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Volume 1 | Issue 1 |
| 8 August 2008
LABOUR’S HIDDEN AGENDA: Policy details yanked from Beehive website
By Ian Wishart TGIF Edition editor
The Government appears to have moved rapidly to conceal evidence of a hidden social engineering agenda if it wins the forthcoming election – by removing a controversial speech from the Beehive website after TGIF Edition made inquiries. The speech was delivered on 6 May to Victoria University social policy students, by Minister of Social Development Ruth Dyson, but doesn’t appear to have attracted much media attention. However, social policy commentators who’ve read the speech posted on the Beehive website were stunned at suggestions Labour is developing social policy to recognize polygamy and polyamory – where people are allowed to have multiple wives or husbands. The revelation comes in a key paragraph three quarters of the way through her speech, where Dyson signals a re-elected Labour has an agenda to move away from social welfare for just the needy, towards a more comprehensive form of social engineering for the entire community: “Shifting the focus from social welfare to social development is about considering the wellbeing of the whole population, and com-
munities within that population, rather than solely focusing on the traditional family group.We must cater for the diversity, we know exists. By this I mean the range of relationships from single, couples, triples, blended, de facto, and so on.That’s where we’re going with social policy.” TGIF Edition this morning tried to get Dyson to clarify her comments: “We’ve been sent a link to the Minister’s speech on 6 May to social policy students where she talks about the need for MSD to work on recognizing diversity in other
relationships akin to marriage, whether gay or even ‘triples’. “Has MSD been asked by community groups, individuals or the Government to examine policy surrounding polyamorous relationships in any way? “Can the Minister please elaborate on why this particular kind of diversity merits recognition by the government?” When we fired in the request at 10am, the speech was still on the Beehive website. But at midday, Dyson’s spokesman Rob McCann gave Labour’s official response: “Unfortunately for your story,
that was not the speech the minister delivered.” And when we checked the website, suddenly there was a pagenot-found error. TGIF Edition has however taken a copy of Google’s cache of the webpage, which you can read here. http://www.investigatemagazine. com/dysonspeech.pdf It shows the speech has been listed on Ruth Dyson’s “speeches” page since May 6. “I don’t think it’s surprising, the argument for civil unions was all about taking down boundaries,” remarked Family First
Dyson signals a re-elected Labour has an agenda to move away from social welfare for just the needy, towards a more comprehensive form of social engineering for the entire community
spokesman Bob McCoskrie when approached for comment this afternoon.“It’s a slippery slope. “It’s probably the covert nature of it that is most concerning considering the Government is accusing others of having secret agendas.” RELATED LINKS: The original link to the page (now removed) http://www.beehive.govt.
Government briefing documents obtained by TGIF Edition on the new energy saver light bulbs show Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has had major concerns about health risks associated with mercury leaking from broken CFL lamps. The story first broke in a 21
page special report in this month’s Investigate magazine, which has forced health authorities to reconsider whether so-called ecobulbs are safe for home use. Investigate reported on two major scientific studies just published which reveal the mercury from one broken light bulb can pollute the atmosphere in a child’s bedroom as much as 300
times higher than the recommended safety limit. Now, documents released under the Official Information Act disclose the Green Party was aware of mercury risks 12 months ago, but was assured by Energy Minister David Parker that the lights were safe. “You have not addressed at all the risk of mercury vapour
Telecom’s profit slump hits markets. Page 3
Air crash verdict
New ruling in aviation cold case, magazine vindicated Page 4
nz/speech/speech+victoria+university+ first+year+social+and+public+policy+ students
And the cached page provided by Google: http://www.investigatemagazine.com/dysonspeech.pdf
Documents show Greens worried By Ian Wishart TGIF Edition editor
inhalation by residents when there is a breakage in the home,” Fitzsimons had warned.“This is the issue people will be most worried about. How much harm could 5mg of mercury do if it was all vapourised and breathed at close quarters – eg, by someone sweeping the broken lamp up in a dust pan? This scenario will occur not infrequently,”she told Parker in a
letter dated 12 July, 2007. The documents show Parker responded with little more than a pat on the head to Fitzsimons, in a letter on 24 July last year: “The National Poisons Centre in Dunedin states that there is very little risk from the mercury if a lamp should break in the home,” said Parker.“The level of
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NZ police issue wanted poster for British actor Page 3
There’s dirty tricks in the US elections as well Page 8
NEWS World’s biggest Ecstasy haul Australian Federal Police make the world’s biggest ever Ecstasy seizure – nearly five tons of the pills – and arrested 16 people. More NZ SNAILS INVADE AMERICA Environmental authorities across Canada and the US are warning of an environmental catastrophe caused by NZ mud snails. More
Family poaching business South Island police have arrested a Vietnamese man they claim headed a family paua poaching business on the Kaikoura coast. More Wacky claim A Nelson funeral director claims natural burials are “more harmful” to the environment because of the diseases that humans carry. More Smog lifts, imperceptibly NewstalkZB is reporting an ever so slight lift in the smog blanketing Beijing ahead of tonight’s Olympic opening ceremony. More
8 August 2008
Kiwi ‘jetpack’ leaves world bemused By Jon Hilkevitch Chicago Tribune
Oshkosh – The first public flight of a futuristic personal jet pack last week didn’t exactly conjure up images of “The Jetsons”flying saucer car, the power and grace of Superman soaring faster than a speeding bullet or the heroic Buck Rogers fighting evil warlords in outer space. But the maiden launch of the Martin Jetpack, at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture show here, nonetheless provided a lift to the dream that ordinary people could one day fly free,albeit not as naturally, as a bird.And without wings or a pilot’s license. The rocket-like human flight machine, offered at the introductory price of about $100,000, is being marketed by the Martin Aircraft Co. of New Zealand as “the world’s first practical jet pack.” It is powered by a 200-horsepower piston engine that runs on premium automobile fuel that can be purchased at a corner gas station. It is less volatile than some of the hydrogen mixtures that were used in earlier rocket packs, according to the manufacturer. The engine is mounted directly behind the pilot, who for Tuesday’s premiere was 16-year-old Harrison Martin – the son of Jetpack inventor Glenn Martin, who has invested almost 30 years and untold dollars on the project. “This is a proof-of-concept vehicle, experimental with a big ‘E,’” said Glenn Martin, who has spent the last 27 years developing
Martin Jetpack Inventor Glenn Martin, (left) of Christchurch, New Zealand, holds one of the safety bars fixed to the Jetpack being flown by his son Harrison Martin, 16, as they demonstrate the personal jet pack for consumers at the Experimental Aircraft Associationís AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Tuesday, July 29, 2008. (David Trotman-Wilkins/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
the consumer-oriented Jetpack. “It’s still a newborn baby.” Martin and his wife, Vanessa, who volunteered as the original Jetpack test pilot in the first of 11 prototypes stood by proudly as Harrison, strapped into the machine and wearing a crash helmet with a face shield and a fireproof flight suit, repeatedly revved the engine, which roared like a motorcycle, to warm it up. Martin said the Jetpack is capable of flying at up to a little more than 60 miles per hour for as long as a half-hour and
possesses flight controls nimble enough for pilots to carve figureeights and other patterns in the sky, he said. But Martin Aircraft employees held onto the Jetpack as young Harrison engaged the throttle. The Jetpack immediately lifted off, teetering somewhat clumsily forward and side to side as it hovered several feet off the ground during the flight demonstration. The maneuver was an anticlimax to the buildup, and the presentation was kept brief – less than a minute – to ensure the safety of
the crowd packed tightly around the Jetpack, Martin said. Still, it represented one small step for what the machine’s creator hopes will become a giant leap for a whole new class of personal aircraft. Air show spectators, who applauded and whistled when Harrison Martin successfully lifted off, were not disappointed by the results. “Every single person dreams of flying, whether they go into aviation or not,”said Ray Hollins, 65, a private pilot who traveled
from his home in Zimbabwe to attend his first Oshkosh air show. “...Do you remember Capt.Marvel flying across the cinema screen? I think it’s just built-in youth.You watch birds and wish you could be like them because it’s the ultimate personal freedom.” Although the prototype that was unveiled at the air show still needs more flight testing and refinement, Martin hopes to deliver the first 10 Jetpacks next year. After the demonstration, Martin began accepting $10,000 deposits on the $100,000 personal aircraft from well-heeled enthusiasts.The deposits are fully refundable if he fails to deliver, he said. But don’t expect the Jetpack to provide an alternative form of transportation to drivers who are stuck in traffic on congested expressways and would prefer to fly to work like George Jetson. “People are going to use it primarily for recreation, like they have fun using a jet ski on the water,”Martin said.“It’s not practical for use as a commuting vehicle, just like the jet ski is not a good boat to go fishing on.”
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exhaust through the same process. Mr Duynhoven said it was also proposed to update requirements for vehicles with non-modified exhausts entering New Zealand. The standards would reflect those in the country of origin or first registration. “It was always the intention to tighten the rules so that the number of noisy vehicles on our roads can continue to decrease,”Mr Duynhoven said. “The Government wants to give car owners the chance to do the right thing and legislation introduced in June allows people to do that. “These proposed amendments will mean further penalties for vehicle owners with noisy exhausts who continue to fail to comply with the law. – NZPA
8 August 2008 FROM FRONT PAGE
Documents showGreens worried
PCs gone mad Wellington, Aug 8 – Using a photo of a British TV celebrity to try to catch a teenage burglar in Christchurch is“an exercise in absurdity made necessary by a daft law”, says United Future leader Peter Dunne. A wanted poster featuring Robbie Coltrane, star of the crimCLIENT inal series Cracker, isPUBLICATION being used 099684370 by police because heCOVER resembles DATE(S) the email@example.com young burglar. TRIM SIZE
Police are not able to publish pictures of anyone under the age of 16, so they are doing the next best thing by posting pictures of look-alikes. “Robbie Coltrane is not the burglar,” the police leaflet said. “But imagine him aged 16 with lank, greasy hair and you have Mistral Software the picture. ” Investigate Mr Dunne said that because of XX July 2007 217 x 285mmand Young Persons the Children
Act, the privacy of a serial burglar was being protected. “I commend the police on their ingenuity, but this simply demonstrates that the law is an ass and needs to be addressed,”he said. “It should be embarrassing for us that the Brits are having a laugh at our expense.This joke of a situation is being reported in Britain by the BBC, the Guardian and the Telegraph to name a few.” Mr Dunne said the perception was that New Zealanders were more interested in protecting the rights of criminals than victims. “I think that any future victims of this crook would have cause to be very, very angry.” –NZPA
care the consumer should take is no more than dealing with household paint.” Fitzsimons had expressed skepticism about the claimed carbon savings from energy saver bulbs, saying Parker had based his claims on an Australian study.The Greens co-leader points out that“coal use is much more significant”in Australia,whereas most New Zealand electricity comes from carbonclean hydro power. In his response, Parker tried to defend his Australian data, saying it was based on results “from different states, including Tasmania where electricity is produced largely from hydroelectric sources.Again, more mercury is released to air from the use of incandescent than CFLs.” Naturally, TGIF Edition checked the claim. According to a report by New Zealand’s EECA [http://www.eeca.govt.nz/eecalibrary/products/lighting/factsheet/environmental-impact-ofcfls-07.pdf], CFL use in Tasmania would result in 0.03 milligrams of
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Security tapes ‘found’ By Peter Wilson NZPA
Wellington, Aug 8 – Wellington City Council has given the National Party surveillance camera footage which might help it identify the infiltrator who secretly taped conversations with MPs at a cocktail party last mercury being released into the Friday night. There were no cameras inside air, per bulb, but the use of existing “inefficient” incandescent the room where the party was bulbs would cause only 0.003 mg held but there was cover of a staircase leading to it, council of mercury to be released. That’s ten times less mercury spokesman Richard MacLean pollution if we stick with the told NZPA. A young man wired for sound existing bulbs, instead of using got into the cocktail party, held CFL ecobulbs. The Ministry of Health is on the first night of National’s expected to announce its posi- annual conference, and goaded tion on CFL use next week, once senior MPs into talking about it’s had a chance to evaluate the sensitive policies. Posing as a member of the latest American studies. RELATED LINKS: The party’s youth wing, he recorded Investigate special report http:// deputy leader Bill English saying www.investigatemagazine.com/ National would “eventually” sell Kiwibank. See%20No%20Evil.pdf Back to the front page Another senior MP, Lockwood Smith, talked about “swallowing dead fish”to keep the public happy with policies National didn’t agree with ahead of the election. And front bench MP Nick Smith says an attempt was made to trap him into discussing nuclear policy. The comments laid National open to a torrent of criticism from the Government and ministers claimed they were evidence of a secret agenda. The MPs are furious about the covert recordings and had hoped security cameras would show the conversations taking place. Those hopes were dashed when they were told last night there was no cover of the party, Wellington, Aug 8 – New Zea- but now they have tapes which land’s largest listed company might reveal who went into it. “The reality is the footage isn’t Telecom is reporting an annual operating surplus from continu- that great,”a spokesman for party ing operations down 15.5 percent leader John Key said. “You’re talking hundreds of to $713 million. The result for the year to the people and it will be a case of us end of June was achieved on rev- working our way through it quienue up 2 percent on the previous etly and methodically, looking year to $5.67 billion, the company for people we know and people we don’t. said today. “Whether we come up with Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation something is anyone’s guess. It’s (ebitda) was $1.89b in line with not going to be a quick process.” The conference was held in the guidance. Chief executive Paul Reynolds Town Hall and the cocktail party said the year’s result highlighted in the adjacent Michael Fowler the increasingly competitive Centre. The council was at first nature of the New Zealand tel- reluctant to hand the tapes over, saying it usually only gave them ecommunications landscape. “In this new environment to the police. But its legal advice was that as customers have more choice and opportunities than ever before,” National had hired the venue for the party, it had the right to conhe said. Group ebitda was expected to trol access to it and could have decline by 4 percent to 6 percent the tapes. The row over the recordings in the year to June 2009, in line with guidance given in April. led National to accuse Labour Capital spending over the same of responsibility. It suggested a member of period was forecast to be up to Labour’s youth wing managed $1.1b. Telecom’s 2007 result was to get into the party. TV3, which was given the boosted by one-off gains, including around $2b for the sale of its recordings, said the man denied being a member of any of the pardirectories arm –NZPA ties represented in Parliament.
