Home' Greymouth Star : December 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, December 19, 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 Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly.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
1688 - William of Orange enters London.
1732 - Benjamin Franklin begins publishing
Poor Richard’s Almanac.
1776 - Thomas Paine publishes his first
American Crisis essay, writing: “These are the
times that try men’s souls.”
1843 - Charles Dickens’ classic A
Christmas Carol, is first published.
1848 - Death of English writer
1851 - Joseph Mallord William
Turner, English artist, dies.
1863 - Linoleum, the smooth floor-
covering, is patented by Frederick
Walton of London.
1865 - Chinese bushranger Sam Poo is
1907 - 239 workers die in a coal mine
explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
1915 - British troops begin withdrawal from
Sulva and Anzac in Gallipoli in World War
1939 - The German cruise liner Columbus is
scuttled by its crew in the Atlantic after being
followed by a US cruiser; 577 sur vivors are
1999 - Veteran British actor Desmond
Llewelyn, who played gadgetry expert Q in a
string of James Bond films, dies in a car crash.
He was 85.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sir Ralph Richardson, British actor (1902-
1983); Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet
Communist Party chief (1906-
1982); Cicely Tyson, US actress
(1933-);Robert Urich, US actor
(1946-2002); Mike Lookinland, US
actor of Brady Bunch fame (1960-);
Jennifer Beals, US actress (1963-);
Alyssa Milano, US actress (1972-);
Ricky Ponting, Australian cricketer (1974-);
Jake Gyllenhaal, US actor (1980-).
“And so, as Tiny Tim obser ved, God Bless
Us, Every One!” — The closing line of A
Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
“ Your Father knows what you need before
you ask Him.” — (Matthew 6:8).
“Me!...I’m not very
good at sport. ” This
was the statement
made by 19-year-
old Lloyd Bellis when he was told he was
the subject in this week’s Sports Profile. How
modest can a man get? Yet that same motor
mechanic at Greymouth Motors was, in
1964, the youngest ever New Zealand indoor
bowling singles champion.
And not only is he a champion indoor bowler
but Lloyd has, like his uncle Max Bellis, been
prominent in local rugby and cricket circles.
He has represented West Coast at rugby right
through the grades at primary school and
jumped to senior grade rugby with United this
season. He has also represented West Coast at
cricket all through the grades.
He has been prominent in just three sports,
but at the age of 19 what a great record he has
at these three. A record that he can look back
on with pride.
The cheap way out — and possibly the only
way — for the Greymouth Borough Council
with its present ‘white elephant ’ of Anzac Park
is to close it for three years and make a rubbish
dump out of it. This will come as a blow to the
local athletic and harrier club but is the only
practicable answer so far offering.
One answer was to criss-cross the ground
with drains to combat the present poor
drainage — a plan which would be prohibitive
for the council in its present financial state.
The second was that the ground be closed for
three years and turned into a rubbish dump
and built up “out of trouble” for three or four
feet. The main road in to the ground also
needed some filling attention to make it safe.
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
al-Golani is an Islamist
fanatic, a head-chopper
(although only in
moderation), and the
leader of the Nusra Front,
an al Qaeda affiliate that
is classified by the United
States as “terrorist ”.
He spent almost a
decade killing American
occupation troops and Shi’ite civilians
in Iraq as a loyal member of the Sunni
extremist organisation that is now called
Islamic State before going home to Syria
He was sent home to create a Syrian
clone of what was then called Islamic
State in Iraq, on the orders of Abu Baqr
al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State
and now the self-proclaimed “Caliph”
of all the Muslims. Golani named the
Syrian branch the Nusra Front, and it did
so well that he broke with Islamic State
and went out on his own in 2013.
There was a three-month turf war
between Islamic State and the Nusra
Front in Syria in early 2014 that killed
an estimated 3000 jihadis. Islamic State
won it and now controls most of eastern
Syria (and all of western Iraq). Golani
managed to hang on to north-western
Syria, where the Nusra Front and another
extreme Islamist organisation, Ahrar al-
Sham, now completely dominate a rebel
alliance that also includes several smaller
So you would not expect Golani to
favour a peace deal that left the brutal
Assad regime, secular in form but Shi’ite-
dominated, in power in Damascus.
Indeed he does not: in a rare inter view
recently, he condemned the peace deal
being cooked up by the US and Russia as
“ unacceptable”. It was, he said, a plot to
merge more moderate rebel fighters with
Assad’s forces in order to fight extremist
groups like his own and Islamic State.
