Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ninja Jet

Stand aside, Superman, here's Ninja Jet!Look at the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Ninja Jet!
Or rather, it's the newest paintjob from Air New Zealand. The all-black livery isn't just so our national carrier will have the slickest-looking plane out there: it's to honour the All Blacks. The airline is going all-out with its support in this, it's 17th season of sponsorship (as we draw nearer to the *yawn* Rugby World Cup 2011).
The new all-black design was revealed this week by Air NZ CEO Rob Fyfe, in "recognition of the airline's long-time support of the nation's favourite game" (I didn't have the heart to tell him that rugby ranks 21st. on SPARC's 2007/2008 'Sport Participation Levels' survey, far below netball, fishing, swimming and even gardening!).
*bing-bong* Announcing the arrival of Air NZ's new domestic fleet of A320 aircraft, from the end of this year...
The first A320 to arrive will be the only one dressed as Ninja Jet (sporting sleek black livery, silver fern motif and corporate tail koru), and will be kept to just the domestic routes. So if you're an avid kiwi planespotter, this'll be one to watch out for.
I hate to be a spoilsport (yea...right!) but given that darker paint weighs more than white paint (and white is the dominant colour of its usual paintjob), I wonder if Air NZ has given much thought to the extra fuel consumption and increased carbon footprint imposed by its frenzied rugby sponsorship? Hmmmm...?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spirits Having Flown

Where is Spirits Bay?If they'd intentionally sought an isolated spot in which to die, they could not have found somewhere better...
Last Wednesday a large pod of pilot whales stranded at Spirits Bay, 90km north of Kaitaia at the very tip of NZ's North Island. They were spread across a 2km beach frontage, adding to the complexities of stranding management. The progressive stranding, with whales coming in throughout the day, was described by DOC as "unprecedented". And the huge storm slamming the country meant refloating the whales was never an option: 20 knot winds and 2m.swells hampered the efforts of the 160 rescuers.
Spirits Bay casualtiesOver half the pod either died or were euthanased by DOC staff, while 24 stronger whales were relocated by truck for refloating at the nearby more sheltered Rarawa Beach today. The whales were unloaded into the water at the beach using lifting equipment and diggers. Most of the whales coped with the journey, but two died en route and another at the beach.
making the whales comfortable after the tripDOC says the decision to transport the whales was difficult, but it was the only realistic option to give the whales any chance of survival. Experts describe the move as the largest transportation of whales to be attempted yet. Other transports by truck have been undertaken in NZ before, but this is the most moved by truck and the longest journey.
Keep on truckin'!Once all the whales are in the water, they'll be released together this evening. Pontoons will be used to take the larger ones out to sea, and then boats will herd the whales out. 
This is the second mass whale stranding in the Far North in two months: in August a pod of 58 pilot whales became stranded at Karikari Beach.
PS: 25 Sept.2010 - 14 of the transported pilot whales have swum out to sea, but seven others had to be euthanased after they stranded again despite rescuers' efforts. The total of whales involved in this stranding (estimated at around 70-80) may never be known, because of the storm conditions at the time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fantastic Fashion Week

Auckland's fashionistas are full of the joys of Fashion Week 2010.
The loss of banner sponsor Air New Zealand this year has not compromised the glam event, running through til this Saturday in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour Marine Village. The best of NZ’s fashion design is on show, with a wide range of both established and emerging brands.
And like last year, The Carpenter's Daughter has stunned the crowd with gorgeous plus-sized models cast from a public call-up. This show was a real progression for The Carpenter's Daughter, making a strong design statement instead of relying on colourful layering pieces. "Big, loud and proud" is one thing, this added another in more of-the-moment pieces, reflecting the darker mood of mainstream winter ranges. The look was hardly funereal, however, with lots of lace, floaty fabrics and brocades and velvets softening the overall effect.
Once again, The Carpenter's Daughter designers Caroline Marr and Sarah-Jane Duff have shown that style isn't only for stick insects.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Delhi: Done And Dusted?

