Home' Greymouth Star : July 11th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, July 11, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1533 - Pope Clement VII excommunicates
England’s King Henry VIII.
1690 - D uring Britain’s Glorious Revolution,
King William III defeats the mostly Roman
Catholic English, Irish and French Jacobite
forces under James II at the battle of the Boyne.
1892 - US Patent Office decides J W Swan,
not Thomas Edison, is the inventor
of the electric light carbon for the
1929 - Firemen in Gillingham,
England plan to show off their
abilities by “rescuing” nine boys and
six firemen from a house. Instead of
using smoke bombs, they set fire to
the structure, and the 15 die.
1935 - Death of French army officer Alfred
Dreyfus, whose conviction on a false charge
of treason in 1894 became the centre of a
controversy that still troubles the French today.
1937 - Death of US composer George
1950 - Puppets Andy Pandy, Teddy and Looby
Loo first appear on BBC Television.
1989 - Death of Oscar-winning British actor
Laurence Olivier, aged 82.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Robert I the Bruce, Scottish king (1274-
1329); E B White, US author (1899-1985);
Gough Whitlam, 21st Australian prime
minister (1916-2014); Yul Brynner, Russian-
born actor (1920-1985); Nicolai
Gedda, Swedish operatic tenor
(1925-); Leon Spinks, former world
heavyweight boxing champion
(1953-); Richie Sambora, rock
guitarist of Bon Jovi fame (1959-);
Suzanne Vega, US singer (1959-);
Konstantinos Kenteris, Greek athlete
(1973-); Lil’ Kim, US rapper (1975-); Rachael
Taylor, Australian actress (1984-); Caroline
Wozniacki, Danish tennis player (1990-) .
“ You come into the world alone and you go
out of the world alone yet it seems to me you
are more alone while living than even going
and coming.” — Emily Carr, Canadian artist
and author (1871-1945).
“I am the Good Shepherd. ” — ( John 10:11).
There is more to
creating a thing of
beauty than just talent,
time and material.
It can lead a man into vice. That is exactly
what it did for a man with an international
photographic reputation, Cobden’s Mr George
Skeats. To get one of his winning pictures,
Mr Skeats had to smoke a whole packet of
cigarettes — as a bonus he got a migraine
“Not to worry,” says Mr Skeats, “it was worth
it.” And indeed it was, for Smoko not only
won the New Zealand Photographic Society’s
colour slide competition but has also been
hung in international salons.
Mr Skeats does not smoke but to get the
smoke in the picture authentically he had to
take up the habit. In 11 hours he smoked a full
pack, finally got the shot and then retired to his
sickbed to recover. He has not smoked since.
Reefton is to lose a landmark which has stood
on Broadway for almost 80 years. The building,
formerly the Buck’s Head Hotel, has been sold
and is now being demolished. A new building
for a Westport motor firm will be erected. It
will contain a showroom and spare parts depot.
The hotel lost its licence some years ago
when the Licensing Commission reduced the
number of hotels in the township. The late Mr
J Haisty was the last licensee and former well-
known holders of the licence were Mr and Mrs
J Beilby, who occupied the hotel in the 1890s
and early 1900s.
The new single storey building will make a
fine addition to the street as extensive use of
glass is to be made.
uFood for thought
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In theory, it could still
work. It only requires three
Maybe the resounding
“no” to the Eurozone’s
terms for a third bailout
in Sunday ’s referendum in
Greece (61% against) will
force the euro currency ’s
real managers, Germany
and France, to reconsider.
French President Francois Hollande is
already advocating a return to negotiations
Maybe the International Monetary Fund
will publicly urge the Eurozone’s leaders
to cancel more of Greece’s crushing load
of debt. Last week the IMF released a
report saying that Greece needed an extra
50 billion euros over three years to roll
over existing debt, and should be allowed
a 20-year grace period before making
any debt repayments. Even then, it said,
Greece’s debt was “ unsustainable”.
