Home' Greymouth Star : May 20th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, May 20, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1498 - Explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at
Calicut, India, to complete his voyage around
1501 - Portuguese discover an island in the
south Atlantic on Ascension Day, and name it
1506 - Christopher Columbus dies in poverty
1536 - King Henry VIII of England marries
1867 - Prospector Ernest Henry discovers
copper at Cloncurry, Queensland. In London,
Queen Victoria lays foundation stone of the
Royal Albert Hall.
1920 - The first president of post-
revolutionary Mexico, Venustiano Carranza,
is murdered by political opponents
after fleeing the capital.
1922 - Ninety people die when
the P and O liner Egypt sinks off
Ushant after colliding in fog with
the French steamship Seine.
1923 - British Prime Minister
Bonar Law resigns due to ill health
and is replaced by Stanley Baldwin.
1929 - Australia’s first airmail stamp issued.
1932 - US aviatrix Amelia Earhart takes off
from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the
first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1943 - Japanese aircraft attack naval
installations at Exmouth Gulf, Western
Australia - the furthest south of such raids.
1960 - A massive earthquake, followed by
tidal wave, kills hundreds in southern Chile.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Honore de Balzac, French writer (1799-1850);
John Stuart Mill, English philosopher (1806-
1873); Wladyslaw Sikorski, Polish general
and statesman (1881-1943); Sigrid Undset,
Nor wegian novelist (1882-1949); James
Stewart, US actor (1908-1997); Moshe Dayan,
Israeli general-statesmen (1915-
1981); Joe Cocker, British singer
(1944-); Cher, US actress-singer
(1946-); Robert Doyle, Australian
politician (1953-); Tony Goldwyn,
US actor (1958-); Jane Wiedlin, US
rock singer (1958-); Branson Pinchot,
US actor (1959-); Mindy Cohn, US
actress (1966-); Tom Gorman, US rock singer
(1966-); Buster Rhymes, US rapper (1972-);
Stirling Mortlock, Australian rugby union
player (1977-); Mark Winterbottom, Australian
racing driver (1981-) .
“Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst
of it, but can describe it only from the vantage
point of distance.” — Charles A Lindbergh
“He sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom
of God and to heal.” — Luke 9:2
The National Roads
Board made it quite
clear during its visit
to the West Coast
two months ago that it would give favourable
consideration to improving the Otira Gorge to
take bus traffic providing this did not involve
an extra allocation of finances. The cost of
upgrading the route to remove the bus ban was
estimated by the Ministry of Works at between
£15,000 and £16,000.
The Otira Gorge road was built by pioneers
with hand tools 100 years ago — in 15
months. And the section in dispute remains
substantially the same as when first built.
Claiming this is the West Coast branch of the
Automobile Association (Canterbury) which
says that during the whole period the Otira
route has been in use ( July 1866-May 1967)
little effort or expenditure has been made to
upgrade the section between Arthur’s Pass and
the Otira River to meet modern standards.
Four months in Vietnam with the New
Zealand medical team at Qui Nonh was
described as a “magnifient experience” by Dr
C A Heaphy, who arrived home in Reefton
yesterday. Dr Heaphy left New Zealand in
January and was to have stayed in Vietnam until
July but an asthmatical illness cut short his visit.
“They are extremely trying conditions to
work under and one has to be really fit to work
well,” Dr Heaphy said this morning. “It was
an experience on its own just to see how these
people live,” he said.
Asked if he had ever been in danger while
there, Dr Heaphy replied that Qui Nonh was
very secure and only isolated incidents among
the civilians occurred.
uFood for thought
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The six-week campaign is over, and
55 million Iranians will vote in the first
round of the presidential election today.
Or rather, most of those 55 million people
will vote, but many will not, because there
is great disillusionment with President
Hassan Rouhani’s promises to improve
the economy — and therefore also with
the international treaty on curbing Iran’s
nuc lear weapons ambitions that was
supposed to bring back prosperity.
Donald Trump (who calls the treaty
“one of the worst deals ever signed”)
is not alone in seeing it as a failure.
Although Rouhani’s main challenger in
this election, hardline cleric Ebrahim
Raisi, does not formally reject the deal,
his whole campaign is focussed on the
fact that the end of foreign economic
sanctions did not bring Iranians the
rapid economic relief that Rouhani had
Iran has a big, middle-income economy
with a large industralised sector, but
largely because of those sanctions it has
been in the doldrums for the past decade.
Incomes have stagnated or fallen, youth
unemployment is 26%, and many people
have lost faith in Rouhani.