India is scrambling to save face AND the 2010 Commonwealth Games, as big-name athletes pull out and some nations threaten to keep teams at home.
The $6 billion games (IF they happen!) will be remembered for a list of problems ranging from terror attacks to strikes, allegations of corrupt officialdom, and conditions described as unfit for human habitation: stray dogs roam the Athletes' Village, workers excrete in public, and homeless people live right outside the main stadium. To top things off, a dengue fever epidemic - partly blamed on stagnant water around unfinished construction sites - has hit Delhi, and thousands are being treated in local hospitals. On Tuesday a footbridge next to the main stadium collapsed, injuring 27 workers, and today a portion of ceiling collapsed above the weightlifting area. These accidents highlight the problems facing organisers as they race to complete work, yet the Indian government describes the problems as mostly minor mishaps!
Pass the poppadom, mum!
Delhi Games catering?
India saw the games as a great opportunity to display its growing global economic and political power, much as China did with the 2008 Olympics. Instead they are becoming a dangerous farce, with an Indian newspaper screaming out: "National Shame".
I believe if these games do NOT go ahead, there would be significant implications for their future. But instead of risking workers and participants AND India's now-sullied reputation, would it not be far wiser to delay the Games for a month? Even NOW this could happen, even though the opening ceremony is on October 3rd.
If the games are cancelled or compromised, it will not be a victory for any gun-toting terrorists - it may be a victory for common sense... and a lesson for the entire Commonweath. These sports events have become far too expensive for most nations to host, and the sporting focus has been overwhelmed by national ego.
Any hope of India using these games as a springboard for Olympic aspirations must now surely be dashed. And India must ask itself: having had nearly seven years to get its act together, why is it still desperately scrambling to retrieve pieces of broken poppadom from the dust of defeat?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Networking's Most E-Mailed Articles

Hear ye! Hear ye!There're plenty of theories about who spreads gossip and news on social networks — now, research is measuring what kind of information travels fastest.
Researchers studied the NY Times list of most-e-mailed articles for six months, analysing thousands of stories and variables. Surprising results: I'd have thought, to make the Most E-Mailed List, the article would be about sex, celebs or something bizarre like: "How Your Vegan Pet’s Diet Threatens Your Lesbian Civil Union, and Why It’s The Peruvian Government's Fault." But it turns out that people prefer e-mailing articles with positive themes, and long articles on intellectually challenging topics. Within that grouping, there is a leaning towards scientific articles and, analysed further, people choose articles that are awe-inspiring!
An awe-inspiring story needs to be on a big scale, and it must challenge the reader to view the world differently. Researchers feel people who share this kind of article are seeking an emotional link ie: "If you read this article and feel the same as I did, it will bring us closer together." They also found readers shared other emotions like anxiety - which, based on the old journalistic adage of 'fear sells', might be expected to be the top influence on readers. But of all the variables studied, awe had the strongest influence on an article making the Most E-Mailed List.
So if you find something in my blog which stimulates your mind and you'd like to pass a link on to a friend, feel free to share! That would be...awesome!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Worry - Be Happy

How generous would you say you are?
Ever heard of the "World Giving Index"? This measures charitable behaviour globally in three different ways: giving money, giving time and giving help. It's produced by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), and New Zealand and Australia have topped the list!
We're all in this together - so share.On the other side of the world, Malta was found to be the country with the largest percentage of the population (83%) giving money, while the people of Turkmenistan are the most generous with their time, with 61% having given time to charity.
CAF recognises that "charity" means more than just financial donations: if that was the sole measure of charity, the wealthiest nations would obviously appear most charitable. So the "World Giving Index" reflects the diversity of charitable behaviour, bypasses cultural/regional differences, and highlights how generous people can be - even when money is short.
Giving money to charity ranges from 4% in Lithuania to 83% in Malta. Volunteering ranges from 2% in Cambodia to 61% in Turkmenistan. Each country has its own way to give: for example, in Liberia less than one tenth (8%) of the population give money to charity every month, but over ¾ of them (76%) help a stranger every month, more than any other country in the world.
Overall, 20% of the world’s population had volunteered time in the last month, 30% had given money to charity, and 45% had helped a stranger.
The study also found that being happy is more of an influence on giving money to charity, than being wealthy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What A Total Waste!

This is not a blog post in my usual sense...
It merely serves as a link to a report filed by a Sea Shepherd crew member, about what he witnessed last month on the Faroe Islands. It completely refutes the islanders' claims that their pilot whale masacres are merely to feed themselves - and that no meat is
ever wasted. Please DO read it.
This excess is completely unjustified.
The brutal killing method is inhumane.
The mentality behind this slaughter is bizarre.
The grindadráp has to stop!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beached Whale...?

