Sunday, October 30, 2016

Paul Henry: GO! NOW!!

SURELY Mediaworks can't protect him any more.
Arrogant. Smug. Bulletproof?
That bigoted arrogant juvenile broadcaster Paul Henry insists he "meant no harm" for making comments about a woman's breasts during an interview.
During an expletive-filled piece, the breakfast TV host said that a woman sitting near him had "perfect tits". But he's adamant "there's absolutely no way the woman could have heard the conversation...I would never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable." Yea...right.
Listen, dickhead, whether the woman could hear you or not is irrelevant. You've (supposedly) got a brain in your overpaid head - even you know you've crossed the line once too often!
At some point the woman put on a jacket - Henry commented that she'd covered them up and "hermetically f***ing sealed them in leather!"
This is the standard sort of childish behaviour and language that the whole country has had to tolerate from Paul Henry for far too many years! It MUST stop!
It's long past time he RESIGNED! He surely has something wrong in his twisted psyche.
Get some treatment...and get off our screens. Once and for all.
Former TVNZ Breakfast host Rawdon Christie said "...(Henry)'s an entertainer. Simple. No need to add oxygen to this – he'll probably be loving the attention." Whether that's true or not, media expert Brian Edwards called the expletive-laden interview a "career wrecking ball".
A spokesman for Mediaworks says the company does not condone offensive behaviour.
So what is Mediaworks going to do about this pillick?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Drone Wars

The use of private drones has skyrocketed, yet their owners don't seem to have grasped the serious nature of airspace intrusion over places like airports, nuclear power plants and prisons.
So the gloves are now OFF!
Defence giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin have developed technology ranging from detection systems to more disruptive solutions such as software that forces unauthorised drones to go home or land safely, and laser cannons that shoot unwanted drones out of the sky.
At a demonstration in California, Boeing's compact 2kw laser system took only about 15 seconds to set a drone alight.
Another company has developed software that establishes invisible barriers - "geofences" - around sensitive airspace. When drones hit the virtual boundary, the software overrides the drone's flight controller and forces it to hover. Any drone deployed inside the barrier won't be able to lift off.
It's anticipated the counter-drone industry (both civil and military) could be worth at least several hundred million dollars at this stage, let alone in the future.
Much will depend on how well the technology works. The first step is identifying whether drones are 'friendly' or not. Systems also need to be able to distinguish between slow-moving drones and birds, and the signals from drones compared to cellphones.
It's envisaged that eventually airports, government locations, public swimming pools, defence facilities and the like will all erect "geofences" to inhibit airspace intrusions. Once enough "geofences" intersect, the 'free range' areas for drones will be severely restricted, certainly in cities at least.
So it seems the days of airborne voyeurs roaming wherever they wish via their drones may be coming to an end...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bully Boys' Blockade

A nasty-Nippon-led coalition has blocked a move to create a South Atlantic sanctuary for whales.
The proposal brought by five African and South American countries needed the support of ¾ of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)'s 88 members. When In the event, 24 countries were opposed, including Japan.
Japan is one of a handful of countries including Norway and Iceland still hunting whales via a loophole in a 30yr.old global moratorium, allowing "scientific whaling" – essentially using a tape measure to justify commercial harvesting of whales.
Hermano Telles Ribeiro, Brazil's IWC envoy said after the vote: "Brazil does not accept the practice of scientific whaling. The loophole should not be there at all."
He said it was high time to tighten the 70yr.old International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. That moratorium was introduced at the urging of environmentalists, to preserve dwindling whale stocks in the world's oceans.
The sanctuaries improved protection of whales from pollution and entanglement in fishing nets. Scientists estimate 300,000+ whales and dolphins die annually after being accidentally caught in fishing gear.
Environmentalists say the South Atlantic is crucial to preserving whale diversity. It is an area that is critically important to a wide range of whale species.

Monday, October 17, 2016

UN Picks Wonder Woman Over Helen Clark

The United Nations recently rejected seven female candidates vying for its leadership, one of whom was NZ's own Helen Clark.
Now, to promote women and girls, it's picked a cartoon character as its mascot: Wonder Woman! Yeup, the comic book figure.
Wonder Woman
Dozens of countries pushed this year for a woman as the next Secretary General, pointing out that the UN pledges to promote gender equality and arguing that it needs to "lead by example". But after months of internal jockeying, the Security Council picked António Guterres, who ran the UN refugee agency for ten years, to be the world's top diplomat.
Now the UN has announced it'll appoint Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador for "the empowerment of women and girls"! That appointment will be made official on Oct.21, when Wonder Woman turns 75, only slightly older than the UN itself.
Too bad Wonder Woman will not actually walk through the halls of the UN. If she did, she'd have to sort out a few internal issues, like peacekeepers who sexually abuse civilians and major military powers that bomb schools. Instead, president of DC Entertainment, Diane Nelson will accept the designation, along with "surprise guests". No word on whether Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on tv, will be there...
Scary Woman
Wonder Woman's avatar (er, that's "image" for those of us who were not born yesterday) will be used on social media to promote important messages about women's empowerment, including gender-based violence and fuller participation of women in public life... ironic, considering nine out of ten senior UN leadership jobs last year went to men. Not to mention, a woman has never led the UN.
Wonder Woman's not the only fictional character to be celebrated by the United Nations: Winnie the Pooh was its honorary Ambassador of Friendship in 1998 and Tinker Bell its honorary Ambassador of Green in 2009.
Not that those factoids or magic bracelets will make Helen Clark any happier about missing the cut...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Killers Stalk British Countryside

