Home' Greymouth Star : May 28th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, May 28, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1849 - Death of Anne Bronte, English
novelist and sister of Charlotte and Emily.
1902 - The Boers surrender in South Africa,
ending the Boer War.
1929 - The first all-colour talking picture, On
with the Show, opens in New York.
1934 - World’s first-known
sur viving quintuplets, Annette,
Cecile, Emilie, Marie and Yvonne
Dionne, are born on the family’s
farm near Callander, Ontario.
1937 - Neville Chamberlain
becomes prime minister of Britain.
1961 - Paris-Bucharest Orient
Express train makes final trip after 78 years.
1971 - Soviet Union launches spacecraft
toward planet Mars, containing the first capsules
to land on the planet.
1972 - Former King Edward VIII, who in
1936 after abdicating to marry American
divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson, dies aged 77.
1982 - In the Falklands war, British troops
recapture Port Dar win and Goose Green from
the Argentine army.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
George I, British monarch (1660-1727);
Joseph Ignace Guillotin, French physician
and advocate of humane capital punishment
(1738-1814); William Pitt the Younger,
English statesman (1759-1806); Ian Fleming,
British writer (1908-1964); Patrick
White, Australian author (1912-
1990); Carroll Baker, US actor
(1931-); Gladys Knight, US singer
(1944-); Rudy Giuliani, former
mayor of New York City (1944-);
John Fogerty, US singer (1945-);
Sondra Locke, US actor (1947-);
Jeff Fenech, Australian boxer (1964-); Kylie
Minogue, Australian singer-actress (1968-);
Mark Feehily, Irish musician, Westlife (1980-).
“All the troubles of man come from his not
knowing how to sit still.” — Blaise Pascal,
French philosopher (1623-1662).
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever
you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
— (1 Corinthians 10.31).
The violent explosion
which killed two
seamen on the collier
Kokiri on March 13
was “most probably” caused by a spark which
ignited trapped coal gas in the mast house.
Counsel for the superintendent of Mercantile
Marine submitted this at the formal inquiry
into the explosion which opened today. When
a leading seaman turned the switch of a winch,
a contactor switch in the mast house was
thought to have caused a spark which ignited
the gas and caused a violent explosion.
One man, able seaman Scanlon was killed
and another, ordinary seaman Ronald Walton,
of Greymouth, was lost overboard, presumed
drowned. Mr Savage said the purpose of
the inquiry was to ascertain the cause of the
casualty and to prevent future casualties, either
by punishment of negligence or the remedying
of faults that may have existed in the ship’s
navigation or management.
Swiftly following press reports of cod
dumping by Greymouth fishermen, came
the announcement last night that Watties
Canneries is interested in setting up a fish
canning factory on the West Coast.
Within a week, two articles originating in
the Greymouth Evening Star have received
wide publicioty. The articles deal with promised
finance for independent fishermen for the
purchase of new boats and equipment and the
dumping of “thousands of tons” of red cod by
local fishermen because of the lack of a New
Zealand market for the fish.
It was unlikey that the Wattie proposal would
damage local interests as the canned fish would
almost certainly be for export only.
uFood for thought
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The latest Roy Morgan poll has cast
a deep pall of gloom over all three
Opposition parties. Among Labour
supporters, however, a growing sense of
utter futility is palpable. Support for the
party has crashed back to the abysmal
figures of election night. Barely a quarter
of the adult population is willing to
identify Labour as their first electoral
The corollary to Opposition gloom is, of
course, Government elation. With the Roy
Morgan poll showing National on 54%,
who can blame its MPs and supporters
for breaking out the bubbly? Remember,
this latest poll was conducted when
Amanda Bailey ’s ponytail was dominating
the headlines. Did it damage the Prime
Minister’s reputation (as so many of
John Key ’s enemies were hoping)? Not
appreciably. ‘ Teflon John’ continues to shine.
About the same time as Roy Morgan’s
callers were working the phones, Sir
Michael Cullen and the NZ Fabian
Society were attempting to rally Labour’s
dejected troops with a presentation
entitled, rather hopefully, Destination:
Next Progressive Majority. Arriving at that
destination, Sir Michael says, will depend
on whether Labour is able to re-present
itself as the party of choice, aspiration,
responsibility and national pride.
