Home' Greymouth Star : February 18th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Andre Segovia, composer-guitarist (1893-
1987); Jack Palance, US actor
(1919-2006); Toni Morrison,
US author (1931-); Yoko Ono,
widow of Beatle John Lennon
(1933-); Cybill Shepherd, US
actress (1950-); Juice Newton, US
singer (1952-); Randy Crawford,
US singer (1952-); John Travolta,
US actor (1954)-); Greta Scacchi,
Australian-Italian actress (1960-) Matt Dillon,
US actor (1964-); Dr Dre, US rap singer (1965-
); Molly Ringwald, US actress (1968-).
"Temperament is temper that is too old to
spank." --- Charlotte Greenwood, American
"Yet to all who received Him, to those who
believed in His name, He gave the right to
become children of God --- children born not
of natural descent, nor of human decision or a
husband s will, but born of God."
--- John 1:12-13
must remain listed
as "missing, possibly
extinct" in the dossier
on West Coast birdlife. Recent efforts to trace
signs of surviving specimens of this rare native
ground bird, which goes by the common name
of kakapo, have proved totally unsuccessful.
If the moss green, black and lemon coloured
parrot with the owl-like face does exist in
the Paparoa Ranges area, then the rugged
mountains are keeping the secret a close one,
for they revealed nothing at all during the
recent expedition carried out by Messrs
T Hartley-Smith and F W J Munden, district
officers for the wildlife branch of the Internal
Not much unusual birdlife was spotted but
they did find signs of the kiwi living in the
mountains. Mr Munden found a feather of a
large spotted kiwi and they heard their calls
at night. Old-timers have reported seeing the
kakapo around about 50 or 60 years ago when
the birds were still known to be about in fairly
Greymouth s first military funeral in memory
attracted hundreds of mourners to St John s
Presbyterian Church and the Karoro Cemetery
yesterday afternoon for the burial of New
Zealand s oldest returned serviceman, and a
former magistrate and mayor of Greymouth,
Brigadier-General William Meldrum, CB,
e gun carriage on which the coffin was
transported to the cemetery was accompanied
by ser vices figures who slow-marched beside it
while 500 mourners were at the cemetery and
St John s was packed for the church service.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
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Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
1944 - British aircraft bomb Amiens prison in
France in World War II, allowing 100 prisoners
1945 - Battle for Iwo Jima begins in Pacific in
World War Two.
1951 - In Vietnam, Prime Minister Tran Van
Huu announces formation of a new government.
1963 - e Queen and Prince Philip arrive in
Australia on visit for the 50th anniversary of
1965 - African nation Gambia
becomes independent within
1967 - Death of Robert
Oppenheimer, US physicist and
father of the atomic bomb.
1970 - Young Filipinos storm US
embassy compound in Manila,
protesting US military bases in
Philippines and US economic policy.
1980 - Liberal Party under Pierre Trudeau wins
Canadian federal election.
Aboriginal people are being "picked off
one by one" by a legal system that is little
more than veiled apartheid, Aboriginal
Larrakia elder June Mills says 225 years
after white settlement, Aboriginal welfare
has been going backwards.
"We still have the stolen generation
going on today, in a much more polished
way than before --- it s slick now," she
"It can go completely undetected unless
you saw the threads and knew what was
Ms Mills was speaking last week
night to a packed Darwin screening of
John Pilger s new documentary Utopia,
in which the journalist explores the
dispossession and poverty of Aboriginal
people living in a remote community
north of Alice Springs.
Ms Mills said the government was
mounting an "undeclared war" targeting
Aboriginal men, with punitive laws and
high imprisonment rates decimating
Jailing them in such large numbers has
prevented traditional knowledge being
passed down to the next generation, legal
"Our protectors, our lawmen are
incarcerated at unbelievable rates, to
disempower, to intimidate," Ms Mills said.
"To get us so depressed and so oppressed
that we don t know what to do."
About 85% of the NT prison population
is Aboriginal, a number that shoots up to
about 99% for juveniles.
An unofficial apartheid is in action,
said Jared Sharp, advocacy manager for
the North Australian Aboriginal Justice
"We have a guise that there s one law for
everyone in the NT but that s certainly
not how things are implemented," he said.
Alcohol in the NT is a huge problem,
and a series of new measures introduced
by the NT government to target alcohol-
related violence are instead criminalising
alcoholics, the majority of whom are
Aboriginal, anti-alcohol lobby groups say.
