Home' Greymouth Star : June 24th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1314 - Robert the Bruce of Scotland crushes
the English forces under King Edward II at
the battle of Bannockburn.
1509 - Henry VIII is crowned King of
1852 - Floods wash away Gundagai
township, NSW, killing 77.
1908 - Death of Grover Cleveland,
twice US president (1885-89 and
1916 - First Battle of the Somme
begins in World War I.
1917 - Russia’s Black Sea fleet
mutinies at Sevastopol in the
1947 - An American pilot reports seeing
strange objects in the sky looking like “saucers
skipping across the water”, leading to the first
use of the term “flying saucer”.
1973 - Eamon de Valera, at 90 and then the
world’s oldest statesman, resigns presidency of
1987 - Death of US comedian-actor Jackie
Gleason, aged 71.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Horatio Lord Kitchener, English soldier
(1850-1916); Jack Dempsey, US boxer (1895-
1983); Juan Fangio, Argentine motor racing
champion (1911-1995); Claude Chabrol,
French film director (1930-2010);
David McTaggart, Canadian
Greenpeace co-founder (1932-
2001); Mick Fleetwood, British
drummer (1942-); Michele Lee, US
actress (1942-); Jeff Beck, British
guitarist (1944-); John Illsley,
British rock musician (1949-);
Raelene Boyle, Australian athlete (1951-);
Lionel Messi, Argentine footballer (1987-).
“ To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence
the popularity of dogs.” — Aldous Huxley,
English author (1894-1963).
“ When it was evening on that day, the first
day of the week, and the doors of the house
where the disciples had met were locked for
fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among
them and said, ‘Peace be with you’.”
( John 20.190.
Mr WJ Clayton
has severed his long
association with the
Board, and it was with sincere regret that the
resignation of this foundation member was
received. Mr Clayton was the first chairman
when the board was formed in 1945 and a
sitting member since then.
Mr JM Lockhart said that usually when
people read that a man of 91 had resigned
from the board they thought that he was well
past his time. “But I do not think that anyone
connected with Mr Clayton would agree. He
kept a young outlook.”
When television comes to the West Coast it
could possibly be transmitted from Wellington.
This indication was given recently to Mr P
Blanchfield, MP for Westland, by the Minister
of Broadcasting, Mr Scott.
Mr Scott was in two minds about television
for the West Coast. He did not know whether
to bring it from Wellington or across Arthur’s
Pass from Christchurch. He wanted a sur vey
on the cost of bringing tv to Westland over
“The result of the sur vey may top off
the pessimistic ideas about at present that
Westland will not have television before 1970,”
Mr Blanchfield said.
The Greymouth Fire Brigade answered a call
this morning that might have alerted a civil
defence organisation. Explosions — heard as
far away as Cobden — were caused by burning
bamboo on the property of Mr H Kennedy on
the hill end of Puketahi Street.
People in the neighbourhood were awakened
by explosions shortly before 6am. The brigade
answered and although a house on the property
was scorched no real damage was done.
uFood for thought
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ordon Brown, once
ranked Britain’s most
minister in half a
century, may yet
emerge as the man who
convinces Scots to reject independence.
For many English, Scotsman Brown is
an unlikely hero.
Often brooding and awkward in front
of the camera, the former prime minister
led his Labour party to its worst electoral
defeat in a generation in 2010.
But in the industrial towns of Scotland
where the fate of the United Kingdom
will be set by one million as-yet
undecided voters in a September 18
referendum, few rival Brown’s influence.
In speeches in towns and cities across
Scotland Brown makes a passionate case
to stay within the United Kingdom — a
G8 power with a permanent seat on the
United Nations Security Council.
Brown and an increasing number
of others are fearful Britain may be
sleepwalking towards a break up.
“Countries can be lost by mistake,”
Brown, who still speaks with the
accent of his native land, told reporters
over lunch in London’s Westminster
“Don’t allow it to become British
politicians versus Scotland, which is
how too easily this has been caricatured,
because that simply plays into the hands
of the nationalists. That ’s a losing ticket.”
Less than 100 days before Scotland’s
independence vote, Brown’s is a sobering
inter vention for many English.
Polls show Scots are still unlikely to
vote for independence but they also show
the Better Together campaign’s lead has
narrowed. The head of that campaign,
Alistair Darling, has said the vote will be
Supported by Britain’s three main
political parties, the Better Together
message has veered from warnings over
the perils of secession to emotional
appeals for unity.
