Home' Greymouth Star : March 17th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, March 17, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
45 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeiians
at the battle of Munda in Spain. e
Pompeiians, led by two sons of Pompey the
Great, lose more than 30,000 men.
180 - Death of Roman Emperor Marcus
Aurelius, best remembered for his Meditations,
about Stoic philosophy.
461 - Death according to the legend of St
Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.
1860 - Second Maori War breaks out in New
1912 - Lawrence Oates, English polar
explorer with Robert Scott's doomed expedition
to the Antarctic, leaves the tent on his 32nd
birthday saying, "I am just going outside, and
may be some time". He never returns.
1939 - British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain accuses Adolf
Hitler of breaking his word after
German troops crossed the Czech
1976 - Queensland Premier Joh
Bjelke-Petersen announces that death
duties will be scrapped in the State budget.
1982 - Zimbabwean Prime Minister
Robert Mugabe orders the writing of a new
constitution to replace that drawn up at the
Lancaster House conference in London.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
King James IV, Scottish ruler (1473-1513);
Madame Roland, French author-revolutionary
politician (1754-1793); Edmund Kean, British
actor (1787-1833); Kate Greenaway, English
illustrator (1846-1901); Nat "King" Cole, US
singer (1919-1965); Rudolf Nureyev, Russian
ballet dancer (1938-1993); John Sebastian,
singer of e Lovin' Spoonful fame
(1944-); Patrick Du y, US actor
(1949-); Kurt Russell, US actor
(1951-); Lesley-Anne Down, British
actress (1954-); Gary Sinise, US
actor (1955-); Rob Lowe, US actor
(1964-); Billy Corgan, US rock
singer of Smashing Pumpkins fame
(1967-); Melissa Auf der Maur, US-Canadian
musician of Hole fame (1972-); Caroline
Corr, Irish musician (1973-); Justin Hawkins,
English musician (1975-); Aaron Baddeley,
Australian golfer (1981-).
"It is my rule never to lose me temper till
it would be detrimental to keep it." --- Sean
O'Casey, Irish playwright (1880-1964).
"Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am
languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are
shaking with terror.' --- Psalm 6.2
"If we had only
known years ago
that we would have
half the support we
have had, we would have built long ago." is
was stated on Saturday afternoon by Mr AE
Fisher, president of the Greymouth Pensioners'
Association, at the opening ceremony for the
association's new clubrooms.
Approximately 100 people lled the
attractive new rooms to over owing and they
greeted with some enthusiasm Mr Fisher's
announcement that the rooms were being
opened completely free of debt at a cost of
somewhere near £5000.
"I am happy to be a member of this
association," the Mayor of Greymouth, Mr F
W Baillie, said. "May all connected with the
erection of this building live a long time to
enjoy its bene ts."
e regular overseas consignment of West
Coast wildlife products, such as venison,
cray sh tails and, more recently, goats, pigs
and hares, will shortly be embellished. One
Greymouth-based conpany is examining the
possibility of freighting away eels and opossum
to interested consumers on the Continent.
Such is the demand for its products that the
rm, Natural Food Supplies, now requires
the ser vices of three permanent men and ve
regular female workers at its major Greymouth
preparation plant. And with large numbers of
animals in frequently the latter gure has been
boosted to 12.
e Greymouth Borough Council will
tonight consider an application from the
Kerridge Odeon organisation to show lms
here on Anzac Day. It is understood that this is
the rst time that such an application has cpme
for ward here.
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)
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Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Howard G Bu ett
donated $US24 million
($28.14 million) to
South Africa's national
parks service on Friday
to fund a high-tech campaign against
rhino poaching which he compared to
the United States's war on drugs on its
Bu ett, son of billionaire investor and
Berkshire Hathaway Inc chairman Warren
Bu ett, one of the world's richest men,
presented the 255m rand cheque to South
African authorities at Standard Bank
o ces in Johannesburg.
e money will fund a 30-month
campaign to try to reverse a losing battle
being fought against rhino poachers in the
agship Kruger Park, where illegal hunters
in ltrating from Mozambique have been
decimating the rhino population.
It will provide park rangers with a
helicopter and other high-tech equipment,
such as an aerostat balloon and land
vehicles equipped with sophisticated
electronic sensors, to track down
poachers. e project also plans to place
sensors on fencing along the border with
" is is very much like our drug war on
our US-Mexican border," Bu ett said,
referring to the campaign by American
and Mexican authorities against narcotics
South Africa, which is home to almost
all of the world's rhinos, lost 1004 of the
massive animals to poachers in 2013,
compared with 668 the previous year and
448 in 2011.
Most of the killings are taking place in
the Kruger Park, which lost 606 rhinos
last year, and 113 so far this year. South
Africa's rhino population totals around
"We are losing the battle all across the
continent. We have to ght it every place
we can," Bu ett said.
Rhino hunting is driven by soaring
demand in newly a uent Asian countries
such as Vietnam and China, where
the animal's horns are prized as a key
ingredient in traditional medicine.