And yet the territory has the second-
highest national proportion of people at
risk of long-term damage from alcohol
--- for the non-indigenous population, Mr
"You have to ask why we re having a
(federal) inquiry into alcohol-related
violence just for Aboriginal people," he
New regulations devised by the
Australian Hotels Association and
introduced on ursday will limit the
number of drinks people can buy in the
Dar win CBD, but these measures are
not being rolled out in other towns such
as Tennant Creek, where alcohol-related
assaults shot up by almost 55% in
2012-13 compared to the previous year.
e Alice Springs-based People
Alcohol Action Coalition repeatedly
calls for shortened trading hours for bars
and bottle shops, which they say is an
evidence-based way to reduce alcohol-
related violence, but that is not part of the
new Darwin regulations.
Another law that targets Aboriginal
people is what Mr Sharp calls the
"draconian regime" of alcohol mandatory
Since July, a person can be detained for
three months in forced rehabilitation if
they are picked up by police for public
drunkenness three times in a two-month
e estimated cost is about $43,000
per patient, or more than $9 million to
date, and the government would consider
it successful if 15 to 20% of patients
stopped or reduced their drinking, Health
Minister Robyn Lambley has said.
"Ninety-nine per cent are Aboriginal
people in those facilities," Mr Sharp said.
"You have to ask what s happening here
in government policy, and if Aboriginal
people are --- very subtly, in a hidden way
--- being targeted by policies like these."
e federal government last year
announced it would cut $13.4m in
funding for Australia s peak Aboriginal
legal aid organisation, while Aboriginal
detainees were being sent to alcohol
treatment for three months without
understanding why they were there and
without access to a lawyer, Mr Sharp said.
e government s newest method for
cracking down on problem drinkers,
Alcohol Protection Orders, have been
issued over 500 times this year already,
preventing those on an order from going
to any licensed premises for up to 12
at includes supermarkets or sports
stadiums, which means people may breach
their orders inadvertently, or because they
have no choice.
Chief Minister Adam Giles said in
their first month of operation, the orders
accounted for a 15.8% drop in acts
intended to cause injury while under the
influence of alcohol.
But if the law permits racial targeting
then it is inherently flawed, said Reverend
Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, a Yolngu
elder from Arnhem Land.
"If we are being victimised as second-
class citizens then there s something
wrong with the law," he said.
e Little Children Are Sacred report,
which was the catalyst for the Howard
government s 2007 military occupation
of remote NT Aboriginal communities,
offered a positive way forward for
Aboriginal justice that the government
ignored, Mr Sharp said.
" ere was a very strong section on the
importance of two legal systems working
together; the non-Aboriginal system has
to start a dialogue with the Aboriginal
legal system to find ways that both can
strengthen and enhance each other."
Ms Mills said Aboriginal people could
come up with solutions themselves, but
the mainstream wouldn t permit it.
" ey will drip feed us (money), they
will set us up for failure... It s death by
stealth," she said.
"Indigenous people across this country
are fighting for our lives... We re getting
systematically picked off, one by one,
while every day Australians go about their
business in our land." --- AAP
Veiled Aussie apartheid
Most people entering crocodile
territory keep a wary eye out on water
and land, but research suggests they
need to look up.
ough the reptiles lack obvious
physical features to suggest this is
possible, crocodiles in fact climb trees
all the way to the crowns, according
to University of Tennessee researcher
Researchers in the climbing study
observed crocodiles in Australia,
Africa and North America. e study
documented crocodiles climbing as
high as 1.8m off the ground. But
Dinets said he received anecdotal
reports from people who spend time
around crocodiles of the reptiles
climbing almost 9m.
Dinets said crocodiles lack the
toe and foot structure that would
be expected of a climber. However,
smaller and juvenile crocodiles in
particular were observed climbing
vertically while larger ones tended to
climb angled trunks and branches, all
of which is a measure of the reptiles
spectacular agility, he said.
" ey just go slowly," he said.
"Eventually they get there."
e finding was reported in January
in Herpetology Notes in collaboration
with Adam Britton from Charles
Dar win University in Australia and
Matthew Shirley from the University
e researchers believe the crocodiles
climb to keep a lookout on their
territory and to warm themselves in
" e most frequent observations of
tree-basking were in areas where there
were few places to bask on the ground,
implying that the individuals needed
alternatives for regulating their body
temperature," the authors wrote.
