Home' Greymouth Star : January 23rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, January 23, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1920 - Holland refuses to surrender
Germany ’s former Kaiser William II to Allies
for punishment as a World War One criminal.
1963 - Harold “Kim” Philby, British journalist
in Beirut, disappears. Later in the year it is
revealed he was the third man in the
Burgess-Maclean spy scandal and
had been granted asylum in Moscow.
1964 - Indonesia and Malaysia
agree to a ceasefire.
1973 - US President Richard
Nixon announces an accord has
been reached in Vietnam War;
George Foreman takes the world heavyweight
boxing title from fellow American Joe Frazier in
1976 - Death of Paul Robeson, US singer and
actor best known for the song Ole Man River.
1989 - Surrealist artist Salvador Dali dies in
his native Spain at age 84.
1996 - Yigal Amir confesses in court to killing
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
2005 - Comedian Johnny Carson, king of
US late-night television as host of NBC’s The
Tonight Show for nearly 30 years, dies at 79.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edouard Manet, French artist (1832-1883);
Randolph Scott, US actor (1898-1987); Bill
Hayden, Australian politician and
former governor-general (1933-);
Chita Rivera, US actress-dancer
(1933-); Rutger Hauer, D utch-born
actor (1944-); Robin Zander, US
singer of Cheap Trick fame (1953-);
Princess Caroline of Monaco (1957-
); Mariska Hargitay, US actress of
ER Law and Order: SVU fame
(1964-); Tiffani Thiessen, US actress of Beverly
Hills 90210 fame (1974-) .
“ Happiness isn’t something you experience,
it’s something you remember.” — Oscar
Levant, pianist-composer-actor (1906-1972).
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock
I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades
will not prevail against it.” — (Matthew 16:18).
gain a glimpse of
top national club
softball with the zone
final of the New Zealand Women’s inter-club
softball tournament at the Recreation Ground
tomorrow. Although only a small tournament
comprising three teams, it will be the first
national club play here since the John Lennon
tournamnet in 1959.
The teams competing will be Old Girls, the
top local team, Avon from Christchurch and
Monowai, also from Christchurch.
With nine representative players in its
line-up, Old Girls is one of the strongest
combinations ever fielded by a club here.
Wendy Reynolds and Margaret Proffit
form a lively pitcher combination and have
represented Coast over the past three seasons.
Carol Garth is a very safe first base and has an
intelligent approach to the game. Val Struthers,
Gillian Beirne and Sue Wickes complete a
workmanlike infield which lets few hits past.
The outfield of Janine Vincent, Judy Bennett
and Eileen Coll is perhaps not as fast as could
be hoped for but all are steady players who do
their share of work.
Flora Beynon and Mina McMillan, the
remaining members of the squad, rarely play
A 75-year-old retired Dobson man, Mr
Ambrose Graham was found dead at the home
of his daughter Mrs J Beirne, Wainui Street,
Dobson, yesterday. The police said there were
no suspicious circumstances.
Mr Graham leaves his wife Eleanor, two
sons, David (Christchurch), Harry (Dobson)
and two daughters, Mabel (Mrs R Mellet,
Christchurch) Nancy (Mrs J Beirne, Dobson).
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
early all fish oil
in New Zealand contain
much less of the brain-
boosting omega-3 fatty
acids than their labels
claim, an eye-opening study has
When researchers at the University of
Auckland’s Liggins Institute tested 36
different brands of fish oil capsules, just
three contained the same concentrations
of omega-3 fatty acids as listed on the
Their analysis revealed that the products
contained an average of just 68% of the
claimed content — and more than two
thirds of supplements tested contained
less than 67%.
Two products included only a third of
what was on the label.
The Ministry of Primary Industries
(MPI) and Medsafe are now investigating
the findings, while the industry body for
producers of omega-3 supplements has
reacted with surprise.
According to the latest New
Zealand Health Sur vey, up to 30% of
New Zealanders take dietary health
supplements, and omega-3 products are
considered one of the most — if not the
most — popular.
The tested products cost between 7c and
$1 per gram; bottles of 60 capsules of the
supplement typically ranged between $40
and $60 in pharmacies.
Consumers take fish oil supplements for
many reasons, but particularly because it
has shown promising effects of lowering
risk of heart disease and inflammation,
and improving brain power.
The research, published in the major
journal Nature, also looked at oxidation
levels of the products, as omega-3 fatty
acids are known to be unstable and can
break down when exposed to light, heat
They found that over half had oxidised
to a level higher than the recommended
limit — and this had nothing to do with
the best-before date, price, or country
they came from.
The vast amount of oils were sourced
from South American deep sea fish,
however the researchers deliberately chose
not to name the brands and which passed
or failed their testing.
When all of the measures the
researchers used to evaluate the oxidation
levels were applied, only 8% were in line
with international recommendations.
Study co-author Professor Wayne
Cutfield said while this did not imply
that the products were dangerous, more
investigation was needed to establish
the potential impacts of the degradation.
“Many of us buy items that contain
properties that are slightly less than what
is claimed, and that is not such a big deal;
but that it ’s degraded is not what we
would expect,” he said.
