Thursday, February 27, 2014

Canada Complicit In Whale Trade

Iceland and Japan are shipping meat from endangered fin whales through Canada — the very same species that Canada agreed internationally to protect.
Canada says it can't stop the trade, even though it signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which in 1981 gave fin and other endangered whales the highest level of protection against commercial trade.
Iceland, Japan and Norway also signed but did not agree to the 1981 listing, which means they're legally permitted to trade in whalemeat and even to use Canada for trans-shipping.
Environment Canada spokeswoman Jirina Vlk: "When two countries do so, like Iceland and Japan have for fin whale, Canada has to allow shipments under customs control to transit, provided they meet normal documentation and other requirements. CITES provides an exemption for shipments of CITES species in-transit through a country, as long as the shipment remains in customs control, that is, in bond or under seal."
News of Canada's complicitness has stunned Greenpeace. It received a tip-off about Iceland shipping 12 containers of whale meat to Halifax: the containers were then railed across Canada to Vancouver to be trans-shipped to Japan. Greenpeace is shocked that the containers not only arrived in a Canadian port but were cleared to be shipped across the country: "By allowing (this) transit, Canada is an accomplice...(it) must prohibit the transport of whalemeat through Canadian ports."
USA has protested Canada's actions, saying they're undermining global conservation efforts. Canada's Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has refused to comment.
Jirina Vlk confirmed that Environment Canada inspected the shipment and then sent it on its way, because it lacked authority to do anything else. She also claims this is the first time Canada's been involved in the trans-shipment of whalemeat.
So that's makes it ok, does it???
Read more here...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Robert Gets His Wiggle On

What started out as a joke has led to a NZ radio host being invited to join one of the world's most popular children's groups.
Robert gives 'em
the brown eye!
Radio DJ Robert Rakete will soon make his debut as the 'brown Wiggle' on The Wiggles TV series. (No racial undertones here, oh no! This is just for KIDS, y'understand. Herrumph!)
Rakete performed with The Wiggles last year, when his co-host on The Breeze morning show Robert Scott suggested he join the group onstage: "They foolishly said yes, and after singing Hot Potato to 4000 screaming kids, they've invited me to go to Australia next week to film on the TV series as the fifth Wiggle!"
Rakete won't be leaving New Zealand or his job at The Breeze permanently: "I think of myself as like a Wiggle intern. It's just something I'm going to dip my toe into the waters of, and we'll see where we go from there."
The Wiggles formed in Australia in 1991 and have been hugely popular with children around the world ever since.
Here's Robert's Wiggles debut...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Whale Wars Heat Up!

Last night (Sunday), the Japanese whalers launched a 6hr.attack on the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker.
The harpoon ships Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No.3, crossed the bow of BB 33 times at close range during the assault - in violation of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) - dragging steel cable in an attempt to disable BB's propellers and rudders.
BB was sailing 6nm behind the factory vessel Nisshin Maru when the attack began. The assault was an attempt to deter BB from blocking the slipway of NM, where it was preventing the loading of whales.
NM had been located early on Sunday morning for the third time this season by Steve Irwin's helicopter. However the whalers delayed an attack on BB until Sunday night, launching it under cover of darkness.
Bob Barker in action
The harpoon ships' crew threw ice at the crew of the BB's small boats, which were launched to defend the conservation ship from the onslaught. The whalers also blinded the BB bridge with powerful searchlights, impairing vision and endangering navigation. After midnight, NM was lost from BB's radar.
BB is currently within close range of Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No.3, and can confirm the two harpoon vessels are unable to whale. Since locating NM on Sunday, the Sea Shepherd fleet was able to chase it out of the Ross Sea. SI and Sam Simon are trail-free and shadowing it.
This is the second time this month that BB has been attacked by the Japanese whaling fleet. On 02 Feb., the conservation ship was struck by YM3 in a 9hr.attack on the SS ships, during which the harpoon ships crossed the bows of the SS ships 86 times.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Giant Octopus Just Got Bigger!

Media monster APN is about to expand its reach into radio, by acquiring full ownership of the largest stations in New Zealand and Australia.
It'll cough up NZ$261million (A$264.5 million) for ClearChannel's 50% share in The Radio Network (TRN) - which includes NewstalkZB, Classic Hits, ZM, Radio Hauraki, Radio Sport, Coast, Flava, Hokonui and the Farming Show - and Australian Radio Network (ARN).
As part of the deal, ClearChannel will offer APN a 10yr.exclusive licensing agreement for its digital radio platform iHeartRadio, which was launched in NZ in Aug.2013 and hosts TRN radio shows.
TRN chief executive Jane Hastings says iHeartRadio is central to growing younger audiences, which would shore up its position as market leader.
The push into radio comes after APN sold several magazine titles, including The Listener and NZ Woman's Weekly to Bauer NZ.
APN, which owns the NZ Herald newspaper, also posted a A$2.6m profit after tax for the year to Dec.31, turning around a A$507m bottom-line loss in the prior year.
APN chief executive Michael Miller says one benefit of becoming 100% owner of TRN was the ability to make quicker decisions around the business. He says the opportunity to buy the Clear Channel stake at a good price was a good one. A single shareholder could work more closely with the TRN management team.
He says Clear was a "willing seller": its radio business was now purely in North America.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Horsing Around In Hagley Park