Maybe Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras will accept the terms he asked
Greek voters to reject in the referendum
if he can also get a commitment to a big
chunk of debt relief — say about 100b
euros, about a third of Greece’s total debt
— from the Euro Zone authorities and
the IMF. It is all theoretically possible. It
even makes good sense. But it will require
radically different behaviour from all the
Tsipras has already made one big gesture:
on the morning after the referendum
victory, he ditched his flamboyant finance
minister, Yanis Varoufakis. The hyper-
combative Varoufakis had needlessly
alienated every other Eurozone finance
minister with his scattergun abuse, and
it was hard to imagine him sitting down
with his opposite numbers again after
calling them all “terrorists” during the
The IMF ’s gesture was even bigger, if
much belated. It knew the Eurozone’s
strategy was wrong from the time of
the first bailout in 2010, and it is finally
getting ready to admit it.
Normally, when the IMF bails out a
country that is over its head in debt, it
insists on four things. There is always fiscal
consolidation (cutting spending, collecting
all the taxes, balancing the budget) and
“structural reform” (making labour markets
more flexible, ending subsidies, etc). All
the current Greece-Eurozone negotiations
have been about these issues. But the usual
IMF package also includes devaluation
and debt relief.
There was no debt relief at all in the
2010 bailout, and only private-sector
creditors were forced to take a “haircut ”
(about 30%) in the second bailout in
2012. Most of Greece’s debt was owed to
German and French banks, and that was
not touched. Indeed, 90% of the Eurozone
loans Greece has received go straight into
repaying European banks.
Greece’s debt is not decreased by
these transactions: it is just switched to
European official bodies including the
European Central Bank. So the Greeks
are getting no real help worth talking
about, and European taxpayers are getting
screwed to save European banks.
Why did the IMF not blow the whistle
on this long ago? Because it was not
taking the lead in these negotiations,
and after it took part in the 2010 bailout
anyway it was deeply embarrassed. It
had broken its own rules, and found it
hard to admit it. It was also aware that
devaluation, usually a key part of IMF
bailouts, is impossible for Greece unless
it actually leaves the Euro (which Greeks
desperately do not want to do).
So the usual post-bailout economic
recovery did not happen. O ver five years
Greece’s debt has increased by half, its
economy has shrunk by a quarter, and
unemployment has risen to 25% (50% for
young people). The referendum question
was deliberately obscure and misleading,
but most Greeks know that the current
approach simply is not working. That is
why they voted “no” in the referendum. It
was a valid choice.
If the Eurozone authorities know that
much of Greece’s debt can never be
repaid (which they do), why do they not
just give Greece the debt relief it needs?
Partly because Chancellor Angela Merkel
knows that her own German voters will
be angry at more “charity” funded by their
taxes, whereas they stay fairly quiet so long
as the debt is still on the books. Partly
because other Euro Zone countries would
see it as special treatment for Greece.
Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland have
also been through harrowing bailout
programmes, and are still making
proportionally bigger interest payments
on their debts than Greece. Some other
countries using the Euro — Estonia,
Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia — have
about the same GDP per capita as
Greece, and Latvia is even poorer. They
do not see why they should pay for
Greece’s folly in running up such huge
“I really hope that the Greek
government — if it wants to enter
negotiations again — will accept that the
other 18 member States of the Euro can
not just go along with an unconditional
haircut (debt write-off ),” Sigmar Gabriel,
Germany ’s vice-chancellor, said. “ How
could we then refuse it to other member
states? What would it mean for the
Eurozone if we did it? It would blow the
Euro Zone apart, for sure.”
So it really is not possible to predict
whether Tsipras and Greece will be
offered a better deal or not. It is equally
impossible to say what will happen to
the Euro “single currency ” if there is no
deal and Greece crashes out of the Euro
in the next couple of weeks, although the
Eurozone authorities insist that it could
weather the storm.
We do live in interesting times.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Greece and the Euro: what now?
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras applauds as he arrives to attend a debate on Greece at the European Parliament in
Has life ever thrown you a curve
ball? It came out of nowhere and so
unexpectedly! Sometimes it is not
the curve ball that surprises you,
but the feeling of utter despair and
disappointment that over whelms you.
