Home' Greymouth Star : February 11th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, February 11, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1531 - King Henry VIII is recognised as
Supreme Head of the Church in England.
1573 - Francis Drake becomes the
first Englishman to see the Pacific
Ocean after plundering the Isthmus
of Panama with two small ships.
1788 - Governor Arthur Phillip
convenes first Court of Criminal
Judicature in Australia.
1802 - George Caley sets out to
explore Blue Mountains area but
does not find a way across the range.
1812 - Massachusetts Governor Elbridge
Gerry signs a redistricting law that favours his
party, giving rise to the term “gerrymandering”.
1944 - US carrier planes strike heavy blows
against Japanese positions in Marshall Islands
in Pacific during World War Two.
1945 - US President Franklin D Roosevelt,
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
and Soviet leader Josef Stalin sign the Yalta
Agreement during World War Two.
1956 - Referendum in Malta favours
integration with Britain.
1967 - Military rule is imposed in Beijing
during civil strife in China.
1968 - Communist troops execute 300
civilians in South Vietnam and bury them in a
mass grave during fighting for city of Hue.
1971 - Treaty banning nuclear weapons
from ocean floor is signed by 63 nations in
ceremonies at Washington, London and
1979 - Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini seize power in Iran, nine days after
the religious leader returned to his home
country following 15 years of exile.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Thomas Edison, US inventor (1847-1931);
Tina Louise, US actor (1934-); Burt Reynolds,
US actor (1936-); Bill Lawry, Australian
cricketer (1937-); Sergio Mendes,
composer (1941-); Jeb Bush, US
politician (1953-); Sheryl Crow,
US singer (1962-); Sarah Palin, US
politician (1964-); Jennifer Aniston,
US actress (1969-); Kelly Slater, US
surfer (1972-); D’Angelo, singer
(1974-); Brandy, US singer (1979-);
Matthew Lawrence, US actor (1980-); Kelly
Rowland, US singer (1981-); Taylor Lautner,
American actor (1992-).
“ We had better live as we think, other wise we
shall end up by thinking as we have lived.”
— Paul Bourget, French author (1852-1935).
“For we are God’s ser vants, working together;
you are God’s field, God’s building.”
— 1 Corinthians 3:9
Eddie Gray, the
Coast member of
the New Zealand
cross-country team to compete in the world
championships in Wales will not race again
until February 25 when he will run in a
Scottish cross-country event. Gray leaves New
Zealand with other members of the athletic
party on Thursday via America for Europe.
Arrangements have been made for a public
farewell to him on Monday night at his
hometown Runanga. A farewell is also planned
by the Greymouth Harrier and Amateur
Athletic clubs. Uncertainty remains on the
number of races in which Gray will compete.
But at the moment it seems like four cross-
country events and two track races.
For five days, beginning today, Greymouth
will become host to bowlers from all over the
South Island. No fewer than 280 bowlers, 132
from off the Coast, converge here for the 53rd
annual West Coast open fours tournament.
No fewer than 70 very strong teams will
contest this year’s Open Fours tournament. The
entry figure is a record. All in all, with local
greens lightning fast and in perfect condition,
this bowling tournament with record entries
could be one of the best yet.
Tomorrow the Westport Methodist circuit
and the St Andrew ’s Presbyterian Parish will
amalgamate to form the Westport Union
Parish. This merger is the result of a year’s
detailed planning on the part of local church
The amalgamation has the solid backing of
the local Presbyterian and Methodist people as
over 96% of both congregations voted in favour
of establishing the union parish.
uFood for thought
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By the end of 2015 the BND, the
German foreign intelligence ser vice,
had grown so concerned that it warned
the government about Saudi Arabia’s
new Deputy Crown Prince and defence
minister, 30-year-old Muhammad
bin Salman. “ The previous cautious
diplomatic stance of older leading
members of the royal family,” it wrote, “ is
being replaced by an impulsive policy of
At that point Prince bin Salman had
been defence minister for just one year,
but he had already launched a major
military inter vention in the civil war in
Yemen and committed Saudi Arabia to
open support for the rebels in the Syrian
civil war. He had also taken the bold
decision to let oil production rip and the
oil price crash.
No wonder the BND characterised
Prince bin Salman as “a political gambler
who is destabilising the Arab world
through proxy wars in Yemen and Syria”.
Not just a gambler, but one who was
betting on the wrong horses.
