Home' Greymouth Star : July 21st 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, July 21, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1861 - The Confederate army defeats Union
troops at the Battle of Bull Run at the start of
the American Civil War.
1873 - Jesse James and his gang pull off the
first train robbery in the US, taking $3000 from
the Rock Island Express.
1920 - Sinn Fein and unions riot
in Belfast, Ireland.
1954 - An armistice is signed in
Geneva, dividing Vietnam into
a communist north and a US-
supported south as France surrenders
North Vietnam to the Communists.
1969 - US Apollo 11 astronauts
Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr blast off
from Moon and head back to Earth after man’s
first lunar landing.
1973 - France explodes nuclear device over
South Pacific island despite worldwide protests.
1974 - United States announces that Greece
and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in war on
island of Cyprus.
2000 - Bolivian drug trafficker, Roberto
Suarez Gomez, the self-proclaimed “King of
Cocaine”, dies at age 68. He is believed to
be the model for the acclaimed US movie
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Baron Paul Julius von Reuter, German-born
news ser vice pioneer (1816-1899);
Ernest Hemingway, US author
and Nobel laureate (1899-1961);
Marshall McLuhan, Canadian
media theorist (1911-1980); Isaac
Stern, Russian-born violinist
(1920-2001); Don Knotts, US actor
(1924-2006); Norman Jewison,
Canadian director (1926—); Yusuf Islam
(formerly Cat Stevens), British pop singer
(1948—); Robin Williams, US actor (1951-
2014); Josh Hartnett, US actor (1978—) .
“A good scare is worth more to a man
than good advice.” — Edgar Watson Howe,
American editor and author (1853-1937).
“ Blessed is anyone who endures temptation.”
— ( James 1:12).
Council’s engineer, Mr
W R Beyk may have
the solution to the
town’s potholes problem. Mr Beyk told
last night ’s meeting of the council that
patching of potholes generally was not
successful. “ This, in no respect, is the blame of
the patching gang but in my opinion is caused
by rain which washes out the emulsion used for
The engineer said that he had at one time
solved the problem by patching with plant mix,
but he pointed out that the purchase price,
though reasonable, was hard on any budget
by reason of long haul. He explained that the
plant mix is fabricated “hot ”. “ However there is
a way to produce a similar product ‘cold’ which
has proved successful,” he added.
Mr Beyk said he had instructed his staff to
produce plant mix in small quantity as a trial,
making use of existing plant.
Houses in the Mawheraiti-Ikamatua area
shook and residents were woken from their
sleep at 5am yesterday by what they believe was
an explosion. Residents said this morning that
houses shook and windows rattled with the
force of the explosion.
Curiously, the timing of the explosion
coincided with the sighting from Greymouth
by firemen and P and T workers of a burst of
light in the Mt Day area. Timing was accurate
because one resident looked at a clock and in
Greymouth the fire brigade had been called
out to a false alarm.
What was described as a “ blue light” was seen
by railwaymen yesterday morning travelling
in a north-easterly direction and disappearing
over Cobden hill just before dawn.
uFood for thought
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It is game, set
and match to the
Last week they
finally announced the
date of the general
election that was
once seen as the real
dawn of democracy
in Burma: November
8. But the army will
emerge as the winner
The political party that was created
to support the generals, the Union
Solidarity and Development Party, will
not win a majority of the seats in the
new parliament. Indeed, it may win very
few. But serving military officers will
still have 25% of the seats, in accordance
with the 2008 constitution (written by
the military), and that will be enough to
preserve military rule.
The spokesman of Burma’s president,
former General Thein Sein, tried to put a
positive spin on this in an interview last
month. “In the past the military was 100%
in control of the country,” he told Peter
Popham of The Independent. “ Today it is
only 25% in control.” But that is not true:
it is still 100% in control.
Those military officers (who wear their
uniforms in parliament and vote in a bloc
as the army high command decrees) will
continue to dominate politics, because
25% of the votes, according to that 2008
constitution, can block any changes to the
If they cannot find or buy enough allies
in parliament to muster a majority and
pass legislation the military wants, they
have a fall-back position. The constitution
still allows the military to simply suspend
the government and take over whenever
they like. Well, whenever they perceive a
“security threat ”, technically, but soldiers
are usually pretty good at doing that.