“It would help if there were tougher
or more rigorous regulations, in terms
of requirements to demonstrate what is
actually in the product and whether it’s
degraded, or whether it ’s potentially a
health risk or not.”
An MPI spokeswoman said the ministry
was “working closely” with Medsafe
on the requirements of the Dietary
Supplements Regulations 1985 and how
they apply to these products.
Kevin Krail, executive director of the
Omega-3 Centre, said the findings had
come as a surprise.
“ We have seen studies like this before
and the most recent results typically
show these omega-3 fish oil nutritional
supplements are of high quality and meet
international standards,” he said.
“ What we will be doing is getting
our scientists in touch with the study
collaborators and closely examining the
test method and analysis.”
But Consumer NZ chief executive
Suzanne Chetwin said she was not
surprised by the research and believed
more monitoring was needed around
“It is concerning when these claims
are being made as people think they are
eating healthily, but don’t know they are
taking much smaller quantities than they
think,” she said.
“The regulations are probably there, but
there needs to be far more scrutiny.”
Murray Skeaff, a professor in human
nutrition at the University of Otago, said
“If the results are accurate, then fish oil
supplements in New Zealand could be
added to a long list of dietary supplements
for which there were serious discrepancies
between what the manufacturer claimed
the consumer was getting and what was
actually in the supplement.
“Of additional concern is that the vast
majority of the fish oil supplements
contain amounts of oxidised fats that
exceed recommended levels, in other
words the oils are on the road to
becoming rancid if not already so,” he
“The researchers should publish the
brand names of the fish oils supplements
that were analysed so that consumers may
be able to identify the supplements of
Dr Matt Miller, a marine lipid chemist
at Plant and Food Research, said the
results were “troubling” but not surprising,
as there had been other comparable
studies conducted around the world with
“However, there is still an over whelming
body of scientific evidence about
the nutritional benefits of omega 3
supplementation. It is well understood
that omega 3 is a very bioactive
compound and the double edged sword is
that it is prone to oxidative degradation.”
Dr Miller, who is also president of the
Australasian section of the America Oil
Chemist Society, said the high levels of
oxidation shown in some products were
indicative of the long journey the oil has
to take to get to the pharmacy.
“As indicated in the article most of the
fish oil available in New Zealand, whether
capsulated here or in another country,
comes from the anchovy or sardine fishery
off the coast of Peru,” he said.
After catch, it was rendered, sometimes
refined and sent by ship around the world
where it was then refined and capsulated
by local companies.
“Although care is taken, this long
journey from ocean to consumer provides
ample opportunity for oxidation, a
degradative chain reaction, to occur,” he
“As discussed in the report, it is
uncertain whether the level of oxidation
in the study poses a health risk, however,
for the consumer the best advice is to
protect their fish oil by storing it sealed in
the fridge and out of direct light.”
Plant and Food Research was working
with several New Zealand companies,
such as Seadragon Marine Oils and the
Sealord Group Ltd, to investigate the
potential for NZ industry to supply high
quality marine oil products.
What was the research?
The study by University of Auckland
researchers has revealed that of 36 fish oil
products sold in Auckland and marketed
on-line, most nationwide contained
considerably less of the vital omega-3
fatty acids claimed by their labels. The
products contained an average of just
68% of the claimed content — and more
than two thirds of supplements tested
contained less than 67%. Two products
included only a third of what was on the
What else did they discover?
They found that over half had oxidised,
or broken down, to a level higher than
the recommended limit — and this had
nothing to do with the best-before date,
price, or country they came from. When
all of the measures the researchers used to
evaluate the oxidation levels were applied,
only 8% were in line with international
recommendations. The key properties in
the supplements are considered highly
fragile and can break down on exposure
with air, light or heat. The scientists
suggest more work is needed to better
understand the health implications
of oxidised fish oil, which remained
Why is this important?
Up to 30% of New Zealanders take
dietary health supplements, and omega-3
products are considered one of the most,
if not the most, popular.
Consumers take fish oil supplements for
many reasons, but particularly because it
has shown promising effects of lowering
risk of heart disease and inflammation,
and improving brain power. Buyers need
to know whether the amounts of fatty
acids in the products are as claimed on
the label, and by what rate they may have
degraded before sale.
— New Zealand Herald
Re the article ‘Cellphone coverage
boosted,’ published in the Greymouth
Star on January 20, 2014. According to
the Tourism West Coast Tourism website,
‘Part of the joy of visiting the West Coast
is the chance to relax and let go of all
those trappings of a busy life — including
turning off the cellphone’. Not that those
living in Haast have much choice about
I notice that in keeping with Telecom
and Vodaphone, your article has no Haast
Franz Josef Glacier
We have, in fact, carried many stories
over several years lamenting the lack of
cellphone coverage in Haast, all to no avail
with the telco providers.
With regard to the headlines in the
Greymouth Star on Christmas Eve,
‘Council rubber-stamps road link’ — what
a wonderful piece of spin doctoring. About
400 words to tell the public exactly nothing.