No, NOT another Powershop ad!
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar and one of the most ancient events celebrated around the world.
Observed between late January and mid-February, depending on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year is a vibrant occasion filled with colour, family traditions and hopes for the future.
Each year, one of the twelve animals from the Chinese zodiac is celebrated and, in 2014, it's the turn of the powerful, gracious and adventure-loving horse.
New Zealand, home to a thriving Chinese community, prides itself on observing the diverse cultures of the many groups that inhabit its shores and the celebration of Chinese New Year is no exception.
This weekend, it's the Christchurch Lantern Festival. After wowing festival goers in Auckland last weekend, the Lantern Festival comes south. It'll be held in the beautiful surroundings of Hagley Park North and offers mouth-watering Asian foods, colourful lanterns, martial arts demonstrations and performances from local and overseas artists like Tang Dynasty, the Shanghai Jiangzhou Drum Troupe, Kite artist Guo Hongli and The Butterfly Troupe.

What: Chinese Lantern Festival in Christchurch
Where: Carlton Mill Corner, North Hagley Park
When: this Sat.22 Feb-Sun.23 Feb., 5-10.30pm

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Norway's Ice Follies

I'm barely aware that the Winter Olympics are currently Russia, I'm told. But...
Watching tv recently, my eye was nearly plucked out(!) by the bizarre sight of the Norwegian curling team's brightly-coloured baggies!
I believe the multi-coloured clown-like pants were modeled on their country's flag! Riiiiight! Were they an attempt to distract the opposition? I sure couldn't watch!!
But uh-oh: "Oslo, ve hav a problem!"
courtesy NY Daily News
Last Monday, an official 'trouser crisis' was declared by Norwegian tv! Norway had to face Britain in a tiebreaker for the semifinal. The team had only brought nine pairs of these wildly-patterned pants, the idea being to have a different pair of pants for each of the nine teams they faced during the round-robin. So the drama was: which pants to REPEAT???
Such tension! There was ferocious chatter on the "Norwegian Olympic Curling Team's Pants" Facebook page (yes, it DOES exist)! The tough decision was left to the team's 'fashion coordinator' Christoffer Svae, who's also a curler (and obviously has little fashion SENSE)...he said they'd wear a pair that the team had previously won in.
So the norrbagges played in the winning pants from their clash with Russia...and lost.
Now it's a thank-GOD farewell to the Nordic fashion criminals! *phew*
No more wearing of sunglasses in front of the telly!
Note to Norway: NEVER let Christoffer Svae near fashion again.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Orca Stranding A Mystery

Scientists are still puzzled by the stranding of a pod of orca this week on the Southland coast.
They had hoped to take samples that would help solve the mystery behind the beaching and death of the pod of nine (including one calf) at Te Waewae Bay near Tuatapere last Tuesday night. But by the time researchers reached the carcasses on Thursday, one had been washed away, another partly eaten by sharks and the remaining seven were badly decomposed.
Stranded orca - 3News
Sample tests would not be able to determine the cause of death, however it is hoped blood tests could determine whether the orcas died from an infection, disease, or whether pollution or heavy metals had a role in the deaths.
Orca Research Trust founder Ingrid Visser said the animals - when alive - had been in very good condition. Initial observation of their teeth resembled a pod in the northern Pacific region that fed predominantly on sharks. Visser thinks its possible the pod was hunting sharks in shallow water.
The stranding is only the third such mass stranding of the species recorded here: in 1955, 17 animals stranded at Paraparaumu near Wellington, and 12 stranded in the 1980s in the Chatham Islands. No reason was determined for those strandings.
The nine dead represent 5% of New Zealand's orca population suddenly gone - a major loss.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