What many citizens have suspected for some time: leopards and pumas are breeding in rural Britain.
New data shows more than one big cat sighting is being reported to UK police every week! There've been 455 sightings of big cats between 2010-2015. Accounts of a black panther stalking Norfolk and Suffolk have featured regularly in news reports.
Since the UK's Dangerous Wild Animals Act came into law in 1977, people have not been allowed to keep big cats as pets. Many big cat sightings are of animals that were kept as pets and released, or perhaps ones that escaped from zoos or were purposely released into the wild.
But big cats must be breeding, as they don't live 40 years in the wild: puma last 8-13yrs and leopards 12-17yrs. There've also been occasional sightings of females with cubs.
There're an estimated 2,000 sightings each year, the vast majority of which are not reported to UK authorities. Some have been dismissed as hoaxes, however a DNA test on hairs found in Lincolnshire found they did come from the leopard family.
Leopards and pumas in the wild live in countryside quite similar to the UK: there're pumas in North America and leopards as far north as Siberia.
So, given that the existence of these big cats seems no longer in dispute, I wonder what the UK approach will be, when one of them is cornered? Police supposedly liaise with the RSPCA...but these particular cats are somewhat more dangerous than your average stray moggie!
One hopes police sharpshooters won't kill them on sight...but what will the fate of these once-legendary rural stalkers be?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An End To "The Big O.E."?

For many New Zealanders, "the Big OE" was their young adult initiation into the big wide world. Their "Overseas Experience" consisted of a few years in the land of their ancestors, gaining working visa entry to Britain through parental or grand-parental links...
But, in the post-Brexit anti-immigrant panic, Britain is slamming the door on international students and foreign workers. A harsh new policy will stop overseas workers from "taking jobs British people could do", in moves that could affect kiwis and aussies wanting to live, work and study there.
Students and skilled workers from countries including NZ and OZ, foreign cab-drivers and Europeans convicted of minor crimes will all be targeted, as part of a tough stance aimed at reducing migrants to just "tens of thousands" (down from 300,000 this year).
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd: "There's no question that recent immigration levels motivated a large part of the Brexit vote." Net migration from EU countries is 184,000, just short of the 188,000 from non-EU countries combined. Rudd says it will not be possible to reach the much lower target by curbing EU migration alone: "We have to look at all sources of immigration if we mean business."
Rudd describes as "generous" the current rules allowing working rights to the families of international students, and bemoans that foreign students studying English language degrees "don't even have to be proficient in speaking English." NZ and OZ skilled workers and uni students are in the firing line too, with the UK
considering tightening rules for companies recruiting from abroad.
Well, so much for historical ties between the Home Country and its Colonies! Obviously our loyal support in so many areas counts for naught.
But two can play. Hasn't the old battler Winston Peters – NZ First politican - constantly advocated jobs for kiwis ahead of migrants? So let's consider tightening our rules too. Maybe NZ should no longer accept Englanders as a matter of course simply because they're English, or because they cross a financial threshold. Let's face it: so many of them come here, and then moan about it being too hot, or the beer being too cold, or "Eh, by goom, it weren't like this Back Home, like…!" Ok, then maybe consider staying back home.
Britain's for the British? Have it your way - you voted for it. But forget emigrating to our beautiful land then…

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sea Shepherd's New Weapon

A custom-made warship with bigger engines and a long-distance fuel tank...(as blogged here 02 Feb.2015)!
Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd have a brand-new $12m ship they say will match the speed and endurance of Japan's whaling fleet.
And with Japan's defiance of an international court ruling about to be in the spotlight at a global summit this month, the activists plan to sail the new vessel to Australia, before heading south to disrupt the summer whale hunt near Antarctica.
SS's Peter Hammarstedt: "The biggest challenge in our past campaigns has been that the Japanese whaling vessels've rammed us with their superior size, and they've outrun us with their superior speed. So this is a vessel they cannot catch."
Christened Ocean Warrior, it is the first brand-new ship SS has built, allowing the group to specify engine size and other features for its high-seas protests. Cargo space has been converted to fuel tanks to give the ship longer range.
SS won't disclose it's top speed but said it comfortably topped 30 knots in recent Mediterranean Sea trials - this'll allow it to catch the nasty Nippon harpooners and it can land a helicopter aboard, thus extending its tracking options.
All SS's other ships have been refitted older vessels, Bob Barker once a Norwegian whaling ship (c.1950), Steve Urwin a former Scottish fisheries vessel (c.1975).
Japan killed 333 minke whales last summer - the first hunt after a 2014 ruling in the International Court of Justice that declared the so-called "scientific whaling" to be illegal. But Japan has since exempted itself from the court's jurisdiction and drawn up new guidelines for whaling, effectively doubling the size of the hunting grounds in the Southern Ocean.
In Sept., 95 countries condemned Japan's resumption of whaling, and the issue is expected to dominate a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Slovenia this month.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ice, Ice, Baby...

