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SURVIVAL STORIES & PICTURES
THE POWDERKEG WHY THE MIDDLE EAST COULD EXPLODE
A NEW ICE AGE
Superstorms and a magnetic pole shift signal a major event is coming
SELLING ASSETS Is National selling our future? March 2011, $8.60
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March 2011 Issue 122 www.hismagazine.tvâ€‚
14 SURVIVAL STORIES The city that wonâ€™t give up reels from yet another devastating blow. Ian Wishart has eyewitness accounts and pictures
18 THE POWDERKEG
Pro democracy revolutions could plunge the world into war, as Islamic extremists look to hijack power
30 A NEW ICE AGE
Terrence Aym warns that a magnetic pole shift and changing weather patterns could signal something serious is looming
10 SELLING ASSETS
Richard Prosser takes National to task
24 FREEDOM UNDER FIRE British Prime Minister David Cameron says multiculturalism is a failure. We have his controversial speech
HIS/contents 6 opinion
6 /EDITOR Speaks for itself, really 8 /COMMUNIQUES Your say 10 /EYES RIGHT Richard Prosser 12 /STEYNPOST Mark Steyn
36 /DRIVE 2011’s Best Rides 40 /SPORT Chris Forster on Halbergs 42 /INVEST Peter Hensley's money advice
45 gadgets 46 Sony’s Playstation phone 47 The Mall 48 Tech: iPad rivals 50 Online with Chillisoft
54 /ONSCREEN Anthony Hopkins 56 /BOOKCASE Michael Morrissey's autumn picks 58 /MUSIC Chris Philpott’s reviews 60 /CONSIDERTHIS Amy Brooke on dumbing down the country 62 /THEQUESTION Matt Flannagan on divorce
00 over in HERS
14 /VALENTINA’S STORY a police investigation gone wrong 24 /SUNSCREENS DON’T WORK no evidence they protect you from melanoma 26 /FACEBOOK AND THE CIA is your privacy protected?
There is nothing deceptive about what we have seen now: a city nuked by nature and convulsed by grief – an earthquake in the human heart the match of any thumping the planet could throw at us
6 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
A dark day indeed
s I sit here writing this, it is raining. Bitter, salty raindrops threatening to shortcircuit a computer keyboard; heartwrenching, gutwrenching raindrops assailing my laptop screen with all the vicious force of a category five hurricane. But I’m not outside, and frankly my hands are doing a lousy job as wipers. This is a bastard of a day. I’ve been a journalist a long time. I’ve been shot at, tear-gassed, threatened. I’ve covered natural disasters in the past – earthquakes, cyclones, tornadoes, mass murders, traffic accidents. I’ve seen the headless and the hopeless, but what happened in Christchurch 20 hours ago tops all those. It has been an utter, utter bastard of a day. Only six months ago I was in the garden city in the hours after the September 4 quake. I remember flying into Christchurch with a planeload of people, all of whom were craning their necks for a glimpse out of the cabin windows at the damage. We saw little evidence from the sky – John Key pulled me aside that day as we swapped notes and that had been one of his first reactions as well from the plane. Different story on the ground though, he wryly noted at the time. There is nothing deceptive about what we have seen now: a city nuked by nature and convulsed by grief – an earthquake in the human heart the match of any thumping the planet could throw at us. In those first hours, before the shock really had time to set in, most Christchurch residents were in the dark, figuratively as much as literally. We in the outside world had a better handle, ironically, than the poor souls
trapped in their homes without power or news from the outside world. When I mentioned to one survivor five hours after the jolt that there had been multiple fatalities, she collapsed in tears – she simply hadn’t heard and didn’t realise. Like everyone else she’d been concentrating on her immediate family and the wider implications had not sunk in. Half a world away, British Prime Minister David Cameron – a guest writer in this edition of HIS – told John Key in a personal message he was “distraught” at the sight of the wall to wall quake pictures playing on TV screens globally. “I was distraught to see the pictures from Christchurch this morning following the severe earthquake. The loss of life is dreadful and I know the thoughts and prayers of the British people will be with you and the friends and families of those killed and injured at this very difficult time.” Queen Elizabeth, who’d already been upset at the previous quake, was “utterly shocked”. Christchurch, we love you and we are praying for you, and the world feels the same way in this dark time. I suspect, as dawn breaks, that it’s going to be another bastard of a day, but one thing my career as a journalist tells me is that this, too, shall pass. When we have had time to mourn lost family and friends, there will be a time to rebuild and find hope in the ashes and the rubble. Until then, we all just grit our teeth, and deal with the raindrops, each of us, in our own way.
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communiques BRILLIANT! I am most impressed with your new format. Brilliant, keep it up. Volume 10, Issue 122, ISSN 1175-1290 [Online]
Robbie Mac, Tauranga
Chief Executive Officer Heidi Wishart Group Managing Editor Ian Wishart
A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE I enjoy the new layout. I ordered last year’s subscription as a birthday present for my husband – now we are both enjoying it!
