Home' Greymouth Star : January 9th 2016 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 9, 2016
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 Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1324 - Death of Italian explorer Marco Polo.
1799 - British Prime Minister William Pitt
(the Younger) introduces income tax at two
shillings in the pound to raise funds for the
1806 - Lord Nelson, who was mortally
wounded in the Battle of Trafalgar in October
1805, is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral in
1868 - The Hougoumont, the last convict
ship to come to Australia, arrives at Fremantle.
On board are 279 convicts and 108 passengers.
1902 - Legislation is introduced in New York
to outlaw flirting in public.
1916 - The evacuation of the last 17,000
British troops from Cape Helles brings the
Gallipoli campaign to an end.
1960 - Construction work starts on the As-
wan High Dam in Egypt.
1965 - An estimated 500 people suspected
of being rebels are executed by Congo
government forces in Stanleyville in six weeks
since city was retaken.
1970 - France agrees to sell Mirage fighter
aircraft to revolutionary regime in Libya.
1973 - White-ruled country of
Rhodesia closes its borders with
Zambia to try to cut off black
1997 - Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak inaugurates a pumping
station designed to send Nile river
waters west from Nasser Lake to
create a second river valley for Egypt ’s
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Pope Gregory XV (Allesandro Ludovisi)
(1554-1623); Thomas Warton, English poet
laureate (1728-1790); Dame Gracie Fields,
English entertainer (1898-1979); Simone
de Beauvoir, French novelist and critic
(1908-1986); Richard Nixon, US president
(1913-1994); Sekou Toure, first
president of Guinea (1922-1984);
Joan Baez, US folk singer (1941-);
Robert Drewe, Australian author
(1943-); Jimmy Page, British rock
musician (1944-); Crystal Gayle, US
singer (1951-); Morris Gleitzman,
Australian children’s author
(1953-); Joely Richardson, British
actress (1965-); Dave Matthews, US musician
(1967-); Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
“Those who give have all things. They who
withhold have nothing.” — Hindu proverb.
“ Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke
Him.” — Mark 8:32
Miss Kathleen T
Mori, formerly of
Camerons, but now of
Christchurch has been
admitted as a Fellow of Trinity Music College,
London, in solo singing. Her examiner had
high praise for the singer who has attained
her fellowship after only two and a half years’
tuition. She was accompanied on the piano by
Mr Maurice Till.
Miss Mori as well as holding diplomas
in singing, has her teacher’s certificate in
pianoforte and theory, and is an accomplished
cellist. She is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Bill
Mori, of Camerons.
History was made on the West Coast today.
A group of three travelling through the Haast
Pass became the first of their kind to join the
holidaymakers thronging through the new
tourist route. They were three mice. One is
gold, the other pale brown and the oldest, at
three years, is white. She is the ‘granny’ of the
party travelling in special cages.
The three are the pets of a Wellington family
and are heading to Paradise, near Queenstown,
a town to which granny has already paid a
visit. They go on then to Dunedin and back to
Wellington to become much-travelled rodents.
Westport had the most ‘tolerable’ climate of
the four West Coast centres last year with the
highest sunshine figures and the second lowest
rainfall tally. Greymouth is at the opposite end
of the scale with the least sunshine and the
second highest rainfall figures.
However, Greymouth was not alone in having
poorer climatic conditions than the previous
year, for Hokitika was similarly affected.
Reefton had the lowest rainfall.
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
Starlings put on spectacular displays
Neot Huvava (Israel)
Breathtaking “murmurations” — dark,
shifting shapes that look like vast dancing
clouds — fill the skies of southern Israel
and surrounding areas in winter.
Starlings from Russia and east Europe
winter in the Holy Land, swooping,
pivoting and soaring, putting on a display
to shame any aerobatics team anywhere.
The murmurations show a remarkable
display of shapes. Now they are a falling
leaf, now a rising dove, now a giant whale
swimming across the sky.
They embark on their spectacular
aerobatics in the evening. They do it,
according to ornithologist Yossi Leshem
of Tel Aviv University, both to help each
other find food and to fend off predators.