I wouldn't normally waste blogspace on someone like Cameron Slater. I find his "Whale Oil" blog's vicious arrogance reprehensible: who appointed him judge-and-jury?
However, what has arisen from his recent case is important, because it clarifies unequivocally the legal position of bloggers. Many bloggers believe they can write what they like...but the judgement recognises that anything published online is subject to local laws, including name suppression. The ruling also clarifies the legal boundaries for bloggers: that the internet makes everyone a publisher, and with that comes responsibilities, one of which is to abide by the law.
Slater was convicted in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday on eight charges of breaching non-publication orders, as well a charge of revealing information likely to identify a sexual crime victim. He tried to dodge the harpoons, with such creativity as:
(a) the blogsite was not NZ-based so he was not subject to NZ law.
(b) he used binary code/pictures to identify a person, so he had not broken a name suppression order.
(c) he was on medication for depression, so he was not always aware of what he wrote.
(a) and (b) were never going to fly. (c) may have had possibilities, if his blogs hadn't in fact been so cleverly done. One can't produce such in-depth work without being totally aware of one's actions.
Hoisted with one's own petard, methinx!
Whether, as Slater believes, the whole suppression regime should be removed is for another forum. What is important is that bloggers have been told they're not above the law.
And as for Slater's local council election aspirations? Well, a picture paints a thousand words...

PS: 04 Nov.2011 - Ever the trier...give it a rest, Cameron!
PS: 10 Nov.2011 - Slater loses appeal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Throw Another Prawn On The Barbie, Oprah!

Oprah Winfrey is well-known for giving expensive gifts to her tv show audiences.
And this week's episode (the premiere of her 25th and final season) was no exception. When Oprah revealed she was sending them on an all-expenses-paid trip to Australia, the crowd went wild! All 300 members of the audience are off on an eight-day trip to Sydney, dubbed 'Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure', with celebrity pilot John Travolta personally flying the private jumbo jet!
But Oprah forgot to mention that her 'gift' is actually being paid for by the Australian tourist board... to the tune of more than $2.3 million! Lots of Oz taxpayers are going wild too - but in a different sense as negative feedback on various Oz news sites reveals. But Australia's Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson calls the deal (which has been a year in planning) 'a major coup', claiming he had received federal and state funding to convince Oprah to come to Oz.
Winfrey will film two episodes of her show at the iconic Sydney Opera House, to be renamed the Sydney Oprah House for the occasion. The shows will air in January, hoping to encourage US visitors to travel 'down-under' for the end of the southern summer. Tickets for the two episodes will be given to 6,000 Australians via a ballot on Oprah's website.
So much for Oprah's "personal" generosity. Still, the idea's gotta be more successful than the appalling A$180-million 'Where the bloody hell are ya?' campaign (featuring that sway-backed stick insect Lara Bingle): according to a former Oz tourism minister, it was an absolute disaster! Gotta agree with ya there, digga!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conspiracy Theory?

Who knew about it, huh? The first I heard, they were HERE!
Two Chinese Navy ships - the training vessel Zhenghe and the frigate Mian Yang - steamed into Auckland's Waitemata Harbour last Saturday on a four-day goodwill visit.
The Chinese were warmly received by RNZ Navy Maritime Component Commander Ross Smith, who said he expected our navy could conduct joint training with the Chinese Navy. They in turn described the visit as part of efforts to construct a harmonious world and a harmonious ocean, and was also conducive to improving the level of military cooperation between the two countries. Hmmm, with the often tense relationship between China and USA (our friend), I ponder where joint NZ/China exercises might lead us? Nǐ hǎo, Comrade Mao!
Publicity for the friendly arrival (which ended today) was extremely low-key, to the point of being virtually non-existent. So...what hope for NZ, should a HOSTILE navy appear on the horizon?
It did not escape me that Mel Gibson's Conspiracy Theory was re-running on tv the very day the fleet arrived! Coincidence...?
Or just the tip of something more sinister...?!
I also noticed that the Chinese community turned out in large numbers. Fifth Columnists perhaps...?
Oh yes, I can DEFINITELY smell a conspiracy theory coming on...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Totally Expendable...