There Was Nothing Like Her

Shirley Temple, the child star to end all child stars, died this week aged 85.
Shirley (23 April, 1928 – 10 Feb., 2014) was a box office sensation during one of the great ages of film, and an inspiration to millions during the Depression. She was not just a child star, but a sensation - a huge part of America's hope during a dark difficult time. President Roosevelt said: "As long as we have Shirley Temple, we'll be all right." That was a feeling widely shared.
Among her hits were Curly Top, Stowaway, The Littlest Colonel and The Littlest Rebel. In the latter two, she danced with the great Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, at a time when inter-racial teamings were unheard of in Hollywood.
Fans counted the curls in her hair (56), and merchandisers cashed in with Shirley Temple dolls and cobalt-blue Shirley Temple dish sets. There was even a Shirley Temple drink (a nonalcoholic concoction of ginger ale and grenadine with a cherry on top).
By the end of the 1930s, as her popularity began to fade, there was talk of her playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, but 20th Century Fox refused to lend her out and so Judy Garland got the job.
Temple retired from entertainment in the early 1960s to raise a family. In 1967, she unsuccessfully ran for Congress. In 1969, Prez Richard Nixon appointed her a member of the US delegation to the UN General Assembly. In the 1970s, she was US ambassador to Ghana and later US Chief of Protocol. She then served as US ambassador to Czechoslovakia under Prez George Bush.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Ms Temple at No.18 among the Top 25 Legendary Actresses. In 2006, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.
Shirley Temple is a rare case of a performer who outlived the vast bulk of her audience. But at the height of her popularity in the '30s, there was nothing like her.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Auckland Grows A Bigger Dick

Auckland pulled the covers back yesterday...and revealed a new monstrous penis extension, to thrust higher than any other building in the city.
And furthermore...its Chinese!
The 52-storey skyscraper in the CBD would cost $350 million and tower 209m above Auckland. It'll occupy the site bounded by Elliot, Albert and Victoria Sts., which has sat empty since Chase Corporation demolished the Royal International Hotel in the 1980s (that's where the vertical bungy operation has been sproinging upwards for years...).
It'll house a 308-room hotel and entertainment complex, a shopping centre, cinema, restaurants, sky decks and apartments. Resource consent has been granted - building consent is pending.
Not surprisingly, it's financed by yet another overseas investor: Chinese developer New Development Group will name its edifice the NDG Auckland Centre.
The Sky Tower will remain the tallest structure in the city (and indeed the tallest overall structure in NZ) at 328m high. The new dick will top the current 2nd-placed holder, Auckland's 38-floor Vero Centre (with its tilted circular halo top) at 172m.
What will the xenophobic JAFAs think of that???!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Back Into The Fray

A Japanese whaling vessel's entry into NZ's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has stirred up the pot.
After Foreign Munster Muzza McCully described the journey as "disappointing" , the Green Party has demanded a strong censure. Spokesman Gareth Hughes said it was "offensive" that whalers were in our waters. He called on the govt to lodge a formal diplomatic protest.
Steve Irwin's captain Siddarth Chakravarty said the whalers were making a mockery of NZ's request to stay out of the EEZ.
Meanwhile, NZ-based spokesman for Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, Glenn Inwood, said vessels had a right to enter other countries' waters. He says Japanese vessels needed to defend themselves: "It's important the Japanese monitor the group's vessels and whereabouts." "Ginza Glenn" said it was unfortunate that SS was allowed to refuel and resupply in NZ and Oz. If its ships were refused entry, then Japanese vessels were unlikely to need to enter either country's EEZ.
Now that Steve Irwin has refuelled in Dunedin, it's en route to the Southern Ocean again...
Meanwhile, SS claims the Nippon harpooner Yushin Maru No.3 briefly entered the whale sanctuary near Macquarie Island, within Australia's EEZ, while tailing protest ship Bob Barker late last week. If confirmed, the incursion would be a breach of a 2008 Oz court injunction that declared Japan's whaling operation to be in violation of Oz law. But as history shows, Japan doesn't give a f***.
Yushin Maru blocks Bob Barker from tailing factory ship Nisshin Maru:
Southern Ocean, Feb.10, 2014
Update: 11 Feb.2014 - PM John Key is now demanding an apology from Japan.

Monday, February 10, 2014

NZ Spits The Dummy At Japan

New Zealand is "deeply annoyed" that a Japanese whaling ship entered its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and has summoned a senior diplomat to complain.
A history of not giving a flying f***!
Officials called in the Japanese embassy's deputy head of mission to make clear their displeasure at Shonan Maru No.2's presence in the EEZ.
Foreign Munster Murray McCully said the vessel (the same one that deliberately collided with Sea Shepherd's Ady Gil)was chasing protest ship Steve Irwin: "I requested the ministry call in the most senior person from the Japanese embassy in Wellington to convey just how disappointed NZ was that a Japanese whaling vessel had come into NZ's exclusive economic zone. We asked our people in Tokyo to pass on a similar message to the foreign ministry there."
The whaler did not enter NZ's territorial waters (which extend 12 nautical miles from the coast), but did breach its EEZ, which covers from 12 to 200nm offshore. While the vessel was legally entitled to enter the EEZ, the ministry made it clear to Japanese officials that it was not welcome. It called the Japanese decision to ignore NZ's wishes "unhelpful, disrespectful and short-sighted". McCully said NZ would consider further steps "to enable the Japanese to understand just how deeply annoying this is."
But don't get your hopes up. This type of tutt-tutt statement is typical of our limp-dick FM, and highlights his total lack of balls. He has us piggybacking on Australia's World Court action against Japanese whaling rather than instigating action himself. He makes meaningless platitudes about all actions for and against whaling in the Sthrn Ocean, yet sends no vessel to oversee behaviour. And now he describes a hunter/killer whaling vessel's incursion in our EEZ as "deeply annoying" and "unhelpful"!
Muzza McCully, your very existence in the role of Foreign Minister is "deeply annoying"! The country requires action over this continued whaling in our 'waters of interest', not weak words. Grow some guts, or do us all a favour and find the door.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Touch Parking

