Home' Greymouth Star : January 7th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, January 7, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1502 - Pope Gregory XIII, noted for his
reform of the calendar system, born.
1536 - Catherine of Aragon, first wife of
King Henry VIII of England, dies.
1610 - Galileo Galilei, Italian mathematician
and astronomer (1564-1642), discovers four of
1785 - Dr John Jeffries and Jean Pierre
Blanchard make the first crossing of the
English Channel in a hot-air balloon.
1788 - First Fleet sights Van Diemen’s Land
(Tasmania) on its way from England to Botany
1789 - The first US presidential election is
held. Americans vote for electors who, a month
later, choose George Washington to be the
nation’s first president.
1953 - US President Harry Truman announces
the US has developed a hydrogen bomb.
1968 - Government of Lebanon resigns after
Israeli commando raid at Beirut airport.
1973 - Philippine President
Ferdinand Marcos suspends
scheduled plebiscite on new
constitution, saying his country is
slipping back into subversion and
1999 - The US Senate opens the
impeachment trial of President Bill
Clinton, the first such trial in 130
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Pope Gregory XIII (Ugo Buoncompagno)
(1502-1585); Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother
of Napoleon, French diplomat who became
king of Spain (1768-1844); Millard Fillmore,
13th US president (1800-1874); Marie-
Bernard Soubirous, St Bernadette of
Lourdes (1844-1879); Sir Hudson
Fysh, Qantas founder (1895-1974);
Charles Addams, US cartoonist
(1912-1988); Gerald Durrell, British
zoologist and writer (1925-1995);
Kenny Loggins, US singer (1948-
); Nicolas Cage, US actor (1964-),
Lewis Hamilton, English Formula One driver
“ W hether women are better than men I
cannot say — but I can say they are certainly
no worse.” — Golda Meir, Israeli prime
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Debra and Graeme
were the two most
popular names new
parents bestowed on their children in 1964.
This was the most common spelling of the two
names although there were several Deborahs
Parents have shown a marked originality,
particularly with their daughters, with perhaps
the most unusual being Ru’vae. Jacinta,
Louella, Adele, Laine, Michelle, Megan,
Marina, Penelope and Janine were others in
this category. There was one Mandy.
Kristin and Dwayne were perhaps the most
unusual of the names given to sons. There were
also a couple of Troys and Shanes. Others in
this bracket were Sheldon, Tracy, Lloyd, Carl
John maintained a fairly high rating, but
Stephen, David and Paul were higher on the
Some 20 West Coasters were among nearly
150 descendants of Richard Truman, who
last weekend gathered in Christchurch to
celebrate the centenary of his arrival in New
Zealand. Included among the Coasters at
the celebrations were Mrs A A Hewlett of
Barrytown, Mrs M Fahey and Greymouth
draper Mr R J Truman, a grandson of Richard
Truman. All were accompanied by members of
Richard Truman arrived at Lyttelton on
board the Bellissima in 1864. with his wife
Mary and two infant sons, George and
Richard. They came from Henley on Thames
and settled in Rangiora. He was killed in 1886
in a house fire.
Richard Truman was a bootmaker prior to his
death, but not one of his descendants has taken
up a similar business.
uFood for thought
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competitors may be
cheering tumbling oil
prices, but the collapse in
the ruble has meant major
financial turbulence for
Russian airlines which have expenses in
The ruble has slumped by 40% against
the US dollar and euro in 2014, mostly
due to crude oil prices falling by 50% in
the past six months as Russia’s economy is
heavily dependent upon oil exports.
As jet fuel accounts for upwards of a
quarter of the cost of flights, most airlines
are set to enjoy an earnings boost.
Russian airlines also stand to benefit, but
by nowhere near as much thanks to the
impact of the drop in the ruble’s value.
First, traffic on their most profitable
international routes has fallen because
Russians have stopped travelling with
their purchasing power eroded and ticket
prices rising 10%.
Second, the airlines have considerable
costs in foreign currencies — mostly
aircraft leases — which have nearly
doubled in ruble terms as the currency has
According to Deutsche Bank, Russia’s
leading airline Aeroflot earns 90% of its
revenue in rubles while 60% of its costs are
in foreign currencies.
“The situation is very serious,” Oleg
Panteleyev, the editor-in-chief of the
specialist website Avia Port, said.
“The result is obvious: as a drop in traffic
is inevitable, they must return planes to
lessors, reduce foreign currency costs and
lower the number of planes and flights,”
With traffic rising by 15% to 20%
annually in recent years, Russian airlines
have leased and ordered new planes from
Airbus and Boeing to retire their ageing
fleet of fuel-guzzling Russian aircraft.
Uncertainty has hovered for weeks over
the third-largest Russian airline, Utair.
Unable to repay some of its debts, Alfa
Bank has been trying in court to seize its
Then, in December, doubts began to
surface about the finances of number two
airline Transaero, which boasts a fleet of
more than 100 mostly Boeing aircraft.
Tass news agency reported that it had
appealed to the government for help to
avoid having to suspend flights.
Even if Transaero denounced the report
as competitor attempts to destabilise it, the
possibility of thousands of Russian tourists
stranded abroad as happened last summer
when a number of travel agencies went
bust was enough to prod the government
into quick action.
Anxious to show it was moving to
contain the effects of the currency
crisis, the government promised to help
airlines by subsidising domestic routes
and providing loan guarantees to ensure
airlines had access to funds.
