Home' Greymouth Star : May 9th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, May 9, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1671 - Thomas Blood, Irish adventurer better
known as Captain Blood, steals the crown jewels
from the Tower of L ondon.
1785 - British inventor Joseph Bramah patents
the beer-pump handle.
1899 - The lawn mower is patented.
1940 - British begin night bombing
raids on German cities.
1943 - Point Stuart, in the
Northern Territory, is bombed by a
1945 - Germany ’s Field Marshal
Keitel signs final surrender at the end
of World War Two.
1978 - The bullet-riddled body of Italy’s
former prime minister Aldo Moro is found in
parked car in central Rome, 54 days after his
abduction by Red Brigades terrorists.
1986 - Death of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who
with Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the
summit of Mt Everest in 1953.
1994 - South Africa’s newly elected parliament
chooses Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Brown, US slavery abolitionist (1800-
1859); Sir James Barrie, English dramatist
(1860-1937); Howard Carter, British
archaeologist (1873-1939); Glenda
Jackson, English actress, turned
politician (1936-); Sonny Curtis, US
musician and songwriter (1937-);
James L Brooks, US film producer-
director (1940-); Candice Bergen,
US actor (1946-); Billy Joel, US pop
singer (1949-); Dave Gahan, British
singer of Depeche Mode fame (1962-); Grant
Hackett, Australian swimmer (1980-).
“ Television has changed the American child
from an irresistible force into an immovable
object.” — Laurence J Peter, Canadian-born
“O Lord, you have searched me and known
me. ” — (Psalms 139:1).
Mr Ian Watkin, of
Cobden, a member
of the New Zealand
Corporation’s Greymouth station 3YZ staff,
is to transfer to Wellington, to take up an
appointment in the NZBC’s publicity section.
Mr Watkin is the only cricket umpire
residing on the West Coast at present who
is qualified to umpire cricket up to test level.
He was also a tennis umpire and junior tennis
Mr Watkin was the president of the
Greymouth Theatre Workshop, being a leading
figure in its foundation, and was also a member
of the Greymouth Operatic Society, gaining a
high reputation for his comedy roles.
One of the West Coast ’s most colourful
characters Mr Thomas Neil Mouat died
suddenly yesterday afternoon. Well known in
many circles, both business and sporting, Mr
Mouat spent a lifetime in the Charleston and
Punakaiki districts. He was born at Charleston
68 years ago and later involved in flaxmilling
at Barrytown. His activities were many and
varied, including farming, contracting, mining
On the sporting side, Mr Mouat possessed
unusual talent at both rugby and league. He
used his big frame to advantage and became
something of a legend in his own time as far
as football was concerned. Another sport that
attracted the attention of Neil Mouat was
trotting. He ran a number of brood mares with
Always a man to stand up for his rights or
beliefs, he is sur vived by his wife Eileen, a son
John, daughter Mary, and two grandchildren,
Neil and Marion. There are seven brothers and
uFood for thought
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03 755 8422
he world’s next big
antibiotic could lie hidden
in our native fungi — and
scientists have turned to
New Zealanders for the
quarter of a million dollars
needed to help find it.
The Cure Kids-backed effort comes at a
time when antibiotic resistance is posing
one of the greatest public health threats of
the modern age.
Each year, an estimated 700,000 people
around the world die from drug-resistant
infections, and this is predicted to rise to
10 million people a year by 2050.
The “Fight Against Superbugs” campaign
aims to raise $250,000 to support critical
research by scientists at the University of
Auckland who will study 1000 fungi held
in a collection by Landcare Research.
Fungi are a proven source of antibiotics,
such as penicillin, and most antibiotics in
clinical use are from soil microbes.
Well-known microbiologist Dr Siouxsie
Wiles, who heads the university’s
Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab, and her
team aim to mine prioritised fungi from
the collection of 10,000 over the next year
to identify pathogen-fighting properties.
The results of the work to date are
promising — Wiles’ team have piloted
the approach, screening 300 fungi, using
a cultivated form of bacteria that ’s been
engineered to glow when alive.
