Home' Greymouth Star : May 16th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, May 16, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1888 - Emile Berliner gives first
demonstration of flat disc recording and
reproduction before the Franklin Institute in
1929 - In Hollywood, the first Academy
Awards go to actress Janet Gaynor and actor
Emil Jannings; the best film is
1943 - In World War Two, British
Lancaster aircraft bomb the Mohne
and the Eder dams in Germany ’s
industrial Ruhr basin, using a
1975 - Japanese climber Junko
Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the
summit of Mount Everest.
1987 - The leader of a military coup in Fiji,
Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, calls
for a new constitution to block the Indian-
1990 - Death from throat cancer of
entertainer Sammy Davis Jr in Los Angeles at
1991 - Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first
British monarch to address the United States
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Henry Fonda, US actor (1905-1982); Betty
Carter, jazz singer (1929-1998);
Pierce Brosnan, actor (1953-); Debra
Winger, US actress (1955-); Mare
Winningham, US actress (1959-);
Janet Jackson, US pop singer
(1966-); Gabriela Sabatini,
Argentinian tennis player (1970-);
Tori Spelling, US actress (1973-);
Megan Fox, American actress (1986-) .
“ Ideas won’t keep; something must be done
about them.” — Alfred North Whitehead,
“Then the man said, “ You shall no longer
be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have
striven with God and with humans, and have
prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell
me your name.” But he said, “ Why is it that
you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.”
— (Genesis 32.28-29).
Lagoon wharf area has
long been a favourite
place for vandals.
And there does not appear to have been any
effective improvement to the position there
despite frequent police patrols in the vicinity.
There have been at least four cases of
trouble there this year. The main item was
the incident on Tuesday night this week
which saw all the main mooring lines on nine
fishing vessels thrown from the wharf. As
well, the vandals tampered with Greymouth
Harbour Board floating property. The same
group is understood to have been responsible
for damage to property in Nelson Fisheries’
factory, nearby in Gilbert Street.
Greymouth’s aerodrome can be extended to
a more useful size for only £8000, and half of
that is likely to be provided by the government.
This opinion of the Greymouth Aerodrome
Extension Committee is based on a full-scale
sur vey and has led to the appeal to raise £4000
from the Grey district to finance the extension.
The committee decided this week to go ahead
with fundraising as quickly as possible in view
of confident expectations of a £1 for £1 subsidy
from the government on the amount raised.
Yesterday ’s flooding, as far as the people of
Cobden are concerned, did more good than
harm. O ver the past few months a substantial
gravel bank has been building up around the
outlet to the Cobden sewer. This caused serious
trouble recently when a blockage of the outlet
resulted in effluent starting to overflow in
The velocity of the water yesterday completely
eliminated the bank.
uFood for thought
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A new study has put even more genetic
distance between the extinct moa and their
old bush mates, the New Zealand kiwi.
Rather, new research led by Toronto-
based New Zealand scientist Professor
Allan Baker suggests the giant birds were
more closely related to a flying South
American bird still alive today than our
The study, published on-line in Molecular
Biology and Evolution, used DNA to
analyse family ties between a range of
ratites, or flightless birds.
The South American tinamous, one of the
world’s most ancient living groups of bird,
can fly and are not categorised as ratites,
but are considered close relatives because of
the shared structure of their palate bones.
In contrast, recent molecular studies
suggested they may be more closely related
to the extinct moa within the ratites.
While kiwi are also a ratite species, they
and moa may have evolved independently
to become flightless birds, according to the
To help pin down the evolutionary debate,
Prof Baker’s research team drew on ancient
moa DNA, along with DNA from emus
and other flightless birds to assemble the
largest dataset to date.
Their results found convincing evidence
that tinamous were indeed most closely
related to the wingless extinct moa.
They showed that morphological
characters of ratites interpreted on their
molecular tree are mostly convergent,
evolving independently, probably as an
adaptation to an “on-the-run” lifestyle.
