Home' Greymouth Star : May 27th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1647 - First recorded American execution of
a witch in Massachusetts.
1703 - Tsar Peter the Great founds the city of
St Petersburg as Russia’s new capital.
1933 - Walt Disney ’s Academy Award-
winning animated short The Three Little Pigs
1936 - Britain’s luxury liner Queen
Mary begins maiden voyage across
1937 - Golden Gate Bridge
connecting San Francisco and
Marin County, California, is opened
to the public.
1941 - German battleship
Bismarck is sunk by British Navy.
1961 - Malayan Prime Minister Tunku
Abdul Rahmam proposes Great Malaysia
1964 - Death of independent India’s first
prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
1992 - Nato allies back plans for deployment
of forces to war-torn Yugoslavia.
1995 - Actor Christopher Reeve is left
paralysed when thrown from his horse in
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Wild Bill Hickok, US sheriff (1837-1876);
Vincent Price, US actor (1911-1993);
Christopher Lee, English actor (1922-);
Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state (1923-);
Pauline Hanson, founder Australian
One Nation political party
(1954-); Neil Finn, New Zealand
singer (1958-); Pat Cash, Australian
tennis star (1965-); Joseph Fiennes,
English actor (1970-); Jamie
Oliver, British chef and television
personality (1975-); Michael
Hussey, Australian cricketer (1975-) .
“Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom
is contentious. Great speech is impassioned,
small speech cantankerous.” — Chuang-Tzu,
Chinese essayist (c369-c286 BC).
“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a
complaint against another, forgive each other;
just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also
must forgive.” — (Colossians 3.13).
A man who, 18
months ago, almost
ran over Peter Snell
was asked last night
to give publicity to the dangers to members of
West Coast sporting bodies who have training
runs at night on public highways. This was the
rather piquant position in which a Greymouth
Evening Star reporter was placed at last night ’s
meeting of the Road Safety Committee.
About 18 months ago the reporter drove,
perhaps a little precipitately, across a Mount
Roskill intersection. He slammed on the brakes
just in time to avoid hitting a tracksuited
figure running at a good clip across the road.
the figure continued on unperturbed. Under a
nearby street lamp he was plainly revealed as
the world’s fastest middle distance runner.
While the Greymouth Road Safety
Committee does not envisage world
champions, even in the embryo stage, creating
a traffic hazard here, it does want to call the
attention of all sports bodies to the dangers.
Fears that the reported discovery of vast,
rich deposits of jade in Australia might have
serious repercussions on Westland’s greenstone
industry have been dispelled. The reason is that
the material is not jade at all. It is chrysoprase,
one of the quartz family usually found in old
Mr Jack S Taylor, founder of the Lapidary
Club of New South Wales, confirmed that it is
not jade. “ it is apple green in colour, but it will
not rival jade because it is a different gemstone
altogether. Although similar in colour it is
totally different in texture and composition,
and must not be called Australian jade.”
uFood for thought
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n March 14 last year, an
Israeli woman and her
three daughters were
hurt in a car wreck on
the road between the
Jewish settlement of
Ariel and the Palestinian village of Hares
in the occupied West Bank.
Five village boys were arrested and
accused of throwing stones at cars and
causing the crash.
The incident has become emblematic
for both sides of the decades-old conflict
between neighbours who despise each
other — and shows how young lives on
both those sides can be reduced to ruins.
A three-year old Israeli girl in the car
was paralysed and suffered brain damage.
The jailed teens, all aged 16 at the time of
the incident, face possible life sentences
for attempted murder.
Israelis fed up with frequent such attacks
have rallied around the case. The boys’
families say they threw no stones and that
the settlers convinced the mother to blame
the crash on them out of spite.
“S hame on you! You have your children,
now give me back mine,” said 17-year-
old suspect Tamer Souf ’s mother Watfa,
speaking at the family home.
“S he changed her story under pressure
from the settlers,” added his father Ayyad,
who works in a plastic factory in the
settlement next door. “It was just a normal
accident, but they thought they could use
it to incite against us. ”
The extreme length of the boys’ trial
process and severity of the charges has led
Palestinians to accuse Israel of making an
example of them and highlight for them
the unfairness of detaining hundreds of
minors a year to ensure settlers’ safety.
Rights groups say security forces’
treatment of Palestinian minor suspects in
many cases constitutes torture and violates
even the military laws to which Israel
Defence for Children International-
Palestine said in a report this month that
over three-quarters of Palestinian children
detained by the Israeli military in the
occupied West Bank in 2013 “endured
some form of physical violence during
arrest, transfer or interrogation, a slight
increase from 2012”.
It said that in 96% of the 40 cases it
documented last year, “children were
questioned alone and rarely informed of
their rights, particularly their right against
Around 200 Palestinian children were
in Israeli military detention at the end of
each month in 2013, it said.
Adva Biton, the mother of little Adele
who was stricken in the accident, declined
to speak to Reuters.
“O ur lives aren’t really lives at all,” she
said in testimony to a military court in
January, according to Israel’s army.