Two weeks ago the civilian parties in
parliament tried to change those parts
of the constitution. They also tried to
drop the clause that was written to
stop “Burma’s Mandela”, Nobel Peace
Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, from
becoming president. (She has two
sons with British passports, and the
constitution says that nobody with
“foreign” ties can be president).
The soldiers just used their 25%
blocking minority to reject all the
Aung San Suu Kyi now has until
Saturday to decide whether she will lead
her National League for Democracy into
the November elections, or boycott them
as she did in 2010. In principle, it should
not be a tough decision. Her party could
win by a landslide — indeed, it probably
would — but she still could not be
president, and any NLD-led government
would be permanently under threat of
removal by the generals if it challenged
When she was asked in a press
conference last year how the democracy
project was faring, she gave a one-word
answer: “Stalled”. In an interview in
April she put the blame squarely on
the countries that used to support her:
“I would just like to remind you that I
have been saying since 2012 that a bit of
healthy scepticism would be very, very
good, and that too many of our western
friends are too optimistic about the
democratisation process here.”
It is quite true that just the promise
of democratisation was enough to end
the long-standing Western economic
sanctions against Burma and unleash a
tidal wave of foreign investment in the
country. After 50 years of military rule
during which the soldiers got very rich,
Burma is the poorest country in South-
east Asia (it used to be the richest), but
it does have huge, mostly unexploited
So the foreign investors piled in and
the economy is being transformed, even
though the military is really still in charge.
But Suu Kyi has made some serious
errors too. She took the generals’ promises
seriously enough to let her party run in
by-elections in 2011, and even took a seat
in parliament herself. She undoubtedly
understood that it was a gamble, but
unfortunately it failed.
So now she has no practical alternative
to going down the road she chose in 2011;
taking part in the November elections
despite all the limitations on civilian
power, and working for change within the
military-designed system even though she
lends it credibility by her co-operation.
Aung San Suu Kyi used to be a symbolic
leader of great moral stature; now she is
a pragmatic politician who has to get her
hands dirty. It cannot feel good, but it was
inevitably going to end up more or less
like this if she ever made any progress in
her struggle to make Burma a democratic
country. She has made some progress, and
the military was inevitably going to push
back. The officers never thought she was
their friend or their ally.
The Burmese army has ruled the country
for 50 years, and it has done very well out
of it. It has won this round of the struggle,
but Burma is changing: all the foreign
influences coming in, all the new money,
and a more or less free press are creating
new dynamics in the society. Aung San
Suu Kyi is still in the game, and the game
is not over yet.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Burma: The generals win again
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a news conference after a vote for changes to the section of the constitution
that bars her from becoming president in Naypyitaw, Myanma.
helma and Louise could be
coming back from the cliff
for a 25-year reunion tour,
that is expected to include
arguably the film’s biggest
star, Brad Pitt.
Susan Sarandon, who played Louise in
Ridley Scott ’s 1991 road trip film, recently
dropped the hint that the cast are talking
about getting back together.
“ We’re talking about doing some sort
of reunion tour or something,” Sarandon
recently told Vulture.
But before they reunite, let us take a look
at the cast of the iconic movie to see what
has happened to them since Thelma and
Louise drove over that cliff.
Susan Sarandon — Louise
The 68-year-old actress played waitress
Louise in the film but even before this
major role she had made quite the name
for herself starring in The Rocky Horror
Picture Show (1975) The Witches of
Eastwick (1987) and Bull Durham (1988).
In the 1990s, her career continued to
thrive with parts in Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)
playing the mother to those March girls in
Little Women (1994) and then landing an
Oscar for her part in Dead Man Walking
(1995) co-starring Sean Penn.
Sarandon has had one of the most
enduring careers in Hollywood although
her career went a little wayward in the
early 2000s, including a role in the weak
rom-com Shall We Dance alongside
Richard Gere and J Lo in 2004.
