Home' Greymouth Star : January 18th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, January 18, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1788 - HMS Supply, first ship of Britain’s
First Fleet to Australia, reaches Botany Bay.
1871 - While Prussian guns bombard Paris,
the Reich is formed when William I of Prussia
is crowned the first emperor of
1919 - The World War One Peace
Congress opens in Versailles, France.
1936 - Author Rudyard Kipling
dies in England.
1945 - Soviet troops relieve
Leningrad after a 16-month German
1963 - Government of Charles de Gaulle
in France insists that Britain be barred from
European Common Market.
1974 - Egypt and Israel sign an agreement to
disengage their forces along the Suez Canal.
1977 - Australia’s worst rail crash, at Granville,
Sydney, kills 83 when a train hits a concrete
1996 - Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson files for
divorce from Michael Jackson.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edmund Barton, Australia’s first prime
minister (1849-1920); Alan Alexander Milne,
Winnie-the- Pooh author (1882-1956); Cary
Grant, US actor (1904-1986); Danny Kaye, US
actor (1911-1987); Paul Keating,
former Australian prime minister
(1944-); Kevin Costner, US actor-
director (1955-); Jesse L Martin,
US actor (1969-); Jason Segel,
American actor (1980-); Dale Begg-
Smith, Australian skier who won
gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics
“... Be intolerant of ignorance, but
understanding of illiteracy.” — Maya Angelou,
American writer (1928-).
““But I say to you that listen, Love your
enemies, do good to those who hate you. ”
— (Luke 6:27).
About 40 years
ago the coalmining
townshup of Wallsend
boasted three hotels.
Today it has none — all met their fate by
fire. However, an applicaton to protect the
licence of the Union Hotel — gutted by fire
on Sunday afternoon — has been filed and will
be heard at an early hearing of the West Coast
In the meantime the area will remain ‘dry’.
Proprietor of the Union Hotel Mr Allan
Sowden has no intention of setting up a
temporary bar, which could cost something in
the vicinity of £200 to £300. Mr Sowden said
he has not fully assessed the losses he suffered
and no decision has been made on whether to
rebuild the hotel.
West Coasters were asked to contribute to
about 10 raffles a day in 1966. This enormous
figure was revealed by the Greymouth
police this morning and is quite apart from
nationally-run raffles and the two Golden Kiwi
The drawing of the raffles provides an
increasing amount of work for the police.
Though they do not super vise the very small
ones that are drawn during shop days or at
card evenings, they keep a watch on all others.
While it is impossible to estimate how much is
made from raffles on the West Coast because
of variations in the price of tickets, their
number and the value of prizes, it must be
West Coast ’s youngest yachting representative
Kevin Skelton of Cobden, just 14 years four
months old, in his yacht Menace has placed
ninth overall at the Tanner Cup championships
for provincial P Class representatives from all
over New Zealand.
uFood for thought
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It would be an
excellent thing to
reunite the island of
Cyprus after 42 years of
heavily armed partition,
but it is probably not
going to happen this
They all met in Geneva
last week — President
Nicos Anastasiades of
the Republic of Cyprus and President
Mustafa Akinci of the Turkish Republic
of North Cyprus, plus the new United
Nations Secretary-General, Antonio
Guterres, and representatives of all
three countries that guarantee Cyprus’s
independence, Britain, Turkey and Greece.
The talk was all upbeat: “Best and last
chance for peace,” Guterres says. But do
not hold your breath.
There are three reasons why reunification
is probably not about to happen, and the
first is that Greek-Cypriots simply do not
want it as badly as Turkish-Cypriots. The
Greek-Cypriot majority has twice the
average income of the Turkish-Cypriot
minority, mainly because the Greeks live
in a universally recognised country that
belongs to the European Union. They can
trade and travel everywhere.
The Turkish-Cypriots live in utter
isolation, their ramshackle state
recognised by no country except Turkey.
Although they are a well-educated,
secular population, they may already be
outnumbered by the ill-educated, socially
conser vative immigrants who have been
flowing in from Turkey. No wonder the
Turkish-Cypriots voted two-to-one in
favour of reunification in 2004, the last
time a peace deal was attempted.
