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ISSN 1172-4153 | Volume 1 | Issue 6 |
| 12 September 2008
Banning lethal air guns Page 3
Nanny State A matter of trust Page 6
By Ian Wishart, and NZPA
A“venomous”Prime Minister Helen Clark has come out punching in Wellington this afternoon as she confirmed growing rumours that the country is going to the polls on November 8. Clark’s broadcast announcing the election date
was taken live by TVNZ and radio network Newstalk ZB at 12:30pm, although callers to ZB afterwards were furious at what they called“a 15 minute party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party”by the radio station. Talkback host Danny Watson described the speech as“venomous”, with Clark repeatedly attack-
ing National and bravely declaring the key election issue would be“trust”, just days after Labour’s biggest donor Owen Glenn had called Clark “very self-serving”and casting doubts on Labour’s trustworthiness. Glenn told journalists this week he wouldn’t want Continue reading
Smacking seen as bigger threat than P By Ian Wishart Editor, TGIF Edition
Grief over yesterday’s shooting of a police intelligence officer is turning to fury at the Government and police bosses, amid claims that police have been soft on P in the past.
National MP Judith Collins has told TGIF Edition the police appear to have had the wrong priorities, and now an officer has paid for that with his life. “This government has turned a blind eye to the use of P until recently,”said Collins today. “Everytime I, as a South Auckland MP, have approached
the Police hierarchy about P, I’ve been fed the line that alcohol causes more damage. In the meantime, gangs of thugs have become part of international organised crime. “If we look at this government’s funding of advertisements, New Zealanders would think that smacking was more serious than P and the violence and
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Prime Minister Helen Clark announces Saturday, November 08 for the election date. NZPA / Ross Setford.
Palin Talks Her first interview Page 9
destruction that goes with it. The Clark government is living in the past, obsessed with the politics of the 70s and incapable of cracking down on the gangs.” When TGIF Edition approached Police Minister Annette King’s office for a response, the Minister’s press secretary John Harvey refused to answer any questions – hanging the phone up. The Government has poured millions of dollars Continue reading
off BEAT 20 girls faint during Tanzania school exam TABORA, Tanzania, (UPI) – School officials in Tabora, Tanzania, said 20 girls experienced a mass fainting spell after finishing their first of three papers for an exam. Midemo Paul Makungu, Tabora’s educational officer, said the girls were among more than 140 students taking the national exam at Ali Hassan Mwinyi School, the BBC reported Thursday. Makungu said some of the girls were unconscious for up to 40 minutes. “There was chaos, crying, screaming, running after that first paper,” he said. The educational officer said special arrangements were made to allow the girls to finish their exams once they had recovered. They eventually finished at 11 p.m., he said. Makungu said mass fainting spells are not unusual for schools in the area, he said several instances have been reported in the past month. “Normally this happens in girls’ secondary schools. It is very common here,” Makungu said.
Teacher crashes bike into wild bear Montana. (UPI) – A 57-year-old man in Missoula, Mont., says he is lucky to be alive after accidentally crashing his bicycle into the side of a wild bear. Middle school teacher Jim Litz said while he is no stranger to seeing bears during his daily commute along an area dirt road, this week he didn’t’ have time to avoid one of the wild animals that had wandered into his way, The Missoulian said today. “I didn’t have time to respond. I never even hit my brakes,” Litz said of Tuesday’s accident. The teacher said after the impact flipped him off his bike, the bear began clawing at him apparently in confusion and anger. That attack left Litz with scratches and bruises along most of his body. While Litz admits to being sore and a bit clawed up following the unexpected crash, he says he is lucky to have survived the incident and holds no ill will toward the animal. “I was lucky. I was truly lucky, because I accosted the bear and he let me live,” he told the Missoulian. “I truly respect them. They’re beautiful creatures.”
Teens tried to rob undercover cop BALTIMORE, (UPI) – Three teenagers in Baltimore made a poor decision in robbery victims when they allegedly attempted to rob an undercover cop, police say. The Baltimore Sun reported today that police said the unidentified teenage boys lured the plainclothes police officer into an alley with talk of drugs and then attempted to rob him. The officer, whose name wasn’t released, showed his firearm and grabbed one of the suspects. While the undercover officer restrained the teenager, his alleged accomplices fled the scene of Monday’s altercation. The 15-year-old robbery suspect was charged with attempted armed robbery while officers searched for the other teens. The Sun said the officer involved in the incident had been working undercover as part of an ongoing drug investigation.
12 September 2008 FROM FRONT PAGE
to be trapped in the trenches with Clark or Michael Cullen, because they’d probably“push you over the top, and gnaw on your bones afterwards”. Brushing off the criticism, Clark told New Zealand she and Labour are trustworthy: “It is about which leader and which major party we New Zealanders trust our families’and country’s future with. “This election is a tough choice between a Government which has shown it can make the tough choices and an Opposition which flip flops on almost every major issue that emerges .” She said “National’s evasiveness, flip flops, and secret agendas”showed it could not be trusted. Today’s announcement follows the passage of the Government’s last major piece of legislation -- setting up an emissions trading scheme. The date allows enough time for Labour’s October 1 tax cuts to make an impact in the polls. Miss Clark said sustainability would be a major plank of Labour’s campaign, but it would also roll out major health, education, housing and economic policies over the next few weeks. Miss Clark pitted Labour’s record of achievement over nine years against National’s attacks on its policies. Labour had grown the economy, putting it in a strong position to weather the current downturn, and delivered policies aimed at improving lives of New Zealanders. National had repeatedly attacked those policies only to then adopt them. But she said National’s change of heart was “insincere”and under National those policies would be “seriously at risk”. She listed Labour’s major achievements as Working For Families, cheaper doctors visits,“20 hours free”early childhood education, interest free student loans and a lift in the rate of superannuation. ACT leader Rodney Hide welcomed the announcement which he said couldn’t come soon enough.
“Kiwis are sick of Helen Clark’s `Nanny-KnowsBest’.” He said Miss Clark’s reluctance to sack Winston Peters over the donations saga had shown the Government was unprincipled. “It’s time to dump the Clark-Peters Government. It’s time for a change.” National leader John Key also waded in,“November 8 2008 represents a big opportunity for this country. It is the chance for voters to choose a brighter future for New Zealand in this 21st century world. “This election is about New Zealanders having the opportunity to choose a government that is focused on what matters to them. “It is about being able to turn a fresh page and put all the political distractions and intrigue of the past three years behind us. “This election is the opportunity for voters to choose a government that will focus on strongly growing our economy, on steadily reducing taxes to provide incentives for people to build their lives here in New Zealand, and on investing in breakthrough technology like ultra-fast broadband to get us up to speed with the rest of the world. “This election is the opportunity to choose a government that will concentrate on improving our education system; a government that will run a crusade on literacy and numeracy; and a government that will focus on high standards and achievement so that every Kiwi child gets the opportunity to succeed in life. “National is determined to get better results out of all of our public services. We will cap the core bureaucracy and ensure more of our precious tax dollars are spent on frontline services. “In health in particular we are determined to get maximum value out of every dollar. National will manage the public health service to deliver better, sooner, more convenient healthcare for all New Zealanders. We will deliver shorter waiting times,less bureaucracy, and a trusted and motivated health workforce. “Finally, and very importantly, National is deter-
mined to improve safety in our communities. We will crack down on criminal gangs, and we will strengthen the bail laws, parole laws, and sentencing laws, to keep dangerous criminals off our streets. “The Labour Party has had nine years to address these fundamental concerns of New Zealanders, and they have failed. “They have run out of ideas and over the past three years in particular they have been seriously distracted by political issues like the pledge card, the Electoral Finance Act, and the Winston Peters/ Owen Glenn affair. “On November 8, New Zealanders have a chance to rule a line under the past three years and choose a fresh start with fresh optimism and fresh hope. “It is their opportunity to choose a brighter future with a government that is determined to focus on the real issues that matter in their lives. “This election is not about the past. It’s not about the old political battles of the past 20 or 30 years. It’s about the future. It’s about New Zealand’s future, it’s about the future of New Zealand families. It’s about seizing the opportunities of a new century in a positive optimistic way. “In welcoming the election date today, I can tell you that National intends running a positive, forward-looking campaign that focuses on the real issues facing New Zealanders and their families. I challenge the Prime Minister to do the same,”said Key. Parliament goes into recess next week. MPs will then return to Parliament for a final session of up to two weeks. Following the dissolution of Parliament writ day will be October 8 and October 14 will be nomination day. After the election Parliament must reconvene within 92 days of writ day.That date is January 8. RELATED LINK:The bestselling book Absolute Power: The Helen Clark Years, is available this weekend only for just $15, or for only $8 when purchased with a 12 month subscription to TGIF Edition. Back to the front page
FROM FRONT PAGE
into road safety campaigns, and anti-smacking and domestic violence TV ads, but it has never run TV commercials about the dangers of methamphetamine abuse. In the US state of Montana, however, a series of powerful TV commercials aimed at teenagers has helped slash Meth use among teens by 45% over the past three years, and achieved a 72% drop in the number of workers testing positive for Meth. The Montana ads, similar in style to the “where is that drink taking you?” campaign that ran on alcohol abuse in New Zealand, show the impact of where P-use can lead. New Zealand Police Association spokesman Greg O’Connor told Newstalk ZB yesterday that the vast majority of serious crime in New Zealand is P-related. Yet the Montana Meth Project report states that “Meth-related crime has dropped by 62%”over the past three years since its ad campaign began. Former South Auckland cop, and now leader of The Family Party, Richard Lewis, has seen the Montana Meth ads and agrees they could be put to good use in New Zealand. “Today’s young people are bombarded with messages that glamorise drug use through television, films, music and media. A hard hitting television campaign such as the Montana Meth Project would at least give people a picture of the end from the beginning, which could make all the difference in that single defining moment that has the potential to change a life forever.” Lewis is angry that it’s taken the death of his former colleague Sergeant Don Wilkinson to shake the police hierarchy out of their complacency. “The senseless execution-style murder of a serving police officer is heartbreaking. Regretfully, it will come to many as no surprise because meth labs and tinny houses have continued to proliferate in our neighbourhoods unabated. “Because preceding yesterday’s Mangere murder was the brutal shooting of a man on his Papatoetoe doorstep and the cold blooded killing of a boy outside his home in Manurewa. Drug dealing and the P epidemic account for countless acts of
Before and after shots, two years of Meth use
mindless violence, much of which goes unreported. But because these particular victims didn’t happen to be a serving police officer, government barely flinched – concerned more with their own survival of the political kind. “Gangs exist for one purpose: to deal drugs in return for money or services, including prostitution. The victims are our children and anybody else vulnerable and foolish enough to indulge. The victims are also their families, friends, co-workers, bosses and clients.” Lewis argues a combination of law enforcement and family enforcement will be needed to stem the Meth tide. “Make the punishment outweigh the benefit for dealers and manufacturers. Underneath it all, we must restore strength to families and demand of fathers to take responsibility for their sons and daughters. Families hold the key because our kids are the ‘supply’ which is creating the demand.” Echoing National MP Judith Collins’ concerns, Family First lobbyist Bob McCoskrie says the Government has concentrated too much on social engineering, and not enough on tackling methamphetamine. “We’ve been told by police that substance abuse is involved in more than half of all cases of child abuse, and about 80% of crime. It’s a disgrace that kids are living in P houses.Where’s the outcry from the Greens? Where’s the outcry from Every Child Counts?”asks McCoskrie.
He told TGIF Edition the Greens have blood on their hands for consistently opposing crackdowns on the drug industry and other crimes. “In 2003, the Greens opposed the reclassification of P as a Class A drug. They also opposed raising the drinking age, and you’ll find they also opposed increasing the penalty for possession of child pornography to five years’ jail. They’re a party willing to turn a blind eye to marijuana, P and child porn. In my view, the Government’s relationship with the Greens has been a stumbling block in fighting crime.” McCoskrie says the overall result is a country where smacking is seen as a more serious social issue by Labour and the Greens than methamphetamine abuse,“and where the police are tip-toeing around the rights of prisoners and criminals, while the rights of families to protection from the harmful effects of drugs and crime come second.” Green Party drugs spokeswoman Metiria Turei told TGIF Edition she had “no regrets” over the Greens’ stance on P, claiming the fight against the drug should not criminalise users but instead focus on the dealers and manufacturers. Turei says she’s in favour of TV ad campaigns like the one in Montana, provided they acknowledge that methamphetamine abuse is a community wide problem, not just confined to young Maori. RELATED LINK: to see more of the Montana Meth Project ads yourself, visit this site. Back to the front page
12 September 2008
Lethal air guns to be reviewed after policeman shot dead Auckland, Sept 12 – Police are to review the firearms laws after it was revealed the gun suspected of killing a police officer yesterday can be bought over the counter or on the internet by anyone over the age of 18. Sergeant Don Wilkinson, 46, is believed to have been shot dead by a powerful, gas operated, rifle which shoots a pellet similar in size to a conventional .22 calibre rifle round. A colleague is in a comfortable condition in hospital after also being shot while the pair were engaged a covert police operation at a suspected methamphetamine laboratory in Mangere East in the early hours of yesterday morning. Police Commissioner Howard Broad said today he would be reviewing the Arms Act and the availability of air rifles. “Policy responsibility for the Arms Act is actually mine so I will have a look at that.” The student journalist site Newswire this afternoon caught police napping, however, revealing that legislation to toughen up on highpowered airguns has actually been languishing in parliament since Slain officer Sergeant Don Wilkinson. NZPA 2005, and could have been passed into law long ago. The New Zealand Council for Licensed Firearms tor, John Howatt, told Radio New Zealand. Owners says airguns have become increasingly pow“You need to have a firearms licence, training erful, and some CLIENT are the equivalent of hunting rifles. and be assessed by police to have a high-powered PUBLICATION “Some of those air guns are as powerful as a high- hunting rifle. 099684370 COVER DATE(S) email@example.com TRIM SIZE powered hunting rifle, ”the council’s executive direc“It is unreasonable you should be able to go out Mistral Software Investigate
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and buy an air rifle just because you are 18.” It is understood there are thousands of the high-powered air rifles in New Zealand. Last year a seven-year-old Napier girl survived after being accidentally shot in the head with by her father with an airgun. It is understood the pellet went right through the girl’s head. At the time one person advertising a similar air gun for sale said it could fire a pellet through both sides of a baked beans can. The council said it was wrong they could still be owned without a licence and it hoped they would be restricted in upcoming changes to the Arms Act. Mr Wilkinson, 46, and his partner, 44, were trying to install a tracking device on a car outside a house being used as a suspected P lab in Hain Avenue, Mangere. They were disturbed by occupants of the house, chased 75 metres down the road and Mr Wilkinson was shot dead. His partner, whose name is suppressed by court order, was shot several times but his injuries were not life threatening. Yesterday a 37-year-old man was charged with murdering Mr Wilkinson and a 33-year-old man was charged with assaulting him. They were both granted name suppression when they appeared in Manukau District Court and were remanded in custody to appear again later this month.