NZ EDITION Advertising Josephine Martin 09 373-3676 email@example.com Contributing Writers: Hal Colebatch, Amy Brooke, Chris Forster, Peter Hensley, Chris Carter, Mark Steyn, Chris Philpott, Michael Morrissey, Miranda Devine, Richard Prosser, Claire Morrow, James Morrow, Len Restall, Laura Wilson, and the worldwide resources of MCTribune Group, UPI and Newscom Art Direction Heidi Wishart Design & Layout Bozidar Jokanovic Tel: +64 9 373 3676 Fax: +64 9 373 3667 Investigate Magazine, PO Box 188, Kaukapakapa, Auckland 0843, NEW ZEALAND
Paula Hardy, via email
POLL DISAGREEMENT I enjoy your magazine – that’s why I subscribe – but it doesn’t mean I agree with all you write! The same can be said of my responses to your recent ‘Hers Poll’. I suggest that your interpretation of responses to the statement ‘I disagree with National on some major things, but I distrust Labour more’ as being massive disapproval of National is nothing of the sort. As with all groups who share a philosophy, and particularly those in a democracy such as ours, it is most likely that there
AUSTRALIAN EDITION Editor Ian Wishart Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Tel/Fax: 1-800 123 983 SUBSCRIPTIONS Online: www.investigatemagazine.com By Phone: Australia 1-800 123 983 NZ 09 373 3676 By Post: To the PO Box NZ Edition: $85; AU Edition: A$96 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com All content in this magazine is copyright, and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The opinions of advertisers or contributors are not necessarily those of the magazine, and no liability is accepted. We take no responsibility for unsolicited material sent to us. Please enclose a stamped, SAE envelope. Inquiries in the first instance should be made via email or fax. Investigate magazine Australasia is published by HATM Magazines Ltd
will be disagreement on some major issues but that is healthy in ensuring that the final policy which makes it into law is a balanced piece of legislation. Different views on how we go about things is important in reaching a final workable consensus. That doesn’t mean, as you suggest, that we are unhappy with the general approach of this National government. In fact, if you asked another question of the same respondents as to their voting intentions, I would not be surprised if the result was an 82% tick for National! Keep up the good work. Clive Bibby, Tolaga Bay
8 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
GEORGE SOROS How many people yet have spotted a connection between Soros’ funding of environmental organisations, “anti sprawl” policies, housing bubbles, and Soros making a killing on capital gains on the way “up” (especially in CBD property) and in short selling and derivatives on the way down? This guy is a fiend. Green politics and Statist, high regulation politics, are all just part of the network of useful idiots Soros utilises – and these idiots think they are noble benefactors of civilisation and Soros is noble for funding them! Phil Hayward, Lower Hutt
THE REFORM PARTY A new political party, Reform New Zealand, is being set up through the website www.reform.org.nz The Party is founded on the understanding a significant share of voters believe that freedom of choice, personal responsibility, self-reliance and accountability must be restored and encouraged within society and legislation, to help reverse New Zealand’s growing dependence on the state. Reform New Zealand believes the nation has become deeply mired in social and economic distress after two decades of weak and ineffective government, with voters passively conditioned to reward the party offering the biggest bribes – rather than the party offering the most effective policies for long-term social and economic development. New Zealand recently enjoyed the best global economy in a lifetime and with that the chance to restore its future prosperity. Instead, tens of billions were wasted pandering to socialist ideology. Such ideology has served to further weaken a society whose attitudes towards self-reliance have long been undermined by the “all-knowing” state. Reform New Zealand intends to earn enough party votes in 2011 to support and effectively influence the Government. Andrew McLennan www.reform.org.nz
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We are told that we have to sell what remains of the family silver because we are drowning in a sea of debt and there is no other way to pay it off. This is an outright lie
10 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
Sale of the century
enny Rogers, bless his fading star, once told us a story about a gambler. The lead character knew quite a bit about risk taking; he knew when to hold and when to fold, when to walk away and when to run with the cards. Somewhere in the darkness, according to the song, Kenny Rogers’ gambler managed to break even. This writer confesses to not harbouring any great deal of faith that John Key will manage the same outcome from his latest gamble. Calling the election ten months early may be seen as a bold move, an honest and open move, a brave and confident one. Equally, it could be seen as naïve, foolish, and counterproductive. A week is along time in politics, as I have remarked at least as often as any other observer; and ten months counts as a geological age. Anything could happen in that length of time, and most of it probably will. Our esteemed Prime Minister – or at least his close advisors – must surely know that, which leaves your favourite commentator slightly perplexed as to why he has done what he has. Promising voters that delivering another term for the National Government will, without any doubt, mean a return to Rogernomics, is perhaps his greatest gamble ever. Maybe John Key genuinely believes that asset sales are the best way forward for New Zealand. Maybe he’s taking a punt that his personal popularity will be sufficient to carry his administration through the campaign and back onto the Treasury benches. Or perhaps our best-known currency trader has secretly decided that he’s had enough of
politics, and is looking for a way to commit political suicide whilst at the same time making his exit look like a terrible accident. And suicide is what this writer is sure it will be. Too many people were too badly burned by this country’s last foray into the stupidity of privatisation, for any agenda which holds a repeat of it as its central tenet to have any realistic chance of winning at the polls. 1984 is still too recent, the memories are still too raw, the pain is still too fresh, for anyone who remembers it to choose to go through it again voluntarily. We remember being lied to. We remember being stolen from. We remember being promised that our debt would disappear and the cost of our daily requirements would shrink, in the face of the power of competition which “The Market” would bring to our basic services and utilities. We remember that none of it was true. We remember that it didn’t work. We remember that the trickle down never happened and that power prices doubled. And now Key wants to do it all again. Is he mad? Asset sales are being packaged differently this time, of course. It’s only going to be a “partial privatisation”, and the Government will maintain a 51% controlling share. What this means, of course, is that fully half the profits from the services which the SOEs in question provide to New Zealanders will disappear overseas. Naturally, however, as we saw with Air New Zealand, the BNZ, the Railways, and now Telecom, the tab for all new investment will still have to be picked up by the taxpayer. Kiwi Mums and Dads (I have a gene which automatically trig-
