Difference of opinion not war

July 27, 2011

The petty politicking in the wake of the Norwegian massacre appalls me.

The mass killings were a tragic act of evil, the politics of the perpetrator and his victims are irrelevant.

This is like Port Arthur or Aramoana and Andrei says it all, There is nothing intelligent to say.

We should be thinking of the victims and those who mourn them, not engaging in political point scoring.

As an elderly friend once told me, politics is a difference of opinion, not a war.


Terror or terrorism?

July 23, 2011

Norway has suffered the worst violence since World War II with at least seven people killed in an explosion at a government building and many more shot dead at a youth camp.

These are acts of terror although it is not yet known if they were acts of terrorism.

Regardless of who was responsible, it is a reminder of how vulnerable we all are.

When we were in New York earlier this month we had to pass through x-rays at the entrance to places like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. But there were many other places with no obvious signs of security where someone determined to unleash terror could have done so.

Today’s attacks in Norway show it is impossible to guard everyone everywhere and no-one should  try to. Just as the British people learned to live with the threat of IRA bombings in the 1970s and 80s, we must accept sensible precautions but not let them curtail our freedom.


February 11 in history

February 11, 2010

On February 11:

660 BC – Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.

Jimmu cropped.jpg

1531 Henry VIII  was recognized as supreme head of the Church of England.

1752  Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the United States, opened.

1790 Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, petitions U.S. Congress for abolition of slavery.

1794 First session of United States Senate open to the public.

1808 Anthracite coal was first burned as a fuel, experimentally.

 

1809 Robert Fulton filed a patent for improvements to steamboat navigation.

1812 Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerrygerrymandered” for the first time.

 

1814 Norway‘s independence was proclaimed, marking the ultimate end of the Kalmar Union.

1826 University College London was founded under the name University of London.

1826 Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri, an important test within the Swaminarayan faith.

1840 Gaetano Donizetti‘s opera La Fille du Régiment received its first performance in Paris.

A grayscale portrait of a man in his late thirties. He has wavy, dark hair and a neat mustache and beard.

1843 Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera I Lombardi received its first performance in Milan.

1847 Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor, was born.

1855 Kassa Hailu was crowned Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia, by Abuna Salama III.

 

1861 United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.

1864 Charles Heaphy was recommended for a VC for rescuing a soldier while under fire.

Charles Heaphy recommended for VC

  1873 King Amadeus I of Spain abdicated.

1904 Sir Keith Holyoake, Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.

1905 Pope Pius X published the encyclical Vehementer nos.

Popepiusx.jpg
 

1916 Emma Goldman was arrested for lecturing on birth control.

 

1917 Sidney Sheldon, American author, was born.

1919 Eva Gabor, Hungarian-born actress, was born.

1919 Friedrich Ebert (SPD), was elected President of Germany.

1920 King Farouk I of Egypt, was born.

1929 Italy and the Vatican signed the Lateran Treaty.

1934 Mary Quant, English fashion designer, was born.

1936 Burt Reynolds, American actor, was born.

1938 BBC Television produced the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of  the Karel Capek play R.U.R., which coined the term “robot“.

 A scene from the play, showing three robots.

1938 Bevan Congdon, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1939 A Lockheed XP-38 flew from California to New York in 7 hours 2 minutes.

1941 The first gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo“.

1943 General Dwight Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.

 

1948 John Costello succeeds Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach of Ireland.

1963 Julia Child‘s show The French Chef premiered.

Julia Child.jpg

1964 Sarah Palin, 11th Governor of Alaska, was born.

1969 Jennifer Aniston, American actress, was born.

1971 Eighty-seven countries signed the Seabed Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons in international waters.

1973 First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam took place.

1978  China lifted a ban on works by Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens.

1979 Islamic revolution of Iran achieves victory under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1987 Philippines constitution went into effect.

1990 Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for 27 years, was released from Victor Verster Prison.

Official Portrait as President of South Africa

1991 UNPO, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, formed in The Hague.

1997 Space Shuttle Discovery was launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space Shuttle Discovery

2006 Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington in the face, neck, and upper torso while hunting quail.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


October 26 in history

October 26, 2009

On October 26:

1825 The Erie Canal opened a passage from Albany, New York to Lake Erie.

1865 Benjamin Guggenheim, American businessman, was born.

 

1881 The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place at Tombstone, Arizona.

1883 Napoleon Hill, American Writer and Philosopher, author of Think and Grow Rich, was born.

1905 Norway became independent from Sweden.

1916 French President François Mitterrand was born.

1942 The Women Jurors’ Act allowed women to sit on juries in New Zealand.

1947 Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State was born.

Formal pose of middle-aged white woman with shortish blonde hair wearing dark blue jacket over orange top with American flag in background

1965 The Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBEs).

Four greyscale images of young men with "mop-top" haircuts, separated by a white border. John Lennon (top left) is looking towards the left of the frame (his right), with exposed teeth. Paul McCartney (top right) is facing forward with an opened mouth. George Harrison (bottom left) has his right arm raised and his tongue stuck out slightly as if licking his lips. Ringo Starr's teeth are visible, and his left eye is closed as if winking. All four are dressed in white shirts, black ties, and dark coats.
The Beatles in 1964. Clockwise (from top-left): John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison

1977 The last natural case of smallpox was discovered in Merca district, Somalia. The WHO and the CDC consider this date the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

1999 Britain’s House of Lords voted to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.

Crowned Portcullis red.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


On the horns of a dilemna

August 30, 2009

A sheep grazing near the Norwegian town of Helgoysund experienced an accidental abseil when its horn became entangled in a live power line.

The story and photos are here.

What isn’t explained is how a live wire came to be only a ram’s-head height from the ground.


NZ tops Global Peace Index

June 3, 2009

 New Zealand has topped the  Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index .

dairy 1

The Institute is an Australian think tank dedicated to developing the inter-relationships between business, peace and economic development.
The results of the 2009 survey  suggest:
that the world has become slightly less peaceful in the past year, which appears to reflect the intensification of violent conflict in some countries and the effects of both the rapidly rising food and fuel prices early in 2008 and the dramatic global economic downturn in the final quarter of the year. Rapidly rising unemployment, pay freezes and falls in the value of house prices, savings and pensions is causing popular resentment in many countries, with political repercussions that have been registered by the GPI through various indicators measuring safety and security in society.
 
The GPI uses 23 indicators  of the existence or absence of peace, divided into three broad categories:  measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict, measures of safety and security in society and measures of militarization.
The Top 10 countries were: New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland and Slovenia.
At the bottom were: Georgia, Zimbabwe, Russia, Pakistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Israel, Somalia, Afghaanistan and Iraq.
The full list is here.

Alexander Rybak Eurovision Winner

May 17, 2009

While we’ve been concentrating on New Zealand music this month, on the other side of the world attenion has been on the Eurovision Song Contest.

The final was held last night and won by Alexander Rybak, a fiddle player from Norway, who composed the song he sang, Fairytale.

TV3 has more news on the final.


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