Forty-three per cent of Iranians
“strongly approved” of the “joint
comprehensive plan of action” ( JCPOA),
as the deal is called, when it was signed
two years ago. Now only 21% “strongly
approve”. Yet nothing has actually
changed with the deal. Rouhani’s problem
is that nothing much has changed in the
The western partners in the JCPOA,
the so-called “Five plus One” (the United
States, Russia, Britain, Germany, France
and the European Union) have been slow
to remove the sanctions, mainly because
of foot-dragging in Washington —
although the US government was quick
enough to grant a waiver when Boeing
wanted to sign a $16.6 billion deal to
sell 80 passenger aircraft to Iran Air last
The bigger problem for Iran is that
major international banks have been
reluctant to re-engage with Iran because
they fear being caught out if the US
reneges on the deal and reimposes
sanctions. So the Iranian economy
continues to bump along the bottom, and
a lot of people who voted for Rouhani last
time say they will sit this election out.
Ebrahim Raisi is capitalising on this
disillusionment by running a populist
campaign promising “work and dignity”.
He is thought to have the tacit backing
of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, who is the final authority in
Iran’s peculiar blend of democracy and
Khamenei has not given his public
backing to any candidate in this election
(there are also two less well-known
candidates running for the presidency).
It is generally assumed, however, that he
supports Raisi, who is best known as one
of the four Islamic judges who ordered
the execution of thousands of political
prisoners in 1988.
As a result, Raisi is doing well with his
target audiences, the poor, the devout
and the ill-educated. If they turn out to
vote in large numbers, while more urban,
more sophisticated voters express their
disappointment with Rouhani’s failure
to work miracles by staying home, it is
entirely possible that he will beat Rouhani
and become the next president.
This would plunge the country’s
relations with the west back into the
deep freeze, but Raisi says he does not
care about that: Iran does not need
outside help, and his goal is to restore the
values of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It certainly would not improve Iran’s
prospects for prosperity, or the entire
region’s prospects for peace.
Rouhani is trapped between two fires
in this election. At home he faces a
conser vative backlash that condemns his
opening to the west and (implicitly) his
nuc lear deal. On election day the voters
who might come out to support him are
likely to hear Donald Trump just across
the Gulf in Saudi Arabia, spouting anti-
Iranian rhetoric to a summit meeting of
It is not just Trump. Hillary Clinton,
while giving the nuclear deal her tepid
approval, was just as negative about Iran
in general, and Barack Obama regularly
recited the misleading mantra about
Iran being the “ leading State sponsor of
terrorism”. As did his predecessors in the
US presidency all the way back to Ronald
Iran is no worse than many of America’s
allies in the region (and better than
some) in its treatment of its own citizens.
It is no more prone to interfering in
its neighbours than they are. Yet it is
routinely treated by US administrations
of both parties as a rogue State that poses
a huge and unique threat to the peace of
the Middle East. Why?
Because it defied the US and got away
with it. The Iranian Revolution of 1979
overthrew Washington’s puppet ruler, the
Shah of Iran, and just as in the case of
Castro’s revolution in Cuba, the US has
never forgiven it for that crime. Whereas
by now Iranians have more or less
forgiven the US for the CIA-backed coup
in 1953 that destroyed Iranian democracy
and gave the Shah supreme power in the
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles on international
affairs are published in 45 countries.
Disillusionment in Iranian election
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi chant slogans during a
campaign meeting at the Mosalla mosque in Tehran.
T rex could bite with the force of three cars
cientists have come up with
one more reason to be amazed
by Tyrannosaurus rex. When
the huge carnivorous dinosaur
took a bite, it did so with an
awe-inspiring force equal to
the weight of three small cars, enabling it
to crunch bones with ease.
Researchers this week said a computer
model based on the T rex jaw muscle
anatomy and analyses of living relatives
like crocodilians and birds showed its
bite force measured about 3630kg, the
strongest of any dinosaur so far estimated.
“ T rex could pretty much bite through
whatever it wanted, as long as it was
made of flesh and bone,” Florida State
University paleobiologist Gregory
In quantifying the power of T rex’s
chomp, they also calculated how it
transmitted its bite force through its
conical, 18cm teeth, finding it generated
30,300kg per square centimetre of tooth
pressure, another measure of its power, on
the contact area of the teeth.
Bite marks on fossilised bones of
dinosaurs like the horned Triceratops
that lived alongside Tyrannosaurus some
66 million years ago in western North
America indicated T rex was a bone-
cruncher. The ability to pulverise and eat
bones gave T rex, which was about 13m
long and weighed about seven tonnes, an
advantage over competing predators that
“Predators with bone-crunching abilities
are able to exploit a high-risk, high-
reward resource: the minerals that make
up bone itself and the fatty marrow that
is contained inside,” paleontologist Paul
Gignac of the Oklahoma State University
Centre for Health Sciences, lead author
of the study published in the journal
Scientific Reports, said.
“The risk is the potential to accrue
extreme tooth damage from biting into
bone, making it difficult or impossible to
capture prey effectively or rupture the long
bones of carcases.”
Previous studies have estimated
Tyrannosaurus bite strength but the
researchers in the new study called their
approach more sophisticated.