gers a “bulls**t” response whenever I hear a politician use the word “Kiwi”), who of course have bucketloads of spare cash sitting around waiting for something to spend it on, will have first rights to buy shares in companies which, as taxpayers, they already own. Am I missing something here, or are we about to be ripped off yet again? We are told that we have to sell what remains of the family silver because we are drowning in a sea of debt and there is no other way to pay it off. This is an outright lie. Our public debt sits at less than 30% of GDP, 97 th on the list of national indebtedness, less than half that of the United States, a third of that of the UK, a quarter of the French and Canadian Governmental liabilities, and barely an eighth of the degree to which Japan is in hock to the global banks. Our total external debt, which includes private borrowings, is half the world average, and only half that of the US and Australia. British debt is nine times greater than ours and Switzerland’s more than five times. Selling 49% of our State Assets will have no effect at all on private debt, but will halve the amount of income we currently receive from them. The entire idea of privatisation, partial or not, is absolute rubbish which cannot possibly work, and which, as history and bitter experience has very clearly shown us, does not work. But John Key, money dealer and master gambler, wants us to do it again; and furthermore, he believes that enough people will vote for the idea that he will be returned to office come November. That’s a big ask, because it relies heavily on more people than voted for National last time voting for them this time. With ACT in freefall and the Maori Party imploding, the Nats are running out of allies, and Key’s blunt refusal to work with Winston Peters may turn out to have a sad outcome for one person only, that being John Key himself. The reason I say that is this; the New Zealand public didn’t vote John Key in, they voted Helen Clark out. If Key believes otherwise then it is possible he has fallen victim to the cult of ego, which may be clouding his judgement. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted Helengrad gone as much as anyone, and John Key came across as a nice enough guy. But this supposedly conservative National administration supported the antismacking Bill and still does, hasn’t given me back my Air Force, won’t scrap the ETS, and now it tells me it’s going to sell off my electricity supplier to the highest bidder – again. And apart from that, in the past two-and-a-bit years, this Government has done…um…well, nothing, really.
So why should I vote for it again? Truth is, I won’t be. This coming election will be about one issue and one issue only, and that will be asset sales. It won’t be about global warming, or who wins the rugby world cup, or whether or not Phil Goff dyes his hair. I don’t want Rogernomics again at any price, and poorly-spun garbage about partial privatisation won’t cut it for this writer. National isn’t National anymore, it’s morphed itself into ACT, and if I wanted ACT I’d vote for it. So I am faced with a singular alternative, that being a Labourled administration, and if a right-winger like me can openly countenance that as being the lesser of two evils, then John Key and the Nats are in serious trouble, because I most certainly won’t be alone in my thinking. And if enough conservatives don’t want asset sales, but they also don’t want a Labour Government which is beholden to the Greens, they will most likely vote for Winston instead, which means that Key will have painted himself into a corner. If Key is prepared to polarize himself into political oblivion that is one thing, but whether the rest of the National Party wishes to follow him is quite another. Paradoxically, time may prove that National’s best hope of retaining power might involve dumping their most popular Leader and Prime Minister ever, and replacing him with someone more driven by political pragmatism than by failed ideology. If I was a betting man, which I’m not, my pick would be that Key’s gamble will fail, and there will be no fire sale of our assets this century.
n Will Peters get the last laugh? NZPA/Marty Melville
If enough conservatives don’t want asset sales, but they also don’t want a Labour Government which is beholden to the Greens, they will most likely vote for Winston instead, which means that Key will have painted himself into a corner HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 11
You’re in a hurry, you’ve got places to go, people to see, and there’s always some old coot or withered biddy shuffling, shuffling, shuffling in front of you at 10 paces an hour
12 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
No country for old men
ne of my all-time favourite observations on Canada’s brave new Trudeaupia came from the great George Jonas, apropos the good old days when the Mounties’ livelier lads were illegally burning down the barns of Quebec separatists. With his usual glibness Pierre Trudeau blithely responded that if people were upset by the RCMP’s illegal barnburning, perhaps he’d make it legal for the RCMP to burn barns. As Jonas observed, M. Trudeau had missed the point: barn-burning wasn’t wrong because it was illegal; it was illegal because it was wrong. That’s an important distinction, and not just for the Royal Canadian Taser Police. Once it’s no longer accepted that something is wrong all the laws in the world will avail you nought. The law functions as formal expression of a moral code, not as freestanding substitute for it. A couple of years back, on a trolley car in London, a 96-yearold man was punched in the face and blinded in one eye. His 44-year-old attacker had boarded the crowded tram, tried to push past Mr. Chaudhury in the aisle and become enraged by the nonagenarian’s insufficient haste in moving out of the way. “You bastard!” he snarled, and slugged him. His assailant, Stephen Gordon, was sentenced by Croydon Crown Court to three years’ probation, which means he’ll have to endure weekly chit-chats with a municipal functionary, assuming he bothers turning up for his appointments. Mr. Gordon was seen to smirk as he left court, notwithstanding the mental health issues entered in mitigation. Much of the commentary concerned the