8 August 2008
Police clear dairy owner who fired BB gun at robbers Wellington, Aug 8 – A Christchurch dairy owner, who fired a BB gun at two robbers, will not be charged over his actions, police said today. Two men threatened the New Brighton dairy owner with a large knife and demanded money on Monday night. The owner,identified only as Nike,said he fired the BB gun five or six times after one of the men ran at him and slashed the near his throat and chest. He had hit one of the men in the face. “We would never have used (the BB gun) if they weren’t so threatening,”he told The Press newspaper.“They were frantic.” Police consulted the crown solicitor’s office and then decided the dairy owner would not face charges. Detective Sergeant Paul Merrett said that should not be seen as a precedent or indicator to any future decision in a similar situation. “The victim of the robbery has been advised of this decision,”he said today. “Police would like to reinforce advice given to all retailers that active resistance in this situation is not encouraged.” The dairy owner said he had armed himself after the shooting of a south Auckland liquor store owner in June. Police are still looking for the two culprits at the New Brighton robbery and have asked for witnesses who saw anything around theWainoni Food Market about 8.30pm Monday to contact them. The men fled with a cash register holding a small amount of cash. – NZPA
Wellington, Aug 8 –A coroner has blamed pilot fatigue for the deaths of two men killed when a topdressing plane crashed in 2003. In his inquest findings Coroner Wallace Brain questioned both the work practices of their employer, Wanganui Aero Work Ltd and the responsibilities of the Civil Aviation Authority. Mr Brain said Wanganui Aero Work should have had safe working practices in place to assess fatigue risk management and CAA had failed in its responsibility to educate and enforce agricultural aviation industry safety. Today a CAA spokesman told NZPA there was action under way to change the rules regarding agricultural aviation operations and the authority stood by its accident investigation report that found other factors were also important aspects of the accident. Jonathon Lourie and Richard McRae, who worked for Wanganui Aero Work, died in April 2003 when their topdressing
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Pilot fatigue blamed for deaths in topdressing crash plane crashed while spreading urea northeast of Douglas, in Taranaki. Mr Lourie, the pilot, had flown on three consecutive days prior to the accident. This included a flight between Wanganui and Stratford, and two 14-hour days of topdressing work. On the day of the accident, both men had been on duty for just over 12 hours, the Wanganui Chronicle reported. Department of Labour representative Lorraine Earl told the inquest Mr Lourie had taken off and landed about 80 times on the day of the accident. “There is no doubt in my opinion that both Joe Lourie and Richard McRae were fatigued and that this was a contributory factor to the accident,”she said. Under cross-examination, she said it was well accepted that excessive hours were worked in the agricultural aviation industry, and there needed to be a cultural change with the entire industry accepting pilots were
susceptible to fatigue, which caused accidents. In December Mr Lourie’s widow, Nicola, told the inquest her husband was a relatively inexperienced pilot and had no management experience, yet was Wanganui Aero Work’s Stratford area manager as well as its pilot. He sometimes spent two or three hours on the phone at night, organising jobs, she said. In the first months of 2003 Mr Lourie once worked on 11 consecutive days, with nine to 11 hours on duty on at least four of them. “I strongly believe that my husband should never have been a pilot area manager with the little experience he had. “It contributed to his level of fatigue. “The fatigue issue needs to be addressed,”she said. In his findings, Mr Brain said it was clear Mr Lourie and Mr McRae were working long hours and this contributed significantly to the accident. He said Wanganui Aero Works
should have had safe working practices in place to assess fatigue risk management, and these needed to be implemented immediately. Mr Brain also found that CAA had failed in its responsibility to educate and enforce agricultural aviation industry safety. He said the Government needed to urgently undertake research into pilot fatigue and enact appropriate regulations to control pilot hours. The CAA spokesman said today there was already a rulemaking process under way to change the rules regarding agricultural operations. “This will include changes, among other things, that address the issues of fatigue, including fatigue management systems and the requirements for a fatigue management plan in each operator’s exposition.” He said the authority was satisfied that these steps when combined with occupational safety and health requirements satisfactorily address the issues of fatigue management in agricultural aviation that had been identified by the coroner. “The CAA stands by its accident investigation report which was accepted by the coroner that noted that fatigue was one of several factors to the accident and not the sole cause of the accident,”he said. Wanganui Aero Work’s chief operations officer was not available for comment. RELATED STORY: Investigate magazine broke the original story about pilot fatigue in March 2005 and helped to force the fresh investigation. Read the original story here: http://www. thebriefingroom.com/archives/2008/03/ march_05_1.html
8 August 2008
THE BIRTH OF SOMETHING NEW Welcome to the first issue of TGIF Edition.New Zealand’s first paperless newspaper. This one is free, gratis, to everyone in New Zealand as an introduction to the future of newspaper publishing. Those of you who have already purchased subscriptions in support of this major new media initiative, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and in return this issue is free for you as well – your sub will officially commence with next week’s TGIF Edition. So please, we encourage everyone receiving this on their email, pass this free copy on to anyone who you think might be interested in New Zealand’s newest national weekly newspaper. If you believe in an independent news media, that’s why we’re here. If you want a newspaper that isn’t afraid to tackle the big boys, that’s why we’re here. Why a digital newspaper? Quite simply because we believe this is where all our main competitors will be, ten years from now. The existing online model is flawed because it is not entirely reader friendly. Website technology is not as clean and easy to navigate as a newspaper,
and even on current broadband speeds it can be time-consuming. TGIF Edition delivers you up to the minute news in traditional newspaper format, with the added benefit of being fully interactive. Click on an advertisement or other links in this issue, and the PDF will allow you to access a wide range of websites and rich media content.You know it will still be there for as long as you have the PDF. In today’s busy lifestyles, we’re saving you time by delivering the major news content we believe our readers enjoy and find relevant, whilst still providing you with the tools to ‘hunt your own’ if you want further information on a breaking story.You can drive the whole thing from within TGIF Edition, at your own leisure and at your own pace. Additionally, the PDF file is text searchable, meaning subscribers will build up their own instantly accessible library of the world’s major news events as each issue adds to their collection. You can print off copies of TGIF Edition if you wish, and by adjusting your print settings you can print only the pages or articles you need. TGIF is
the greenest newspaper in the country. The more people who help us by taking out a subscription to TGIF, the more journalists we can hire and the more content we can provide for you. In a very real sense, you, the readers, are the real stakeholders in this venture. For a small investment of around $3 per month, which is up to 75% cheaper than paper-based weeklies, you not only get the kind of content you are reading here but you will also be helping us to break the stranglehold and monopoly that foreign conglomerates have over the rest of the New Zealand media. Whilst we can draw on the worldwide resources of news services like UPI, Deutsche Presse and newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, or the local newsgathering strength of NZPA, you’re also getting the award-winning editorial team behind Investigate magazine.You know we’ll be telling it like it really is. So again, welcome to TGIF Edition. Tell your friends about this collector’s edition, Issue 1, Vol 1, and know that you are witnessing the birth of SUBSCRIBE NOW! something new.
Comment By Julia Keller Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO – The best writers’ retreat of all may be a place where nobody really wants to go: the valley of the shadow of death. That is where many memorable and popular works have been created, as their authors come to terms with their imminent demise. Randy Pausch, who died last week at 47, is the latest in a line of writers whose words burn with a special intensity, whose observations glow with an irrefutable poignancy, because they are written with the certain knowledge that death hovers near. Pausch’s“The Last Lecture”(Hyperion), co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow and published in April, is based on a public talk Pausch delivered in September 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught computer science. Pausch had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and the lecture, he said, was intended for his three young children.“But if others are finding value in it,” he added on his blog,“that is wonderful.” Just as his speech – recorded and viewed thousands of times on YouTube and other web venues – caught fire, the book was an instant sensation. Filled with insights and homilies about retaining a sense of optimism and childlike wonder, but never maudlin,“The Last Lecture”still holds the No. 1 spot on many non-fiction bestseller lists. Before Pausch, there were other writers whose works achieved a solemn grace and unassailable dignity from their authors’impending death. British dramatist Dennis Potter, author of the acclaimed work“The Singing Detective,”who died in 1994 from cancer, announced in his final months that he was working frantically to finish two scripts before he passed away:“My only regret,”he said during a BBC interview,“is if I die four pages too soon.” Many writers and artists pass away close to the release date of a major work. Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medication in January, after filming his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” now in theaters. But Ledger presumably did not know his life soon would end. What gives “The Last Lecture” its extraordinary radiance is that Pausch most definitely did know – and because he knew and wrote anyway, he touched millions. So did Cornelius Ryan. The Irish-born author of historical and military fiction such as the “The Longest Day”(1959) and“A Bridge Too Far”(1974), died from cancer as he struggled to finish the latter. He succumbed two months after publication. In “A Private Battle,”a 1979 memoir that includes his diary entries, his wife, Kathryn Morgan Ryan, detailed his fervent desire to write“The End”on his dramatic fictional version of an ill-conceived assault during World War II. He often refused medication
Last Lecture author joins those who wrote with end in sight that would have eased his pain, she revealed, because Prize, lived in Canada most of her adult life. But he wanted to keep his mind clear to write. learning that she was dying of cancer, she returned Perhaps the best-known example of a writer to Chicago in April 2003 to research a final novel, whose work is imbued with the author’s knowledge “Segue”– a novel she was not able to finish before of his oncoming death is President Ulysses S. Grant. her death, which came four months later:“I feel His“Memoirs,”still praised for its modesty and clar- when I write,”Shields told the Chicago Tribune,“as ity, was written while Grant sat if I’m doing the only thing I on the front porch of his home, can do, with this illness.” Many writers bundled up against the chill Pausch felt the same way and artists pass induced by his throat cancer. about his diagnosis: It was an Financially broken, his family away close to the inspiration to keep going, not in dire straits, Grant yearned release date of a major a reason to quit. The same spirit moved Britto finish the work before he work. Actor Heath ish poet John Keats,whose final died. Critic Edmund Wilson book – written as he began to offered this portrait of the Ledger died from an realize that tuberculosis would doomed, scribbling general: accidental overdose of put him in an early grave, as “Humiliated, bankrupt prescription medication indeed it did, in 1821 when he and voiceless, on the very in January, after filming was 25 – includes such masterthreshold of death, sleeping at night sitting up in a chair his role as the Joker in pieces as“Ode on Melancholy”: as if he were still on the field The Dark Knight, now in “She dwells with Beauty and could not risk losing touch theaters – Beauty that must die;/And with developments, he relived Joy, whose hand is ever at his his old campaigns.” lips Bidding adieu ...’’ Grant’s“Memoirs”was completed just days before When it comes to death’s effect on words, though, his death on July 23, 1885. Its publication was a it is hard to top poet Wallace Stevens’line:“Death is huge success, earning almost half a million dollars the mother of beauty.” for Grant’s needy family. And sometimes, it seems, it is also the mother of Author Carol Shields, the Chicago-area native bestsellers. RELATED LINK: Watch The Last Lecture video whose 1993 novel“The Stone Diaries”won a Pulitzer
Letters -Ingenues on the loose We should take care that election year point scoring does not cause us to make hasty conclusions. It would seem that both major parties have a lot to learn. The National Party needs to realise that their conferences are bound to have some stool-pigeon plants. Yet the free expression of personal opinions which may be at variance to party policy is the essence of democracy. For Labour or the news media to try to extend those arguments cannot have more than a 50% chance of arriving at a correct prediction of future policy. Looking at it from another perspective, does this covert taping of conversations not remind us all of the Watergate scandal which led to the downfall of Richard Nixon? Labour criticise National for blaming all political problems on Labour; but who has been blaming the pre-1999 National Governments for problems which remain unresolved after nearly nine years with Clark in office. National may well have hidden agendas; they had much to learn from the Lange administration in this regard. Let us decide for ourselves what issues are important to us. Hugh Webb, Hamilton -Vilification of the west I have just concluded reading your remarkable book Eve’s Bite. At 44 years old I have watched with astonishment the systematic vilification of the West and our traditional allies, the “revisionist” P.C. work-over of our history and painting of abnormal practices as normal. My wife and I have pondered this over many a glass of wine, but I always concluded that I simply got it wrong or was outof-touch... On reading your book I now realise we are not alone (thankfully I might add, as the thought of having to remortgage our house to cover my impending psychiatric bills was alarming!) I send you this e-mail to retell of an incident which took place at my son’s school in Wellington. It was early 2002 and my son was 6, at that stage he was living with his mother (he now lives with my wife and I). My wife and I had just moved from Wellington to the Wairarapa, and while we were sorting things out I happened upon an old air rifle, it had belonged to my wife’s father and no one had set eyes on it for years, needless to say it was in rusted condition. Once settled in to our new house, my six year old (who was staying with us that weekend) and I decided to restore the old slug gun. We buffed the steel and sanded the wood... etc. Back at school, his class was asked to write about “what you did on the weekend” and his highlight (and mine for that matter) was “working on the old slug gun with dad” – his words. I had sent a photo back down to his mother, with my son holding the slug gun in my living room (surrounded by books, open fire, a nice setting) and she duly gave the picture (which she liked!) to him to attach to his “what you did sheet”. Later that same week, I stopped by his class and upon looking around noted all the “what you did sheets” complete with various photos, but not my son’s! I asked my son why, and he told me his teacher said it was “inappropriate” and was “pro war”... What?! A little boy holding a vintage slug gun is pro war? Inappropriate, says who? No laws were broken, then to my dismay I looked up and saw another little boy’s “what we did sheet”, there he was dressed up in his bigger sister’s clothes complete with lipstick. So, working with your dad in the workshop is inappropriate, but cross dressing is appropriate. Really? My son’s teacher, ironically, came-out, with much fanfare some months later. Name and address supplied -Tripping the light fantastic In the light of the article in the latest Investigate, a good test of the Labour/Greens infatuation with energy efficient light bulbs, would be to take a number of such bulbs and smash them on the carpet of offices of these parties. Would they just sweep the pieces up with a pan and brush as is done with incandescents? Renton Maclachlan, Wellington Letters to the editor can be posted to: PO BOX 302188, Nort Harbour, North Shore 0751 or emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 August 2008
Best of the NZ blogs Clark could be preparing for snap election
By David Farrar Kiwiblog I said on TV3 this morning, that there is a reasonable chance (not a probability, but a significant possibility) that Helen Clark may call an early election. Why? Just one reason, really. The thought of Owen Glenn testifying to the Privileges Committee.This is the stuff of nightmares for Helen and her Foreign Minister. If she goes early, she kills off the inquiry for Winston, and secures his loyalty post-election if he gets back (and she needs him to do so to have a chance). And even better, the inquiry cannot be re-established in a new Parliament. So Helen will be reading the results of the UMR poll on how she has handled Winston very carefully.And if she is worried about what Owen Glenn may say, she will do anything to stop that happening. What if Owen is asked by a Maori Party MP whether he was behind the $250,000 offered donation to the Maori Party, if they would agree to back Labour? If you are Helen, do you want to run the risk of that? What if Owen won’t back up Winston’s claims to have known nothing at all about his donation? How do you look if as PM you didn’t even take the simple step of verifying this yourself? So if Helen does call a snap or early election, it will not be due to any of the public reasons she will trot out.They will be as ludicrous as her justification for the 2002 snap election– she claimed an extra 12 minutes a day of points or order (about the status of the Alliance) had paralyzed Parliament and made governing impossible. The reason will be the possible testimony of Owen G Glenn– Labour’s largest donor. To comment on this post click here
Prime Minister Helen Clark fronts the media on the way to the debating chamber, Parliament, Wellington, Wednesday, August 06, 2008.NZPA / Ross Setford
HERCEPTIN DECISION UNPOPULAR, BUT RIGHT?