Confirmation that more than 1,500 metric tons of endangered Icelandic fin whale meat were shipped to Japan in July 2016!
death-carrier Winter Bay
The discovery comes just prior to the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which starts in South Africa today.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), OceanCare, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Pro Wildlife, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) tracked the transport vessel Winter Bay from Iceland, through Russia's Northern Sea Route and on to Japan, suspecting it was carrying whale products from the Hvalur whaling company. The shipment arrived in Osaka on 09 Sept.
As blogged here, Winter Bay shipped over 1,800 metric tons of fin whale products from Iceland to Japan via the same route in 2015.
Whaling vessel Hvalur 9
Hvalur and its director, Kristján Loftsson, are emptying their warehouse of fin whale products, presumably to resume their killing in 2017.
Clare Perry, head of EIA's Oceans Campaign: "There‘s no excuse for Iceland to continue to slaughter whales in violation of the 30-yr. old International Whaling Commission (IWC) commercial whaling moratorium. The international community must tell Loftsson that enough is enough: fin whaling must stop."
Iceland and Norway trade commercially in whale products, under their respective reservations to the listing of great whale species on CITES Appendix I. Since 2008, more than 9,000 metric tons of whale products have been exported by the two countries to Japan and the Faroe Islands.
On 14 Sept., a Norwegian company received an export permit from the Norwegian govt to ship up to 195 metric tons of minke whale meat to Japan. If the shipment goes ahead, it will be the largest single shipment of whale meat from Norway since the IWC moratorium took effect. And Lofothval, a Norwegian whale meat company tied to Iceland's Loftsson, also received an export permit on 15 Sept., to ship up to 4 metric tons of whale meat to Japan. Combined, these shipments equal the meat of 137 minke whales.
These export permits are deeply disturbing, as it appears the companies are whaling almost exclusively for the Japanese market.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Eagle Has Landed

Dutch police are adopting the centuries-old pursuit of falconry to deal with the modern-day danger of drones.
They're the world's first force to employ eagles to take down illegal drones.
Dutch police spokesman Dennis Janus: "The eagles see the drones as prey and intercept them as they are flying. Then they land with the drone still in their claws."
These feathered enforcement tools will now be deployed whenever drones are believed to be posing a threat to the public or flying close to airports or sensitive areas. They will be active in time for next summer in the Netherlands.
Oh, and by the way, none of the birds was hurt during testing... however not one of the drones survived!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The End Of The World As We Know It

If this is TRUE, then God must HATE us...
A new report by The Climate Institute indicates coffee could be extinct by 2080 if global warming trends continue!
According to the report, rising temperatures encourage the growth of fungi and pests, which could make half of the world's coffee farming land useless.
It's happened before (almost): unusually high temperatures and high-altitude rains through Central America in 2012 resulted in a wave of coffee leaf rust, affecting more than 50% of the crop. And coffee berry borer, a major pest originating in Congo, has now spread to places such as Tanzania, Uganda, and Indonesia due to hotter, wetter conditions.
The report also warns that such factors can have an impact on everything from coffee flavour to coffee price: "Without strong action to reduce emissions, climate change is projected to cut the global area suitable for coffee production by as much as 50% by 2050. By 2080, wild coffee, an important genetic resource for farmers, could become extinct."
As one who can't function without a good strong coffee every morning, all I can say is: thank goodness I’ll be DEAD by then!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wake Me When It's Over

The Olympic pains!
Boring. Boring. Boring.
Did I mention boring?
I didn't buy into the pre-games hype (because I could see the growing pile of problems). Since it started, I've painted the fence simply to watch it dry!
I believe the Olympics lost it's sparkle years ago. This year's games have been buried under the Zika virus controversy; Brazil's political, economic and security problems; the Russian steroids scandal (and I'm sure the Comrades are not the only ones). Rio's poor were segregated behind the city's own 'Berlin Wall' and their shanty homes bulldozed to construct the Olympic facilities - many of which were still not ready just days before opening. Venues have been half-empty; local spectators have loudly booed other nations' winners; an official was caught scalping tickets; there've been shootings and murders near the facilities, competitors have been robbed; and let's not forget the pollution and body parts bobbing in the harbour where races are held.
And did I mention deliberately throwing oneself (opps, I mean accidentally tripping!) over the line to order to grab a medal? No, if you ain't running in a running race when you hit the finish, then you ain't finished!
No doubt as a result of all this, ticket sales for the Paralympics to follow these games are appallingly bad.
New Olympic sport?
But you can guarantee at the closing ceremony, some tosser in a suit will declare Rio 2016 "the best Olympics EVER"... yea, right.
The Olympics needs a complete overhaul. Get rid of sports that the majority of viewers and participants consider non-Olympic, and let's get real on the ridiculous 'demonstration' events. A return to complete amateurism would be great, but won't happen because every country wants to win medals and some countries will go to any lengths to get 'em.
And the media needs to throttle back on the 'hopes and dreams' hype. It's great to support our athletes, but don't set them up to fail and then broadcast disparagingly that they "could only manage" a silver or bronze (!!!)
Now excuse me: I have to paint the fence again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Attack on the Nino Bixio

Today in history, 17 Aug.1942, 118 NZ prisoners of war died, when the Italian cargo ship MV Nino Bixio was torpedoed by a British submarine in the Mediterranean.
Their deaths, combined with 44 New Zealanders lost earlier aboard Jantzen in Dec.1941, amounted to nearly a third of NZ's POW fatalities during WWII...
Nino Bixio had left Benghazi in Libya for Brindisi, Italy, escorted by two destroyers and two torpedo boats. Crammed aboard were almost 3000 POWs captured in North Africa, including more than 160 Kiwis.
Two days out of Libya, the convoy was attacked by British submarine HMS Turbulent (N98). [This was one of the most successful Royal Navy submarines during its short career 1942-43. It sank a cruiser, a destroyer, a U-boat, 28 supply ships - some 100,000 tons in all - and destroyed three trains by gunfire. It was depth-charged on over 250 occasions by hunting forces.]
Nino Bixio was hit by two torpedoes from Turbulent: one exploded in the tightly-packed forward hold, killing 237 men and wounding another 60. In the ensuing panic and confusion, many men jumped overboard. Some drowned immediately; others reached makeshift rafts and drifted around the Mediterranean for weeks without food or water.
But, despite extensive damage, Nino Bixio did not sink. Survivors were pulled aboard, and the ship was towed by an escorting destroyer to Navarino in southern Greece, where 34 of the dead were buried (203 others are remembered on the memorial at El Alamein).
Nino Bixio was towed to the port of Pylos in Italian-occupied Greece, where it was beached. Later it was towed to Venice and sunk as a 'block ship' to protect the port.
In 1952 Nino Bixio was raised, re-fitted and returned to civilian service. In its peacetime career, it visited a number of NZ ports including Wellington where, on 25 Jan.1955, a wreath-laying ceremony was held aboard the foredeck. It continued in merchant service until 1970, and was scrapped at La Spezia in 1971.
Ironically its attacker did not fare so well. HMS Turbulent was lost with all hands off the coast of Sardinia in March 1943, after probably striking a mine...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Air New Zealand Crashes