NZ dollar recovers some ground lost on rate cut Wellington, Sept 12 – The New Zealand dollar posted some gains today after dropping to a two-year low in the aftermath of yesterday’s half a percentage point cut in the official cash rate The Reserve Bank’s decision to make a bigger than expected interest rate cut, down to 7.5 percent, sent the kiwi as low as US64.35c overnight The rate cut made New Zealand less attractive to yield-focused foreign investors and came at a time when the US dollar was rising The NZ dollar recovered today to be US65.37c at 5pm, up from US65.24c at 8am and US65.15c at 5pm yesterday The NZ dollar got down to its lowest level in more than two years against the Japanese currency, around 68.50 yen, before moving up to 70.08 yen by today’s local close The low-yielding yen benefited from a surge in risk aversion, which also pushed the euro and the Australian dollar down to their lowest in at least two years Against the euro, the NZ dollar reached a month low around 0.4625 overnight, before strengthening to 0.4666 euro at 5pm Against the Australian dollar the NZ dollar was at A81.40c at 5pm from A81.62c at 5pm yesterday The trade weighted index was 62.69 at the local close, compared to 62.63 at 5pm yesterday
Super-tough new fabric developed by AgResearch Wellington, Sept 12 – A revolutionary new wearable fabric which redefines the term tough has been developed by AgResearch. The stab and flame-resistant fabric is made from knitted Vectran – a non-cut, ultra-high strength liquid crystal polymer – with short wool fibre packed into the outer surface. Its flame-resistant properties will be tested to the full on Monday, when a blowtorch will be applied to a vest made of the fabric while being worn by a model. The fabric will resist puncture or knife penetration, is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has the dual benefits of the breathability and comfort of wool as well as the puncture resistance of the Vectran component, said AgResearch textile science and technology section manager Peter Ingham.
The wool component was naturally flame-resistant and any charring would be contained by the Vectran, giving the wearer“unparalleled protection” against flames. The fabric looked like a“normal”Swanndri-type wool, but had the super-tough hidden layer of Vectran inside. “This is offered as an alternative stab, cut and fire-resistant fabric developed to protect the wearer from the ever-changing and sometimes hostile world we live in,”Dr Ingham said. Talks had begun with a company to produce the material commercially. “It appears there is quite a wide range of uses for it. Some have suggested streetwear for south Auckland.” – NZPA
Small size helps giant male weta mate MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Canadian scientists have discovered lightweight giant male weta insects are most successful at mating by travelling greater distances each night. Weta include about 70 insect species endemic to the New Zealand archipelago. Some weta are among the world’s largest and heaviest insects. The research by University of Toronto- Mississauga evolutionary biologists Clint Kelly, Luc Bussiere,and Darryl Gwynne suggests being lightweight and having longer legs assists in reproduction.The scientists found males can walk more than 90 metres each night in search of a mate. Not only do males travel more than twice as far as females, but the scientists found small, long-
legged individuals walked even farther, acquired more mates and transferred more spermatophores to females. Our findings are a rare example of sexual selection favouring a suite of traits that promote greater mobility in one sex only,said Kelly.This is exciting because it suggests that sexual selection for smaller,more mobile males could be responsible for some of the impressive sexual difference in body size in this species. Importantly, however, the phenomenon might also explain why males are smaller than females in some other animals, Kelley said. The research appears in the journal American Naturalist. – UPI
12 September 2008
Horse trainer Paul Moroney whose affidavit supporting Owen Glenn has been crucial. NZPA / Stephen Barker
Horse trainer sticking by story Wellington, Sept 12 – Horse trainer Paul Moroney says he told Owen Glenn he remembered Winston Peters thanking him for a $100,000 donation because he couldn’t ignore the truth. The Monaco-based billionaire produced an affidavit from Mr Moroney to Parliament’s privileges committee to back up his claim that Mr Peters sought the donation and thanked him for it at the 2006 Karaka yearling sales. Mr Peters this week attacked Mr Moroney’s affidavit, which said Mr Peters clearly thanked Mr Glenn for the money when they were sitting together at the lunch. Mr Peters has said Mr Moroney’s recollection could not be correct as other witnesses said he had not been sitting with Mr Glenn at the lunch. Mr Peters yesterday tabled an affidavit from Vela group director Donald McIlraith in which he said the pair were not sitting together. However, he did see them talking after lunch, but he believed Mr Moroney had left by then. But Mr Moroney yesterday said the conversation that was the subject of his affidavit occurred when Mr Peters first arrived. “Mr Peters came over ...sat down for five to 10 minutes, had a glass of wine, and the conversation with him and Owen took place with Owen sitting right next to them,”he told The New Zealand Herald. Mr Moroney, who works with Mr Glenn’s horses, said he had been“staggered”by Mr Peters’continual denials and he had told Mr Glenn of his recollection because “I cannot walk away from the truth”. He said he told his sister, Labour MP Sue Moroney, of
his knowledge about three months ago. Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday held off sacking Mr Peters from his ministerial roles, but made it clear she was not happy with his handling of the affair. She did not rule out sacking him next week. Mr Peters is suspended from his portfolios while the Serious Fraud Office, police and Electoral Commission investigate undeclared donations to his party. He retains his ministerial warrant along with his pay and privileges. The privileges committee will meet again on Tuesday, when Mr Peters’ lawyer Brian Henry will be called to explain an email he sent to Mr Glenn which referred to a conversation with“my client at 1.30 NZT”and in which he gave his bank details. This email came minutes after Mr Glenn says he discussed the donation with Mr Peters in a documented phone call. Mr Peters has denied any knowledge of the $100,000 donation towards his legal costs until July this year, when he said Mr Henry, told him about it. Miss Clark said key issues remained unresolved in the face of conflicting evidence and Mr Peters still deserved due process. National’s deputy leader Bill English yesterday said the reason Miss Clark did not sack Mr Peters was because she was too close to the affair. Miss Clark has said Mr Glenn told her of the donation in February – a fact she did not reveal until this month. – NZPA
Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard announces a .5% drop in the OCR, Wellington. NZPA / Ross Setford.
ANZ National cuts rates, Westpac moves on fixed mortgage rates Wellington, Sept 12 – ANZ National, the country’s biggest bank, today announced big cuts to its mortgage lending rates. The bank was the only one of the major lenders not to make an announcement yesterday in the wake of the Reserve Bank’s 50 basis point cut in the official cash rate to 7.5 percent Today ANZ National announced a cut in its floating mortgage rate by 50 basis points to 10.45 percent Most banks have cut their floating rates by 50 basis points but most of their mortgage lending is at fixed rates. The Kiwibank floating rate is the lowest at 9.7 percent ANZ National moved its fixed mortgage rates down by between 20 and 50 basis points.Its 30-month rate was cut 50 basis points to 8.7 percent, which is seen as an aggressive position in the market Its two-year fixed rate moved to 8.70 percent from 8.95 percent. Its three-year rate moved to 8.7 percent from 9.10 percent and its five-year rate moved to 8.9 percent from 9.1 percent Its six month rate moved down 50 basis points to 9.25 percent
Curtin suspended China probes milkpowders from while conflict of Fonterra’s Sanlu as babies die interest investigated Wellington, Sept 12 – The discovery Chinese Asked yesterday what concern it had that its Wellington, Sept 12 – The Commerce Commission has appointed Hugh Rennie, QC, to investigate its own deputy chairman. The issue Mr Rennie will investigate is whether Donal Curtin, who was appointed deputy chairman of the commission in July, provided an appropriate level of disclosure to the commission and the Minister of Commerce in relation to his involvement with finance and investment companies Vestar Ltd, Mint Asset Management Ltd and MFS Ltd. Mr Curtin has voluntarily stood down for the duration of the inquiry. Disclosure of conflicts of interest by members of crown entities is required under the Crown Entities Act 2004 and members of the commission are required to provide full disclosure of any potential interests under the Commission’s conflicts of interest policy. Mr Curtin was chief economist at the BNZ from 1990 to 1994 and is a financial consultant. – NZPA
babies falling ill with kidney stones consumed milkpowder sold by Fonterra-controlled Sanlu Group is starting to have repercussions outside China. The United States Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers to avoid infant formula from China, and New Zealand food safety officials are checking dairy products sent from China, even though no infant formula is imported. China’s Health Ministry today ordered a nationwide probe of milkpowder linked to the rash of kidney stones in infants, and one death. “Those responsible will face serious punishment,” said a ministry spokesman, Mao Qunan, quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency. In seven provinces, hundreds of babies have been reported ill with kidney stones,and most of those babies are said to have been drinking Sanlu milkpowder. Reports quoted doctors as saying many of the patients suffered from rare acute renal shutdown, an enlarged kidney and vomiting. Sanlu has said some of its milkpowder was contaminated with melamine,a chemical used in plastics, which has previously been illegally used to boost perceived protein levels in standard tests for foods.
staff or workers for Sanlu might be prosecuted for any perceived role in the latest food safety scandal, Fonterra said:“It is not helpful to engage in speculation at this time”. “The appropriate authorities need to get to the bottom of this issue first.” Fonterra, which theoretically has control of Sanlu through its 43 percent shareholding, said today it was advised the company had a “quality issue in its products as a result of receiving defective milk in China”. The company “has advised us that they have recalled product in China and have put new milk quality testing procedures in place”. “We are pushing hard to make sure that Sanlu is working closely with the Chinese Government to ensure that everything that can be done, is being done.” Sanlu, based in Shijiazhuang, a city southwest of Beijing, is China’s biggest producer of milkpowder – about 6800 tonnes a day or equivalent to 18 percent of the market, according to government data. Xinhua and the official China Daily newspaper reported Sanlu had recalled 700 tonnes of the product.
Westpac also today moved to cut its fixed mortgage rates by between 15 and 25 basis points after yesterday cutting its variable mortgage rate by 50 basis points to 10.45 percent Its two-year rate moved down five basis points to 8.9 percent. Its three-year rate was cut by 20 basis points to 8.9 percent and five-year rate by 15 basis points to 8.95 percent State-owned Kiwibank yesterday cut 36 basis points from its two-year fixed rate, which moved to 8.49 percent Kiwibank said it had taken “a very aggressive position”with its 8.49 percent per annum two-year fixed rate, while it has moved its three-year rate to 8.39 percent. Those rates apply for those with 20 percent or more equity in their property Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard yesterday said he did not want to see any stickiness in mortgage rates The bigger than expected cut in the official cash rate was seen as an attempt to give banks head room to cut mortgage rates and pass on the easing in policy to customers – NZPA
Fonterra said it understands the contaminated product is only sold in China, though Sanlu exports a small amount to Taiwan. Today, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) announced it is testing infant formula sold here after the scare, and is looking at dairy produce imported from China. NZFSA deputy chief executive Sandra Daly told NZPA customs records showed no New Zealand infant formula was imported from China, but it was going ahead anyway with testing the infant formula sold here. “The first results are expected to be available early next week and will be published on the NZFSA website,”she said. New Zealand imports small amounts of conventional dairy products such as milk, milkpowder and cheese from China, Ms Daly said. Any products identified as containing Chinese dairy product are being tested. China’s Health Ministry has warned mothers against feeding children Sanlu brand milkpowder, though it has not blocked its sale. Fonterra has predicted that eventually China will account for 10 percent of its global dairy market. It paid $NZ150 million – 864 million renminbi – for its stake in the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group dairy company in December 2005. – NZPA
12 September 2008
Trust us, we know what you’re up to So this is it, the phony war is over, battle has finally been joined. For many of us the phony war actually began sometime around 2001, when Labour began taking unilateral and arrogant policy decisions whilst Helen Clark told voters she had no intention of being dictated to by referenda. Nosirree. But just watch the Prime Minister come crawling over the next eight weeks with a magical change of heart, lots of warm smiles and fuzzy promises to listen better in future. Yeah right. Clark famously declared New Zealand lived in a “benign strategic environment”, and then set about gutting the NZ Defence Force of its“Force”. In place of a blue water navy, Labour and the Greens gave us glorified fishing trawlers painted grey and armed with machine guns. They might deter a seaborne invasion from Tonga, but are useless for anything else. In place of an air combat wing capable of seeing off a hostile aircraft carrier group, we now have transport planes. In place of genuine all terrain armoured vehicles for our Army, we now have road-
bound LAV 3 people movers. They may look hot, but they’re suitable for little more than traffic duty. More to the point, because of their size they cannot be airlifted by the aforementioned transport planes and taken anywhere, meaning what’s left of the air force has little to do these days. If Clark’s first term was defined by breaking apart defence infrastructure, her second was about social engineering. Between 2002 and 2005, New Zealanders quickly came to appreciate the concept of Nanny State, Helengrad and all the other epithets floating around. Contrary to expectations, and the promises from coalition partners like Peter Dunne’s United Future to“keep them honest”, Labour’s social engineering accelerated in term three, culminating in the reviled anti-smacking laws that Clark refused to permit a referendum on this year. But term three has also been about corruption. Increasingly, the Labour-led government has been exposed as corrupt in every sense of the word. Caught stealing taxpayer money – nearly a mil-
lion dollars’worth – to illegally fund Labour’s own election expenses, the Government’s answer was to retrospectively make legal what had been a crime. Determined not to be criticised by members of the public prepared to spend their own money, Labour and its allies New Zealand First, the Greens and United Future concocted the draconian Electoral Finance Act, whilst leaving large loopholes so their own big business mates could continue funding them. Anyone else who wanted to have a say, however, had to register with the Government and publish their home address, or face prosecution. Not surprisingly, the new Act has had what even Labour’s supporters admit is a “chilling”effect on democracy. Then, just to show Helen Clark has lost none of her chutzpah, she says this campaign is about trust. Did she read Absolute Power? Presumably not. TGIF Edition is running an online poll about which candidate you trust. Vote now at http://www.investigatemagazine.com SUBSCRIBE TO TGIF!
