Home' Greymouth Star : July 22nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1933 - US aviator Wiley Post completes first
solo aeroplane flight around the world in seven
days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.
1971 - Last US infantry units pull
out of South Vietnam’s northern
1973 - Soviet space probe begins
six-month journey toward Mars.
1981 - Extremist Mehmet Ali
Agca is sentenced in Rome to life in
prison for shooting Pope John Paul II.
1992 - Medellin drug cartel leader Pablo
Escobar slips past scores of guards at his luxury,
custom-built prison and walks to freedom. He
dies in a shootout with police the following year.
2003 - US forces attack a home in Mosul, Iraq,
killing former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s
two sons, Uday and Qusay.
2011 - A home-grown right-wing terrorist,
Anders Behring Breivik, sets off a car bomb
explosion that ripped open buildings in the
heart of Norway ’s government quarter in Oslo,
then goes to a summer camp dressed as a police
officer and guns down youths as they ran and
even swam for their lives. At least 77 people are
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edward Hopper, US painter
(1882-1967); Alexander Calder,
US sculptor (1898-1976); George
Clinton, US singer (1941—); Alex
Trebek, Canadian game show host
of Jeopardy (1940—); Danny Glover,
US actor (1947—); Willem Dafoe,
US actor (1955—); David Spade,
US actor/comedian (1964—); Rhys
Ifans, Welsh actor (1967—); Rufus Wainwright,
US-Canadian rock singer (1973—).
“ When fate hands us a lemon, let’s try to
make lemonade.” — Dale Carnegie, American
“ But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate
with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.”
— (1 John 2:1).
youth is at last
— in Greymouth at any rate. Last night
14 youths formed what has been called the
Ngatere Motor Cycle Club. The club has the
blessing of the Transport Department and any
youth with a motorcycle is eligible to join.
Secretary-treasurer of the club, Brian Kerr
said eventually teams would be entered in local
sporting competitions and social functions
would be conducted with the club’s own
dance band. At present they do not have a
The elected committee is Brian Kerr, Martin
Lees, Maurice Robinson, Thomas Wright and
John Waterson. Other members of the club are
Reg Dowse, Robert Blackstaff, Neil Hansen,
Jim Parkinson, Chris Blackstaff, Robin Moore,
Bruce Kerr, Adrian Hope and Selwyn Frewin.
In the vicintiy of 200 boys from the
Greymouth High School will be attending the
match between West Coast-Buller and the
Springboks next Tuesday. This was disclosed
at last night ’s meeting of the West Coast
Rugby Union. Accompanying them will be 11
Representative for secondary schools, Mr
O’Neil said it had been thought there would
be 400 boys attending and since only 800 seats
were available for all the schoolchildren, girls
were not included.
Now pupils, including girls, wishing to attend
individually would be let out of school at
Mr F McEnaney said it seemed a pity, for it
appeared that town schoolchildren only would
be seeing the Springboks, and none of the
uFood for thought
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Lizbeth Diaz and David Alire Garcia
n Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s
home town, some thought they
were dreaming and others shed
tears of joy when they heard
the drug lord had broken out of
Mexico’s top maximum security
prison through a tunnel built into his cell.
A picturesque, agricultural backwater
in the foothills of the Sierra Madre
mountains of north-western Mexico,
Badiraguato has been the breeding ground
for some of the world’s most notorious —
and successful — drug traffickers.
Above them all stands ‘El Chapo’, or
‘Shorty’, whose second escape from prison
a week ago humiliated President Enrique
Pena Nieto and utterly exposed the limits
of the Federal government ’s power.
From the “El Chapo” roast chicken
restaurant by the main square to the
words of local officials, the presence of
the gang boss locals refer to as “El Viejon”
— The Old Man — hangs over the
400-year-old town that lives, breathes and
Yet even here, Guzman’s latest escapade
“There was a sense of surprise among
the people of Badiraguato, but also one
of joy. Let’s put it like this: ‘Look, El
Chapo gave them the slip, it ’s totally
bad ass’,” said the mayor Mario Alfonso
Valenzuela, a member of Pena Nieto’s
ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party,
“I thought I was dreaming, it seemed
impossible to me.”
Extending into rugged hillsides, where
living conditions can be very basic, the
municipality of around 32,000 people
officially has a 75% poverty rate.
But the town itself, lying in a
valley flanked by lush green hills, has
conspicuous signs of wealth such as
gated villas, new cars and a recently built
At least half of Badiraguato’s population
cultivate marijuana, Valenzuela said, the
same trade Guzman plied as a poor boy
in the sierra with his father long before he
became so rich that Forbes magazine put
him on its list of billionaires.
Small wonder then that some hoping to
follow his footsteps were deeply affected
by El Chapo’s breakout of Altiplano
prison in central Mexico some 17 months
after he was arrested.
“The honest truth is, when I found out
about it, I got drunk for three days, and I
tell you I cried, I’m not ashamed to say it.
