Home' Greymouth Star : August 10th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, August 10, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1675 - Foundation stone of the Royal
Obser vatory is laid at Greenwich in south
London by order of King Charles II.
1842 - L ord Ashley ’s Mine Act prevents
women and children under 10 from working
underground in Britain.
1885 - First commercially
operated electrical tram begins
operation in Baltimore.
1897 - A young researcher at
German chemical firm Bayer,
Felix Hoffman, first synthesises
acetylsalicylic acid, aspirin’s active
1904 - Japan’s Navy cripples Russian fleet off
1914 - France declares war on Austria-
Hungary at start of World War One.
1945 - Japan offers to surrender in World
War Two if Emperor Hirohito is permitted to
keep his throne.
1969 - Leno and Rosemary LaBianca are
murdered in their Los Angeles home by
members of Charles Manson’s cult, the day
after actress Sharon Tate and four other people
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Herbert Hoover, US president (1874-1964);
Eddie Fisher, US singer (1928-2010); Bobby
Hatfield, US singer (1940-2003); Ian Anderson
( Jethro Tull), Scottish pop singer-
musician (1947-); Rosanna
Arquette, US actress (1959-);
Antonio Banderas, Spanish actor
(1960-); Jon Farriss, rock musician
with INXS (1961-); Michael Bivins,
US singer-producer (1968-); Angie
Harmon, US actress (1972-); Devon
Aoki, Japanese-American actress (1982-), Ari
Boyland, New Zealand actor (1987-), Kylie
Jenner, American model (1997-).
“Literature is news that stays news.” — Ezra
Pound, American poet-critic (1885-1972).
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and
har vest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day
and night will never cease. ” — (Genesis 8:22).
bus, carrying the
School’s First XV
rugby team slid on ice and crashed into a
bank on the Rahu Saddle on Saturday night.
Though shaken, the driver and passengers
escaped injury. Extensive damage occurred
to the vehilce’s structure and gearbox. The
bus managed to get back on to the road and
travelled to Greymouth at a crawling pace,
arriving at its destination 181⁄2 hours after its
departure from Invercargill.
Nevertheless the visiting team failed to show
any repercussions following its ordeal and
deser vedly beat the Greymouth Marist School
First XV 11-8 at Rugby Park.
As a sequel to a road accident between
Greymouth and Runanga on Saturday night,
Kevin Francis Holling, 21, of Ngahere, was
admitted to the Greymouth Hospital with
concussion and scalp lacerations. He ran off the
road at Coal Creek.
His condition today was reported as
satisfactory. The car was wrecked.
Young Taylor ville cyclist Tom Hartill
climaxed a most successful road cycling season
on Saturday. He recorded both the junior and
senior fastest times in the Gorge Road premier
race at Timaru. The race, which draws a big
field every year, attracted 51 riders from South
Island centres. He rode from the three and a
half minute mark to head both scratch and
break for fastest time honours.
Hartill rode strongly throughout to be placed
third, just 50 yards behind the first pair home.
His time, 1hr 50min 59sec earned him both
the senior and junior ribbons.
uFood for thought
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decade after Hurricane
Katrina, New Orleans
seems to have found its
rhythm again: the French
Quarter is choked with
cranes tower over the skyline, and
hipsters bike to cafes in gentrifying
But recovery has been uneven in the city,
which took the brunt of the 2005 storm
that killed more than 1800 people and was
the costliest in United States history.
Many properties still bear physical scars
from the hurricane, particularly in poorer
African-American neighbourhoods. Social,
demographic and political changes still
ripple through the city.
In the mostly black Lower Ninth Ward,
devastated by the flooding, Charles Brown
is still attending ser vices in his pastor’s
nearly empty living room, waiting for
the day when Mount Nebo Bible Baptist
Church is rebuilt.
The black population of the city, long
a hub of African-American culture, has
plummeted since August 29, 2005, the day
Katrina swept in from the Gulf of Mexico
and overwhelmed the levees meant to
prevent flooding in the low-lying city.
Income gaps between blacks and whites
have widened. Many African-American
neighbourhoods and the businesses
supporting them have not fully recovered.
Brown’s family and neighbours were
among more than one million evacuated
from the region after Katrina, which
exposed deep poverty in the city, and
displaced more people than any other
event since the dust bowl drought and dust
storms of the 1930s.
