Home' Greymouth Star : March 17th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
461 - Death, according to the legend, of St
Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.
1649 - England’s Parliament abolishes House
of L ords.
1776 - American revolutionaries
under George Washington force
British to evacuate Boston,
1860 - Second Maori War breaks
out in New Zealand.
1912 - Lawrence Oates, English
polar explorer with Robert Scott ’s
doomed expedition to the Antarctic, leaves the
tent on his 32nd birthday saying, “I am just
going outside, and may be some time”. He never
1939 - British Prime Minister Neville
Chamberlain accuses Adolf Hitler of breaking
his word after German troops crossed the Czech
1969 - Golda Meir becomes prime minister
1995 - Death of Ronald Kray, one of the
legendary British gangsters the Kray twins.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
King James IV, Scottish ruler (1473-1513);
Nat “King” Cole, US singer (1919-1965);
Rudolf Nureyev, Russian ballet dancer (1938-
1993); John Sebastian, singer of
The Lovin’ Spoonful fame (1944-);
Patrick D uffy, US actor (1949-);
Kurt Russell, US actor (1951-);
Lesley-Anne Down, British actress
(1954-); Gary Sinise, US actor
(1955-); Rob Lowe, US actor
(1964-); Billy Corgan, US rock
singer of Smashing Pumpkins fame (1967-);
Caroline Corr, Irish musician (1973-) .
“It is my rule never to lose me temper till
it would be detrimental to keep it. ” — Sean
O’Casey, Irish playwright (1880-1964).
“ Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my
cry; do not hold Your peace at my tears. For
I am Your passing guest, an alien, like all my
forebears.” — (Psalm 39.12).
5.30 this morning
a Dunollie house
crashed to the ground
in a heap of flames and rubble. It was the
second home in the district to be razed by fire
in the last 19 days.
The building which fell to the ground
this morning was sited in Herd Street and
was owned by Mr Creighton Harris, of
Greymouth. It was unoccupied at the time of
the disaster. Mr Harris had over recent weeks
been renovating the interior of the house with
a view to renting the property.
By the time the Runanga Fire Brigade
reached the scene the fire had a firm grip on
the home. The brigade’s activities were mainly
confined to stopping the fire from spreading.
The cause of the outbreak is not known
but police consider there are no suspicious
circumstances attached to the two fires.
The Dolphin, a fishing boat belonging to
Nelson Fisheries Ltd of Greymouth, was
almost set adrift yesterday. One line kept it
from swinging out into the river and being
Investigations yesterday revealed that the two
lines from the aft end of the boat had been
unfastened as had the two lines at the bow.
The spring used to control the vessel in surging
waters was also broken. The stern of the boat
was pointing out towards the river.
Commenting on the incident today, the
manager of Nelson Fisheries, Mr W A Boyd
said that had the boat been set adrift it would
have headed down the river to probable
disaster. Valued in excess of £12,000, the
trawler had a good deal of valuable equipment
on board, including a large number of crayfish
uFood for thought
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I am in Alberta, the province
that produces most of Canada’s
oil, and there is only one
question on everybody’s lips.
How long will the oil price
stay down? It has fallen by
more than half in the past
nine months — West Texas
intermediate is $48 per barrel
today — and further falls
are predicted for the coming
This hits jobs and government revenues
hard in big oil-producing centres like
Alberta, Texas and the British North
Sea, but its effects reach farther than
that. ‘Clean’ energy producers are
seeing demand for their solar panels
and windmills drop as oil gets more
competitive. Electric cars, which were
expected to make a major market
breakthrough this year, are losing out to
traditional gas-guzzlers that are now cheap
to run again.
Countries that have become too
dependent on oil revenues are in deep
trouble, like Russia (where the ruble has
lost half its value in six months) and
Venezuela. Countries like India, which
imports most of its oil, are getting a big
economic boost from the lower oil price.
So how long this goes on matters to a
great many people.
The answer may lie in two key numbers.
Saudi Arabia has $900 billion in cash
reser ves, so it can afford to keep the oil
price low for at least a couple of years.
The ‘frackers’ who have added four
million barrels a day to United States
oil production in the past five years (and
effectively flooded the market) already owe
an estimated $160 billion to the banks.
They will have to borrow a lot more to
stay in business while the oil price is low,
because almost none of them can make a
profit at the current price. Production costs
in the oil world are deep, dark secrets,
but nobody believes that oil produced by
hydraulic fracturing (fracking) comes in at
less than $60-$70 per barrel.
The real struggle is between the frackers
and Saudi Arabia, because the latter
is the ‘swing producer’ in Opec (the
Organisation of Petroleum-Exporting
Countries), the cartel that has dominated
the global oil market for the past 50 years.
All oil exporters want to keep the price
high, but Saudi Arabia was the one
Opec member that could and would cut
its production sharply for a while when
an over-supply of oil in the market was
driving prices down. It could afford to
do that because it has a relatively small
population, very large savings — and a
cost of production so low that it can make
some profit on its oil at almost any price.
But even the Saudis cannot work
miracles. They can aim for maximum
production or maximum price; they cannot
do both at the same time. Normally they
would cut production temporarily to get
the price back up. This time they refused to
cut production and let the price collapse,
despite the anguished pleas of some other
Opec members that need money now.
The Saudis are thinking strategically.
Opec controls about only 30% of world
oil production, which is a very low share
for a cartel that seeks to control the price.
If fracking continues to expand in the US,
then Opec ’s market share will fall even
further. So it has to drive the frackers out
of business now.