“It ’s incredibly devastating to see a child
without knowing what will become of
her in the future. Her whole life has been
destroyed because of the culture of rock
Well over half a million Jewish settlers
live among 2.5 million Palestinians in the
West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that
Israel captured along with the Gaza Strip
in the 1967 war and which Palestinians
envisage as part of an independent state.
Settlers and Palestinians share most
West Bank roads and often live virtually
next door, but rarely work side by side and
virulently disagree over the future of the
Many Israelis see it as the Jewish Biblical
heartland while Palestinians say they are
interlopers on their rightful home.
Rows of razor wire and a soaring
concrete watchtower mark the tension
around the olive tree-lined road between
Ariel and Hares.
Biton’s car smashed into a truck stopped
on the road that night, trapping the
twisted wreck and its occupants beneath
“I can just hear them screaming, and my
youngest daughter who is sitting by my
side with her head hanging, covered in
blood. I scream and yell to the girls that
(Adele) is covered in blood, and that they
should scream ‘Shema Yisrael’ (a Jewish
prayer said on a person’s deathbed),” Biton
The truck driver said he stopped because
he heard a thud and thought he had a flat
tire but soon concluded the sound was
from stones hitting the vehicle, Israeli
news outlets reported.
News of the incident quickly spread in
Israeli media, and settlers gathered to pray
and protest at the crash site.
At three in the morning that night,
Israeli soldiers pounded on the door
of 16-year-old Mohammed Suleiman’s
His mother Feryal says she refused to let
them in, at which point they detonated
a stun grenade and kicked the door
down, entering the home with dogs and
throwing Mohammed to the ground
before arresting him.
“They took him to a hospital after that.
At first, he was jailed in an underground
cell for 24 days, not knowing if it was
night or day. There have been 30 hearings
since then,” she said.
“ He’s just a boy. He’s in the ninth grade
and hasn’t taken his college entrance
exams. I don’t even understand what ’s
going on with the trial ... this is oppression
pure and simple.”
Suleiman’s lawyer told Reuters he
expected the trial may last until the end of
this year but insists the prosecution lacks
evidence to substantiate the charges.
Israeli police did not respond to a
Reuters request for comment on the
investigation and trial of the boys.
“They may appear inoffensive, but rocks
threaten lives. Adele’s story is only one of
many stories of civilians injured in rock-
throwing attacks,” the Israeli army said of
It says it recorded more than 700 rock-
throwing incidents directed at Israeli
civilian vehicles in the West Bank last year,
leading to the injury of 116.
While the harm to Israelis and the
jailing of Palestinian youths rile emotions
on both sides, none of the 38 Palestinians
and six Israelis killed last year died from
For their part, settlers perpetrated 399
attacks resulting in Palestinian injury or
property damage last year, according to the
United Nations but there have been few
convictions of those suspects. Police say
they are mostly minors to whom courts
They torch Palestinian cars and houses,
beat residents and scrawl hateful graffiti on
buildings and holy sites.
Israeli suspects in the West Bank
are subject to civilian law, while their
Palestinian neighbours face a 99%
conviction rate in military courts.
The boys’ case has deepened mistrust and
hardening hearts on both sides, as hopes
for disentangling the two peoples and
building two states through peace talks
“ It ’s quite clear that they ’re using this
case as an example to other children to
control the population and to control
communities, that they could face charges
like this if they step out of line in any way,”
said Randa Wahbe of the prisoner’s rights
David Ha’ivri, living in a nearby
settlement, said 17-year- old Tamer Souf ’s
father should lose his job at a Jewish-
owned factory as a “convincing way to
make parents keep better tabs on their
kids and prevent them from throwing
“ It ’s disturbing, it’s scary. You’re
concerned when your family or women are
out driving on the road ... the government
and police have a responsibility to crack
down on any sorts of attacks on civilians,”
he said. — Reuters
West Bank road tragedy
The grandmother of 17-year-old Tamer Souf holds his picture at her house in the West Bank village of Hares near Salfit.
They fit in a pocket, have batteries that
last all week and are almost indestructible:
old-school Nokias, Ericssons and
Motorolas are making a comeback as
consumers tired of fragile and overly-
wired smartphones go retro.
Forget apps, video calls and smiley
faces, handsets like the Nokia 3310 or the
Motorola StarTec 130 allows just basic
text messaging and phone calls.
But demand for them is growing and
some of these second-hand models are
fetching prices as high as 1000 euros
($1595) a piece.
“Some people don’t blink at the prices,
we have models at more than 1000
euros. The high prices are due to the
difficulty in finding those models, which
were limited editions in their time,” said
Djassem Haddad, who started the site
vintagemobile.fr in 2009.
Haddad had been eyeing a niche market,
but since last year, sales have taken off, h e
Over the past two to three years, he has
sold some 10,000 handsets, “with a real
accelleration from the beginning of 2013”.
“The ageing population is looking for
simpler phones, while other consumers
want a second cheap phone,” he said.