A falcon or hawk will try to focus on
a single bird, Leshem said. By grouping
together, the starlings not only find safety
in numbers but their changing movements
and shifting collective shape confuses their
They can even create a sudden breeze
with their synchronised movements, he
said, causing a hawk or falcon to fall flat
on its back, not unlike an aircraft hitting
Until 20 years ago, starlings came to
Israel in their millions, usually descending
on the northern part of the Negev desert,
which remains warm in winter. But for
unknown reasons their numbers have
dropped. In the past few years they have
come in flocks of no more than a few
Avid bird watchers and families gather
over the weekends to spot the dazzling
displays, with the birds twisting and
turning at high speed, creating dramatic,
sweeping patterns in the sky, contracting
and expanding like a spiralling tornado.
They can be seen in Israel above a
rubbish dump near the southern Israeli
city of Beersheba, where they feed during
the day and circulate on warm air rising
from the detritus.
At dusk they begin to group together for
the night. Some make off to streams near
the Israeli town of Netivot, near Bedouin
villages and an industrial park. — Reuters
A murmuration of migrating starlings is seen across the sky in southern Israel.
Lech Walesa, a national hero 26 years
ago for his role in ending Communist
rule in Poland as the leader of Solidarity,
has little political power in the country
today, but he still has his voice. Last week
he raised it, to condemn the new Polish
government that emerged from last
“This government acts against Poland,
against our achievements, freedom,
democracy, not to mention the fact that
it makes us look ridiculous to the rest of
the world,” Walesa said. “ I’m ashamed to
travel abroad. ”
Walesa said this on privately-owned
Radio Zet, because Polish public ser vice
television and radio will no longer invite
him to speak on any of their channels. The
new government sees him as an enemy,
and it now controls public broadcasting
completely: all four channels of TVP and
the 200 stations of Polskie Radio.
It took them over in an operation that
the European Parliament ’s president,
Martin Schultz, described as having the
“characteristics of a coup”. First the new
Law and Justice Party (PiS) government
packed the constitutional tribunal that
might have stopped the media takeover,
swearing in five new PiS appointees in
the middle of the night. Then it used its
parliamentary majority to bring the public
ser vice media under party control.
The new Polish Culture Minister, Piotr
Glinski, explained that it was necessary to
“re-Polonise” Polish society — i.e. cleanse
it of all the decadent western European
liberal notions and values that had
infected it under the rule of the outgoing
Civic Platform government — and the
public broadcasters would therefore be re-
designated as “national cultural institutes.”
The head of PiS’s parliamentary caucus,
Ryszard Terlecki, was even franker: “O ver
deal with the extremely unreliable work
of the public media,” he said, referring
to the media coverage of popular
protests against the PiS’s attack on the
constitutional tribunal. “If the media
criticises our changes . . . we have to stop
The PiS is the creation of Jaroslaw
Kaczynski and his late twin brother Lech,
who died in a plane crash at Smolensk in
Russia in 2010. The brothers have always
had a close political relationship with the
Catholic Church in Poland, and the PiS
largely owes its recent electoral victory to
the support of Poland’s very conser vative
But it was not all that sweeping a
victory, really. The PiS got just over half
the seats in the Sejm (parliament), which
technically allows it to do almost anything
it wants now that the constitutional
tribunal has been crippled. But it won
those seats on only 37% of the popular
vote — and now that it has begun to put
its agenda into action, recent opinion
polls are giving it only 24% support.
That does not bother Jaroslaw Kaczynski
in the slightest. He has the same knack
as Donald Trump for saying nasty, untrue
things and making them sound bold and
incisive (to his target audience, at least)
rather than just stupid and slimy.
For example, he recently warned
Poles that Syrian refugees would bring
diseases and parasites into the country.
He continues to speculate publicly that
the crash that killed his twin brother
was a plot (presumably a Russian plot),
despite the fact that two official Polish
investigations have concluded that the
cause of the crash was pilot error.
Even the poor, left-behind Poles
who are Kaczynski’s target voters are
sometimes alarmed by his anger and his
extremism, so he wisely decided to let
another, virtually unknown party member,
Andrzej Duda, run for the presidency last
Duda won, so Kaczynski repeated the
strategy in October, promoting another
relatively obscure and unthreatening
party member, Beata Szydlo, as prime
minister after the PiS’s victory in the
parliamentary election. But most people
suspect that he will quickly tire of
working from the shadows and take her
place as prime minister himself.