Howard Bu ett, through his charitable
foundation, has supported farming,
wildlife conservation and poverty
alleviation projects across Africa, often
concentrating on hotspots which are
su ering from con ict or the aftermath of
"When you see what con ict does to
people, you cannot turn away. at con ict
is fuelled by rhino horns, elephant ivory,"
Bu ett said, referring to the close link
between insurgencies and con icts in
Africa and tra cking of natural resources.
Rhino horn has a street value of more
than $65,000 a kg in Asia, making it more
valuable than platinum, gold or cocaine.
South Africa's Minister of Water and
Environmental A airs, Edna Molewa, said
Pretoria was working with Asian countries
such as China, Vietnam, ailand and
Laos to try to curb the demand.
"Fighting and winning the battle in
South Africa is ghting and winning the
battle in the world," she said.
Retired South African Maj. Gen. Johan
Jooste, who is leading the ght against
poaching in the Kruger, said his rangers
were confronting hundreds of poachers
who had made their bases in villages on
the Mozambican side, in Maputo and
Criminal syndicates promise cash to
poor and unemployed villagers willing to
take the risk of hunting down the animals.
Jooste envisaged a hard campaign. " e
talking is the easy part, this is not a sprint,
it's a marathon," he said. --- Reuters
Tackling the poachers
PICTURES: Getty Images
A newly born white rhinoceros walks with its mother in the Kruger National Park in Lower Sabie, South Africa. e Kruger
National Park was established in 1898, and is South Africa's premier wildlife park, spanning an area of approximately two million
e riverbank that hugs this city's
downtown has in recent years sprouted
ashy rows of towering high-rises and
trendy restaurants. More boat slips are
envisioned so water taxis can handle larger
But as business owners chart their course
to prosperity, they have bumped up against
a formidable adversary: Florida's much-
loved "sea cow," the manatee.
When a county commissioner recently
suggested relaxing guidelines intended
to protect the blubbery creatures on the
Miami River and other waterways, it
set o the latest iteration of a perennial
battle. Floridians are generally supportive
of development, but they also adore their
manatees, a gray, bulbous endangered
aquatic species that weighs 360kg to
"It's easy to draw battle lines, and
it's really unfortunate," Mark Bailey,
executive director of the Miami River
Marine Group, which includes marinas
and shipyards that would like a chance to
Native to Florida's rivers, bays and
coastal waters, manatees have for decades
been listed as an endangered species. ey
have no real defences and cannot survive
long in water colder than 20degC.
Designated as the State marine mammal,
the creature is a tourist draw in parts of
the state where dozens of them cluster
near warm springs and power plants. A
National Park Service website described
the manatee's appeal as that of "a plump
grandmother with ippers like oven mitts,
outstretched as if inviting a hug". Anyone
who harms the so-called gentle giants
Last week two men pleaded guilty to
manatee abuse after a Facebook video
showed them luring manatees dockside
and jumping on them in violation of the
Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.
e State law makes it a second-degree
misdemeanor to "annoy, molest, harass
or disturb" the manatee, an o ense
punishable by up to a year in prison and a
In 2012, a woman was arrested for
"riding" a manatee near St Petersburg
on Florida's west coast, according to an
o cial report of the incident.
Many Florida counties have manatee
protection plans, which need State and
federal approval. Miami-Dade County's
plan was adopted in the 1990s and is
considered one of the State's best at
protecting the creatures, Katie Tripp,
director of science and conservation for
the Save the Manatee Club, said. e club
was co-founded by singer Jimmy Bu ett
and former Florida Governor and United
States Senator, Bob Graham.
e State's manatee population has
jumped from about 1200 to nearly 5000 in
recent decades, and federal o cials have
mulled downgrading the creature's status
from endangered to threatened. But last
year, a red tide of toxic algea killed a record
number of manatees, reminding everyone
of their vulnerability.
O cials in Miami-Dade County count
close to 200 sea cows. But manatees like to
roam, and environmentalists say are more
likely to swim through an area to feast on
seagrass. Last year, 11 manatees died in
Miami-Dade, two after being struck by
watercraft, State gures show.
One of their preferred waterways is
the Miami River, meaning that property
owners there face restrictions on adding
boat slips. Some business owners
nd those curbs outdated, they have
told commissioners, because so many
restaurants and condos are now crowded
along the narrow water way.
For several years, county o cials
have considered tweaking the manatee
guidelines. Earlier this year, Miami-Dade
County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro
started the process to o cially change
some of them. "It's a very rigid plan," he
said at a meeting this week.
His proposal would have kept the
slow-speed zones that help prevent
collisions between manatees and
watercraft. But environmentalists
expressed outrage at the extra boat tra c
it could have added.
" ey tipped the scales so far against the
manatees," Tripp said.
County sta ers were also skeptical that
the plan would pass state muster, Lee
Hefty, the county's assistant director for
environmental resources management,
said, particularly since it loosened
restrictions in spots where manatees and
boats often cross paths.
