Home' Greymouth Star : January 21st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 21, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1793 - France’s King Louis XVI is beheaded.
1901 - Death of Elisha Gray, US inventor
who contested the first patent for the
telephone with Alexander Graham
1911 - The first Monte Carlo
motor rally begins
1924 - Russian revolutionary
Vladimir Ilyich L enin dies at age 54.
1936 - Edward VIII is proclaimed
Britain’s king following the death of his father,
1950 - Death of George Orwell (Eric Arthur
Blair), British author who wrote Animal Farm
1994 - A US court finds L orena Bobbitt
innocent by reason of insanity of feloniously
cutting off her husband’s penis.
1997 - Death of “Colonel” Tom Parker, the
manager who guided Elvis Presley from young
hopeful to King of Rock and Roll.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Christian Dior, French fashion designer
(1905-1957); Paul Scofield, British actor
(1922-2008); Telly Savalas, US actor (1924-
1994); Benny Hill, English
comedian (1925-1992); Clive
Churchill, Australian rugby league
footballer (1927-1985); Jack
Nicklaus, US golfer (1940-); Placido
Domingo, Spanish tenor (1941-);
Jill Eikenberry, US actress (1947-);
Geena Davis, US actress (1956-);
DJ Jam Master Jay, US rapper of Run- DMC
fame (1965-2002); Emma “Baby Spice”
Bunton, UK singer of The Spice Girls (1976-).
“Commonsense is the collection of prejudices
acquired by age 18. ” — Albert Einstein,
German-born physicist. (1879-1955).
“So you have pain now; but I will see you
again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one
will take your joy from you.” — ( John 16:22).
preparing itself for
what is expected
to be the biggest
funeral ever held west of the alps. All streets
of Greymouth along which the huge funeral
cortege will pass will be closed to traffic. From
the start of the combined religious ser vice at
10.15am to the final burial is expected to take
Greymouth and Runanga, the two main
centres affected by the mine tragedy, took on
a mantle of mourning as all sporting fixtures
and other entertainments for the weekend were
cancelled. The mining community here is so
close-knit that almost every single adult within
a 20-mile radius of Greymouth knew someone
who was killed.
When a call was made for 80 volunteers to go
into the explosion and fire ravaged Strongman
State coalmine on Monday between 300 and
400 Grey Valley miners raised their hands
here this morning. With Mines Department
officials the full membership of the Runanga
State Miners’ Union attended a meeting in
the Runanga Miners’ Hall for discussions over
emergency work in the colliery.
To a man they volunteered to go into the
mine on Monday and attempt to fully seal off
the fire area.
As a mark of respect to the lost miners, no
Newman Cup contest between Buller and
West Coast athletes held annually will be
Among those who met their death in
Thursday ’s explosion were Greymouth Harrier
Club captain Harry van Looy, former athlete
Hector McKenzie, a brother of marathon
champion Dave, and Kenneth (Peter)
Mountford, father of talented young cyclist
uFood for thought
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“I can’t wait to see
how the incoming
with AI (artificial
States Secretary of
State John Kerry, in
reference to the
fact that the Trump
team has not got a
clue about the real driving force in the
changing world economy.
What was striking was that Kerry did
not have to clarify his remark for the 2000
“global leaders” — politicians, bureaucrats,
business representatives and public
intellectuals — who are in the Swiss alpine
town of Davos for the annual World
Economic Forum (WEF). They all know
what he is talking about.
This year’s Davos gathering is actually
focused on the rise of populism and
simple-minded attacks on globalisation
(Donald Trump, Brexit et al). That is only
to be expected, since the world’s ultra-rich
are potentially threatened by that sort of
thing. But they did not get rich by being
stupid, and they have a fairly sophisticated
analysis of what is causing it.
The headline event on the first day of
Davos was an hour-long speech by China’s
President Xi Jinping in which he laid
claim to the leadership role on free trade,
globalisation and the struggle to contain
climate change that is being abandoned
by the United States under Trump. His
main concern was to fight the rise of
protectionism: “No one will emerge as a
winner in a trade war,” he said.
