Home' Greymouth Star : December 10th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, December 10, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to email@example.com
uLetters to the editor
1520 - Martin Luther publicly burns the
Papal Bull excommunicating him from Roman
1845 - The first pneumatic tyres are patented
by British civil engineer Robert
1868 - The world’s first traffic
lights begin operation off L ondon’s
1896 - Alfred Nobel, Swedish
industrialist and inventor of
dynamite, dies. He used his wealth to
found the Nobel prizes.
1899 - British forces are defeated by the Boers
at Stromberg, South Africa.
11936 - King Edward VIII of Britain
abdicates with the intention of marrying
American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
1941 - Japanese planes sink the British
battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales.
1967 - Otis Redding, one of the most
influential soul singers of the 1960s, is killed in a
plane crash in Wisconsin.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Ada King Lovelace, English mathematician
and world’s first computer programmer (1815-
1852); Emily Dickinson, US poet
(1830-1886); Rumer Godden,
British author (1907-1986);
Dorothy Lamour, US actress-
entertainer (1914-1996); Tommy
Kirk, US actor (1941-); Susan
Dey, US actress (1952-); Kenneth
Branagh, British director
(1960-); Meg White, US rock musician (1974-
); Summer Phoenix, American actress (1978-).
“I dislike arguments of any kind. They are
always vulgar, and often convincing.”
— Oscar Wilde, Irish poet, dramatist, author
“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took
place in this way. When His mother Mary had
been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived
together, she was found to be with child from
the Holy Spirit.” — (Matthew 1:18).
Though at least
Blaketown soul is
taking a stand and
steadfastly refusing to buy a licence for his
recently-acquired television set, he is likely to
be the loser in the end. Neither the law nor the
Post Office regulations sustain his contention
that he is not liable for a licence while the
NZBC is not supplying him with a reasonable
picture and sound.
Yesterday the man said he had sought a legal
opinion and been advised not to license his
new television set. However, a legal opinion
sought by the Greymouth Evening Star this
morning expressed a contrary view. Once a set
is purchased and capable of receiving a signal it
is required to be licensed.
The Blaketown resident holds that the
NZBC lives off the licence fees which it
collects on the West Coast but fails to fulfil its
part of the ‘contract ’ by providing the area with
reliable television coverage.
The annual parade of St John Ambulance
Association members on the West Coast was
held at Blackball on Saturday night at the
Miners’ Hall. About 150 members from various
divisions in the district attended the cabaret-
style evening, where items were given by local
and visiting artists.
It was the first time the annual inspection was
held in Blackball.
Common advice from a doctor is to take on a
hobby, and Greymouth medico Dr W A Bird
followed this prescription in no mean way. On
Sunday at Cashmere Bay, Te Kinga, the result
of months of work was launched — an 18ft
Dr Bird built the craft by himself and largely
in his backyard.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Judith Collins is to be congratulated.
There are very few western nations in
which a parliamentarian hauling as much
baggage as Ms Collins would be given a
second chance. When did ours become the
country that awards the average politician
more lives than the average cat?
Is no one surprised that Ms Collins’s
rehabilitation is so unsurprising. Is no
one asking: why was not her treatment of
Justice Binnie; her decision to allow Serco
into the New Zealand prison system;
her fraught dealings with the Oravida
company; and her friendship with the
highly controversial blogger Cameron
Slater enough — more than enough — to
rule out a return to the cabinet table?
The answer lies with, and in, us — the
New Zealand electorate. Our steady
disengagement from the political process
(in which we were once among the
world’s most enthusiastic participants)
has been accompanied, and justified, by
the widely-held belief that politics has
become an almost entirely disreputable
profession. Those who enter it are greeted
with a knowing cynicism — as if both the
voter and the politician have entered into
a secret agreement that nothing good will
ever come from the latter’s intentions and
In practical terms, this means it is the
honest and principled politicians who
attract the most scathing condemnation.
Such people have clearly failed to
understand their job description, which
demands only a show of decency — and
not even that if the politician’s indecent
objectives can be achieved swiftly,
decisively — and with ostentatious
As Freddy Gray wrote recently in the
British magazine The Spectator: “ What
strange people we Brits are. We spend
years moaning that our politicians are
cynical opportunists who don’t stand for
anything. Then along comes an opposition
leader who has principles — and appears
to stick by them even when it makes him
unpopular — and he is dismissed as a
Not that the Brits have “strange” all
to themselves. When David Cunliffe,
having heard the statistics on domestic
violence and met with some of its victims
at the Women’s Refuge charity’s annual
conference, told his audience that it
made him “feel sorry for being a man”
— a n ot unreasonable admission in the
circumstances — he was universally
pilloried. The New Zealand electorate
does not appreciate that sort of raw and
unmediated political honesty.