The latest in a long and varied line of Air New Zealand in-flight safety videos is out.
But this one MUST rate as a major crash-landing...which is not something one talks about in earshot of an airline!
Sorry to say, guys, but many in the world do not find NZ comic (I use the term advisedly) Rhys Darby at all funny. He was always the weak link in the Flight Of The Concords tv series, and has not improved since.
The vid itself can't decide what it actually is: a parady of a cop show? Western? Horror movie? Romance? Based around the loose premise of Darby trying to find a Hollywood-style idea for a new safety video, it fails on so many counts...not least of which are the pretty but somewhat robotic AirNZ staffers who obviously skipped Relaxed Speaking 1:01.

Quite apart from the production values, the NZ Civil Aviation Authority isn't impressed either. It's growled at AirNZ for its celebrity-cameo-heavy, pre-flight briefings: "The video diverges materially from the 'safety message' at times and, whilst we appreciate the need to engage the viewers, the extraneous material detracts from the scope and direction of the safety message."
The problem is obviously one of how to 'top' the last all-whistles-and-bells safety video. We all look forward to the latest release, and each one does generate plenty of publicity, but just how far should the airline go?
With the jumbled message and Rhys Darby's weak "acting" ability (again, those words were used cautiously), is it time to pause for breath and step back from the "entertainment" line somewhat?

Into The Black Heart

Late last month (29 July), Sea Shepherd Captain Jessie Treverton from the UK re-entered the Faroe Islands' capital Tórshavn for the first time since her arrest in 2014.
She returned to demand a court trial and the return of a seized SS vessel.
The procrastinating Faroese prosecutor had yet to set a court date, almost two years after Treverton's Sept.2014 arrest for guiding a large pod of white-sided dolphins away from the killing bays of the Faroe Islands as part of SS's campaign Operation Grindstop. After MV Spitfire steered a large pod of dolphins to safety, the Danish Navy seized the UK-registered vessel and arrested its three crew, charging them with 'failure to report sightings of dolphins to the authorities' under the newly-introduced Grind Law and 'harassing dolphins' in an unprecedented interpretation of Faroese animal welfare legislation.
It seems in the Faroes it's legal to drive and kill an EU-protected cetacean species, but it's illegal to push them back out to sea in order to save them from harm...because that's considered harassment!
Treverton's court case has been postponed numerous times, but she now finally has a court summons for 24 Nov.2016. She believes the lengthy postponement is intentional, because any such trial will have a landmark impact on the traditional drive hunt and slaughter of pilot whales and other dolphins: "I'm looking forward to my court case, to highlight the ridiculous hypocrisy of the grind laws. If I'm found guilty of 'stressing' dolphins, the dolphin hunters can also be charged with that same offence. If I am found innocent, any person will be free to direct dolphins away from the islands to safety. Either way, it's a win for the oceans."
I'll bet when the FI legal beagles twisted the Grind Law around, they hadn't thought of that implication! Opps!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

NZ Herald Horror (and I mean it's standards!)

Yesterday (03 Aug.2016) an Emirates Boeing 777-300 crash-landed at Dubai: amazingly all 300 passengers and crew were saved.
I found out about the story when I opened the NZ Herald website today. Note: NOT a newsworthy headline like "All safe after Emirates crash in Dubai" or "Dubai Airport closed by crash" or even "300 saved by Boeing technology" ...no, I was offered a chance to "WATCH terrified passengers inside smoke-filled cabin"!!!
Yeup, in these days when everyone's cellphones make them 'photo-journos', someone FILMED what was nearly their moment of DEATH!
As if that particular action was not 'braindead personified', we were shown confusion, panic, screaming, yelling, every-man-for-himself ...and OMG! In the most crucial 60 seconds of their lives, passengers were opening overhead lockers and getting their cabin bags!
But the 'curdled-cream-on-the-rotting-cake' must surely be NZ Herald's decision to actually run this 'citizen footage' in the first place!
Posting pix of the crash site to support the story is one thing. To stream footage of terrified passengers clawing their way out of a smoke-filled cabin - and call it news - is completely different...and quite frankly piss-poor journalism.
Oh, but then, it's NOT real journalism, is it? It's yet another example of CNN-type sensationalism in the interests of reaping a few more dollars, more of the pathetic NZ Herald non-thoughts such as we've seen over the past few years.
One can only assume the editorial staff were born in the late '90s and bought their journalism qualifications on-line...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

All Hail The Happy And Hardy!

