies. In demand terms, price support would have to originate from India and Brazil.

Currently, demand in India remains fragile as buyers await more clarity on rupee volatility and monsoon rains. Brazilian buyers are holding out on significant purchases, based high-beginning stock levels and a subdued agricultural outlook. “In Brazil, we expect that full-year fertiliser imports in Brazil, could decline with as much as 15 to 20 percent YOY,” says Rabobank analyst Victor Ikeda. . .

Premium dairy brand launches ‘Breast Milk’ onto supermarket shelves:

New Zealanders wanting to support the search for a cure for one of our biggest killers can do so by having a swig of ‘Breast Milk’.

Lewis Road Creamery is backing Breast Cancer Cure’s mission to find a cure for breast cancer by repackaging its most popular organic cow’s milk, Homogenised, as Lewis Road Creamery Breast Milk f or a three-month period, from today. . .

Lewis Road Creamery ‘breast milk’ causes upset:

Lewis Road Creamery says it did not intend to mislead customers with its new “breast milk”, a labelling move that has been slated by breastfeeding advocates.

In a bid to raise money for breast cancer research, Lewis Road has branded its blue top 1.5 litre organic homogenised cow’s milk with a red label reading: “Breast Milk: the cow’s milk that funds the cure”. 

For every labelled bottle sold (RRP $6.09) Lewis Road will donate 20 cents to Breast Cancer Cure, the research foundation that originally pitched the idea to the dairy company. . .

 

 


WTO rules aainst USA CoOL on meat

20/05/2015

The World Trade Organisation has ruled that labels on red meat in the United States that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered will have to be dropped or revised.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding that the U.S. “country of origin” labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.

The Obama administration had previously revised labels to try to comply with WTO obligations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that if the WTO ruled against the final U.S. appeal, Congress will have to weigh in to avoid retaliation – such as extra tariffs – from the two neighbour countries. . .

Though the ruling went against the U.S., it’s a victory for the U.S. meat industry, which has said the labels are burdensome. Meat processors quickly called for repeal of the labelling laws after the WTO decision.

Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement calling on the United States to repeal the labelling rules and saying they will seek authorization from the WTO to take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports.

The joint statement of Canadian and Mexican agriculture and trade officials said the rules cause Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat to be segregated from those of U.S. origin. The labeling is “damaging to North America’s supply chain and is harmful to producers and processors in all three countries,” the officials said. . .

I don’t support compulsory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) but I don’t understand why labels which give consumers information on which they might want to base their purchases has been disallowed.


Rural round-up

17/04/2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO smoothing the way for TPP in Mexico:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion is in Mexico to talk with Mexican sheep and beef industry interests about the opportunities that will occur when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is agreed.

Dr Champion is meeting a range of Mexican sheep and beef farmers and representatives from their processing and retail sector to assure them that while he expects that there will be opportunities for New Zealand beef in the Mexican market, the TPP will provide expanded market access for all.

“We want to dispel any myths that New Zealand will swamp the Mexican market with beef. The amount of beef we produce is limited by the land available and production here has been more or less steady over the past 10 years. TPP will not change that,” he said. . .

Finalists Line Up In 2013 Dairy Awards:

The finalists lining up in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are evidence of the huge opportunities and varying pathways available to progress in the dairy industry.

The 34 finalists in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions are now all known after the completion of 12 regional award programmes last week.

“The finalists have a range of backgrounds and experience in the industry, but are all working hard and achieving great results in their various positions. This is helping them to progress their career and grow their equity to take the next step in the dairy industry,” national convenor Chris Keeping says. . .

Just add water for more food – Jill Galloway:

Availability and access to water resources are the keys to increasing global food production and for New Zealand this means more irrigation is needed, says infrastructure company GHD.

It has appointed Palmerston North-based Robert Sinclair as its food and agriculture business leader, because it sees irrigation as important for promoting growth.

GHD is a global engineering consultancy company with 7000 employees working in the areas of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, transportation and food and agriculture. GHD has 16 staff in its Palmerston North office. . .

