Home' Greymouth Star : March 29th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, March 29, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1461 - Bloodiest battle of the Wars of the
Roses occurs at Towton, near York with
36,000 Yorkists defeating 40,000 Lancastrians,
securing the English throne for Edward IV.
1788 - Death of Charles Wesley, founder of
Methodism with his brother John.
1867 - British Parliament passes the North
America Act to create the Dominion of
1871 - Queen Victoria opens the Royal
Albert Hall in London in memory of her late
consort Prince Albert.
1951 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, later
executed, are convicted in the United States of
passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.
1971 - US Army Lieutenant William
Calley is convicted of murdering at least 22
Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre;
A Los Angeles jury recommends the death
penalty for Charles Manson and
three female followers for the 1969
Tate-La Bianca murders.
1990 - Prime Minister Bob
Hawke claims victory in Australian
election, becoming rst Labor winner
of four consecutive terms.
1994 - Serbs and Croats sign a cease re to
end the war between them in Croatia.
2000 - Astronomers searching for planets
orbiting distant stars nd the smallest planets
yet beyond the solar system.
2010 - Terror returns to the heart of Russia,
with two deadly suicide bombings on the
Moscow subway at rush hour.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria, chief of the Soviet
secret police (1899-1953); John Major, former
British Prime Minister (1943-); Eric Idle,
British actor (1943-); William Richard "Billy"
orpe, lead singer of Billy orpe & the
Aztecs (1946-2007); Christopher Lambert,
French actor (1957-); Perry Farrell, US
singer (1959-); Elle Macpherson,
Australian supermodel (1963-); Lucy
Lawless, New Zealand actress (1968-
); Andrew Gunsberg, aka Andrew
G, Australian tv personality, (1974-);
Jennifer Capriati, US tennis player
"Personally I am always ready to learn,
although I do not always like being taught."
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister
"But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will
wait for the God of my salvation; my God will
hear me." --- Micah 7.7
A young married
man was killed
instantly when he
fell 60ft on to jagged
rocks near the Devil's Punch Bowl waterfall
at Arthur's Pass on Saturday. He was Edwin
Donald McMillan, 27, of North Avon Road,
Christchurch. Mr McMillan was climbing
a rocky face on the Arthur's Pass side of the
waterfall when he slipped and fell on to the
rocks 60 feet below. e accident was witnessed
by his wife.
Another tramper in the area ran the two
miles down to the Arthur's Pass township
where the police, rangers and most of the
town's residents were attending the centennial
celebrations. A stretcher party led by constable
M F Direen, of Otira, recovered the body.
One of Greymouth's oldest landmarks, the
building which served for the best part of 90
years as the home for successive ministers of
the Anglican Church, was literally obliterated
this week. e old vicarage gave way to the
march of progress, for on the site at the corner
of Tarapuhi and Hospital (now Guinness)
streets, the rm of David Crozier Ltd will erect
additions to its garage which will almost treble
the area it has available.
e death of Mr Norman Gibson occurred
at his Dobson residence on Saturday night.
He was 74. Mr Gibson was born at Outram,
Otago, and came to Blackball as a young man
as engineer for the Blackball Coal Company. In
1937 he took up the position of engineer at the
Mr Gibson is survived by his wife Rose, a
member of the Riddiford family of Blackball,
two daughters, Coral and Peg, and three sons,
Clarence, Douglas and Norman.
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)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Ahandful of fed-up residents
in one of the world's
noisiest cities have taken
on a daunting challenge:
persuading Indian drivers
to stop honking their car
Non-stop beeping has become the
dominant soundtrack to Mumbai as
clattering rickshaws, public buses, clapped-
out taxis, weaving motorcycles and private
cars ght for space on the tra c-clogged
Now two separate teams in the city have
come up with devices aimed at instilling
some peace: one by forcing zealous horn-
users to open their wallets, and another by
simply attacking drivers' consciences.
"People blow their horns just for no
sake," says Jayraj Salgaonkar, who with
a group of engineers has developed the
"Oren horn usage meter" (the name "Oren"
derives from local pronunciation of the
e meter does not prevent the horn
from working but instead allows for a
limited amount of honking, after which
it causes the vehicle's tail-lights to ash
and alert the tra c police, who could then
issue a ne.
e driver gets green, amber and red-
light warnings over his honk allowance
and can top up his meter "like a pre-paid
phone card", Salgaonkar says. He is in
talks with local authorities to get the
device mandated city-wide.
"I have invested money and time and
emotion," he said, relating his years of
exasperation with the city's cacophony.
"People take pride in honking their
horn. ere's an ego trip over having a
car. Until you make people pay for their
usage of the horn, it's not going to work,"
said the publisher turned honk activist,
who is hoping that the potential revenues
brought by the system will help persuade
authorities to adopt it.
e second invention, also vying for
o cial sanction, less publicly castigates the
"Project Bleep" involves a little red
button on the dashboard that beeps and
ashes with a frowning face, "to make the
driver conscious that he just honked and
make him deliberate why he did it," said
Mayur Tekchandaney, one of its creators.
