Home' Greymouth Star : June 17th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1843 - Maori revolt against British.
1867 - Joseph Lister performs the first
surgical operation under antiseptic conditions
on his sister Isabella, at Glasgow ’s Royal
1885 - Statue of Liberty arrives in New York
City aboard the French ship Isere.
1950 - The first kidney transplant is
performed by Dr Richard Lawler
of the Little Company of Mary
Hospital, in Chicago.
1972 - A break-in at the
Democratic party headquarters
in the Watergate building in
Washington, DC, is discovered and
the scandal ultimately leads to the
resignation of President Richard Nixon.
1974 - A bomb planted by Irish republican
guerillas explodes at Westminster Hall in the
British Houses of Parliament, injuring 11.
1986 - Singer Kate Smith dies in Raleigh,
North Carolina, aged 79.
1994 - American footballer-actor O J
Simpson, accused of killing his ex-wife and
a male friend, is arrested after a dramatic
motor way chase and a 90-minute standoff.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Wesley, English founder of Methodism
(1703-1791); Henry Lawson, Australian
poet (1867-1922); Igor Stravinsky, Russian
composer (1882-1971); John Hersey, US
author (1914-1993); Beryl Reid,
British actress (1920-1996); Ken
Loach, British film director (1936-);
Barry Manilow, US singer-pianist
(1946-); Jon Gries, US actor (1957-
); Greg Kinnear, US actor (1963-);
Jason Patric, US actor (1966-);
James Corden, British actor and
comedian (1978-); Venus Williams,
US tennis player (1980-); Marcos Baghdatis,
Cypriot tennis player (1985-).
“ You may prove anything by figures.” —
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer (1795-1881).
“Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks
He gave it to them, and all of them drank from
it. He said to them, ‘ This is my blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many ’.”
— (Mark 14.23-24).
Borough Council has
boosted its price in
a further bid to coax
an engineer to the town. It is to readvertise
the position at an annual salary of £2000. This
is £250 more than the wage originally offered
earlier in the year.
It is also £150 above the yearly sum of
£1850 which the previous engineer Mr J H
McElhinney was drawing before he left to
take up a new post in Invercargill at the end of
1963. Since then, however, council efforts to fill
the vacancy have been unsuccessful.
So far, only eight young men have
volunteered to help Greymouth police in
a time of crisis. The volunteers are being
recruited to help the police under the Civil
Defence Act. They would assist or take over
police duties if the major part of the force was
called away to a disaster area. Sergeant J W
Sawers, who is in charge of the enrolment, said
today that the response so far had been poor.
Men between the ages of 21 and 60, or up
to 65 if they are ex-policemen, and women
between 25 and 50 are eligible. “ We hope to
get some very soon,” sergeant Sawers said.
When a reasonable number of people have
enrolled they will then be sworn in before a
Justice of the Peace.
The Beatles have done it again. Their
influence peeped momentarily into this
morning’s assembly at the Greymouth High
School. It got a laugh (but no screams).
Stressing the value of commercial courses,
Greymouth Chamber of Commerce president
Mr D H Copeland told assembled pupils that
he was sure that “even the Beatles’ manager has
taken a commercial course”.
uFood for thought
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t is like JFK or Princess Diana
dying: almost everyone in America
old enough remembers where they
were the day of the O J Simpson
white Bronco freeway chase.
Twenty years later, it remains an
iconic tv moment.
Some 95 million Americans watched
the slow-speed chase live on television on
June 17, 1994, as the NFL megastar went
on the run following the double murder of
his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend
The anniversary today is being marked
by a resurgence of memories of the
motorcade, and the trial that followed,
the first followed by a mass international
audience in real time.
The day’s events started with police
announcing that O J was the chief
suspect in the murder of his ex-wife and
Goldman, whose bloodied bodies had
been found four days previously.
Hours later, Simpson was located driving
along the 5 freeway outside Los Angeles
with his football friend Al Cowlings. The
star had a gun which authorities feared he
would use to kill himself.
Some tv stations broke into coverage of
game five of the NBA finals to transmit
the unfolding real-life drama.
“There are some watershed moments in
American culture that kind of transform
the way we view the world, and I think
that chase was certainly one of those
moments,” legal expert Marcellus McRae
“It was a surreal spectacle. It was almost
Shakespearian. It was a reality show,” he
Tv viewers were hypnotised by the story
because “it ’s not Hollywood, it ’s real life
and it ’s someone that you actually know ”,
“Regardless of who you are, what your
socio-economic background is, whether
you are male or female, if you are black or
white or Latino, you were riveted by what
Live tv coverage showed dozens of police
cars following Simpson’s white Bronco at
slow speed, while thousands of bystanders
gathered on bridges and on the side of the
freeway to watch the procession.