Farmer’s gift to land that united family – Jon Morgan:

Tom Hartree is a vigorous 78 and has no intention of being culled for dog tucker anytime soon. But he knows what he wants to happen when his time comes.

He wants his ashes to be mixed with those of his dearly missed wife Dora and scattered in a grove of 45-metres-tall redwoods.

He and Dora planted the redwoods in 1969, in the bottom of a deep gorge carving through Te Motu, one of three farms he and son Greg and his wife Rachael farm at Dartmoor and Patoka in the hills west of Napier. . .

Ngai Tahu sees future in farming – Alan Wood:

South Island iwi Ngai Tahu is partnering with Lincoln University to help get young Maori further involved in dairy and agricultural development in Canterbury.

Today Ngai Tahu Property, Lincoln University and Te Tapuae o Rehua signed a memorandum of understanding on an initiative focused on supporting more local Maori into agriculture.

The memorandum marks the beginning of a project known as “Whenua Kura”, Ngai Tahu says.

The project follows on from dairy development work already started by the tribe. The commercial arm of the iwi, known as Ngai Tahu Holdings Corp, has a number of pilot dairy farms in Canterbury. . .

Big turnout predicted for meat industry meeting

Farmer feedback points to a big turnout of farmers tomorrow for the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) meeting in Christchurch, says Blair Gallagher, the local organising chairman.

“We even have farmers coming down from the North Island to attend this meeting,” he says.

A committed group of Canterbury farmers has been working hard to ensure the success of this meeting, as their future relies on a nationwide mandate of farmer support so as to move forward as one united farmer group, Gallagher says.

MIE chairman Richard Young will present a five point strategy plan at the meeting, which he believes will give farmers some direction on how to move forward if a NZ wide farmer mandate is achieved. . .

Sheep, beef leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

 The B+LNZ-funded forum will be delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on the trust’s successful programme for dairy farming leaders run in partnership with DairyNZ.

B+LNZ chief executive officer, Dr Scott Champion says it will equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .


Looking east

11/03/2013

The Eurocentric view of the world has always regarded the East as Asia and the Middle East.

But our East is the Americas and while we’ve long established and strong links with Canada and the USA, we haven’t paid nearly as much attention to countries further south.

Prime Minister John Key’s very full agenda on his trip to Mexico, Columbia, Chile and Brazil is a sign that we’re not only recognising the importance of Latin America but keen to do business there.

The presence of Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy on the trip was no coincidence. Agriculture is one of the sectors with the potential to gain from improved relations with, and access to, Latin America.

Results from the trip include:

* The extension of the Chilean Government’s “Penguins Without Borders” scheme, through which high-achieving Chilean students travel to New Zealand for six-monthly study visits.

* A pledge for further trade and economic co-operation between Chile and New Zealand.

* A willingness for improved strategic co-operation between Colombia and New Zealand which could provide opportunities for New Zealand companies to enter into joint ventures and offers significant potential to increase our exports of agricultural services.

* A commitment to stronger trade relations with Mexico.

The Prime Ministerial visit has opened doors.

It’s now up to businesses to make the most of the opportunities this provides.


February 5 in history

05/02/2010

On February 5:

62 AD – Earthquake in Pompeii

1576 Henry of Navarre converted to Roman Catholicism in order to ensure his right to the throne of France.

1597 A group of Japanese Christians were killed by the new government for being seen as a threat to Japanese society.

1649 The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland was declared King of Scotland.

1725 James Otis, American lawyer and patriot, was born.

1778  South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1782 Spanish defeat British forces and capture Minorca.

1783 In Calabria, Italy, a sequence of strong earthquakes started.

1788 Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1818 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascended to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.

1840 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor, was born.

1840 Hiram Stevens Maxim, American inventor (Maxim gun), was born.

1859Wallachia and Moldavia were united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities.

Alexander Ioan Cuza.jpg

1878 André Citroën, French automobile pioneer, was born.

 

1885 – King Léopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo as a personal possession.

1867 New Zealand’s third public railway, the 27-kilometre line between Invercargill and the port at Bluff, built by the Southland Provincial Council, opened.

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1900 The United States and the United Kingdom sign a treaty for the Panama Canal.