In history on 26 July 1903, the first automobile trip across the United States was completed by two happy and hardy gentlemen.
It was America's first transcontinental road trip and, like all hard drives, an unforgettable experience.
Happy and hardy butcher
This year on 26 July, another hard drive...this time in the beautiful Faroe Islands, where it's stunning rugged beauty was once again savagely tarnished by one more bloody and brutal grindadráp.
A pod of approximately 200 long-finned pilot whales was driven by 25 Faroese boats for two hours, before 135 were eventually beached and hacked to death on the rocky shoreline at Hvannasund.
This was the second slaughter of 2016 - the largest so far, following the totally unnecessary deaths of up to 50 pilot whales on 06 July.
In 2015, the "gentlemen" of the Faroes butchered 501 whales - now just one month into 'the season', they're already a third through last year's tally. I hope these hardy gents are happy...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

This Time, The Whales Win

A new court ruling, in an ongoing battle between the US Navy and marine wildlife advocates, has come down in favour of marine mammals that're affected by navy sonar.
Sonar, which involves detecting underwater objects using sound waves, is used by whales and dolphins to locate prey or members of their pod. But the human-developed sonar can be harmful to marine mammals and their feeding and mating patterns.
An Appeals Court in California has found a 2012 decision - to allow naval use of low-frequency sonar for training, testing, and operations - was contrary to the US Marine Mammal Protection Act, which states peacetime oceanic programmes must have "the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammals."
Environmentalists have claimed 155 whales and dolphins in certain parts of Southern California and the Hawaiian islands were killed by the US Navy's mid-frequency active sonar and explosives, with estimates for serious injuries in the range of 2,000.
The use of sonar has been shown to cause whales to swim hundreds of miles to escape, change depth so fast that injury is caused, or beach themselves in order to avoid rolling walls of noise that're nearly twice the volume of the loudest rock concert.
This lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defence Council is part of a larger campaign to limit man-made oceanic noises impacting the health, feeding, and breeding patterns for marine mammals. Other examples include sounds caused by shipping vessels and seismic oil and gas drilling.

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Grindadráp Begins

In the Northern Hemisphere, it's summer.
A time for family fun in the sun, frolicking at the seaside, running helter-skelter into the waves...and for some Faroe Islanders, hacking trapped pilot whales to death. Their local media confirms up to 50 whales were killed on 06 July.
The pod of pilot whales was initially spotted near Svinoy (an island in the NE of the Faroes), before boats forced them south about 11km onto the killing beach of Hvannasund...Sea Shepherd activists were not present at the grindadráp, as the group has been barred from entering the FI.
The 2015 summer saw 501 whales butchered, 14 SS volunteers from across the globe arrested, and SS's vessel Bob Barker barred "in the interests of maintaining law and order." A new law was brought in, forcing all visitors - not just SS activists - to report sightings of whales to authorities, or face a possible 2yrs.jail.
There were also claims that the navy was involved in preventing protests. As actor Martin Sheen wrote to the Danish PM: "I was appalled to see the Danish Navy being used to defend the killing of hundreds of defenceless pilot whales. Does it really take a frigate, a patrol boat, commando units and a helicopter along with Danish police officers and a Faroese patrol boat to stop a group of compassionate, non-violent people?"
The Faroe Islands govt claims there's no special legislation regarding entry visas for members of Sea Shepherd. But from April 2016, a new executive order allows a Faroese minister to ban foreign vessels if they're expected to "disrupt lawful activities".
As a result, SS has modified its tactics. It's 2016 pilot whale defence campaign Operation Bloody Fjords will take its battle to the heart of the Faroese and Danish institutions that support this bloody dated practice. It plans to pursue a legal complaint in the European Union Parliament, and to promote the boycott of Faroese farm-raised salmon and other fish products.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

US Army Sharpshooter Ain't Too Sharp!

Jas the hero?
OMG! This could only happen
(a) in America, and
(b) on their beloved 4th of July Weekend!
In Minnesota, US Army veteran Jason Galvin saw a bald eagle dangling upside down from a tree, its leg caught in a piece of rope around a tree branch 70ft.off the ground.
Police, Fire and Dept.of Environmental Conservation all said they couldn't do anything about it because of how high the bird was.
TV sensationalism, at its American best!
Galvin, who did two tours in Afghanistan (note this!), was asked by his wife to use his marksman skills (note this also!) to shoot the rope and branch the bird was hanging from...
So, after 1½ hours and 150 shots (take note!), the bird fell safely onto the branches below. The eagle, which Galvin named "Freedom", was taken away for treatment, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Wife Jackie (absolutely overawed by Jason's manliness) tweeted:
Best story of a lifetime! I knew with his sharpshooter skills that if anyone could save this eagle it was him! A neighbor (sic) borrowed (sic) Jason his .22 as it had a better scope than Jason's...an hour and a half later and 150 bullets, the eagle broke free from the branch and fell into the trees...
I can't even tell you how amazing this experience was and I knew of all people, my husband wouldn't let me down! What an amazing hero, my Army Veteran, saving an eagle on 4th of July

Weekend! I love you Jason and all that you are!
Well, there's nothing like some down-home adulation - but lady! PUH-LEEEZZZ!!!
Your Jas ain't The Ace!
A two-tour sharpshooter..with a 'scoped rifle, who could pick any firing position, was under no pressure of incoming bullets, and still had to expend 150 rounds to sever a rope no more than 100ft/30m away...needs to go back to Rifleman 101!
God bless America!
You surely need all the help you can get.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Kiwi Can't Fly