The chase was ideally suited for real-
time, round-the-clock tv coverage, which
was still in its infancy two decades ago,
journalist Jim Newton, who covered it for
The Los Angeles Times, said.
The story combined “a double murder
with a big name”, creating a “very tense”
“Attention and interest had been growing
in the case for several days,” he told AFP.
“It was a precursor of the reality show,”
Moreover, “Simpson really divided
people ... there were opposing feelings,” he
said, comparing it to the Michael Jackson
child molestation claims and trial, in terms
of public debate and controversy.
“My family admired him. We stayed
at home all day to see whether he would
commit suicide or surrender,” 29-year-old
Kyra, a waitress in a Hollywood restaurant,
Television news helicopters followed
the pursuit all the way to the gates of
Simpson’s house, where he gave himself up
after hours of negotiations with police.
The blanket media coverage continued
during Simpson’s criminal trial, which
began in January 1995, lasted for nine
months and drew more than 2000
journalists from around the world.
The trial provided iconic moments
itself, including when the former sports
star tried on a bloodied glove found at
the scene of the crime — which turned
out to be too small, undermining a key
The day of the verdict, October 3 1995,
145 million tuned in to see him declared
not guilty on all charges.
His fans took to the streets to celebrate,
while critics accused the jury of ignoring
DNA evidence, and pointed out that 10
of the deciding panel’s 12 members were
African American, like Simpson himself.
Controversy over the case returned
two years later, when he was ordered to
pay $36.25 million to the families of the
victims following a civil trial in Santa
Monica, just outside Los Angeles.
Simpson’s problems with the law did
not end there. In 2007 he was arrested for
alleged armed robbery and kidnapping in
Las Vegas, along with a group of men.
He was eventually found guilty and
sentenced to between nine and 33 years
behind bars, a jail term he has been
ser ving in Nevada since 2008. — AFP
California Highway Patrol officers chase Al Cowlings, driving, and O J Simpson, hiding in the rear of a white Ford Bronco, on the 91 Freeway.
US remembers O J Simpson
A reform of New Zealand’s consumer
laws comes into force today, bringing
protections that have been lacking here for
The overhauled laws give consumers
more protections and introduce hefty
penalties for traders who breach them.
One of the biggest reforms means that
goods bought on-line will be covered by
the Consumers Guarantees Act, giving
buyers the same protections as they would
have shopping in a store.
Reforms also crack down on extended
warranties, telemarketers and door-to-
door sales, as well as holding businesses
accountable for any claims, allowing
consumers to back out of contracts and
changing rules around laybys.
Individuals now face penalties of up to
$200,000 and companies up to $600,000
for misleading or deceiving consumers, or
for participating in a pyramid scheme.
There are fines up to $2000 for not
identifying yourself as an on-line trader,
not complying with suspension notice and
publishing misleading information.
Consumer NZ researcher Jessica Wilson
said the reforms brought the country’s
consumer protection laws “into the 21st
century” and aligned us more closely with
Australia, a champion for consumer rights.
Trade Me chief operating office Michael
O’Donnell said the company had
informed its more than 2 million users
that “the loophole has gone”.
“ We’ve been a vocal supporter of
consumer law reform and we’re rapt that
the changes are now coming into play,” he
“It ’s also good news for all e-commerce
in New Zealand ...”
Ms Wilson said the institute would have
liked to see more protections for on-line
traders, broader powers for the Commerce
Commission to address breaches and
mandatory pricing transparency and that
New Zealand was still lagging behind
Australia, where maximum penalties
reached over $1 million.
Commerce Minister Craig Foss said
consumer legislation was overdue for an
“ We’ve modernised all consumer
legislation so it doesn’t matter how the
transaction occurs, whether it be in a shop
or on-line or at an auction, it just matters
that there are the rules around how that
transaction must happen.”
Labour’s consumer rights spokeswoman
Carol Beaumont said the reforms were
good news for consumers, but questioned
the time they had taken to be introduced.
Commerce Commission competition
branch general manager Kate Morrison
said the changes gave the agency more
power and was the second wave of three.
A first wave of changes were introduced
in December and included giving the
commission the power to force companies
to attend inter views that formed part of
The final instalment of the reforms, a ban
on unfair contract terms, comes into play
on March 17.