The findings are in line with a study
published late last year by Adelaide’s
Flinders University, which suggested the
kiwi did not evolve from the moa, but
probably from an ancestor that flew in from
Palaeontologist Trevor Worthy said
at the time that an ancestor of the kiwi
dating back 20 million years discovered in
the South Island was more closely related
to another giant flightless bird, the emu,
which is still common in Australia.
It appeared the fossilised South Island
bird and the emu evolved from a common
flying ancestor, which originated in
Australia but also spread to New Zealand.
Dr Worthy said it was not uncommon
for birds to “jump” from Australia to New
Zealand, citing the mallard duck, the little
banded dotterel and the cattle egret as three
species that often flew back and forth.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Scientists put more genetic distance between the moa and kiwi
The South American tinamous, and the extinct New Zealand moa.
Frank Jack Daniel and Sruthi Gottipati
he Nehru-Gandhi dynasty
that has defined Indian
politics for nearly a century
faces more than humiliating
election defeat when results
An expected triumph for opposition
leader Narendra Modi could condemn the
family to political oblivion.
Often described as a mixture of a royal
family with the tragic glamour of the
Kennedys, the dynasty gave India its
first prime minister, the empire-beating
barrister Jawaharlal Nehru.
His daughter, Indira Gandhi, and
grandson, Rajiv, both held the post
subsequently, and both were assassinated.
By some measures, the family was in
decline long before the parliamentary
election; it has not won a majority in
Shy scion Rahul Gandhi’s bid to stay
in power for a third consecutive term
was called lacklustre even by allies, and
his speeches at rallies up and down the
country in recent months were a far cry
from Nehru’s legendary rhetoric.
Compare that with over whelming
favourite Modi’s electrifying campaign,
during which he repeatedly derided Rahul,
43, and his mother Sonia for keeping
India poor, and the house of Gandhi looks
Few would write off the clan completely.
Sonia, the power behind the prime
ministerial throne occupied by Manmohan
Singh, delivered Congress its worst result
to date in 1999. She then led the party to
victory in the next two elections.
Nonetheless, leaders of both the
Gandhi’s Congress party and Modi’s
Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) said they believed Modi would seek
to loosen the dynasty’s grip on India if he
They pointed to his home state of
Gujarat, where he has systematically
purged rivals from institutions and won
three consecutive terms, capitalising on his
“He will defang them politically. Look
at what he did in Gujarat: he has just
reduced the Congress to a non-player,”
said Kanchan Gupta, member of the BJP’s
national executive committee.
Modi has questioned Sonia’s non-native
roots — the widow of Rajiv was born in
Italy. On Thursday, a BJP ally called Rahul
a “foreigner”, even though he was born in
During the election, Modi contrasted
his humble past as the low-caste son of
a tea seller with Rahul’s privileged and
cloistered life in plush districts of the
In one recent newspaper inter view, Modi
said the family’s leadership could come
under threat if the party fails to win 100
of parliament ’s 543 seats, as some polls
Congress sources said they were worried
he planned to target their very existence in
“ We’re assuming this will be one of his
priorities,” said a Congress strategist who
is close to the Gandhi family. “ The family
is not worried, but the party is,” he said.
The scale of Modi’s antipathy to the
Gandhis was on display at the start of the
campaign last year, when he launched the
construction of the world’s tallest statue, a
$338 million, 182m tall homage to Sardar
Vallabhbhai Patel, Nehru’s deputy and
interior minister, who was often at odds
Modi, a Hindu nationalist, sees Patel as a
symbol of an India imagined without the
dynasty, who would have led the country
down a different, right-wing path if he
had not been thwarted by the socialist and
“Every Indian regrets Sardar Patel did
not become the first prime minister.
Had he been the first prime minister, the
country’s fate and face would have been
completely different,” Modi said at the
The Congress party has lost power
several times since Nehru’s era. After his
daughter Indira Gandhi led the party
to a crushing defeat in 1977, the prime
minister who replaced her humiliated the
family with arrests and investigations.