leniency of the sentence. But consider George Jonas’s dictum: beating up a 96-year-old isn’t wrong because it’s illegal; it’s illegal because it’s wrong. And, if a citizen of an advanced Western social democracy no longer knows it’s wrong, the laws are unlikely to prove much restraint. British society has come to depend on CCTVs – closed-circuit cameras in every public building, every shopping centre, every street, even (in some remote rural locales) on the trees. According to Theodore Dalrymple, England’s greatest living pessimist, the British are second only to the North Koreans as the most monitored population on the planet; Britain is said to be home to a third of all the world’s CCTVs; in the course of an average day, the average Briton is estimated to be filmed approximately 300 times. Etc. So naturally the Croydon trolley had a camera, and it captured in vivid closeup the perpetrator attacking his victim. And a fat lot of good the video evidence did Mr. Chaudhury. Look at it from the attacker’s point of view: why not beat up old people? Let’s face it, they’re a pain in the neck, clogging up escalators, revolving doors, sidewalks. You’re in a hurry, you’ve got places to go, people to see, and there’s always some old coot or withered biddy shuffling, shuffling, shuffling in front of you at 10 paces an hour. In Britain, in Canada, in Europe, in Japan, in China, the population is aging fast. So, if you think there are too many codgers taking 20 minutes to board the bus right now, just wait a couple of decades. Suppose five per cent of young men get irked at being delayed by geezers. What restrains them from making
grampa-whacking merely the latest normalized pathology? A functioning civilization is like an iceberg: the unseen seveneighths of codes and assumptions is the accumulated inheritance, the wisdom of the ages. Once it’s gone, what’s left just bobs around on the surface. Take a walk round any downtown or suburban mall and see it as Mr. Chaudhury’s attacker did: what’s to stop you? Men in a hurry are not to be disrespected. On CNN a wee while back, a reporter in Philadelphia, the murder capital of America, was interviewing the grieving mother of a young black boy killed while riding his bicycle in the residential street outside his home. Apparently, a couple of cars had got backed up behind him, and a tetchy passenger in one of them pulled out a gun and shot the kid dead. Inevitably, CNN followed this with a report on how easy it is to buy guns in Philadelphia and how local politicians are reluctant to do anything about it. This is an argument only the experts could make: in the 1990s, the number of firearms in America went up by 40 million but the murder rate fell dramatically. If gun ownership were the determining factor, Vermont and Switzerland would have high murder rates. Yet in Montpelier or Geneva, the solution to a boy carelessly bicycling in front of you down a city thoroughfare when you’re in a hurry is not to grab your piece and blow the moppet away. Once a relatively small chunk of the populace has decided it’s okay with offing grade-school scamps, “gun control” isn’t going to cut it: the societal safety lock is off. But guns, sentencing, CCTV surveillance … that’s how we expect to talk about these issues. Yet that wasn’t what caught my eye about the story. In a statement to the court, the victim “said he had been standing in the aisle of the tram because nobody would give up their seat for him.” Let us give his fellow passengers the benefit of the doubt and assume he was an unusually spry and vigorous 96-year-old. Nevertheless, he relied on two walking sticks. How can it be that, prior to his encounter with his attacker, not one of the other fortysomethings in the car thought to offer his seat? In the public conveyances of Toronto and London and Paris, young fit men sprawl across the seats while pregnant women and shopping-laden spinsters and nonagenarians with two bad legs straphang down the line. Our acceptance of that is a small blow to civilized life which enables the larger ones, literally so on that Croydon tram but psychologically so in a thousand other instances. England is a sad case study because it managed to spare itself all the most obviously malign infections of the age, beginning with fascism and Communism. But the statistics speak for themselves. The number of indictable offences per thousand people was 2.4 in 1900, climbed gradually to 9.7 in 1954, and then rocketed to 109.4 in 1992. Most crime goes unreported, and most reported crime goes unsolved. Yet the law-breaking is merely a symptom of a larger rupture. John O’Sullivan, one of the founding editors at the National Post, said that when his grandmother ran a pub in the Liverpool docklands in the years around the First World War, there was only one occasion when someone swore in her presence. And he subsequently apologized. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,” wrote L. P. Hartley in his famous opening sentence to
n What are things coming to when even TV chef Gordon Ramsay and a TV crew are held at gunpoint and doused in petrol, following a dispute about shark fin soup ingredients?/ WENN
The Go-Between. But to read how the English themselves wrote of England the day before yesterday is to visit not a foreign country but an alternative universe. In Exploring English Character, published in 1955, the anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer analyzed his country thus: “When we think of our faults, we put first, and by a long way, any lapse from our standards of non-aggression, bad temper, nagging, swearing and the like. Public life is more gentle than that reported for any society of comparable size and industrial complexity.” The past is not just a foreign country but a lost civilization. “A society’s first line of defence is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values,” wrote Walter Williams of George Mason University recently. “They include important thou-shaltnots such as shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and cheat, but they also include all those courtesies one might call ladylike and gentlemanly conduct. Policemen and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct.” “Restraint” is an unfashionable concept these days. I was lunching with an elderly chap in the early stages of dementia recently. He’s someone who in all the years I’ve known him has never used any vulgar language in public or private, but the waitress’s generous embonpoint caught his eye and he said to me (and half the restaurant) with all the blithe insouciance with which one might remark on the weather or the traffic, “I like big tits, don’t you?” Dementia removes inhibition, and so your private thoughts are now publicly expressed. Society at large has lost its inhibitions: whether that is a symptom of civilizational dementia will be for future generations to judge. © 2011 Mark Steyn
HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 13