Golani was right to be suspicious, and
yet he may go along with the deal in the
end, because it is not really a permanent
peace settlement that is being discussed.
It is actually just a ceasefire that will
leave all the players in Syria in control
of the territory they now hold — except
for Islamic State, which they can then all
concentrate on destroying.
This is the sort of Machiavellian
thinking that caused Russian President
Vladimir Putin to accuse Washington
recently of “dividing terrorists into
good and bad ones,” but it is just as
much a part of Russian thinking. When
Moscow started bombing the rebels in
Syria in September to save the Assad
regime from collapse, it bombed them all
indiscriminately: the Nusra Front, Islamic
State, even the “moderates”, if it could
But it quickly became clear that what
Russia had in mind, after stabilising the
battlefronts, was precisely what Golani
was condemning: a ceasefire that would
effectively partition Syria between the
Assad regime and the various rebel
groups, and enable them all to turn on
You cannot admit that that is what
you are doing, of course, so you talk
in terms of a peace settlement. That is
what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov and US Foreign Secretary John
Kerry were doing in Moscow on Tuesday,
and the result is that a United Nations
Security Council resolution endorsing
the Syrian peace process will probably be
The current round of “peace talks” began
in Vienna on October 23, with no Syrians
present, just Russia, the United States,
Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It subsequently
expanded to include about 20 countries,
and the organisers are now deciding
which Syrians can attend the next round
of talks, probably early in the New Year.
On one side, obviously, will be the
representatives of the Assad regime. On
the other side will be some of the leaders
of the armed opposition, but not all of
them. Islamic State will not be there, of
course, and at the moment the Nusra
Front says it will not be either. Since
those are the two most powerful groups
fighting the Assad regime, what is the
point of talks?
But the Nusra Front ’s close ally, Ahrar
al-Sham, did show up at last week’s
meeting in Riyadh where decisions were
being made on which groups could
attend the peace talks. At one point it
walked out — then, after some further
thought, it added its signature to the joint
The Islamists of the Nusra Front and
Ahrar al-Sham are clearly in two minds
about a ceasefire (disguised as a peace
agreement). On one hand, it would leave
the Assad regime in power. On the other,
it would give them time to consolidate
their control over the territory they now
hold, and maybe to eliminate their most
dangerous rival, Islamic State. So in the
end, they may go along with the idea.
It would not be perfect, and it would
not necessarily be permanent either. But
it would stop most of the killing, it would
at least contain if not eliminate Islamic
State, and it might even let some of the
refugees go home. It is basically a Russian
initiative, but Moscow is wisely letting
the US take the lead now. If anybody has
a better idea, please let us all know.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Syria: Not a peace, but maybe a ceasefire
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, ahead of a meeting at the Kremlin in
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
I have just been to the new Star Wars
These movies have lasted 40 years, and
now are capturing a new generation,
because it is a story of good and evil. The
light, combating the darkness. A story
of lives getting caught up in that titanic
battle, and changed forever.
It was my son’s first time going to the
movies, and for both of us the first 3D
experience. We have been counting down
to this for a year. The Advent calendar
that hangs on our wall has acted as
the final countdown. We have counted
months, weeks, sleeps, and finally hours.
A 38-year-old and a five-year-old
watching the same movie.
I was watching it as a Star Wars fan,
he watched it as a Star Wars fan. I do
not know who was looking for ward to it
Age is irrelevant because this story is
full of light sabres and blasters, but also
tension between choosing paths. A story
that says, maybe you made your choice,
but sometimes circumstances outside of
your control dismantle your plans and
thrust you into a completely new way of
Life is about situations crashing into
our well laid plans, about unexpected
opportunities, and unavoidable suffering.
Evil has asserted itself in human history,
any length of time on this planet teaches
us this. Sickness, loss, pain, crime,
loneliness, shame; these show us that
darkness is at work in the world. That it
should not be this way, and that we need
circumstances to change in humanity’s
This time of year we can choose to
celebrate the coming of a new hope. The
introduction of a new character into
human history, who is taking the fight to
darkness, and our lives can be changed by
Him. Merry Christmas.
Pastor Shaun Hutson,
Greymouth Baptist Church.
ix predictions for 2016; drones,
cybersecurity and more
1. Connected cars
At least nine major carmakers
and more than 100 auto tech
firms will appear at CES 2016,
according to the Consumer Technology
Association, the trade body that runs CES.