1908 – Daisy and Violet Hilton, British conjoined twins, were born.

1917 The current constitution of Mexico was adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

1917 – The Congress of the United States passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.

 The Asiatic Barred Zone as defined by the Immigration Act of 1917.

1918 Stephen W. Thompson shot down a German airplane, the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

Stephen W. Thompson.jpg

1919 Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists.

1920  Frank Muir, British comedian, was born.

1924 The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”.

 Graph of the six pips

1942 Cory Wells, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1946 The Chondoist Chongu Party was founded in North Korea.

1958 Gamel Abdel Nasser was nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.

Head and shoulders of a man in his forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead, thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white shirt with a tie.

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1962 President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria to be granted independence.

1964 Duff McKagan, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1972 Bob Douglas became the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

1972 Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, was born.

1994  More than 60 people were killed and some 200 wounded when a mortar shell hit a downtown marketplace in Sarajevo.

1997 – The “Big Three”  banks in Switzerland announced the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.

2004 Twenty-three Chinese people drown when a group of 35 cockle-pickers were trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England. .

2004 – Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.

2008 – A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States left 57 dead.

2009 The United States Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal ran aground off Oahu, Hawaii, damaging the ship and a coral reef.

USS Port Royal

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


December 28 in history

28/12/2009

On December 28:

1065  Westminster Abbey was consecrated.

The Abbey's western façade

1612 Galileo Galilei becomes the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune, although he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star.

1635  Princess Elizabeth of England

 1768 King Taksin‘s coronation achieved through conquest as a king of Thailand and established Thonburi as a capital.

1795 Construction of Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, began in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto.

 1836 South Australia and Adelaide were founded.

Flag of  South Australia
 
  • 1836 – Spain recognised the independence of Mexico.
  • 1856  Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, Nobel laureate, was born.


     

    1867  United States claims Midway Atoll, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits.

    1879 The Tay Bridge Disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.

    Tay1.jpg

    1879 Billy Mitchell, American military aviation pioneer

    Billy Mitchell.jpg

    1895 The Lumière brothers performed for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines marking the debut of the cinema.

    Fratelli Lumiere.jpg

    1908 An earthquake rocks Messina, Sicily killing over 75,000.

    1912 The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco, California.

     
    1929  ‘Black Saturday’ in Samoa – the day that New Zealand military police fired on a Mau demonstration in Apia, killing 11 Samoans, including the independence leader Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III. This led the Mau movement to demand independence for Samoa.

    'Black Saturday' - NZ police open fire in Apia

    1934 Dame Maggie Smith, British actress

    1935 Pravda published a letter by Pavel Postyshev, who revives New Year tree tradition in the Soviet Union.

    1945 The United States Congress officially recognised the Pledge of Allegiance.

     1950 The Peak District became the United Kingdom’s first National Park.

    1953 Richard Clayderman, French pianist, was born.

    1954  Denzel Washington, American actor, was born.

    1956 Nigel Kennedy, British violinist, was born.

    1981 The first American test-tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

    1989 A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, killing 13 people.

    1999  Saparmurat Niyazov was proclaimed President for Life in Turkmenistan.

    2007 Nepal declared a federal democratic Republic by interim parliament, abolishing the monarchy.

     Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


    October 4 in history

    04/10/2009

    On October 4:

    1537 The first complete English-language Bible (the Matthew Bible) was printed, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale.

    1824 Mexico adopted a new constitution and became a federal republic.

     

    1830 The state of Belgium  was created after separation from The Netherlands.

     

    1853 The  Crimean War began when the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia.

    Malakhov1.jpg
    Detail of Franz Roubaud‘s panoramic painting The Siege of Sevastopol (1904).

    1876  Texas A&M University opened as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas becoming Texas‘s first public institution of higher education.

    1883 The Orient Express began its first run.

    1883 – The first meeting of the Boys’ Brigade took place in Glasgow.

    1895 The first U.S. Open Men’s Golf Championship administered by the United States Golf Association was played at the Newport Country Club on Rhode Island.