As Christchurch buries its dead and tries to heal the survivors, there are thousands of stories. We spoke to members of one family, about their experiences – as they struggled to reconnect and meet up after the disaster ADRIENNE SAUNDERS: 2.05pm, February 22nd 2011 We’ve got no power, no water, nothing. I’ve heard that part of the cathedral’s down, that a three storey building has come down in town, the city is wrecked. There’s a train off a track, on a bridge. There’s just been another huge aftershock. I was at home and fortunately Lance had just come home. We were just watching telly and eating a sandwich – well our sandwiches ended up on the floor – we have much more damage inside than we did last time. That’s replaceable, but what worries me is the EQC – they won’t have any money left to fix things now. Liquefaction has turned the streets into rivers. This one wasn’t as long as the first one, but it was only five kilometers deep. I didn’t hear it coming. It’s just hard to describe. The whole place just starts shaking and you try to stand up to try and get safe, but you can’t stand up. Lance just grabbed me and threw me under the doorway. But you’re not supposed to go under things anymore, you are just supposed to find a void – that’s what we’ve been taught now – so we lie in the void between the bed and the window sill, hoping that if anything falls it lands on the bed or the window. My biggest fear was for the children, that was my first fear. The moment it
14 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
stopped shaking, Lance had his car outside – because one of the worst things is bloody electric garage doors and you can’t get your cars out in a powercut to get anywhere – so Lance’s car was in the drive. We went around to my daughter Rachel’s, and she was screaming, she was in her garage yelling, because she couldn’t get the garage door open, because all she wanted to do was get to her kids. So we put her in our car, went to one school and got two kids, went to another school and got another kid. There was panic, absolute panic. Everyone was out in the streets, everyone was holding each other as we drove past. There’s police cars trying to get past. They’ve evacuated the hospital, the hospital is stuffed. The children were all out in the field. Some of them were traumatized, some were not so worried. Noah is traumatized. Emily is traumatized, she won’t go anywhere without her mother. We had already told all the children that if a disaster happened we would crawl on our hands and knees to get them. And we did that, we showed we could do that today. My other daughter Lisa had to stay at her pre-school to keep the children organized and protected. She couldn’t come to her own family. Her husband Derek was in the city. He was in Moorhouse Avenue, driving along there and he says it was just like the sea, going in waves, the bitumen.
We cried when we saw the kids. We tried to prepare them for the damage back home, we said, ‘Look, there’s been some things broken back at home, but it’s only ‘things’ and we can replace them. But of course, it’s still their treasures. Christchurch is knackered. Absolutely knackered. I’ve just started a job at a real estate agent and now my job is knackered. Where to from here? Survival mode, just surviving. [breaks down in tears]. I don’t know where we can go. There’s nowhere to get out. We’re trapped, and I can’t go without my family. And we’ve gotta earn, we’ve got to eat, we’ve got jobs! What do we do? Do we wait until we are killed? I don’t know, I just don’t know! The kids will never ever get over this. They’ll never get over it. The last one they may have, but not this time. I thank God he kept my family safe. Do you know how many are dead? [hears detail of which buildings are known to have collapsed, and bursts into tears again]. Oh no! NO! They’ll be people we know, [sobs]. What can we do, what can we do? I want my family here tonight. I want us to stay together. ADRIENNE’S DAUGHTER LISA HARTLEY-SAUNDERS, 10.03pm We’re all just gathered up in bed in the one room here. The power only came back on about 45 minutes ago. The kids couldn’t sleep yet because they knew
there would be an aftershock and they were scared, but we’ve just had one so they’ve relaxed a little now. I was in a church next door to work, when it struck. I just ran really – I’m not sure how I had the power in my legs to run but I made it into the pre-school. It just kept going. It felt long, it felt really long. We’ve become a bit complacent with all the aftershocks, you feel one coming and you just sort of wait to see whether it builds and where it is heading, but this one just kept going. And the noise, the noise of things moving and creaking and cracking. The noise was horrible. The kids were so good, they all had their heads covered like turtles, that’s what we’ve taught them to do. They were just so brave. We had done so many drills they knew what to do, and the staff were really good. When people hadn’t heard from people, and their family members were ringing in saying people’s homes were not good, that’s when we started to realize. I had
one staff member, a single mum, and she hadn’t even asked me to be relieved from duty, which I thought was incredibly brave of her, but I told her to go home and look after her child. It was hard, because all I wanted to do was come and grab my kids straight away, but I had the responsibility of those other kids, and the other teachers. But we had a really good recovery plan, we had a plan where you set up one room for first aid, and the civil defence kit was up and running, so you just go into automatic mode, really. Then parents started to come and pick up their children, while other parents were unable to get there – we had to think through the implications of that, like, what do we do if the parents never come? The mothers were very distressed, very distressed, and when they saw their children’s faces there was just a huge stress release. My kids were all at school. Oscar was out in the field when it happened and he thought it was great – he just ‘rode it’
really [breaks into a rare laugh]. Grace was in the middle of a self defence class at school and the instructor said, ‘I’m sorry girls, it’s not going to be as exciting next week’. Noah was out in the playground and he just grabbed onto a pole in the playground and held on for grim life. Derek was at work in his office in town, and his office is just trashed. It feels surreal, it doesn’t feel real. Is this actually happening to us? There’s just an air of unreality about it. We’ve kept away from the news, until the power came back on. We didn’t want the TV on, didn’t want to expose the kids to it. But just seeing the devastation in town, it’s horrific. Some people haven’t made it, it’s pretty revolting. All those poor people in Hagley Park who’ve all been displaced. The city was just starting to put its civil defence kits away, then this happens. We’ve got dressing gowns and shoes by our bedroom door, and torches. The next door neighbours are sleeping in their car,