Don't waste your money!
The Expendables is billed as a hard-hitting action/thriller about mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Original, huh?
Written, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, it features a macho big-name cast including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mickey Rourke. But except for 'youngster' Jason Statham, Stallone’s geriatric heroes are pretty creaky. And hands up which of them is NOT munching anabolic steroids?
The much-trumpeted cameos by Arnie and Bruce are lucky to have lasted a minute, and both are quite weak. Likewise the "ruthless" dictator, who never seems anything more than a lackey of a crooked CIA operative.
The action sequences look totally staged, the violence excessive. It's C-grade stuff, with an A-grade explosives budget. Hell, there's not even the mandatory one-liners and, if there had been, you'd never have heard them anyway - despite his years in the game (or perhaps because of it) Sly still just mumbles, and Dolph has caught the disease too.
I can understand the need to have a support group for elderly action heroes who want to relive their glory days, but why they had to release it as a film is beyond me. Yet the frightening thing is, Stallone's already planning a sequel!
Bottom line? The Expendables really is! Er, expendable, I mean.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Couch Potatoes Welcome

The clock ticks down until accommodation bookings open for the *yawn* Rugby World Cup 2011.
NZ hotels, motels and other accommodation providers still don't know just how busy they'll be...because their booking systems don't allow reservations more than a year in advance! You'd think, with all the hoo-haa over this tournament, that the tourism industry would've got an IT guru to write a programme, that would allow forward bookings beyond 12 months!! Jeeezzz!
So because it's six weeks or more before some folk know if they've got match tickets, there's a large fan base who don't know if they even need to be in NZ, come Cup time.
And if that little booking programme oversight wasn't enough, we heard these comments this week:
+ Rugby World Cup boss Martin Snedden - "We're not going to satisfy demand if all (want) the best hotel rooms - we'll satisfy demand if they're looking for a bed and let us point them in the right direction."
+ NZ Hotel Council chairman Jennie Langley - "Even if it comes down to people sleeping on couches, there's a huge selection..."
Now, all the preparations for this glorified rugby piss-up have been geared towards making the country look slick, organised, fun. Does anyone really want to come halfway around the world to support their team...and doss down on some total stranger's couch?
What sort of image does that create? THINK!!!
And why do so many elements of this Rugby World Cup's planning have "potential debacle" written all over them?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Auckland Airport: Alien Invasion?

the site, March/April 2010Forgive me for thinking briefly The War Of The Worlds had come to Auckland International Airport!
I had not visited the international side for many moons...and so was stunned to see the progress on the new up-on-stilts airport hotel, right outside the terminal.
Top-left is how the site was, back in March/April 2010... and now the current state of play - astride the carpark like an alien machine! As you can see, things are moving ahead quite quickly.
On the first three above-ground floors will be a 150-seat restaurant and bar, 11 meeting rooms, conference/function room for 300, gym and airline crew lounge. The 263 guest rooms in the 12-floor 4-star Novotel start at the third level, which is high enough that rooms on the western side will get a view over the terminal and see the planes taking off and landing – a plane spotter’s paradise!
The hotel is a $65 million joint venture between Tainui Group Holdings and Auckland International Airport, due for completion July 1, 2011 (just in time for the *yawn* Rugby World Cup 2011).
Developments such as this, the international terminal with its myriad retail outlets, cafes and bars, two domestic terminals, freight operations, car parking, warehouses and offices bring in well over half of Auckland Airport's revenue. And the airport adds more than $15 billion of value to the NZ economy annually. That equates to 14% of our gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 15% of national employment. She's a biggie, all right!
Oct.2011 - the finished product...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burn The Qu'ran And Damn The Torpedoes!

Having yesterday laughed that there's a "nutter" born every minute, one crawls out from under a rock and poses a serious problem..and some heavy questions too.
Rev.Terry Jones - a dangerous thinkerA Florida pastor plans to publically burn the Muslim holy book the Qur'an (Koran) this Saturday, despite condemnation from many quarters...including the NATO commander in Afghanistan!
Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Centre in Florida, plans to burn copies of the Qur'an on church grounds to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on USA. He says he's praying about the situation: "We are weighing the thing that we are about to do, what it could possibly cause, what is our actual message, what are we trying to get across. It's very, very important that America wakes up." The church has been denied a bonfire permit but will go ahead anyway.
Even the rumour of the event has sparked demonstrations - in Kabul yesterday, 200 protestors burnt U.S. flags and an effigy of Jones, chanted anti-US slogans and stoned a U.S. military convoy. General Petraeus has warned that the burning could endanger U.S. troops and Americans worldwide. The Vatican too has condemned the plan, saying it's contrary to the respect owed all religions and "against our doctrine and faith."
9/11Some people may feel it's 'tit-for-tat'...but actions by Christian extremists like Jones will surely be used by Muslim extremists around the world to inflame public opinion and incite violence.
Conversely, aren't we all entitled to our own opinions, and allowed to express them in our own long as no-one gets hurt? Is burning a manuscript actually hurting anyone? Is the indignation and humiliation of seeing a holy book destroyed, on a par with watching a country's flag burnt?
Doesn't the bible urge turning the other cheek?
What does the Qu'ran advocate?
Is this just the mad idea of an out-of-touch religious rambler, or the tip of an evangelistic iceberg?
Will the good pastor receive a midnight visit from ominous men with bulges under their armpits, telling him to stop forthwith?
One has to wonder what his message really is...
PS: 10 Sept.2010 - Bonfire back-down after a "friendly" (?) call from the US defence secretary. Jones also claims NY Muslims agreed to move the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque"...but this is denied. Either way, this wack-job's done a lot of damage. However, if no media had given him publicity, then this wouldn't have become as big and dangerous as it did!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Christchurch Earthquake: The REAL Cause!