In December, Transaero was granted
a loan guarantee of nine billion rubles
($193.7 million). The same day Alfa Bank
said it was temporarily suspending, “at the
request of the government ”, its legal action
against Utair in order to avoid disruptions
to flights during the upcoming holidays.
The government has a clear short-term
goal, according to Panteleyev: “The airlines
must transport all the passengers over the
Russia nearly shuts down at the
beginning of the year as most people take
holiday between the New Year and the
Russian Orthodox Christmas, celebrated
in 2015 on January 7.
Panteleyev said, “O btaining loans is
indispensable . . . to pay for jet fuel, airport
fees and salaries, but it isn’t sufficient to
With the Russian central bank expecting
the country’s economy to contract by
nearly 5% if oil prices remain at current
levels and for there to be no recovery
before 2017, there will not be an easy out
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady
Dvorkovich has warned airlines that the
government aid would not help unless
they optimised their fleet and routes and
cut costs. Their owners would also have to
pump money into them, he said.
Alexei Khazbiyev, a transportation
specialist with the magazine Expert, also
sees dark clouds ahead for Russian airlines.
“Next year, the traffic on international
flights will continue to drop and the
airlines will reduce their number of
flights,” he said.
Khazbiyev estimated that a majority
of Russian airlines will lose money and
several smaller regional companies may go
bust, as happened in 2008-2009.
Air transport expert Elizabeta
Kuznetsova wrote in a recent commentary
in the business daily Kommersant that
even if the State measures “soften the
pain” for airlines there risks being a
“complete upheaval in the market” in
2015. — AFP
Ruble fall a headache for airlines
Counting the cost
To learn the secret behind ageing
gracefully, you may want to check out the
bowhead whale, the majestic denizen of
the Arctic waters that boasts a lifespan
topping 200 years.
Scientists this week unveiled the
genetic blueprint for the bowhead whale,
a genome chock full of clues behind
this creature’s exceptional longevity and
remarkable disease resistance.
Comparing its genome to other
mammals, the scientists discovered
differences in the whale’s genes related
to DNA repair, cell cycle, cancer and the
aging process that may help explain its
lifespan and vitality.
“This is the biggest animal whose
genome has been sequenced thus far
and the first big whale to be sequenced,”
University of Liverpool geneticist Joao
Pedro de Magalhaes, who led the study
published in the scientific journal Cell
“By identifying novel maintenance and
repair mechanisms, we hope to learn what
is the secret for living longer, healthier
lives and may be able apply this knowledge
to improve human health and preserve
human life,” Magalhaes added.
Bowhead whales, which live longer than
any other mammal, are among Earth’s
largest creatures. They reach up to 18m
and are the second heaviest whale after
the blue whale. They are mostly black,
with the front part of their upturned
lower jaw white. Bowhead whales are
filter feeders that eat huge amounts of
“Bowhead whales weigh between 50
and 100 tonnes when fully grown and
have probably 1000 times as many cells
as humans, but they apparently have a
anti-tumor response at the cell level that
is far more efficient than what is found
in humans,” biologist Mads Peter Heide-
Jorgensen, of the Greenland Institute of
Natural Resources and the University of
The scientists said the bowhead
whale’s genome may also help to explain
physiological adaptations related to its
Magalhaes said that whale cells must
have a much lower metabolic rate than
those of smaller mammals. He said the
genome study detected changes in one
specific gene involved in the body’s
temperature regulation that may be related
to metabolic differences in whale cells.
The bowhead whale genome is slightly
smaller than the human genome and the
typical mammalian genome.
“Generally speaking, more complex
species tend to have larger genomes with
more genes, but I don’t think within
mammals there is a correlation between
body size and genome size,” Magalhaes
said. — Reuters
Bowhead whale example of ageing gracefully
A bowhead whale breaks the surface of the ocean.
Bill Murphy was a community
minded rebel with a cause,
who stood up for the rights of
people, the environment and his
hometown of Cobden.
Often referred to as the ‘Mayor
of Cobden’ Bill was from a
pioneer family that has been on
the West Coast since the 1860s
He was the eldest of five
children and was born at the
Rewa Nursing Home, educated at
the Runanga Catholic School and
the Cobden State School.
Bill led a gypsy existence as a
youngster and with his father, a
travelling carpenter, the Murphy
family spent time in most towns
throughout New Zealand.
Bill worked for his father after
leaving school, taking up the
carpentry trade, but soon found
that picking tobacco in Nelson
was a better option.
It was in Nelson he met and
married his wife Hariata and
together they had six children.
After living in Christchurch for
nearly 20 years the family moved
to the West Coast, and Bill made
no secret of the fact the West
Coast was the ideal place to bring
He worked for the New
Zealand Railways as a
signalman, guard and railcar
driver, and later spent time
working at Paremoremo Prison
helping prisoners preparing for
community rehabilitation. He
was employed on contract by the
Labour Department on the West
Bill was active in challenging
the logic, ethics and reasoning
behind local bodies decisions. He
had no time for bureaucrats and
was a regular correspondent with
letters to the editor. Politics was
another passion and at one time
he had a view of standing for
Above all, Bill Murphy loved
his family, loved Cobden and the
lifestyle it offered, living at 146
Bright Street for 47 years.
Predeceased by his wife, he is
sur vived by his children Dianna,
Fran, Wayne Whatu, Phillip and
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