Walker’s World: Asia’s new nuclear map By Martin Walker
WASHINGTON – It is not quite over yet, but the most important strategic development in Asia in this century so far is on the verge of completion. The weekend decision of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group to approve the unprecedented nuclear cooperation deal between the United States and India changes the strategic map of Asia. It also provides President George Bush, who made a personal phone call to New Zealand leader Helen Clark to secure the deal, with a last, critical success that may be seen by historians as the most far-reaching achievement of his presidency. The Democrats in the U.S. Congress, who must give a final endorsement, may seek to deprive Bush of his triumph. But, given the impressive lobbying and fundraising skills of America’s wealthy and well-educated Indian community, they would be ill advised to try. Moreover, the platform of the Democratic Party, as agreed at last month’s convention, stresses:With India, we will build on the close partnership developed over the past decade. As two of the world’s great, multiethnic democracies, the U.S. and India are natural strategic allies. The deal would bring India out of its pariah status as a rogue nuclear power that had not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and would allow the country to obtain the nuclear fuels and technology seen as essential to India’s soaring energy needs.And in formally joining the nuclear club, without joining the NPT regime, India would maintain the right to keep some of its nuclear reactors for military use out of the international inspection regime and thus gets something close to a free hand for future nuclear development. By far, the most important feature of the deal is its sealing of the new strategic relationship, which might almost be called an alliance, between the world’s largest democracy and its most powerful. The U.S.-Indian relationship, which was cool and sometimes even hostile throughout the Cold War, now joins the existing U.S.-Japanese alliance as the most important strategic relationship in Asia. For China, which now can see the prospect of encirclement by the United States, India and Japan, this presages a new security environment in Asia, a system of insurance and potential control against China’s ambition to become the dominant Asian power. China has only itself to blame for this, with its construction of ports and possible naval bases in Burma and Pakistan that India understandably saw as threatening. This is the context that explains the angry reaction in Beijing, where the Communist Party’s official
paper, People’s Daily, wrote,The U.S.-India nuclear agreement has constituted a major blow to the international non-proliferation regime. This is breathtaking in its hypocrisy. China has done more to destroy the non-proliferation regime than any other country. As former U.S. Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed, who used to be a nuclear weapons lab scientist, has revealed, China gave Pakistan blueprints for a simple uranium atomic bomb in 1982 and later tested a Pakistani version of the weapon in China on May 26, 1990. A declassified State Department memo obtained by the National Security Archive in Washington and since published in The New York Times concluded that China, some time after its first bomb test in 1964, had provided Pakistan with the technology for fissile material production and possibly also nuclear device design. The Chinese nuclear weapons program is incredibly sophisticated, Reed claims. The scary part is how much Pakistan has learned from them. The really scary part is what Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist,A.Q. Khan, then did with the Chinese technology, building a kind of nuclear technology supermarket whose wares since have been traced to Libya, Iran and North Korea. By contrast, India has an impeccable record of non-proliferation, although critics of the U.S. deal warn that it establishes a precedent that allows India to develop both civil and military nuclear capabilities without signing the NPT.The implications of this precedent for Iran are significant. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh staked
his political career on the deal and on the personal relationship he had forged with Bush. Singh broke the political coalition in India’s Parliament on which his power depended to force the deal through, despite the bitter opposition and walkout of his Communist Party allies. The Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued a bitter statement last weekend, saying: The Manmohan Singh government stands thoroughly exposed before the country for compromising India’s vital security interests. Proceeding with this deal will mortgage India’s sovereignty and make India’s civilian nuclear program vulnerable to U.S. blackmail for the next 40 years. India overcame the opposition within the Nuclear Suppliers Group by promising to maintain its longstanding rules against nuclear proliferation commitments and also to maintain its voluntary moratorium on future nuclear tests. (Modern computer modelling systems make this far less onerous than it sounds.) The Bush administration, which lobbied hard for the deal during the three-day meeting of the NSG, has also assured Congress that it has the right to block India’s supplies of nuclear fuel and energy if it resumes testing. A letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released Friday by committee Chairman Howard Berman, D-Calif., noted, The fuel supply assurances are not, however, meant to insulate India against the consequences of a nuclear explosive test or a violation of non-proliferation commitments. – UPI
-The Winston problem I see again today in the paper that there is talk of the Vela brothers having funded NZ First not just by way of donations but also to the tune of $158,000 for NZ First’s debt back to the taxpayer. I did not come down in the last shower. You cannot tell me that there is not a link between this financial support by the Velas and Winston’s political manoeuvrings to change the horse racing industry in such a way as to boost income to owners and breeders in the industry of which the Vela brothers are 2 of the biggest. It passes the smell test big time and despite what anyone might say, is not just coincidence. Kit Robbins, via email -Vilified foods I read your reprinted article “Vilified foods reconsidered” in the latest TGIF and find it interesting that an investigative newspaper such as yours would reprint an article clearly pushing the vested interests of food producers keen to regain respectability for their “vilified foods”. Being investigative I would have thought an enquiring journal would ask a salient question or two for example, how many white breads are fortified with those magical additives? I prefer my ads to be overt. Peter Bankers, via email -Roll on the election Our democratic right to freedom of speech has been outlawed by the current Labour government. Clark & her Labour party are committed to silencing all opposition. Freedom of speech will not exist in our country for one year out of three. Incredibly Labour have imposed this obnoxious law to stop all public criticism of government during election year while on the other hand they give themselves permission to direct public bodies to spend millions and millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money advertising and promoting Labour Party policy. This is blatant corruption. Hitler also did this to get rid of his opposition. Our democratic freedoms have been hard won. Our forefathers fought and died to protect them. We owe it to past – and future generations – to get rid of this government when we can. Don’t miss our opportunity to get rid of them on election day. Denis Shuker, Hibiscus Coast -Will of the people Given the re-offence of Nan Withers attacker, her son Norm Withers and all New Zealanders have reason to be angry especially when the government ignored the will of 92% of New Zealanders to have tougher prison sentences back in 1999. That is the price we must pay when we do not have binding referendums. This allows the government to ignore the will of the people. It is just a shame and a government disgrace that these people are allowed to offend again so quickly due to weak prison sentences. Steve Baron, Better Democracy NZ www.betterdemocracy.co.nz Letters to the editor can be posted to: PO BOX 302188, Nort Harbour, North Shore 0751 or emailed to: email@example.com
12 September 2008
Best of the blogs
Green MP Sue Bradford, right, toasts with Prime Minister Helen Clark in the Green Party offices after her Anti Smacking Bill was passed thru Parliament. NZPA / Tim Hales..
Greens seek to nationalise children By Scott Liberty Scott
Sue Bradford launched the Green Party policy on children – because you need a policy on everything (where is the dance policy?). It represents the explicit desire to collectivize responsibility (if not rewards) for the raising, care, protection and development of children by everyone, of everyone else’s kids.This isn’t the village to raise a child, it is the nation state. This policy statement says so much that, on the face of it seems innocuous, but the use of the word “we”means“you should be forced to pay for this and feel guilty if you don’t agree”: “They are our future, so we must give them the best possible start to life. “Each child should have the opportunity to grow with joy, be fully supported by their family and be an integral part of our society. Each child deserves a secure base from which they can express their creativity and discover life as an adventure.” Who is this“we”? Why must you give other people’s children the best possible start in life? Who is responsible? Not the parents no – this is Sue Bradford nationalising the responsibility of children to everyone, through the warm embrace of the state. Why should every child be“an integral part of our society”?What the hell does that mean?When are you NOT? What is“our society”? I don’t want any kids I have,to have anything to do with this work shy,union
worshipping, state welfare supporting socialist! Now the policy has 130 points! Yes 130 – this is nanny state par excellence. So what do these measures really mean? Well...dozens are about essentially removing barriers to get compulsorily funded state welfare, as the Greens embrace welfare benefits as a way of helping kids. Some are about making people work less, a 35 hour week and more leave, essentially saying that the magic Green money tree will find a way to produce more by doing less. It doesn’t occur to this control freak that cutting the size of the state would enable more people to CHOOSE to spend more time with their children. No. Nanny State must tell you to work less. There is talk about promoting a non-violent culture, whilst at the same time embracing the violent nanny state that takes money from its citizens, prosecutes fines and imprisons those who break its laws. The Greens positively love violence, as long as it is velvet fist of the Nanny state they embrace. It wants kids to watch more TV! The Greens want to make you pay to produce TV programmes for children to watch, locally made of course (can’t have those culturally inappropriate foreign shows can we now? Not with“our”children).Why have any subsidies for kids TV? Encourage them to go outside!! It wants to make you pay for“culturally appropriate care and treatment”for Maori, Pacific Island and other ethnic children, which isn’t as important as making sure they are healthy. Looking forward to witch doctors being funded then, though one may
wonder if it could ever be culturally appropriate for children of parents who want world class cutting edge science applied to healthcare. The obsession with GE continues,banning NZ production of GE food, on the implicit assumption it is unsafe for children – which is hysterical nonsense. Regulations on labeling of takeaway food,because its voters are too damned stupid to know that deep fried chicken is high in fat! Support diversity and choices in education, EXCEPT when it means funding following students. No mention of religious schools of course, just Steiner, correspondence, home schooling and Kura – the ones the Greens like. “Incorporate environmental education into the core curriculum at all levels from pre-school to secondary school” – code for brainwashing Green ideology. I’d argue education in economics, education in freedom and individual rights, but if that happened kids wouldn’t grow up appreciating the multi-leader Green party Nanny State. “Increasing access for all children, including children in rural areas, to art, music and drama.” Yes the state subsidised and nationalised children’s plays, bands and art exhibitions.Yes lovely, Nanny helps you play. It goes on and on. It is a disturbing vision of state subsidies, bureaucracies and rules, but most disconcertingly a philosophy that parents are not primarily responsible for their children, and that parents don’t get punished for failing to be responsible. Nobody is to blame! Negligent, lazy,
alcoholic, criminal parents all need“help and assistance”– forcibly funded by you, whilst you try to pay to responsibly raise your kids. There are odd statements like,“Recognise that in the context of Pacific families,definitions of children and youth are made by parents and families as opposed to an age specific status”oh so does that mean that when a girl is 13 she’s an adult and can have children then by some distant relative twice her age? Naturally the Greens use the phrase“adequately resource”often, which means give the bureaucracy a blank cheque to make it happy – they love the Office of the Childrens’Commissioner, which has done virtually nothing to improve the lives of any children – except those of the people working there. Children do not belong to the state, nation, society or everyone.Children are nobody’s property,but they are the responsibility of their parents and guardians first and foremost.The role of the state regarding children should be as a last resort to intervene in cases of abuse and profound neglect – not to mollycoddle and provide for everything that might be nice for kids to have, funded by force through taxes. The Green vision of a children’s policy is the Greens wanting to expand the state to do virtually everything other than physically feed, clothe and bathe the kids (even then they want to control food). It is statist, childish and downright terrifying. It offers no vision to save those kids from the subculture of violent, abusive, negligent lowlife who brutalise them – it wants to pay them more. It’s absurd, immoral and bankrupt.
12 September 2008
Fooling around with Nature – at our peril By Peter Curson
It seems the ultimate irony that even our best intentioned health endeavours can sometimes turn on us and bite back.There are many examples where medical advances, health interventions and policy have gone awry and produced an outcome opposite to that intended.The over use of antibiotics and the related rise in drug-resistant infections is probably among the most significant. Antibiotics were introduced more than 50 years ago and have undoubtedly saved millions of lives. Prior to their introduction death from bacterial infections was common. But there is little doubt that over the last half century we have over used antibiotics, pouring them into our crops, our farm animals and ourselves. Even for the common cold – a viral infection – GPs may often give you a script for antibiotics just in case a bacterial infection manifests itself. Not surprisingly, many patients probably take the antibiotics even though they will have no effect on their viral infection. Small wonder that many common infections have become resistant to antibacterial drugs and that a number of life threatening resistant super bugs like Staphylococcus aureus have appeared. Our war on microbes unfortunately rested on the false assumption that we were dealing with a stationary target against which we could simply fire magic antibacterial and anti-viral bullets. Yet microbes like all living things have been selected for survival. Mutation and change are facts of life and microbes change in relation to changes in their environment. Our anthropocentric quest to eradicate or control all infectious diseases is therefore utopian. Hospital-based infections are particularly worrying. Possibly 10% of all people entering hospital for a medical procedure will develop an infection. In the case of procedures like hip replacements and coronary bypasses the figure may be 3-4 times higher. In Australia something like 200,000 people every year contract infections through the healthcare system and there may be as many as 10,000 deaths a year from hospital acquired infections. Most infections are the result of poor personal hygiene among hospital staff and the fact that the recovering patient, once only visited by a handful of medical staff, now encounters a large array of support staff, including cleaners, staff delivering newspapers, flowers and food, religious advisors as well as family and friends.
The moral: understand the dynamism of microbes, and don’t linger in hospital. And then there is the issue of whether our squeaky clean home environment might be making us ill. For more than a century we were told that where there is muck and dirt there is also disease. Yet it now appears that a little bit of dirt never hurt anyone and may well be beneficial in the fight against allergies and common infections. But in today’s super hygienic world with its high living standards, being ultra clean has taken on a life of its own.We now wipe our cutting board with an antibacterial sponge, shower using anti-bacterial soap, swipe antibacterial deodorants under our arms, and sleep on an anti-bacterial pillow. Soon we will all be using anti-bacterial keyboards on our computers. Cleanliness has become next to godliness – or godlessness! Add to this, compulsory vaccination programs, anti-bacterial drugs and preparations, mountains of household cleansers, disinfectants and anti-bacterials, as well as closed and sealed homes and offices, and you may well be looking at a different and not so healthy world. Once, kids were kids. They played outside in the backyard dirt and muck, frequently coming into contact with the world of germs. Now kids only encounter germs when they first begin to socialise with other children at pre-school or school. Dirt is now out of bounds and the pursuit of cleanliness in our homes has reached almost an obsession as we pour litres of bleach and disinfectants into our bathrooms and kitchens. Once we left all our windows open during the day and hung our washing out on the line. Now we are more likely to close up our homes all day as all the inhabitants go to work or school. Only in the evening are windows and doors opened, heaters and clothes driers switched on, and gas ovens ignited. Add to this, the fact that many of our homes are damp and poorly ventilated and it’s small wonder that moulds, fungi and dust mites lingering on our walls, furniture, carpets and bedding jump with delight and are suddenly liberated into the atmosphere. The idea that too much hygiene and cleanliness may be bad for you has moved from folklore to mainstream medicine largely because of the epidemic of immune-related disease that has swept developed countries over the last few decades. But there is increasing evidence that children who grow up in an ultra clean home environment may be more at risk to developing a wide range of infec-
The idea that too much hygiene and cleanliness may be bad for you has moved from folklore to mainstream medicine largely because of the epidemic of immune-related disease that has swept developed countries over the last few decades tions and allergies.Asthma in particular, remains a major health problem in countries like Australia and New Zealand. Today asthma symptoms probably affect at least 600,000 New Zealanders and 3 million Australians and the disease remains an important cause of suffering and premature death. The so-called ‘hygiene hypothesis’ basically argued that when children are exposed to few viruses, bacteria and other micro-organisms in
their early life, their immune system development is affected and they lose their ability to fight off certain diseases. Exposure to microbes, either through actual infection or not, may initiate a protective immune response. The moral: encourage your kids from an early age to play outside and get dirty. Finally, a recent issue of The Economist reported on new medical evidence concerning the curious twists of fate governing the identification of helicobacter pylori and its role in causing stomach ulcers. Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that inhabits the inner lining of our stomach. About 40% of people aged over 60 probably have the bacteria, most being infected in childhood.The infection was claimed to damage the stomach lining and cause stomach and duodenal ulcers as well as increasing the risk of stomach cancer.The discovery was hailed as a medical breakthrough and a concentrated campaign against the bacteria has seen it significantly decline in most developed countries.Yet it now seems that we have literally thrown the baby out with the bathwater and that the bug’s disappearance may well be linked to increasing levels of obesity, asthma and cancer of the oesophagus.Yet H.pylori is not just your ordinary run-of-the-mill pathogen. Rather it seems to have performed an important role in our stomachs and probably has been doing so for thousands of years, affecting possibly as much as 80% of the human population. Largely it seems to have worked as a natural regulator of stomach acid as well as affecting the hormones which govern appetite. What recent research suggests is that by eliminating the bacterium we have inadvertently allowed a rise in oesophageal reflux disease and possibly cancer. In addition, we may have contributed to the current epidemic of obesity. There seems little doubt that the time is now long overdue for a rethink of our long-standing hatred of germs, our over use of antibiotics, and our fetish for cleanliness. The equilibrium between humans and germs has been honed by centuries of contact, by the development of our immune system, and by our behaviour. Such a relationship is easily disturbed. The history of infectious disease has been a history of microbes on the march, often in our wake and quick to take advantage of the many opportunities our behaviour offers them to strive, change and spread. The sooner we realise all of the above the better. About the writer: Peter Curson is Professor in Population & Security, at the Centre for International Security Studies, Faculty of Economics & Business, the University of Sydney. He is also a TGIF Edition subscriber
U.S. losing ground, sway to Iran By Claude Salhani
WASHINGTON – Iran seems to be gaining ground and influence in the Levant, much to the detriment of the United States, its European allies and prodemocracy movements in the region. Indeed, recent developments in the Middle East have not unfolded entirely in favour of the United States or its other ally in the region, Lebanon. At the same time, efforts by the West to break up the Syrian-Iranian alliance in hope of weakening the Islamic Republic’s political sway in the region are also showing signs of failure.While Damascus may slowly begin to distance itself from Tehran as a result of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s newly found friendship with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the outcome of a new French initiative launched by the Elysee Palace last July has not weakened the Islamic Republic’s influence on Lebanese politics, much as Tehran continues to influence the Palestinian Islamic Movement, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip. Going counter to efforts by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush to isolate Syria, which the United States accuses, along with Iran, of supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, the
French president invited his Syrian counterpart to attend the Summit for the Mediterranean in France last July, and then followed up with an invitation for Assad to attend the July 14 National Day – or Bastille Day – celebrations in Paris. The move was intended to bring Syria out of the cold, and in the process further isolate Iran.And it may very well have initiated a crack in Syrian-Iranian relations. But that too did not entirely produce the desired results. Seeing the handwriting on the wall,Tehran began to take steps to reinforce its position in Lebanon. But in the deadly game of chess that is Middle East politics, a game in which the strategic stakes are immensely high and losing is not an option, the Iranians seem yet again to have taken the upper hand and are moving in to capture the queen – at least momentarily. All this is being done,of course,through Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite, political/paramilitary/social organization that is trained and financed by Iran. Hezbollah is rapidly positioning itself in all aspects of Lebanese society, turning into a force that no longer can be ignored in the political and military arenas.And that is becoming true not only of Lebanon but more and more regionally.