The first bet to fail was his inter vention
in the Yemeni civil war, with an aerial
bombing campaign that has killed at
least 10,000 Yemenis (about half of them
civilians) and cost Saudi Arabia tens of
billions of dollars.
Prince Muhammad bin Salman (or
MBS, as he is known in diplomatic
circles) sold the war as a short, sharp
inter vention that would defeat the Houthi
rebels in Yemen and put Saudi Arabia’s
own choice for the presidency, Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back in power. It
has turned into a long, exhausting war of
attrition: the Houthis still control of the
capital, Sana’a, and Hadi will not be going
home any time soon.
Then the Deputy Crown Prince’s
second big bet, an open commitment
to support the Syrian rebels, failed
when the Syrian army, with Russian
and Iranian help, reconquered eastern
Aleppo last December. Not one of
Syria’s big cities is now under rebel
control, and Saudi Arabia will have to
live with a victorious and vengeful Assad
MBS’s biggest gamble was his plan to
restore the Saudi kingdom’s dominance
in global oil markets by driving the new
competition, the American producers
who get oil out of shale rock by fracking,
The frackers had doubled American oil
production in eight years, but the extra
United States production was creating an
over-supply in the market and depressing
the price of oil. Then the prince decided
to make matters worse.
He reckoned that the frackers were
high-cost producers who would go broke
if the price of oil stayed low enough for
long enough. So Saudi Arabia kept its
own oil production high and persuaded
its partners in the Organisation of
Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC)
to do the same.
At several points in the past two years
the oil price fell below $30 per barrel,
compared to a peak of $114 in 2014, but
the strategy did not work as MBS had
The US frackers shut down their less
profitable operations temporarily and
some smaller players went bankrupt,
but the sur vivors are ready to ramp
production up again as soon as the oil
price improves. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia
has been burning through $100 billion a
year in cash reser ves to keep government
ser vices and subsidies going.
Last November the prince admitted
defeat. Saudi Arabia and its OPEC
partners agreed to cut production by 1.2
million barrels per day, and Russia and
Kazakhstan chipped in with another half
million barrels. The oil price is up to $55
per barrel, Saudi Arabia’s cash flow has
improved, and the political stresses at
home due to wage and subsidy cuts have
But many people are asking: “ What was
all that about, then?”
The prince is not a fool. He should
have known that foreign inter ventions
in Yemen rarely succeed, that the
Russian intervention in the Syrian
civil war meant that Assad was likely
to win, and that the American frackers
could probably wait him out. In fact, he
probably did know.
The problem is that Muhammad bin
Salman is in a hurry to produce some
positive results. His prominence at such
an early age owes everything to the
support of his father, King Salman, who
ascended to the throne just two years ago.
But the king is 81 and in poor health
(suffering from mild dementia, according
to some), and his son is not his obvious
Normally the successor to the Saudi
throne is not the current king’s son, but a
senior prince chosen by his peers as best
fitted to rule. The current Crown Prince
is 57-year-old Prince Muhammad bin
Nayef. Even the title of Deputy Crown
Prince is new, and MBS owes it entirely
to his father.
So to have any hope of succeeding
to the throne when King Salman dies,
Prince Muhammad bin Salman must
prove his worth quickly. That is why he
was open to such high-stakes, long-odds
gambles: one big success could do the
trick for him.
He is probably still up for another roll
of the dice.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Saudi Arabia’s high-stakes gambler in charge
A tale of woe
Man fixes daughter’s second-hand car, finds moving letter from previous owner
hen you purchase
hand, it is clear it
comes with a history.
Whether a ring,
an item of clothing,
a bookshelf found on Gumtree for an
absolute steal, or a car; at one point in
time, that item belonged — and meant
something — to another human being.
While you may wonder about the back
story, the truth rarely comes to light.
Unless you are Kevin D uke.
As the father was rummaging around
the glovebox of his daughter Jada’s “new ”
second hand car, he found an envelope
tucked inside the glove box.
The handwritten letter, written by the
vehicle’s previous owner, moved Duke to
tears. D uke was so touched by what he
read he shared the post with the Love
What Matters Facebook page.
In the letter, a woman later identified as
American Sabrina Archey, began detailing
a tragic life story.
“ To the person that gets this car, I just
wanted to let you know what a special
vehicle you’ve bought. This car belonged to
my mum. She passed away Feb 25, 2015,
in a house fire along with my six-year-old
daughter and my aunt. The last time my
mum drove this car was the day she left us.
Her and my daughter went out shopping
and got their hair cut.”
