Home' Greymouth Star : January 3rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 3, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1851 - The leader of the Taiping rebellion in
China, Hung Hsiu-ch’uan, proclaims himself
1905 - The Trans-Siberian Railway across
Russia starts its maiden journey.
1927 - Nationalist government is
established at Hankow in China.
1935 - The colonies of Cyrenaica, Tripoli
and Eezaan unite to form the country of Libya.
1962 - Western Samoa becomes the first
sovereign independent Polynesian state. The
Beatles are rejected by Decca Records after an
audition because “groups of guitars are on the
way out ”.
1965 - The Palestine Liberation
Organisation is formed.
1970 - US Congress passes
legislation limiting US military role in
1972 - Maurice Chevalier, French
singer and actor, dies.
1974 - A fire in the Joelma office
building in Sao Paulo kills 188 people.
2004 - Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni announces the army will
resume all-out war on rebels in the country’s
2005 - The Netherlands introduces a new law
making it compulsory to produce identity
documents to police for the first time since
World War Two.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Hung Siu-tsuen, Chinese leader of Taiping
rebellion (1814-1864); James George Frazer,
British anthropologist (1854-1941);
Kim Philby, British intelligence
officer, Soviet spy (1912-1988); JD
Salinger, US author (1919-2010);
Grandmaster Flash, US rapper (1958-
); Anna Burke, Australian Labor MP
and former Speaker of the House
of Representatives (1966-); Verne
Troyer, American actor (1969-); Chris Anstey,
Australian basketballer (1975-) .
“ Time has no divisions to mark its passage,
there is never a thunderstorm or blare of
trumpets to announce the beginning of a new
month or year. Even when a new century
begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and
fire off pistols.” — Thomas Mann, German
“S hout for joy to God our defender; sing
praise to the God of Jacob!” — Psalm 81:1
The West Coast ’s
accident record ended
yesterday. One of
several smashes resulted in serious injuries.
Graham Stella, 17, of Seven Mile Road,
Runanga, received severe chest injuries
when the motorcycle he was driving towards
Greymouth late yesterday afternoon, failed
to take the bend at the southern end of the
Wingham Park Straight. It crashed off the road
and Stella was admitted to the Greymouth
Hospital, which first reported his condition to
be only fair. Today however his condition was
announced as satisfactory.
A pillion passenger on the bike, Bruce
Patterson, of Christchurch, 16, was admitted to
hospital with wrist injuries.
Three other crashes, at Hokitika,
Kowhitirangi and in the Buller area, resulted in
vehicle damage and some minor injuries.
Westport can claim the first baby born for
1965 and the only baby to be born on New
Year’s Day on the Coast. At 1.50am yesterday,
baby Allan put in his appearance.
His parents, Mr and Mrs Glen Allan, have
not yet decided on the name of their first-born.
If there was to be a Sportsman of the Year
award on the West Coast in 1964 it would
undoubtedly go to diminutive red-headed
athlete Dave McKenzie. If his sport is not as
physically demanding, a sure place-getter in
any such award would have to be 18-year-old
Greymouth youngster Lloyd Bellis, who won
the New Zealand indoor bowls singles title in
Despite others’ meritorious efforts, the
21-year-old McKenzie’s world class marathon
effort on November 28 must surpass them all.
uFood for thought
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iami’s Southwest 8th
street, known locally
as “Calle Ocho”,
is like no other in
men hunch over domino tiles in Maximo
Gomez Park, grunting at each other in
Spanish through cigars clenched between
Rumba music blares from the corner
cafes, and on the corner of 13th Avenue
is a shrine where a statue of the Virgin
Mary stands a few metres from a
sculpture of a soldier with a machine-
gun. A plaque reads in Spanish: “ To the
martyrs who have shed blood for the
freedom of Cuba.”
For more than 50 years, Miami’s Little
Havana neighbourhood has been the
exile capital for hundreds of thousands
of Cubans who fled their homeland after
Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.