Auckland woman Genna Shaw spent
a month chasing down a solution for a
faulty fridge-freezer purchased on Trade
The 29-year-old spent $400 on a new
fridge-freezer from a trader who used the
on-line marketplace to sell goods from
their South Auckland-based business.
“They were pretty helpful and delivered
it to me all fine, but then after about three
months the seal on the freezer came loose.
“ It was leaking so I rang and asked them
and asked if I could get a replacement
She was told she could get a replacement,
but she would have to pay for the manual
labour involved and the cost of shipping
the new seal from overseas.
“ I’d only had it three months so was
quite annoyed,” she said.
Ms Shaw also phoned around other
businesses looking for a replacement seal,
but could not find one.
“ It wasn’t a standard model so no one
could get the seal.”
She lodged a complaint with the
Disputes Tribunal, and despite
forewarning the business of her intentions,
they did not act until receiving a letter
about the claim.
“As soon as they got the correspondence
they came and picked up the fridge and
gave me a direct deposit.”
If Ms Shaw had purchased the fridge-
freezer on or after today, she would
get the same protections under the
Consumer Guarantees Act as anyone
purchasing in a bricks and mortar store,
and the business would have been legally
bound to fix the seal, replacing her fridge
or refund her.
— New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Genna Shaw is looking for ward to the change in consumer law after the recent purchase of a fridge-freezer turned sour.
Law reforms give buyers more power, protection
Two outpost offices of the National
Weather Service in Alaska are finally
ending what has been a bygone practice
for most of the nation for almost two
decades using real human voices in radio
The Nome and Kodiak offices are
switching to computerised voices that
nationally go by the names of Tom,
Donna and, in some parts of the country,
Spanish-speaking Javier. It is an idea first
hatched in the mid-1990s as part of a
move to modernise the weather service,
an agency of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Local weather forecasts are a big deal
to many people in Alaska because, more
than in some other parts of the United
States, the forecasts can be a matter of
life and death. The forecasts are broadcast
on NOAA’s weather radio network.
In Nome and Kodiak, weather reports
are crucial for many because of the severe
weather that can affect fishing vessels in
far-flung regions, including the Bering
Sea (think of the violent storms on the
cable television show The Deadliest
Catch) and the Gulf of Alaska.
Knowing what the weather will do is
also extremely important to pilots and
passengers needing to get to larger cities.
Kodiak is on an island, and Nome is on
the western coast with no roads to link it
to another major Alaska hub city.
The weather forecasts are so important
that they are also broadcast over radio
stations in Nome, including KNOM,
which first reported the changes.
The Nome office briefly activated
the technology this week through the
Fairbanks office, one of three forecast
offices in Alaska. Other smaller outpost
offices scattered throughout the state
have already gone the digital voice
A technological kink, however,
prompted the Nome office to go back to
local weather service employees reading
the forecasts until the problem is rectified
in the near future, officials said.
It is a job that meteorological technician
Robert Murders dreaded when he first
moved to Nome, an old goldrush town
about 88km north-west of Anchorage.
Then he got to enjoy reading the
forecasts. He was watching the Discovery
Channel reality show, Bering Sea Gold,
last season when he heard one of his own
broadcasts in the background.
“That was kind of cool,” Murders said.
But he also recognises the speed and
efficiency of using the automated voices,
which are updated immediately, even if
no one is in the office.
There is no target date for making the
switch at the ser vice office in Kodiak,
located on the island of the same name.
Angel Corona, with the weather ser vice’s
data-acquisition branch in Anchorage,
said work is under way to patch that office
with the Anchorage forecast office for the
The Nome and Kodiak offices are
being brought into the digital-voice era
as part of a national initiative involving
improvements to the system, Corona said.
Alaska is the only state that still has such
smaller outposts, while similar offices
were closed long ago in the lower 48.
Other sites to be converted later to
digital voices are in the United States
territories of Guam, American Samoa
and Northern Mariana islands, officials
Wherever the digital voices are
deployed, they can be customised to
pronounce locations accurately.
Tom, Donna and Javier are a huge
improvement over the first voice
introduced so long ago. There was some
dissatisfaction with that voice, dubbed
Paul, who sounded like a Scandinavian
robot. The voices used today have been
“It sounds pretty good,” Corona said.
“ It sounds like a computer, but you can
That is all that matters to Lucas Stotts,
the Nome harbourmaster. That and
getting weather updates as quickly and
accurately as possible, he said.
Besides, he said, some humans read
those reports in monotone voices anyway.
— New Zealand Herald
Computers replace humans reading weather reports
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