Sabrina then went on to describe just
what this car meant to her and how she
had to give it up in an insurance mix up.
“This car holds a lot of special memories
for me. My home and everything in it is
gone, this car is all that I had left to touch.
There was a mix up with paper work and
that’s caused the car to not be paid off by
insurance. It’s very upsetting that I have
lost my family, my home and now I’m
losing this last link I have with my mum
and child through no fault of my own. ”
But Sabrina was quick to assure the new
owner she held no ill-will that they now
owned the car. Instead, she asked that they
be reminded of the beautiful spirits of her
“I’m not mad at you. I hope this car is
the best car you’ve ever owned. I hope
it runs for 100 more years. I hope the
back seat is filled with kids and toys and
random things. My family filled this car
with lots of love and other sticky things.”
Sabrina then detailed some of the
favourite memories she shared with the
“ We took road trips, blared 80s and
country music and rolled the windows
down. I’ve changed more diapers in
the back seat than I can count. There’s
probably a sucker stick or a crayon
hidden somewhere that belonged to my
baby. Maybe an entire chicken nugget.
She implored whoever ended up with the
car, named Sylvia after the song Sylvia’s
Mother, to treat it with respect.
“Love, joy, and adventure was had in
this car. So now that it ’s yours, please
remember it isn’t just a car. It’s a memory.
This car, with all its quirks, is the last piece
of my family.
“Be nice to it. Play it a country song. Big
Green Tractor was my daughter’s favourite
sound ever or some of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s
Freebird. That song meant so much that I
played it at their funerals.
“ You’re riding with angels. My angels.
Talk to them if you like, I’m sure they’d
like to see and hear about any new
adventure you take in this car.”
Sabrina also vowed to buy the car
back when she was in a better financial
“Be blessed, be happy, live and love like
we did. I wish you, and Sylvia, all the best!”
After the Facebook post went viral
Archey came for ward in a comment on
the Love What Matters post, and said she
was touched by how her story has been
received. She also shared her respect for
She wrote, “I can’t say it enough, how
amazing Kevin truly is. He did not have to
let me know that he found my letter. He
didn’t have to share our story here. He was
touched very deeply, as most of you have
been, and felt like he needed to share my
letter for the message that it was meant
to convey. Please don’t be upset with him
for having Sylvia. I know in my bones that
if he was able to give me the car that he
would in an instant. It’s not easy to buy a
car. He just got lucky and got this one.”
Sabrina finished her message by urging
everyone not to take their loved one’s for
“Give your babies extra loving, call your
mum and go visit your grandparents if you
still have them”, she wrote. — n e w s.com .
Sabrina pictured with her daughter Jensyn and mother Wilma.
The letter found in the car.
Movie poses moral dilemma
When the Nazis asked Django
Reinhardt to play for troops heading to
the Eastern Front, the musician faced a
moral dilemma relevant to artists today,
the director of a biopic on the jazz guitar
pioneer said this week.
Django, which opens the Berlin Film
Festival, tells the story of the French
guitarist who was courted by the Nazi
occupiers to make a morale-boosting
performance and counter “negro” jazz
music at a time when people of his
Romani ethnicity were being rounded up
and killed in concentration camps.
French director Etienne Comar, who
listened to Django’s music as a child
because his father was a fan, said he
wanted to depict an artist in a complex
historical era to show something that
would resonate with contemporary
“Political commitment is not a
straightfor ward question. Should you play
or not play to a certain audience when you
don’t approve of their ideas, for example?”
Comar said at a news conference before
the film’s screening.
In the movie, Django has just performed
in a successful show in occupied Paris
when a German officer tells him that
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany ’s
propaganda minister, and maybe even
Adolf Hitler want to see him play in
While Django initially thinks his
popularity will protect him, he decides
to try to flee to Switzerland with his
mother and pregnant wife when his lover
warns that people are being rounded up
in Germany and babies are being used for
“ I realised there were an enormous
number of parallels (with today),” Comar
said. “Refugees, the ways in which you can
constrain people, preventing them from
travelling and moving about freely. ”
More than a million migrants, many
of them fleeing conflict and persecution,
have arrived in Germany over the last two
years and the premiere of Django comes
at a time of international outrage over
United States President Donald Trump’s
temporary travel ban on people from
seven Muslim-majority countries and
Django is one of 18 films at the
“ Berlinale” competing for Golden and
Silver Bears. The festival in the German
capital runs until February 19. — Reuters
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