Could Haast-Hollyford Highway Ltd
please explain to readers, in good old-
fashioned English, what this announcement
was all about? I have cadastral maps
covering from 1963 to 1975. Not one of
them mentions a Haast-Hollyford road.
They are all named Jacksons River Road
and Cascade-Pyke Valley Road.
A 1963 map, rubber-stamped geological
sur vey and signed by R W Willett, shows
a pecked line from the upper Cascade
to a point above Gorge Creek (right in
the middle of the Alpine Fault). The line
is marked ‘old road formed to here’. The
pecked line from here to the Pyke Saddle
and down into the Pyke Valley is marked
in several places ‘sur vey line only’ (This is
the intended route for the Haast-Hollyford
A small booklet accompanying this map
says that the road formation was to allow
access to prospecting in the mineral rich
Red Hills and the Olivine Range. No
mention of a Hollyford link.
I am all for tourist opportunities and
sensible mineral extraction but one thing
is glaringly obvious and that is, before a
one-lane concrete bridge over the Cascade
is built (one of four, I believe), we need a
deep-water loading facility at Jackson Bay
and a power scheme in the Arawhata River
to run the ore processing plant necessary,
to ensure we only ship away the finished
This way we will have employment for
West Coasters without overloading our
already congested tourist highways. I
believe that once the Cascade is bridged
our badly cash-strapped Government will
welcome mining in this area.
I have just watched a TV One clip
whereby some council jobsworth in New
Zealand has had the temerity to place
a restraining device on a kindergarten.
A kindergarten, short-wire fly-way. The
reason? Complaints from nearby residents
about the ecstatic squeals from participating
toddlers as they experienced undoubtedly
their first adventurous gains into a
wondrous world which awaits them?
I am reminded of a woman in England
who, as a city dweller, bought a property in
the country and immediately complained to
the council that sheep and cows and a bird
with a yellow bill were disturbing her sleep.
God, if I lived in England, I would disturb
her sleep all right by playing the bagpipes
outside her windows in the early hours.
Mums and dads must get together to
fight this absolute stupidity of whatever
‘ laws’ these idiot people are operating under.
I was 80 a few days ago and as such, reserve
the right to make the occasional outrageous
statement. I do truly regret not being first
and foremost at the barricades and the
serious continuing 1080 debate. There are
certain issues which scream for support like
the present, but for the rest I have just run
out of energy.
Precious scrolls blackened by the
eruption of the Vesuvius volcano in
79 AD may become readable again,
thanks to 21st century technology,
Hundreds of papyrus scrolls believed
to have been authored by Greek
philosophers were found in the Roman
town of Herculaneum, which was hit
in the same eruption that destroyed the
town of Pompeii.
Whereas Pompeii was buried under a
thick layer of ash, nearby Herculaneum
met a somewhat different fate — it was
exposed to a roiling blast of volcanic
The furnace-like heat burned its
citizens alive and turned the writings
into pitch-black, brittle rolls.
The carbonised manuscripts, part
of the only library to have sur vived
from the classical world, were found
260 years ago in the ruins of a huge
villa believed to have been owned by a
wealthy Roman statesman, Calpurnius
Now stored at the National Library
of Naples, they are so fragile that the
slightest touch can cause them to
Adding to the problem is that the
letters on the papyrus were written in
ink made from soot. On the blackened
background, they are nearly invisible to
the naked eye.
So many papyri have been damaged
or destroyed in attempts to pierce their
secrets that archaeologists abandoned
the quest in frustration.
But, in a study published in the
journal Nature Communications,
Italian researchers offer hope that the
enigmatic texts may be revealed for the
first time in nearly 2000 years.
“It’s always hard to make a precise
prediction, but with resources, the
scrolls should be readable within
the next decade,” lead scientist Vito
Mocella, who works at the Institute
for Microelectronics and Microsystems
in Naples, led a team to probe the
scrolls non-invasively using x-ray phase-
contrast tomography — a scanner also
used in medicine to image soft tissue.
The technique exploits the fact
that different materials absorb x-rays
The researchers wrote a purpose-
made algorithm to process the signals
returned from the beams, seeking to
tease out contrasts between the papyrus
and the inked letters.
They tested their innovation on pieces
of a scroll that had been unrolled in
fragments in 1986.
They then moved on to a far tougher
target — a scrunched-up, sausage-
shaped scroll about 20cm long that is
more fragile than old lace.
The scanner was able to pick out all
24 letters of the Greek alphabet in the
rolled-up text and pinpoint a specific
handwriting style, a potential clue to
the identity of the author.
But the team was not able to read
words and had problems delving into
the scroll’s deeper layers.
But, said the authors, the experiment
only intended to be a “proof of
concept” — a demonstration that a new
technique works but needs refinement.
A finer x-ray beam and improved
algorithm should be able to get better
contrast and definition of each letter,
“It holds out the promise that many
philosophical works from the library
of the Villa dei Papiri, the contents of
which have so far remained unknown,
may in future be deciphered without
damaging the papyrus in any way,” the
If so, this could unlock other ancient
texts. — AFP
X-rays may help read ancient scrolls
One of the ancient scrolls found in the Roman town
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