Prime Minister David Cameron,
whose Conser vative party has just one
of Scotland’s 59 seats in the London
parliament, has conceded that his
privileged English background and
centre-right politics mean he is not the
best person to win over Scots.
That has left the Better Together
campaign largely in the hands of
opposition Labour, winner of 41 Scottish
seats in 2010 and the only party with the
local organisation and support capable
of checking the secessionist Scottish
Labour strategists said many of the
undecided voters are Labour party
supporters who dislike being lectured by
English Conser vatives.
Enter Gordon Brown, one of very few
British politicians Scottish nationalist
leader Alex Salmond is said to fear.
“As a patriotic Scot I cannot opt out of
a debate and decision that affects children
whom I love and people whom I respect
and represent, all the more so since we
are being asked to make an irreversible
decision that will have consequences for
generations,” Brown said in his treatise
‘My Scotland, O ur Britain: A Future
The son of a Presbyterian minister,
Brown studied at the University of
Edinburgh and gained a PhD on the
Labour Party ’s role in driving political
change in Scotland.
He has represented a Scottish
constituency in the London parliament
since 1983 when he shared an office with
another new Labour lawmaker, Tony
It was the start of a relationship that
would dominate British politics for
more than a decade as Brown coveted
and eventually got Blair’s job as prime
minister in 2007 after a decade as finance
In large parts of the United Kingdom,
Brown is a divisive figure. His supporters
say he steered Britain through the
global financial crisis, his critics say he
mismanaged the economy and ran up
record State borrowing.
Brown has taken to the road in Scotland
in his most active political sortie since his
election defeat in 2010.
In speeches he says Scotland ’s identity
and rights are best secured by being part
of the union.
He has criticised as “patronising” some
tactics used by the Better Together
campaign, notably ads featuring Lego
figures holidaying abroad — a clumsy
attempt to persuade Scots they will be
financially better off within the United
Brown’s advisers say he always intended
to play a role in the final stretch of the
campaign. But his criticism of the Better
Together campaign points to concerns
that pushed the 63-year-old to take an
even bigger role.
Better Together’s Darling has dismissed
any suggestion that he may no longer be
“I run the Better Together campaign,”
“It was always intended that Brown
would come in. He was always going to.
That is part of the plan. He has a very
powerful voice in Scotland. This was
always his plan and what he wanted to
do. I was very keen that he would do it.”
When asked why Brown had taken
a bigger role in the campaign, a senior
British official said: “He’s one of the big
Scottish political beasts. Brown is a very
significant political figure in Scotland in
a way that he is not always perceived to
be in London.”
In Glasgow, Scotland ’s biggest
city and a few miles north from his
birthplace, Brown recently filled the
Old Fruitmarket, pitching the United
Kingdom as the best vehicle to promote
social justice and preser ve welfare
“I’m asking you to vote ‘No’, because
I’m asking you to cast a vote for social
justice,” Brown told a packed hall of
Labour activists, to cheers and applause.
“Social justice is not advanced by
retreating into independence,” said
Nicola Sturgeon, deputy leader of the
Scottish National Party, said Brown had
failed to implement his ideas on social
justice while in office.
“Many people will listen to Gordon
Brown and think well, why didn’t he do
all of these things that he’s talking about
now while he was Prime Minister and
Chancellor of the Exchequer,” Sturgeon
“The reality for so many people across
Scotland is not one of pooling and
sharing resources, it’s about having
resources pulled away from them.”
Brown’s speech is repeated in D undee
and St Andrews, where he mixes soccer
jokes, quotes from John F Kennedy
and Nelson Mandela and pride in the
achievements of the Scottish Labour
movement to argue for staying in the
“He was very good. I had to stop a few
tears coming,” Kenneth John MacDougall,
a retired man from Dundee, said.
By placing the weight of the Scottish
Labour movement behind the Better
Together campaign, Brown said he
was also seeking to forge a modern
interpretation of what it means to be
British based on pooling resources for
social justice and welfare.
“People are asking what Britain is about
and they are asking what Britain is for,”
said Brown. It’s a question he is trying to
answer in the week’s before the vote.
An unlikely hero
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown makes a speech at Glasgow University in Glasgow, Scotland on behalf of the Better Together Campaign.
It will take another three decades for the
Southern Hemisphere’s humpback whale
population to recover from the slaughter
of the whaling era, scientists say.