NEVER OFF THE RECORD
By ‘Psycho Milt’ No Minister I’m not usually game to make predictions, because they’re usually a shortcut to making yourself look foolish. However, the conversations currently going on at No Minister about the secret recording of Nat politicians at their conference demands it (hell, the fact that the same people screaming“Dirty politics!” now, were well chuffed when it was Mike Williams waking up to the fact that recording devices are cheap and plentiful, now demands it.) So you get an idea of the over-the-top wishful thinking I’m responding to here, a selection of recent comments about these secret recordings: I think that this story will have legs, the NZ public had a gutsful of dirty tricks last time round. This is the party that regularly beats up people at meetings and election hustings; that burgles emails and goes through people’s garbage. Most certainly Labour blackops, or say VUWYoung Labour would be up for this! Tapegate will damage Labour’s poll ratings because this is the politics of the gutter. We’re saying that illegal, surreptitious taping is the 2008 version of 1968’s breaking and entering. OK, one of the above comments is from our regular fascist loony, but you get the idea. So, here are my predictions: 1.This story has legs only to the extent that interesting quotes from Nat politicians continue to be released. Given that last night’s quote from Nick Smith was utterly inconsequential, I’d say the legs are off it. 2. If it turns out the recorder was from Young Labour, that’s utterly without consequence for Labour, in the same way that the Young Nats caricaturing Helen Clark as Darth Vader was without
is a statement. Just ask the question, please. Rt. Hon Winston Peters: I have no difficulty in doing that by just rearranging the words to say, on savings and the KiwibankMadam SPEAKER: No, no, please be seated.You are not turning today into a circus. Please be seated. Now if the member does not ask his question, I will be asking him to leave the House. He knows how to ask a question; he should just ask it. Rt. Hon Winston Peters: With respect, Madam Speaker, I am entitled to at least point to the subject I am about to ask my question on. Madam SPEAKER:Please be seated.The member knows that you ask a question.That question can, of course,contain that which you wish to know in terms of an answer, but you start with a question.We have had this out in this House many times before. Rt. Hon Winston Peters:What, where, when, why, and how did the Government learn of variable statements on Kiwibank and savings, and has the Government ever received reports that would suggest that one deputy leader is undermining his leader in the way that happened to Muldoon and Marshall many years ago? Heh, Gerry is showing the way. To comment on this post, click here
John Key discusses ‘TapeGate’.NZPA / Ross Setford
consequence for the Nats and ACT’s youth wing giving away party pills was without consequence for ACT.That’s the kind of cheap laughs youth wings get up to. 3. The public will continue to display a distinct lack of outrage, somehow failing to see how making politicians appear cynical and devious by, er, quoting them, constitutes dirty politics. 4.The story will be largely without consequence for National either.We all already knew they’re currently pandering to voters, and will hold off showing their true colours until after they’re in govt.There’s really nothing to see here, folks. So there you go. Let’s see if I get to be monumentally embarrassed by next week. To comment on this post, click here
NATIONAL SCORING RUNS IN THE HOUSE
By ‘Whaleoil’ Whaleoil Gerry Brownlee is regularly getting the better of normally competent Labour ministers with his constant accurate points of order. Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I spent lunchtime today at the Hutt railway workshop.That workshop is a clear example that this Government buys assets, and does not sell them in the way that Bill English wants to do.
By ‘ZenTiger’ NZConservative I see Pharmac have made the brave decision to decline Roche’s application to fund Women’s Breast Cancer drug Herceptin for a full 12 months. They will continue to fund a 9 week treatment of the drug. They’ve relied on cold hard scientific evidence, and spent a lot of time and effort coming to what seems to me to be a reasonable decision. Now they just have to combat the public, who usually have a lot less information at their fingertips and don’t want to read it anyway, but will be very worried, because more is always good and less is always bad. Perhaps more importantly, women undergoing treatment for breast cancer may have seen this drug as the gold plated weapon in their battle against a very scary disease. In such battles, attitude and hope can make a big difference to the outcome. Those women and their families will have to take heart that they still have a range of treatment available, and combined with the 9 week herceptin Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Madam course, have good chances to have good outcomes. Speaker. I wonder whether the Minister might conI also recall another health campaign where firm that that was a job interview. “more is good”was not the case at all. Pumped with Winston Raymond Peters, 63, Member of Parlia- fear over the deadly Meningococcal disease, many ment of no fixed abode also copped a flogging from the parents were cowed into demanding vaccinations to Speaker today, clearly she was prodded into dealing protect their young ones from certain death. It’s not with the debacle that the house has become. Nor- surprising– it’s a fate not wished on anyone. mally he raises points of order about how members However, even back in 2005, there were legitimate raise questions and again it was Gerry Brownlee questions being raised about the risks, the effecthat frustrated the fool. tiveness, the costs and the side effects. Numbers of Rt. Hon Winston Peters:With respect to the vari- people contracting the disease from the time the able statements on Kiwibank, has the Government outbreak peaked a few years earlier showed it in received any reportssteady decline before even the first shot was fired. Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Madam Those stats continued to drop throughout the proSpeaker. Firstly, you might like to consider whether gramme, even though children needed “the whole the Minister is aware of what the nature of the ques- set” to gain protection– this was the excuse used tion initially was. Secondly, he of all people should when vaccinated children caught the disease. know that that is not the way to start asking a quesNow, in 2008 more information has come to light tion in this House. that continues to question the “more must be betRt. Hon Winston Peters: How many times are ter” logic that pushed that particular decision. It you prepared to put up with this buffoon making was logic supported not by facts, but by the Health pointless points of order? Department’s search for hope. Madam SPEAKER: This is question time, not It was, in effect, the reverse of the Pharmac decistatement time. Would members please note that, sion, which seeks to provide the most optimal health so that everyone asks a question. care based on the available evidence, and leaves the Rt. Hon Winston Peters: Having regard to the supply of attitude and hope in the hands of the variable statements on savingspatient and their family. Madam SPEAKER:No,I am sorry;please be seated. I think that’s all we can ask for. Start with a question,not a statement.“Having regard” A review of the government’s $200 million menin-
8 August 2008
ISLAM AWARENESS WEEK
By ‘Rob’ Manawatu Christian Apologetics I decided to go to a“Koran and Bible”talk at Massey University tonight, held as part of Islam Awareness Week. It was mildly interesting, and perhaps would have been more so had the material been easier to follow. Here are a few thoughts about the meeting: •Most of the people there were Muslim, with a small handful of others I suspect were non-Muslim. • The speaker made it abundantly clear, several times, that he did not want to offend anyone. • He also made it abundantly clear that he was not there to convert or try to convert anyone. • He made an intense effort to show Muhammad within the Bible, in prophecies and other verses. • I met several people there who I had taught over the last couple of years, and had a quick and pleasant chat to a few of them. With those comments in mind, here are a few responses: • First, the Bible tells us the gospel is offensive. That is not to say that we ought to be offensive! 1 Peter 3:15-16 in fact commands the opposite. But we must not let the presentation of the gospel be subdued by the offense it may cause as it is intrinsically offensive. “But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. (1 Peter 3:15-16)” • The Bible claims that there is only one true God and that those who do not follow Christ in this life will be absent from Christ’s kingdom and presence in the next life. It makes many other claims that exclude the possibility of both the Bible and Koran being God’s revelation. So, they cannot both be true. They could both be false, but let’s not fool around by suggesting they could both be true. Simple logic dictates that this is impossible. So, if a Muslim stands before people and talks as a Muslim, he is implicitly saying that his beliefs are right, and it logically follows that the beliefs of Christians are wrong. So, the Muslim, believing he is right, must believe that the Christian (me) is wrong. So let’s not beat around the bush – he may not explicitly want to convert me, but it is certainly in the back of his mind, because I am following a religion that is not true, or at least not as true as Islam. Personally, I would prefer to be more up front. I would love to have gotten up and shared the gospel with these people, whom I happen to quite like and respect by the way. And I would love to have told them that I do want to convert them, because I believe they are wrong, their religion is false, and their eternity does not rest in good hands. I would love to have told them they need forgiveness – and that they can have it freely – and that it is by grace and not any works they have to do. • The thrust of the talk covered a lot of verses in quick succession which would all need to be looked up.There are some great talks and debates onYouTube and www.bethinking.org.uk that cover many of the arguments used. •Lastly, I hope to have more contact with these people– the men at least. I have found the Muslim women very reluctant not only to talk to me, but even to look at me. I find this sad, but Patrick Sookhdeo from Barnabas Fund (soon in New Zealand) gives this advice in his excellent little book A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Islam:
“The Christian should only seek to talk to those of the same sex. Any conversation with the opposite sex should be at the Muslim’s initiative. Never touch anyone of the opposite sex, even to shake hands, unless the other person initiates it.Try also to avoid eye contact with the opposite sex, even if a conversation develops. Treat both the Bible and
Quran with great respect, not placing them on the floor and not writing in them.” Cheers.
LONDON CALLING (SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE WEEK)
By ‘DroopyDog’ Droopy’s Journal As an anglophile fascinated by Westminster-style governments, there is no better year than this year. I have never been a big fan of the Labour Party, but I found it not possible to dislike Tony Blair. I even agreed with many of his policies. I thought he was treated pretty poorly by his party in the end, so I am taking great joy in watching the back stabbers get it right back at them. I now find myself going to my post office box hoping that the new issue of the Spectator (UK version) or Weekly Telegraph are there so I can read up on the latest tittle tattle from Westminster.There is only this much exciting tittle tattle because the Labour Party leadership is beyond incompetent in the ability to manage the ground crumbling beneath them. Only a few short years ago, the Tories were left for
dead.The Tories will go the way of the Libs. Forever a minority party, unable to ever gain leadership again. It is not surprising to me that the Conservatives are likely to be in the majority in the next parliament; what is surprising is how quickly their fortunes have turned around while at the same time the Labour Party has been making the highly improbable unbroken streak of bumbling mistakes. Halfway around the world, we have New Zealand where elections are upcoming. In Prime Minister Helen Clark’s case, I disagree with just about every position she has, but I love listening to her speak. She is a master of question time and of divisive political speech. Of course, it is easy for me to be entertained, I am not impacted by her policies. In preparation for the NZ elections, I just today received my copy of Absolute Power: The Helen Clark Years by Ian Wishart. Unfortunately,my dose of political intrigue by magazine only comes monthly from New Zealand in Investigate magazine. But, it is well worth the wait. I have cancelled all my U.S. based news and political magazines.They are all too boring in comparison to The Spectator and Investigate...
British Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under siege
gococcal vaccination programme has found that the vaccine’s effectiveness often wore off within just months of the injection. Related Link: You are safe – for a month or two Related Link: Pharmac Stands on Current Evidence To comment on this post, click here
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8 August 2008
Dirty tricks in US election, and Paris USA, Indiana. – In a presidential campaign billed as“the maverick vs.the outsider,”this was supposed to be a different sort of election. So far, however, the nastiness is just as intense as in previous contests, with tyre gauges, pop stars and some choice adjectives being tossed about in recent days. There have been charges and countercharges of racism, while Web sites designed to attack and mock Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama are unveiled on an almost daily basis by their campaigns and parties. McCain has run television and online ads comparing Obama with Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and even Moses, while Obama has run some that make McCain look like an angry old man. “Our politics has gotten so nasty,”Obama said this week. The two politicians, who have thrived in part due to generally upbeat public personalities, arrived at this intense negative campaigning for varied reasons.