"Mostly it's habitual. e driver doesn't
realise he's doing it."
After testing the device on 30 drivers
over six months, Tekchandaney and his
team at Mumbai design rm Briefcase
found an average 61% reduction in
" e bene t is to other people on the
road, society in general," Tekchandaney
says. "It creates a nuisance for the driver."
eir goal may sound ambitious in a
country where honking is so pervasive
that foreign car makers, such as Audi and
Volkswagen, t their Indian vehicles with
stronger, longer-life horns.
Nationwide, the messages "Horn OK
Please" or "Blow Horn" are colourfully
painted on the back of most trucks and
lorries, encouraging drivers to make their
presence audibly known as they overtake.
And the noise is only set to increase as
more vehicles pile into densely-packed
Mumbai, where the middle-class is
growing and whose shoddy infrastructure
and crowded trains do little to encourage
the use of public transport.
ere are now about 900,000 cars, 10,000
buses and two million two-wheelers plying
the roads of the nancial capital with a
population of some 12 million, according
to local transport expert Ashok Datar.
eir horns are not just an annoyance,
say anti-noise crusaders, who warn that
honking is taking a worrying toll on the
health of Indian city-dwellers --- especially
when combined with construction
projects, roadworks and various religious
festivals, which are often celebrated with
"In hospitals I know people who have
su ered very severely even in intensive
care units because of the noise (outside),"
says Sumaira Abdulali, founder of the
Awaaz Foundation, which campaigns
against noise pollution.
She says sound levels in busy parts of
Mumbai continuously exceed 85 decibels,
breaking the limits recommended by
health experts and contributing to high
blood pressure, hearing loss and heart
"A lot of people in Mumbai are su ering
these things and the medical costs are
quite high," she says. "Cutting down noise
would cost much less."
Mumbai residents are not alone in their
quest for a quieter life.
In the capital New Delhi, a group of
campaigners takes to the streets several
times a month, plastering cars with
"Do Not Honk!" stickers.
In southern Bangalore, residents in 2013
launched an "I Won't Honk Campaign",
backed by Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid,
which aimed to get drivers pledging
not to use their horns unless completely
But given the ingrained habit of
honking, it seems such campaigns or
gadgets are unlikely to work unless they
are made compulsory.
"Most people say there is excess honking
but they think it's the other drivers," says
Ram Prasad at Final Mile, a behavioural
research group in Mumbai that has
examined the honking phenomenon.
Prasad also warns that introducing tra c
police nes may only encourage bribing,
giving drivers the feeling that "they have
only extra licence to blow and honk".
"Any device that gives subtle feedback,
people will be more willing to take," he
says. --- AFP
A tra c jam in Mumbai.
Silencing the streets
Nigeria: Is 100 years enough?
e reason they convened a national
conference to discuss Nigeria's future last
week is that it is the 100th anniversary
of the uni cation of the northern and
southern protectorates into one nation.
Well, one colony, actually, since the whole
place would remain under British rule for
another half-century. e one subject the
delegates are banned from discussing is
whether uni cation was really such a good
It was an excellent idea from the
viewpoint of the British colonial
administrators, of course. Not only was it
tidier, but it crippled resistance to British
rule. When you force 500 di erent ethnic
groups with as many languages into a
single political entity, they will spend
more time ghting one another than the
foreigners. (Even Nigeria's name was
invented by the British).
A century later, the country is still riven
by ethnic and religious divisions that
distort both its politics and its economy.
Nigeria is one of the world's biggest
oil producers, but two-thirds of its 170
million people live on less than $2 a day
and even the big cities get electricity
only four hours a day. It ranks 144th on
Transparency International's Corruption
Perceptions Index, which means in
practice that most public funds are stolen.
In the mainly Muslim north, an
extremist Islamic insurgency by a group
called Boko Haram ("Western Education
is Forbidden") killed more than 1300
people in the rst two months of this
year. Or rather, they and the brutal and
incompetent army units who respond to
their attacks with indiscriminate violence
together accounted for 1300 lives.
When Lamido Sanusi, the
internationally respected head of Nigeria's
central bank, accused the Nigeria National
Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing
to repatriate $20 billion of the $67 billion
received for oil sales between January
2012 and July 2013, President Goodluck
Jonathan suspended him for " nancial
recklessness and misconduct".