The Greek-Cypriots, by contrast, voted
three-to-one against the deal — not
because it was really such a bad deal, but
because many of them do not feel much
need to compromise. The status quo is
quite bearable, and the United Nations
troops will be happy to stick around and
enforce the ceasefire for another 42 years
if necessary. Or so the Greek-Cypriot “no”
voters seemed to believe last time.
Then there is the sheer complexity of
the negotiations to put the country back
together again, but this time as a bi-
national federal republic. How will the
territory be divided up? (The Turkish-
Cypriots currently hold 37%, but the
maps the two sides have tabled give them
between 28.2% and 29.2%). Will there be
a rotating presidency, held sometimes by a
Greek and sometimes by a Turk?
How many of the refugees who fled
during the 1974 war (an estimated
165,000 Greeks and 45,000 Turks) will be
allowed to return to their former homes in
the “other” part of the island? Will they be
allowed to evict the current occupants?
Above all, who will guarantee that both
sides will obser ve the terms of the deal?
This is the point at which things fell apart
Cyprus got its independence from the
British empire as a bi-national republic in
1960. The power-sharing constitution was
guaranteed by Britain and by Greece and
Turkey, the two “mother countries” of the
local populations — but then there was a
military coup in Greece.
The Greek military regime conspired
with a local Greek-Cypriot terrorist
organisation called EOKA B to carry
out a bloody coup in Cyprus in 1974
and unite the island with Greece. So the
Turkish prime minister flew to London
to beg Britain (which has military bases
on the island) to carry out its duty as
guarantor, stop the carnage and roll back
When L ondon refused to act, Turkey
itself invaded to protect the Turkish-
Cypriot minority, and the territorial
division it imposed on the island in 1974
has lasted ever since. Getting the right
kind of guarantees this time is crucial to
a successful deal, but it is probably not
going to happen this year.
The deal itself is ferociously complex,
and the fine print certainly could not be
settled last week. With enough goodwill
on both sides, it could be done in the next
few months, but the real obstacle now is
Nobody knows what Turkey ’s President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan really wants
in Cyprus. But his one fixed goal is to
change the Turkish constitution in order
to turn his office into an all-powerful
“executive” presidency. Like Putin’s in
Russia, for example.
That is politically tricky. It takes 60% of
the votes in Turkey ’s parliament to change
the constitution, and on the first reading
he barely scraped through. In the final
vote, he might lose. Even if Erdogan gets
the change through parliament, he must
then win a national referendum on the
question next autumn.
Since Erdogan restarted his war on the
Kurds last year, he has lost the votes of
pious Kurdish voters. The only way he can
replace them is by winning the votes of
So Erdogan cannot afford to back the
Cyprus deal right now. It would alienate
Turkish ultra-nationalists who just want
to annex northern Cyprus. Maybe next
year, after he has total power. But not now.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, left, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, centre, and Turkish Cypriot
leader Mustafa Akinci pose before a trilateral meeting ahead of the Conference on Cyprus.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Cyprus: Waiting for Erdogan
s university students mill
around a bright and airy
study hall in London,
Eiad Zinah converses in
his native language Arabic
with a female student
It is the first time the pair have met
for a language tuition session — and it
is the Syrian refugee who is running the
tutorial today, not the other way around.
“It’s an amazing thing to be able to
teach your language to other people
because it will help them understand
you more,” the 30-year-old said after
the language class organised by United
Kingdom social enterprise Chatterbox at
the University of London.
“ Today I had students from Taiwan,
England and Germany. You meet people
from everywhere and I love that,” said
Zinah, who also tutors people on-line.
Zinah fled war in the Syrian capital of
Damascus in 2012 and arrived in Britain
two years ago after smuggling himself
onto a lorry from Brussels in Belgium.
Although he was a qualified dentist in
Syria, Zinah is doing a post-graduate
dentistry degree and English language
tests so he can practise in Britain.
He joins a growing number of newly-
arrived, degree-educated refugees that
Chatterbox has employed to teach
languages, including Swahili, Arabic,
Korean and Farsi, to university students,
business people and private clients.
One of Zinah’s Arabic students,
Leah Sternefeld, said she used to teach
German to Syrian refugees in her
hometown of Tubingen in southern
Germany, and found the change in power
“ When you’re learning a language,
you’re humbling yourself and it’s a great
sign of respect,” the 20-year-old student
told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“I don’t want to put people in boxes. I
want to get to know (Zinah) as a person
— n ot because he’s a refugee or Syrian,
and learning their language is a good way
to do that,” she said.
