Home' Greymouth Star : December 30th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, December 30, 2013
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uLetters to the editor
1853 - e Gadsden Purchase signed with
Mexico to sell southern portion of Arizona
and New Mexico to the United States for $10
1880 - e Transvaal Boers under Stephanus
Kruger declare a republic.
1903 - Some 600 people die in the
Iroquois eater re in Chicago.
1964 - UN Security Council calls
for an end to all foreign intervention
in the Congo.
1972 - e United States halts its
heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
1992 - e California gray whale, a species
once threatened with extinction, is removed
from the endangered species list.
1994 - North Korea releases US Army
helicopter pilot Bobby Hall, ending a 13-day
1999 - A man walks into the o ce of
Pakistan's largest Urdu-language newspaper
and confesses to killing 100 children.
2006 - Saddam Hussein, 69, is taken to the
gallows and executed.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Rudyard Kipling, English author (1865-
1936); Stephen Leacock, Canadian humorist
(1869-1944); Carol Reed, English lm
director (1906-1976); Bo Diddley,
US singer/guitarist (1928-2008);
Skeeter Davis, US singer (1931-
2004); Patti Smith, US punk
musician (1946-); Tracey Ullman,
British actress-singer (1959-);
Ben Johnson, disgraced Canadian
sprinter (1961-); Ato Boldon,
Trinidadian athlete (1973-); Tiger
Woods, American golfer (1975- ); Ellie
Goulding, English singer-songwriter (1986-).
" e meek shall inherit the earth --- if that's
all right with you." --- Anonymous.
"You were taught, with regard to your former
way of life, to put o your old self, which is
being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be
made new in the attitude of your minds; and
to put on the new self, created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness."
--- (Ephesians 4:22-24).
ere was only one
accident reported in
Westland over the
weekend --- the rst
for the festive season. A Hokitika motorcyclist,
Ray Silver, lost the little nger from his right
hand after being involved in an accident with
a car one mile west of Kaniere at 10.30pm
on Saturday. e driver of the other vehicle,
Van Ross, also of Hokitika, and four other
young people in the car were uninjured in the
e motorcyclist apparently struck the right-
hand front mudguard of the car and then ran
o the road. He was admitted to the Westland
Hospital where his condition was described as
"good" by hospital authorities.
A party of 40 Auckland railway enthusiasts
will arrive in Greymouth at 6.40pm this
evening in the course of a Buller-Westland-
Marlborough tour. Yesterday, in the Buller, the
party made the rst passenger train trip on the
Seddonville and Conn's Creek branches of the
Westport section for many years.
Only once before had a passenger train
travelled to Conn's Creek, at the foot of the
steep Denniston incline --- in 1957 --- and
only coal trains now run between Westport and
Anyone hoping to nd accommodation
in Greymouth over the next month or so is
apparently going to have to bring his own tent
or caravan to ensure shelter for the night. If
the traveller cares to make the rounds of hotels,
however, he may nd a room.
e motor camp is well booked, motels --- a
relatively new form of accommodation for
Greymouth --- are "chocka-block" and hotels
generally have heavy bookings.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
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3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
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Chief Reporter Laura Mills
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03 755 8422
Available soon, for sale or
rent: brand new island
with sea views from the
terrace, fresh sh daily
and swimming pool in the
resort hotel. An ideal base
for 225 pioneers with $183 million-plus
to spare and a yearning for a new political
and social system.
And if you do not like it, no problem.
Hitch the house to the back of a tugboat
and try somewhere else.
For the right-wing American libertarian
with deep-seated problems with Big
Government, the 19th century challenge
to "Go West, young man" retains a
powerful appeal. But for the current
target audience --- the free-wheeling
capitalist dotcom millionaire in Silicon
Valley --- going west means getting
Not an issue, according to a new design
report investigating the feasibility of
"seasteads", communities of like-minded,
self-governing individuals established on
the high seas, free from what proponents
see as the restrictions of nations, welfare
systems and punitive taxes.