The first wave arrived as near-destitute
refugees, but over the decades the exiles
have risen to become a potent force in
American political life. Even as their
wealth expanded and their children grew
up as Americans, they stayed focused on
one goal: toppling the communist dictator
who drove them from their homes.
Such is the exiles’ c lout in the key swing
state of Florida that American presidents
of both parties have stuck to a 1960s
policy of isolating Cuba economically with
a trade embargo and refusing to deal with
Even as the US normalised diplomatic
relations with China, a far more powerful
rival, and Vietnam, a country where
half a million Americans died fighting
communism, its policy towards Cuba
remained frozen in time.
That consensus came crashing down
when President Barack Obama announced
that he was reopening the US Embassy in
Havana and bringing Cuba in from the
cold. “ Today, America chooses to cut loose
the shackles of the past so as to reach for a
better future,” he said.
The sense of anger and betrayal felt
by older Cuban exiles is written across
Miriam de la Pena’s face. Her firstborn
son, Mario, was a volunteer pilot with
Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami activist
group that flew sorties over the 145km of
sea separating Florida from Cuba, looking
for the makeshift rafts of Cubans trying to
flee to the US.
On February 24, 1996, Cuban military
jets shot down two of the Brothers’ Cessna
aircraft, killing Mario and three other
The FBI later concluded that the
Brothers had been infiltrated by “the
Cuban Five”, a group of spies in Miami
who helped the regime’s air force to track
and destroy Mario’s aircraft.
One of the spies was convicted of
conspiracy to murder and sentenced to life
in an American federal prison — where he
remained until Obama freed him last week
as part of the diplomatic deal.
“The Obama Administration has
trampled on the only little bit of justice we
had,” de la Pena said.
Obama’s decision to risk the wrath of
the Cuban exiles is partly a sign of an
unbound second-term President, who will
never face re-election and is on a streak of
policy radicalism in his last two years in
In just the past six weeks, he has
announced a major climate deal
with China, an extension of nuclear
negotiations with Iran and a promise to
allow millions of illegal immigrants to
stay in the US. But the White House has
also calculated that the Cuban-American
community is changing over time.
Cubans who arrived in the US more
recently — and so actually lived part
of their lives under the American trade
embargo — are generally less supportive
than those who fled in the 60s before
the policies were imposed. A poll from
Florida International University this year
found, for the first time, a slight majority
of Cubans in Miami supported an end to
the embargo. That number leaped to 62%
among the young.
“There are differences in the generations,”
Carlos Gimenez, the Cuban-American
Mayor of Miami-Dade County, said.
“ My views are a little different from my
parents and my kids’ are a little different
Like many others in Miami, Gimenez
said he believed the embargo should
be lifted, but that Obama had failed to
extract any significant concessions from
the Castro regime in return for easing US
“ I asked the White House is there
anything in writing? There appears to be
a lot of ‘we wish, we hope, we expect’ and
nothing that ’s ironclad,” Gimenez said.
Bryan Medina, a 19-year-old student,
became an unwitting symbol of the
generation gap when he went to an anti-
Obama protest in Little Havana last week
holding a sign showing the Cuban flag
and the words “Goodbye embargo, Hello
Medina said the sign was meant to
promote his band, Q uantum Waves. But
it provoked a furious reaction from older
Cubans, some of whom tried to tear it
from his hands.
“ People were calling Obama an assassin
and a communist,” Medina said. “ I think
they ’re ignorant to say those things. ”
As the sun goes down over Little
Havana, Oscar Rivera, 78, sits next to
a memorial to those killed during the
1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the disastrous
Kennedy-era attempt to send exiles to
overthrow the Castro regime.
Using the few words of English he had
picked up in his 44 years in the US, he
described his generation’s frustration that
president after president had not done
more to end communism in Cuba.
“ Kennedy: No good. Clinton: No good.”
As he reached the occupant of the O val
Office, his scowl deepened and he waved
a rolled-up newspaper in his frustration.
“O bama: No, no, no, no good.”
