Home' Greymouth Star : June 26th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, June 26, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1284 - One hundred and thirty children in
the German city of Hamelin mysteriously
disappear. The reasons behind the event are
obscured by legend, including that of the Pied
Piper, who lured them away in revenge for not
being paid for clearing the town of rats.
1797 - First merino sheep lands in Australia
brought out by Henry Waterhouse and
1906 - First Grand Prix motor-race is held
over two days at Le Mans, France.
1941 - Finns side with Germans in attack
against Soviet Union, leading to three-year
1945 - Charter establishing United Nations
is signed in San Francisco by 50 nations.
1963 - US President John Kennedy visits
West Berlin, where he makes his
famous declaration: “Ich bin ein
Berliner” (I am a Berliner).
1977 - Elvis Presley performs his
final concert at Indianapolis; he died
two months later.
1989 - Soviet nuclear submarine
carrying atomic weapons is crippled
off the coast of Nor way when a pipe
bursts in its reactor.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Charles Messier, French astrologer (1730-
1817); George Morland, English artist
(1763-1804); Baron William Homson Kelvin,
English physicist (1824-1907); Robert Borden,
Canadian prime minister (1854-1937); Pearl
Buck, US novelist (1892-1973);
Wilhelm Messerschmitt, German
aircraft designer (1898-1978); Peter
Lorre, Hungarian actor (1904-1964);
Eleanor Parker, US actor (1922-
2013); June Bronhill, Australian
singer-actor (1929-2005); Georgie
Fame, English singer-musician
(1943-); Gary Gilmour, Australian
cricketer (1951-2014); Robert Davi, US Profiler
actor (1951-); Mick Jones, British singer of
The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite fame
(1955-); Chris Isaak, US singer (1956-); Chris
O’Donnell, US actor (1970-); Jai Taurima,
Australian Olympic long-jumper (1972-);
Gretchen Wilson, US country singer (1973-);
Jason Schwartzman, US actor (1980-); Urgyen
Trinley Dorje, Tibetan spiritual leader (1985-);
Irv Gotti, American record producer (1970-).
“ When a diplomat says yes, he means
perhaps; when he says perhaps, he means no;
when he says no, he is no diplomat.”
“ I am the Good Shepherd.” — John 10:11.
It is still unknown
whether the price of
beer will go up on the
West Coast or not.
Westland Breweries, the supplier of nearly all
hotels in Westland, has not yet made a decision
on changing its charges. Manager of Westland
Breweries, Mr J J O’Donnell said today he
had nothing to report and he could not say
when any decision was likely from his brewery.
Dominion Breweries announced yesterday it
would charge higher prices from today.
A penny a glass rise for most draught beers
and a threepence increase in the price of
flagons is the likely result to drinkers from the
recent decision of most breweries to increase
their charges for bulk beer to hotels.
Sportsmen start out in many strange ways.
Some have it easy, others must fight hard all
the way. ‘Mr Indoor Basketball’ as he was once
called, began the hard way; sliding along the
wooden floor of the old Fernhill roller skating
rink chasing an indoor basketball.
Better known as Doug Moore, he is the rock
on which the sport here rests. His has been the
hand which led Coast indoor basketball from
1948 to the present day, as president of the
local association for the entire 17 years. From
a small room at the back of his Tainui Street
menswear shop, Doug churns out material that
keeps indoor basketball throughout the Coast
His early association with the sport began at
the Fernhill skating rink, off Alexander Street
and gained momentum during the war in army
camps and in the Pacific islands. He learned a
lot from the Americans.
uFood for thought
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Common chemicals may be carcinogenic
ommon chemicals we
encounter every day
may combine in the
human body to cause the
development of cancer,
The startling findings from a task force
of around 174 scientists from 28 countries,
published this week, tackles long-standing
concerns that there are links between
mixtures of commonly encountered
chemicals and the development of cancer.
From the thousands of chemicals to
which people are routinely exposed,
the scientists selected 85 prototypic
chemicals that were not considered to
be carcinogenic to humans, and they
reviewed their effects against a long list of
mechanisms that are important for cancer
They found 50 of those chemicals
supported key cancer-related mechanisms
at levels which humans are regularly
The findings supported the idea that
chemicals may be capable of acting in
concert with one another to cause cancer,
even though low-level exposures to these
chemicals individually might not be
It was the first time the issue has ever
been considered by interdisciplinary teams
that could fully interpret the full spectrum
of cancer biology and incorporate what
is now known about low-dose chemical
“Since so many chemicals that are
unavoidable in the environment can
produce low-dose effects that are directly
related to carcinogenesis, the way we have
been testing chemicals, one at a time, is
really quite out of date,” study lead author
William Goodson III, a senior scientist at
the California Pacific Medical Centre in
San Francisco, said.