He helps you, he gives you a job, and you
can make a lot of money,” said 15-year-
old Roberto, a marijuana planter.
“As he would say, ‘Money makes up for
who you aren’t.’”
Blessed with some of Mexico’s richest
soils, Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa
became a major producer of marijuana
in the early 1900s, and later opium and
heroin, after Chinese migrants fleeing
political unrest brought poppy seeds
across the Pacific.
Getting a start in the business is not
hard, said Roberto.
“If you want to grow, they give you
everything, and I mean everything: the
seeds you plant and your radio because
up in the hills, cellphones don’t work,” he
Poppy cultivation here was once
encouraged by the United States to supply
soldiers with painkillers like morphine
during World War Two and the Vietnam
War, Raul Benitez, a security expert at
the National Autonomous University of
But with United States President
Richard Nixon’s declaration of a war on
drugs, the business went underground,
setting the scene for gang rivalries
and conflicts that have claimed tens of
thousands of lives in Mexico over the past
In Badiraguato, the deadly rules of the
game are no secret.
“ You look at it like a job,” said Juan
Carlos, a 22-year-old selling trinkets
outside the mayor’s office, who said he
had once worked as a hit man for as much
as 200,000 pesos ($12,600) per job. “ You
think they ’re bad, people who are going
to kill other innocent people. And sure, at
times you do regret it.”
Pick-up trucks and quad bikes bristling
with masked gunmen ride through town,
and paid lookouts constantly scan the
plaza for unfamiliar faces.
Instead of criticising him, a local
policeman suggested Guzman is one of
the few people capable of bringing order
“It ’s the south that ’s a mess,” he said,
speaking at a check point going into town.
“He (Guzman) needs to be on the outside
to sort the mess out.”
There is certainly evidence that
Badiraguato’s kingpins are tougher or
sharper than their rivals.
Of the 24 capos at the top of the
Mexican government ’s wanted list in
2009, all but three are now dead or in jail.
The three still at large were all born in
the hills around Badiraguato: Guzman,
58, and his Sinaloa Cartel allies, Ismael
“El Mayo” Zambada and Juan Jose
Esparragoza, alias “El Azul”, both now
well into their sixties.
El Chapo’s mother still lives in the
Guzman family ranch of La Tuna a few
miles out of Badiraguato, and mayor
Valenzuela noted that he and many other
members of the local community had
met her, describing her as very kind and
Years ago, Guzman paid for the town’s
electricity supply, contracting yellow
helicopters to help put in staging posts,
said a municipal official, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
Valenzuela demurred, saying
Badiraguato does not have public works
paid for by Guzman or his colleagues.
“As a government we don’t depend
on him, not the government nor the
population,” he said. “Sure, there’s a chain
(of people) who depend on his businesses,
but he’s no Robin Hood.”
Drug lord’s home town
Vehicles drive along a street in the municipality of Badiraguato, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. In Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s home town, some thought they were
dreaming and others shed tears of joy when they heard the drug lord had broken out of Mexico’s top maximum security prison through a tunnel built into his cell.
of the Dannevirke News
Yesterday was the anniversary of an
aviation mystery which has gripped the
Dannevirke district for 80 years.
In 1935, Hamish Armstrong and his
plane vanished on a flight from Akitio to
Hastings and his body has still not been
found. For Dannevirke’s Ken Mills, the
mystery surrounding the disappearance
of Mr Armstrong, who was flying his
Gypsy Moth ZK-ABM, has a personal
connection. “ My father was a close friend
of Hamish and was probably the last
person to speak to him before that flight,”
he told the Dannevirke News.
“Hamish had rung Dad to see what the
weather was like. Apparently, my father
told him the weather didn’t look good
and advised him not to fly that day.”
Mr Mills’s father had overseen work on
the engine of the Gypsy Moth and also
took part in the search for the plane and
Mr Armstrong had taken off from
Akitio on July 21, 1935, at 9.45am and
was considered an experienced pilot. It
is now believed an easterly drift carried
him off his course to Hastings — a
flight which should have taken about 50
It appears Mr Armstrong made a
forced landing on the western side of the
Ruahine Ranges, behind Wakarara.
An extensive 15-day search for him
and his plane covered a wide area, with
20 planes, including a 1929 Gypsy
Moth now owned by Hastings pilot Jan
Chisum, which flew into Dannevirke in
June as part of the dawn raid, involved,
along with ground searchers.
The search area ranged from Woodville
to Waikaremoana, taking in the Ruahine
Ranges, the Kawekas and Ureweras,
as well as the coastline from Mahia to
Akitio — 9000 square miles of territory.
During the search, planes few 45,000
miles, with the 32 pilots clocking up 394
Once news an aeroplane was missing
became widespread, there were many
conflicting reports of its whereabouts
which had to be investigated.