You are left feeling challenged. You may
ask “why me?” and “where has this come
Now it is time to make a choice. You
can be destroyed by this cur ve ball or you
can choose to bounce back and hit that
ball for all it is worth. There is a saying
that goes, “ When life throws you a cur ve
ball, hit it out of the park”. It is not what
happens to you, it is how you respond to
what happens to you. You can either try
to work it out on your own, or you can
choose to turn to Jesus, the one who says
He will never leave you nor forsake
It says in Romans 15:13, “May the God
of hope fill you with joy and peace as you
trust in Him, so that you may overflow
with hope by the power of the Holy
Spirit”. In Him there is victory, joy,
peace and hope. When life throws you a
cur ve ball, turn to Jesus, let Him fight
the battle on your behalf, let Him give
you hope, peace, joy, victory and the
comfort to know you are not in this
When life throws you a curve ball
tanding on the freshly clipped
lawn outside Motown’s first
recording studio, an arts and
crafts-style house on West
Grand Boulevard in central
Detroit, I feel like a pilgrim
who has just disembarked in the Holy
Located in a residential neighbourhood
where every home has a front porch and
a car in the driveway, it was here that, in
1959, Berry Gordy Jr laid the foundations
for a music empire that would launch the
careers of The Supremes, Mar vin Gaye,
Stevie Wonder and — after signing the
Jackson 5 — an 11-year-old Michael
Hitsville USA, the name written
above the front door, has been faithfully
preser ved. There is the reception desk
once staffed by Martha Reeves (pre the
Vandellas), Berry Gordy’s bedroom (which
was often used by Mar vin Gaye as a crash
pad) and a vending machine with Baby
Ruth candy kept religiously in the fourth
column so “Little” Stevie Wonder knew
where his favourite sweets were.
The Motown Museum’s irrepressible
guide, a lady blessed with a voice that can
only come from singing in church, insists
we cannot leave until we have sung at least
one song from the Motown archives. We
dutifully comply, but it feels like sacrilege
cater wauling in a studio where they
churned out classics around the clock, day
after day, week after week.
It is no secret that Berry Gordy modelled
his record label on the car assembly
lines that he experienced firsthand at
the Lincoln-Mercury plant. You can not
grow up in Detroit and not have some
connection to the car industry. This is,
after all, Motor City.
It is home to the big three — Ford,
Chrysler and General Motors — and their
mark is visible throughout the city, from
the glass towers of the GM Renaissance
Centre to the Ford Field football stadium.
It is why the inexorable decline of
American car manufacturing since the
1980s has hit the city like a clean right
The most immediate effect of
this downturn was on blue-collar
neighbourhoods in Detroit ’s East and
West Side, as families who could afford
to left for the suburbs in a mass exodus.
As the property market nosedived, entire
streets of homes were abandoned, leaving
swathes of the city resembling Earth after
From 2000 to 2010, the population of
metropolitan Detroit plunged by 25% to
700,000. In July 2013, the city filed for
Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
And then, to everyone’s surprise, the city
recorded its first population increase in 60
It may be premature, but residents are
calling Detroit the comeback kid. Neo-
Gothic skyscrapers are being rehabilitated
from empty shells into loft apartments
and hip hotels. One of the newest to open,
the Aloft Detroit, in the 19-storey David
Whitney Building, boasting a spectacular
four-floor atrium, has given a second life
to what was one of the pillars of the city’s
Everywhere you turn there are signs of
a new wave of optimism. In the window
of the Guardian Building, a neon sign
reads “Nothing Stops Detroit ”. O ver
in Corktown, hip 20-somethings cycle
by in Detroit vs Everybody hoodies.
(The clothing label started by a young
entrepreneur was turned into a hip-
hop anthem by Detroit’s favourite son,
Eminem.) The buoyant mood has even
filtered down to the billboards. One for
T-Mobile reads, “A Strong City Needs a
Strong Data Network”.