In a year that seems to favor Democrats, McCain went on the offensive early in hopes of defining Obama before many voters become more familiar with the
relative newcomer. Obama, meanwhile, responded quickly, something Democrats pledged to do after many believed their 2004 nominee, Sen. John
Kerry of Massachusetts, was too slow in countering attacks against him in the Swift Boat ads. Negative campaigning seems to be unavoidable, even for two
candidates who had previously pledged to try to avoid personal attacks. “If you’re not hitting, you’re getting hit,” as one political adage goes. McCain’s attacks seemed to have gained some traction. He has largely erased a nine-point lead Obama enjoyed in the Gallup Poll’s daily tracking survey upon his return from a foreign tour less than two weeks ago. At a stop here on Thursday, Obama showed no hesitancy in criticizing his opponent. “If Sen. McCain wants to talk about how Washington is broken, that’s a debate I’m happy to have because Sen. McCain’s energy plan reads like an early Christmas list for oil and gas lobbyists,” he said. Later, he added that there was a “debate between John McCain and John McCain” over whether it is good advice to, as Obama first suggested recently, maintain proper tire inflation to boost gas mileage.
Appearing with Obama, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana practiced the attack-dog role typically assigned to vice presidential candidates.The former governor is rumored to be under consideration as an Obama running mate. Bayh criticized McCain’s energy plan and his calls for more off-shore drilling.“It sounded a lot like my dentist,”he said of the Arizona Republican’s plan to “drill, drill, drill.” A running mate to help with attacks could be especially useful for Obama, who needs to maintain a delicate balance between staying above the fray and hitting back. He often calls for a new kind of politics and risks disillusionment among his supporters if he goes too far. “I hope Obama does not do what McCain does and instead talks about what he believes, instead of bashing back,” said Liz Lehman, a tour director who came here to see Obama speak. “Negativity turns me off.”
LOS ANGELES – Paris Hilton has responded to presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s ad comparing the heiress to Barack Obama with a campaign ad of her own. Hilton’s spot,paid for byWeb site funnyordie.com, stars the socialite mocking McCain’s Celeb ad comparing Obama,a U.S.senator from Illinois, to Hilton and Britney Spears, CNN reported Thursday. I wantAmerica to know that I’m, like,totally ready to lead,the swimsuit-clad Hilton said in her video. Hilton said her administration would have an energy policy that represents a hybrid of McCain’s and Obama’s positions and even revealed her pick for vice president: I’m thinking Rihanna, she said.
I’ll see you at the White House. Oh, and I might paint it pink. I hope that’s cool with you guys, Hilton said in the video. The video ends with a satirical sign-off from the hotel heiress: I’m Paris Hilton and I approve this message because I think it’s totally hot. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said campaign is aware of the video. “It sounds like Paris Hilton supports John McCain’s ‘all of the above’ approach to America’s energy crisis – including both alternatives and drilling. Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama but she obviously has a better energy plan,”he told CNN.
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8 August 2008
Ferrari icon dies on scooter
Turin, Italy – Andrea Pininfarina, the scion of one of Italy’s most celebrated car-design companies, died overnight when a scooter he was riding was hit by a car. He was 51. Pininfarina, president and CEO of Pininfarina, the company founded by his grandfather in 1930, was apparently on his way to work when the accident occurred on a road outside the north-western city of Turin, traffic police said. Pininfarina was riding a Vespa scooter when he was hit by a car driven by a 78-year-old man who was not injured in the accident but was being treated for shock. The name Pininfarina is associated with the sleek designs of some of the most famous Ferrari sports cars models, including the Ferrari Testarossa. Andrea Pininfarina, an engineer by training, ran the family company and in the past also served as deputy president of Confindustria, the main Italian industrialists group.
Trading in stocks of Pininfarina which is listed on the Milan bourse were suspended following news of his death. “Italy, Turin and the whole of the Fiat Group have lost a modelentrepreneur who was able to follow and innovate the work of his grandfather Pinin and his father Sergio,”said Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, president of the Turin-based Fiat, Italy’s largest car company and owner of Ferrari. The car design and coachbuilding company was founded by Battista “Pinin” Farina whose surname and nickname were combined to form the brand name. Pininfarina, based in Cambiano, near Turin, has designed cars for Ferrari as well as for Japan’s Mitsubishi, Korea’s Daewoo and Hyundai, Cadillac in the US and France’s Peugeot. The company employs more than 3,000 people in several locations in Europe, as well as in Morocco and China.
Civilian deaths drop New York – The United States told the UN Security Council on Thursday that violence in Iraq has dropped to the lowest level in four years, as deaths of US and coalition partners’ troops have drastically decreased. US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff made the annual report to the 15-nation council on the status of the US-led multinational force, saying there had been a“sustained decrease in violence”since the surge of US troops aimed at insurgents in Iraq. US President George W Bush last week declared the surge had ended as the 20,000 additional troops returned home, bringing the total number of US troops in Iraq back to 140,000. Wolff said the overall level of violence had decreased by 84 per cent since last year and Iraqi civilian deaths had gone down by 65 per cent. US military deaths dropped by 91 per cent and coalition partners’ deaths by 96 per cent in the last year. The 30 countries in the multinational force contributed about 9,000 military personnel to the operations. The US-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003 to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who the US then claimed had weapons of mass destruction. No evidence of the weapons was ever found. Wolff said the Iraqi government and army have increasingly assumed responsibility for their
Improving Iraq Violence against civilians is down sharply since last summer, and many Iraqis say the country is once again headed in the right direction.
On Iraq’s direction
Iraqi civilian fatalities
From war and other violence
How would you say things are going in Iraq overall these days?
Feb. ’07: Troop surge begins
Percent saying very good or quite good 50% 40
June ’08: 490 Aug.
May ’04 ’05 ’06 ’07 ’08 2003
© 2008 MCT Source: Most recent poll results from a survey of 2,228 Iraqi adults nationwide, conducted for the BBC, ABC News, ARD German TV and Japanese broadcaster NHK; the Brookings Institution Graphic: Adam Zoll and Phil Geib, Chicago Tribune
security, and the US was transferring control of several regions to the Iraqi forces. “Furthermore, Iraqi forces have proven very capable during combat operations in Basra, Mosul and Amara, by successfully conducting transport operations, reconnaissance and evacuation operations,”he said. Wolff said Baghdad now has control over 10 of its 18 provinces. The UN undersecretary general for political affairs, B Lynn Pascoe, told the council that “steady changes”had taken place in Iraq, including improved security in most parts of the country,“most
visibly in the past three months.” But Pascoe decried the civilian casualties as unacceptable. Turning to the economic growth in Iraq, Pascoe said high revenues from oil sale, supported by high oil prices in the international market, did not translate into improvements in Iraqis’daily lives, in part because unemployment rates have remained high. He said an estimated 60 per cent of Iraqis still do not have access to one or more social services and 15 per cent lack food security. The US Government Accountability Office said Wednesday
overall level of violence had decreased by 84 per cent since last year and Iraqi civilian deaths had gone down by 65 per cent. US military deaths dropped by 91 per cent and coalition partners’ deaths by 96 per cent in the last year that the high oil prices had provided the Iraqi government with a budget surplus of at least 79 billion dollars, but the oil windfall had not been spent. The GAO report said Iraq had collected oil revenues of 156 billion dollars since 2005. The United States has provided 48 billion dollars for the reconstruction of war-torn Iraq, raising the issue of whether more of Iraq’s oil revenues should be devoted to rebuilding the country, the GAO said. Between 2005 and 2007, 10 per cent of the Iraqi government’s budget has been devoted to rebuilding efforts.
Pakistan on the brink NEW FROM OLYMPIC
Islamabad, Pakistan – The leaders of Pakistan’s ruling coalition say they’ll impeach President Pervez Musharraf, a move that could ignite a political firestorm even as the government is under mounting American pressure to crack down on Islamic insurgents allied with al-Qaida. A political battle could push nuclear-armed Pakistan into protracted turmoil; prevent its shaky civilian government from moving against Pakistani Islamic insurgents and other militants who are attacking U.S., NATO and government forces in Afghanistan; and even jeopardize vital U.S. supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan. What happens is likely to hinge on whether the Pakistani Army backs its unpopular former chief of staff if he refuses to resign and dissolves the parliament, or whether the generals persuade Musharraf to go quietly and the government to leave him alone if he does.
The Army’s decision, in turn, could depend on the position of the Bush administration, which has backed Musharraf as an “indispensable ally” in fighting terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, but is anxious to help stabilize the feuding civilian coalition that trounced Musharraf’s political allies in February elections. “There are elements within the U.S. administration who would be very nervous about Musharraf leaving the scene, as they think the civilians are not in control of the army and ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency),”said Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. “GHQ (the general headquarters of the Pakistani army) or Washington are the only two centers of power that can bail him (Musharraf) out,”agreed Rashed Rahman, a Pakistani political analyst.
Asif Ali Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and the husband of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and Nawaz Sharif, the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, announced Thursday after three days of talks that an impeachment motion would soon be brought before parliament. “The coalition leaders believe that it has become imperative to move for impeachment,”Zardari told a news conference.“We have the votes and the political will.” It wasn’t clear that the ruling coalition has the two-thirds majority of a joint session of the assembly and Senate that would be needed to impeach Musharraf. However, in an indication that he takes the threat seriously,Musharraf canceled a trip to Friday’s opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, and spent the day with legal and other advisers.
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8 Augustâ€‚ 2008
Guantanamo man gets 5 years Guantanamo Bay Navy Base, Cuba â€“ In a historic split verdict that sets the stage for dozens more war crimes trials, a U.S. military jury has convicted Osama bin Ladenâ€™s driver of aiding terror but acquitted him of conspiring with al-Qaâ€™ida to commit worldwide terror. Salim Hamdan, 37, bowed his head and wiped his eyes with his head scarf upon becoming the first man convicted at trial in the first U.S. war crimes tribunals since World War II. The results were a mixed bag for a Bush administration that had doggedly defended its new war court, created to stage offshore justice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The jury of six U.S. military officers took nearly nine hours to convict Hamdan on five counts of providing material support for terror, as a war crime. But by dayâ€™s end the military judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, declared the five convictions
redundant and ordered the jury to sentence him on only one charge. Moreover, he interpreted the acquittal on two conspiracy charges as clearing Hamdan of the allegation that the driver was responsible for Sept. 11. â€œHe was such a small player,â€? said Allred of Hamdan, out of earshot of the jury. He summed up the Yemeniâ€™s role in Sept. 11 asâ€œdriving Mr. bin Laden around Afghanistan.â€? The same military officers who convicted him are expected to begin deliberations this afternoon on whether to give him the maximum - life in prison. Meantime, the Yemeni father of two with a fourth-grade education went back to the same place where he has been held since U.S. troops brought him from Afghanistan for interrogation in May 2002: Camp Delta, the sprawling, razor wire-ringed prison camp complex overlooking the Caribbean. The admiral in charge of the
camp said the military would hold convicts separately, away from the majority of war-onterror detainees who have been convicted of no crimes. Hamdan is the first war court convict. But the Pentagon has charged 20 others - seven facing death penalty charges - and wants to prosecute as many as 80 of the 265 men now held here as â€œenemy combatants.â€? A spokesmanâ€™s statement declared the White House â€œpleased that Salim Hamdan received a fair trial,â€? and eager for more trials. Next up is Omar Khadr, a Canadian accused of throwing a grenade in a July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan that killed a U.S. Special Forces soldier. His trial date is Oct. 8. Already charged are five alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, for whom the Pentagon seeks military execution. Their next pre-
trial hearing is Sept. 11, with no trial expected before the next U.S. president takes office. The Pentagonâ€™s chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, declared the split verdict proof of the integrity of the military trials.A mixture of acquittals and convictions, he said,â€œwell reflects an independent, properly operating system of justice.â€? Critics called Hamdanâ€™s conviction a travesty. Material support for terror wasnâ€™t a war crime until President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act in 2006, passed by Congress after Hamdanâ€™s American lawyers challenged the first war court format to the U.S. Supreme Court, and won. â€œIt convicted a truck driver of being guilty of driving a truck,â€? said John Wesley Hall, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Added retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Swift, Hamdanâ€™s first defense lawyer who was assigned
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to come to Guantanamo in 2004 to arrange a plea bargain and instead enlisted pro bono lawyers to take his case to the Supreme Court: â€œThe law was specifically written after the fact to target Mr. Hamdan, and thatâ€™s where you lose justice.â€? Politically, the presumptive presidential candidates interpreted the conviction as fulfilling their campaign positions on military commissions. Republican Sen. John McCain called the verdict a vindication of a system he had championed in Congress.â€œWe cannot treat dangerous terrorists captured in the battlefield as we would common criminals.â€? Democratic Sen. Barack Obama saluted the jury. But he said the fact that it took four years for the historic conviction meant America should turn to traditional civilian or military trials to bring â€œswift and sure justice to terrorists.â€? In convicting Hamdan on the material support charge, the jury rejected his claim that he was a mere driver, a $200-a-month civilian employee of a Saudi millionaire who happened to be Osama bin Laden. Prosecutors called him a bodyguard, a key member of al-Qaidaâ€™s security detail whose job was to floor it should enemies attack bin Ladenâ€™s motorcade.
In finding Hamdan not guilty of two counts of conspiracy, the jury did not entirely accept the Pentagonâ€™s theory that the Yemeni was a key cog responsible for al-Qaida mayhem culminating with the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Prosecutors argued that - even if he did not know in advance - Hamdan affirmatively chose not to walk away from bin Laden after the terror attacks on two U.S.embassies in East Africa in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000 and Sept. 11. First, the defense had psychiatrist Emily Keram tell the jury of Hamdanâ€™s ambitions, should he ever be sent home to Yemen from Guantanamo. She reported him as saying:â€œIâ€™ll take my wife and my daughters and go to the desert with a camel and never talk to anyone again.â€? Pressed, she said, he conceded that for a living heâ€™d like to return to his trade.â€œIâ€™ll try to be a driver,â€? she quoted him as saying.â€œBut Iâ€™ll take what I can get.â€? Keram was hired as a defense consultant - the Pentagon paid her fees - and met Hamdan about 100 hours across several years. Hamdan last saw his wife, then pregnant with their second child, on Nov.24,2001,as he dropped her off at the Pakistan border to flee the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. He was headed north, back to Kandahar, when allied U.S. forces captured him at a roadblock.