But Sarandon found her stride again
as the evil Queen Narissa in Enchanted
(2007) alongside Amy Adams and as the
grandmother in tearjerker The Lovely
She currently has seven films in post-
production including Mothers Day,
which boasts a strong female cast that
includes Sharon Stone, Courtney Cox and
Geena Davis — Thelma
Hollywood had high hopes for Davis
after she played feisty housewife Thelma,
who Louise was forced to defend when a
man tried to rape her.
She had already won an Oscar for her
role in the Accidental Tourist in 1989.
Davis played baseball star, Dottie Hinson
in A League of Their Own (1992) and
she played a trained assassin in The Long
Kiss Goodnight alongside Samuel Jackson
in 1996 but then, in 1999, she ended
up playing the mum in children’s movie
She limped along after that with her
short lived tv show, The Geena Davis
Show and in two sequels to Stuart Little.
Her most recent high profile role has
been playing Dr Nicole Herman in long-
running medical drama Grey ’s Anatomy.
Brad Pitt — JD
Pitt was the wildcard in Thelma and
Louise, playing a lovable thief who slept
He managed to turn his minor role
in the film into an enduring career —
becoming one of Hollywood’s leading
Where does one even begin when talking
about the 51-year-old’s career?
He has played everything from a
vampire (Inter view with the Vampire)
to a modern-day rat-pack style thief in
the Ocean’s Eleven movies. He has also
notched up three Oscar nominations for
12 Monkeys, Moneyball and The Curious
Case of Benjamin Button.
Pitt has worked with Quentin Tarantino
in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and his
next project will be a labour of love: he will
star in By the Sea which was written and
directed by his superstar wife Angelina
Michael Madsen — Jimmy
Madsen played Louise’s long-suffering
boyfriend who just wanted her to come
A year after this role, he landed the role
of Mr Blonde in Q uentin Tarantino’s
Reser voir Dogs.
Tarantino asked the 56-year-old actor
back for a part in Kill Bill in 2003 which
is just as well as his career was floundering.
Kill Bill brought the cool back for
Madsen and he starred in Sin City (2005).
Tarantino has asked him back again for
his epic western due for release early next
year, The Hateful Eight.
Some of Madsen’s other notable credits
include Mulholland Falls (1996) and
Donnie Brasco (1997).
Har vey Keitel — Hal
Keitel is the police officer leading the
hunt for accused killers Thelma and
Louise and develops something of a soft
spot for these two women.
Keitel reunited with Madsen for
Quentin Tarantino’s Reser voir Dogs the
year after the iconic road trip movie, and
in 1993 he had a starring role alongside
Holly Hunter in The Piano.
Another Tarantino favourite, the director
brought him back to clean up John
Travolta’s mess in Pulp Fiction in 1994.
He also landed a role in From D usk Til
Dawn, starring a young George Clooney,
There have been some embarrassing roles
along the way for the 76-year-old. Playing
the devil in Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky
in 2000 did not do much for his cool-guy
He redeemed himself in Inglourious
Basterds in 2009 and is back in the good
books having played Ludwig in last year’s
Oscar winning The Grand Budapest
Keitel also starred alongside Kate
Winslet in the 1999 Jane Campion film
Christopher McDonald — Darryl
It was hard to like McDonald’s character
as Thelma’s unappreciative husband
As an actor, he had a few movie roles
in the 1990s. He was in Adam Sandler ’s
Happy Gilmore (1996) but has also
appeared in a long list of films that have
presumably shot straight to DVD.
Tv has been more of a safe haven for the
60-year-old. His most notable role was
in Boardwalk Empire but for the most
part his resume reads like a long list of
Stephen Tobolowsky — Max
He was an FBI agent in Thelma and
Louise who was not quite as patient with
the women as Keitel’s character, and
certainly not as likeable.
Tobolowsky may not have been the
leading man, and he may not have been
likeable, but he has built up a career as an
incredibly busy character actor.
The 64-year-old actor has been
in numerous films and tv shows —
Community, Glee, The Mindy Project
— but is perhaps best known for his
role as Ned in Groundhog Day (1993),
the insurance salesman who corners Bill
Murray’s character every morning.
He has about five films in post-
production proving that you do not have
to have Brad Pitt’s looks to land a job in
Where are they now?
Susan Sarandon, left, and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise.
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