In that most enduring of American
dreams, Detroit has become the land of
opportunity. Low rents, vacant properties
and a can-do attitude are transforming
a city from the brink of bankruptcy into
a hotbed of innovation and off-the-grid
thinking. It has become a magnet for
entrepreneurs and boasts the highest
concentration of commercial and
industrial designers in the United States.
The occupancy rate for property in the city
centre and Midtown is 98%.
The Saturday morning market at Eastern
Market, 1.5km north of the central
business district, amid graffiti-covered
meat warehouses, is the most obvious sign
of the city’s reinvigorated mojo.
Teeming with Detroiters and
suburbanites of all races and ethnicities,
this historic market stretches across five
‘sheds’. Two of them contain the farmers’
market, where spry and ruddy-faced food
producers sell everything from Michigan-
grown heirloom tomatoes to Detroit
Bold coffee. Another shed is an avenue of
blooming flowers and perennials.
Food trucks line up along Russell Street
ser ving mac and cheese, while outside
Bert ’s Market Place, a soul food restaurant
and music venue, ribs covered in smoky
sauce are gently cooking over hot coals.
Dotted around the market, Victorian
storefront buildings have been taken
over by galleries, delis, c lothes shops and
restaurants. Elsewhere, the Downtown
Detroit Bike Shop feeds the growing
enthusiasm for cycling, no minor
achievement in the birthplace of the
modern motor car.
Hand in hand with the renaissance of
Eastern Market has been the explosion
of a home-grown urban agriculture
movement. With as much as 30% of the
city’s 360 square kilometres left vacant at
one stage, urban and community gardens
have been cropping up all over the city.
There has even been talk of making
Detroit the world’s first food self-sufficient
In the west, not far from Ford’s
gargantuan River Rouge Complex, D-Town
Farm covers 2.8ha of city-owned parkland.
The project of Malik Yakini, a long-time
community activist, it grows organic collard
greens, dinosaur kale and carrots, and was
created to address the pressing issue of
‘food deserts’ for the African-American
community within Detroit ’s city limits.
D-Town Farm is open to visitors on
Saturday mornings in the summer, when it
sells its seasonal crops, and is just one of the
many urban farms that are creating jobs,
embellishing the landscape and generating
a palpable sense of community.
Similar examples of entrepreneurial flair
are evident throughout the city. Perhaps the
biggest success story of all is Shinola, the
watchmaker that capitalised on Detroit ’s
surplus of qualified engineers and now
produces 500,000 watches a year, each
branded Made In Detroit.
Shinola has a flagship store in Midtown
— all brushed steel and exposed brickwork
— which is soon to have a second tenant.
Musician Jack White of the White Stripes,
a man who famously left Detroit for
Nashville, has announced his homecoming
with a plan to open a record shop in
partnership with Shinola.
With all this new-found energy, it is
easy to forget about Detroit ’s historic
attractions, such as the Fisher Building, a
29-storey, marble-clad art deco building
commissioned by car entrepreneurs the
Fisher Brothers, and described as “Detroit ’s
largest art object ”.
On the subject of art, the Detroit
Institute of the Arts has a truly world-
class collection of ancient and modern art.
The jewel in the crown, though, is Diego
Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals, which
adorn the walls of the central court. The
Mexican artist painstakingly depicted the
Ford River Rouge Factory in a symphony
of blue-overalled workers — a 20th century
vision of William Blake’s satanic mills —
set jarringly against idyllic panels showing
In 1933, when Rivera was applying the
finishing touches to his mural, Detroit
was emerging from the Great Depression.
Today, back from the brink once again, it is
looking beyond cars to rebuild its future.
It was Henry Ford himself who said:
“ Failure is simply the opportunity to begin
again, this time more intelligently”. It is
a lesson Detroit has taken to heart as it
accelerates at warp-speed to a brighter,
smarter, greener tomorrow. — PA
Detroit at full throttle
People gather outside the famous Motown studio, in Detroit.
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