Among the top-sellers on the website is
the Nokia 8210, with a tiny monochrome
screen and plastic buttons, at 59.99 euros
Ironically, the trend is just starting as
the telecommunications industry consigns
such handsets to the recycling bins,
hailing smartphones as the way ahead.
Finnish giant Nokia, which was
undisputedly the biggest mobile phone
company before the advent of Apple’s
iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy, offloaded
its handset division to Microsoft this
year after failing to catch the smartphone
But it was probably also the supposedly
irreversible switch towards smartphone
that has given the old school phone an
For Damien Douani, an expert on new
technologies at FaDa agency, it is simply
trendy now to be using the retro phone.
There is “a great sensation of finding an
object that we knew during another era
— a little like paying for vintage sneakers
that we couldn’t afford when we were
teenagers,” Douani said.
There is also “a logic of counter-culture
in reaction to the over-connectedness of
today ’s society, with disconnection being
the current trend.”
“That includes the need to return to
what is essential and a basic phone that
is used only for making phone calls and
sending SMSs,” he said.
It is also about “being different. Today,
everyone has a smartphone that looks just
like another, while 10 years ago, brands
were much more creative”.
It is a mostly high-end clientele that is
shopping at French on-line shop Lekki,
which sells “a range of vintage, revamped
“ Too many online social networks and
an excess of e-mail and applications,
have made us slaves to technology in
our everyday life. But Lekki provides
a solution, allowing a return to basic
features and entertainments,” it said on its
A Motorola StarTac 130 — a model
launched in 1998 — and repainted bright
orange was recently offered for 180 euros
($287), while an Ericsson A2628 with
gold coloured keys for 80 euros ($127).
“ We have two types of profiles: the 25
to 35 year-olds attracted by the retro
and offbeat side of a phone that is a little
different, and those who are nostalgic for
the phone that they used when they were
younger,” said Maxime Chanson, who
founded Lekki in 2010.
“Some use it to complement their
smartphone, but others are going for
the vintage, tired of the technology race
between the phone makers.” — AFP
Old school cellphones make a comeback
A Nokia 3310
It took more than a century for Braille
to be established as the English reading
system for the blind after an acrimonious
and lengthy dispute dubbed the ‘ War of
Now it faces another battle as the rise of
digital technology means its importance to
blind people is diminishing. It might even
fall into disuse altogether, according to the
curator of a new exhibition.
“Braille is embattled. The biggest threat
is computer technology, which makes it
much easier not to have to learn it,” said
Matthew Rubery, from Q ueen University
“A lot of people fear Braille won’t
sur vive because it will be read by so few
people. The use has declined and there are
concerns about funding to keep it going. ”
Dr Rubery, with Birkbeck University’s
Heather Tilley, is curating the exhibition
How We Read: A Sensory History of
Books for Blind People.
The exhibition, which opens in
November in London, will introduce the
development of alternative ways of reading
over the past two centuries.
These include the development of Braille
and its embossed-print rivals, talking-book
records, speech-synthesisers and systems
that magnify text on computer screens.
Many of the devices have never been
displayed. Dr Rubery said it was an
opportunity “to explore this significant
but largely neglected aspect of the nation’s
A series of competing systems emerged
in the 19th century to help blind people
read. Braille was a system published in
1829 by the Frenchman Louis Braille.
Among its rivals were the embossed pages
published by William Moon.
About 30,000 people use braille in some
form today. About 6000 of these are heavy
users, according to the Royal National
Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
But it faces threats from advances
in low-vision technology, the greater
availability of recorded materials and
reading machines. The RNIB revealed
fewer people are using its Braille library.
Steve Tyler, head of planning at the RNIB,
said the body was worried about the
decline of Braille, but that it was putting
more resources into teaching products and
He said: “ We do see threats to the
system but it is still at the heart of
what we do because of its literacy and
educational value. ”
The exhibition will also chart the
development of talking books for the
blind, first provided for veterans blinded in
the First World War.
Dr Rubery said: “Ever since Edison
invented the phonograph in 1878, people
have been listening to spoken- word
recordings. But the first full-length
recordings were made for blind people in
the 1930s. Before, the records only allowed
a few minutes.”
Among the exhibits is what is believed
to be the oldest sur viving talking-book
record, from 1935 — the BBC announcer
Anthony McDonald reading Cranford by
“ Blind people started listening to long-
playing records 15 years before anyone
else,” Dr Rubery said. The first spoken-
word records released were the Bible and
excerpts from Shakespeare.
The first popular novels were The Murder
of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie and
Joseph Conrad’s Typhoon.
Three blind types: Rival systems
Louis Braille invented his system at the
age of 15, taken from a code invented
to send military messages at night. He
published it in 1829; it was established as
the English system of choice in 1932.
Boston Line Type
Devised by Samuel Gridley Howe,
founder of the New England School for
the Blind, it was an embossed, simplified
Roman alphabet. The first book using the
system was published in 1834.
After losing much of his sight from
scarlet fever as a child, William Moon
developed a system of raised-print
letters, which he published in 1845. It is
still available in the United Kingdom and
can be generated with computer software.
— New Zealand Herald
Does the digital age spell the end of Braille?
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