When the bacteria stop glowing, this
signals potential antimicrobial qualities in
the fungi which then undergo more tests.
“ We’re really hopeful that we will make
rapid progress in our search for new
Children are at increased risk and more
vulnerable to infectious diseases.
“ We are particularly hopeful we will
identify fungi that are able to kill the
bacteria responsible for many of the
serious diseases rife in New Zealand such
as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
New Zealand has some of the highest
rates of infectious diseases in the
This is coupled with high rates of
Infectious diseases, such as MRSA, can
cause skin, respiratory and bloodstream
Most at risk of this potential killer are
children under five and people over 65.
“ We are running out of time, we need to
find a solution,” Wiles said.
“ While current antibiotics have proved
highly effective in the defence against
infectious diseases, common bacteria
regularly develop new strains that resist
In her new book Antibiotic resistance
— the end of modern medicine?, which
explores the threat to humans, agriculture
and animals from superbugs and antibiotic
resistance, Wiles said antimicrobial
resistance threatened to undo many of the
medical achievements of the last century.
Last month, an article published in the
New Zealand Medical Journal warned
how a new family of super bug resistant to
nearly all antibiotics was spreading here
and posed a “serious and urgent threat ”.
But somewhere out there in New
Zealand’s biologically abundant and
unique environment, she believed, lay the
fungi that could give the world a new
“ We’ve found heap of fungi that kill our
glowing bacteria and are all ready to go for
further testing, and we’ve got more fungi
being identified every week.
“It seems to me, counter-intuitive, that
we wouldn’t find something novel.
“It’s just a numbers game ... how many
fungi will we need to screen? This is where
the crowd-funding comes in.”
Since Cure Kids began supporting the
project ’s pilot programme 18 months ago,
the organisation has received generous
donations from individuals and businesses
to help with the research, but more
support is needed to move it into this next
“Now we’re inviting the wider
community to help us raise the $250,000
needed to progress this project so a
further 1000 fungi can be screened and
analysed over the next 12 months,” the
group’s research director, Tim Edmonds,
“ We know that antibiotic resistance
is an issue many New Zealanders are
concerned about. Particularly for those
children at greatest risk of infections.
“However, it can also seem like too big a
problem to know how to help.
“This campaign gives everyone an
opportunity to contribute and play a vital
part in enabling our leading experts to
search for an answer to this crisis.”
Those who give certain amounts will
receive special rewards: a $30 donation
sees the donor receive the chance to
nickname one of the fungi being tested;
a $50 donation receives a limited edition
print from New Zealand artist Otis
Frizzell; a $100 donation will give the
donor a glowing bacteria art kit.
Pledges of more than $1000 will give
the donor an opportunity to take part
in a one-hour bioluminescent session
(painting with glowing bacteria) with
The battle against the bugs
Why does antibiotic resistance pose such
a huge threat to humanity?
Dr Siouxsie Wiles explains.
What are the main factors that are
contributing to antibiotic resistance?
“The manufacture and use, or rather
misuse, of antibiotics are two of the main
factors contributing to resistance.
All over the world, antibiotics are taken
by people and animals, as well as used on
in horticulture and aquaculture.
Sometimes they are used to treat disease
and other times they are used to prevent
“But for many years they have been
misused, given or taken inappropriately for
diseases they can not treat, or used at doses
that are not effective.
“ Wherever they are present, they will
provide an environment in which resistant
microbes can thrive.”
Why are we only hearing about this
threat so much now? Was it Lord Jim
O’Neil’s 2014 report that has mainly
made it a talking point?
“ Microbiologists and clinicians have
been talking about this threat for quite a
while, it was something I learned about
when I did my undergraduate degree in
the late 1990s.
“Since then, the number of resistant
organisms has grown, and more and more
are becoming harder to treat.
“This will have been what put the issue
on the World Health Organisation’s radar,
and their global report published in 2014
really raised its profile.
“Then in 2015 the World Health
Assembly endorsed the WHOs global
action plan to tackle the matter.