    1910 Declaration of the Portuguese Republic

    1923 US actor Charlton Heston was born.

    1927 Gutzon Borglum began sculpting Mount Rushmore.

    1937 English writer Jackie Collins was born.

    1957 Morris Yock trademarked the jandal.

    1957 Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, was launched.

    1991 The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty  was opened for signature.

     Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


    September 27 in history

    27/09/2009

    On September 27:

    1821 Mexico  gained its independence from Spain.

    1905  The physics journal Annalen der Physik published Albert Einstein‘s paper “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?”, introducing the equation E=mc².

    3-meter-tall sculpture of Einstein‘s 1905 E = mc2 formula at the 2006 Walk of Ideas, Berlin, Germany

     1938 The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was launched in Glasgow.

    RMS Queen Elizabeth.jpg
    Depiction of the RMS Queen Elizabeth.

    1958 Scotttish author Irvine Welsh was born.

    1968 The stage musical Hair opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.

    Hairposter.jpg
    Original Broadway poster

     

    1974 William (Bill) Sutch was charged with spying.

     Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.


    Swine flu transmitted from person to pig

    04/05/2009

    Swine flu has been transmitted from a farm worker to a pig.

    Now that the swine flu virus has passed from a farmworker to pigs, could it jump back to people? The question is important, because crossing species again could make it more deadly.

    The never-before-seen virus was created when genes from pig, bird and human viruses mixed together inside a pig. Experts fear the virus that has gone from humans back into pigs in at least one case could mutate further before crossing back into humans again. But no one can predict what will happen.

    “Could it gain virulence? Yes,” Juan Lubroth, an animal health expert at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, said Sunday. “It could also become milder. It could go in both directions.”

    In other words, the answer is maybe and that’s definite.

    Until it’s proved or disproved simple rules of hygiene – washing hands, covering mouth when coughing or sneezing –  should apply with people and animals – as they should all the time, regardless of whether or not there’s a flu bug about.

    Meanwhile, Mexican officials say that the outbreak of swine flu has passed its peak.


    Perspective

    30/04/2009

    Drought or disease, which is worse?

    The World health Organisation has increased its swine flu pandemic alert level to status five which is the second highest level.

    Up to 159 people have died in Mexico and about 1300 more are being tested. In the United States, a boy, aged 22 months, has died in Texas while on a visit from Mexico.

    Comparing disease with drought is comparing apples with bananas but to put the seriousness of  the swine flu outbreak so far into perspective, in India more than 1500 farmers have committed suicide after being driven into debt by crop failure.


    Are we ready?

    28/04/2009

    It’s official – tests have confirmed that three of the Rangitoto College students who had been in Mexico have swine flu.

    Health Minister Tony Ryall made a Ministerial Statement to the House  today saying this is a time for concern and caution – not alarm.

    That’s good advice because regardless of the problem alarm isn’t a good response and three cases doesn’t make a pandemic.

    But are we ready if  the situation deteriorates?

    Macdoctor thinks it’s potentially more serious than bird flu and isn’t impresssed with the lack of co-ordination at all levels of the health service .

    No doubt the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards have pandemic protocols with lots of  boxes to tick. but if there’s a problem with co-ordination at this stage I’m not 100% confident that, boxes ticked or not, the theoretical preparation will translate into the right response in practice.

    And how about individuals, are we ready?

    If our house was quarantined how long could we survive with what we had on hand?

    The absence of a corner dairy or convenient supermarket necessitates a well stocked pantry and freezer in the country.

    We could easily survive on what we’ve got for more than a few days, and if our isolation continued for longer protein wouldn’t be a problem because if we got through all the meat in the freezer we could always kill a sheep or cattle beast. However, the vegetable garden is growing nothing but weeds at the moment so we’d have to rely on what’s in the fridge, freezer and fruit bowl, supplemented by a few jars of preserves and some tins for fruit and vegetables so if we had to stay in isolation for more than a couple of weeks we’d be scrabbling round for vitamins .

    I suspect that makes us a lot better prepared than many people who eat out often, shop several times a week and keep little on hand for emergencies so would  have little to live on if they couldn’t leave home for even a few days.


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