The first ever comprehensive assessment
of humpbacks in the vast region has found
their population has gradually bounced
back in the 50 years since commercial
whaling was banned, but a New Zealand
researcher says more can be done to help
The International Whaling
Commission’s scientific committee has
been working with the South Pacific
Whale Research Consortium to get a
precise picture of humpback numbers.
Using photo records and genetic
samples from 2000 whales, the researchers
provided the first estimates of abundance,
descriptions of genetic differentiation and
documentation of migratory movement
for humpback whales throughout Oceania.
With this, they were able to reconstruct
the history of decline and slow recovery of
the species from 20th century whaling.
The committee concluded that Oceania
humpbacks, a favourite with whale
watching ventures, once numbered more
than 14,000, but by the time of the
whaling ban in 1966, had been reduced to
less than 1% of that number.
Since that time, numbers had increased
slowly to about 5000, or about 37% of
their pre-exploitation numbers.
Given the present rate of increase, it
could be another three decades before this
population was fully recovered.
“All in all, they are recovering slowly,
but at least the population numbers are
heading in the right direction,” consortium
member and University of Auckland
scientist Dr Rochelle Constantine said.
The assessment, she said, had confirmed
just how close the population of Oceania
came to extinction.
“There may have been fewer than 40
mature females sur viving in this vast
region, after the catastrophic programme
of illegal Soviet whaling in the early
Dr Constantine said the species still
faced a lesser threat from fishing —
humpbacks were being accidentally caught
in equipment — and potentially also from
Oceania whales had been tracked
migrating down to the Bellingshausen Sea,
off the West Antarctic ice sheet, where
large-scale, climate-driven changes were
being obser ved.
Less ice, Dr Constantine said, set off
changes down the food chain that meant
less krill for the whales to feed on.
“ We also need to be careful with
activities like whale watching, especially
around vulnerable mothers with calves on
their breeding grounds.”
Next year, she plans to travel to Raoul
Island, in the Kermadec Island, in the
hope of satellite-tagging humpbacks to
better track their migration to Antarctic
feeding grounds. — New Zealand Herald
Thirty years for humpback whales to recover — scientists
It is impossible not to stare at Kim
Dillenbeck’s dog Pig.
Born in Atlanta with severe deformities
and adopted by the Alabama woman, the
eight-month-old mutt has gangly legs, a
body that appears to have been chopped in
half and no neck.
Pig looks like one of those fake animals
created with photoshop to draw clicks on
websites, yet she is real.
“The whole clinic loves her. She comes
in and she’s a rock star here,” Dr Rachael
Hudson-Breland, a veterinarian who treats
The friendly little animal hops like a
frog to stand up and walks with a high-
shouldered gait that resembles a gorilla.
Unable to swing her head side to side, Pig
spins her whole body to see what is beside
None of the vets who care for the dog
have ever seen another animal with the
same condition, Hudson-Breland said, but
Dillenbeck has seen a few similar-looking
dogs on the internet.
Found as a puppy with three litter-mates
in a wooded area in metro Atlanta, Pig is
smaller than her surviving siblings at only
7kg. Her spine is about 18cm shorter than
normal and wavy, with many bones fused
Dillenbeck, who first saw the dog during
a Christmas visit and later brought her
home, said coming up with a name was not
“ When she was really, really little she
looked like a little fuzzy piglet,” Dillenbeck
said, who lives in nearby Helena.
Tens of thousands of people have watched
internet videos of Pig since she had a
coming-out party during a community
event in Birmingham last month, and Pig
has her own Facebook page with more than
Last week, dog owners at a suburban
park lost track of their own animals as they
stopped to watch Pig play in water and run
around surprisingly quickly.
Dillenbeck said it is the same any time
Pig ventures out in public.
“S he always draws a crowd,” she said.
Visiting the park with her boyfriend and
two dogs, ballet dancer Tricia Bianco did
not know quite what to
make of Pig.
“S he is like a little pig. She’s cute,” Bianco
Pig plays and runs with other animals,
and Hudson-Breland said the dog does
not have any major health problems. Pig
does tire easily, and she sometimes loses her
balance and topples over like a toddler.
Overall, though, Pig is in great shape for
the shape she is in.
“I don’t think Pig really knows that she
looks different,” Hudson-Breland said.
PICTURES: New Zealand Herald
A woman scratces the head of Pig, a dog born with severe deformities,
at a park in Alabaster, Alabama.
Meet Pig the dog — a ‘rock star’ who always draws a
Pig the dog — a ‘rock star’ who always draws a crowd
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