“Every day we are exposed to an
environmental chemical soup, so we
need testing that evaluates the effects of
our ongoing exposure to these chemical
Associate Professor Andrea ‘t Mannetje,
of Massey University’s Centre for
Public Health Research, said the
chemicals included in the review were
all very common and widespread in our
environment and diet.
“Exposure to very low levels of these
compounds cannot be avoided and also
New Zealanders are exposed to these in
their daily lives,” she said.
Some of these chemicals remained in
our environment and bodies for a very
long time, even long after the chemical is
“An example of that is the insecticide
DDT — a study we did showed that all
New Zealanders have detectable levels
of DDT compounds in their blood, even
though DDT has not been used in New
Zealand for several decades.”
Other pesticides were still widely used
in New Zealand, such as Diazinon, even
though in some cases other countries have
stopped using them, she said.
“Most chemicals do not stay in our
bodies for a long time, but we are
continuously exposed to them. ”
Dr ‘t Mannetje said triclosan, an
antiseptic agent used in many soaps, and
Bisphenol A, which could leach into food
from plastic that contained it, were both
known as endocrine disrupters.
“ We are currently conducting a study in
the general population to determine what
the body burdens of New Zealanders are
for these compounds. ”
The report, published in leading
journal Carcinogenesis, found
common assessment methods may be
“ underestimating cancer-related risks”.
In light of the new evidence, the task
force called for an increased emphasis
and support for research on low-dose
exposures to mixtures of environmental
Otago University reproductive biologist
Dr Linda Gulliver was the only New
Zealand scientist selected to join the so-
called Environmental Mixtures taskforce
which contributed to the study.
She was part of a team that looked at
one of the 10 established hallmarks of
cancer cells — their ability to grow and
multiply in an uncontrolled manner that is
prevented in normally functioning cells.
Her group found that chemicals that act
as environmental estrogens and androgens
played important roles in the activation
of the cancer hallmark of ‘sustained
proliferative signalling,’ as well as the
cross-activation of several of the other
Dr Gulliver told how present
assessment models employed globally
were based on the premise that higher
levels of chemicals had a worse effect,
which could mean a greater potential for
These models assumed a threshold exists
beyond which the chemical would start
producing it effects — up to a maximum
effect — yet in many of the chemicals
tested, low dose effects were seen and in
still more the threshold was unknown.
“ We therefore need a lot more research
— and the funding to drive it — on
low levels of chemical mixtures in the
environment and their potential for cancer
causation,” she said.
“This information can then be used
to derive better risk assessment models
that can test mixtures of chemicals at
environmentally relevant levels and
determine what combinations of chemicals
we may consider avoiding, and perhaps
manufacturers modifying the make up
of certain compounds to reflect more
accurate safety regulations.
“Occupational risk may also be revised
in light of us knowing more about the
chemical mixtures we are exposed to.”
Another member of the task force, Dr
David Carpenter, director of the Institute
for Health and the Environment of
the University at Albany in New York,
said our understanding of the issue was
“Although we know a lot about the
individual effects of chemicals, we know
very little about the combined and additive
effects of the many chemicals that we
encounter every day in the air, in our water
and in our food,” he said.
Current estimates suggested that as
many as one in five cancers may be due
to chemical exposures in the environment
that were not related to personal
lifestyle choices, making it vital to better
understand the effects of exposures to
mixtures of commonly encountered
Professor Ian Shaw, a toxicologist at
Canterbury University, said carcinogenesis
was a complex issue, and did not simply
involve a single mechanism.
“Carcinogens can work by many
different, often unrelated biochemical
mechanisms — some we probably don’t
We were, most definitely, exposed to a
cocktail of carcinogens, some of which
might work in concert by affecting cells
in such a way that their effects add up, he
Yet not all carcinogens were additive,
because some might work by mechanisms
that are not additive.
“This idea is not new — chemicals that
mimic hormones have long been thought
to work in cocktails — this is because
they all work by the same, or related,
“Applying the concept to carcinogens is
not world shattering, but it is good that
a group of researchers have taken the
time and huge effort necessary to present
evidence in support of the additivity
— N Z ME- New Zealand Herald
“Every day we are exposed to an environmental chemical soup, so we need testing that evaluates the effects of our ongoing exposure to these chemical mixtures.” — William
Presidential hopefuls play middle-class card
Do not call Chris Christie rich. The
Clintons say they still have bills to pay.
And Mike Huckabee? Despite his wealth,
he was born “blue collar, not blue blood.”
Touting one’s humble beginnings has
been part of United States presidential
contenders’ playbook going back to
Abraham Lincoln’s talk of his log cabin
youth. But the 2016 hopefuls are working
harder than ever to convince voters they
are just like them.
In burnishing their working- and
middle-class credentials the hopefuls are
following a shift in the political debate
from jobs and a fragile economic recovery
during the 2012 campaign to one now
centered on income inequality.
That reflects a deepening sense that seven
years after the Great Recession any gains
have gone to the wealthy, while millions of
Americans continue to struggle.