But Xi did not go into the sources of the
anger that fuels the populist revolt (for
China is not a democratic country, and it
has not happened there yet). Kerry did get
into it, and he went well beyond the usual
platitudes about rising unemployment
and under-employment, stagnating wages,
and the widening gulf between the rich
and the rest. “ Trade is not to blame for job
losses,” he said. Automation is.
Quite a few American manufacturing
jobs did go abroad in the early stages
of globalisation, in the 1980s and
1990s, but that ’s old news. Eighty-
five per cent of the almost six million
American manufacturing jobs that
disappeared between 2000 and 2010 did
not go anywhere; they just evaporated.
The workers were replaced by tireless,
uncomplaining machines that could do
their jobs more cheaply.
Although Kerry did not mention it, the
same thing is now happening in China:
Relatively cheap Chinese labour is still
more expensive than the automation that
replaces it. Even in India, where wages are
lower still, there is now talk of “premature
It is a misleading phrase, because it
suggests that India will never become
fully industrialised. It probably will —
but perhaps without ever creating a huge
industrial working class with reasonably
good and steady wages. Further industrial
growth is likely to come mainly through
automation, and employment in
manufacturing may be peaking right
So Donald Trump is barking up the
wrong tree, as are the other populists
emerging all across Europe, and their
emulators who are beginning to appear
in the developing world. Why do they
all persist in blaming free trade and
globalisation instead of automation?
Because you can not do anything about
It is like the old story about the man
looking for his car-keys under the street-
“ Where did you lose them?”
“O ver there. ”
“Then why are you looking for them
“The light ’s better here. ”
If you are a politician, then it is better to
blame globalisation because you can do
something about that. You can build walls,
impose tariffs, make all sorts of impressive
gestures to stop the free trade that is
allegedly destroying the good jobs. Or
more precisely, you can win political power
by claiming that you will do those things
and thereby solve the problem.
Whereas nobody will believe you if
you say that automation is what is really
changing the economy, and so you are
going to stop the automation. That is
Luddism, and everybody (or at least,
everybody at Davos) knows that that does
not work. So the rich and the powerful
are way out ahead of the pack in accepting
that growing automation really is going to
destroy large numbers of jobs.
A recent Citibank research note forecasts
that automation will eliminate 57% of all
existing jobs in the developed countries
within the next 20 years. In China, 77%
of manufacturing jobs are at risk over the
same period. The notion that the economy
will create other, better jobs to replace
them is just a comforting myth. Most of
the new jobs that are being created are
If more than half the workforce ends up
unemployed — and therefore humiliated
and broke — then their anger will be
so great that it could sweep away the
comfortable world of the ultra-rich.
Which is why there are sessions at Davos
this year considering radical ideas like a
“ universal basic income”.
To stop the populism, first you have to
deal with the anger.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Davos: The rich are worried
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates attends the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
“I hate Christians telling me how to live
Was a statement I heard Stephen Fry
make on the series QI, some time ago.
Have you ever been to a church service
and left with the feeling you are just
not good enough? Even if you are a
I hate that too and I have been the guy
leaving people with that message at
The trouble is, I have had the Gospel
message mixed up with religion. What?
.. . You say.
Is not the gospel message all about
religion. Hell no!
We, the Church, tend to focus on
how we need to act, our attitude, our
reputation in the community, what we
need to do, because we are Christian.
I often hear it said that the Bible is
a book of rules or guidelines if you are
A hand book for life, like some sort of
But it is more like an epic love story
— bigger than Gone with the Wind or
War and Peace.
In the first half the characters are
revealed. In the second half its nailbiting
resolve and conclusion. The good guys
triumph and love wins.
I know this sounds flippant to some,
but it is true.
Religion focuses on me and what I have
The Gospel focuses on Jesus and what
has been done for us.
Religion makes you behave a certain
way to achieve or get to a position with
God and man. The Gospel causes you to
act out of what has been done for you
and what you already have.