Seasteading has emerged as a political
movement --- with nods to climate
change and land shortages --- to create
new water-borne city states. Over 85
pages, a Dutch engineering and urban
development company has outlined
the feasibility of a oating "village" for
225 permanent residents and 50 hotel
guests --- a blueprint that the pioneering
seasteaders hope will become hundreds of
oating petri dishes of social and political
e design consultants envisage a series
of interlocking "hollow box" square and
pentagonal platforms, allowing each city
to grow organically --- or be dismantled
and towed away in the event of political
dispute or interference. Individual
seasteaders would decide on how they
would rule or be ruled.
According to the feasibility study
by Delta Sync, a specialist in oating
structures in the low-lying Netherlands,
early residents would live in ats of
70sqm with terraces open to the sea.
Solar energy would power general daily
living, including electric-only cookers,
while water for showers and drinking
would be supplied by the rain.
Early residents would include
entrepreneurs, social experimenters and
people to tend the oating sh farms.
A helipad would allow access to land-
based hospital facilities or for when
self-sustainable living just became too
e vision is funded by a United States
non-pro t organisation, the Seasteading
Institute, established by two darlings of
the libertarian movement including the
billionaire founder of Pay Pal, Peter iel.
Its stated ambition for the seasteads is
to "guarantee political freedom and thus
enable experimentation with alternative
Establishing an independent non-State
settlement on the seas is not an entirely
new concept. Roy Bates, a retired British
army major, occupied a World War Two
sea fort o the Su olk coast in 1967
and a decade later he declared Sealand
a sovereign principality, with himself
as head of State. e British Foreign
O ce does not recognise Sealand as an
independent state, but the Bates family
Various other attempts at oating
cities and tax havens have failed in the
face of legal, technical and political
hurdles. e rst rudimentary seastead
project is to be launched soon by a
separate group called Blueseed. It is
essentially a ship moored far enough o
the California coast to sidestep United
States immigration rules. For safety
reasons, the rst proper seastead is likely
to be anchored in a protected bay inside
the territorial limits of a "host" country.
e institute claims to be in early talks
with up to ve Governments to be the
rst host. It aims to close negotiations
in 2014, with the rst seastead residents
moving in by the end of the decade.
Given that the whole politically driven
point is freedom from government
interference, the dependence on a host
country's "supervision" would appear a
Not so, said the executive director of the
institute, Randolph Hencken.
"It's a business negotiation," he told the
Independent. e group was asking for
"substantial political autonomy, within
reason" and in return would supply the
host with "some form of compensation".
After a "large-scale selection process for
suitable countries", the study focused on
the Gulf of Fonseca, which is bordered
by El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.
e last appears a particularly strong
candidate, as it has already announced
plans for free-trade zones with minimal
government control. But even if the San
Francisco-based Seasteading Institute
secures a deal with a host Government,
its dream of independence will still be
di cult to realise. e US Government
has asserted its right to police outside
its territory, and for its citizens to pay its
Hencken suggests the residents of
each seastead would set their own
rules, but using them for things like a
drug marketplace would be "asking for
trouble". And what if undesirables tried
to buy their way in?
"I'm not going to be in charge, but I
wouldn't want to have exiled dictators
who had committed atrocities," he said.
"I wouldn't want it to be a haven for
e seasteaders see the platforms as
long-term communities, with the ability
to join and leave a key factor based on
political and economic choices. Engineers
say they could be built to last. "If you use
the right mixture it can last for a long
time," Delta Sync project leader Karina
e seasteading vision is for innovative
and self-governing societies that are
seedbeds for radical technologies and
forms of government. e founders talk
of businesses based on Bitcoins --- the
virtual currency --- such as medical or
research centres, free from regulatory
Hencken said the seastead idea had
received an enthusiastic response globally
from people wanting to run their own
shops, gyms and research centres.