Former Afghan refugee Mursal
Hedayat said she founded Chatterbox
after watching her mother, a civil
engineer, struggle to get relevant work
when they first arrived in Britain in 1994.
Hedayat said many degree-qualified
refugees, like her mother, are not able to
find work in host countries since they do
not have professional networks and their
qualifications may not be recognised.
“If all your relevant work experience
was in a country that is now engulfed
in civil war, it ’s going to be hard to find
a sympathetic employer willing to take
a chance on you,” said the 25-year-old
She now employs dozens of English-
speaking refugees from countries like
Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Yemen,
Afghanistan and Iraq — many of whom
have worked as lawyers, teachers, health
workers and translators.
“After spending months or even years
on the receiving end of help, being able
to provide it is such a boost to your
confidence,” Hedayat said, who officially
launched Chatterbox last week.
“It really affirms that you are skilled,
and that you have something to offer.
Talent doesn’t have borders.”
Hedayat said she hopes the Chatterbox
programme will expand across Europe
and to Canada or the United States, so
refugees can gain quality work experience
and get to know the local population
through language tutoring.
For Zinah, meeting different people
through his work as a language teacher
has made him feel a part of London’s
“Other people will keep themselves
in this box and think they are just a
refugee from another country and living
in London. I don’t think in this way,” he
“I feel like I’m just like another student
who has come from another country to
learn, to get a good education. And one
day I’ll go back to my country.”
— Thomson Reuters
PICTURE: Thomson Reuters
Syrian refugee and university student Eiad Zinah tutors student Leah Sternefeld on the Arabic language as part of a language programme run by London-based social
enterprise Chatterbox at the University of London.
Refugee language tutors
Medicinal cannabis effectively treats
chronic pain and significantly helps those
with multiple sclerosis (MS), a major
United States report on the health effects
of marijuana has found.
But recreational cannabis smoking is
likely to increase the risk of schizophrenia
and may even trigger a heart attack.
The US National Academies of Science,
Engineering, and Medicine has released
a 400-page report offering a rigorous
review of more than 10,000 scientific
research papers published since 1999
about what is known about the health
impacts of marijuana and active chemical
compounds known as cannabinoids,
ranging from pain relief to risks for
As attitudes towards the illicit drug
soften in response to use of medicinal
cannabis, it is important that Australians
are well educated on the harmful effects
of its recreational use, Alcohol and Drug
Foundation national policy manager
Geoff Munro said.
A paper published last year in The
Lancet Psychiatry journal showed an
increasing number of US adults using
marijuana as fewer people perceived the
drug as harmful.
The National Drug Strategy Household
Survey found approval of marijuana use
for recreational purposes in Australia rose
from 8.1% in 2010 to 9.8% in 2013.
“There is no doubt that marijuana is
harmful,” Munro said.
“ We need a more literate community
about the potential benefits and harms
of any drug use and cannabis is just the
same. The fact that it can be used for
medical purposes to relieve pain or other
debilitating conditions doesn’t mean that
it is safe or without harm and I think that
is the debate we need to have,” he said.
What the cannabis report found
*Therapeutic effects: Patients
treated with medicinal cannabis more
likely to experience significant pain
reduction. Substantial evidence that oral
cannabinoids effectively reduced muscle
spasms related to MS and nausea and
vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
*Cancer: No evidence linking smoking
cannabis to increased cancer risk
associated with tobacco use.
*Heart attack: Some evidence
suggesting cannabis smoking may trigger
a heart attack. More research needed to
determine risk of heart attack, stroke and
*Respiratory disease: Regular smoking
of cannabis associated with more frequent
chronic bronchitis episodes, chronic
cough and phlegm production. Unclear if
cannabis use linked to chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease or asthma.
*Mental health: Likely to increase
risk of developing schizophrenia, other
psychoses and social anxiety disorders.
Also increases risk of developing
depression. Heavy users more likely
to report suicidal thoughts than
*Psycosocial: Learning, memory and
attention impaired after immediate
cannabis use but limited evidence
suggesting such impairments continue
after the cessation of smoking cannabis.
Cannabis still harmful to health, report shows
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