Home' Greymouth Star : January 26th 2018 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, January 26, 2018
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uLetters to the editor
1788 - After the First Fleet ’s landing at Port
Jackson, Captain Arthur Phillip takes formal
possession of the Colony of New South Wales
and becomes its first governor.
1841 - The British flag is raised
on Hong Kong island, six days after
China agrees to cede it to Britain.
1865 - Britain announces no
more convicts will be shipped to
1926 - Scottish inventor John
Logie Baird displays his first
television images, demonstrated on his
television apparatus in Soho, London.
1939 - In the Spanish Civil War, Franco and
his forces capture Barcelona.
1950 - India is formally proclaimed a
republic within the Commonwealth.
1966 - Dame Annabelle Rankin becomes
the first woman to hold a federal portfolio in
the Australian Government.
1998 - US President Bill Clinton denies
having an affair with a White House
intern, telling reporters, “I did not have
sexual relations with that woman, Miss
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Paul Newman, US actor (1925-
2008); Murray Ball, New Zealand
cartoonist (1939-2017); Lucinda
Williams, US singer (1953-); Kim
Hughes, Australian cricketer
(1954-); Eddie Van Halen,
utch-born guitarist (1955-); Ellen
DeGeneres, US actress (1958-); Li Cunxin,
Chinese-Australian dancer (1961-); Catherine
Martin, Australian costume and production
designer (1965-) .
“ What we really are matters more than what
other people think of us.” — Jawaharlal Nehru,
Indian statesman (1889-1964).
“Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit,
sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart,
and a humble mind. ” — (1 Peter 3:8).
The 15 workers at
the Blackball State
sawmill were told
today that the mill
would close in March. In 1965 the mill made a
profit of $25,168 and last year was expected to
return about $28,000.
The mill operated by New Zealand State
Coal Mines supplies timber for mines,
the Ministry of Works, railways and other
government departments on the West Coast.
Westland MP Mr P Blanchfield said
this afternoon he had already made urgent
representations to the Minister of Mines over
the closing but had not received any reply yet.
It seemed as if this was one very profitable
operation of the Mines Department and the
closing seemed inexplicable, he said.
“There is probably another side to the story,
but as yet I have not heard what it is,” said
Former West Coasters are found all over the
world these days and there is at least one in the
home of cheese and watches — Switzerland.
Miss Una Richardson, born at Runanga and
educated at the Greymouth High School,
is now working at the head office of the
International Labour Organisation in Geneva.
This is a specialised agency of the United
Nations with about 2000 officials at the head
office and branch offices.
There are more foreigners than Swiss in
Geneva and this has led the Swiss to resent
them, Miss Richardson said.
An association with the Greymouth Amateur
Athletic Club spanning many decades
during which time he has been a competitor,
official starter and president culminated in
Mr Arthur Fong being awarded a club life
membership badge last weekend.
uFood for thought
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hinese scientists have
cloned monkeys using
the same technique that
produced Dolly the sheep
two decades ago, breaking
a technical barrier that
could open the door to copying humans.
Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two
identical long-tailed macaques, were born
eight and six weeks ago, making them the
first primates — the order of mammals
that includes monkeys, apes and humans
— to be cloned from a non-embryonic
It was achieved through a process called
somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT),
which involves transferring the nucleus of
a cell, which includes its DNA, into an egg
which has had its nucleus removed.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy
of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience
in Shanghai said their work should be a
boon to medical research by making it
possible to study diseases in populations of
genetically uniform monkeys.
But it also brings the feasibility of
cloning to the doorstep of our own species.
“Humans are primates. So (for) the
cloning of primate species, including
humans, the technical barrier is now
broken,” Muming Poo, who helped
super vise the programme at the institute,
told reporters in a conference call.
“The reason ... we broke this barrier is to
produce animal models that are useful for
medicine, for human health. There is no
intention to apply this method to humans.”
Genetically identical animals are useful
in research because confounding factors
caused by genetic variability in non-cloned
animals can complicate experiments. They
could be used to test new drugs for a range
of diseases before clinical use.
The two newborns are now being
bottle fed and are growing normally. The
researchers said they expect more macaque
clones to be born over the coming months.
Since Dolly — cloning’s poster child —
was born in Scotland in 1996, scientists
have successfully used SCNT to clone
more than 20 other species, including
cows, pigs, dogs, rabbits, rats and mice.
Similar work in primates, however, had
always failed, leading some experts to
wonder if primates were resistant.
The new research, published this week in
the journal Cell, shows that is not the case.
The Chinese team succeeded, after many
attempts, by using modulators to switch
on or off certain genes that were inhibiting
Even so, their success rate was extremely
low and the technique worked only when
nuclei were transferred from foetal cells,
rather than adult ones, as was the case
with Dolly. In all, it took 127 eggs to
produce two live macaque births.
“ It remains a very inefficient and
hazardous procedure,” said Robin Lovell-
Badge, a c loning expert at the Francis
Crick Institute in London, who was not
involved in the Chinese work.
“The work in this paper is not a
stepping-stone to establishing methods
for obtaining live born human clones. This
clearly remains a very foolish thing to
attempt.” The research underscores China’s
increasingly important role at the cutting-
edge of biosciences, where its scientists
have at times pushed ethical boundaries.
Three years ago, for example, researchers
at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou
caused a furore when they reported
carrying out the first experiment to edit
the DNA of human embryos, although
similar work has now been done in the
Scientists at the Shanghai institute said
they followed international guidelines for
animal research set by the US National
Institutes of Health, but called for a
debate on what should or should not be
acceptable practice in primate cloning.
Chinese cloning — what
Huah Hua, a cloned long tailed macaque monkey is seen at the non-primate facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai.
“What’s in a name?