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they don’t want to be in their house, so they’ve been camping in their garage this afternoon where they had raw vegetables for tea. They’ve set up a bed in the back of their car. We’ve got a kit here with water. If you didn’t learn from the first one you’d have been in trouble with this one. DEREK HARTLEY I was in Moorhouse Ave, on the first floor of a building and I was just about to send an email. The building, it just got into it straight away. There was no build-up to it, like a crescendo, it just went ‘bang’ with a real vigorous shaking. I’ve got a big glass window in front of me, and I thought ‘bugger this’, so I bolted. I knew we’ve got a lift shaft which was steel reinforced, and it was the strongest place in the building. We just bolted out into the carpark, but the asphalt had lifted up about half a foot. I knew I had to get to the schools, but the traffic was gridlocked for about two hours. You just couldn’t move. Everyone was trying to get to their families. I was driving and there were big cracks in the road. I was a bit further away from the CBD, but there were buildings with big huge glass windows that were all blown out. As you travelled out of town there was a lot of liquefaction, brown water and big block walls falling down. There was an aftershock maybe 20 minutes after the first one, and I was in the car on Holmwood Road, and it’s the first time I’ve been in the car during a big shake. It just moved around like jelly, the car. As I looked out the window a big verandah supported by timber bracing started to come away and I could actually see the building moving, literally in front of my eyes. There was another big shock when the kids were at home. The kids ran for the front door, and the door frame was actually moving from side to side, and you could see my house visibly moving. That’s hard to sort of fathom. I’ve got a mat of mine, an architect, and he was at Christchurch Airport when it struck, he was on the first floor of the new building and all the tiles on the floor, they just popped out of their rivets, boom boom boom boom boom, as he was running out, like something out of a movie.
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WORDS BY IAN WISHART PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/MAXPPP
Mohammed Moves Mubarak Mountain And Sets A Fuse To The Middle East 18 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
The daily news media paint stories in simple colours: good guys vs bad guys, light vs dark. But often, much deeper complexities remain uncharted by the TV journos, like submerged reefs in the geopolitical oceans. The toppling of Mubarak made for great TV drama, but his leadership of Egypt for the past 30 years helped hold back the threat of nuclear war in the Middle East. Now, the power vacuum left behind threatens to light a powderkeg that the Tahrir Square demonstrators may come to regret. As the old saying goes: be careful what you wish for HISMAGAZINE.TVâ€ƒ Mar 2011â€ƒ 19
t’s been barely seventy two hours since Hosni Mubarak fell, but on the crowded streets of Cairo – a city of 22 million – elation is turning to disillusion as rival factions battle for position as top dogs. A special meeting in the city of key figures in the uprising threw up deep divisions, as the young crowds mobilised mainly by Facebook and Google found themselves being corralled by hardline Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. “It’s a mess. What happened in there was a rape of the revolution,” 26 year old Alber Saber Zaki, who’d spent most of the previous 21 days in Tahrir Square, told journalists as he left the meeting. “The people here are just elites,” he added. “They don’t represent the popular revolt.” Protest he might, but the “rapists” are tightening their grip on the revolution, with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood appointed by the Army to help re-draft the country’s constitution. To be sure, there were good moral reasons to get rid of Mubarak. His secret police had detained and killed hundreds. He’d ruled Egypt under a state of emergency lasting thirty years, since the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat in 1981. Sadat, of course, had signed the peace deal with Israel in 1979, breaking ranks with the rest of the Arab world. As the most powerful Arab nation, Egypt’s recognition of the Jewish state’s right to exist threw a spanner in the works of those who’d pledged to slaughter every Israeli and throw their children into the ocean. The group that murdered Sadat was a splinter organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood – an Islamic militant group whose goal is for a Muslim “caliphate” to rule the entire world (more on that shortly). Mubarak acted swiftly after Sadat’s murder to ban the Brotherhood and other Islamist organisations, but as he already knew they were far too powerful and too numerous to eradicate. It became a ban in name only, and the Brotherhood has managed to become the largest single Opposition party in Egypt – capturing 20% of the seats. The seeds of the Tahrir Square uprising were sown only last November when
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the Muslim Brotherhood – which in 2005 won 88 seats in Parliament provided all of its MPs categorised themselves as “independents” – was banned by Mubarak from contesting the 2010 poll. That disenchantment stewed over December and January, boiling over into the now historic February revolution. It may have been middle class Egyptians like Google executive Wael Ghonim who finally pulled the trigger, but he did so against the background of bad feelings after another corrupt election. And the Brotherhood were well-pleased. The first days of the protests saw pictures of westernised young people rising up. By day three, the video showed mass prayers and women in hijabs. The hijacking of the revolution had begun. While the Muslim Brotherhood have told journalists, “We are not fighting for
an Islamic state”, it appears the meaning of that comment may be deliberately vague. Indeed, the Brotherhood’s deputy leader, 76 year old Rashad Al-Bayoumi told the Hindustan Times of India: “We do want to implement the sharia in its truest form.” Another to agree with this is the Muslim Brotherhood MP appointed to help re-draft the Egyptian constitution, Sobhy Saleh. He referred the Hindustan Times to a clause in the existing constitution: “Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic its language, and the sharia is its main source of legislation.” Adds Saleh: “We do not have to amend this bit of the constitution – we just have to implement it properly.” In other words, if the Brotherhood ultimately take power in Egypt they’ll argue the existing constitution gives them power to implement
Islamic law right throughout the political system. The irony of democracy is that it allows people to vote in parties that intend to abolish that democracy. While that may not have been the intention of the thousands of young Egyptians who gathered in Tahrir Square, it could be the outcome if their parents keep voting for a hardline Islamic fundamentalist party like the Brotherhood. Just this month an English translation was released for the first time of a 1995 policy book written by the Brotherhood’s former leader Mustafa Mashhur, who led the party from 1996 to 2002. Entitled, “Jihad is the Way”, Mashhur argues strongly that the Brotherhood’s main goal should be to establish Islam, by force if necessary, throughout the world. “It should be known that jihad, and
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preparation towards jihad, are not only for the purpose of fending off assaults and attacks of Allah’s enemies…but also for the purpose of realising the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world,” Mashhur wrote.