Four aspects of the Cuba debate. —
Political gambit: Democratic and
Republican analysts alike see President
Barack Obama’s overtures to Cuba as an
effort to break Republican claims on the
Cuban-American vote, saying if tensions
ease between the two countries, F lorida’s
Cubans will be more likely to focus on
other issues that Democrats use to appeal
to Hispanics nationwide.
A future in Cuba? Cuban law forbids
foreigners from buying property on the
island, but once diplomatic ties are re-
established, some Cuban-Americans hope
this will change. “ This could completely
change my future expectations about
my relationship with Cuba”, says Jovan
Rodriguez, a young architect in Miami.
“The truth is, I hope to be able to return
A future in oil? The thaw raises the
possibility of Cuba getting its share
of offshore oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
There’s real potential just off the island’s
north-west coast and Cubans desperate
for economic growth welcome the
opportunity, but analysts say a Cuban oil
boom is unlikely anytime soon because
of low oil prices and better drilling
Split opinions: A recent poll shows
Cuban-Americans almost evenly split
on re-establishing US ties to Cuba:
48% disagree with Obama and 44%
agree. US -born Cubans strongly support
Obama’s plan, while those born on
the island strongly oppose it. Cuban-
Americans under 65 widely support it,
while those over 65 strongly oppose it.
Anger, betrayal in Little Havana as US mends fences
Cuban exiles fume
Anti-Castro activists Osvaldo Hernandez, left, and Miguel Saavedra protest over the return to normal ties with Cuba in Little Havana in Miami, Florida.
Our cute and cuddly friends made
headlines last year for the good, the bad,
and the downright odd.
After years of campaigning from
animal rights groups, Parliament passed
legislation in May which ruled out the
testing of psychoactive drugs on animals
for the purpose of getting them approved
All legal high products were pulled from
shop shelves earlier this year until it could
be proven they were safe.
Following advice from the Health
Department Prime Minister John Key
said if the product could not be tested
other than with animals, then it failed to
meet the testing regime and would not be
“It’s one thing to test on an animal if
you’re developing a life-saving drug for
cancer — it ’s quite a different issue for a
recreational drug,” Mr Key said.
On another happy note, many lost pets
were returned to their owners this year.
Heading across the world, a British man
was reunited with his beloved African grey
parrot Nigel after four long years.
Little was known about where Nigel
got to on his four-year holiday; however,
the bird returned home in October he
was jabbering away in Spanish, the Daily
Nigel, who originally spoke with a
British accent was reunited with his owner
by a vet who mistook him for her own
The bird’s owner Darren Chick said the
reunion brought tears of joy to his eyes,
regardless of the fact that Nigel tried to
Back in New Zealand Lydia Nimmo was
also reunited with her pet, 10-month-old
golden retriever Max, after he was trapped
down a hole for five days.
Volunteers searched high and low across
the North Beach bush and beach — but
there was no sign of Max.
Eventually Max was discovered stuck
down a 3m deep hole about 1km from Ms
“He nearly fell back in because he was so
excited to be out,” Ms Nimmo said.
Gisborne SPCA staff were left
astounded when a Hastings woman was
reunited with her cat, after a gruelling
Six-year-old grey tabby Peanut travelled
over 200km before he was reunited with
his owner Rachael Coleman in August.
Ms Coleman adopted Peanut from the
SPCA in Gisborne while she was working
there as a volunteer and when she later
moved to Hastings, Peanut sadly went
Four years later Peanut showed up at the
Gisborne SPCA grounds, which are over
200km away from Ms Coleman’s Hastings
Staff at the SPCA said they were able to
identify Peanut thanks to his micro-chip.
Unusual animal stories also hit the
headlines this year.
The family of the little lamb which was
born with two faces were devastated when
their very special friend died after just 41
Owner Justine Parker said the lamb,
which was affectionately known as
Lambie, Two Face and U2, and was much
loved by her three young daughters Anna,
10, Sarah, eight, and Kate, six.
Lambie had two faces and four eyes, two
of which appeared to have merged in the
middle and did not blink.
When his left eye blinked, so did the
right. When he cried, the other mouth
Ms Parker said she suspected Lambie
had died from a brain bleed.