Brown, an emergency responder, stayed
behind to search for the missing.
“ We should have made so much more
progress,” said the 55-year-old Brown
in an inter view before a series of events
the city is planning this month to mark
the storm’s 10th anniversary. “I don’t see
anything to celebrate.”
The population of New Orleans is now
about 385,000, according to US census
figures from 2014, representing about 80%
of its pre-Katrina population.
The number of African-Americans
has plunged by nearly 100,000 since the
storm, while there are now about 10,000
fewer white residents, according to Census
figures and the Data Centre, a local non-
profit tracking demographic and economic
Before the hurricane, African-Americans
comprised 67% of the population. By 2014,
that dwindled to 60%, the census reported.
Orleans Parish, which has the same
boundaries as the city of New Orleans, is
the only county or parish in the United
States with at least 4500 African-
Americans that experienced such a steep
decline between 2000 and 2010, an
analysis found, based on the census counts
before and after Katrina.
Some of the black population moved
out to the suburbs, the data centre notes,
and some gradually are moving back.
Every year since 2010, the city’s African-
American population has increased, adding
on average several thousand residents.
Yet some who came back say they live
in a different New Orleans. Tracie L
Washington, director of the non-profit
Louisiana Justice Institute, returned to
New Orleans after evacuating. Today she
says something feels off in the city.
She compares it to a missed beat in
the brass band parades, called second
lines, that weave through its traditionally
African-American neighbourhoods on
“I’m just one of the sur vivors,” she said.
“There shouldn’t be so few.”
The scale of the exodus reveals itself
clearly in the Lower Ninth, one of the
only communities that has fewer than half
as many residents as it did a decade ago.
Boarded-up windows, caved-in roofs and
overgrown lots are common sights.
Lower-income households in this
neighbourhood and others were
particularly disrupted by the loss of
a relative or neighbour to provide
transportation to see a doctor, or help
“That was a very unique piece of the
fabric of New Orleans,” said Erika
McConduit-Diggs, president of the Urban
League of Greater New Orleans, which
advocates for African-Americans and
other underser ved groups. “ What Katrina
did was break down a lot of those social
networks, and I think that has also had an
impact on our recovery.”
With the shifting composition of its
electorate, post-Katrina New Orleans has
elected, at various points, a majority-white
city council, a white district attorney and a
white mayor, which had not been seen in
“That was something that no one ever
would have thought would happen,” said
Edward Cher venak, director of the Sur vey
Research Centre at the University of New
Orleans. “ The politics changed.”
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has not given
up on bringing more people home. He is
planning trips this month to Atlanta and
Houston, where many of the displaced
relocated, a city official said. He can tout
new medical facilities and schools that
have been overhauled as signs that New
Orleans is rising again after a long decline.
Yet the income gap between black and
white residents has widened, according
to the local Urban League. In 2013, the
median income for African-American
households in New Orleans was
$25,102, compared to $60,553 for white
households. The disparity has increased by
37% since 2005, according to figures from
the Urban League.
“The folks who are benefiting from
the most positive trends are the white
community, whereas the African-
American community by and large has not
benefited in the same way,” said Allison
Plyer, chief demographer at the Data
Among those who left and still want to
go home is Philoraine Skipper, who was
rescued from a second-storey window
when floodwaters engulfed her house.
She was evacuated to the Superdome
arena, where she was reunited with her two
daughters, and eventually went with family
to Oklahoma, where she still lives.
“ We will be coming back,” said the
69-year-old, choking back tears as
she described her long and unplanned
departure, and her excitement visiting New
Orleans this week to continue her house
repairs. “ This is home.” — Reuters
New Orleans, 10-years on
A man walks past an abandoned building in the Upper Ninth Ward neighbourhood of New Orleans.
Richard Prosser MP
The plight of Solid Energy is a near-
perfect example of everything that is wrong
with free market economic ideology and
There is something fundamentally
irrational about a government insisting
that its own business entities should adhere
to the dictates of disproven theoretical
economics, putting people out of work and
destroying generations worth of taxpayer
investment in the process.
It is bordering on insanity for this
National Government to require Solid
Energy to continue paying dividends, in
the face of world coal prices, when this is
our own company and our own coal we are
We are spending foreign exchange
reser ves, to import natural gas to run the
Huntly power station, when the station sits
on top of a coalfield.