Indeed,the militant Shiite organization has made great strides in recent months, first by reintegrating the Lebanese government, where it now enjoys the power of veto. This gives Hezbollah the ability to block any laws the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora – an ally of the United States – would try to enact that could end up disfavouring the movement.For example,a point of contention in Lebanon since the end of the civil war in 1990 has been the fact that the multitude of armed militias that proliferated in the country were asked to hand in their armament, while Hezbollah faced no such restrictions. The reason given was that Hezbollah was a resistance group and, as such, was allowed to retain its weapons, and that Hezbollah also promised it would never turn its weapons on its fellow Lebanese.Well, as the recent violence in Beirut demonstrated, that promise didn’t hold. Furthermore, not only is Hezbollah becoming solidly cemented in the country’s politics, it also is emerging as a regional power that Israel now needs to take into consideration. The Second Lebanon War waged by Israel on Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 proved to be a major snafu. Though weakened by the loss of hundreds of its combatants over a period of some 33 days of intense aerial and artillery bombardment and
heavy fighting, the Shiite group emerged stronger and more determined than ever before. And today, new intelligence from the Lebanese capital speaks of truly worrisome developments: First, a report published by the Middle East Times on Aug. 15 revealed that Hezbollah is becoming five times stronger today than it was in 2006 in terms of weaponry, strategic and political positioning. Second, Hezbollah is reported not only to be reinforcing its defences in the south and in Beirut’s southern suburbs, its traditional strongholds, but also to be expanding its defences and digging a vast network of tunnels to other parts of the country, including around the northern port city of Tripoli and in the mountains above the traditional Christian heartland. And third, new reports from the Syrian Reform Party,which have not been independently confirmed, indicate that members of Iran’s al-Quds Force have arrived in Beirut to coordinate joint activities with Hezbollah. If proven true, the deployment of Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon opens up an entirely new – and worrisome – chapter in the Middle East conflict. – UPI (Claude Salhani is editor of the Middle East Times.)
12 September 2008
Zimbabwe crisis ending in historic accord
Harare/Johannesburg – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader MorganTsvangirai reached an historic power-sharing agreement today, apparently ending their nearly decade-long standoff. South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was mediating in the difficult talks, said the two men and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway MDC faction, had signed up to a unity government but gave no details about the plan. “An agreement has been reached on all items
Ramallah – Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to negotiate the future of Jerusalem, a US official said today. An Israeli official also confirmed that Israel was ready to negotiate Jerusalem, seen as the most sensitive bone of contention that the sides need to settle. But he added the issue had not yet been brought up in the talks between the sides. US Consul General in Jerusalem Jake Walles said the parties are negotiating the establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, in which Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. They have agreed that the basis for the negotiations are the 1967 borders, which includes the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and part of the Dead Sea,Walles said in an interview published in the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam. He said the sides have also agreed to make some changes to the 1967 border in agreement between both sides. Israel had been pushing for an agreement that would leave out the highly-sensitive issue of Jerusalem, but the Palestinians had insisted on agreement dealing with all of the core issues of their mutual conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed at an international conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November to end a seven-year freeze in the peace process and strive for a peace deal before US President George W Bush leave office in January 2009. But Olmert said in July that he no longer believed that a deal including a settlement on Jerusalem was possible by the end of the year. He suggested striking an agreement that would leave the complex issue open, but Abbas rejected the offer. During her latest trip to the region late last month, Rice reassured the Palestinians that negotiations on the basis of the 1967 border in fact implies also East Jerusalem, as well as part of the Dead Sea. East Jerusalem falls within the 1967 border,and was captured by Israel from Jordan along with the rest of the West Bank during the Six-Day War of that year. Mark Regev, Olmert’s spokesman, said Israel agreed already in Annapolis to discuss all of the core issues with the Palestinians,“including Jerusalem.” “We’ve had discussions on many of the core issues. Up until now the issue of Jerusalem has yet to be
on all of the matters (under negotiation),” Mbeki told a press conference, adding that the agreement would be formally signed Monday in the presence of regional and African leaders. Emerging from the talks, a beaming Tsvangirai said,“We have a deal,”drawing cheers from journalist. Mugabe,84,also appeared in good spirits as he left the city centre hotel where the talks were held. The deal ends Mugabe’s 28-year monopoly on power. Under the draft agreement that formed the basis for the negotiations, Tsvangirai, who has led
the pro-democracy struggle in Zimbabwe for nine years, was slated to become prime minister while Mugabe remains president with reduced powers. The division of executive powers between the two had been a key bone of contention. The question of who would chair the cabinet has been particularly fraught. Sources from both sides said that a compromise had been reached, which would see Mugabe chair cabinet and Tsvangirai chair a council of ministers. Other issues discussed this week were the term of the new government.The MDC was originally calling for a two-and-a-half-year transitional authority, while Mugabe had been pushing for a full, five-year term for the government. The announcement of the deal was received with caution by many, pending further details.Western powers have said they will only support a government in which Tsvangirai is top dog. But the breakthrough was excitedly received by residents of Harare’s poor neighbourhoods. “All I want is the economy to tick.We’ve suffered enough,”said Sam Gara, patron of a bar in the suburb of Glenview, on hearing the news. The deal, which caps around eight weeks of stopstart talks held in South Africa, comes at the end of a second four-day marathon round of Mbeki-brokered talks between the three leaders in Harare. A first round collapsed in August after Tsvangirai backed away from a deal that he said would have made him a toothless prime minister. Zimbabweans have been hoping for a negotiated settlement to resolve the country’s nearly decadelong political and economic crisis, blamed largely
on Mugabe’s populist policies. South Africa’s ruling African National Congress welcomed the agreement as an “important agreement for South Africa.” “The outcome of a peaceful settlement for Zimbabwe will bring a great deal of prosperity and peace to the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, and we congratulate President Mbeki for this remarkable achievement,”party spokeswoman Jessie Duarte said. Zimbabwe has been mired in crisis for the last eight years since a lawless land-grab of white-owned farms triggered an economic collapse. Inflation is running at 11.2 million per cent and food is in critically short supply. The economic woes intensified in March when the MDC won a majority in parliamentary elections and Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first-round presidential vote, but fell short of enough votes to avoid a runoff. Mugabe launched a campaign of brutal intimidation ahead of the June second-round presidential election,which saw Tsvangirai withdraw after dozens of his supporters were slain by Mugabe supporters. Mugabe was declared the winner of a one-man election that was denounced across the world as a violent, farce. In the wake of the vote, the African Union called on Mugabe to form a unity government with the MDC. Any deal will be seen as a success for Mbeki, who steps down next year after two terms as president. Mbeki’s nine-year “quiet diplomacy” had been blasted as biased and ineffective. – DPA
Shock: Jerusalem to be split
negotiated, though we are committed to doing so,” he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “On the issue of borders, it’s one of the core issues where we’ve actually had very important progress with the Palestinians.We’ve succeeded in narrowing the gaps, though gaps do still exist,”he said. He confirmed that the basis for final border was United Nations General Assembly resolution 242, which calls on Israel to withdraw from land taken in the 1967 war in return for peace. Regev said Israel“remains committed”to meeting the end-of-year deadline for deal, despite its internal political crisis. Olmert, plagued by corruption allegations, has
said he will resign after his ruling Kadima party elects a new leader next month. Chief negotiator Tzipi Livni is the favourite to succeed him, but Olmert could remain in office as acting premier until early next year. Walles told the Palestinian newspaper that the US was not looking for a transitional solution to the conflict and present it to the upcoming quartet meeting in New York. The quartet of Middle East peace mediators includes the US, European Union, United Nations and Russia. The goal of the negotiations,he stressed,remains to reach a final settlement before the end of the year. “We see our role as a facilitator,”he said in a quote
translated into Arabic.“If both sides see that we can help, then we will consider it. But we are not going to do anything that either party may think is not going to help.” Walles, said the newspaper, admitted that Israel has intensified its settlement activities after the November meeting. “We have seen very little progress in removing settlement outposts,”he said. The US official added his government would also like to see Israel do more to facilitate movement of Palestinians, to ease daily life and help revitalize the economy. – DPA
12 September 2008
Palin confident, poised, in first major interview to assume the vice presidency when asked,“Can you look the country in the eye and say I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just WASHINGTON – In her first interview since becom- vice president but perhaps president of the United ing the Republican nominee for vice president, States?” Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said the U.S. might have “I do, Charlie,”she said.“And on Jan. 20 when John to go to war with Russia under certain circum- McCain and I are sworn in if we are so privileged stances and she firmly rejected questions about her to be elected to serve this country, we’ll be ready. readiness for office. I’m ready.” Palin, who returned to Alaska to see her oldest Gibson pressed her on whether she asked herself son off to Iraq today, sat down with ABC World if she was experienced enough or knowledgeable News anchor Charlie Gibson for a series of inter- enough about international affairs. views.The first interviews aired on World News and “I didn’t hesitate,”she said.“I answered him yes Nightline and the final clips will air tomorrow on because I have the confidence in that readiness and Good Morning America,World News and a special knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in edition of 20/20. a way, of being so committed to the mission, the misLike Sen. John McCain, the Republican presiden- sion that we’re on, reform of this country and victial nominee, Palin has taken a hard line on Russian tory in the war, you can’t blink. So I didn’t blink then aggression.When asked if, under the NATO Treaty, even when asked to serve as his running mate.” the U.S. would need to go to war with Russia if it Over the course of the interview, Palin expressed invades Georgia again, she said,“perhaps so. strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself, “I mean, that is the agreement when you are a expressed no reservations about possibly crossing NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re into Pakistan without its government’s approval going to be expected to be called upon and help,” to pursue terrorists in the mountainous Waziristan Palin said.“For Russia to have exerted such pressure region, and seemed unfamiliar with the“Bush docin terms of invading a smaller democratic country, trine,”which says the United States does not need to unprovoked, is unacceptable.” wait to be attacked before going to war. Noting she had recently spoken by telephone with Asked if she had ever travelled out of the country, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, she added: she said she has travelled to Canada and Mexico, as “We have got to keep our eyes on Russia.” well as to visit troops in Kuwait and Germany. She Palin said she favoured including the former said she has never met a foreign head of state, but Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine into noted other vice presidential candidates in history NATO and that the situation does not necessarily had not, either. have to result in war. “I don’t think we can second guess what Israel “It doesn’t have to lead to war and it doesn’t have feels it has to do to secure its nation,”she said when to lead, as I said, to a Cold War, but economic sanc- asked how she would respond if Israel decided to tions, diplomatic pressure, again, counting on our obliterate Iran’s nuclear weapons facility. allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping Questioned about entering into Pakistan to purour eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire sue terrorists, she said,“I believe that America has to control and to control much more than smaller to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists democratic countries,”she said. who are hell bent on destroying America and our When McCain tapped Palin to be his running mate, allies.We have got to have all options out there on he caught the nation by surprise. Media speculation the table.” about who he would choose centred on former MasGibson also read Palin a comment she had made sachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim in church about“our national leaders are sending U.S. Pawlenty and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. soldiers on a task that is from God”– and asked if she Palin, the mother of five, has faced scrutiny and viewed the United States as fighting a holy war. criticism for her short resume as a governor of just “I would never presume to know God’s will or to 20 months. But voters have responded to her on the speak God’s words,”Palin said, explaining that she stump, and McCain has seen his crowds, coffers and was recalling Abraham Lincoln’s own words. poll numbers swell in the last two weeks. A Sarah Gibson asked if her son, Track, who is an Army Palin action figure has even gone on the market. infantryman leaving for Iraq, is on a mission from She brushed off questions about her readiness God. She said she didn’t know. By Jill Zuckman Chicago Tribune
UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg
voters have responded to her on the stump, and McCain has seen his crowds, coffers and poll numbers swell in the last two weeks “I don’t know if the task is from God, Charlie,” Palin said.“What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to
do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.”