Anglican Archbishop â€˜outedâ€™ by Times London â€“ Liberals in the worldwide Anglican Church can take comfort from views expressed eight years ago on the vexed issue of homosexuality by Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the London Times said this morning. In correspondence seen by the Times, Williams expressed the belief that gay sexual relationships can â€œreflect the love of Godâ€?in a way that is comparable to marriage, the report said. Gay partnerships posed the same ethical questions as those between men and women, and the key issue for Christians was that they were faithful and lifelong, the correspondence revealed. He described his belief that biblical passages criticizing homosexual sex were not aimed at people who were gay by nature. The Times report is based on letters Williams wrote to an evangelical Christian when he (Williams) was still the Archbishop of Wales. They underline the assumption that Williams personally takes a liberal view on the issue, while, as leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, he defends the orthodox position that homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture. â€œI concluded that an active
sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness,â€? wrote Williams. He described his view as his â€œdefinitive conclusionâ€? reached after 20 years of study and prayer. He drew a distinction between his own beliefs as a theologian and his position as a church leader,for which he had to take account of the traditionalist view. The issue overshadowed the recently-ended Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world which was boycotted by opponents of gay marriage and the ordination of gay priests. However, a split was avoided, and Williams said he was â€œencouragedâ€? by how the gathering had handled the controversial debate on sexuality. In a recent interview,Williams said:â€œWhen I teach as a bishop I teach what the church teaches. In controverted areas it is my responsibility to teach what the church has said and why.â€? Williams, the Times said, was â€œpublicly conservative, privately liberal.â€?
8 August 2008
AWOL Bulldogs’ Sonny Bill Williams has a breather against the Warriors in a NRL rugby league match, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, Credit: NZPA / Wayne Drought
Sonny Bill named in preliminary kiwis squad
Injury forces Sharapova out New York – Maria Sharapova will miss her first Grand Slam since beginning her career in 2003, due to a shoulder injury which could keep the Russian away for three months. “It hurts me so much to miss the Olympics and the US Open. I think this will be the first Grand Slam I have ever missed,”said the 21- year-old in a statement Friday. The three-time Grand Slam champion announced earlier this week that she would have to forego her dream of playing in the Beijing Olympics due to the problem that has haunted her since 2007, but flared up again last March. “The doctor does not believe that I need surgery and is sending me to work with a specialist in Arizona next week to do extensive rehab and strength work.”
“He believes that I should be ready to play in two to three months.” Sharapova quit this week’s WTA tournament in Montreal after a second-round win. The reigning Australian Open champion has played three matches since the French Open, where she was beaten in the fourth round. She said doctors told her that she has been competing with a moderate tear in her rotator cuff tendon since April. “You can imagine that I was not very thrilled to hear that my medical team did not see this tear in my shoulder back in April.The good news is that it didn’t get much worse. “But we could have started the healing time back then instead of now.”
nate to be gifted the advantage over Massa who had overtaken both pole leader Hamilton and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen at the start. Massa’s late misfortune handed Finnish driver Kovalainen his maiden Grand Prix victory ahead of Toyota’s Timo Glock of
Hauraki (Parramatta), Lance Hohaia (NZ Warriors),Krisnan Inu (Parramatta),Masada Iosefa (Penrith),Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters),David Kidwell (South Sydney), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan), Jeff Lima (Melbourne), Issac Luke (South Sydney), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Sika Manu (Melbourne),Manase Manuokafoa (South Sydney),Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers), Steve Matai (Manly), Ben Matulino (NZ Warriors), Fui Fui Moimoi (Parramatta),Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra),Eddie Paea (South Sydney),Sam Perrett (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Penrith), Sam Rapira (NZ Warriors), Ben Roberts (Bulldogs), Jerome Ropati (NZ Warriors), Setaimata S (Sydney Roosters), Jeremy Smith (Melbourne),Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), Chase Stanley (St George Illawarra), Fetuli Talanoa (South Sydney), Taulima Tautai (Parramatta), Lee Te Maari (Bulldogs),Ben Te’o (Wests Tigers),Taniela Tuiaki (Wests Tigers), Evarn Tuimavave (NZ Warriors), Manu Vatuvei (NZ Warriors), Cooper Vuna (Newcastle), Brent Webb (Leeds), Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs, subject to availability). – NZPA
– Deutsche Presse Agentur
Lewis Hamilton ponders the breaks Budapest – Championship leader Lewis Hamilton began Formula One’s brief summer break reflecting on both misfortune and fortune in one race while Ferrari were also pondering where their season stands after Felipe Massa saw a certain victory in Hungary go up in smoke. McLaren-Mercedes driver Hamilton managed to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship despite coming in fifth at the Hungaroring after a puncture ended all hopes of a hat-trick of Grand Prix victories. Massa was meanwhile left gnashing his teeth after engine failure with three laps remaining prevented him winning the race and overtaking Hamilton in the standings. The British press agreed that the 23-year-old Briton was fortu-
Auckland, Aug 8 – Sonny Bill Williams has been named by the New Zealand selectors in a preliminary 49-man squad for this year’s rugby league World Cup. Williams’ inclusion is subject to pending court proceedings in Sydney over his decision to quit the Bulldogs in mid-contract and switch to rugby union and join French Club Toulon. The squad includes 47 National Rugby League players and two in the British Super League. A total of 16 players have yet to represent the Kiwis. New Zealand take on defending champions Australia at the Sydney Football Stadium on October 26 in the tournament’s opening match. New Zealand’s preliminary squad:Fraser Anderson (Cronulla),Roy Asotasi (South Sydney),Adam Blair (Melbourne), Nathan Cayless (Parramatta), Rangi Chase (St George Illawarra), Anthony Cherrington (Sydney Roosters),Greg Eastwood (Brisbane),David Fa’alogo (South Sydney), Sonny Fai (NZ Warriors), Nathan Fien (NZ Warriors), Dene Halatau (Wests Tigers), Bronson Harrison (Wests Tigers), Weller
Germany and defending champion Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari, but it was Hamilton who benefited the most. The tabloid Mirror summed up the general view by saying,“Lewis Hamilton has a bad day but great result in Hungary.” – Deutsche Presse Agentu
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8 August 2008
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Florida Marlins Jeremy Hermida breaks his bat hitting a liner to Colorado Rockies third baseman for an out in the first inning at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida, Friday, August 1, 2008. (Joe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/MCT)
Eventers primed to tackle course to redemption By Chris Barclay NZPA
equestrian record, winning a medal at each Games since Todd won on Charisma for the first time at Hong Kong, Aug 8 – New Zealand’s eventing Los Angeles in 1984. team have had one significant wish granted, now it Blyth Tait and Sally Clarke have also claimed remains to be seen whether their equestrian dreams individual medals while Nicholson has a silver and can come true on Wednesday morning (NZT). bronze team medals at Barcelona and Atlanta. The five riders may have been drenched when Nicholson and his long-term ally Lord Killinginspecting the cross country course at Beas River hurst shape as New Zealand’s leading contender yesterday, but it far from dampened their enthusi- although for all the 47-year-old’s success at Badasm as they seek to atone for their failure at Ath- minton and Burghley, his Olympic campaigns have ens four years ago and reprise a superb equestrian been dogged by misfortune. record at the Olympics. Todd, one of the comeback stories of the Games A challenging cross-country course was seen regardless of how it ends, will also need luck for the as essential to enhance New Zealand’s chances of untested Gandalf to thrive. securing either a team or individual medal and Heelan Tompkins and first-timers Caroline PowBritish course designer Michael Etherington-Smith ell and Joe Meyer make up the squad. appears to have played his part. In a wider context,Todd’s presence is some comThe architect when Mark Todd won New Zea- pensation for the withdrawal of Zara Phillips, the land’s last equestrian medal -- a bronze at Sydney granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. eight years ago -- Etherington-Smith has produced Phillips, the 2006 world champion, had promised a twisting, technical course should prove influential to raise the event’s profile but her solitary mount in determining which nations climb the podium at Toytown was forced out through injury in June. Sha Tin. Despite her absence Great Britain can still field In Greece, the cross-country course was a relative a formidable combination headed by William Foxdoddle, meaning the contest was effectively over Pitt and Mary King. after the dressage round -- traditionally New ZeaDefending champions France are naturally land’s weakest discipline. among the favourites, their team led by Nicolas Experienced campaigners Andrew Nicholson and Touzaint and his 14-year-old grey gelding Galan Todd were relieved after making their first assess- de Sauvagere, winners in Athens and at World Cups ment of a layout that is tackled on Monday. in 2006-07. “It’s more difficult than Athens, the medals won’t Australia selected a team with no previous Olymbe won in the dressage,”Todd said. pic experience but their options are so extensive “It’s a tough, twisty course so it will probably they can apparently afford to discard three-time suit us.” gold medallist Andrew Hoy and the experienced Nicholson agreed. Stuart Tinney, who topped the podium in Sydney “It’s a proper Olympic track,just what we wanted,” in 2000. Nicholson said. Husband and wife duo Clayton and Lucinda Climatic concerns have shortened the course Fredericks are Australia’s focal point. considerably, with eight minutes being the target Clayton spent most of last year jostling with completion time rather than the usual 12 minutes Nicholson for the No 1 ranking in the world. at a Badminton or Burghley. The three-day event starts at 10.30am tomorrow But an abbreviated layout does not mean an (NZT) with the dressage, followed by the cross couneasier ride. try then the showjumping late on Tuesday (early “A lot of people will think it’s easier to handle Wednesday NZT). but it’s got the same amount of jumping efforts,” New Zealand eventing team:Nicholson said. Andrew Nicholson, Lord Killinghurst “There’s a lot less space to let the horse just glide Mark Todd, Gandalf and cruise along.There’s no real galloping bits.” Heelan Tompkins, Sugio Until Athens, where the team finished fifth, New Caroline Powell, Lenamore Zealand had fashioned a remarkable Olympics Joe Meyer, Snip
Harrington looking for historic PGA win By Mike Kern Philadelphia Daily News
Bloomfield township – Padraig Harrington has won two tournaments in the last 13 months. Good thing both were British Opens. It pretty much renders everything else irrelevant. Only three men - Walter Hagen (1924), Nick Price (1994) and Tiger Woods (2000 and 2006) - have won a claret jug and a PGA Championship in the same season. Last August, Harrington finished tied for 42nd in his bid to join that club. Now, he gets another chance at history in the year’s final major. Did we mention that no European has won this thing since native Scotsman Tommy Armour won in 1930? Harrington’s best showing was a tie for 17th in 2002. He also has missed the cut in four of his nine appearances. “I obviously have struggled (in this event),” the Irishman said Tuesday at Oakland Hills Country Club, where he went 4-1 in the 2004 Ryder Cup matches as the Europeans buried the home side. “So I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you why. I think that I have no particular reason.” Then again, no Euro has won a U.S. Open in almost four decades (England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970). And nobody from that continent has won a Phil Mickelson overcoming a bunker at last weekend’s major on American soil since Jose Maria Olazabal Bridgestone Invitational. MCT won the Masters in 1999. “It’s a possibility (this week),”Harrington said. of the blokes he finished ahead of in 2007. “I think I will be ready. But unfortunately, you can’t “You can only beat (the players) who are there,” be 100 percent sure until you actually tee it up and Paddy said.“There will always be somebody missing. play. But I believe I can do it. I’m pretty comfortable It doesn’t work like that.You can only win the tourwith the test ahead.” nament you’re playing in, you can only win the week You win one major, everything changes.You add you’re playing, and you can only beat the field that’s another, and you have one more there. So at the end of the day it than Tom Kite, Lanny Wadkins You can only win (doesn’t matter) who’s (here).” and Michael Campbell,to name a Especially if you’re the one the tournament hoisting the trophy. few.Not bad.But with that comes you’re playing in, you increased expectations. “I have good memories of the “It doesn’t make any differ- can only win the week golf course,”he said.“The last 15 ence to me,”Harrington insisted. you’re playing.... years, maybe there’s been a little “That wouldn’t weigh on me at bit of a lull in European golf in all.That gives you something to terms of winning majors.But obviwrite about.This is about playing your best golf and ously,there’s plenty of good European players around seeing if you come out on top.” now, and there’s plenty of them capable of winning.” Which is easier for everyone else to do when twoJust as obviously, some more than others. Maybe time defending champion Tiger Woods is home in even winning on this side of the pond. Florida recuperating from knee surgery.Yet, at least NZ UPDATE: Going into the second round in Harrington’s case, there was no need for asterisks tonight, kiwi Michael Campbell is nursing a three last month at Royal Birkdale. Because Tiger was one over par, five shots off the pace.
8 August 2008
TV & Film
HIGHLIGHTS Smart People A comedy drama about widowed professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Quaid) who has turned into a bitter eccentric since the death of his wife. He has alienated his son (Ashton Holmes) and transformed his teenage daughter (Page) into a friendless overachiever. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day In 1939 London, Miss Guinevere Pettigrew is a middle-aged governess who finds herself once again dismissed from her job. Without so much as severance pay, Miss Pettigrew realises that she must seize the day. This she does by intercepting an employment assignment outside of her comfort level as social secretary. Arriving at a penthouse apartment for the interview, Miss Pettigrew is catapulted into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse. Closing The Ring A deeply moving love story in which an American pilot crashes in Ireland during World War II and as he’s dying, hands a ring to a local and asks him to make sure his girlfriend back home is given it. Fifty years later, a young Irish man is determined to grant the man’s dying wish.