Ms Collins, a shrewd Auckland lawyer,
would never make such a fundamental
error. She knows what New Zealanders
expect of their politicians — and she gives
it to them good and strong.
Critics accuse her of arrogance, but
a heaped helping of self-importance
has been de rigueur for National Party
politicians ever since the days of Robert
Others accuse Ms Collins of being
unable to differentiate private from public
responsibilities. But those who believe that
all politicians are venal and self-ser ving
remain completely unfazed by such
The same applies to the Serco contract.
Sure, the company has a less than
stellar international reputation. Yes, it
is determined to make incarceration
profitable. But — so what? That is what
capitalism does, and it is unreasonable to
ask capitalist politicians to do other wise.
But, surely, it is the duty of the Prime
Minister to uphold the highest standards
of behaviour in public office? Regardless
of the low esteem in which many citizens
hold their political representatives, should
not the Prime Minister do everything
within his power to elevate the public
expectations of his government?
John Key knows better than to attempt
such a risky project. Improving the average
citizen’s opinion of politics and politicians
must, of necessity, involve reversing that
secret agreement between the leaders and
the led. Instead of endorsing the public’s
withering contempt for the political
process, Mr Key would be forced to
contradict it. Instead of validating the
unspoken assumption that the system
is rotten and immutable, he would have
to redefine politics as the best way of
improving the lives of ordinary people.
In conveying these messages to the
electorate, the Prime Minister would, of
course, also be asking them to assume
responsibility for holding him and his
ministers to account. He would be inviting
them to apply a consistent moral code
to the conduct of all politicians, and
imposing the duty of taking action to
reprimand and/or punish all those who
break that code. In short, he would be
demanding they behave like virtuous
‘Crusher’ Collins would roll him before
you could say “democracy ”.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
The secret political agreement
n increasing number
women around the
world are travelling to
Iraq and Syria, believed
to be supporting Isis or
becoming jihadi brides.
Yesterday Security Intelligence Ser vices
(SIS) director Rebecca Kitteridge said the
spy agency had seen New Zealand women
making the journey.
They were “presumably” going to Iraq
and Syria to be “jihadi brides”, Prime
Minister John Key said, although he
admitted it was difficult to know for
certain what the women did once they got
inside the countries.
“ Whether they are going to fight or
whether they are going to support other
fighters is not clear, but it is a real concern
that they would go at all,” he said.
So what is a jihadi bride, and how big is
Q: What are jihadi brides?
A: Women or teenagers who travel to
Syria and Iraq to marry and support Isis
Q: How many women have travelled to
Syria to join Isis?
A: It is believed more than 550 western
women have left their homes to join Isis
fighters in Syria. Women from the United
States, Britain, Australia, Austria and now
New Zealand are among those who have
made the journey.
It is not known how many New Zealand
woman have travelled to Syria and Iraq in
support of Isis. Ms Kitteridge would not
provide an exact figure yesterday, but said
the number was less than a dozen.
Q: What makes them join?
A: The young women become attracted
to what the Institute for Strategic
Dialogue has called a jihadi, girl-power
sub-culture. Their teen rebellion played
out through a radical religiosity, which
questions the world around them. Some
have said they left as a way of “taking
control of your destiny ”, to make their
own choice, and walk away from an
immoral society they see as sexualising
girls from an early age.
They are often wooed on-line by Isis
fighters in Syria, who build relationships
with the impressionable teenagers,
complimenting them, sometimes
sending gifts, and making them believe
they are in love with them. They boast
about their lifestyle, c laiming Isis is not
how it is portrayed in western media.
They encourage the girls to adopt more
conser vative interpretations of Islam, and
eventually to make the journey to Syria.
But Isis has also proven adept at
appealing to different women, using ‘girl-
to-girl’ recruitment strategies to encourage
other women to join the caliphate — such
as Scottish woman Aqsa Mahmood, who
left Glasgow in November 2013 and is
now considered one of the most active
recruiters of young British women to Isis.
Q: Who is targeted by Isis to join?
A: Many of the women who travel are
single and young, research groups say,
typically in their teens or early 20s — the
youngest known was just 13. They differ
in terms of socio-economic background,
ethnicity and nationality, but are often
more educated and studious than their
In general, Ms Kitteridge said the
kind of people who were at risk of being
radicalised may have problems in their
life, were not “your average person who
is going out to work, or happily married
or raising their kids”. They would be
disengaged in some way with productive
life, she said. But significantly, they came
from a range of ages and backgrounds.