Islamic scholar questions Prophet’s existence America being dragged into Pacific war Cologne, Germany – An Islamic theology professor in Germany who doubts the existence of the Prophet Mohammed won partial backing today from another German scholar. Professor Sven Muhammad Kalisch, who trains imams, had upset the Muslim community with publications in which he said there was no proof that the Prophet was a historical person or that the Koran originated as Islam teaches. Professor Gudrun Kraemer, who teaches Islamic studies at the Free University of Berlin, said Thursday on German public radio she agreed there was no indubitable historical evidence of the Prophet’s existence. Kalisch runs the Centre for Islamic Religious Studies (CRS) at the University of Muenster in northern Germany. The four main Muslim groups in Germany last week withdrew their delegates from the CRS board of advisors in protest at Kalisch, saying they had no wish to gag him,but could no longer recommend him as a teacher to young Muslims learning theology. In a joint statement in Cologne on Friday, the council of Muslim organizations said it was concerned at the “discrepancy between fundamentals of Islamic teaching and the published positions of the head of the CRS.” Kraemer said,“the problem is that he trains teach-
ers of Islamic religion and that is a dilemma.” The “elegant solution”to the dispute would be to keep Kalisch as a professor but let another person take over the training of Islamic teachers, she said. She said Kalisch was not unusual among Islamic scholars in demanding documentary proof that the Prophet had existed. “All critical Islamic scholars know we have no original documents contemporary with the assumed lifetime of Mohammed,”she said.“That is a majority view.” But it was also understandable that those who believed in Mohammed’s existence as dogma would not want a person who doubted it to be training their teachers, she said. An estimated 3.3 million people of Muslim background live in Germany, 1.8 million of them Turks. – DPA
Manila – US soldiers are backing the Philippine military’s offensive against Muslim rebels in the south but the Americans are not yet directly involved in combat operations, the country’s armed forces chief said this evening. General Alexander Yano belied claims by government critics that hundreds of US soldiers stationed in the southern region of Mindanao were engaged in combat operations against Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas. “There is no direct participation,” he said.“They [the US troops] may be involved in combat-related activities, but these are not combat in itself.” Yano said the US troops, who have been stationed in Mindanao since 2002 for joint military exercises, help Filipino troops in providing supplies, maintenance of equipment, medical and casualty evacuation, and humanitarian efforts. Yano said the military offensive in Mindanao
would continue until MILF commanders Ameril Umbra Kato and Abdullah Macaapar, who led a series of deadly attacks in August, are captured and their forces neutralized. More than 200 people, including nearly 70 civilians, have been killed and more than 500,000 displaced in the fighting in Mindanao. The hostilities erupted when the Supreme Court stopped the signing of an agreement that would have expanded an existing autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has dissolved the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF and said she would not resume negotiations with the 12,000-strong rebel group until the two commanders have been brought to justice. Investigate magazine has previously reported that New Zealand SAS troops have also been involved in Filipino combat missions against Islamic radicals. – DPA
12 Septemberâ€‚ 2008
Obama, McCain, bury the hatchet for 9/11 Washington â€“ The US presidential election campaign was put on ice today out of respect for the seventh anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. The nominees participated in some of the formal commemoration activities at the sites where 19 hijackers crashed passenger planes into the symbols of US financial and military might on that September day. John McCain,72,the Republican presidential nominee,spoke at the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,where passengers attempted to regain control of the plane to prevent it from being used as a human-guided missile to strike Washington,possibly even the US Capitol Building,which some believe was its intended target. McCain saluted those on board for their courage, saying they may have saved hundreds of people on Capitol Hill, possibly even the Arizona senator himself. Forty passengers died in the crash. Theyâ€œdeprived hateful enemies of their triumph,â€? McCain said. McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama, 47, agreed earlier this week to suspend campaigning and advertising on Friday. The two senators made a joint appearance at Ground Zero in New York, where nearly 3,000 people were killed after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Centre. The candidates conversed quietly as they walked together down the ramp into what remains a hole in the ground. Obama and McCain were followed by McCainâ€™s wife, Cindy, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The candidates each laid a flower in the memorial reflective pool, where hundreds of blooms had been placed earlier by the victimsâ€™ families. The candidates also greeted onlookers and local police officers, thanking them for their service. McCain and Obama later joined an evening event at Columbia University labelled as a â€œpresidential forumâ€?on service. Both tried to maintain a positive tone in separate discussions, linked by a handshake, greeting and
Both tried to maintain a positive tone in separate discussions, linked by a handshake, greeting and embrace between the two candidates as Obama came on stage after McCain was finished embrace between the two candidates as Obama came on stage after McCain was finished. Both praised citizens who volunteer for military service, as well as civilians who spend their free time engaged in social causes. McCain and Obama both said that they would have pushed for more service and sacrifice by the US people during the period after the September 11 attacks. Obama met today with former president Bill Clinton at his charitable foundationâ€™s offices in the Harlem district of New York City.The two talked about the campaign, the economy andâ€œhow the world has changed since September 11, 2001,â€?according to a joint statement. Clinton was slow to support Obama after his wife Hillaryâ€™s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination ended,but gave a rousing endorsement speech at the party nominating convention in late August. Clinton plans to campaign for Obama later this month, the statement said. Back in Washington, a memorial was dedicated at the Pentagon by US President George W Bush â€“ the first memorial to be finished.The fourth plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, killing 184 people in the plane and on the ground. Memorials in Shanksville and at New Yorkâ€™s Ground Zero are to be finished by the 10th anniversary in 2011. â€“ DPA
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L) and Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) arrive to pay their respects at the site of the former twin towers, on the seventh anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, in New York September 11, 2008. (UPI Photo/Shannon Stapleton/POOL)
Itâ€™s neck and neck
The presidential race among registered voters:
â€˘ If the election were held today, whoâ€™d you vote for? McCain/ Palin
Who is qualified to be president? Obama/ Yes No Donâ€™t know Biden Joe Biden 45%
Neither/ 6% 3% Others not sure â€˘ Percent who say theyâ€™ll definitely vote for:
Source: Ipsos poll of 876 registered voters, Sept. 5-9, 2008; margin of error: +/-3.3 percentage points Graphic: Judy Treible ÂŠ 2008 MCT
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Pakistan violence escalates Islamabad â€“Nearly 100 Islamic militants were killed Thursday in two separate clashes with security forces in north-west Pakistan, officials said. Military troops, backed by gunship helicopters and artillery fire, targeted rebel positions in the Tangkhata area of Bajaur district in the countryâ€™s lawless tribal region. â€œUp to 90 insurgents, most of them foreign fighters, died,â€?said a security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Army spokesman Major Murad Khan said initial reports suggested that an important local commander â€“ Qari Ziaur Rehman â€“ and more than a dozen foreign fighters were killed. The term foreign fighters is used to refer to alQaeda members of Arabic or Central Asian origin. â€œThe death toll could drastically rise as there were indications that the miscreants had suffered big
losses,â€?Murad told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. He said two soldiers also died in the firefight that continued for several hours. Since last month, the military has been fighting Taliban in Bajaur district, from where the militants target US-led international forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. About 600 militants have been killed in clashes spanning several weeks, according to official figures. The military operation, which triggered an exodus from Bajaur to safer areas in the adjoining North-West Frontier Province, was halted on September 1 after lawmakers from the tribal belt threatened to withdraw their support to Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential elections. It was resumed on September 6, the day Zardari won the election. â€“ DPA
12 September 2008
NZPA / Wayne Drought
Ryder recalled to black caps Auckland, Sept 12 – Big-hitting opener Jesse Ryder has been recalled to the New Zealand cricket team, seven months after suffering a hand injury in a bar incident. Ryder, 24, is one of a 17-strong Black Caps squad named today for the tour of Bangladesh next month. Selector Dion Nash said the player had been selected for both the test and one-day international components of the tour. He said Ryder’s inclusion came after he had performed well during the Emerging Players tour of Australia in July. Ryder made a impressive start to international one-day cricket this year,scoring 196 runs for an average of 49, and at an eye-catching strike rate of 91. But his career came to sudden halt in the early hours of a Sunday morning in February when he broke a window in a Christchurch bar to try to get into a toilet. He needed surgery to his right hand and the period of rehabilitation he needed meant he missed the tour of England. Chris Martin has been recalled to the one-day squad for the three-match limited-over series, while fellow seamer Iain O’Brien and opening batsman Aaron Redmond will join the tour party for the
Who can stop Richie, ask Wallabies By Mark Geenty of NZPA
Brisbane, Sept 12 – It’s the eternal question but one not easily answered: how to nullify Richie McCaw? The All Blacks captain and openside flanker is feted in Australia almost more than in New Zealand for his matchwinning qualities as he prepares to lead them into tomorrow’s Tri-Nations decider here. He returned from injury to inspire the All Blacks to victory in Auckland last month to turn around an embarrassing Bledisloe Cup loss in Sydney, then had what coach Graham Henry rated his best game in a black jersey in the 19-0 win over South Africa in Cape Town. It leaves Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who’s worked with McCaw the most of any coach, to keep trying to find ways to minimise his impact as the All Blacks look to secure the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup in one hit. The Deans theory was simple, imparted by one of the cerebral of props,Wallaby Al Baxter. I think a lot about it is taking the space. He thrives on getting in there and being a presence at the breakdown,”Baxter said. “If you take that space away from him, he can’t physically get in there to cause the damage he’s done.A lot of it this weekend is making sure we take that space and get in that space first. Another past theory has been to run at McCaw and take him out of play in a ruck, but Baxter said even the cleverest plans weren’t guaranteed success.
I think Robbie gives good insights into what is effective against him because Richie’s played under him for probably close to 100 games and so Robbie would know what has been effective against Richie and what hasn’t been. “So I think that’s probably the insights we get, but Richie is a great player in his own right and despite all those coach’s insights, you still have to actually do it on the field. All Blacks attack coach Wayne Smith kept the McCaw superlatives flowing from the New Zealand camp. The captain will play his 65th test, equal to teammates Greg Somerville and Mile Muliaina in equal seventh on the All Blacks test caps list. McCaw has won 57 of his 64 tests, an impressive win percentage of 89. He acknowledged the tough task for coaches to quell McCaw’s presence. “He’s a hell of an influential player and I guess they’ll be trying bloody hard to nullify him.He’s a good player and it’s easier said than done,”Smith said. “He’s our leader and I feel he’s really stepped up a notch this year in terms of his leadership. He’s getting even better. He’s a great player, possibly the world’s great player at the moment. “But one man doesn’t win a game and he’s pivotal to us obviously. Others have got to do their jobs and support him, and we know he’ll be leading by example, giving it everything and shedding blood for the team and we need to make sure others are at that level with him.“
subsequent two tests. The one-day side leave for Bangladesh on September 30, four days earlier than previously expected. Nash said the extra time would ensure quality preparation. New Zealand squad: Daniel Vettori (captain), Grant Elliott, Daniel Flynn, Mark Gillespie (ODIs only), Gareth Hopkins, Jamie How, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Iain O’Brien (tests only), Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Aaron Redmond (tests only), Jesse Ryder,Tim Southee, Scott Styris (ODIs only), Ross Taylor. Itinerary October 7 j one-day warm-up match, venue and
opposition to be confirmed; October 9 j first one-day international, Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur; October 11 j second one-day international, Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur; October 14 j third one-day international, Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium, Chittagong; October 17 j first test,Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium, Chittagong; October 25, second test, Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. – NZPA
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12 September 2008
Dean fifth in stage, moves to third in points standings
his debut for Manchester United away at Liverpool, who hope to have midfielder Steven Gerrard back after a groin operation. Striker Fernando Torres is a major doubt with a hamstring strain. It is over four years since Liverpool beat United and, after a start that has been more impressive in terms of results than performances this comes as their first serious test. “I think this game is worth much more than three points,”said full-back Alvaro Arbeloa. “If we beat Manchester United at home we will have 10 points and much more confidence. But everyone will also be very, very happy.” Elsewhere, Newcastle fans are threatening protests as their side face Hull at home, while Gianfranco Zola is likely to take charge of West Ham for the first time on their trip to West Brom.
Wellington, Sept 12 – New Zealand cyclist Julian Dean had a good day in the saddle at the Tour of Britain today, going some way towards dispelling the notion he is no climber. He finished fifth in the 168km fifth stage from Kingston-on-Hull to Dalby Forest, which includes three climbs in quick succession near the end of the stage. He was in a large group 11 seconds behind stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway who clocked three hours 46 minutes 23 seconds. Dean finished fourth in yesterday’s fourth stage, also won by Hagen. Today’s effort, which also saw him pick up 11 points in the sprints, moved Dean up one spot in general classification to 25th, 12min 32sec behind tour leader Frenchman Geoffroy Lequatre, of Agritubel, who leads on 17hr 29min 40sec. Lequatre retained the yellow jersey after finishing 17th today also at 11sec behind Hagen to hold a 6sec lead over Britain’s Steve Cummings with another 4sec to Italian Gabriele Bosisio. Dean, who rides for Garmin Chipotle, is third in the points standings on 37, just two points behind Australian Matthew Goss of CSC. The New Zealand road race champion will get a chance to challenge for the lead in the points standings as the 156km sixth stage from Darlington to Newcastle beginning tonight (NZT) is one for the sprinters. There are three sprint points at Harelaw, Morpeth and Seaton Sluice and two small climbs are not expected to cause any damage. Dean finished 54th at the Beijing Olympics, a victim of the hilly course, but has shown good form since, having finished third overall at the Tour of Ireland 11 days ago.
Shifting loyalties in English football this weekend London – It says something for the changes presently afoot in English football that a clash between Liverpool and Manchester United is no longer the undisputed highlight of the calendar. While many will be gripped by the lunchtime clash at Anfield, there is also a lustre to the Saturday tea-time meeting of Manchester City and Chelsea, the newly rich and the newly newly rich. Chelsea hoped Robinho would be involved in the game, but they can hardly have imagined he would be wearing the pale blue of City. The events of transfer deadline day still defy logic, but the facts are simple:City have been taken over by a group representing the Abu Dhabi royal family,whose wealth outstrips that of the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich several times over, and that wealth allowed them to outbid Chelsea foe the Brazilian forward.Not surprisingly, the City hierarchy are des-
perate to have Robinho, his fellow Brazilians Jo and Elano and the Argentinian defender Pablo Zabaleta back and ready for Saturday after playing in World Cup qualifiers in South America on Wednesday. “We couldn’t have got the lads back in time on scheduled flights so we’ve had to make other arrangements,”City manager Mark Hughes said. “I’ll make a judgement on what I see, but it’s fair to say that there will be a reasonable chance Robinho will be involved.” Chelsea have lost midfielder Michael Essien to a knee injury, but they should have Mikel John Obi and forward Didier Drogba available. “Drogba is not completely ready for the game against Manchester City, but in my idea he may be possible to play 45 minutes,” said manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. Bulgaria forward Dimitar Berbatov could make
Hamilton wants revenge Van Der Drift fourth fastest in a1 testing Wellington, Sept 12 – New Zealand driver Chris Van Der Drift was fourth fastest on the second day of A1 tests at Donington Park in England. Van Der Drift drove 75 laps in the new 600bhp Ferrari-powered Black Beauty and had a best time of one minute 18.364 seconds on the 4.02km circuit. The fastest time was produced by Malaysia’s Fairuz Fauzy who clocked 1min 17.474sec to better the track record set by the late Brazilian great, Ayrton Senna, during the European grand prix in 1993. Second fastest was Jeroen Bleekemolen of the Netherlands with 1min 17.886sec.Australia’s John Martin was third with 1min 17.896sec. The first round of the A1 series begins on October 5 at Zandvoort in the Netherlands. New Zealand finished second in last year’s series behind Switzerland. – NZPA
Monza, Italy – Although Lewis Hamilton is still hoping that an appeal will reinstate him as the winner of the Belgium Grand Prix, he is looking forward to gaining revenge in Ferrari’s backyard by winning Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. The McLaren-Mercedes driver won last Sunday’s race at Spa but was later handed a 25-second penalty which demoted him to third place. Ferrari rival Felipe Massa was declared the winner. Race stewards decided the British driver had gained an unfair advantage by cutting a chicane before overtaking Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen towards the end of the race. Hamilton said immediately after being penalized that the decision had made him more determined. “Now we want to win all the remaining races.” Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug said that his team would concentrate on the 14th of 18 season races.“But we will also point out that we were unfairly treated.” Hamilton’s penalty pushed Massa to within two points of the McLaren driver in the standings and has added further fuel to an already volatile situation in which there has been speculation that Ferrari is being favoured. The Italian team is trying to downplay the controversy surrounding the Belgium Grand Prix, although they are being seen as the team that benefited the most from the decision. “It is our job to prepare as best we can for Monza. That is our main goal and we need to concentrate on that,”team chief Stefano Domenicali said.