Major car companies including Audi,
Volkswagen, BMW and Aston Martin
will all unveil new car concepts. VW ’s
passenger cars chairman Herbert Diess
will give the keynote speech at CES,
where he will be introducing a new electric
Rumours claim Hyundai and Mercedes
may be actually driving their autonomous
cars on the road, and have applied to
the Nevada government for self-driving
Meanwhile, Audi will preview its next-
generation car, the A8, which is due in
2017, according to motoring blog Autocar.
Audi itself has said its CES offering will
be “an outlook on the automotive future,
which will be influenced more than ever
by the electronics field. ”
Finally, secretive Californian start-
up Faraday Futures (which some have
speculated is a front for Apple’s car
development efforts) will display its fully
electric, futuristic car at CES 2016.
According to Accenture’s John Curran,
who runs the technology practice, security
of connected cars will be a major theme.
There have been safety issues with self-
driving cars because they go too slow for
normal traffic and commit violations as
a result. “ These challenges will be key
storylines at CES,” he said.
CES 2016 will hold the first cyber
security forum at the event, focusing on
security challenges and threats per vading
several newly adopted technologies, and
how security should be designed into new
Accenture’s John Curran agreed, warning
that the Internet of Things industry would
start to stagnate if security issues were not
“If a device doesn’t have security, it
doesn’t have a market,” he said. “ There
will be stories about how consumers
are becoming increasingly interested in
using alternatives to passwords. Watch
for CES news about alternative biometric
technologies such as encryption, two-
step authentication, and how these
alternative methods will ultimately replace
New CES drone products will be much
more autonomous and versatile, able to do
much more in the areas of photography,
video recording, measurement and
navigation, according to Accenture’s John
Curran. Consulting firm Radiant Insights
predicts that drone sales will top nearly
$5 billion by 2020.
At CES 2016, there will an Unmanned
Systems marketplace, which 26 different
exhibitors. Last year, there were 15
exhibitors and the year before, just four.
In 2017, major technology companies
like Amazon and Google are planning
to use drones in their distribution and
4. Wearables 2.0
According to CCI Insights, the wearable
tech industry is projected to grow 64%
over the next three years, reaching $25
billion in 2019 when more than 245
million devices are expected to ship.
The wearables marketplace on the CES
2016 showfloor has apparently more than
trebled since last year. Products include
a new Mimo baby sleep monitor and the
Qardio ECG monitor for your heart.
And it is not just about fitness any more
— wristbands, smartwatches, jewellery
and embedded clothing are transforming
babycare, parenting, health and fashion.
Accenture predicts that security will be
an important sticking point when it comes
to wearables — there will have to be better
accountability about where the data goes.
5. Virtual and augmented reality
2016 has already been branded the year
of VR. Technology giants from Samsung
to Facebook and Sony will launch their
headsets; Samsung’s Gear VR launched
for mobile last month.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift will launch early
next year, followed by the HTC Vive and
Sony ’s PlayStation VR in April. According
to the CTA, virtual reality headsets are
expected to take off in in 2016 with
projected sales up by 500% to 1.2 million
The CTA announced that virtual reality
exhibits on the show floor will grow by
6. Internet of Things
2016 will be the year of ubiquitous
sensors — the internet of everything.
Gartner predicts there will be more than
50 billion connected devices globally by
This isn’t a new trend for this year - the
IoT is currently at the inflated peak of
expectations on Gartner’s Hype chart
and was a huge trend at CES 2015. But
the range of objects being connected to
the internet is expanding — everything
from the locks on our doors to our office
lighting, fleets of delivery trucks and our
Companies showing new products
include Netatmo, known for the world’s
first facial recognition-enabled camera,
to Noke, which won the CES 2016
Innovation Award for the world’s first
bluetooth smart lock.
According to Accenture’s predictions,
it will be less about hardware and more
about consumer security, safety and
“For example, this year CES will cover
home security services that can check
your home is locked while you’re away,
and medical health devices and ser vices
that will tell you what your heart rate is
and the fastest route to a hospital in an
emergency,” says John Curran.
Anti-carjacking technologies will also
feature, as part of this shift to security
and software, he predicted.
“I think we’re living the Internet of
Things in many ways,” said the CTA’s
executive director Karen Lightman. “As
we move to an interconnected world , you
can’t get there without sensors.”
— New Zealand Herald
Predictions for 2016
An Amazon drone
Links Archive December 18th 2015 December 21st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page