He said he knew a "handful" of
multimillionaires interested in the project,
the rst of which has an estimated cost of
$170m. But if you require millions to buy
or rent a place in the rst place, who will
clean the toilets? " e guys who are very
wealthy do not have personal assistants,
many of them clean their own toilets,"
Hencken insisted. If not, there was
capacity to pay people to do the "dirty
work in exchange for a wage and a place
Even ardent supporters recognise the
plan may be ambitious and seasteads are
not the best places to live.
"Get a group of libertarians on a boat
and they won't agree with each other."
"It's in their nature to be anti-social,
Cody Wilson, a libertarian activist said."
--- New Zealand Herald
Designers envisage a series of interlocking "hollow box'' square and pentagonal platforms, allowing each seasteading city to grow organically.
Rich libertarian dream
Chinese travel far and wide to join their
families for the Lunar New Year holiday,
but for 60-year-old Xie, whose only child
died seven years ago, China's biggest
holiday is a reminder that she faces old age
with little in the way of nancial support.
Her daughter, Juanjuan, was 29 when
she died, leaving her parents in the ranks
of China's more than a million "shidu"
families, or those who have lost their only
child, in a country where parents have
traditionally relied on their children to
look after them in old age.
"We Chinese always consider the child
as the most important thing. If the child
is gone, the whole family breaks down,"
said Xie, a retired senior technician living
in south-eastern Jiangxi province, who
declined to give her full name to protect
her family's privacy.
Many shidu parents are victims of
China's strict family planning policy,
which since the late 1970s has restricted
most families to one child, and have
stepped up calls for compensation.
China says the policy has averted 400
million births, preventing the population
from spiralling out of control. But now it
plans to ease the restrictions, fearing that
they are undermining economic growth
and contributing to a rapidly ageing
population the country has no hope of
On ursday, the National Health and
Family Planning Commission announced
an increase in compensation for shidu
couples --- although it failed to raise
much cheer ahead of the Lunar New Year
holiday, or Spring Festival, at the end of
Couples in which the woman is 49 or
older will get 340 yuan ($68) per person
each month if they live in a city and 170
yuan ($34) if they live in the countryside
from next year. Shidu parents had
demanded 3150 yuan ($636) per person
Couples are currently entitled to 135
yuan ($27) a month, based on rules set
in 2012, although some provinces give
signi cantly more, in some cases up to
1000 yuan ($202).
e compensation falls far short of
expectations in a country where there
is little in the way of welfare or health
bene ts. And some shidu couples have
"We want to live in an old people's home
with other people like us," said 50-year-old
Shi Hui, whose only son died in January
last year of cancer. "We don't want to live
in an ordinary old people's home. When
other people's children come to visit... we
wouldn't be able to take that."
More and more shidu parents have
travelled to Beijing in a bid to have their
voices heard. In May, about 400 people
staged a sit-in outside the National Health
and Family Planning Commission's
One of their strongest arguments is
that the compensation on o er pales in
contrast to the huge nes paid by parents
who break the one-child rule, proceeds of
which amounted to 20 billion yuan ($3.3
billion) from 24 provinces in 2012.
Xie did not think of having a second
child when she was young because that
would have meant she and her husband,
who both worked at State factories, would
have lost their jobs.
"At the time, the slogan went that 'birth
control is good, the State will look after
the old'. I hope the government shall do
what it says," Xie said.
"My biggest fear is that some day I
might die at home and no one will know."
Shidu couples believe their case is
di erent to other disadvantaged groups as
theirs is a direct result of national policy.
"All I want is for someone to call and
visit us when we fall ill," said 53-year-old
Xu from north-eastern Liaoning province.
"What we want is not assistance or charity,
but the government to be responsible."
China's lonely parents face old age
Fifty-year-old Shi Hui looks at pictures of her late son Tian Yao, at her home in
Although it does not quite match the
pain of childbirth, choosing a name for a
new baby can nevertheless be agonising.