Hamilton said immediately after being penalized that the decision had made him more determined. “Now we want to win all the remaining races.”
For Massa it makes no difference whether he won the race on the track or by default.“Obviously it is highly motivating to go into Monza on the back of a victory. Now I want to also win the Ferrari home race.” If the Brazilian wins the race on the spectacular 5,793-kilometre long course, or manages to get two points more than Hamilton, he will take over as the new championship leader. Going into Monza Hamilton has 76 points while Massa, who has not scored a single point in five outings in Monza, has 74. Had the race stewards not penalized Hamilton he would have an eight-point advantage over Massa. Defending champion Raikkonen, who seemed
on course to finishing at least second in Belgium before crashing towards the end in wet conditions needs to win in Monza if he wants to maintain his chances of retaining the title. The Finn is 19 points behind Hamilton. “I will do everything I can to win,”he said. McLaren, who managed a one-two in Monza last year and has achieved excellent results in tests ahead of the race, is confident that they will be competitive. “We are cool and relaxed ahead of the race. We will not underestimate Ferrari. But our tests in Monza were very good and in Belgium we were much faster than Massa,”Haug said. – DPA
12 September 2008
TV & Film
Will Toronto deliver another bumper crop? entertainment
Kanye arrested in paparazzi scuffle LOS ANGELES, Sept. 11 (UPI) – Hip-hop artist Kanye West was arrested for felony vandalism at Los Angeles International Airport after an altercation with a photographer, TMZ said today. A source told the entertainment news Web site a photographer was trying to snap some pictures of West, who apparently objected to being photographed at that time. West allegedly threw the photographer’s camera to the ground. TMZ said West’s assistant allegedly snatched and broke a TMZ camera after the photographer started videotaping the incident. TMZ also reported when West realized its crew had videotaped the episode, he rushed the TMZ photographer and yelled, “Give me that (expletive) tape!” West and his assistant were both arrested, the entertainment news Web site said.
Last year’s Toronto International Film Festival launched more than a few exceptionally good, and, as things turned out, Oscar-contending titles: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Eastern Promises,Juno, Michael Clayton,No Country For Old Me, and Persepolis among them. Not bad. This year’s festival, which will run through Sept. 14 in the movie-crazed Canadian town, boasts 249 features from 64 countries. To quote the Torontobased singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, there’s gold in them hills. And probably more than a few 2009 Academy Award nominees-to-be in the mix. At the same time, there are several “difficult” projects that hope to use North America’s most important film festival to gain acclaim, attention, and good box office numbers down the line: The Lucky Ones, from Neil Burger, director of The Illusionist, is a road movie looking to shrug off the Iraq war-movie curse (as in nobody’s bothered to see any of those pics). It stars Rachel McAdams, Michael Pena and Tim Robbins as three returning veterans on a wild cross-country drive. Synecdoche, New York, which had its premiere at Cannes in May, marks screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s directing debut. The Being John Malkovich/Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind surrealist has assembled a crack cast – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton and Michelle Williams – for the dark tale of a hypochondriacal theater director and the women, and worry, in his life. Sony Pictures Classics will roll the movie into art houses starting in October – hoping for a bounce from Toronto. And Steven Soderbergh’s two-part Che – with Benicio Del Toro as the revolutionist and T-shirt icon Che Guevara – is another high-profile pic that’s counting on emerging from TIFF with a formidable buzz. There should be smoother sailing for some studio and specialty division releases boasting big stars and top directors: Anne Hathaway is the lead in Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married, a family comedy that’s already generating strong word of mouth, and is slated to start its theatrical run in early October. Miracle at St. Anna, from Spike Lee, offers the inspired-by-history drama of four black American soldiers trapped in an Italian hill town during World War II. It will open Sept. 26.
Appaloosa is an old-schoolWestern directed by and starring Ed Harris, with Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons and Renee Zellweger along for the ride.And The Duchess boasts the cheekbones and beaming smile of Keira Knightley, in the role of 18th-century noblewoman Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Ralph Fiennes and Hayley Atwell co-star,and Atwell,at least, makes it sound pretty provocative. “My character is this lover and confidante of the duchess,”she said in an interview in Philadelphia last month,when she was plugging Brideshead Revisited. “But she also ends up being the lover and confidante of the duke.And they live together as a menage a trois for 25 years, and I found that concept fascinating.”
John Goodman; and John Stockwell’s Middle of Nowhere, a teen romance with Eva Amurri, Anton Yelchin and Susan Sarandon. Alternative programming j The summer of 2008
has had more than its share of mega-blockbusters – The Dark Knight,Iron Man,Hancock,Wall*E,Kung Fu Panda – and a mess of other hits have crossed the $100 million mark. (A few more will do so.) So, tons of people have seen tons of Hollywood fare: action, comic-book adaptations, suspensers, Judd Apatow comedies, stoner farces, teen romps, the lot. Which means that your time should be freed up to check out some smaller, but no less rewarding,
The Coen Brothers, multiple Oscar winners for No Country for Old Men, will return to Toronto this year with lighter, loopier fare: Burn After Reading is a screwball spy caper with Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand as Washington fitness instructors who try to extort the CIA, and get in way, way over their heads Fascinating! The Duchess will open Sept. 26. The Coen Brothers, multiple Oscar winners for No Country for Old Men, will return to Toronto this year with lighter, loopier fare: Burn After Reading is a screwball spy caper with Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand as Washington fitness instructors who try to extort the CIA, and get in way, way over their heads. George Clooney, Richard Jenkins, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton are caught up in the huggermugger, too. Burn After Reading, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival this week, will open Sept. 12. Among the many, many titles going into Toronto looking for distribution deals are Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, with Mickey Rourke as a retired pro on the comeback trail; Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles, with Ben Chaplin, Claire Danes and Zac Efron; Management, with Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn; Gigantic, with Jane Alexander, Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel and
movies.And in many cases, more rewarding movies. Five titles currently on the marquees of various art-house venues are absolute must-seers: jThe Edge of Heaven, a multifaceted missingpersons drama set in Germany and Istanbul, from the great German-Turkish director Fatih Akin. jFrozen River, with Melissa Leo as a desperate single mother involved in smuggling illegals across the New York-Canadian border. jMan on Wire, a documentary about Philippe Petit, the French daredevil who, in 1974, walked a steel cable between the tops of the World Trade Centre’s twin towers. jTell No One, a taut, terrific French thriller, adapted from a Harlan Coben best-seller. jVicky Cristina Barcelona, with Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz,Rebecca Hall and Scarlet Johansson in a quadrangle of love and longing, set in sun-splashed Spain, from a top-of-his-game Woody Allen. – By Steven Rea
Critic smacked Ebert with binder TORONTO, Sept. 11 (UPI) – A New York film critic allegedly yelled at and hit Roger Ebert after Ebert tapped him on the shoulder at a screening, the New York Daily News reported. Ebert’s battle with thyroid and salivary gland cancer has robbed him of his ability to talk. He was apparently trying to signal New York Post critic Lou Lumenick in the darkened movie theatre to move over because he couldn’t see during a press screening of Slumdog Millionaire at the Toronto Film Festival, a source told the Daily News. The spy said the first time Ebert tapped his fellow critic, Lumenick yelled, “Don’t touch me!” About 10 minutes later, it allegedly happened again, and Lumenick bellowed, “I said don’t touch me!” A few moments after that, the source said: “The guy stands up in the darkness and thwacks the guy behind him with a big festival binder. He hit him so hard everybody could hear it. Everyone freaked out and turned around. ... Apparently, Roger was just trying to tap Lumenick on the shoulder to signal him that he couldn’t see the movie. He was trying to ask him to move over a bit.” Another insider told the Daily News Lumenick did not apologize when he saw who he hit. The newspaper said Lumenick didn’t return a call or e-mail by press time, and Ebert’s representatives declined to comment.
12 September 2008
Lynn Goldsmith/ZUMA Press
By Steve Paul The Kansas City Star.
Seven years ago this month Laurie Anderson stepped onto the stage at New York’s Town Hall and sang to a city still much in shock. It was eight days after the terrorist attacks, after the two World Trade Centre towers collapsed, and Anderson met the awkward challenge by blending new work with old. With songs of loneliness, angels and dystopia, Anderson’s sound must have seemed perfect at the time. At least it does in retrospect, in the concert recording released a few months later.“Here come the planes,” she intoned, eerily. That was from her mesmerizing classic, “O Superman,” which she’d written 20 years earlier, at the time of another geopolitical storm. Now another anniversary is upon us this week, and Anderson has been touring a concert that’s much in tune with the post-9/11 zeitgeist. It’s called“Homeland,”and she’ll perform it Sept. 12 in the US.The concert marks the beginning of a fall tour to U.S. concert halls. She launched“Homeland” in Europe last year and the U.S. last spring, and she has just returned from a string of gigs in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. With a title that emits multiple meanings in these times, Homeland” gives Anderson a chance to explore the world as it has evolved since that fateful day in 2001. “Many years later we find ourselves living,in many ways,in a very different place,”Anderson said recently by phone from Santiago, Chile.“And a lot of people have felt the same way I have – disoriented about a lot of things. In particular having to do with the war. “So ‘Homeland’ was about looking at this contemporary culture through two filters – the filters of love and war. I’m just trying to come at it from a bunch of different angles without being didactic. Nobody needs more didactic.” Instead, Anderson explores what might have been lost in the last eight years. She sings of political “experts,”“underwear gods” and Oprah (“let’s say you’re invited on Oprah and you don’t have a problem ...”). In Anderson’s vision of the“American night”everything seems distorted. Tuning into the music of Laurie Anderson is to be swallowed by sonic clouds and dreamscapes. Pulsating carpets of tender, techno sounds often carry Anderson’s voice – at times a whisper,at times a wavery song – through stories of modern life. Her style sometimes evokes the likes of Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith, but it’s always unmistakably her own. Sometimes head-on, sometimes surreal,Anderson has worked her terrain as performance artist/multimedia bard for more than three decades. Her resume includes a series of stunning recordings, beginning in the early 1980s with “Big Science”and “United States I-IV,” but also projects for choreographers, the Olympics (Athens, 2004), festivals around the world and even NASA. She developed“Homeland”in recent years while touring the globe. “I did a lot of improvising with a lot of different groups,”she said.“One was with Mongolian throat singers, others were with a jazz band, others were with electro-pop people. So I’d play a bunch of different things and keep one or two.” Improvisation was not her usual M.O., she said, but she had fun doing it and creating a series of songs and sounds that add up to another entry in her ongoing explorations of American life, love, identity, technology, politics and power. How convenient that the current leg of the tour is occurring during a presidential election season.
Tuning into the music of Laurie Anderson is to be swallowed by sonic clouds and dreamscapes. Pulsating carpets of tender, techno sounds often carry Anderson’s voice – at times a whisper, at times a wavery song – through stories of modern life. Her style sometimes evokes the likes of Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith, but it’s always unmistakably her own “I’m trying to describe things,”she said.“But I’m also very fascinated by the element of stories.That’s kind of my medium.And during elections, elections are all about stories.We want to know whether the story is plausible or not, whether candidates are spinning stories about themselves or about the past or a possible future. “You know, McCain, telling this story of 100 years
of war in Iraq? Why is he telling that story? And what is it based on?” According to many accounts,“Homeland”relies much less on multimedia effects than earlier Anderson productions.All the better to keep the focus on words and music. As usual, she plays violin, keyboards and other electronic instruments,and is accompanied by a small
and occasionally changing group of musicians. Occasionally that includes rock icon Lou Reed, her longtime companion-recently-turned-husband. Reed played guitar on a couple of the pieces during the South American tour, including “The Lost Art of Conversation,”Anderson’s meditation on illusion and love (“I pretend that I’m happy, you pretend that you’re there”).
12 September 2008
NEW CD RELEASES That Lucky Old Sun 0Brian Wilson 0Capitol Records
Brian Wilson, the most troubled and gifted of the Beach Boys, is working at his most prolific rate since the 1960s. Obscured by the Brian-is-back love fest, however, is that his new music hasn’t been particularly strong. Solo albums in 1997 (“Imagination”) and 2004 (“Gettin’in Over My Head”) sounded like robotic re-creations of past triumphs, rather than the work of a genius back on his game. Wilson’s latest release,“That Lucky Old Sun” (Capitol), aims higher: It’s an earnest attempt to create another song cycle in the tradition of ‘60s classics“Pet Sounds”and“Smile,”which he has been performing on the road. But the new album is not the long-awaited third part of a concept-album trilogy; instead, it’s mostly a clunky and forgettable exercise in nostalgia. The album’s theme of personal renewal plays out over a day in old Los Angeles, back when the 66year-old Wilson was a teenager. Collaborating with the multifaceted band that has been his safety net in concert,Wilson crafts a 17-song, 38-minute suite of orchestrated pop. At the centre of it all is Wilson, sounding a little worn around the edges but still bringing enthusiasm to his singing. Most of the songs are like a forced smile, a series of strained odes to “the golden glow” of an L.A. that no longer exists. There are also a handful of embarrassments, including a mash note to a“Mexican Girl.” “Can you picture me in your family tree?”Wilson sings. In the album’s closing songs,Wilson addresses the pain of his mental illness and his long road back to a semblance of stability.The best of these,“Midnight’s Another Day,”is a melancholy piano ballad that ranks withWilson’s best and most personal work.WhenWilson sings,“All these people make me feel so alone,”we get a brief,heartbreaking glimpse of what the singer’s life must have been like the last four decades.