That is “the faith” we hold to, in what
we trust. Not our own ability to get or to
keep; but Jesus’s ability to do what He
has done. This is good news!
Colossians 1:21: At one time you were
separated from God. You were
enemies in your minds because of
your evil ways. 22 But because Christ
died, God has brought you back to
Himself. Christ ’s death has made you
holy in God ’s sight. So now you do not
have any flaw. You are free from blame.
23 But you must keep your faith steady
and firm. You must not move away
from the hope the Good News holds out
Greymouth New Life Church
The battle of the Gospels
Luke Baker and Maayan Lubell
enjamin Netanyahu has
spent 30 years in public
office, including 11 years as
Israel’s prime minister, but
this year his political future
is being called into question
as seldom before.
Police say they have questioned
Netanyahu twice since January 2 at
his official residence in Jerusalem in
two separate criminal cases involving
allegations of abuse of office.
Netanyahu, known to supporters and
opponents as “Bibi”, has denied any
wrongdoing, saying repeatedly: “there will
be nothing because there is nothing”. No
charges have been brought.
Almost every night on television and
every day in newspapers since January 2,
purported leaks have appeared describing
what the media say are details of the
Prosecutors have confirmed almost
none of what has emerged, only that
Netanyahu has been questioned and that
one of the cases relates to gifts he received
from businessmen. Reuters was unable to
independently confirm the specifics of the
activities under investigation.
The leaks, though, have fuelled
opposition calls for him to go, and separate
opinion polls conducted on behalf of the
Jerusalem Post, the Walla news website,
the Globes business newspaper and
Channel 2 all show his party’s popularity
is slipping. Netanyahu has said the media
is out to get him and he has no intention
of stepping down.
“This orchestrated campaign includes
media people who are acting not just
as journalists but also as investigators,
judges and executioners,” he told a weekly
meeting this week of legislators from his
right-wing Likud party, who welcomed
him with chants of “King Bibi”.
“I intend to keep leading the Likud and
the country for many more years.”
In the second investigation, Haaretz
newspaper and Channel Two news say
police have tapes of Netanyahu speaking
to an Israeli newspaper publisher about
a mutually beneficial deal. Sections of
transcripts, which has not independently
authenticated, have been aired nightly for
the past week.
The attorney-general has confirmed
recordings exist, but has said he does not
intend to release them yet.
The first case Netanyahu has been
questioned about, according to a Justice
Ministry statement, involves receiving
gifts from businessmen. Under Israeli
law, public ser vants and their immediate
family are prohibited from taking gifts or
receiving benefits, unless they are small
gifts that conform to “social norms”.
Police and the Justice Ministry have not
provided further information about either
According to Haaretz, one of the
businessmen was Arnon Milchan, an
Israeli-born Hollywood producer, who
supplied Netanyahu and his wife with
hundreds of thousands of shekels
(1 shekel=$0.26) of cigars and champagne.
Netanyahu’s lawyers do not dispute that
he received gifts, but say there was nothing
wrong in getting presents from personal
friends. Milchan’s lawyer in Israel, who is
handling the matter, declined to comment.
Channel 10 and Haaretz have said
the second businessman who supplied
Netanyahu and his family with gifts was
Australian casino tycoon James Packer.
Channel Ten reported that Netanyahu’s
son Yair, 25, whom the Prime Minister’s
Office said is a friend of Packer, was
questioned by police.
Representatives of Packer, who owns
a home in Israel and has high-tech
investments in the country, did not
respond to requests for comment.
According to Channel 10, the gifts
included tickets to a Mariah Carey
concert in Israel for Netanyahu’s wife Sara,
gourmet meals for the family and Packer
hosting Yair Netanyahu at his home in
Colorado, aboard his yacht and at a hotel
room in New York.
Media reports regarding the second case
have startled many in Israel, because they
say Netanyahu discussed a possible deal
with a man many people believed to be his
According to Channel Two, Netanyahu
is being investigated over discussions with
Arnon Mozes, owner and publisher of the
widely-read Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper,
to receive positive coverage in exchange
for Netanyahu-backed legislation that
would limit the distribution of competing
free daily Israel Today.