They say there's one born every minute: flakes, wackos, fruitloops, nutters...
Fresh on the web, a site claiming Christchurch mayor Bob Parker engineered last Saturday's earthquake! The site's full of outlandish conspiracy theories and complex, pseudo-scientific mathematical equations. The mystery author writes:
"This blog has been established to counter the disinformation spread by fascist mainstream New Zealand media, and provide irrefutable and conclusive evidence that former 'This Is Your Life' host Bob Parker has generated destructive tectonic plate shifts, via psychic mind waves broadcast from public sculpture."

The website claims Mayor Parker is actually "reptilian". Supposedly he's invested heavily in the "Jew-run chimney industry": several chimneys are known to have collapsed in the quake. Other reptilians named include celebrity cook Alison Holst, gold-medal-winning rowers the Evers-Swindell twins, singers Ray Columbus, Rikki Morris and James Reid of The Feelers, as well as the trumpet player from Supergroove.
And Prime Minister John Key is actually a "holographic construct", the proof being that we never see the lower half of his body.
Hmmm, some people have way too much spare time on their hands!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Love Your Country

Conservation Week 2010 is almost here with the theme this year: "Show your country you love it".
From 12-19th.September 2010, you can show New Zealand you love it by learning about, supporting and enjoying our natural and historic heritage, take part in conservation events and activities and see conservation programmes on TVNZ6. Remember to take your kids along too, and instill into them the value of our beautiful country...
You'll find all about what's happening at the Department of Conservation's site. Join thousands of other people all across the country to celebrate our native plants and wildlife, our incredible natural areas, and the places that are part of our history. And keep your eyes open for these images promoting the week...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Canterbury Earthquake

The Canterbury region of the South Island was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake about 4.35 this morning. The epicentre was 40km west of Christchurch and caused widespread damage due to its shallow depth of 10km, but because it was inland there was no risk of a tsunami. There have been a lot of aftershocks, some of them over magnitude 5.
+ No deaths: two serious injuries.
+ A lot of damage to some older brick buildings in Chch.
+ Early reports of looting now erroneous: just a few opportunist thieves.
+ Water mains burst: residents told to conserve water.
+ Power should be restored to 90% of consumers by nightfall: cold temperatures expected overnight. Several days to restore power to rural areas.
+ State of emergency declared: will remain in force in Chch until at least midday Monday.
+ N of Chch., Kaiapoi has ruptured sewage pipes, with effluent leaking onto streets. Residents told to leave town - may be a long time before water/sewerage services restored. Many houses damaged.
+ Civil Defence clearing people out of Chch.CBD, due to danger of falling masonry.
+ Inner-city suburb of St Albans: water mains ruptured and lots of chimneys collapsed.
+ Residents in New Brighton and Brooklands suburbs told to prepare to evacuate, due to flooding/sewage problems.
+ Lyttleton's historic Empire Hotel very unstable.
+ Canterbury University closed for a week [REOPENING MON.13 SEPT.].
+ Water supply at Rolleston 22km SW of Chch contaminated: its sewage treatment has suffered serious damage.
+ Sewer lines and water pipes ruptured in Chch: Civil Defence arranging for water tankers.
+ Chch airport closed: no major damage to runway but domestic terminal damaged [AIRPORT REOPENED SAT.1.30PM].
+ Millions of dollars' damage to Port of Lyttelton wharves: container terminal closed.
+ Reports of severe damage to properties in Hororata, 56km W of Chch.
+ Several small avalanches triggered on Mount Hutt skifield.
+ 200 army troops assisting with safety and security. At Burnham military camp near Chch, top storey of a two-storey building collapsed.
+ 80 police flown in from Auckland, to enforce the overnight curfew [7PM-7AM].
This is one of NZ's top dozen quakes: compare it to the legendary 7.8 Napier earthquake of 1931, which caused the largest loss of life (256) and most extensive damage of any recorded NZ quake. Initial estimates put the total cost of today's damage at over $2 billion.
TVNZ's website is being constantly updated through the day - a good source of current information.
PS: 22 Feb.2011 - Christchurch is hit again! This time, much much worse.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eye In The Sky

