Rural round-up

June 20, 2013

Zimbabwe’s first cattle bank opens – Gillian Gtora:

William Mukurazita’s deposit at the bank has four legs and moos.

Zimbabwe’s first “Cattle Bank” has just opened its books in a unique kind of banking where owners bring in their animals as collateral against cash loans.

For many rural poor in this southern African country once wracked by world-record inflation, it’s the first bank account they’ve ever had.

“Cattle banking is the only way owners can get monetary value for their animals without having to sell them,” bank executive Charles Chakoma told The Associated Press amongst fields and small farming plots near Marondera, east of Harare, the capital. . .

Farmers respond to an animal part found in PKE:

Federated Farmers considers the proposed improvements to the biosecurity of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE), following the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) response to the Federation’s Clark-McKinnon Report, cannot come soon enough.  It also comes on the same day an exotic animal body part was confirmed to have found in PKE on a Bay of Plenty farm.

“Can we first pay tribute to the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who absolutely did the right thing when he or she discovered an animal part in PKE,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Any farmer who finds something untoward must do what this farmer rightly did and call the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.  Do not ignore or dispose of it.  Report it. . .

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed:

The Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation.  This includes 688 hectares of new gold licences for Green growers and new developments, as well as 442 hectares of Gold One-for-One licences, where Hort16A growers can transfer to Gold3.  

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the significant over-subscription clearly demonstrates the confidence the kiwifruit industry has in the recently-licensed gold cultivar, its performance to date in the Psa environment and growers increasingly looking to diversify their orchard portfolios. . .

Young viticulturists challenged to test themselves:

Young viticulturists around the country are being challenged to step up and enter the annual competition to find their best and brightest to represent the sector in the national young horticulture competition later in the year.

An Open Day is being held to give those who need a bit of encouragement or convincing, the chance to find out from previous winners just exactly what’s involved and how good the spoils of winning $12,000 worth of prizes are. . .

Invivo Named Finalist at Export Awards:

New Zealand winery Invivo continues their success in export markets and has been named finalist for 2013 BDO Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year at the Air New Zealand ExportNZ Auckland Awards.

Executive Officer Catherine Lye from ExportNZ Auckland that organises the awards, says, “It was a tough field, with such highly motivated and innovative exporters. “The entrants in this year’s awards were totally unlike each other as far as their businesses and customers were concerned. Yet each of them demonstrated particular areas of excellence.  . . .”

Church Road releases a duo of iconic TOM wines

2009 TOM Cabernet Merlot likely the “best TOM ever”
2010 TOM Chardonnay from “one of the very best Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay vintages”

Church Road, the winery that helped establish Hawke’s Bay as a premier winemaking region is proud to announce the simultaneous release of its two iconic wines – TOM Cabernet Merlot 2009 and TOM Chardonnay 2010.

Crafted only in outstanding vintages, TOM showcases the power and vibrancy of the best hand-harvested parcels of fruit, coupled with the traditional Bordeaux and Burgundian influence of winemaking. . .

Top accolades for 2011 Syrah:

Two Sacred Hill Wine Company Syrahs have recently been rated in the top tier of New Zealand Syrahs in an influential tasting.

Both Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 and Ti Point Syrah 2011 wowed the Cuisine judges in their annual New Zealand Syrah tasting which features in the July edition of the magazine.

The results of the tasting, released today, see Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 with a triple success – 5 stars; ranked in the top 5 wines of the tasting (at No 4); and rated as one of New Zealand’s best Syrah buys. . .


Rural round-up

March 7, 2013

Proposed RMA Reforms Seem The Real Deal:

After analysing the discussion document released late last week on the Resource Management Act (RMA), Federated Farmers congratulates the Government for undertaking a comprehensive examination of how the RMA is working.

“To be honest it has taken us a few days to get our heads around this 83-page discussion document,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“Federated Farmers actually supports the purpose of the RMA and requirements to protect our most important natural assets.

”Yet if we want real jobs delivering living wages then policy reforms like this are needed. Reform also needs broad political support and that is probably the most important thing we need to communicate; the need for RMA reform to survive changes of government.

“Aside from missing provisions for compensation we will raise in our submission, it is closely aligned to Federated Farmers 2008 reform package; Let’s Make it work – Why the Resource Management Act must change. . .

Ruataniwha Water Scheme Stepping Up:

A number of elements for the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme are being worked on in tandem to prepare for potential construction and investment in the scheme.

The scheme is yet to secure resource consents, however it is necessary to line up companies who may be interested in construction. Last month Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) Ltd called for Expressions of Interest from companies potentially interested in tendering for the construction of the proposed dam for the project. It is expected that HBRIC will choose two companies to move to the next phase of design and planning by the end of March. . .