So which was it?
Did the public not want to fly those routes?
Did the public not trust Ewan Wilson?
Could Ewan Wilson not run a successful airline?
All or none of the above?
Whatever the reason, the fact is: Ewan Wilson's Kiwi Regional Airlines has bellyflopped. Kiwi's scheduled Hamilton-Nelson, Tauranga-Nelson, and Nelson-Dunedin runs cease on 30 July.
The Waikato-based airline was launched in October 2015 by CEO Ewan Wilson, who also founded the failed no-frills trans-Tasman Kiwi International Airlines in 1994.
Aviation commentator Irene King thinks it likely Kiwi Regional was under-capitalised and struggled to build a loyal customer base: "Running a regional operation is really tough. I'm surprised it lasted so long."
Kiwi is selling its only plane, a 34-seat Saab 340, to Air Chathams (which has been operating more than 30 years). It'll run Air Chathams' Whanganui-Auckland service on its air operating certificate until Air Chathams can move the Saab to its own certificate, and Kiwi crew will be employed by Air Chathams from early August.
Wilson says Kiwi had a choice to either expand with a second aircraft, or be absorbed into a larger operator: "From my point of view I'm pleased our aircraft and flight staff will become part of Air Chathams." He says the sale of the Saab was the shareholder's decision. As a minor shareholder he's pleased with the outcome, but as chief executive he's disappointed.
Air Chathams operates five aircraft with scheduled services between the Chatham Islands-Akld, Wgtn-Chch and Whakatane-Akld.
Wilson says he'd like to continue in the aviation sector - "I've built an airline over the last 14 months that's met probably one of the worlds' toughest regulatory requirements." - but it's too early to say whether he'd consider running another airline.
Third time lucky, Ewan?
Or coals to Newcastle?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Give 'Em A Big Hand, Folks!

Oh Jenny, what HAVE you done now?
A new "thing" adorns the roof of the Christchurch Art Gallery. Quasi is a 5m-tall sculpture by local artist Ronnie van Hout, standing above the Gloucester/Montreal intersection until the end of 2017.
It's quite simply a giant hand with a face. Yeup, that's it... and we have to tolerate it for 18 months!
This sculpture was commissioned by the gallery and funded from its annual exhibitions budget. Someone in their infinite arty-farty wisdom thought Quasi would be really really culturally wonderous! And paid for it to be made! Seriously???!!!
I quote gallery director Jenny Harper from Aug.2014: "I'm utterly clear that good art really matters. I'm convinced that collections of art matter more than a single work or that of a single individual." So Jenny, what the HELL is that up on your roof then?
At the very least, it's a public eyesore!
At worst, it's a blatant abuse of public funds!

In a Press poll of approx.2300 votes, 50% said Quasi was "terrible", 30% said "awesome" and 20% had mixed feelings.
Van Hout says Quasi is a surreal gesture: "I'm not trying to tell people something. Often art does, but this is more like a surrealist artwork. A way of making art by juxtaposing things together..." he says.
A way of pocketing a big paycheck, I say.
Gallery director Jenny Harper says the sculpture will prompt varied reactions. "I think some people will be startled...affronted...they might say: 'Is this art?' I'm damn sure kids will love it." Riiiiiight!!!
And do kids pay rates to keep you employed, Jen-Jen darlink?

...meanwhile the patronising multi-coloured neon phrase along the opposite wall of the Art Gallery - Everything's Going To Be All Right - is looking decidely tongue-in-cheek these days, with a couple of the letters blown out!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Grease Ain't Necessarily The Word!

The internet seems to be populated by many people with nothing better to do, than theorise about bizarre improbabilities!
One fan theory feverishly circulating is: hidden clues in the 1978 musical Grease reveal the devastating truth...that Sandy (Olivia Newton-John's character) is dead! And instead of going off into the sunset with her soulmate Danny Zuko (John Travolta), the clean-cut Aussie student is actually ascending into heaven.
This theory's been out there since 2013, but it's resurfaced and gained a whole new popularity. It goes like this:
In the final scene, Sandy and Danny leave their school carnival and get into a red convertible. But rather than simply driving off, the car defies the laws of gravity and flies into the sky.
How? Well, Danny hadn't really been able to save Sandy when she was drowning at the beginning of the film. Danny explains through song that they first met when Danny "saved her life - she nearly drowned."
The fan theory?  Sandy actually did drown on the beach that day. As she drowned, her brain deprived of oxygen, she had a vivid coma fantasy involving her summer fling Danny.
The visions get increasingly outlandish until finally, as Danny desperately tries to resuscitate her on the beach, she sees herself flying into heaven in her dying moments. Yeup, if you wanna believe that, the entire movie was a drowning woman's coma fantasy...!
The so-called evidence?
The last line of 'Look at me I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)' says 'Goodbye to Sandra Dee'. Everything that happens in the last scene is just a little TOO perfect. Danny and Sandy are back together despite everything, Rizzo SUDDENLY isn't pregnant AND Kenickie suddenly decides that he actually loves her, the geeky kid gets onto the sports team, everything is suddenly ok, just the way that sweet innocent Sandy would have wanted it to be.
And in the last shot of the movie, she flies up to heaven with her dream boyfriend in her magic flying car.
There you have it. In a nutshell. Perfect and neat, as all conspiracy theories are.
Except for one glaring oversight: explain Grease 2. Opps.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Has Cook's Endeavour Been Found?