No evidence was found such an
agreement was ever finalised.
Netanyahu, writing on Facebook, said
extracts of transcripts of his conversations
with Mozes carried in the newspapers did
not represent the full picture, but he could
not elaborate while under investigation.
Israel Today is financed by United States
casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who
is a Netanyahu supporter. The paper is
staunchly pro-Netanyahu. In 2014, the
opposition proposed a bill to restrict its
distribution. Netanyahu opposed it, and
shortly after wards called early elections,
which he won.
Two media spokespeople for Adelson
contacted for comment did not respond
and Mozes and Yedioth Ahronoth have
not responded to requests for comment.
Mozes declined to answer reporters’
questions as he walked into the police
station where he was quizzed this week.
Netanyahu has accused Mozes and his
newspaper several times of trying to topple
him. During the 2015 election campaign,
Yedioth Ahronoth took an editorial line
against Netanyahu, frequently running
critical reports on him.
Netanyahu’s conversations with Mozes
were recorded in the run-up to the March
2015 election at the prime minister’s
request by a former staff member, and the
tapes were seized by police in a separate
investigation, according to Channel Two
The newspaper’s editor, Ron Yaron,
published a front-page op-ed in which
he said that had such a deal between
Netanyahu and Mozes been concluded,
Yedioth Ahronoth’s entire staff would have
Netanyahu said Yedioth Ahronoth’s
negative attitude towards him and Israel
Today ’s operations remained unchanged.
“ Every evening, filtered, carefully chosen
transcripts are disseminated,” the prime
minister’s Facebook response said.
According to what Channel Two
described as excerpts from a transcript of a
Netanyahu-Mozes conversation, the prime
minister told the newspaper publisher:
“ We’re talking about moderation, about
reasonable reporting, to lower the level of
hostility towards me from 9.5 to 7.5.”
It quoted Mozes as replying: “ We have
to make sure that you’re prime minister.”
Channel Two also aired what it described
as excerpts in which the two men discuss
limiting Israel Today ’s circulation through
legislation and Mozes asks Netanyahu to
suggest names of journalists he would like
to see write in the newspaper.
Yair Tarchitsky, the chairman of Israel’s
Journalists’ Union, said the suggestions of
a backroom deal were shocking.
“ I would never have imagined these
two big enemies would be sitting down
together and discussing how to shape
Israel and the media landscape,” he said.
“This deal, if it’s really true, is a threat to
Israel as a democratic state and to freedom
of the press. ”
Investors seem unruffled by the
investigations — financial markets and
the currency remain strong. But while
Netayahu’s coalition is stable, some polls
show his popularity waning.
A sur vey of 600 people published by
Channel Two News showed 54% do not
believe Netanyahu when he says he has
done no wrong and 44% think he should
resign now. Twenty-eight percent do
believe Netanyahu and 43% said he should
stay in office.
Four polls in recent weeks have shown
the party led by one of Netanyahu’s
political rivals, Yair Lapid, a telegenic
former tv host, growing stronger. The
results indicated Lapid’s party would win
two to five seats more than Likud if an
election was held immediately.
Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader
to have faced criminal investigation:
former prime minister Ehud Olmert was
convicted of breach of trust and bribery
in 2014 and Ariel Sharon, premier from
2001-06, was questioned while in office
over allegations of bribery and campaign
financing illegalities. He was not
In the past, prime ministers have stayed
in office long after being put under
investigation and officials who support
Netanyahu believe the prospect of charges
remains remote. But the weight of
supposition could change sentiment and
force elections, they said.
Tzachi Hanegbi a Likud minister was
quoted in the Jerusalem Post newspaper as
saying he has known Netanyahu for three
decades and believes nothing will come of
the investigation. “I think he is an honest
guy,” Hanegbi said. — Reuters
Netanyahu feels heat
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