“ I think the reports from Lord O’Neill’s
review have certainly helped keep people
talking about the issue.
“ We must keep talking, because the
more people know about it, the more
chance we have of making progress on
What needs to happen to tackle it, both
from a policy and discovery standpoint?
“There are three different avenues that
need to be tackled.
“The first is around the current
manufacture and use of antibiotics and
other antimicrobials (like antiviral and
“There needs to be a massive global effort
to make sure these precious medicines
are used more wisely and appropriately in
human and veterinary medicine, and in
agriculture, aquaculture and horticulture.
“There also need to be strict regulations
put on how contaminated waste from their
manufacture is treated to make sure it does
not end up in the environment.
“Secondly, we need huge public
investment in the discovery and
development of new antimicrobial agents,
vaccines, and other ways of preventing and
treating infectious diseases.
“Thirdly, we need to incentivise the
private sector to also get involved in R and
How confident, or pessimistic, are you
that we will or will not be able to keep
ahead of bacteria?
“ I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic that
we’ ll find a way through this crisis.
“ But that ’s probably because I’m an
optimist by nature.
“ If I was a pessimist I probably would
not be able to get out of bed every day
knowing what I know.
“ I desperately do not want us to face
a future in which our life expectancy is
reduced to 40, and the medical advances of
the last 100 years are too risky to perform.
“So I get up each day, and do whatever
I can to try to prevent that future from
At the present pace, how soon could
it be before our drugs begin to fail, and
what implications could this mean in
cases like infections or surgery?
“They are already failing for some
“ Last year the United States had their
first death from an untreatable “superbug”.
“The number of cases like this are still
small but already doctors are having
to resort to less effective medicines, or
ones with worse side effects, or ones that
require a stay in hospital instead of people
being able to be treated at home.”
What is the New Zealand perspective
on this issue: are we any less in danger
than other developed nations?
“ New Zealand is in no less danger than
other developed countries.
‘In fact, we might even be in more
danger, partly because of our location in
the world — we travel a lot, providing
plenty of opportunity to “import ” resistant
microbes into New Zealand — and partly
because of our high rates of infectious
diseases — our rates for some infectious
diseases are higher than many other
Ultimately, for what it means to the
human race, do you put this threat on
par with other potentially catastrophic
eventualities like global war or climate
“ I also think for many people, they will
be personally impacted by antimicrobial
resistance well before climate change.
Both war and climate change also
exacerbate the issue.
Increasing temperatures and events like
flooding will extend the ranges of some
infectious diseases, as well as increase the
frequency of epidemics.
“ War displaces large numbers of people,
leaving them living in overcrowded
unsanitary conditions, ideal for many
infectious diseases to spread.”
— New Zealand Herald
Fight against superbugs
France’s new President Emmanuel
Macron has given his inaugural address at
the L ouvre, but he was almost upstaged
— by his wife.
The 39-year-old former investment
banker walked out to greet thousands of
supporters at the Louvre after a 12-month
campaign that has seen him emerge from
relative obscurity to gain the keys to the
Elysee Palace. He will now become the
youngest head of state France has seen
His victory speech included plenty of
thanks to his 200,000 members who have
joined the movement and volunteered their
time to help. There was also a nod to his
opponent, the Front Nationale’s Marine Le
Pen who secured around 35% of the vote.
However some of the biggest cheers came
for his wife, Brigitte 64, who joined him
on stage at the end after the crowd started
chanting her name.
“She’s a good looking 64,” said one young
student watching. Others said they were
happy the couple — who met when he was
a student and she was his teacher
— appeared in such an apparently happy
“It’s his life, I don’t care really,” said Marie,
So who is the new French President?
Having previously ser ved as the economy
minister under Francois Hollande, Macron
quit the Socialist Party to found his own
movement, En Marche! Taking inspiration
from both left and right, the party has
signed up 200,000 members in one year.