For that re-presentation to work, Sir
Michael stresses, Labour must re-connect
emotionally with the electorate. “ Policies
can be a means to this”, the former Labour
finance minister says, “ but rarely the most
important means. ” In saying this, Sir
Michael is echoing the advice of Lynton
Crosby — the man who, earlier this
month, won the British general election
for the Conser vative Party. Policy matters,
Crosby says, only inasmuch as it expresses
the less tangible and more visceral reasons
for supporting one political party over
“This is Key ’s huge strength,” Sir
Michael obser ves. “He has enormous
emotional connection with voters. The
sloppy language we like to make fun of is
the language most people speak, not like
university lecturers like Helen, Steve and
I. The casualness to turn things aside, not
important, at the end of the day. ”
It is National’s huge strength, as well,
because there is no other politician in the
Government ’s ranks who connects with
the ordinary New Zealand voter in the
manner of John Key.
It is here, on the question of leadership,
that Sir Michael’s other wise sober and
sensible analysis falters.
In order to sell a Labour Party based
on choice, aspiration, responsibility and
national pride; a credible, likeable (and
because, historically, Labour is coming off
such a low base) a frankly inspirational
leader is required. Someone with a
personality powerful enough to rekindle
the love Labour lost in the 1980s and
1990s — and only fleetingly recovered
in the early noughties. Someone capable
of sparking-up the old flame. And, more
than this, someone fresh and fascinating
enough to attract and hold the attention
of Generations X, Y and Z. Someone to
warrant a selfie — and a vote.
Does this sound like Andrew Little?
Does it sound like anyone in Labour’s
post-2014 caucus? If the answer is no,
then, even with Sir Michael’s sage advice,
the party’s in a pretty pickle. It has tried,
four times, to pick a winner: twice by
the judgment of the caucus alone; twice
according to the judgment of the whole
party. Every single one of them failed to
fire. Whoever heard of fifth time lucky?
Something has to be done, however, or,
like Sir Keith Holyoake, the New Zealand
political leader he so closely resembles, the
Prime Minister will lead his party to its
fourth consecutive election victory.
To prevent that from happening, Labour
is going to have to take a leaf out of
campaign maestro Crosby’s playbook. It
is going to have to learn to listen to its
pollsters and heed their focus groups.
Not to discover what the public wants,
and then give it back to them as Labour
Party policy; but to learn which lines
of argument work, and which do not.
Democratic politics is not about giving
the people what they want, it is about
persuading the people that they want what
you want. “ When in doubt,” Crosby says,
“stand for something. ” Then, he might
have added, convince a majority of voters
to stand with you.
If Labour cannot find a leader to do that
for them, then, for God’s sake, let them
hire a campaign manager who can.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing political
Labour still not connecting with the electorate
ticky plaque gets the most
attention, but now healthy
seniors at risk of Alzheimer’s
are letting scientists peek into
their brains to see if another
culprit is lurking.
No one knows what actually causes
Alzheimer’s, but the suspects are its two
hallmarks — the gunky amyloid in those
brain plaques or tangles of a protein
named tau that clog dying brain cells. New
imaging can spot those tangles in living
brains, providing a chance to finally better
understand what triggers dementia.
Now researchers are adding tau brain
scans to an ambitious study that is testing
if an experimental drug might help healthy
but at-risk people stave off Alzheimer’s.
Whether that medication works or not, it
is the first drug study where scientists can
track how both of Alzheimer’s signature
markers begin building up in older adults
before memory ever slips.
“The combination of amyloid and tau
is really the toxic duo,” predicted Dr
Reisa Sperling of Boston’s Brigham and
Women’s Hospital and Har vard Medical
School, who is leading the so-called A4
study, which is enrolling participants in
the United States, Australia and Canada.
“ To see it in life is really striking.”
The A4 study — it stands for Anti-
Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic
Alzheimer’s — aims to enroll 1000 healthy
seniors like Judith Chase Gilbert, 77. The
recently retired government worker is
mentally sharp but learned through the
study that her brain harbours amyloid
buildup that might increase her risk.
Last week, researchers slid Gilbert into
a doughnut-shaped PET scanner as she
became one of the first study participants
to also have their brains scanned for tau.
“ We know that tau starts entering the
picture at some point, and we do not
know when. We do not know how that
interaction happens. We should know,”
said chief science officer Maria Carrillo
of the Alzheimer’s Association, which
is pushing to add tau scans to other
dementia research, too.