Amid the outcry, Barreiro withdrew his
proposal in hopes of reworking it to gain
"Is it going to risk the life of even one
extra manatee per year?" commissioner
Lynda Bell asked at a meeting last week.
If so, she said, the proposal was not worth
it. --- Reuters
A manatee near a water outlet at a mothballed Florida Power and Light Company power plant in Riviera Beach, Florida.
Florida's sea cow sinks plans
On paper, South Africa's long-term
energy plans look solid, with coal, nuclear,
gas and renewables all viable options.
But none are likely to prevent potentially
crippling future power crunches in Africa's
biggest economy unless a decision is made
soon on when and how to add capacity to
South Africa's failure to invest in new
power plants nearly two decades ago
meant it paid dearly in 2008 when the
grid nearly collapsed, leading to power
cuts that cost the economy billions of
rand in lost output and dented investor
State-owned power utility Eskom is
scrambling to nish new power plants,
including Medupi and Kusile, massive
coal- red out ts with a combined capacity
of about 9500 megawatts (MW ).
But they are still several years away from
completion, and in the interim Eskom will
be battling to keep the lights on, nursing
its eet of ageing generating units and
hoping breakdowns do not reduce reserve
margins to critical levels.
e utility has declared four power
"emergencies" since November and earlier
this month imposed rolling blackouts,
known locally as "load shedding", for the
rst time in six years.
Although they lasted only a day, the
blackouts came at a bad time for President
Jacob Zuma and his governing African
National Congress two months before a
national election. e ANC is expected to
win but its majority is likely to be reduced
by public anger over corruption scandals
and de cient delivery of public services in
many poor black townships.
e worst is not over, says Eskom,
which provides 95% of South Africa's
electricity and has a total generation
capacity of 42,000MW. is is slightly
less than Turkey but almost 10 times
more than Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa's
second biggest economy and top oil
Although South Africa's infrastructure
is generally the envy of Africa, at the
moment nearly a quarter of its power
generation capacity is out of action, mainly
e rst power from Medupi, about
800MW, is expected in the second half
of this year. Eskom admits this will not
prevent more blackouts should the system
come under further strain.
Any event leading to a loss of more than
1500MW could have a signi cant impact
on the grid, Eskom said.
Eskom chief executive Brian Dames
said South Africa was still feeling the
repercussions of the ANC government's
decision not to build new plants when
asked by the utility to do so in 1998.
Construction of Medupi started only
in 2007 and has been plagued by delays
related to design aws and labour unrest.
"It will take 10 years to x the 1998
problem," Dames, who steps down at the
end of this month, says.
In its 20-year integrated resource
plan (IRP), running up to 2030, the
government says coal, nuclear, hydro, shale
gas and renewable energy are all options to
beef up power supply.
After the 2008 debacle, the government
realises it could pay a heavy price if it does
not decide in time on the next phase of
power construction when Medupi and
Kusile are complete.
"We are working around the clock
to arrive at decisions quickly," Public
Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said.
e IRP is revised every two years, the
latest revision being last year. Cabinet has
yet to approve the updated plan which
proposes a delay in construction of more
nuclear power plants and a focus instead
on coal, hydro and gas.
Eskom's problems are compounded
by increasing maintenance needs at
its decades-old plants, and unplanned
It also faces challenges relating to the
quality of coal fed into its power stations.
e recent blackouts were imposed after
torrential rain soaked coal stockpiles and
the coal could not be fed properly into the
"I don't think there is nearly enough
attention being given to the supply
of coal for Eskom. at's an area
government needs to do more work on,"
Mike Rossouw, chairman of the Energy
Intensive Users' Group, which represents
heavy power users such as mines and
Eskom's coal stockpiles are mostly
kept in the open, in part because of the
high cost of storage, and so are prone to
damage from heavy rain. Storage bunkers
are available but not enough to protect all
the coal and the problem is compounded
by most of Eskom's supply coming from
exposed open-pit mines.
Eskom generates most of its electricity
from coal- red plants but also has one
nuclear plant, gas turbines, hydro-electric
and wind facilities. Coal is likely to
remain the main feed stock for base-load
power, given that South Africa is a major
producer and exporter of coal.
To diversify its energy sources and
reduce its reliance on coal plants, South
Africa started three years ago to procure
renewable power from independent
To date, the government has signed o
on 64 renewable energy projects with a
combined capacity of 3850MW. Eskom
said 19 projects had been connected to the
grid to date.
Analysts say more needs to be done to
allow private players in --- and not just
for renewable energy, which is struggling
to produce power at rates Eskom deems
competitive with coal.
" e industry is by far not deregulated
enough. We need to have more
participants in base-load generation in
South Africa," Cornelis van der Waal, an
energy analyst at consultancy Frost and
"Whether that base load is coal, nuclear,
gas or hydro, let's leave that to the industry
to decide who can supply the most reliable
electricity at the best rate." --- Reuters
South Africa faces power dilemma
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