But that caused a backlash of sympathy
among the public that helped propel her
back to power with a landslide majority
three years later.
If elected, Modi is not expected to
follow the same course of using tax and
police agencies to harass the Gandhis. In
a campaign speech last month, Modi said
he did not believe in “vendetta” politics or
“The Janata Party government was in too
much of a hurry,” said Gupta. “ Modi is too
savvy to be seen to be openly persecuting
the dynasty. He has made it very clear that
he is not going to be vindictive in politics. ”
Going by his record in Gujarat, Modi
prefers to move methodically against his
opponents — often with the help of close
aide Amit Shah, who held multiple posts
in the Gujarat government and led Modi’s
campaign in Uttar Pradesh, politically the
most important state, during the election.
After Modi took office in Gujarat in
2001, Shah, a former stockbroker, helped
him consolidate power by squeezing
Congress loyalists out of non-State
institutions, such as the state’s banking
and dairy cooperatives, which are
economically powerful and influence the
lives of millions of voters.
He also helped the BJP wrest control of
the Gujarat state cricket association from
Congress after 16 years, getting Modi
elected to head the organization in 2009.
Cricket is closely tied with politics in
India, where the sport is hugely popular
and politicians revel in exposure to it.
Modi is now the longest-ser ving chief
minister in Gujarat ’s history, a fact that
has helped lure high profile defectors away
from Congress ranks, another favoured
tactic. In the last two years, hundreds of
Congress workers have switched sides in
the state, including some of its top leaders.
While Modi may not press legal cases
against the Gandhis or their associates
for alleged corruption — a move some
in his party would encourage — a
resounding victory would help him make
the BJP India’s natural party of power, not
“ We’re looking at being out of power for
10 years,” said the party strategist, when
asked what the implication of a strong BJP
majority would be for the Congress party.
Even so, Congress is unlikely to ditch the
Gandhis any time soon, not least because
the party has recovered from previous
In the hours after the exit polls came out,
party leaders were quick to shift the blame
for any potential loss away from Rahul
Gandhi’s handling of the campaign.
“There are no leadership changes, there
are no nights of the long knives, there’s no
mindless recrimination, and as a political
party that has known defeat before we
work towards victory again,” said Mani
Shankar Aiyar, a former minister and
And for many in the party who might
be looking for fresh blood, the search ends
with Rahul’s charismatic sister Priyanka,
who had an important backroom role in
“ Party men would embrace her with both
arms the moment she wants to join — in
fact they ’d grow a third arm to welcome
her,” Aiyar said. — Reuters
Gandhi dynasty ends
More than three million deaths
worldwide in 2012 were due to harmful
use of alcohol — and Europe is the
region with the highest consumption of
alcohol per capita, according to a report.
Alcohol consumption can not only
lead to dependence but also increases
the risk of developing more than 200
diseases, the World Health Organisation
A report launched by WHO found
harmful use of alcohol — drinking that
causes detrimental health and social
consequences for the drinker, the people
around the drinker and society at large
— led to 3.3 million deaths worldwide
Globally, Europe is the region with
the highest consumption of alcohol per
capita, with some of its countries having
particularly high consumption rates,
according to WHO.
Trend analysis shows that the
consumption level is stable over the
last five years in the region, as well as
in Africa and the Americas, though
increases have been reported in the
South-East Asia and the western Pacific
Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO assistant
director-general for non-communicable
diseases and mental health, said there is
“no room for complacency ”.
“More needs to be done to protect
populations from the negative health
consequences of alcohol consumption.”
On average every person in the world
aged 15 or older drinks 6.2 litres of pure
alcohol per year.
But 38.3% of the population actually
drinks alcohol, meaning those
who do drink consume on average 17
litres of pure alcohol annually, WHO
The report also points out that a higher
percentage of deaths among men than
among women are from alcohol-related
causes — 7 .6% of men’s deaths and
4% of women’s deaths — though there
is evidence that women may be more
vulnerable to some alcohol-related
health conditions. — PA
More than 3m deaths worldwide due to alcohol use
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