We are spending foreign exchange
reser ves, to import poor quality steel on
the cheap from places like China, while
at the same time we are closing mines
that produce high-grade coking coal,
and exporting ironsand, despite having a
perfectly good steel refinery at Glenbrook.
We are spending foreign exchange
reser ves, to buy ready-made diesel from
Singapore and D ubai, when we have 400
years’ worth of lignite sitting underground
in Southland — lignite that could be
turned into diesel tomorrow, if the
government only had any forward vision,
common sense, or a concern for the well-
being of New Zealanders and our economic
Solid Energy is too big, too important,
too vital to the economy of New Zealand
and the West Coast, for it to be allowed
to fail simply because some ridiculous and
disproven economic theory, designed by
the benefit of
It is our coal,
it is our mining
company, it is
and we have
a use for the
The regions are hurting. You would have
thought National had learned its lesson
from Northland, but perhaps not.
This National Government ’s response
to Solid Energy’s current situation will
show clearly and beyond question who it
is they are actually working for — New
Zealanders, or foreign interests.
We have said before that government
needs to step in and absolutely ensure
that Solid Energy continues working, by
whatever means are necessary.
Free market stupidity is not the answer to
Solid Energy’s current situation. Economic
Richard Prosser is a New Zealand
Solid Energy victim of free market ideology
Could you wipe yourself from the web?
A New Zealand researcher has, together
with researchers from Germany, developed
software that could, within seconds, allow
Google and ser vice providers alike to
remove someone’s personal information on
The technology could have a clear benefit
for European citizens, who, thanks to a
landmark court ruling, are now free to
ask Google to take down reputation-
damaging material about them on the
search engine’s European indexes.
Unfortunately for New Zealanders who
would rather they did not exist on-line,
the same right does not apply here.
Google has evaluated more than one
million links sent by Europeans since the
European Court of Justice last year forced
the internet giant to comply with EU
privacy laws that held up the “right to be
While this created a huge back-log for
Google’s take-down team, which had
to sort through them and validate them
on a case-by-case basis, Dr Muhammad
Rizwan Asghar, a lecturer at the University
of Auckland, and his collaborators Milivoj
Simeonovski and others, from Saarland
University and MPI-SWS in Germany,
have offered a speedy solution.
Their prototype software, O blivion, can
automatically locate and tag their personal
information on the web using text and
image recognition, before checking the
web pages the user wants to remove and
tagging the relevant references.
Once the tagged pages are sent to
Google, the company can automatically
confirm the details match with those in
the article and provide an “ownership
token” that is submitted to the takedown
Dr Asghar said a test had shown
Oblivion could churn through 278
take-down requests per second — and
this work-rate could be much higher if
performed on a computer more powerful
than a laptop.
“So we are semi-automating the
process — we can do it without manual
inspection,” he said.
“Milivoj is now working with some
research assistants to develop something
that could be used in reality.”
Once completed, he said, the researchers
would like to offer the technology to
Google - if the company had not already
developed its own capability.
But as far as New Zealanders are
concerned, the potential for such software
here was much more limited than in
“As a New Zealander, you can request
that an article about you is removed from
the index in the EU, but for Google
New Zealand and for Google.com,
it’s still going to be there,” technology
commentator Peter Griffin said.
“There’s no way at the moment to
request that Google take something off
the New Zealand index — you have to go
to the internet provider, or the blog host,
or the newspaper publisher and have it
“I think what we’ll get — and this is
what these guys are making easier — are
better ways to interact with the tech giants
to get stuff taken down, and part of that
will be the new cyber-bullying legislation.”
Part of the new Harmful Digital
Communications Act allowed people to
easily and quickly request the removal of
But Mr Griffin said this would apply
more to bullying, threats and attacks
rather than just information that might
affect someone’s reputation.
Three ways to minimise your on-line
Consider how much personal
information you give: If a website asks for
information about you, you have a choice
about what information you provide.
Read website privacy notices: If a
website has a privacy notice this may
give the purpose for collecting personal
Adjust your browser settings to control
the collection of information: Behind the
scenes, websites can collect information
about your browsing habits through the
(Source: Office of the New Zealand
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
Could you wipe yourself from the web?
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