That plucky little collier Endeavour, sailed by Captain James Cook during his great voyage of exploration of 1768- 1771, may have been located.
Researchers in the US believe they may be a step closer to locating the ship. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) has known for some time the ship was scuttled in Newport Harbour, off the US coast, in 1778. But they now believe they have narrowed down the search to a cluster of five shipwrecks on the seafloor.
The researchers plan to investigate the ships and their artefacts further. They are also appealing for funds to build the right facilities for handling and storing items retrieved from the sea.
RIMAP: "All of the 13 ships lost in Newport during the (American) Revolution are important to US history, but it will be a national celebration in both NZ and Australia when RIMAP identifies Endeavour."
Capt Cook set sail on Endeavour - a British-built coal ship originally called Earl of Pembroke - in 1768 on a scientific voyage to map the Pacific Ocean. In 1769, he spent six months charting the NZ coastline,
and making the first European contacts with natives. (His visit is commemorated on the NZ 50c coin.) He reached Australia in 1770, claiming that for England too.
After returning to Britain, Endeavour was renamed Lord Sandwich and made a troop carrier. During the American War of Independence, it was scuttled by the British Navy in a blockade.
The wreckage has never been found, but RIMAP has been checking out 13 sunken ships, with the help of remote sensing equipment and historical documents. It says an analysis of data suggests there is "an 80-100% chance" that the Lord Sandwich wreckage is still in Newport Harbour, "and because the Lord Sandwich was Capt Cook's Endeavour, that means RIMAP has found her too."
The announcement coincides with the 240th anniversary of Rhode Island declaring independence from the UK. RIMAP says identifying "one of the most important shipwrecks in world history would be "an intriguing birthday gift for all of Rhode Island"...and an important historical link to NZ and Oz too.
"HMS Endeavour": John Charles Allcot (1888-1973)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Maori Showpiece Canned

Ngai Tahu has canned plans for a huge CBD cultural centre, earmarked as one of the anchor projects in the Christchurch blueprint.
Instead it'll focus on earthquake recovery "at whanau level", and projects like housing schemes are of higher priority.
The cultural centre was one 17 anchor projects unveiled as part of the 2012 Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. It was intended as a welcome point for visitors, and Ngai Tahu was to take the lead.
The plan envisioned a "world class cultural centre... as a focal point for cultural celebration and diversity...(to) reflect and celebrate... maori culture, and acknowledge Christchurch's place in, and connections with, the Pacific."
But the cultural centre has staggered along an uncertain path since then, and few details ever came to light. In 2014, the bros were considering shifting the centre to Cathedral Square, as part of an $80-million "living cathedral" concept. That pie-in-the-sky involved a floating timber canopy connecting the cathedral and the cultural centre.
Quite frankly I'm relieved this joke has died. It always felt like a PC attempt to force a multi-cultural image onto Christchurch, and persuade tourists that maori culture is an integral core of our existence. This may be the case in -say - Rotorua, but not in Christchurch!
Simply consider other similar mis-adventures to see what flops they rapidly became eg: the Tupperwaka in Auckland. If Ngai Tahu wish to advance such an idea in the future, that's fine...on their own land, with their own money! And then they can reap all the rewards too!
But there is no requirement for a huge cultural marae in central Christchurch. It will not advance the city at all, and there's plenty more good that can be done with $80-million of public money than that!
Thank God for a bit of common sense in this rebuild debacle!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Anzac Day Sacrosanct

While most kiwis and ozzies get it, one second-hand car dealer didn't.
Anzac Day is sacrosanct. It's a day to remember the fallen from all wars, the sacrifices made...it's not to be used for commercial exploitation.
2 Cheap Cars had to pull its TV ad for Anzac Day specials after the Returned Services Association (RSA) complained. The ad told people to "come down because their great-granddad would be proud".
The car company - which claims on its website to be "NZ's most popular car dealership" with "70,000+ Facebook likes" - crossed the 'respect' line with the RSA.
The RSA pointed out that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage guidelines prohibit the use of the word 'Anzac' in trade or business, unless approval has been given by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and the Governor-General: "...the intention is to protect the term 'Anzac' from commercialisation and to ensure use is not offensive to public sentiment."
The company's marketing manager Jared Donkin said the ad was not meant to be offensive, and it's now been pulled. Great!
But now the question must be asked: WHY THE HELL IS IT RUNNING SUCH APPALLING ADS??!! They feature a young teenage girl talking so rapidly in such a high-pitched breathless almost-scream, that she's literally illegible! She sure puts me off EVER shopping there!
WHY MUST WE BE BOMBARDED WITH SUCH BANALITY??!!
Perhaps 2 Cheap Cars is too cheap to afford something better?
Wait, is she the boss's daughter or something?
Here's an example of its ads below...(spoiler alert: this is NAFF!!!)

WHAT did she say...?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bound To Happen!

A British Airways Airbus carrying 137 people has been struck by a drone, on final approach to London's Heathrow Airport, sparking major concerns over air safety.
In what's believed to be the first time a drone has hit a commercial plane in British airspace, an Airbus A320 from Geneva was minutes away from landing at Heathrow when it was hit on the nose - the aircraft landed safely.
Metropolitan Police detectives are investigating the strike, which follows a string of near-misses in recent months in British airspace: a recent report found 23 near-misses between drones and aircraft between April-October last year.
Pilots warn that drones, which are too small to appear on radar, could destroy an airliner's engine or smash a cockpit windscreen.
Toys that can kill...
Hundreds of thousands of drones have been purchased around the world in the past few years, and can be operated without a licence, as long as they're not used for commercial purposes.
High-end drones can fly up to/beyond 2,000m, travel up to 80kmph and stay in the air for 25 minutes, so it was only a matter of time before some fuckwit decided it might be fun to try and smack into a plane. These dorks would be from the same gene pool as those neanderthals who think it's entertaining to dazzle a pilot with a laser.
With drone sales going sky-high, and regulations playing a (rather slow) catch-up, a crash caused by a drone is bound to happen soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Heritage Facade Demolished