Water governance – we’re getting into overdraft – Andrew Fenemor:

Like the challenge of balancing the household budget, we NZers are finding that despite being a ‘pluvial country’ we’re reaching allocation limits in many of our catchments.

Looking back, 100+ years ago exploitation of water resources focused firstly on rivers. Then water use especially for irrigation and urban supplies moved to groundwater takes. Now as pumping from our aquifers starts to deplete river flows and aquifer storage too much, we are seeing greater interest in water storage. Case in point, the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund is supporting feasibility assessments for large schemes in Canterbury, Otago, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Tasman, most involving new dams.

The trouble is, it’s a tough job for regional councils to set catchment limits in their regional plans (PDF) before the symptoms of excess appear. That’s not surprising, given the sizable investments in catchment science needed, the long time frames required to understand the inherent variability in water fluxes, water quality and aquatic ecosystems and the long time period required to establish new regional planning regimes. Setting catchment limits certainly focuses the mind. Most councils are now getting on with the job. . .

Rural enterprise award big boost for business – Sally Rae:

Since winning the RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Award last year, Rose Voice’s dog equipment business has gone from strength to strength.

Mrs Voice, who with her husband Nigel runs the Real Dog Equipment Company in Ranfurly, has taken on a part-time machinist to cope with demand and she has speaking engagements booked through to the end of the year.

She is now urging other women with small rural businesses to enter this year’s awards, saying it was ”absolutely” worth it. . .

A real story about inflation – Milking on the Moove:

My Uncle was a cropping farmer in Zimbabwe. He purchased his first farm as a young man and worked it for couple of decades.

Robert Mugabe decided in 2000 to implement his “Land Distribution Policy”.

The mob of “war veterans” arrived one morning and the beatings began.

My Uncle and his family fled to South Africa. They eventually immigrated to New Zealand.

Meanwhile the farm was distributed between Mugabe’s loyal supporters.

But the bank had a problem. There was still a mortgage on the property. . .

A2 Corp to join top 50 index, toppling PGG Wrightson from benchmark:

(BusinessDesk) – Alternative milk marketer A2 Corp is set to join the NZX 50 Index after qualifying in the February review, and will topple rural services firm PGG Wrightson from the benchmark bourse.

The change will come into effect from the open of trading on March 18, stock exchange operator NZX said in a statement. Shares in Wrightson rose 2.6 percent to 40 cents in trading today, while A2 was unchanged at 56 cents.

Wrightson is controlled by NYSE-listed Chinese agriculture firm Agria Corp, and has a market capitalisation of $301.9 million. . . .


April 18 in history

April 18, 2010

On April 18:

1025 Bolesław Chrobry was crowned in Gniezno, becoming the first King of Poland.

Chrobry1.jpg

1480 Lucrezia Borgia, Florentine ruler and daughter of Pope Alexander VI, was born.

Supposed portrait of Lucrezia Borgia assumed to be by Dosso Dossi [1]

1506 The cornerstone of the current St. Peter’s Basilica was laid.

 A view of Rome on a sunny afternoon looking along the river. A bridge crosses the river and beyond it is a hill on which the grey dome of St Peter's rises above ancient buildings and dark pine trees. 

1518  Bona Sforza was crowned as queen consort of Poland.

1738 Real Academia de la Historia (“Royal Academy of History”) founded in Madrid.

1775  American Revolution: The British advancement by sea began; Paul Revere and other riders warned the countryside of the troop movements.

 

1783 Fighting ceased in the American Revolution, eight years to the day since it began.

1797 The Battle of Neuwied – French victory against the Austrians.

1831 The University of Alabama was founded.

1847 A Maori raid on the Gilfillan farm at Matarawa, near Wanganui, left four family members dead.

 Gilfillan killings near Wanganui

1848 American victory at the battle of Cerro Gordo opened the way for invasion of Mexico.

 

1880 An F4 tornado struck Marshfield, Missouri, killing 99 people and injuring 100.

1881  Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County jail.

 

1889 Jessie Street, Australian suffragette, feminist, and human rights activist, was born.

 

1899 The St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.

1902  Quetzaltenango, second largest city of Guatemala, was destroyed by Earthquake.

1906 The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed much of San Francisco.

1906 – The Los Angeles Times story on the Azusa Street Revival launched Pentecostalism as a worldwide movement.

 

1909 Joan of Arc was beatified in Rome.

1912  The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brought 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City.