Such an important decision can weigh
heavily on parents-to-be, because whatever
they choose will, of course, identify their
child for life.
And while a baby's name ought to be
simply one both parents like, the truth can
be far more complicated than that.
Siobhan omas, author of Best Baby
Names 2014 (which features more than
8000 names and their meanings), says that
in addition to agreeing on the "perfect"
name, most parents will want to make sure
it is not too popular, that it goes with their
surname, and that the initials do not spell
out something undesirable.
"My key piece of advice when parents
are choosing a baby name is to consider
the name in full, with the surname, and
apply it in their minds not only to a baby
and young child, but to a teenager and an
adult in di erent scenarios, like a graduate
trying to nd a job," omas says.
"Even if you think it's wrong to judge
people on names, that doesn't mean other
people won't judge them.
"It's the rst thing people know about
you, and often the only thing they know.
It can de nitely be detrimental to rst
Every year, certain names rise in
popularity, and often go out of favour
again just as quickly.
omas says there is no accurate way to
predict which names will be popular, but
they are often related to recent events.
For Britain in 2014, it's predicted
names from popular tv programmes may
in uence choices, with names such as
Anya and Darcey (from Strictly Come
Dancing) and Finn (from Breaking Bad)
all having gained popularity in recent
e birth of Prince George in July isn't
thought to have sparked a multitude of
baby Georges, but it has always been a
popular traditional name and was 12th in
the 2012 list of baby names published by
Britain's O ce for National Statistics.
omas points out: "Many people want
something a bit unique for their baby, so
he is not the third George in class, for
"But it is likely the name will now see a
fresh boost to its popularity."
Traditional names generally feature high
in the popular names charts, and omas
suggests that 2014 might see classic
names like Oliver, Olivia, Grace and Jacob
continue to be placed near the top of the
"Every name comes and goes in the
chart, but the newer ones tend to be
eeting and the traditional royal names
will never stray far from the top," she says.
According to Babynames.co.uk, where
omas (the author, not the boy's name)
is a senior editor, other names that have
become more popular in Britain recently
are Esme, Jonah, Poppy, Addison and
However, the most popular names
are not always the ones parents want to
choose. omas, opted for more unusual
names for her new baby, Austin Richard
Hayden, who was born at the end of
November, and for her two daughters,
Erin Rose, aged three, and Cora Elizabeth,
Straying a little away from traditional
names is why many parents decide not to
tell wider family or friends the name they
have chosen until after the baby's born, as
chances are some members of the family
will not like it.
" at takes the sparkle o it a bit, but
ultimately it doesn't really matter, as once
the baby's born they'll forget they didn't
like the name," reassures omas.
Name associations are also important,
she says, for reasons that can be as simple
as people thinking certain names are too
"posh" or too "common", usually through
One of the more unusual names omas
has heard is Geronimo. However, she adds,
the name is not seen as particularly strange
in cultures where it is derived from Jeremy.
e name Hashtag, however ---
reportedly given to a baby girl in the
United States last year --- is probably
" ere's no law in the United Kingdom
to stop that kind of name being used,
although there is in some other countries,"
"I think the number of people who
would actually give their child a ridiculous
name is quite small, although some
people's de nition of ridiculous is broader
As a nal warning, omas says:
"Children can be very unkind to each
other, and if they have a name that
makes them even more easy to bully,
that's something you've in icted on them
and it's something that parents need to
consider very seriously."
Top 10 boys' and girls' names in Britain
1. Noah; Ava.
2. Oscar; Freya.
3. Oliver; Isla.
4. Jacob; Grace.
5. Isaac; Amelia.
6. Dylan; Ella.
7. Ethan; Eva.
8. William; Olivia.
9. Harry; Alice
10. Jack; Mia. --- APNZ-AAP
Remember your baby's name is for life
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