The remains of Christchurch's old Excelsior Hotel were demolished last weekend.
The 1880s central city hotel was wrecked in Canterbury's earthquakes, and most of the building was demolished soon after, except the western facade.
The Christchurch Heritage Trust bought the building in 2011, with plans to dismantle the facade and reuse it in a new building. At the time, the trust described demolition as "unthinkable".
Since then, the facade has stood on Manchester St., forlornly propped up by a wall of shipping containers.
At the time of the earthquakes, the original Excelsior had a category one heritage listing and housed a restaurant, bar, and backpackers. But Christchurch Heritage Trust chairman Anna Crighton says there was not enough heritage left after the Feb.2011 EQ for the Excelsior Hotel to still be considered a "heritage building".
She says the demolition went through all the proper processes, with approval from both Heritage NZ and the Christchurch City Council.
Property development company Canterbury Property Investments (CPI) plan to rebuild the hotel with a replica facade. Crighton: "A lot of people remember that hotel with great affection, and it's better that a replica hotel is built rather than having a glass box there."
Initial estimates suggest the Excelsior project would cost $10 million.
Downstairs would be boutique retail and hospitality tenants. The upper levels would be used for accommodation.
Construction could start at the beginning of 2017, but a date has not yet been set for completion. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Selling Off Canterbury Water

The news leaked out earlier this week: a council in the middle of the drought-prone Canterbury plains is selling the right to extract 40 billion litres of pure artesian water to a bottled water supplier.
Am I missing something?
Ashburton District Council is selling off a section (called Lot 9) with a valuable resource consent, that allows the taking of water from aquifers beneath the town.
Not at all surprisingly, the council is staying mum on the deal (understood to be with an overseas company interested in setting up a water-bottling plant), and won't say how much dosh it'll be making. But you can bet, if it's prepared to face public wrath over such an horrendous deal, it'll be pocketing a pretty penny!
The buyer will be able to to take 45L of water a second from local aquifers, totalling more than 1.4 billion litres a year!
With the consent valid until 2046, the buyer will be able to suck out 40 billion+ litres of Ashburton's water.
The Ashburton groundwater zone is over-allocated, meaning water allocated to consent holders exceeds the amount available for use.
The area's heavy crop cultivation means demand for existing water is heavy. The district often has issues supplying water during summer. In some areas, residents are banned from using hoses to water their gardens.
But wait! Back in 2011, when applying for the consent, the council struck a deal with meat processor Silver Fern Farms, allowing it to deepen its bore if Lot 9's water take caused groundwater levels to reduce. Yeup, so New Player can heavily impact existing water table to the tune of 40 billion+ litres. Then Existing Player can suck off even MORE water, if New Player effects it too much!
Oh, and BTW, there's been no public consultation about the deal. Surprise-surprise! And yet this under-cover sale is expected to be finalised in June!
This whole deal smells despicable, and surely needs to be paused for due process!! And quite frankly, does the world need yet ANOTHER bottled water label???!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Norway Feeds Minke Meat to Mink

So few people in Norway eat whale meat that it ends up in animal feed on fur farms!
As well as being one of only three countries continuing to whale, Norway has a thriving fur industry. Last year, it exported 258 tons of fox skins and 1,000 tons of mink skins to the EU.
According to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a UK-based nonprofit, and the US-based Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), more than 113 metric tons of minke whale products — that's about 75 whales — were bought or used by
Rogaland Pelsdyrfôrlaget, the largest manufacturer of animal feed for Norway's fur industry.
It details that, in 2014, the company bought or used 113,700 kgs (or 125 tons) of whale product, which could include meat and blubber.
There is little demand for whale meat in Norway, and consumption fell to about .25kg of meat per person per year (2000, Whale and Dolphin Conservation). Norway has increased its whale meat exports to Japan in recent years in defiance of an international ban. However, the EIA and AWI revealed last year that Japan rejected imports of Norwegian whale meat, when tests revealed high levels of pesticides.
Jennifer Lonsdale, EIA director: "The Norwegian government claims it's important to have whale meat as a source of food for people, but because of falling demand, the product is now being exported. Now we discover it's going to feed animals in the fur industry, which we find completely unacceptable."
Norway's self-issued quota for 2016 was for about 880 whales, down from 1,286 in 2015. But the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has criticised it for not being conservation-minded enough. In 2001, the IWC called on Norway to stop hunting and trading whales, but Norway insists it's a tradition that needs to be protected.
Minke whales in the North Atlantic, where Norway hunts, are not considered to be at-risk, but conservationists and animal welfare activists say the hunts are cruel and unnecessary, given the low demand for whale meat.

- Source: National Geographic's Special Investigations Unit,
which focuses on wildlife crime.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Soft Landings At Christchurch Airport

Late-night arrivals at Christchurch International Airport won't have to sleep on seats in the foyer for much longer.
By the end of next year, a 4.5-star Novotel will be open, right outside the terminal door. It'll be between the terminal building and the existing long-term car park.
The 200-room hotel for short-stay accommodation will cost $80 million.
Christchurch International Airport CEO Malcolm Johns says many flights from Asia and Australia arrive in the evening, and travellers want to be able to stay within walking distance of the terminal.
He's regularly fielding calls from airlines asking what hotels Chch was developing to fill the shortage after the earthquakes. He says they'd been seeking up to 400 additional rooms near the terminal, but the airport company decided 200 were enough for now.
Novotel will lease the hotel for 10 years. It has more than 450 hotels in 61 countries, and this would be its 9th in New Zealand. The chain is part of the AccorHotels group which has 3700 sites in more than 90 countries.
Christchurch Airport has also spent $10m on a 280-bed backpackers beside its Spitfire Square retail precinct.
Novotel Auckland Airport, 2011
The airport is on target to reach 6.3 million passengers for the full year - up from 5.9 million the year before - and tourism numbers are expected to keep rising next summer.
PS: Novotel opened at Auckland Airport in 2011...the design looks almost exactly the same!