Their computer modelling was
developed and tested on alligators, with
the researchers studying how each muscle
contributed to the bite force.
They concluded T rex possessed the
greatest tooth pressure of any creature
studied in history. Its bite force far
exceeded that of any living creature, but
was not the greatest ever. For example,
they estimated in 2012 an enormous
croc called Deinosuchus, which lived
a few million years before T rex and
weighed even more, had a bite strength of
10,400kg. — Reuters
Researcher Bill Simpson looks inside a fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex known as Sue, before removing its forelimb to be used for
research at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Sex for fish common trade in Kenya
At midday in Abimbo village on the
Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria, 32-year-
old Rachel Atieno is busy spreading out
her silver cyprinid fish to dry in the sun.
Atieno, a mother of five, has sold the
fish since her husband died 10 years ago
leaving her to support her family. With no
other income, she was left with no option
but to trade sex with the fishermen for a
share of their catch.
Sex-for-fish, known locally as “jaboya”,
is common practice in Abimbo village
in western Kenya’s Siaya County and
throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
“This ‘ jaboya’ thing will always be there.
In fact it has increased due to the poverty
in our area and those who do it do so
because there is no other option,” Atieno
“ You might sell the fish you get today,
but spend it on buying food and other
basic things, so the next day you have to
start afresh,” she said.
Siaya is the county with the second
highest HIV prevalence in Kenya, with
nearly a quarter of the population infected
with the virus that causes Aids.
As the fishermen bring ashore their
night-time catches in the early morning,
the sight of women buying fish with
money is rare. The currency is sex.
“In most cases, the best catch would go
to those women who are ready to offer
sex,” said Atieno as her youngest children
read a story book in the shade.
But in Atieno’s case, she no longer
has to engage in “jaboya” thanks to an
income-generating project by the non-
governmental group Challenge Africa
that has given women like her help with
financial planning and access to credit.
Challenge Africa introduced “table
banking” to Siaya, a concept in which the
organisation offers small start-up loans to
women that they invest in their businesses,
with the aim of bringing back sums
that can in turn be loaned out to other
members of the group at low interest rates.
“ We all initially received a loan of
5000 Kenyan shillings ($50), and this
has enabled me buy the silver cyprinid
from the shores and also ensure I have
something to put on the table for my
children,” Atieno, whose business is now
sustainable enough for her to stop trading
“ We have also been taken through
simple classes on how to balance our
books and ensure that we understand
profit and loss and how to do business.”
As Atieno speaks, the rumble of
generators and the occasional boom of
explosives from local goldmines drift
across the Lake Victoria shore.
Apart from selling fish, Atieno also
cooks for the goldminers, paid for in a
scoop of silt from the mine, which she
sifts in the hope of finding gold deposits.
A single gram of gold sells locally at about
3000 Kenyan shillings ($30).
Edwin Ogillo, Challenge Africa’s country
director, says the organisation, through its
table-banking initiative and skills training
workshops, has helped to increase the
financial security of vulnerable women.
“After these trainings, the selected
women were each given the $50 loan to
expand and strengthen their businesses as
those we had selected were the ones that
were already running businesses,” he said.
“ We look for ward to giving them a
higher sum after they all pay back the
loans after making profits. ”
Ogillo said one of the aims of the
project is to curb the high rates of HIV
transmission, fuelled by the practice of
“ Here, people believe that HIV/Aids
only happens to people who might have
done wrong to others, what they call
‘chiraa’ and so the issue of protected sex is
rare,” he said.
“This explains the high rates of HIV
prevalence within the community and
especially those around the lake who
engage in ‘ jaboya’.”
Just two houses away, 40-year-old
Millicent Omondi and her 56-year-old
husband, Ezekiel Omondi, are stirring
muddy water in a basin in search of gold
Millicent, who is also a member of the
women’s group established by Challenge
Africa, spends her days sifting for gold
and then runs a kiosk in the local market
in the evening.
“The money I got from Challenge Africa
helped me increase my stock at the shop
and make more profits,” she said.
“Even though my husband has now left
fishing to work at the gold mines to raise
school fees for our children, we depend
on the business for food and other daily
household needs,” she said.
Both she and her husband are infected
with HIV — which Ezekiel blames on
having sex with other women in return for
giving them fish when he was a fisherman.
“ I was getting a raw deal from these
women because they infected me,” he said.
The couple have four daughters. The
eldest has graduated from high school
and wants to study to be a nursery school
teacher. The others are at school and the
pair have to work hard to raise their school
fees and provide for them.
Apart from helping women like
Millicent through the table banking loans,
the organisation also runs a school and a
poultry keeping project.
“The proceeds from the poultry project
is meant to ensure sustainability of the
project and buy sugar for the children’s
porridge while in school,” Ogillo said.
Rachel Atieno dries her fish for sale in Siaya County, Kenya.
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