ow far around the world? Everywhere, says Mashhur in his book, because Islam recognises no borders: “Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated [from
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the infidels], the State of Islam will be established.” Is such an ambition compatible with the existing Egypt-Israel peace treaty? As the closest and most obvious piece of land needing to “be liberated” from infidels, one could argue not. “Jihad is our way, and death for Allah is our most lofty wish…the religion [of Islam] requires its believers to perform its laws and the rules of the Qu’ran and the prophetic traditions, and to deliver this religion of truth to all of humanity,” writes Mashhur. Remember, these are the words of one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s most recent leaders. The Brotherhood straddles two worlds – the political and the ideological. Those hoping for a more moderate approach had a setback last year when
conservative and “ideological director” Mohammed Badie was elected to lead the organisation, signalling a lurch in the direction of Mashhur’s ideas. As the largest Islamic movement in the world, and the spiritual godfather to splinter groups like Osama bin Laden’s al Qa’ida or London-based Hizb ut Tahrir, the Muslim Brotherhood recognises not all of its struggles with the West can be direct. A strategy document written for the group’s US members pushes the idea of infiltration and weakening public opposition to Muslim demands: “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and
‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” That then, is a thumbnail sketch of what drives the Brotherhood’s global agenda. Of more immediate impact on the young Egyptians who rose up against Mubarak’s regime will be the Brotherhood’s policies on young women, such as segregation of male and female students, a different curriculum for girls, and bans on western dress and “loose behaviour”. One commentator holding his breath as he watched events unfold in Egypt on February 11 was exiled Iranian opposition spokesman Abolghassem Rezai, who recalled striking similarities to events of his own youth: “Thirty-two years ago, almost to the day, I was in the streets of one of the largest Middle Eastern capitals demanding the ouster of a 3-decade-old dictatorship.
But in the final stages of the shah’s overthrow – from September 1978 to February 1979 – Islamic fundamentalists led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, suddenly hijacked the enormous social movement and imbued it with a fundamentalist ideology that on Feb. 11 led to the establishment of a theocracy far more suppressive and opposed to freedom than its predecessor. “Since then,” adds Rezai, “the clerical regime has executed 120,000 dissidents, two of my sisters and their spouses among them. I was forced to flee the country in 1981.” Of course, all this speculation ignores the real power still held by the Egyptian military. The military transitional administration has said it will honour the Israeli peace treaty, and at face value the Army is unlikely to accept the imposition of an Islamic state. But in a country where Islamic fundamentalists gained
in a country where Islamic fundamentalists gained 20% of the vote and are the largest opposition party, it would be naïve to assume the Brotherhood does not have substantial support from within some sectors of the military as well With some friends in Tehran, I helped organize demonstrators from dawn to dusk as the sun set on the shah’s regime,” Rezai wrote in an essay published a couple of weeks ago. “Now, as I witness scenes of protests in Cairo, I remember similar images three decades earlier. I took part in those rallies, having been released from prison almost a year before. Four of my brothers and one of my sisters were murdered by the shah’s secret police during my five years in prison. “Much like the developments in Egypt, the anti-shah demonstrations were inspired initially by demands for freedoms of the press, assembly and expression, coupled with calls for the release of political prisoners, an end to corruption and the institution of social justice. The key word – and the chief political cry – was ‘freedom’.