The Good Thief is an irresistible journey through a pungently Dickensian world The Good Thief
0By Hannah Tinti 0Dial Press ($35)
Advance word on Hannah Tinti’s first novel,The Good Thief,has been the kind to inspire scepticism.A chorus of established writers – Junot Diaz, Elizabeth Berg,Brock Clarke,to name but three – rush forward to shout each other down with escalating praise. She’s the new Robert Louis Stevenson! No, the new Dickens! No,Twain! Wait – the book is Oliver Twist and Huckleberry Finn combined! Can any work live up to such billing? Probably not. But now that The Good Thief is here, we can see for ourselves how its intoxicating pleasures might incite intemperate enthusiasm. Set in a 19th-century New England so gothic as to seem medieval, The Good Thief centres on 12-yearold named Ren, who lives among other orphaned boys at a monastery. Abandoned at the door as an infant, Ren remembers no other life, including how he lost his left hand. Ren is certain he will never be adopted, but one day a strikingly handsome and elegant fellow, clearly not a local farmer, picks Ren out of the line as his lost nephew. The man is Benjamin Nab, travelling in the company of a drunkard named Tom. On Ren’s first night, the two men steal a horse and wagon from a hospitable farm family. He has fallen in among rogues. Retaining his Christian faith, Ren feels guilty, but has no choice but to go along with the schemes of his companions, who seem to have chosen him precisely because his maimed appearance makes him an object of pity, and therefore more useful at separating marks from their money. And Nab and Tom prove ingenious scoundrels. They pick pockets, sell patent medicines, duck out on debts, run cons of all types, fence stolen goods. The quick-witted Ren soon earns his own way. For some reason, Nab is intent on working a bleak – By Greg Kot town where a mouse-trap factory provides the sole employment. Here Ren discovers Nab and Tom’s grisly sideline as grave robbers.They dig up freshly New Kids On The Block buried corpses and sell them to a doctor eager to 0The Block learn the secrets of the human body. 0Records ?????????? The Good Thief is the kind of novel that makes the term “old-fashioned”a compliment – tightly plotOf course, New Kids ted, unmannered, irresistible.Tinti writes in a lean, on the Block aren’t pitch-perfect prose that grabs the reader’s mind kids anymore, and and won’t let go.The incidents she relates are dark the boy-band thing is and grim, but the telling leaves room for humanity and humour. moldy, too. Tinti populates the story with pungent characters, So is “The Block” reunion album a from the fussy doctor and his God complex to the warm serving of nos- enormous Dolly, a professional murderer who comes talgia or a more ambitious stab at relevancy? Alas, back to life after being exhumed.There’s a hidden dwarf, a hare-lipped factory girl, and McGinty, the the disappointing answer: neither. Instead, these 13 songs straddle the line between mouse-trap tycoon who runs the town like a bloodthose options with tiresome, one-dimensional music thirsty princeling. Not least is Mrs. Sands, the stern, that’s less than one would expect from the forefa- deaf landlady: “She was wearing an apron and a deep purple thers of the 1990s teen-pop explosion. Even in its prime, NKOTB was nutrient-free bubble-gum, but shift with the sleeves rolled to her elbows. On her at least“You Got It (The Right Stuff)”and“Hangin’ head was the same cap she’d worn the night before. It was clear that Mrs. Sands had been up for hours, Tough”were fun. scrubbing her house. Ren looked at her face as she That element is woefully missing here. For starts, would it be too much to ask for a few tucked the bin and broom underneath her arm and more upbeat songs? The first five tracks, including glared at the clouds. The expression was hard, as “Click Click Click” and the Ne-Yo collaboration if she expected someone to start throwing things “Single,”are a sheer somnambulistic trudge. at her.” Oh sure,“Grown Man”– with the Pussycat Dolls If The Good Thief has a flaw, it lies in the resolution and Teddy Riley – has a catchy hook, but it’s lifted of the plot – but by then readers will be so invested from Aretha Franklin’s“Chain of Fools.”They made in Ren and his companions they will embrace the us wait for this? wish-fulfilment ending. – Reviewed By Jim Abbott
– By Chauncey Mabe
This is the untold history of how the Bush administration wrestled with that question. Compiled from classified documents and interviews with more than 150 participants, it reveals that the administration’s efforts to develop a new Iraq strategy were crippled by dissension among the president’s advisers, delayed by political calculations and undermined by a widening and sometimes bitter rift in civilian-military relations
Bob Woodward describes the war within the war room
ferent upbeat assessment from Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq at the time. Casey, the book says, was insisting Iraq would be largely stable in a year and that most American troops would be headed home. Meanwhile, U.S. casualties that summer exceeded THE WAR WITHIN: A Secret White 2,500 deaths, with nearly 20,000 wounded. House History 2006-2008 Here is an excerpt that sets the stage for what’s 0By Bob Woodward to follow: 0Published by Simon & Schuster, “Bush acknowledged to himself what he was not US$17.60 via Amazon saying publicly:The war had taken a perilous turn for the worse, with 1,000 attacks a week, the equivaIf journalist and author Bob Woodward is a master lent of six an hour.‘Underneath my hope was a sense of uncovering secrets, he also understands the power of anxiety,’ Bush recalled in a May 2008 interview. of keeping secrets. The strategy was one ‘that everybody hoped would By the time his latest book came out Monday, work. And it did not. And therefore the question Woodward had what every author covets: advance is, when you’re in my position: If it’s not working, media buzz. What would Woodward reveal this time what do you do?’ about the Bush administration’s handling of the war “This is the untold history of how the Bush in war in Iraq? This time, unlike the last,Woodward’s administration wrestled with that question. Comextensive interviews included sessions with the piled from classified documents and interviews president. On Sunday, the Washington Post, where with more than 150 participants, it reveals that Woodward is an editor, began a four-part series of the administration’s efforts to develop a new Iraq excerpts of the 487-page new book, which is Wood- strategy were crippled by dissension among the ward’s fourth on the Bush White House. president’s advisers, delayed by political calculaIn his latest reporting,Woodward documents not tions and undermined by a widening and sometimes only internal dissension, but conflicting reports bitter rift in civilian-military relations.” about what was actually happening in Iraq. In one In effect, the book describes two competing wars: instance in the summer of 2006, for example, Bush one in Iraq and another within the Bush adminwas getting daily top-secret updates of escalating istration. bloodshed from a 36-year-old security adviser, MegA blog by Washington Post editors says that the han O’Sullivan. early takes on Woodward’s latest book suggest it In one dire report to the president, according delivers a mixed assessment of Bush’s performto Woodward, O’Sullivan quoted an intelligence ance, compared to overall positive evaluations in assessment saying that “violence has acquired a Woodward’s first two books on Bush followed by momentum of its own and is now self-sustaining.” the harshly critical“State of Denial.” O’Sullivan, with a doctorate from Oxford, had spent Watch this week’s US 60 Minutes story on the a year in Iraq. book’s revelations: Yet at the same time, Bush was getting a far dif– By Diane Evans
12 September 2008
Scientists find more to please wine-lovers Focus on resveratrol Resveratrol is an antibiotic produced by plants that are under attack; it is found in the skin of red grapes and is a constituent of red wine.
Contents Max. resveratrol in 5 oz. (0.15 l) of fluid Muscadine wines Red wines Spanish red wines In addition, another 43 grapevine genes are involved in the synthesis of resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of red grapes that gets taken up in wine. Resveratrol activates a gene that has been shown to slow down the aging process in plant and animal cells
By Robert S. Boyd
WASHINGTON – Gene scientists are getting around to the good stuff, instead of gloomy topics like the causes of cancer, heart attacks and AIDS. They’ve now discovered the genes that give red wine its satisfying flavour and aroma – and perhaps its supposed health benefits. Biologists in France (of course) have deciphered the DNA of a line of grapevines derived from pinot
noir, which produce a red wine popularized in the 2004 movie “Sideways.” The DNA contains 30,434 genes that carry the instructions to make the vine, whose scientific name is Vitis vinifera. Among the genes, the researchers found 89 that are responsible for producing the fragrant resins and oils in red grapes. Typical plants have only half as many such genes as these grapevines do, according to Patrick Wincker, a plant geneticist at the French-Italian Public Con-
Red grape juice Rose wines White wines
6.0 mg 1.07 mg 1.89 mg 1.30 mg 0.53 mg 0.27 mg
• Peanuts have about half the amount of resveratrol as that found in red wine • Sales of resveratrol nutritional supplements greatly increased in the recent years © 2008 MCT Source: Science Library, Danmarks Radio, sirtrispharma.com, MCT Photo Service Graphic: Jutta Scheibe, Eeli Polli
sortium for Grapevine Genome Characterization in Evry, France. Wincker is the principal author of a paper published in the journal Nature last year. The grapevine genes’ “relative abundance is directly correlated with the aromatic features of wines,”Wincker wrote. Similar genes are credited with the distinctive scent of peppermint plants, he reported. In addition, another 43 grapevine genes are involved in the synthesis of resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of red grapes that gets taken up in wine. Resveratrol activates a gene that has been shown to slow down the aging process in plant and animal cells. Resveratrol“has been associated with the health benefits associated with moderate consumption of red wine,”Wincker wrote. The new understanding of grapevine genes may help explain the wide diversity of wine flavours, he said. In March 2007, for example,Australian scientists reported finding mutations in two red-grape genes that produced a white grapevine that was the parent
• Effects only reported in non-human species, such as mice, rats: • Anti-cancer • Antiviral • Neuroprotective • Anti-aging • Anti-inflammatory • Life-prolonging • Anti-obesity
of most of the world’s white-grape varieties. “If only one gene had been mutated, most grapes would still be red and we would not have the more than 3,000 white grape cultivars available today,” plant geneticist Amanda Walker reported. In his Nature paper, Wincker said his FrenchItalian team chose to work on grapevines, the first fruit plant to have its genome decoded,“because of its important place in the cultural heritage of humanity, beginning in the Neolithic period.”The period is also known as the New Stone Age, dating from about 10,000 years ago. Ancient writers affirm wine’s historic place. Wincker noted that the Greek historian Thucydides (450-395 B.C.) wrote that“the Mediterranean people began to emerge from ignorance when they learnt to cultivate olives and grapes.” Traces of white wine were found in the tomb of the Egyptian king Tutankhamun, who reigned from 1333 to 1324 B.C. For more information on grapevines: http://plants. usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VIVI5
Brush teeth to avoid heart attack
Hopkins using the ketogenic diet to treat infantile spasms before medications were tried and compare this to our use of ACTH over the same time period, said Dr. Eric Kossoff, the study’s lead author. He said the ketogenic diet is now one of the first-line therapies for new-onset infantile spasms at Johns Hopkins, with other hospitals beginning to follow suit. The study appears in the journal Epilepsia.
London – People who fail to brush their teeth regularly put themselves at greater risk of suffering a heart attack, British scientists said today. Poor dental hygiene leading to bleeding gums allows around 700 types of harmful bacteria to develop which interact with blood cells, scientists at the University of Bristol, and at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, have found. These go straight to the bloodstream and are now known to be “independent factors”in causing heart disease, regardless of how fit and healthy a person is. Professor Howard Jenkinson from the University of Bristol, in south-west Britain, said he made the discovery after examining how harmful bacteria interact with blood cells. “Cardiovascular disease is currently the biggest killer in the western world. Oral bacteria such as Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus sanguinis are common infecting agents, and we now recognise that bacterial infections are an independent risk factor for heart diseases,”he said. “It doesn’t matter how fit, slim or healthy you are, you’re adding to your chances of getting heart disease by having bad teeth.”
Diet may stop infant epileptic spasms BALTIMORE – U.S. scientists say they have determined a ketogenic – or high fat, low carbohydrate – diet is effective in treating infantile epileptic spasms. Infantile spasms are a potentially devastating epileptic condition affecting children aged 4-8 months. Johns Hopkins University researchers said their finding is the first description of the ketogenic diet as a first-line defence for infantile spasms in place of
drugs.The diet is more traditionally used for intractable childhood epilepsy, scientists said. ACTH and vigabatrin, medications commonly used as first treatments, can have potentially serious side effects, the scientists said. In addition, although ACTH is effective in up to 70 percent of cases, it costs more than $80,000 for a one-month supply and vigabatrin isn’t yet available in the United States. We decided to review our experience at Johns
SCIENCE & TECH 17
12 September 2008
Privacy features let you erase your tracks online By Lou Dolinar Newsday
Enough about“porn mode”in Internet Explorer 8.0. The new privacy features previewed in the recent beta 2 are a good idea. The problem that Microsoft is addressing – and in a serious fashion – is mysterious to less-sophisticated computer users: In the name of convenience, computers track stuff that, if found by someone, could embarrass you, bust you dead broke, or get you fired. Forget about porn. Give me about five minutes with a PC you’ve been using, and I can tell most of what you’ve been doing on the Internet, including details of your banking transactions if you’re careless. Meanwhile, on the Internet end of things, computers routinely track your activity to create custom advertising, commissions and marketing information. Internet Explorer’s 8’s“InPrivate” option lets you turn off data collection for specific sites, then turn it back on again. Among the data you can manipulate are: j Your browsing history and address bar. j The disk cache, designed to speed up surfing, also records hundreds of megabytes of Web pages you’ve accessed. j Cookies, usually with no bad intent, but which do contain site-specific names that can be read locally. j File download history. j Saved form information where passwords and other site-specific data may lurk. j Sending of referrer headers. If you visit site A, site B can read this to tell who sent you; this is the basis of“click through”advertising referrals. The idea is that you freeze data collection on sensitive sites.True, people who view porn sites will find this wildly useful to keep casual snoops from noticing, although most likely such sites will refuse to let people log in if they have privacy enabled. But it is also
Bacteria may use snake-type poisons
useful for anyone who occasionally indulges private surfing at work,contrary to company policy,who uses Internet cafes or has to borrow someone else’s PC. Porn mode is a big improvement over the common method for dealing with the issue, which is to blow away all the collected data (in Internet Explorer 7.0 go to tools/general and click on the “delete”button under Browsing History.You’ll then get a new window that lets you kill off data categories individually, or all at once.), at which point you,
As is often the case, Microsoft is popularizing a feature that has its roots elsewhere. Back in 2005, Apple introduced a private mode in its Safari browser that selectively blocked data collection on the Mac. Assuming you want a finished product rather than beta, Safari for Windows, which came out in 2007, also incorporates this feature. Since Safari has such a small market share, this isn’t going to do you much good when you borrow or rent a computer. What about Mozilla Firefox? The Mozilla folks are
unfortunately, also delete any site-specific preferences you’ve saved, as well as Web sites you may have forgotten to bookmark. There are also many aftermarket programs for this kind of operation. I use Steven Gould’s Cleanup! (stevengould.org), which is free.
promising a response, but it is interesting that porn mode, unlike most of IE’s other new features, didn’t appear on Firefox first. Privacy has always had an ambiguous relationship to the anarcho-libertarian ethos of the Internet that Firefox exemplifies. In this case, privacy controls threaten a business model the
Net discovered before Microsoft:The click-through. Go to site A, click on an ad, then go to site B to buy it. The click-through generates a commission to site A.Variations, including advertising tailored to the user, are one of the underpinnings of Internet commerce. While Firefox has no official porn mode as yet, third parties’ add-ons may fill the gap. Stealther (addons.mozilla.org), gets mixed reviews from users with the latest version of Firefox, 3.1. It worked as advertised for me with version 3.0, allowing me to maintain my history list while selectively turning off some sites. It did occasionally block a site altogether, and some individuals say it deletes entire histories.Also check out Distrust (addons.mozilla.org). Distrust takes a slightly different approach. Where Stealther never allows data collection in the first place, Distrust monitors everything that happens after you begin a browsing session, then deletes it when the session ends. To bury your tracks even deeper, another option is XB Browser, a dedicated, fully stealthed browser based on Firefox. Besides clearing out data, it also uses an anonymous network that hides your PC’s address and encrypts all traffic so that it can’t be read, for example, by your ISP.The free Tor network (torproject.org) is usable but painfully slow at times on my PC, and I’ve not tried the for-fee XeroBank network.The XB browser is also portable, meaning you can install it on a USB drive and carry it from computer to computer. Still, if you’re worried about police state tactics,TOR can and does regularly bypass the Great Firewall of China to show the country’s residents sites blocked by the government. The latest entry in the porn mode sweepstakes is Google’s browser beta, dubbed Chrome, which debuted this month. I’m waiting to download it, and will give a full report in an upcoming column. To download the beta version of Internet Explorer 8.0, click here.
Mars valleys formed by episodic floods?