No, it wasn't a female driver!
It was a spot too tight to fit into - but nothing a high speed approach couldn't fix!
Here's footage of a Turkish ferry speeding into shore on its final journey, before screeching to a halt between two other boats awaiting the gas torch.
The ferry Ostend Spirit was retired by its owners after 24yrs of service, and came to its final rest at a Turkish ship-breaking yard in Aliaga, where it was later taken apart.
The video was filmed in Nov.2013, and has now gained worldwide attention. (What has not received such wide publicity is footage of the ship's first approach. In it, the skipper seems to lose control and slams the ferry into another beached ship, puncturing its ballast tanks!) Enjoy this classic parking...just don't try it at home!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Coconut Bras And Christie Brinkley

Air New Zealand's latest safety video features coconut bras and tiny bikinis...and NO hobbits!
Christie Brinkley - one of the original supermodels - features alongside four Sports Illustrated models in what Air New Zealand describes as the world's most beautiful safety video.
from Sports Illustrated 1980...
[Brinkley gained worldwide fame from the late 1970s with three consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers through til 1981. She spent 25yrs as the face of CoverGirl (the longest running cosmetics contract of any model in history), has been on over 500 magazine covers, and has signed contracts with major brands — both fashion and non-fashion. She's worked as an actress, illustrator, tv personality, photographer, writer, and designer, and as an activist for human and animal rights and the environment. Brinkley's been married four times, most notably to musician Billy Joel, several of whose music videos she appeared in.]
This video is set in the tropical Cook Islands, and Air NZ hopes it'll encourage passengers to travel to Rarotonga - as well as emphasise core safety messages. Riiigghhtt!! It'll be released next Wed.12th., to coincide with Sports Illustrated's 50th annvsy, and will be seen on Air NZ planes from the end of February.
Meantime, here's a behind-the-scenes look at its creation...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Japs Continue The War

A Japanese whaling ship has deliberately collided with a Sea Shepherd vessel in the Ross Sea, SE of New Zealand.
Bob Barker and Steve Irwin had been dogging the factory ship Nisshin Maru for eight days, preventing whaling, and were about two nautical miles astern of it early last Sunday.
Then, over the course of 10 hours, three Japanese harpoon ships trailing steel cables and ropes passed repeatedly over the bows of the Sea Shepherd ships in an attempt to turn them away from NM. They managed to entangle the propeller of SI with a rope, but the prop cut it free. Then in one of the passes, Yushin Maru No.2 hit the bow of BB as it crossed in front at high speed. BB sustained buckled bow plates on its starboard side. This was one of 86 such assaults that day.
Crunch time!
The engagement forced BB to slow, and it lost contact with NM. SI however still has NM on radar, and it has a helicopter which can track the ship too.
The assault was a calculated midnight ambush, to oust the SS ships from blocking the slipway of NM, which had prevented the factory ship from being able to butcher and process poached whales. SS vessels held that position for eight consecutive days, ensuring no whales were killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Here's raw footage of the Japanese attack...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chinese Special Delivery

Christchurch planespotters will be keenly lining the airport perimeter fences on Monday, to see the first commercially-flown Dreamliner to Christchurch.
China Southern Airlines' special 787 Dreamliner charter to Chch Airport arrives at 7.30am this Monday 03 February.
New Zealand has already had its first commercial 787 Dreamliner service, with China Southern flying into Auckland International late last year.
China Southern's Chch landing will mark Chinese New Year. It'll also be the first Dreamliner to fly to Chch commercially, the first Chinese airline to fly to Chch and the first China Southern charter to the South Island.
China Southern Airlines operates the largest fleet and most developed network of any airline in China. The flight, originating in Guangzhou with 228 passengers, will return to China the same morning.
+ ...meanwhile Air New Zealand's inaugural commercial Dreamliner flight will be Akld-Perth on October 15th this year. Other dedicated 787-9 routes will be Akld-Tokyo and Akld-Shanghai.
+ ...and not to be out-done, Jetstar will raise the stakes by putting one of its new Dreamliners on trans-Tasman, but for a limited time only. It'll use it on the Akld-Melbourne route in March, with special cheap intro fares.