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been around for well over a decade: we're all familiar with the USA's extensive use of drones for both surveillence and attack in the Middle East. You may not be aware that our forces also have this technology, albeit on a much smaller scale.
This is the NZDF miniature UAV (called the "Kahu" - because everything in NZ seems to require a maori name). But with a range of only 25km, two hours' flight time, and a payload of .6kg., it'll never carry any missiles.
They've been operated by my old unit, 1 Locating Troop, 16 Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery since 2008. They give excellent "over the hill" view to commanders on the ground. And mini-UAVs are often used here by private companies for photography purposes: Google even uses them for street mapping.
With slight modification, they can also be used by the Navy. They have search-and-rescue potential, carrying a thermal-imaging camera to detect the temperature difference of a body in the water. UAVs can cover a larger area faster than a ship, and cheaper than an aircraft. One difficulty with naval use is recovery at sea, but a reliable automatic system will be aboard one of our new patrol ships this year.
So, given the obvious benefits, I was somewhat surprised that a request this week, by our soldiers in Afghanistan, for mini-UAVs has been rejected. NZ Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has asked for an update on the UAVs. He'll want specific logistical information before considering their deployment, given that sending UAVs would also require sending support personnel. The NZDF claims the mini-UAVs are not ready for operational use, but that's bollocks!
Mind you, with a lot of NZers limp-dick about using our forces in the roles they're trained for, the government will be cautious about escalating our involvement...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sea Shepherd In The Faroes

Sea Shepherd's been active in the last few weeks, taking its whale war of words and action to the Faroe Islands...
+ Last Tuesday, one of its Danish supporters filed a police claim against the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for failure to abide by the Bern Convention, by allowing the Faroes pilot whale slaughter to continue. Pilot whales are protected under the Bern Convention, to which Denmark is a signatory. SS is particularly concerned with Chapter 3, Article 6 of the Convention which prohibits "all forms of deliberate capture and keeping and deliberate killing" as well as the "internal trade in these animals, alive or dead". So just where ARE the Faroes?SS says the islands are a territory of Denmark, the people are Danish citizens, and therefore the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark is in violation of the Bern Convention. The Faroese argue they've had virtual autonomy since 1948 and are self-governing in most matters (including whaling). So this case may prove to be more symbolic than effective...
pilot whale fetus, Faroe Islands+ And the "grindadráps" or mass killings continue with 80 pilot whales slaughtered on 5th.August in Leynar: even pregnant females fell victim to the knives. Since SS filmed the Klaksvik "grind" of 19th.July, which killed 236 pilot whales, the Faroese have taken to covering the fetuses they tear out of dead females so they can’t be photographed, indicating that even they may be somewhat ashamed of their activities.
+ In an effort to steer the whales away from death, SS has teamed up with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, and placed experimental accoustic devices in the water. The Faroese media reported a pod of pilot whales had escaped because of underwater sounds being broadcast. These devices can be left in the sea and will operate for weeks on batteries. They may be the key to saving many whales, detouring them away from the violent Faroese welcoming committees. The crew of SS's vessel Golfo Azzurro did not break any laws in this action, so the Danish Navy could only escort them - not board or arrest them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There is No "Ground Zero Mosque"!

Debate literally RAGES in America, over what's being called the "Ground Zero Mosque", a plan to build an Islamic community centre near the site of the World Trade Centre. Much of the emotive debate is based on erroneous facts, as US commentator Keith Olbermann eloquently, intelligently and passionately points out.
Olbermann's 'Special Comment' -  in support of religious freedom, called "There is No Ground Zero Mosque" - aired a week ago on the MSNBC show 'Countdown'.
It's 12 minutes long...but well worth watching in its entirety.