That which we call a
rose by any other word
would smell as sweet,”
but it does not smell as
sweet in Macedonia.
In a display of national
insecurity with few
has denied that the
country to the north has the right to use
the name Macedonia ever since it got its
independence when Yugoslavia broke up
Athens insisted, with very little
evidence, that by calling the new country
the Republic of Macedonia (the same
name it had as part of the Federal State
of Yugoslavia), the Macedonians were
laying claim to the Greek region of the
same name. But recently there were signs
that common sense was starting to break
The Macedonians were willing to
negotiate on the issue, because Greece
has blocked its applications to join the
Nato alliance and the European Union
since 2008, and let it join the United
Nations only under the ridiculous name of
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM). But Athens and Skopje (the
capital of FYROM) have been talking
compromise for almost a year, and it was
Interior minister Panos Skourletis, a
prominent figure in the Syriza Party which
dominates the coalition government in
Athens, said: “It is a silly dispute that has
to be solved. They (the Macedonians) want
to solve it, and I think it will be solved in
2018. If not now, then when?”
The dispute has been complicated by the
fact that the Macedonians, a small ethnic
group who have inhabited the area they
now possess since the Slavic invasions
of the sixth and seventh centuries, have
claimed Alexander the Great as their
founding father. It is understandable, since
they can claim no other historical figures
of note, but it has immensely irritated the
Alexander, who conquered half the
“ known world” before he died more than
2000 years ago at the age of 32, is also seen
by modern Greeks as their most important
world-historical figure, mainly because
they too have no more recent candidates.
Homer, Socrates, Euripides, and Plato are
all very well, but they lived even longer ago
and conquered no foreigners.
So in addition to the preposterous notion
that Macedonia lusts after the Greek
province of the same name — FYROM
has only two million people (of whom a
quarter are ethnically Albanian), whereas
there are 10 million Greeks — Greek
nationalists are further aggrieved that their
neighbours are trying to steal their great
national hero. Indeed, there has been some
Under the last prime minister, an
ultra-nationalist called Nikolas Gruevski,
the Republic of Macedonia started
naming airports, highways and stadiums
after Alexander and erecting large and
remarkably clumsy statues to the great
conqueror. Gruevski lost the Macedonian
election last June, however, and the new
prime minister, Zoran Zaev, has taken a
very different line.
“I give up the claim of Macedonia
being the sole heir to Alexander,” Zaev
said in a television inter view last month.
“The history belongs not only to us but
to Greece and many other countries.” He
has denounced the previous government
nationalist binge and even suggested that
he will dismantle statues that offend the
This is only reasonable, as Alexander really
was Greek. He spoke Greek (his tutor was
Aristotle), and he was born on what is now
On the other hand, the multi-national
empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman,
which ruled the entire region for over
2000 years until the 20th century usually
included the territory now occupied by
FYROM in its Macedonian province,
so that name can be claimed by anyone
whose ancestors lived there. By late last
year, reasonable people were working on a
By this New Year’s Eve Yiannis Boutaris,
the mayor of Thessaloniki, the capital of
the Greek province of Macedonia, was
entertaining Macedonian president Zaev
in his city. “For too long we have been
obscured by this nationalistic foolishness
and populist propaganda,” he said, and the
problem looked well on the way to being
The solution, according to sources inside
the negotiations headed by UN negotiator
Matthew Nimitz, would be to rename
FYROM New Macedonia, which implies
no claim to “old ” Greek Macedonia. But
then Pannos Kammenos, the founder of
the small Independent Greeks party which
is in coalition with Syriza, demanded an
Kammenos’s party is polling so low at
the moment that it would not even make
it into the next parliament, so he needed
to boost his standing with his right-wing
supporters. The opinion pollsters promptly
asked the Greek public if they would accept
any name for FYROM that included the
word Macedonia, and between 68% of
respondents (poll of 15 January) and 77%
(poll of 20 January) said no.
So Syriza, which is currently trailing the
opposition New Democracy party in the
polls by 10%, is unlikely to go any further
with this proposal (63% of its own voters
said no). The foolishness will therefore
continue for some time to come.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in 45
Macedonian name game continues
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Protesters take part in a rally against the use of the term “Macedonia” in any solution to a dispute between Athens and Skopje
over the former Yugoslav republic’s name, in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Greenpeace International has released
its first submarine footage from a part of
the Antarctic sea floor never before visited
by humans and has called for a vast ocean
sanctuary in the region.
The pictures from the environmental
campaign group shows a marine
environment rich in sponges, coral and fish.
Greenpeace wants to see a protected zone
covering 1.8 million square kilometres in
the Antarctic to protect species including
whales and penguins.
Proposals for the sanctuary have been
submitted by the European Union and
backed by the German government and
will be considered when the Antarctic
Ocean Commission convenes in October
Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is on
a three-month expedition to the region
to carry out research, including sea floor
submarine dives and sampling for plastic
pollution, to highlight the need to protect
the fragile habitats found there.
If the sanctuary goes ahead, it will be the
biggest protected area on Earth.
John Hocevar, a Greenpeace US marine
biologist who piloted the submarine, said
the first dive was “amazing”.
“I really didn’t know what to expect, but
we saw so much life, it was very diverse.
“There were a lot of species of sponges,
corals, sea squirts, a lot of different kinds
of sea stars and their relatives, basket stars,
“It was just incredible how the whole
bottom was carpeted with life. I really
didn’t expect it.” Dr Susanne Lockhart, an
Antarctic biologist who visited the seabed
in a two-person submarine, said: “ We’ ll be
doing further exploration of the bottom of
the sea to help determine specific areas that
should be a priority for protection from
commercial fishing in these pristine waters,
as well as building a body of evidence to
support proposals for protection in the
Antarctic Ocean.” — PA
Antarctic seabed ‘carpeted with life’
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