“The divide between the governing elite
and the voters has never been so big,” said
David Carney, a New Hampshire-based
Most of today ’s presidential candidates,
he noted, come from privileged
backgrounds, leaving them open to
criticism that they can not relate to the
money worries of so many families.
John Weaver, a former adviser to 2008
Republican nominee John McCain, said
candidates understand that.
“ Wide swathes of the country,
geographically and demographically, have
been left behind. Politicians are clever
enough to figure that out.”
Many respondents in polls say a
candidate’s wealth would influence how
they vote. The number of those who say
they would be much less or somewhat
less likely to support a “very wealthy”
presidential candidate rose to 42% in
March 2015 from 39% in November 2012.
To be sure, Americans have elected
plenty of rich presidents, such as John F
Kennedy in 1960.
Tim Albrecht, a Republican strategist
from Iowa, calls the current phenomenon
of candidates playing down their wealth
“the Romney effect.”
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican
nominee, often came across as distant or
indifferent, a factor in his general election
loss. The $250 million fortune he amassed
as a co-founder of private equity firm Bain
Capital did not help.
With a crowded field — at least 12
Republican hopefuls have declared so far
— e ve n just a few percentage points could
separate front runners from also rans,
making it crucial to appeal to as many
people as possible.
Thus the humble roots card from many
candidates, even if most are still among
the wealthiest Americans.
While many of them skew quite wealthy
— s uch as former Hewlett-Packard chief
executive Carly Fiorina, worth about
$59m — a few have more modest nest
eggs, such as Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker, whose most recent financial
disclosure suggests a net worth that is
perhaps in the tens of thousands, but is
possibly even negative.
The humbler-than-thou game
nonetheless favours candidates such as
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who often
talks of his Cuban immigrant parents, his
father a bartender, his mother a maid, and
his own student debt. It is no coincidence
that reforming student loans is one of his
His net worth was $443,509 in 2013,
according to the Centre for Responsive
Politics, a non-profit group that tracks
money in US politics.
Walker often talks about penny pinching,
bragging in New Hampshire this year
that he once stacked so many coupons
and discounts that he bought a sweater at
discount department store Kohl’s for $1.
His disclosure for the 2014 calendar year
shows a modest range of assets.
At the other end of the spectrum are
Republicans Fiorina and former Florida
Governor Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary
They are most vulnerable to criticism
that they are out of touch not just because
of their considerable personal wealth but
also because of their association with
powerful political families.
Clinton’s husband, former President
Bill Clinton, was ridiculed when he
said recently he would keep giving paid
speeches as she runs for office to “pay our
He charges well into the hundreds of
thousands of dollars for his speeches. The
couple have earned more than $25m for
speeches since 2014 alone.
Hillary Clinton appears acutely aware
that Republican opponents and others
could make her wealth an issue in the
campaign. At her first rally, Clinton talked
about her mother’s childhood: lacking
food as a child, working as a housemaid in
Bush, the scion of a wealthy family, has
earned millions since stepping down as
governor, including $3.2m in board fees
and stock grants, the New York Times
reported in 2014. He has so far avoided
discussing the issue on the trail.
Jesse Rhodes, a professor of political
science at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst, said deepening economic
inequality in the United States has been
accompanied by more frequent and more
positive references to class by politicians.
Rhodes co-authored a recent paper that
analysed party materials going back to the
1952 campaign and showed a rising use of
terms such as lower, working, or middle-
Fiorina has also pushed back against
being tagged as elite.
She has often talked about working as a
secretary in a small real estate firm early
in her career, rather than her wealth or her
Stanford University education.
According to a recent Federal Election
Commission disclosure, she and her
husband are worth around $59m.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says
he does not consider himself a wealthy
man. According to tax documents released
by his office, he and his wife made almost
$700,000 in 2013.
Mike Huckabee, the former governor
of Arkansas, talks of being born “ blue
collar, not blue blood. ” Nevertheless, he
is now reportedly worth seven figures,
in part thanks to a contract at Fox News
reportedly worth $500,000 per year.
“Governor Huckabee is the son of
a small town firefighter from Hope,
Arkansas. The governor worked
numerous, full-time jobs to put
himself through school,” a Huckabee
spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, said when
asked whether voters might perceive
him as unable to relate to their everyday
A review of candidacy kick-off speeches
from 2012 and 2016 candidates shows
a marked shift: In the current crop of
speeches, not only do more hopefuls talk
about their own or their parents’ working-
c lass backgrounds, they spend considerably
more time on those subjects.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, for
example, this year talked about his
mother’s “working class family” and his
father starting out making 50c an hour as
Not all White House contenders feel
they need to play down their wealth.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump made
it a key plank of his election platform
when he announced his White House run
recently, boasting he had a net worth of
$8.7b and that he would use his billions to
fund his campaign.
“I’m really rich, I’ll tell you that,” he said.
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