His campaign has taken inspiration from
Barack Obama’s in 2008 and included a
“grand march” across the country to talk
to voters. The former President endorsed
him in the closing days in an usual move
in which he cited the importance of the
elections to stability in Europe.
Macron supports free markets, wants to
cut corporation tax from 33 to 25% and
wants to reform the European Union while
keeping French borders open. He also
wants to reduce unemployment and keep
the 35-hour working week while allowing
businesses to negotiate separate contracts
His support is clustered in major cities
like Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes.
Macron claims his camp has been the
target of Russian “disinformation” during
the campaign, including unsubstantiated
claims he has a secret gay lover and offshore
He is married to his former teacher,
Brigitte Trogneaux, who is more than
20 years his senior and a grandmother
of seven, with three children of her
own. Trogneaux opened up about their
relationship in a documentary last year
including the fact he told her at 16 he
would marry her.
“He wasn’t like the others,” she said. “He
wasn’t a teenager. He had a relationship of
equals with other adults.” “I didn’t think it
would go very far .... I thought he would
get bored. We wrote, and little by little I
was totally overcome by the intelligence of
this boy. “ We’d call each other all the time
and spend hours on the phone,” she said.
“Bit by bit, he defeated all my resistance,
in an amazing way, with patience.”
The pair married in 2007 and she has
featured in his campaign.
Macron’s biographer Anne Fulda said his
task is now to convince the electorate to fall
in love with him as well.
“He wants to give the idea that, if he was
able to seduce a woman 24 years his senior
and a mother of three children, in a small
provincial town ... despite opprobrium and
mockery, he can conquer France in the
To win the race, Macron beat Marine L e
Pen. The 48 year-old National Front leader
is part of a political dynasty that is both
loved and loathed. Securing 21.5% of the
vote in the first round was a major coup for
Le Pen, who has worked to “de-demonise”
the party founded by her father in her six
years at the helm, and marks its transition
from the fringes of French politics to the
Since the vote she quit as head of the far-
right party in an apparent bid to broaden
her voter appeal.
Le Pen has predicted the European
Union will “die” and wants to pull France
out of Europe. She also wants to return
to the French franc and close the borders,
while introducing a cap on immigration at
10,000 people a year.
She has advocated banning religious
symbols including headscarves and veils in
public, said she will crack down on radical
Islamist terror and scrap a law that provides
a path to citizenship for the children of
immigrants. She wants to penalise groups
that hire foreign workers, introduce a 35%
tax on companies bringing in foreign goods
and lower the retirement age to 60 from 62.
Growing up in the political spotlight has
led to a tumultuous family life for Marine,
who is one of three daughters of Jean Marie
Le Pen and his estranged wife Pierrette.
Her former paratrooper father founded
the party in 1972 with his outspoken views
thought to have led to a bombing in the
apartment block targeting the family when
Marine was just eight years old.
The family later moved to a gated
mansion in the suburbs of Paris,
Montretout, where her parents’ marriage
dissolved in a public battle. When Marine
was aged 15 her mother left the family
home and was not seen by her again for 15
years, according to reports. In the 1980s she
also posed for Playboy in shots that have
recently resurfaced in French media.
Family biographer Olivier Beaumont,
who wrote a book called In the Hell of
Montretout about the family, told NPR
Marine picked up the political torch from
her father. But their relationship was
severed when his dogs killed her cats at the
“There’s a big difference between Jean-
Marie and Marine Le Pen,” he said.
“The father only wanted to provoke. The
daughter aspires to real power,” he said.
Despite her father’s outright anti-Semitic
views that include calling the gas chambers
a “detail” of history, he also made it to the
second round of the Presidential elections
in 2002. However after Marine took over
the leadership in 2011 she has worked
to soften its image with a broader appeal
to voters. Her niece Marion, has been
instrumental in helping to attract younger,
socially conser vative voters from France’s
wealthier southern regions.
Marine now lives with her partner Louis
Aliot, who is also a party member. She has
three children. — New Zealand Herald
New French president, 39, his wife, 64
France’s new president Emmanuel Macron with his wife, Brigitte.
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