More than 35 million people worldwide
have Alzheimer’s or similar dementias.
Those numbers are expected to rise rapidly
as the baby boomers get older. There is no
good treatment. Today ’s medications only
temporarily ease symptoms and attempts
at new drugs, mostly
targeted at sticky amyloid,
have failed in recent years.
Maybe that ’s because
treatment did not start
early enough. Scientists
now think Alzheimer’s
begins quietly ravaging
the brain more than a
decade before symptoms
appear, much like heart
disease is triggered by
buildup. Brain scans show
many healthy older adults
quietly harbour those
sticky amyloid plaques,
not a guarantee that they ’ll
eventually get Alzheimer’s
but an increased risk.
Yet more recent research,
including a large autopsy
study from the Mayo
Clinic, suggests that
Alzheimer’s other bad
actor “that tangle-forming
tau protein” also plays
a big role. The newest
theory: Amyloid sparks a
smoldering risk, but later
spread of toxic tau speeds
the brain destruction.
Normal tau acts sort
of like railway tracks to
help ner ve cells transport
food and other molecules.
But in Alzheimer’s,
the protein’s strands
collapse into tangles and
eventually the cell dies.
Most healthy people
have a small amount of
dysfunctional tau in one
part of the brain by their
70s, Sperling said. But
amyloid plaques somehow
encourage this bad tau
to spread toward the
brain’s memory centre, she
The A4 study may give
some clues. The goal is to
check up to 500 people for tau three times
over the three-year study, as researchers
tease out when and how it forms in those
who are still healthy. They will not be
told the results — scientists do not know
enough yet about what the scans portend.
At the same time, study participants
will receive either an experimental
anti-amyloid drug, Eli Lilly and Co’s
solanezumab, or a placebo as researchers
track their memory. The $140 million
study is funded by the National
Institutes of Health, Lilly and others; the
Alzheimer’s Association helped fund the
addition of the tau scans.
The idea: If the drug proves to be helpful,
it might be tamping down amyloid
formation that in turn reins in toxic tau.
In previous studies, solanezumab failed to
help full-blown Alzheimer’s but appeared
to slow mental decline in patients with
mild disease, raising interest in testing the
still healthy. — New Zealand Herald
Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born architect,
has designed a futuristic addition to
the Oxford University campus: a cur vy
bridge building for Saint Antony ’s
College’s Middle East Centre that was
The 1127-square-metre structure,
which connects two existing Victorian
premises, will house the centre’s archive,
library and 118-seat lecture theatre.
$17 million cost has been covered by
Investcorp, an investment company
which will give its name to the building
and was founded in 1982 by Iraqi-born
financier Nemir Kirdar.
Hadid in 2004 became the first
woman to win the Pritzker Architecture
Prize. Eight years later, having
completed the Aquatics Centre for the
London 2012 Olympic Games, she
was made a Dame Commander of the
Order of the British Empire.
Oxford University’s Middle East
Centre was founded in 1957 to enable
research on the modern Middle East:
the Arab world, Iran, Israel and Turkey
from the 19th century to the present
Explaining her decision to take on
the commission, Hadid recalled that
she was born in Iraq, and that it was
therefore “an honour” for her to design
“The Middle East Centre’s work
encourages discourse and debate,” she
said, adding that it also contributes to a
“greater understanding of the region”.
The Centre’s United States. -born
director Eugene Rogan said that when
an architectural model of the building
was first revealed to alumni, many
objected that the design did not look
Middle Eastern. They were expecting
domes and geometric patterns typical
of the region’s historic architecture, he
The new building “looks like the
Middle East of the 21st century, so why
should we be lagging behind the region
we study?” Rogan said.
scholarly community — in what we
commission as is the current trend in
the region itself.” Rogan pointed out
that Hadid built a great deal in the
Gulf and elsewhere in the modern-day
He said he had approached her after
previous plans by an O xford-based
architectural practice were ‘shot down’
for conser vation reasons by the Council:
the edifice would have blocked the
green spaces between buildings.
Hadid’s design, too, was ‘divisive,’ he
said. Some councillors determined to
preser ve the ‘ Victorian, leafy character’
of the area ‘thought it was the wrong
They were narrowly out-voted, Rogan
said. — Reuters
Futuristic addition to Oxford
Peeking into brains
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