 

1915 Joy Gresham Lewis, American writer, wife of C. S. Lewis, was born.

1915 French pilot Roland Garros was shot down and glided to a landing on the German side of the lines.

1923 Yankee Stadium, “The House that Ruth Built,” opened.

 

1924 Simon & Schuster published the first Crossword puzzle book.

1930 BBC Radio infamously announced that there was no news on that day.

1930 Clive Revill, New Zealand born actor, was born.

1940 Mike Vickers, British guitarist and saxophonist (Manfred Mann)British guitarist and saxophonist (Manfred Mann).

1942 World War II: The Doolittle Raid – Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya bombed.

Army B-25 (Doolittle Raid).jpg

1942 – Pierre Laval became Prime Minister of Vichy France.

1943 World War II: Operation Vengeance, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was killed when his aircraft was shot down by U.S. fighters over Bougainville Island.

Yamamoto-Isoroku-improvedContrast.jpg

1945 More than 1,000 bombers attackedthe small island of Heligoland, Germany.

1946 Hayley Mills, English actress, was born.

1946 The League of Nations was dissolved.

1949  The Republic of Ireland Act came into force.

1954 Gamal Abdal Nasser seizes power in Egypt.

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.

1955 Twenty-nine nations met at Bandung, Indonesia, for the first Asian-African Conference.

1958 A United States federal court ruled that poet Ezra Pound was to be released from an insane asylum.

 

1961 CONCP was founded in Casablanca as a united front of African movements opposing Portuguese colonial rule.

1971 David Tennant, Scottish actor, was born

1974 The prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto inaugurated Lahore Dry port.

1980 – The Republic of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) came into being, with Canaan Banana as the country’s first President.

1983 – A suicide bomber destroyed the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people.

1988 The United States launched Operation Praying Mantis against Iranian naval forces in the largest naval battle since World War II.

OperationPrayingMantis-IS Alvand.jpg

1992 General Abdul Rashid Dostum revolted against President Mohammad Najibullah of Afghanistan and allied with Ahmed Shah Massoud to capture Kabul.

 

1993President of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed the Cabinet.

1996 In Lebanon, at least 106 civilians are killed when the Israel Defense Forces shelled the UN compound at Quana where more than 800 civilians had taken refuge.

2007  The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-4 decision.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


March 19 in history

March 19, 2010

On March 19:

1279  A Mongolian victory in the Battle of Yamen eneds the Song Dynasty in China.

1687 Explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River, was murdered by his own men.

Cavelier de la salle.jpg

1813 David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer, was born.

1821 Richard Francis Burton, British explorer, diplomat and author, was born.

 

1839 Bees were introduced to New Zealand.

Honey bees brought to NZ

1848 Wyatt Earp, American policeman and gunfighter, was born.

1853 The Taiping reform movement occupied and makes Nanjing its capital.

 The Heavenly king’s throne in Nanjing

1861 The First Taranaki War ended.

 

1863  The SS Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, was destroyed on her maiden voyage with a cargo of munitions, medicines and merchandise then valued at over $1,000,000.

1865  The Battle of Bentonville started.

1866 A hurricane caused major damages in Buenos Aires.

1906 Adolf Eichmann, Nazi official, was born.

EichmannAdolfSS.jpg

1915 Pluto  was photographed for the first time but is not recognised as a planet.

Pluto-map-hs-2010-06-c180.jpg

1916 Irving Wallace, American novelist, was born.

1916 Eight American planes took off in pursuit of Pancho Villa, the first United States air-combat mission in history.

1918 The U.S. Congress established time zones and approved daylight saving time.

1921 One of the biggest engagements of theIrish War of Independence took place at Crossbarry, County Cork. About 100 Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers escaped an attempt by more than 1,300 British forces to encircle them.

Iarthair Chorcaí 163.jpg

 1921 Tommy Cooper, Welsh comedy magician, was born.

1921 Italian Fascists shot from the Parenzana train at a group of children in Strunjan (Slovenia): two children were killed, two mangled and three wounded.

1931  Gambling was legalized in Nevada.

1932 The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened.

1933 Philip Roth, American author, was born.

Goodbye columbus.jpg

1936 Ursula Andress, Swiss actress, was born.

 

1941 The 99th Pursuit Squadron also known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black unit of the Army Air Corp, was activated.

 

1944 Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize, was born.

1944 World War II: Nazi forces occupied Hungary.

1945 A dive bomber hit the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13), killing 724 of her crew.

USS Franklin underway

1945 – World War II: Adolf Hitler issued his “Nero Decree” ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed.