CAMBRIDGE, England – British scientists say they’ve found hospital superbugs can make poisons similar to those found in rattlesnake venom to attack the body’s natural defences. The researchers said the toxins are manufactured by communities of bacteria known as biofilms, which are up to a thousand times more resistant to antibiotics than single bacterial cells. This is the first time that anyone has successfully proved that the way the bacteria grow – either as a biofilm, or living as individuals – affects the type of proteins they can secrete, and therefore how dangerous they can potentially be to our health, said Martin Welch, a lecturer in microbiology at the University of Cambridge. A widely held view has been that biofilms serve as reservoirs of bacteria that do relatively little harm, said Welch. We found that, in contrast to expectation, biofilms do indeed produce harmful chemicals, he said. However, the type of tissue-degrading enzymes and toxins made by the biofilm bacteria differ from those produced by free-floating bugs, which may help them to survive attacks by our immune systems. The research was reported Tuesday at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, during the fall meeting of the Society for General Microbiology.
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – A U.S. study suggests ancient Martian surface features called valley networks were formed during a long period of episodic flooding. Researchers said they determined the valley networks were created during a time when the Martian climate might have been similar to that of some of Earth’s arid or semiarid regions. Our results argue for liquid water being stable at the surface of Mars for prolonged periods in the past, said University of California-Santa Cruz graduate student Charles Barnhart. He led the study as a Graduate Student Research Program scholar at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Centre, working with NASA planetary scientist Jeffrey Moore and Alan Howard of the University of Virginia. Barnhart said the valley networks formed on Mars during a period of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. During that time he said episodic flooding alternated with long dry periods when water could evaporate or soak into the ground. Precipitation on Mars lasted a long time – it wasn’t a brief interval of massive deluges, he said. A paper describing the study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical ResearchPlanets and is currently available online.The computer modelling video can be viewed here
Ancient river-like features called “valley networks” carve the surface of Mars, as seen in an image of the Parana Valles, which cuts across a region roughly the size of California. Barnhart/UCSC
12 September 2008
The great divide handwriting weakened; a mood of acceptance took over. “Fill me with peace, Lord,” he wrote. “May the conditions not deny my love for you.”
By Kristin Rodine
BOISE, Idaho – Ten years ago this month, an American church pastor was found dead, his legs wedged between two massive boulders in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. It was a freak accident followed by an ordeal of Biblical proportions, endured by a man who sought out wild, high places to feel close to God. But it’s not the manner of Mike Turner’s death that most resonates. It’s the way he lived and the way he faced that death, trapped alive for about nine days and pouring his thoughts, fears and faith into a journal that brought peace to his family and friends. Turner’s saga drew national attention in 1998, but its impact is undimmed a decade later on say those who lived it – including his widow, who plans to remarry next month, and the Wyoming man who led the search. “It was a very intense search. It changed a lot of people,”said Dan Holgate, former search commander. Turner, the 1.98 metres tall (6-foot-6) pastor of Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church, strode into the Wyoming wilderness on July 30, 1998, with his black Lab mix, Andy. Capping the end of a threemonth sabbatical, he planned a 10-day, 100-km solo hike across the Continental Divide, ending with a family camping trip. He dubbed his itinerary “Wander in Wonder.”Turner, 48, never emerged from the vast Fitzpatrick Wilderness, and weeks of exhaustive searching turned up nothing. On Sept. 3 his family learned another lone hiker had discovered his body, still trapped by granite, near the shore of an unnamed mountain lake. The next day they received his journal and an understanding of his experience. “I had dreamed of a special time alone with God, facing the elements, the passes, thinking about my life, the direction of the church, about my family,”Turner wrote.“Indeed, this has been all of those things only magnified 100 times. Thoughts about life, God, people, risk, filling my time. ... God will make a way either earthly or heavenly. My only dread is not seeing my family and being present with them in body.” “So much of the story is beautiful,”said College of Idaho Academic Vice President Mark Smith, a close friend who was part of the planned camping trip that was to cap Turner’s adventure.“Its beauty is terrible at the same time.”The same could be said of the wild country where Turner sought contemplation and communion. ‘I AM THINKING OF YOU’ An avid backpacker, Turner gravitated to “the very highest places, where you can see above the trees,”his wife, Diane, said. Their three children hit the trails as soon as they were able, savouring their time in the backcountry with Dad, said eldest daughter Jill Cocking, now 28. When Turner’s friends talk about him, they use a word not often associated with pastors:“playfulness.”Matt Newton, president of Beniton Construction, describes him as “completely easy to be around,” with a knack for making the simplest occasion fun. Although a pastor,Turner never seemed preachy, Newton said, noting that he joined 500-member Boone Memorial after he met its minister at a Christian retreat. “He was nonjudgmental, but he made you want to do better and be better.”Mike and Diane Turner met in 1976, when she was on Thanksgiving break from college. He was a new associate pastor in Kansas City, Mo., and planned to take some of the congregation’s teenagers on a Christmastime ski trip to Colorado. Diane signed on as an adviser. Their connection was quick and lasting. “I came home and told my roommate we’d be married in a year,” Diane Turner said.“It was 13 months, so I was pretty close.”On July 29, 1998, the couple’s last night together, they attended a James Taylor concert with Matt and Lisa Newton.The next morning, before Mike Turner left, he gave Diane a bouquet of flowers. “It was totally surprising that he did that,”she said.“I still have the card.”It reads:“Thank you for letting me live this adventure. Know wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I am thinking of you.” ‘A PAIR OF GRANITE SHACKLES’ Turner and his dog started their adventure on July 30, hiking to Eklund Lake in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. In his journal, he described a scene “so quiet, so perfect.”“Is it all just as you want it, God? Or, like sceptics say ... is it just random events and we are nothing before the beneficence and destructiveness of nature? You send the winds and rain and yet even amidst the deep savagery and destruction of life, I sense your hand. In threatening my comfort, even my life, you challenge me to cope. In beauty and peace, you refresh
me.”On Aug. 2, the fourth day of his journey,Turner was traversing a field of boulders along a mountain lake, more than 3350 metres high and 26 km from the nearest trailhead. When a boulder he stepped on teetered, he jumped to the next one. But he slid off, and the 800-pound rock he had just leapt from rumbled toward him, catching him between boulders. “Somehow, miraculously, the rock had barely touched Mike,”Smith wrote in an article, not yet published, that retraces his friend’s journey. “But when he tried to extricate himself, his legs wouldn’t move.They weren’t broken, barely even injured, but his feet were suspended in air. He couldn’t push them down or pull them up. Sideways motion was equally impossible beyond an inch or so. The two boulders had come together in the perfect configuration to form a pair of granite shackles.” ‘WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS ORDEAL?’ Through Turner’s journal and physical evidence at the scene, it is clear he fought mightily to free himself and to stay alive. He used his tripod and anything he could lay his hands on to try to force himself free. His sleeping bag and clothing provided some insulation against the cold granite. He melted, then drank, the snow he could reach, and used his tent’s rain fly to collect dew and rainfall. He tied a water bottle to a rope and tried repeatedly to toss it to the nearby lake. But the bottle, too, got caught between rocks. “I am concerned about first, losing my legs, second running out of
Turner’s journal, carefully protected in a zip-top plastic bag, slipped beyond his reach after about five days on the rocks. Desperate to maintain communication with his family, he began writing on the blank pages at the beginning and end of his Bible. When those filled, he wrote in the margins of the instruction sheet for his camp stove snow to melt for water, and fuel,”Turner wrote.“Third, hypothermia. My biggest concern is water. I have only 2 quarts left.The irony is that the lake is only 30 feet away. ... I am also saving my urine. I wonder how it will taste with Crystal Light?” Turner’s journal, carefully protected in a zip-top plastic bag, slipped beyond his reach after about five days on the rocks. Desperate to maintain communication with his family, he began writing on the blank pages at the beginning and end of his Bible.When those filled, he wrote in the margins of the instruction sheet for his camp stove. As his suffering continued,Turner’s mood turned darker, despairing. Smith describes it as “faith on the edge.”Turner wrote:“God is with me, but I am angry with him... What is the purpose of this ordeal? Will I ever know, or continue to be puzzled, angered, and feel quite abandoned by the one I serve?”More than a week passed, with daytime temperatures in the 90s and nights dipping into the 30s.Turner’s
‘IT REALLY STAYED WITH ME’ No one knows for sure how long Turner survived, wedged between those rocks.The Fremont County coroner reported that he died of hypothermia and dehydration on or around Aug. 11, 1998. Pastor Mike Turner and his Every year, the Smith and dog Andy, taken Turner families celebrated Mark prior to his death Smith’s birthday with a joint backpacking trip. But on Aug. 8, 1998, Mike Turner didn’t arrive for their planned rendezvous at Big Sandy Trailhead. And he didn’t show up at their destination, Dad’s Lake. Instead of celebration, the families faced waiting, worry and a fruitless search. Some 70 friends and parishioners from the Treasure Valley and beyond joined dozens of professionals to look for Turner.They searched on horseback, by foot, by helicopter.They put up posters and scanned trailhead logs to identify people who might have seen him. The scale of the search was daunting – hundreds of square miles spanning two counties and both sides of the Continental Divide.And Turner had diverted from his planned itinerary, a fact he noted with regret in his journal. “I feel so foolish taking this longer pass,” he wrote on Aug. 5.“So lonely, more than I imagined ...Who would have guessed that four days would have gone by and no one has come this way?”Search and rescue workers often deal with tragedy and loss, and Holgate said he generally tried not to get involved with the families of the missing. But, he said, “I could not help but become involved with the Turner family. “Their strength and their perseverance ... just the love that they showed for Mike, the common cause that they shared. ... It really stayed with me.” ‘WE ALL CRIED.WE ALL LAUGHED’ The search was called off after about two weeks, with the understanding that it would resume if there was a break in the case. That break came five days later, on Aug. 28.Andy the dog walked out of the wilderness, skinny, sore, and accompanied by two hikers. Family and friends mobilized to resume their search, hoping Turner’s trusty dog would lead them to him. Andy led them in the right direction, Diane Turner said. Searchers were about a mile from where Turner was trapped when a radioed message turned them back: A hiker, who had found Turner’s body Aug. 31, made it out of the mountains and into the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, carrying Turner’s wallet. A year later, Diane Turner carried her husband’s ashes on her back, following his path into the Wind River Range for a memorial service with family and friends. They trekked two days to Island Lake, where Mike Turner had described “amazing beauty that fills my soul.”“It was hard. It was good. It was really amazing,”Diane Turner recalls.“We had a service, and we scattered his ashes.We all cried.We all laughed.” ‘IT WAS A GIFT’ Mike Turner’s journal comforted his family and friends.The depth of his suffering, and the belief and love that outlasted it, inspired many who never knew him. “It was a gift,”Diane Turner said. Over the years, she has allowed excerpts of the journal to be printed in several publications, including this one. A Backpacker magazine article by Jeff Rennicke drew widespread attention and was included in the book Adrenaline 2002:The Year’s Best Stories of Adventure and Survival.w But parts of the journal are private, including personal messages Mike Turner wrote to his wife, their three children, and his mother. “Not being able to say goodbye was hard,”Diane Turner said.“But because he was able to, that made it a little easier.”Their daughter Jill said she re-reads the journal every six months or so, drawing inspiration from her father’s faith: challenged and battered, but steadfast. His last, barely legible entries echo Biblical accounts of hardship and devotion. “I am ready to die, though missing my family. ... I will trust in God though he will slay me, yet will I trust in him.” – McClatchy Newspapers
12 September 2008
The martyr-roll of navigators Acclaimed science fiction writer Jules Verne didn’t just write Around the World in 80 Days, he also wrote an epic about New Zealand and Australia called In Search of the Castaways, published in 1867. If you missed the previous instalment of this serial, you can download it here.
On the 31st of January, four days after starting, the Macquarie had not done two-thirds of the distance between Australia and New Zealand.Will Halley took very little heed to the working of the ship; he let things take their chance. He seldom showed himself, for which no one was sorry. No one would have complained if he had passed all his time in his cabin, but for the fact that the brutal captain was every day under the influence of gin or brandy. His sailors willingly followed his example, and no ship ever sailed more entirely depending on Providence than the Macquarie did from Twofold Bay. This unpardonable carelessness obliged John Mangles to keep a watchful eye ever open. Mulrady and Wilson more than once brought round the helm when some careless steering threatened to throw the ship on her beam-ends.Often Will Halley would interfere and abuse the two sailors with a volley of oaths.The latter, in their impatience, would have liked nothing better than to bind this drunken captain, and lower him into the hold, for the rest of the voyage. But John Mangles succeeded, after some persuasion, in calming their well-grounded indignation. Still, the position of things filled him with anxiety; but, for fear of alarming Glenarvan, he spoke only to Paganel or the Major. McNabbs recommended the same course as Mulrady and Wilson. “If you think it would be for the general good, John,”said McNabbs, “you should not hesitate to take the command of the vessel.When we get to Auckland the drunken imbecile can resume his command, and then he is at liberty to wreck himself, if that is his fancy.” “All that is very true, Mr. McNabbs, and if it is absolutely necessary I will do it.As long as we are on open sea, a careful lookout is enough; my sailors and I are watching on the poop; but when we get near the coast, I confess I shall be uneasy if Halley does not come to his senses.” “Could not you direct the course?”asked Paganel. “That would be difficult,”replied John.“Would you believe it that there is not a chart on board?” “Is that so?”
“It is indeed. The Macquarie only does a coasting trade between Eden and Auckland, and Halley is so at home in these waters that he takes no observations.” “I suppose he thinks the ship knows the way, and steers herself.” “Ha! ha!”laughed John Mangles;“I do not believe in ships that steer themselves; and if Halley is drunk when we get among soundings, he will get us all into trouble.” “Let us hope,” said Paganel,“that the neighbourhood of land will bring him to his senses.” “Well, then,” said McNabbs,“if needs were, you could not sail the Macquarie into Auckland?” “Without a chart of the coast, certainly not.The coast is very dangerous. It is a series of shallow fiords as irregular and capricious as the fiords of Norway.There are many reefs, and it requires great experience to avoid them.The strongest ship would be lost if her keel struck one of those rocks that are submerged but a few feet below the water.” “In that case those on board would have to take refuge on the coast.” “If there was time.” “A terrible extremity,” said Paganel,“for they are not hospitable shores, and the dangers of the land are not less appalling than the dangers of the sea.” “You refer to the Maoris, Monsieur Paganel?”asked John Mangles. “Yes, my friend.They have a bad name in these waters. It is not a matter of timid or brutish Australians, but of an intelligent and sanguinary race, cannibals greedy of human flesh, man-eaters to whom we should look in vain for pity.” “Well, then,” exclaimed the Major, “if Captain Grant had been wrecked on the coast of New Zealand, you would dissuade us from looking for him.” “Oh, you might search on the coasts,”replied the geographer,“because you might find traces of the Britannia, but not in the interior, for it would be perfectly useless. Every European who ventures into these fatal districts falls into the hands of the Maoris, and a prisoner in the
hands of the Maoris is a lost man. I have urged my friends to cross the Pampas, to toil over the plains of Australia, but I will never lure them into the mazes of the New Zealand forest. May heaven be our guide, and keep us from ever being thrown within the power of those fierce natives!” (To be continued next week)
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