What has brought this deeply
unattractive politician to power in
Poland? It is largely the same factors that
have made Donald Trump a political
phenomenon in the United States: an
economy that is doing quite well overall
— Poland’s economy grew by a third
under Civic Platform in the past six years
— but that has left a large chunk of the
It is even the same chunk of the
population that backs Trump in the US:
older, more religious, less well educated,
living in smaller cities and rural areas.
Kaczynski’s victory therefore depends
on a very narrow and fragile base, and he
may well become more and more radical
in his struggle to hold it together.
It is therefore going to be quite exciting
in Poland for a while, and probably
quite embarrassing for people like Lech
Walesa. But it is not an anti-democratic
revolution with real staying power.
Poles over whelmingly want to remain
part of Nato and the European Union,
if only (in some cases) because they still
fear Russia so much. You cannot go far
down the road Kaczynski wants to travel
without coming into serious conflict with
the EU’s laws protecting civil and human
rights — and when Poles have to choose,
they will not back Kaczynski.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Poland backsliding furiously on reforms
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Steam fans enthralled
or steam enthusiasts, 2016
promises to be the most
exciting year for a decade as
the world famous locomotive
returns to the railway.
Ian MacCabe thinks
millions of fans will line the tracks to
welcome Flying Scotsman back to the rail
network following its £4.2 million
($9.26 million), 10-year refit.
MacCabe has been a devotee of the
green and black engine for almost as
long as he can remember and is one of
the founders and trustees of the Gresley
Society — named after Sir Nigel Gresley,
Flying Scotsman’s designer.
“There’ll be millions there trackside to
watch it,” he said.
“ When it was restored last time there
were crowds of people at every single
station and I think there’ ll be twice as
many this time.
“There’ll be absolutely millions of people
out there. It’s just loved that much. ”
MacCabe said he first remembers seeing
Flying Scotsman when he was about four
Then, in 1962, when he was only 12
years old, he was so horrified that the
British Railways Board had missed Flying
Scotsman off its list of steam locomotives
for preser vation he joined the Gresley A3
Preser vation Society, selling postcards at
6d a time to school friends and putting up
SOS (Save O ur Scotsman) posters all over
Now he thinks the enduring popularity
of F lying Scotsman is down to Sir Nigel.
“I think he got the design so right first
time,” he said.
“It’s just such a beautiful, well-balanced
MacCabe added: “It’s a magical piece of
“It’s the best-looking locomotive there’s
ever been. It’s no coincidence many of its
class are named after racehorses.”
Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster
in 1923 and soon became the star
locomotive of the British railway system,
pulling the first train to break the 100mph
(160.9kph) barrier in 1934 and ending up
synonymous with the cocktail bar image of
the ser vice it was named after.
The engine will return in the Brunswick
green colour of its British Railways days.
MacCabe said this decision has upset
some purists who believe it should have
returned to the original Apple Green of its
paint in the 1920s and 1930s.
The National Railway Museum bought
the locomotive for £2.3m in 2004 and
work began on it in 2006.
Flying Scotsman is due back at the
National Railway Museum in York this
year and plans are already advanced for its
inaugural run from London Kings Cross
to Yorkshire in February.
A host of events have been organised to
celebrate the return of the locomotive and
The Flying Scotsman ser vice, after which
the engine was named.
These events will include Stunts, Speed
and Style, which will enable visitors
to get on board the cabs of four of the
locomotives that hauled The Flying
Scotsman ser vice, including the one
bearing its name.
Another, called Ser vice With Style,
will use three carriages of the kind that
travelled The Flying Scotsman route. It
will feature archive news footage to allow
visitors to experience “a story of speed,
innovation, fame and luxury in a sensory
way”. — PA
PICTURE: Getty Images
Roland Kennington, chief engineer of the Flying Scotsman inspects the famous train in 2004 in London.
Links Archive January 8th 2016 January 11th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page