PRIMETIME Star Wars II Attack of the Clones screens Saturday night on 3, at 7.30pm More
The X Files: I Want To Believe
0Director: Chris Carter 0Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Xzibit 0Length: 110 minutes 0Rated: PG-13 (violence, disturbing content, scary moments) The X-Files: I Want to Believe, the sequel to the 1998 “X-Files” movie and the hit ‘90s TV show of the same name, should really be called The X-Files: I Can’t Believe THIS is What They Came Up With. X-Files creator Chris Carter and longtime writer Frank Spotnitz had a few years off to dream up new adventures for everyone’s favorite male-female FBI detective team.All seemed good on the surface. After the TV series went from occasionally brilliant to often boring (not unusual for a show that lasted for several seasons) and the first film proved turgid, some time away from Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) would seem to be what everyone needed. Well, maybe they should have spent a few more years kicking ideas around. Because The X-Files: I Want to Believe feels like more like The X-Files: CSI with some psycho-religious babble thrown in for good measure. After a female FBI agent turns up missing in rural West Virginia, Mulder – who has been holed up in self-imposed isolation since being hounded out of the FBI for his unusual beliefs and methods – is called back to duty by an FBI official (Amanda Peet) who thinks Mulder’s particular skills are
required. It seems a disgraced, child-molesting priest, Father Joe (Billy Connolly), has been having visions related to her disappearance. Meanwhile, Scully – also out of the FBI and now a surgeon at a Catholic hospital – is brought back into the mix because she’s the only one who knows where Mulder is. Of course, despite her protestations, she teams with her old partner to uncover the awful truth behind the disappearance of the FBI agent and, as it turns out, many others. The best episodes of the TV show married the marvel and mayhem of what may be just beyond humanity’s vision with the romantic tension that grew between Mulder and Scully. But as the series played out, the conspiracy behind all the shenanigans became more complex and harder to follow, Mulder and Scully’s relationship followed its course, and everything became less intriguing. Freed from all the conspiracy back story, Carter could have really imagined something astonishing for The X-Files: I Want to Believe. But as the film unfolds in its predictable fashion, it becomes increasingly clear that it’s at best the equal of some of the standalone TV episodes that weren’t directly related to the conspiracy. Oh, there’s a lot of talk about bruised faith and the need to believe – it’s no accident that alwaysskeptical Scully works in a Catholic hospital and has a patient with a seemingly incurable disease – but it’s all done in such a hamfisted way that it’s hard to, er, believe any of it. Still,for fans of the show,it’s good to see Duchovny and Andersen back together; that odd, icy rapport
between them remains. And one major character from the series makes a relatively brief appearance about three-quarters of the way through. None of this, though, makes up for the fact that the whole we-have-met-the-enemy-and-he-is-us story line falls flat. There’s just enough wiggle room at the end for a sequel. (Speaking of the end, X-Files diehards should stay through the final credits). If there is another one, I want to believe it has to be better than this.
Troy The epic starring Brad Pitt and Australia’s Eric Bana. Sunday 8.30pm on TV 2 Olympics All weekend, TV 1
By Cary Darling/McClatchy Newspapers
Song … theme song
Dr. No From Russia With Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live and Let Die Alicia Keys and The Man with the Golden Gun White Stripes’ The Spy Who Loved Me Jack White will sing Moonraker the theme song for the new For Your Eyes Only James Bond movie, Octopussy the first duet in Bond A View to a Kill soundtrack history. The Living Daylights License to Kill “Quantum of Solace,” GoldenEye will star Tomorrow Never Dies Daniel Craig as The World Is Not Enough James Bond Die Another Day Casino Royale © 2008 MCT Source: Internet Movie Database, AP Quantum of Solace Graphic: Melina Yingling
Title song performed by 1962 1963 1964 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1974 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1995 1997 1999 2002 2006 2008
James Barry Orchestra Matt Monro Shirley Bassey Tom Jones Nancy Sinatra Louis Armstrong Shirley Bassey Paul McCartney and Wings Lulu Carly Simon Shirley Bassey Sheena Easton Rita Coolidge Duran Duran a-ha Gladys Knight Tina Turner Sheryl Crow Garbage Madonna Chris Cornell Alicia Keys, Jack White
8 August 2008
Hailed as the ‘new Winehouse,’ Duffy dominates with vintage sound By Jon Bream Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Minneapolis – Duffy’s laughter instantly filled the phone. “I just had the weirdest moment ever,” blurted the newly minted British pop star, who had been on hold, listening to recorded music as her recordlabel rep connected the call.“I’m singing to myself on the phone.” How did she sound? “To be honest, I thought the sonics were a bit off,” she said.“I thought it suffered a bit on the bottom end. But overall, I was quite pleased.” The much ballyhooed 24-year-old newcomer is playful, innocent and disarmingly honest. Those qualities have been useful in combating the detractors who question her R&B cred and bemoan her rise to No. 1 in England with the retro soul smash “Mercy”and the album “Rockferry.” “I’m not too precious about things, you know,”she said from Barcelona, Spain, where she was wrapping up a European tour two weeks ago. “I can’t be something that I’m not.You don’t have to love my record, that’s fine. I know I’m going to grow and I’m going to explore many things.We all change.” Some British singers have had harsh words for Duffy.“We’ve had Amy Winehouse, so now let’s have 10 of them and we’ll train them up,” said Alison Goldfrapp, the voice of arty popsters Goldfrapp. “That’s what Duffy is. I think she’s got an amazing voice, but she’s been trained to sound like that. It was a business plan.” Some critics suggest that Duffy is to soul music what Norah Jones is to jazz – pleasing to the Starbucks crowd, but a shadow of the real thing. This past spring, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider called Duffy the biggest loser at the trend-setting South by Southwest festival:“Her cutesy soul music (that should be an oxymoron) was reminiscent of Joss Stone’s 2003 debut here.” Cities 97 (cities97.com) DJ Brian Oake disagrees. He has been a big backer of Duffy,playing“Mercy”on his weekly indie/import“Freedom Rock”program for eight consecutive weeks during the winter. “It didn’t sound like anything else that was coming out,”Oake said.“Even Amy Winehouse has a more modern vibe. Duffy seems more old-school, period. It’s got a sultry vibe; it’s a very funky song.” He understands the backlash from the British music media, which like to build up a newcomer and then tear her down when she reaches a pinnacle. But he thinks the issue of R&B credibility is misguided. “I don’t think the fact she’s Welsh or white or 24 years old should be a knock on her,” Oake said.“I think she’s talented. I think ‘Mercy’ is a fantastic song, one of my favorites of the year.” Although Duffy played a few U.S. shows in the spring (including Harlem’s Apollo Theater and the Coachella festival), she considers this her first proper stateside tour. In many cities, she’ll sing at festivals with huge crowds, but she’ll open the tour July 31 at Minneapolis’ legendary First Avenue, which holds perhaps 1,500. WELSH ‘IDOL’ RUNNER-UP Aimee Ann Duffy comes from Nefyn, a fishing village (population 2,500) on Wales’ western coast. Growing up without records in the house or even a record shop in town, she learned about music from the radio and her father’s tape of an episode of the 1960s TV show “Ready, Steady, Go” featuring the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Walker Brothers (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”), Sandie Shaw
Daniel Deme / WENN
(“Always Something There to Remind Me”) and Millie Small (“My Boy Lollipop”). After her parents divorced (her dad still runs a pub in Nefyn) and mother remarried,Aimee started at a new school where, on the first day, the music teacher asked her to sing solo. A voice was discovered.At 19, she finished second on“WawFfactor,”a Welsh version of England’s“Pop Idol,”singing sweet ballads in Welsh. (Go to YouTube and search for Aimee Duffy.) A Welsh rocker introduced her to Jeannette Lee, co-owner of the landmark indie label Rough Trade and former bassist for John Lydon’s (aka Johnny Rotten) Public Image Ltd. in London. Lee exposed Duffy to all kinds of new and old music and paired her with producer Bernard Butler, former bassist
for 1990s Brit poppers Suede.As Duffy collaborated with Butler and several professional songwriters, four years passed between signing a contract and releasing “Rockferry.” The rookie was clever enough to come up with the 1960s-sounding “Mercy” and its “yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain (perhaps an answer to Winehouse’s “no no no”in “Rehab”). “I was so frustrated in this situation with a boy and I wanted so much to do something but I couldn’t, so I wrote a song about it,” said Duffy of the hit, in which she begs her man to remove the spell he has over her.“It was like a big tantrum. I was screaming. It was a release from the horrible control that somebody had over me, this kind of power and temptation.”
BEAUTY AND QUALITY “Rockferry”has sold more than 1.3 million copies worldwide – it was No. 1 in England, Ireland, Greece, Switzerland, New Zealand and Sweden – before it was released in May in the States, where it debuted at No. 4. Despite the impressive sales, the naive newcomer insists that she is more about art than commerce. “I want to make a difference. I want to give something in this life, I don’t want to just be a taker,”she said.“I want to make music and try to search for beauty and quality and try and be honest and just be a good person along the way.” “Mercy”
8 August 2008
NEW CD RELEASES Various Artists
0Mamma Mia! – The Movie Soundtrack 0Decca
Tribute another Nora Roberts gem Tribute
0By Nora Roberts 0G.P. Putnam’s, $36.99
ABBA’s music is so infectious that it can make a musical plot in which beautiful people live on an even more beautiful Greek isle and just break out into ABBA songs instead of normal conversation like “Pass the tanning oil, please”seem perfectly natural. For the soundtrack of the movie“Mamma Mia!”, actors Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and others do the singing and, in most cases, pass muster. Streep’s best, but even this Oscar-winning master can’t pull off ABBA’s most challenging song,“The Winner Takes It All.” Fans might also gripe that this single disc omits several ABBA staples (like “Knowing Me, Knowing You”) that are featured in the musical.However,“When All Is Said and Done”(sung by Streep and Brosnan) wasn’t featured in the Broadway show album. Backing tracks were recorded by several musicians who played on the original ABBA recordings. The rhythms are punchier and fatter than the Broadway cast recording and, arguably, even more addictive.This version doesn’t replace ABBA’s “Gold,”but it can stand on its own as a pop album. Just try not doing your own ABBA karaoke. Pod Picks:“Lay All Your Love on Me,”“VoulezVous,”“Money, Money, Money.” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”
Warning: Do not begin this book late in the day – unless you plan to pull an all-nighter. Because once you start“Tribute,”you won’t want to put it down. Which, of course, makes it no different from any other Nora Roberts’ book. “Tribute”is precisely what readers have come to expect from Roberts’ annual hardcover books: A good idea spun into a captivating story with engaging characters that will quickly become a favorite. Cilla is the granddaughter of a bigger-than-life movie star, who famously committed suicide at her farm house retreat in Virginia. Cilla earned her own fame and fortune as a child TV star and heroine of a few horror movies. But by the time Cilla arrives at her grandmother’s Virginia farm, she’s a carpenter intent on restoring the house and grounds where grandma once burnt cookies and allegedly romped with Steve McQueen. Across the street lives Ford,famous himself in comic book circles as the creator,artist and author of a superhero series. He doesn’t know“an Allen wrench from a Crescent”and tells everyone he stays away from tools for the good of mankind.He has firm opinions on what kind of kryptonite is more deadly to Superman and has an“active dislike of Jar Jar Binks.” And he meets his soul mate the day he saunters across the street to check out Cilla. Cilla’s grandmother had legendary parties at her farmhouse and was a celebrated presence in the small town. People there were either awed by her, or hated her. – Howard Cohen Cilla encounters both groups. Apparently one in the latter group doesn’t want Steve Lawler Cilla to bring the house back to life, and she starts 0Viva Toronto getting harassed, to escalating degrees. Roberts’does 0Ultra Records a great job of making Cilla self-sufficient enough to handle the nastiness herself, but turning Ford into British DJ Steve Lawl- an acceptable knight-in-shining armor as well. er’s CD compilations The dialogue between Ford and Cilla is snappy, have always had a witty and just plain fun.And Roberts’inserts enough theme:“Dark Drums” light-hearted scenes to balance the suspense. explored heavy tribal In summation, this is a must-read.Which should beats, the dirty house really come as no surprise. of “Lights Out” capOverall rating: 5 of 5 hearts. Nora Roberts does it tured the gritty feel of again,meshing compelling characters with an intrigua nightclub at its ener- ing story that will keep you from being able to put the getic peak, the three-CD project “Viva” was more book down.The romance is more fun that sweet, but experimental, and its follow-up “Viva London” there’s enough sweetness to elicit a few“ahhs.” tapped Digweed-esque minimalist tech-house. Hunk appeal: 10-plus, in a non-traditional sort The double-CD “Viva Toronto” - divided into of way. Ford is basically a geek, or nerd. He likes “Inside” the club and “Outside” on the terrace - Star Wars, comic books and knows about different continues Lawler’s evolution away from big beats types of kryptonite. But he’s always there for Cilla, and into more cerebral territory.“Inside” mixes understanding and appreciating her. mysterious tribal chanting with futuristic techno Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Really appreciates (Robytek’s“Luna Africana”), blends disparate sonic her. textures into an intricate, coherent rhythmic stew Happily-Ever-After: Good. Cilla and Ford are (Calculus’“Loosey Goosey”) and marries a “Peter actually well on their way to happily-ever-after Gunn Theme” bassline with swelling synth notes before the suspense portion of the book is solved. that never quite reach a crescendo (Christian Smith You’re likely to be a bit surprised when the idenand John Selway’s“Total Departure”). tity of the villain is revealed, but not that the story “Outside”is both more low-key and more com- ends well. pelling. Highlights include the lazy“Drifting On”by – By Lezlie Patterson Miss Fitz, whose spacey keys and echoing pops and blips give Nina Simone’s sampled vocals an eerie touch;“Diskotecktonik”by Fetisch & Me,whose magnificent, sweeping vocal harmonies anchor jaunty Kraftwerk-style keyboard riffs; and “Sublimes”by Sie, whose sexy French whispering morphs into a delightfully hallucinogenic dance-floor stomper. Diehard fans of mainstream progressive house, such as the epic anthems and lush vocals of Deep Mocsow Rules Dish, Paul Oakenfold and Oscar G, might be left cold 0By Daniel Silva by “Viva Toronto.”But those who are looking for a 0Penguin, $37 new sound will find much to love here. Pod Picks: “Loosey Goosey,”“Diskotecktonik,” Daniel Silva, the best-selling spy novelist, is uncom“Sublimes.” fortable with the suggestion that terrorism has been – Michael Hamersly a boon for his profession.