Q: What is life like for the women who
A: While the men tend to become
fighters, less is known about the western
women who join Isis. It is believed they
are banned from combat, and are there to
support the group’s state-building efforts
as wives, mothers, and recruiters.
However, blogs and social media
accounts have given a glimpse of what life
is like for the women who travel to Syria.
While some posts are about the banal
details of life — bad cellphone reception,
bad shampoo and poor quality beauty
salons — other comments complain
about malicious gossip, being pestered
by Isis fighters to remarry after their
husbands die in battle, while others pose
with guns in front of Isis flags and openly
show their support for violence.
Earlier this year, in photographs posted
to a Twitter account believed to belong
to Melbourne woman Zehra D uman,
several women are pictured standing
under an Isis flag, leaning against a clean
white BMW M5, wielding machine guns
and dressed from head to toe in black
However, other women tell a different
story, describing the men of Isis as
“monsters”. Yazidi women have previously
spoken out about being sold as sex slaves
and raped multiple times a day, abused
on a regular basis, including being tied
up and gang-raped and burned with
Researchers say life on the ground does
not match the romanticised propaganda
espoused on-line. A common theme is
around a lack of health care, particular
Q: Are they free to leave?
A: Ms Kitteridge would not comment
yesterday on whether any of the New
Zealand woman who made the journey
had returned, but said the SIS would “of
course ... maintain an interest in those
people” if they did.
The agency was concerned about the
women and what they were doing in the
war zone, she said.
“There would be really significant
concerns about what they are being
exposed to, the conditions that they are,
their ability to get away if they want to or
how heavily radicalised or exposed to acts
of barbarism they might be seeing.”
There are fears that some widowed
women will return to their home
countries radicalised and tasked with
carrying out jihad for Isis.
Life under control of Isis fighters is
difficult to leave, with widows pressured
into remarrying, others isolated from the
families they left behind. Two Austrian
teens, Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina
Selimovic, 15, who ran away to Syria are
reportedly now dead.
However, some women have escaped
the Isis’ clutches, and then rescued by aid
groups. — New Zealand Herald
Why become a Jihadi bride?
For many, fear of the dentist ’s drill can
see them leave their check up until it is
But now those afraid of the dentist ’s
chair have something to smile about:
dentists have found a drill-free way of
And by following a few simple steps,
tooth rot can be stopped in its tracks
and even reversed without the patient
ever needing a filling.
In a world-first study, researchers
found that by combining regular
application of a protective varnish with
thorough brushing and a healthy diet,
the need for fillings was cut by up to
Traditionally dentists faced with
a decaying tooth will “drill and fill”,
cutting out the rot before it eats
through the enamel and forms a cavity,
before restoring the tooth with filling
material. This is done in the belief it
is best to repair the tooth before the
damage gets too bad.
But the seven-year project by
Australian researchers suggests there is
no need to act so quickly. With early-
stage decay taking four to eight years
to eat into the tooth, there is plenty
of time for the rot to be halted in its
Led by Professor Wendell Evans, the
team tracked the dental health of 900
patients at almost 20 practices.
Half were treated as normal and half
with the Caries Management System
devised by the professor.
For these patients, instead of filling
teeth that were starting to decay, the
dentist instead applied a high-strength
fluoride varnish to their surface.
Patients were then told to brush twice
daily with a fluoride toothpaste and to
avoid sugary snacks and drinks.
Those who followed these steps found
decay was stopped and even reversed,
teeth hardened and the need for filling
was cut dramatically.
Professor Evans, of the University of
Sydney, said: “This research signals the
need for a major shift in the way tooth
decay is managed by dentists.
“O ur study shows that a preventative
approach has major benefits compared
to current practice. For a long time
it was believed that tooth decay was
a rapidly progressive phenomenon
and the best way to manage it was to
identify early decay and remove it.
“ However, 50 years of research studies
have shown ... it takes an average of
four to eight years for decay to progress
from the tooth’s outer layer to the inner
“That is plenty of time for the decay
to be detected and treated before it
becomes a cavity and requires a filling. ”
Commenting on the study, Professor
Damien Walmsley of the British Dental
“The study is interesting because
it confirms ... that tooth decay is a
preventable disease and highlights the
simple steps that everyone can take to
reduce their risk of developing decay
and therefore avoid the need for fillings
altogether.” — New Zealand Herald
Why you can stop fearing
the dentist ’s chair
Links Archive December 9th 2015 December 11th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page