C Hunter and J Hartgill of Akitio,
along with M Smith of Dannevirke
and Humphrey Bailey of Wairoa and
S Robinson of Hatuma helped by
investigating the truth of more than 120
reports and rumours. People did report
hearing a plane flying above the clouds at
Hatuma at 10.10am which was likely to
have been Mr Armstrong.
The unsung heroes during the early
days of the search were the Takapau
Country Women’s Institute members
who supplied the food for the pilots. Mr
Mills’s file on the search details the hours,
the names of the pilots and the aero
clubs involved, including the Ruahine
Aero Club and the Royal New Zealand
Air Force. But after 10 days of fruitless
searching, a memorial service was held at
Akitio for Mr Armstrong.
Two days later, when the weather
cleared, wreaths were dropped over
the Ruahine Ranges on behalf of the
Armstrong family and employees of
Akitio and Glenora stations.
What they did not know was the green
and silver plane was lying, partially buried
by snow not far from the spot where the
wreaths were dropped.
On Sunday, August 4, the plane
was found on what is now known as
Armstrong Saddle by a group of Napier
trampers. It appeared Armstrong had full
control of the Moth when it landed as the
undercarriage was relatively undamaged,
as was the fuselage. It was thought he
was quite possibly uninjured. A suitcase
was found in the back of the plane,
but no trace of his needed glasses. No
message had been left with the plane and
Armstrong’s walking boots were also with
The plane’s compass was also found to
be in working order. Air investigator G R
White reported: “It appeared to me that
the pilot had made a stalled landing nose
first into the hillside.”
Finding the plane rekindled hope of
finding Armstrong alive and ground
parties began searching again, including
Dannevirke’s Alex and Jack Coldstream,
who traversed the ranges from Hawke’s
Bay to the King Country. Alex
Coldstream said Mr Armstrong would
have had a hard walk in front of him
with the snow deep and thick around
the downed plane, with 6m drifts in the
However, 80 years on, the fate of Hamish
Armstrong, the sports-loving bachelor
from Akitio, remains a mystery.
The Gypsy Moth flown by Hamish Armstrong, from Akitio on July 21, 1935, found
by trampers on August 4, 1935 western side of the Ruahine Ranges, behind Wakarara.
The 1929 Gypsy Moth owned by Jan Chisum of Hastings took part in the search 80
Aviation crash still a mystery 80 years on
The search for extraterrestrial life received
a major boost overnight with the launch
of an ambitious $152 million programme,
backed by famed physicist Stephen
Hawking and tech billionaire Yuri Milner.
Combining unprecedented computing
capacity with the world’s most powerful
telescopes, Hawking and the Russian-born
Milner seek to intensify the so far fruitless
search for life beyond the planet Earth.
It is a coordinated plan to use the
latest scientific methods to solve one of
mankind’s enduring riddles: Are we
Hawking, who speaks using a computer-
generated voice due to the effects of motor
neuron disease, explained the reason for the
project: “ We are alive. We are intelligent.
We must know.”
Milner said the power of Silicon Valley
technology and innovation would be used.
“The scope of our search will be
unprecedented: a million nearby stars,
the galactic centre, the entire plane of the
Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies.”
Organisers say the “Breakthrough
Initiatives” project, also endorsed by other
prominent British scientists, is the biggest
ever scientific search for alien life. It
includes a “ listening” program “ the effort
to analyse vast amounts of radio signals in
search of signs of life “ and a “messaging”
programme that will include $1.5 million
in prizes for digital messages that best
represent the planet Earth.
The messages will not be sent, however,
in part because some scientists “including
Hawking” fear messages sent into space
could possibly spur aggressive actions by
It will be supported by the 100m Robert
C Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West
Virginia in the United States and the 64m
Parkes Telescope in New South Wales,
In addition, the Lick Observatory in
California will conduct a deeper-than-ever
search for optical laser transmissions.
It will make use of SETI@home, a
University of California, Berkeley project
that uses some 9m volunteers throughout
the world who donate computer power to
search astronomical data for signs of life.
Milner said the search will be entirely
transparent and will rely on open-source
software so findings can be shared
throughout the world.
“O ur approach to data will be open and
taking advantage of the problem-solving
power of social networks,” he said.
The researchers say the focused
computing power and the use of some of
the world’s most powerful telescopes will
allow them to collect in one day the same
amount of data that would have taken one
year to collect before the programme began.
Milner plans to back the programme for
at least 10 years although scientists agree it
may take longer to find proof that alien life
Hawking said the new programme should
succeed because it has ample resources:
access to time on major telescopes, a huge
data capacity, and a long-term financial
commitment that will not be withdrawn.
“If a search of this sophistication finds no
proof, that is an interesting result,” he said.
“It will not prove that we are alone but it
will narrow the possibilities and it is likely
to produce data that is fascinating in its
Based on new information about the
number of other worlds where life could
have taken hold it is “quite likely” humans
are not alone, he said.
“There is no bigger question,” Hawking
said. “It is time to commit to finding the
answer to search for life beyond Earth.”
Hawking to look for extraterrestrial life
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