“ We knew he was probably going to die,
but he’d come through so many things and
kept bouncing back.
“ He was a strong-willed wee character, so
it was just a wee bit sad.”
Later in the year Whakatane woman Jess
Wallace was horrified when her four-year-
old bull mastiff Zeta returned home with
an arrow through his chest, causing serious
injury and stress to both dog and owner.
This was soon made worse when she
found out a police officer had admitted
to firing the arrow at Zelda when he
wandered on to his property.
Under the Animal Welfare Amendment
Act 2010 it is an offence to willfully or
recklessly ill-treat an animal.
The officer was not stood down but a
criminal investigation and an employment
investigation would be conducted, eastern
Bay of Plenty area commander Inspector
Kevin Taylor said.
Ms Wallace said she had now recovered
from the shock, and Zelda had made a full
“ When it happened I was in a state
of disbelief, all I kept thinking was ‘we
need to get him to a vet or he’ ll die’.”
Meanwhile, another police officer rescued a
baby morepork from the side of the road in
stormy weather — all in the line of duty.
Constable Richard Collier almost ran
over the morepork while on his way to
an ATM machine through treacherous
weather in Chartwell, north of Hamilton.
He got out of his car and rescued the
bird, which he said was likely to have been
blown from its perch in the storm.
He then made a bed for the muddled
morepork at the Hamilton Police Station,
before the Department of Conser vation
bird ser vice collected it the next day.
Finally, this year we were reminded that
animals are not always man’s best friend,
when a berserk cow trampled its owner in
the Bay of Plenty.
Wayne Rowe, 50, was ear-tagging a cow
in a paddock in Opotiki when it turned on
him, causing serious injuries.
Mr Rowe was airlifted to hospital with
chest injuries, and released the day after
Mr Rowe said he believed the cow was
trying to protect her calves — but there
was no love lost between the pair.
“As soon as she has finished feeding the
calves, she’s off to the meatworks,” Mr
Rowe said. — NZ ME
Good, bad and odd year for animals
Worldwide, the gangly teenager sitting
cross-legged on the floor of his Aceh
living room is perhaps the best known
Indonesian sur vivor of the 2004 tsunami.
On the faded green walls above Martunis
are reminders of the happiest, proudest
and most confusing moments of his young
There is Martunis being inter viewed on
There he is arm-in-arm with FIFA
president Sepp Blatter.
And there he is beaming with his idol,
When the Boxing Day tsunami struck
Aceh, the water reached the then-seven -
year-old as he was walking to the village
soccer field, and eventually marooned him
alone in a mangrove swamp.
He sur vived for 20 days on puddle water
and dried noodles before a British tv crew
found him and he was reunited with his
His mother and siblings were killed.
The boy ’s remarkable story and the
Portugal football jumper he wore throughout
it caught the eye of the European media.
In 2005, Ronaldo visited Martunis in
Aceh, bringing money for his education,
and Martunis visited Portugal.
It was a much-needed good news story
at a time of incomprehensible loss.
Ten years on, with his schooling
complete, Martunis hangs out with his
neighbourhood friends when he’s not
attending English courses or the Real
Madrid Foundation’s Aceh soccer school.
The 17-year-old with his hero’s haircut
sits on the rug and shrugs.
Martunis says his dream is — has always
been — of becoming a professional
football player, “in Lisbon,” of course.
One senses his single-word answers are
more than teenager behaviour, but also for
Not only was the tsunami traumatic for
Martunis, but even the highs that followed
Ronaldo had years ago given him a
cellphone with his number in it, but it was
The last time he met “CR7,” as he calls
the football star, was for a mangrove
conser vation project in Bali.
“ I miss him,” Martunis says.
“ I wanted to stay in Portugal.” But when
the discussion returns to football, and the
afternoon’s match with a neighbouring
team, Martunis perks up. He goes to the
pile of boots in the corner of the room,
and says for today his plan is: “keep
practising, keep working hard”. — AAP
Tsunami survivor clings to football dream
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