Terrorism opens door for novelist Daniel Silva
Spy fiction famously thrives in times of unrest and turmoil.The aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War proved very hard on established masters of the genre, forcing the likes of John le Carre to scrounge in such marginal fields as corporate malfeasance to find conflict shady enough to write about. All that changed with 9-11. Suddenly the global war on terror gave the international spy thriller a fresh diet of red meat. “I don’t like to say it, but, yes, 9-11 has been good for spy fiction,”Silva says by phone from his home near Washington. Yet Silva, already famous for his series featuring Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon, wrote three more novels without reference to terrorism. “9-11 was a tear in the fabric of history,”Silva says. “From my house I could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon that day. It was years before I could even think about it clearly, let alone write about it.” That’s certainly no longer the case. Silva’s latest adventure,“Moscow Rules”, follows the violent death of a journalist leads agent turned art-restorer, Gabriel Allon, to Russia. Here he finds that in terms of spycraft, the stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. He’s playing by Moscow rules now. This Moscow, of course, is no longer the grey ghost of the cold war, but the centre of European organized crime as it stands today, where oil roubles bubble through the wallets of Muscovites and where a new generation of empire builders is looking speculatively at the declining power of the US and seeing opportunity to gain from it. Enter Ivan Kharkov,a former KGB colonel whose global investment empire rests on dark foundations and shadowy associates. In this case, he’s a broker selling some of Russia’s most advanced weapons to al-Qa’ida. Gabriel Allon faces a race against the clock to prevent the deadliest terror attacks since 9/11. Little wonder “Moscow Rules”debuted at #1 on the US bestsellers list this week. And Daniel Silva knows how to churn them out. Last year’s hit,“The Secret Servant,” begins with the murder of an outspoken terrorism scholar that recalls the 2004 assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. But that’s only a prelude to the main event – the kidnapping of an American ambassador’s daughter by Egyptian and Palestinian jihadists.Allon, whose cover as an art restorer was all but blown after he thwarted a terrorist attack on the Vatican in 2006’s “The Messenger,”must work with Muslim informants to save her. Born in Michigan, raised in California, Silva wanted to be a novelist from childhood. His parents, he says, were “big readers,”and he recalls sneaking into their bedroom to read their copies of such midcentury best-selling authors as Sidney Sheldon. “I never considered writing in any field but spy fiction,”Silva says.“As a Cold War kid, I was always interested in military history and espionage.” But Silva, 46, had to make a living, which took
him on a long detour into journalism, first as a print reporter with UPI, and later as a correspondent for CNN. He only began writing fiction in 1995, after he confessed his dream to wife Jamie Gangel, a correspondent for NBC’s “Today” show. She encouraged him to give it a try, resulting in his first novel,“The Unlikely Spy” (1997), a World War II espionage drama that made the New York Times best-seller list. “It was hard to leave CNN,even though I knew this was what I wanted to do,”Silva recalls.“I had children and the responsibilities that go with them.I got lucky when the first book hit the best-seller lists, although that’s no indication of future success.” Silva, whose works are often favorably compared to le Carre’s, says the British branch of the spy genre was his biggest influence. Other writers he read early and often include Eric Ambler, Jack Higgins and Alistair MacLean. One famous British spy novelist has so far eluded his attention, he admits:“I’ve never read Ian Fleming.” Journalism prepared Silva well to become a novelist. He could apply his reporting skills to the considerable research required for his topical fiction, and after years of producing daily news copy, he doesn’t have to worry about writer’s block.“I never sit and stare at a blank page,”he says. Despite his determination to entertain readers, Silva considers himself a serious writer working in a popular genre. “The thrills themselves are not enough to sustain me,”he says.“I have to be passionate about what I write. If that comes through,the rest takes care of itself.The last thing you can do is sit around and think about what appeals to mass taste.Otherwise I’d never have started a series about a middle-aged misanthrope.” As might be expected of a novelist whose hero is an Israeli secret agent, Silva is a “big supporter”of Israel. But he also takes care to create believable and sympathetic Arab characters. One theme of “The Secret Servant”is the disaffection of the growing Arab population in Europe. Silva says the political murder of Van Gogh, more than the transit bombings in Madrid and London, was for Europeans the kind of “earth-shattering event”9-11 was for Americans. The problem, Silva says, is not the size of the Arab population in Europe, but the way it has been marginalized. Children of immigrants who sought economic opportunity in the 1970s now feel neither fully European, nor fully Arab. In a search for identity, they are embracing what he calls “the siren song of terrorist recruiters.” “My first responsibility is to tell a compelling story,”Silva says.“But, yes, I am sounding an alarm with this piece of fiction.The situation in Europe is breeding bin Ladens. It is incumbent on both sides, the governments and the immigrant community, to do more to integrate the Muslim population.” “I’m just trying to explore something I find fascinating,”Silva says. – By Chauncey Mabe
8 August 2008
Super fruits or just super hype? By Barbara Quinn
Q: I keep hearing about amazing health benefits of what food processors now refer to as “Superfruits.” What are they? A:“People think superfruits are found just growing in an exotic forest somewhere. That’s just not true.You can create a superfruit,”says one author of a book called Successful Superfruit Strategy – How to build a Superfruit Business. What’s the appeal? Superfruits demand super prices – sometimes 20 times higher than “traditional”fruit. Are they worth it? Here are a few observations: •Agave nectar is the juice from agave – a fruit native to Mexico. Agave nectar is a “natural sweetener” as are the juices of other fruits. Its benefits, say promoters, is that agave juice is high in fructose, which is absorbed slowly into the body.Agave nectar thus has a low glycemic index – it causes lower rises in blood sugars. I find it interesting that the high fructose content of agave nectar is seen as a benefit while the same fructose in high fructose corn syrup is viewed by some as the plague. In fact, agave juice is higher in fructose (85 percent) than apple or pear juice (66 percent) or high fructose corn syrup (55 percent), according to food chemist Julie Miller-Jones, PhD. • Goji (“go-gee”) berries are delicate red-orange berries related to tomatoes,potatoes and eggplant.A native fruit of China, goji berries are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene – potent antioxidants that help keep our body cells intact and healthy.And like other brightly colored fruits and vegetables,goji berries are said to rank high in “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity”or “ORAC.”This measurement was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture to quantify the antioxidant capacity of certain foods.Problem is,I couldn’t find goji berries listed on the latest USDA ORAC list of foods. • Acai (pronounced“ah-sigh-ee”) is a small purple berry native to the Amazon rainforest.Acai berries are especially rich in vitamins, minerals and are reported to be extremely high in antioxidant properties that protect cells from oxidation damage.
The Big Three melons These three varieties account for most of the melons eaten, and each is loved for its distinctive flavor.
Because the acai berry is so delicate, it is mostly marketed as a juice. • Mangosteen is not related to the mango. It is a purple-colored tropical fruit with a white pulp. It’s the bright-colored skin of the mangosteen that contains most of its phytochemicals – natural plant substances with health benefits. Studies on animals show that mangosteen may help relieve inflammation – a condition related to chronic diseases like arthritis and heart disease. • Noni is a white fruit grown in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands known to be especially high in vitamin C and potassium. Like other fruits and vegetables, noni is also an excellent source of various health-promoting phytochemicals. Noni has
Is your home full of radon? By Karen Shideler
You can’t smell it, taste it or see it, so why worry about radon? Because US health officials say it kills an estimated 21,000 people every year. Because your house might have dangerous levels of it. Because you probably won’t know until years down the road whether it’s affecting your health – or your children’s health.
Because it costs only about $6 to find out whether you should worry. Q:What is radon? A: It’s a gas produced when uranium that occurs naturally in soil or water breaks down. And radon is a proven carcinogen. Indoors, it can build up to dangerous levels.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates
Fresh, wet, mildly sweet
Cantaloupe Rich, intensely sweet like honey
Honeydew Mild, fragrant, slightly sweet
been reported to interact Calories Calories Calories with certain medications, 30 34 36 including warfarin, a blood Vitamin C Vitamin C Vitamin C thinner. It has also been 8 mg 37 mg 18 mg shown to stimulate insulin release from the pancreas, Fiber Fiber Fiber 0.4 g 0.9 g 0.8 g a caution for people on diabetes medications. NOTE: Calories, fiber, vitamin C for content of a 100 g (3.5 oz.) serving © 2008 MCT Are these foods really Source: U.S. Agriculture Department, Bon Appetit Graphic: Helen Lee McComas, Melina Yingling SUPER foods? Or are they just other fruits in our arsenal of plant foods known our local boys.Locally-grown,brightly pigmented fruits to have beneficial effects on our health? and vegetables are always the healthiest choices. Unfortunately, human research is lacking and (Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified anecdotal information is rampant. diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the If you can afford them, go for it. But let’s not forget Monterey Peninsula. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
that 1 in 15 homes nationwide has a radon level high enough to affect health. Q:What does it do to you? A: Nothing right away. But radon is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. If you smoke, radon adds considerably to your risk of lung cancer. The US figures are informative.About 21,000 people die each year from lung cancer attributed to radon; in comparison, about 18,000 die each year in drunk driving accidents and about 3,500 drown. Lung cancer is the only known human risk from radon. There is no evidence that children are at greater risk than adults. Radon’s effects don’t show up for years, so it tends to be overlooked as a pollutant, says John Stark, an air quality supervisor in the US state of Kansas. Q: How high is too high? A: The EPA has an “action level”of 4 picocuries per liter of air. A picocurie is a trillionth of a curie, a measure of radioactivity. The EPA recommends that homeowners consider steps to reduce levels that are between 2 and 4 picocuries. Q: How do you find out radon levels? A: Do-it-yourself kits are available at hardware stores. Professionals can test if you want faster results. Look in the yellow pages under “Radon Detection and Removal Services”to find one. Q: Does the type of house make a difference? A:Yes and no. Radon comes in from the soil, so it can seep in through sump pumps, foundations, basements, cracks in walls and other openings. If you have bathroom fans, fireplaces and dryer
vents that take air out of the house,“you create the potential to increase the air coming up from the ground and soil gases,”Stark says. But if you have kids who fly in and out of the house all day, or live in an old house that leaks air, your house gets more ventilation. If you’re testing,test where you live:in the basement family room if you spend a lot of time there,elsewhere in the house if you’re never in the basement. Stark recommends testing during the winter; Dias says summer testing works, too, if your house is shut up for air conditioning. Q:What if the level is high? A:A process called remediation is recommended. That may include sealing cracks, covering sump pumps and adding vent systems. Costs may range from $700 to $3,000, depending on the fix. Dias says do-it-yourself kits are available for those who are handy. Stark recommends that you not use the same professional to test for radon and to fix problems, to prevent possible conflicts of interest. Radon-resistant measures such as a gas-permeable layer of gravel under the slab can be taken during new construction. In New Zealand: Radon is recognized as a problem, but there has been no further government research since a survey in 1986/87 confirmed New Zealand’s radon levels were similar to those in the US and elsewhere. A recent flurry of lung cancer cases in New Zealanders who have never smoked may be attributable to radon exposure in the home. On the Web: EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/ EPA,A Citizen’s Guide to Radon: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html
8 August 2008
Quantum chaos unveiled? Salt Lake City – A University of Utah study is shedding light on an important, unsolved physics problem: the relationship between chaos theory – which is based on 300-year-old Newtonian physics – and the modern theory of quantum mechanics. The study demonstrated a fundamental new property – what appears to be chaotic behavior in a quantum system – in the magnetic“spins”within the nuclei or centers of atoms of frozen xenon, which normally is a gas and has been tested for making medical images of lungs. The new study – published in the Aug. 8 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters – was led by Brian Saam, an associate professor of physics and associate dean of the University of Utah’s College of Science. Quantum mechanics – which describes the behavior of molecules, atoms electrons and other subatomic particles – “plays a key role in understanding how electronics work, how all sorts of interesting materials behave, how light behaves during communication by optical fibers,”Saam says. “When you look at all the technology governed by quantum physics, it’s not unreasonable to assume that if one can apply chaos theory in a meaningful way to quantum systems, that will provide new insights, new technology, new solutions to problems not yet known.” A Chaotic Dance of Nuclear Spins Just as atomic nuclei and their orbiting electrons can have electrical charges, they also have another property known as“spin.”The spin within an atomic nucleus or electron is like a spinning bar magnet that points either up or down. Saam and graduate student Steven Morgan zapped xenon atoms with a strong magnetic field, laser beam and radio-wave pulse so the nuclear spins were aligned in four different configurations in four samples of frozen xenon, each containing about 100 billion billion atoms [billion twice is correct]. Despite differing initial configurations, the “dances”of the xenon spins evolved so they eventually were in sync with each other, as measured by nuclear magnetic resonance, or NMR.That took a few thousandths of a second – something physicists seriously call“long-time behavior.” “This type of common behavior has been a signature of classically chaotic (Newtonian) systems, mostly studied using a computer,but it never had been observed in an experimental system that only can be
Chaos theory was developed in the 1960s, based on classical physics developed in the late 1600s by Sir Isaac Newton. Classical physics says the motion, speed and location of any particle at any time can be determined precisely
described by quantum mechanics,”Saam says. As an analogy, imagine billions of people in a huge, unfamiliar city.They start walking around in different places and directions, with little conversation among them.Yet, eventually, they all end up walking in the same direction. Such behavior in nuclear spins had been predicted in 2005 by the study’s third author, physicist Boris Fine of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Fine had made the prediction by adapting chaos theory to quantum theory. Order from Chaos The evolution of disorder into order by the xenon atoms’ nuclear spins is a signature of chaos theory, which, contrary to the popular notion, does not imply complete disorder. Instead, chaos theory describes how weather, certain chemical reactions, planetary orbits, subatomic particles and other dynamic systems change over time,with the changes often highly sensitive to starting conditions. “When you have a [chaotic] system that is characterized by extreme randomness, it paradoxically can produce ordered behavior after a certain amount of time,”says Saam.“There is strong evidence that is happening here in our experiment.” The sensitivity to starting conditions is known popularly as“the butterfly effect,”based on the fanciful example that a butterfly flapping its wings in South America might set off subtle atmospheric changes
that eventually build into a tornado in Texas. Saam says chaos theory can make predictions about extremely complex motions of many particles that are interacting with each other.The mathematical notion of chaos first was described in the 1890s. Chaos theory was developed in the 1960s, based on classical physics developed in the late 1600s by Sir Isaac Newton. Classical physics says the motion, speed and location of any particle at any time can be determined precisely. In contrast, quantum mechanics holds that“when things get atom small, our notions of being able to put a specific particle in a specific place with a specific speed at a specific time become blurry,”Saam says. So a particle’s speed and location is a matter of probability, and “the probability is the reality.” Details of the Study: ‘These Guys are Dancing Together’ Technically, spin is the intrinsic angular momentum of a particle – a concept so difficult to explain in lay terms that physicists usually use the bar magnet analogy. A nonmagnetic material normally has random spins in the nuclei of its atoms – half the spins are up and half are down, so the net spin is zero. But magnetic fields can be applied so that the spins are aligned – with more up than down, or vice versa. Physicists can measure the alignment or“polarization”of the spins using NMR’s strong magnetic field. Nuclear spins also are used medically:When a patient
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lies within a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device’s large magnet, the spins within atoms in the body generate electrical signals that are used to make images of body tissues. Doctors are testing xenon as a way to enhance MRI images of the lungs. Saam and colleagues used xenon because its spins can be aligned relatively easily. In each experiment, Saam and Morgan used a magnetic field and a laser to align or “hyperpolarize”the spins in a sample of about 100 billion billion xenon gas atoms so a majority of the spins either were aligned“up”or“down.”Then, they froze the gas into a solid at a temperature of 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Then they applied a radio wave pulse, which“flips” the spins so they all are perpendicular to the magnetic field instead of parallel to it.That makes them start circling around the magnetic field axis like spinning tops. In this manner, the physicists created four frozen xenon samples.Within each sample, the spins were aligned, but different radio pulses were used to make the initial alignment or configuration of the spins different from one sample to the next. The scientists then used NMR to watch the spins decay or fade over thousandths of a second. “Although they are held in place in the crystal structure, the spins can interact with each other and change the direction in which they’re pointed in much the same way that magnets interact with each other when brought close together,”Saam says. The initial configuration of spins in each xenon sample evolved in extremely complicated ways due to the presence of billions of interacting spins,and each sample rapidly“lost its memory”of where it started. Such behavior has been known for 60 years. The surprise was that while each sample’s initial NMR signal was radically different from the other,they displayed“identical long-time behavior,”says Saam. “Somehow despite the fact these spins have very complicated interactions with each other and started out in completely different orientations, they end up all moving in the same way after several milliseconds,”he says.“That’s never been seen before in a quantum mechanical system. These guys are dancing together.” Saam says the technical achievement was that the huge amount of polarization made it possible for NMR to measure an extremely weak spin signal – only onethousandth as strong as the original signal by the time the samples appeared to behave chaotically.