"Failing to repatriate" actually means that
the money stayed abroad and disappeared
into the foreign bank accounts of powerful
Nigerians. is is normal: it has been
estimated that two-thirds of the $600b
that Nigeria has earned in the past 50
years from selling its oil was lost to
corruption by the political and business
elite. What was unusual was for a member
of the elite to challenge the practice
Sanusi, who was named Central Bank
Governor of the Year in 2010 by Banker
magazine, was promptly accused of links
to Boko Haram in a document circulated
to Nigerian websites that was traced
back to President Jonathan's social media
adviser. It was a typical establishment
response, and it was total nonsense. But a
depressing number of southern Nigerians
will believe almost anything about Sanusi
simply because he is a northern Muslim.
He is actually a member of the northern
aristocracy --- his grandfather was the emir
of Kano --- and an Islamic scholar who
condemns Wahhabist fundamentalism.
He is one of Nigeria's foremost advocates
of a tolerant, inclusive Islam: "Even a
cursory student of Islamic history knows
that all the trappings of gender inequality
present in the Muslim society have socio-
economic and cultural, as opposed to
religious roots," he said recently.
Yet the mistrust between Muslims and
Christans, northerners and southerners,
is so great that Sanusi's whistleblowing
is seen by many southerners as a political
operation aimed at the Christian
president. ey believe this even though
they also know that the money really was
stolen by people at the NNPC, and that
Goodluck Jonathan is protecting them
because some of it was going to be used to
nance his re-election campaign next year.
Why does Jonathan need so much
money? To buy the support of the
northern power-brokers, who will then
deliver the votes to keep him in the
presidency. en he will be able to go on
protecting his friends. It's a closed system,
and it is making Sanusi more radical by
Recently he told the Guardian: "If the
population as a whole starts protesting
what is going on in our country, how many
of them can they kill?" He added the ousted
leaders of Ukraine and the Arab spring
nations "never did half as much damage to
their countries as our rulers have".
But Sanusi is unlikely to bring the
system down. at is why, at the National
Conference on Nigeria's future that meets
in Abuja over the next three months, some
people will certainly defy the ban and start
talking about re-dividing Nigeria between
north and south. ey will mostly be
southerners, who resent the large amounts
of oil income that the federal government
transfers to the northern States that
desperately need the money.
Northerners will ercely resist the idea
of partition because they would be left
running a country only slightly better
o than Mali. (Despite the transfers of
oil revenue, 72% of the population in
the north lives in poverty; in the south,
only 27% does.) In the end, nothing will
happen, because cutting o the North
would spoil the game.
Nigeria is unquestionably the most
dysfunctional large country in the world,
but it will hang together because all the
elites bene t from the dysfunction, which
allows them to steal massive amounts with
complete impunity. Indeed, you might
say that Nigeria survives because it is
̌ Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
A slum in Nigeria.
New Zealand pilots have been
permanently grounded after testing
revealed concerns about their medical
tness to y, with some suspended because
of depression, the aviation regulator has
Commercial pilots are subject to rigorous
psychological tests designed to weed out
unstable individuals who pose a potential
risk to passenger safety.
e Civil Aviation Authority said
some pilots' licences had been suspended
because of medical tness --- which can
include psychological health concerns ---
though such cases were rare.
e monitoring process has numerous
checks and balances, but an industry
expert warns the system is not foolproof.
"Pilots like anyone else have problems
in their life and that can a ect their
performance," New Zealand Airline
Pilots' Association technical o cer Dave
"People do go o the rails."
Authorities investigating the
disappearance of Malaysia Airlines
ight 370 are probing the psychological
backgrounds of pilots and crew.
A fellow pilot said Captain Zaharie
Ahmad Shah was in no state to y the
day the ight disappeared and could have
taken the Boeing 777 for a "last joyride"
after separating from his wife.
Mr Reynolds said New Zealand pilots
operating commercial aircraft are regularly
assessed for physical and mental health
under a three-tier monitoring regime
involving the Civil Aviation Authority,
airlines and peer support.
Pilots are assessed at least once a year
by specialist aviation doctors and also
undergo psychometric tests to assess
e doctors are legally bound to " ag up"
any concerns to the regulator and airline
employer, and a pilot's licence can be
Pilots are also monitored in the cockpit
by ight inspectors and undergo high-
stress exercise scenarios every six months
in ight simulators to test their ability ---
for instance trying to safely land a badly
"All commercial aircraft pilots will go
through some form of psychological,
psychometric testing. Internationally
there are standards that are required to
Asked if the system was rigorous enough
to prevent a mentally unstable pilot taking
control of an aircraft, Mr Reynolds said:
"You can never be 100% sure because one
person can be perfectly ne one day and
then go totally o the rails the next.
"A guy may go home and his wife says,
'I've been seeing the milkman, bye'.
"(But) outside that, yes, there are checks
and balances in place to make sure, as
reasonably as possible, that a pilot doesn't
get into an aircraft who is psychologically
un t to do so."
Anyone applying for a commercial pilot's
licence is subject to a " t and proper
person" assessment by CAA. --- APNZ
Pilots grounded amid safety fears
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