1946 Jayforce landed in Japan.

Jayforce lands in Japan

1946 French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion become overseas départements of France.

1946  Ruth Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born.

 

1947 Glenn Close, American actress, was born.

1952  Warren Lees, New Zealand Test wicket-keeper, was born.

1953 Ricky Wilson, American musician (The B-52’s), was born.

1954 Willie Mosconi set the world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio.

1955 Bruce Willis, American actor, was born.

1958 The Monarch Underwear Company fire left 24 dead and 15 injured.

1962 – Algerian War of Independence: A ceasefire takes effect.

1965 The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000 was discovered by then teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence exactly 102 years after its destruction.

1969 The 385 metres (1,263 ft) tall TV-mast at Emley Moor, collapses due to ice build- up.

1972 India and Bangladesh sign a friendship treaty.

1982 Falklands War: Argentinian forces landed on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the United Kingdom.

Guerrico-1980s.jpg

1989 The Egyptian Flag was raised on Taba, Egypt announcing the end of the Israeli occupation after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Peace negotiations in 1979.

1990 The ethnic clashes of Târgu Mureş began.

2002 Operation Anaconda ended (started on March 2) after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters with 11 allied troop fatalities.

Anaconda-helicopter.jpg

2002 – Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth on charges of human rights abuses and of election tampering, following a turbulent presidential election.

2004 Konginkangas bus disaster: A semi-trailer truck and a bus crash head-on in Äänekoski, Finland. 24 people were killed and 13 injured.

Konginkankaan bussiturma.jpg 

2004 A Swedish DC-3 shot down by a Russian MiG-15 in 1952 over the Baltic Sea was recovered after years of work.

2004 Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu were shot just before the country’s presidential election on March 20.

 Chen and Lu minutes before the shooting incident

2008  GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye was briefly observed

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


December 2 in history

December 2, 2009

On December 2:

1779 Madeleine Sophie Barat, French saint, was born.

 

1805 Henry Wells, Founder of American Express, was born.

1862 USS Cairo sank on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine.

USS Cairo

1863  Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter, was born.


Self Portrait with Skeleton Arm, 1895

1870  Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black U.S. congressman.

 

1893 Edward G. Robinson, American actor, was born.

1900 Sammy Davis, Sr., American dancer, was born.

1901 Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland.

1911 Delhi replaced Calcutta as the capital of India.

1915  Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor, was born.

1917 The six o’clock swill began.

 1927  Robert Noyce, American inventor of the microship, was born.

1929 John Osborne, English dramatist, was born.

 1935  Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction programme, was founded by Heinrich Himmler.

 

A Lebensborn birth house

1938  Connie Francis, American singer, was born.

1940 – Dionne Warwick, American singer, was born.

1941  Adolf Hitler announced the extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery.

1948 Batang Kali Massacre – 14 members of the Scots Guards stationed in Malaysia allegedly massacred 24 unarmed civilians and set fire to the village.

1949 – Bill Nighy, English actor, was born.

1950  Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, led the congregation in her first services.

1963 Kenya gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1964 Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.

1965 Will Carling, English rugby union footballer, was born.

1979  Rhodesia changed its name to Zimbabwe.

1982 Women’s peace protest at Greenham Common – 30,000 women held hands and formed a human chain around the 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) perimeter fence.

1988 The Clapham Junction rail crash killed thirty-five and injures hundreds after two collisions of three commuter trains.

Clapham Junction Railway Accident - Hidden Report cover - HMSO.jpg

1991  Russian Federation gained independence from the USSR.

2006 Peugeot produces its last car at the Ryton Plant signalling the end of mass car production in Coventry, formerly a major centre of the British motor industry.

Sourced from NZ HIstory Online & Wikipedia.


Effects of naming cows on milk production study wins Ig Noble

October 3, 2009

A study which found that named cows produce more milk than their nameless sisters won the Veterinary Medicine prize in this year’s Ig Noble Awards.

The research was carried out by Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University.

Ig Nobles are awarded for achievements which first make people laugh then make people think.

The Public Health Prize went to Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago for inventing a bra that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks, one for the bra wearer and one to be given to  bystander.

Other award winners were:

PEACE PRIZE:   Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl from the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banksbanks — Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland — for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa — and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M. Castaño  from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand — every day for more than 60 years.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don’t tip over.

LITERATURE PRIZE: Ireland’s police service (An Garda Siochana), for writing and presenting more than fifty traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country — Prawo Jazdy — whose name in Polish means “Driving License”.

MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers — from very small to very big — by having his bank print bank notes with denominations ranging from one cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion dollars ($100,000,000,000,000).

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.


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.

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