"Likewise, their wary nature suggests
that climbing leads to improved site
sur veillance of potential threats and
People who spend time around
crocodiles have known about the
climbing ability for decades, Dinets
said, but this study is the first to
thoroughly examine the climbing and
Dinets also was co-author of a
widely reported study in 2013 that
demonstrated crocodiles used sticks
and twigs to hunt, balancing nest-
building material on their snouts just
above the water line to lure birds. e
crocodiles lay in wait for hours and
lunged when a bird ventured near.
at finding was the first reported
use of tools by any reptile and the
first known case of predators timing
the use of lures to a seasonal behaviour
in their prey, according to a University
of Tennessee press release at the time.
e latest climbing study suggests
paleontologists studying extinct
species should be cautious about
drawing conclusions from fossils, adds
"If crocodiles were extinct and you
only knew them from fossils, you
wouldn t be able to guess they climb
trees because they don t have any
physical adaptations," Dinets said.
"Assumptions based on fossils, he
said, can be "far less correct than
people think." --- Reuters
Crocodiles climbing 9m trees
In less than two weeks, the art world has been
rocked by cases of forgery in which paintings
with a potential value of millions were
unmasked as worthless fakes.
e two episodes, entailing a bogus Marc
Chagall and a Ferdinand Leger, have shed
light on the expanding role of forensic
scientists in probing the authenticity of works
attributed to masters.
"For years, scientists played only a marginal part in
these assessments," said Gerard Sousi, founder of the
Art and Law Institute, a Paris-based organisation that
specialises on legal issues in art.
"Today, they are being called upon more and more."
One of the biggest weapons in the scientific arsenal
is chemical analysis of paint.
Just a fleck is enough for a spectrometer to get a
signature of the compounds that comprise it --- and
in turn, this gives a good idea of when the paint, and
thus the work, was made.
For instance, if someone offers to sell you a
Rembrandt with brushstrokes of Prussian Blue, you
should always decline.
e dark blue pigment, explained Philippe Walter,
director of the archaeology laboratory at the Pierre
and Marie Curie University in Paris, was discovered
accidentally in 1704 --- a whole 35 years after
Rembrandt s death.
In 2008, a paint called Titanium White helped
expose one of the greatest art scams of all time.
Suddenly suspicious about Red Picture with Horses,
supposedly painted in 1914 by expressionist Heinrich
Campendonk, the owners of the work --- who had
shelled out 2.8 million euros ($NZ4.58 million) two
years earlier --- called in forensic scientists in Munich.
ey found a tiny trace of Titanium White --- a
paint made in the 1920s.
e forged Chagall, unwittingly bought by a British
businessman and tested in a BBC documentary this
month, was unmasked in part through the discovery
that its blue and green pigments were too recent.
ey were invented in the 1930s, whereas the
portrait of the reclining nude was supposedly made in
Another scientific tool used in the discovery
of fakes is a particle accelerator, which measures
concentrations of the isotope carbon 14 to establish
when the cotton used to make a canvas was grown.
A supposed work by Leger from 1913-14, Contraste
de Formes, was one forgery exposed in this way.
It had been part of the prestigious Peggy
Guggenheim Collection in Venice, but was never
shown given doubts about its authenticity.
e mystery was finally laid to rest after a team at
the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics announced
last week they had found a spike in levels of carbon 14
in the canvas.
ese showed the cotton that made it was grown in
the late 1950s, when concentrations of the isotope in
the environment leapt because of atmospheric nuclear
tests. Leger had died in 1955.
Impressive as all this may sound, science is not a
substitute for art historians, who are not only familiar
with the style and life history of an artist but also the
context in which a work was made, Walter said.
He gave the example of jewellery from ancient
Shown pieces of jewellery made of pure gold
encrusted with semi-precious stones like turquoise or
lapis lazuli, and others fabricated of a gold-and-silver
alloy inlaid with coloured glass, the novice is likely to
mistake the latter for cheap knock-offs.
In fact, silver and glass at the time of the Pharaohs
were far more rare and valuable, Walter said.
Even though scientists are more important in
the field than ever, they are asked to investigate an
artwork only when doubts exist, added Sousi.
"In the art market, transactions are often carried out
swiftly, and in conditions lacking transparency, and
due diligence can suffer," he explained.
And, he observed, owners of a doubtful, but
expensively-bought, piece of work may be keener
to hand it on rather than risk having it exposed as
worthless. --- AAP
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