At first glance the Saudis look like
sure winners, because they can live with
low prices a lot longer than the deeply-
indebted frackers can. The banks that
have lent the frackers so much money
already will not get it back if the industry
implodes in a wave of bankruptcies, but
they do not want to throw good money
The real wild card here is the US
government, which wants the energy
independence that only more domestic
oil production through fracking can
provide. Will it let the American fracking
industry go under, or will it give it the loan
guarantees and direct subsidies that would
let it wait the Saudis out?
Stupid question. Of course it will do
what is necessary to save the fracking
industry. Ideology goes out the window
in a case like this: you can get bipartisan
support in Washington for protecting a
key American industry from unfair foreign
competition. That will certainly be enough
to keep the frackers in the game for
another two or three years.
Meanwhile, the Opec members
that depend on oil income to keep
large populations well fed and at least
marginally content (e.g. Iran, Nigeria and
Venezuela) will be facing massive public
protest, and possibly even the threat of
revolution. Their governments will be
putting huge pressure on Saudi Arabia
to save them by cutting production and
driving the price back up.
It is impossible to say how this game will
end, but it is pretty easy to say when. Two
years ought to do it. Once the outcome is
c lear, the price of oil will start going back
up no matter which side wins, but it will
go up relatively slowly. We are unlikely to
see $100-a -barrel oil again before 2020 at
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
How long will the oil stay cheap?
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Gimblett stresses the mantra
of the Museum of the
History of Polish Jews: “ This
is a museum celebrating
the lives of those who lived
in Poland for 1000 years. The Holocaust
was not the only chapter of Jewish life in
Poland, nor was it the end.”
The museum’s core exhibition opened last
October in what was regarded in Poland
as one of the biggest cultural events of the
The exhibition describes how closely
Jewish and Polish history were interlinked,
how strongly Jews shaped Polish culture,
economy and society and how diverse the
Jewish community of Poland once was.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is the museum’s
programme director. For the daughter
of Polish Jews who was born in Canada,
working with the museum was a return to
her roots. She has made Warsaw her new
home and aims to make the museum a
“ bridge between times and people”.
The location of the museum represents
both the diverse Jewish community and the
darkest chapter in the history of European
Jews: the Muranow neighbourhood was
the heart of pre-war Jewish Warsaw.
With more than 300,000 Jewish citizens,
who made up one-third of its inhabitants,
Warsaw had Europe’s largest Jewish
During the Nazi occupation, Muranow
became the centre of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Mila Street with the command bunker of
the ghetto fighters is just around the corner
from the museum, whose main entrance is
opposite the memorial to the heroes of the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
“The memorial tells about how they
died,” Kirshenblatt-Gimblett said.
“The museum tells about how they
Former Polish foreign minister Adam
Rotfeld describes the museum as unique.
“Nowhere else will we find such an
extraordinary and unforgettable exhibition.
There is no history of Jews in Europe
without Poland, just as there is no history
of Poland without the Jewish community,”
Marian Turski was among those who
campaigned for the museum for decades.
To see it finally open to the public was a
“ huge joy ” for the 88-year-old sur vivor of
“I hope young Poles will understand the
vast emptiness the Germans left behind
because of the Holocaust and that they will
learn empathy for those who are different,”
“And I hope young Jews (from Israel and
other countries) will realise that they do
not travel into a country that has become
a huge Jewish cemetery but that their
ancestors have left behind a rich heritage.”
Because of the destruction during
the war, the number of original objects
that can be exhibited is limited. Instead
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett decided to work
with multimedia installations.
The exhibition begins with the lives of
Jewish settlers and merchants in medieval
Poland after their escape from persecution
in Western Europe.
It moves to the ‘golden age’ when the
united kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
became the ‘paradise’ of the Jewish people,
granting them an amount of religious
tolerance that was unique in Europe.
One of the most impressive objects is
the wooden roof and bima of a synagogue
rebuilt with traditional tools. More than
400 volunteers from all over the world
helped recover the synagogue, which had
been destroyed during the war.
Now it is part of the exhibition displaying
the life of the ‘shtetl’, the small towns
where Jews formed 30 to 70% of the
The loss of 3 million Polish Jews who
once made up 10% of Poland’s population
becomes the topic of the part of the
exhibition called ‘annihilation’.
Where colours and sounds dominated
the previous part of the museum’s displays,
visitors in this section face narrow, sombre
corridors. Black and white photographs
and displays bring to mind wartime
The last chapter of the museum
exhibition describes the efforts to rebuild
Jewish life in Poland after the Holocaust
when survivors desperately, often in vain,
searched for friends and family.
It also tells about the pogroms and anti-
Semitism that caused most of the sur vivors
But things have changed, again. O ver the
past two decades, more and more Poles are
trying to rediscover their Jewish roots.
The Museum of the History of Polish
Jews aims to answer some of the questions
young Poles have about their country’s
Jewish past. It also tries to reach out to
those who have roots in Poland.
A website called ‘Stories of Polin’ is a
place where people from all over the world
can share family histories and memories of
Jewish life in Poland.
Dariusz Stola, the museum’s director,
hopes a visit to the museum will become
a part of the sightseeing programmes for
youth groups from Israel and the United
States who visit the former German death
camps in Poland to honour the victims of
“Poland is often perceived as the
cemetery of European Jews,” he said. “ We’d
like to show the history is still going on.”
Beyond the Holocaust
The Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland.
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