Study: Drug may prevent alcoholic relapse
A cure for jewellery rash? Munich – German scientists have linked allergy illnesses including dermatitis, hay fever and asthma to a gene in 8 per cent of European populations that deprives them of an essential skin protein. A study of 3,000 Munich schoolchildren produced the proof that a lack of the protein filaggrin, found in skin cells, is associated with skin allergies. The study tracked down variants of the gene that produces the protein.
Allergy rates have been soaring in western nations in recent years. Scientists blame the disease on a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The study was conducted by the Munich Helmholtz Centre and the Technical University of Munich. With certain variants of the gene, a patient was three times as likely to suffer from atopic dermatitis and was also more liable to have hay fever, the study found.
Variants of the filaggrin gene were also associated with dandruff and contact dermatitis, for example rashes caused by nickel jewellery. Filaggrin is essential to the formation of the epidermis, the hard outer layer of human skin. The scientists said the next move would be to develop a skin cream that could promote filaggrin production or provide a substitute. – Deutsche Presse Agentur
Portland, Oregon – A drug that blocks the feelings of elation associated with drinking may prevent alcoholics from relapsing, U.S. scientists say. The scientists said the findings, the result of studying mice at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, could lead to human clinical trials within a year, the university said in a news release. “We showed we could block behavior in mice that resembles this increased euphoria even after the animals had been given a lot of alcohol,”said Tamara Phillips, professor and vice chairwoman of OHSU’s behavioral neuroscience department. Alcohol consumption causes the body to release corticotrophin-releasing factor, a substance that activates receptors in the brain. Phillips said her team determined a brain receptor
called CRF1 seems to be involved in the heightened pleasure sensation people experience with alcohol. Researchers gave mice an experimental drug that prevented CRF from reaching the brain receptor and the mice didn’t experience the euphoric reaction. The results also may apply to
stress-induced relapses because the CRF1 receptor triggers the body’s response to stress, researchers said. “I think if you block this receptor, you might be able to decrease drinking in response to (post-traumatic stress disorder),” Phillips said. – UPI
8 August 2008
Fabulous frescoes of the Renaissance revealed By Patricia Valicenti
Ermenonville, France – Superb frescoes of the Renaissance attributed to the Bolgonese artist Francesco Primaticcio have been restored and revealed in an abbey owned by the French Institute in a small hamlet an hour’s drive north of Paris in the old province of Picardy. The Renaissance came to the densely forested land of Picardy, rich in history, castles, horses and hunting grounds for French kings.The great forests of Compiegne, Laigue, Chantilly and Ermenonville form a protective semi-circle of greenery across the landscape. One finds the sumptuous castle of Chantilly here.And nestled in a frame of trees, the Royal Abbey of Chaalis with its extensive grounds of 2500 acres (1000 hectares). Within its jewel box 13th century Gothic chapel, Renaissance frescoes depicting the Annunciation and the Passion of Christ have been restored to their 16th century splendor. French experts have attributed the paintings to the Bolognese master, Francesco Primaticcio, court artist and architect to one of the grandest of French Kings, Francois I who imported Italian Renaissance artists to France throughout his reign, which lasted from 1515 to 1547. The attribution of the frescoes to Primaticcio was authenticated in 2005 by Jean-Pierre Babelon, the president of the Jacquemart-Andre Foundation and a committee of experts, notably Sylvie Beguin and Dominique Cordellier, specialists of the Fontainebleau School of artists which Primaticcio directed in the latter half of the 16th century, the French Institute announced. Only a few of Primaticcio’s works survive at Fontainebleau. He spread the influence of Italian art in France.The master spent most of his career at Fontainebleau, the fantastical castle of Francois I outside of Paris but apparently journeyed north to Picardy to leave his imprint on the Chaalis Abbey.The exceptional decor was executed around 1543-1545, according to the French Institute and was most likely commissioned by the Abbot of Chaalis, a Cardinal from Ferrara, Hippolyte d’Este who was appointed by Francois I. His family emblem is painted at the top of the front wall fresco. The abbey’s last owner, Nelie Jacquemart-Andre, artist, collector
and wife of the wealthy banker, Edouard Andre, left the property to the French Institute at her death in 1912.The first abbey was built in the 12th century and its restored ruins are still standing.The current building dates from the 18th century.Today the estate and its collections-among them paintings by the European masters and Chinese and Indian art -Nelie was a great voyager -- are opened to the public. And now it is home to its very own Sistine chapel. Renaissance frescoes cover the ceiling and front wall of the tiny high Gothic Saint Mary Chapel, built circa 1250. As one enters, seemingly floating in the sky above one finds the Evangelists: Saint Mark with the lion, Saint Luke with the ox, Saint John with the eagle and Saint Mark with the winged man. And as if emanating from the saints, the Passion of Christ is played out next to them. Saint Peter with his keys to the kingdom of heaven, an angel holds the cloth that Saint Veronica used to wipe the Christ’s face with, leaving behind his imprint or vera icon (true image) which gives us the origins of the name Veronica. On the front wall is God surrounded by angels looking down on a scene of Mary during the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel delivers the message that she will bear Jesus, the son of God. Pale blues and greens abound, it is a gentle, restful rendition. After a six-month restoration financed by the World Monument Fund, the Insurance company Generali and the regional council of Picardy, the frescoes can be seen by the public in their full splendor. The chapel is a testimony to the inspiration of biblical tales on Western art.The Passion, from the Latin for sufferings, depicts the last events of Christ’s earthly life.
Details are drawn from the four gospels.Art was useful, too, in an age when many could not read. The Passion of Christ in drawn images brought the story of Christ’s suffering to the masses. Primaticcio was born in Bologna in 1504. Francois I invited him to his palace at Fontainebleau in 1532. Aside from royal art-buying trips to Italy, Primaticcio remained there as court artist under Francois I, Henri II, and Francois II. His responsibilities ranged from planning interior decoration to serving as architect in the design of entire buildings. His versatility also extended to painting, supervising tapestry production, and creating designs for court masks and other celebrations.At Fontainebleau, Primaticcio worked closely with Rosso Fiorentino, introducing Italian Mannerist features into French decorative art.Their distinctive combination of painting and stucco relief became a hallmark of the School of Fontainebleau. After Rosso’s death in 1540, Primaticcio became chief designer. He completed his masterpiece, the Ulysses Gallery, between the late 1530s and 1559.Throughout the 1500s, Primaticcio’s elongated, elegant figure-drawing style greatly influenced French painting. His architectural work was equally influential but because many of the buildings he worked on have been destroyed, a record of this body of work often survives only in prints and drawings, some at the Louvre. He died in Paris in 1570. The works in the chapel at Chaalis are one of his very rare religionthemed works and the only ensemble conserved in France.
Abbaye Royale de Chaalis
040 kilometres north of Paris by the A1 highway 0Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Museum opens at 11 a.m. 0tel + 33 (0)3 44 54 04 02 0http://www.chaalis.fr
8 August 2008
Country’s worst landslide still haunts victim By Ian Stuart
Auckland, Aug 8 – Twenty-nine years ago, just before 9pm on August 8, 1979, a few families gathered as many belongings as they could carry from their homes in the small Dunedin hillside suburb of Abbotsford. Minutes later the hill began to move at the frightening pace of a metre a minute, making world headlines as it became the graveyard for 69 homes in one of the worst landslips the country has seen. Abbotsford, in Green Island southwest of Dunedin, had been an unremarkable suburb until early June, 1979, when a water main burst and scoured several cracks in Mitchell St. By early July the first of the houses was evacuated and by early August, the cracks in the hillside were taking on a frightening appearance. Houses were cracked and shifting on their foundations as the ground opened up beneath them and five days before the slip, 14 houses had been evacuated and 35 more families had been told to get out. Two days before the big move, the hillside was moving at 28cm a day and a state of civil emergency had been declared.
Abbotsford, Dunedin 1979. Photo: Civil Defence/Otago Polytechnic
Nearly 29 years later to the day, homes in Wellington and Auckland face destruction after recent slips NZPA / Ross Setford
The government also announced it would match dollar for dollar the national appeal, up to $250,000, although by then the appeal had the grand sum of only $12,000. At first light on August 8, 1979, families continued to move out of their homes. It rained and snowed intermittently throughout the day and by 8.50pm most families had stopped work. Less than 15 minutes later the hillside took charge and began moving with astonished rapidity. Most of the families had left their homes but five families, including 17 men, women and children were trapped on the moving hillside. They had nowhere to go and for two hours they listened to the sickening tearing and wrenching as houses were reduced to firewood. As rescue helicopters headed to Dunedin, four firefighters and a civilian volunteer began inching across the still-moving and treacherous face of the huge trench that had ripped the suburb of Abbotsford apart. They dragged ropes with them and two hours later the dramatic rescue was over. All 17 people trapped had been rescued without injury. In the aftermath of the slip when the ground had been stabilised, 200 people had lost their homes as 69 houses were destroyed. Some had been ripped apart by the moving hillside, others had been bulldozed into the trench which formed a giant graveyard. The cost ran into millions of dollars, some of it met by the Earthquake and War Damage Commission, some by insurance companies and some by the national appeal. Green Island mayor Vic Crimp, was criticised by some for the way his council handled the disaster but praised by others. He was moved by the generosity of all New Zealanders, including two Invercargill girls who sent him a gift to pass on to“any homeless four to five-year-old child in Abbotsford”. Eleven years later on November 13,1990,Mr Crimp featured in world headlines again when he became a victim of gunman David Gray who shot dead 12 people in the small harbour town of Aramoana, including Port Chalmers policeman, Sergeant Stewart Guthrie. Gray became the 13th victim of a day of horror when he was shot dead by police. The impact of Abbotsford still haunted some of the people living on the hill, said the Otago Daily Times today. Grant McDowell watched from his kitchen window as the mass of earth slid down towards his house on August 8 before it stopped about two metres from his Christie St home. The impact of that terrifying night, 29 years ago today, had shaped his life since, Mr McDowell told the ODT. The paper said this week he returned,as he had several times,to the spot where his house, demolished in the days after the slide, once stood. He said he had struggled to move on emotionally from the disaster. “It has been haunting me for years.” His health suffered and he had been on tranquillisers for several months after the event and had counselling for the shock. He also said the trauma played a significant part in his marriage breakdown. Now 29 years later he said the effect had worn off but at the time “it scared the pants off me. “Every time I go past, I can still visualise that night. It’s there all the time,”he said. An inquiry later found an unstable geological structure caused the land to slip. Locals also believed the layer of clay and boulders on the surface sat on loose Green Island sand and after sand quarry excavations at the bottom of the hill there was nothing left to hold the hillside in place. –NZPA
8 August 2008
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Published on Jun 13, 2009