20% of the vote and are the largest opposition party, it would be naïve to assume the Brotherhood does not have substantial support from within some sectors of the military as well. A political power struggle could spill over to a physical power struggle. Indeed, it was a Islamic Jihad cell inside the Egyptian military that got close enough to President Anwar Sadat in October 1981 to assassinate him, setting off the chain of events that brought Hosni Mubarak to power. The reach of the Brotherhood and its affiliates into the Egyptian military has a long pedigree. Most of this kind of analysis has been underplayed by Western media commentators, who still prefer to paint the Egyptian revolution as a triumph of democracy. It might be, but there’s no guarantee, and the threats to world
peace posed by a Brotherhood win in the upcoming elections are real. As British newspaper columnist Melanie Phillips has wryly observed, the media have been hypocritical in their support of Mubarak’s ouster: “The reaction in Britain and America to the turmoil in Egypt has produced a number of astounding revelations. The first is that everyone in the bien-pensant world is now apparently a neo-con. You really do have to rub your eyes at this very hard,” writes Phillips. “For the past seven years, western progressives have screamed without remission that George W Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Uncle Tom Neo-Con and all were criminally out to lunch to pretend that democracy could ever come to Iraq through ousting a dictator. “The neo-con article of faith, that the Arab or Islamic world could or should embrace democracy and human rights, was held up as an example of cultural imperialism, racist bigotry or insanity or all three. “Yet when the Egyptian protesters called for regime change and free elections, those very same Bush-whackers excitedly hailed this brave new dawn of Islamic freedom. They further declared that America had been criminally obtuse in propping up the dictator Hosni Mubarak rather than promoting regime change and helping install democracy on the banks of the Nile. “What’s the difference? Saddam Hussein was an enemy of the west; Hosni Mubarak is an ally. So progressives claim that getting rid of the former was a crime against humanity, while not getting rid of the latter was a crime against humanity. Got that?” asks Phillips in an article for Israel’s Jewish Chronicle. In the meantime, protest movements in other Arab countries are gaining strength, hoping to capitalise on the domino effect. If the end result is the instillation of more Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle East, fuelled by teachings that praise “death for Allah” and wiping the state of Israel off the face of the earth, you’ll be able to look at all the people who raised a toast when Mubarak fell and ask, “where’s that drink taking you?”. The political earthquake in Cairo this February may have aftershocks that change the world in the years to come.
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FREEDOM UNDER FIRE UK LEADER SAYS MULTICULTURALISM HAS FAILED
WORDS BY DAVID CAMERON PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN
For decades the West has welcomed immigrants with open arms and tolerant attitudes. But now the British Prime Minister has delivered a world-shaking speech arguing the West has become too tolerant, to the point where freedom is now at risk. You be the judge. This is the full transcript of “that” speech:
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oday, I want to focus my remarks on terrorism. But first, let me address one point. Some have suggested that by holding a Strategic Defence and Security Review, Britain is somehow retreating from an activist role in the world. This is the complete reversal of the truth. Yes, we are dealing with the deficit, but we are also making sure our defences are strong. Britain will continue to meet the NATO two per cent target for defence spending. We still have the fourth largest military budget in the world. And at the same time, we are putting that money to better use, focusing on conflict prevention and building a much more flexible army. That’s not retreat, it’s hard headed. Every decision we take has three aims firmly in mind. First, to support our continuing NATO mission in Afghanistan. Second, to reinforce our actual military capability. As Chancellor Merkel’s government is showing here in Germany what matters is not bureaucracy – which frankly Europe needs a lot less of – but the political will to build the military capability we need, as nations and allies, to deliver in the field. And third, to make sure Britain is protected from the new and various threats it faces. That’s why we’re investing in a national cyber-security programme and sharpening our readiness to act on counter-proliferation. The biggest threat to our security comes from terrorist attacks – some of which are sadly carried out by our own citizens. It’s important to stress that terrorism is not linked
exclusively to any one religion or ethnic group. The UK still faces threats from dissident republicans. Anarchist attacks have occurred recently in Greece and Italy. And of course, yourselves in Germany were long-scarred by terrorism from the Red Army Faction. Nevertheless, we should acknowledge that this threat comes overwhelmingly from young men who follow a completely perverse and warped interpretation of Islam and who are prepared to blow themselves up and kill their fellow citizens. Last week at Davos, I rang the alarm bell for the urgent need for Europe to recover its economic dynamism. And today, though the subject is complex, my message on security is equally stark. We won’t defeat terrorism simply by the actions we take outside our borders. Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries.
Root of the problem
Of course, that means strengthening the security aspects of our response – on tracing plots and stopping them, countersurveillance and intelligence gathering. But this is just part of the answer. We have to get to the root of the problem. We need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of these terrorist attacks lie – and that is the existence of an ideology, ‘Islamist extremism’. And we should be equally clear what we mean by this term, distinguishing it from Islam. Islam is a religion, observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a political ideology, sup-
ported by a minority. At the furthest end are those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of sharia. Move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world-view including real hostility towards western democracy and liberal values. It’s vital we make this distinction between the religion and the political ideology. Time and again, people equate the two. They think whether someone is an extremist is dependent on how much they observe their religion. So they talk about ‘moderate’ Muslims as if all devout Muslims must be extremist. This is wrong. Someone can be a devout Muslim and not be an extremist. We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing.
This highlights a significant problem when discussing the terrorist threat we face: there is so much muddled thinking about this whole issue. On the one hand, those on the hard right ignore this distinction between Islam and Islamist extremism and just say: “Islam and the West are in irreconcilable. This is a clash of civilisations. So it follows: we should cut ourselves off from this religion – whether that’s through the forced repatriation favoured by some fascists or the banning of new mosques as suggested in some parts of Europe.” These people fuel Islamaphobia. And I completely reject their argument. If they want an example of how Western values and Islam can be entirely compatible, they should look at what’s happened in the past few weeks on the streets of Tunis and Cairo. Hundreds of thousands people demanding the universal right to free elections and democracy. The point is this: the ideology of extremism is the problem. Islam, emphatically, is not. Picking a fight with the latter will do nothing to confront the former. On the other hand, there are those on the soft left who also ignore this distinction. They lump all Muslims together, compiling a list of grievances and arguing if only governments addressed them, this terrorism would stop. So they point to the poverty that so many Muslims live in and say: get rid of this injustice and the terrorism will end. But this ignores that fact that many of those found guilty of terrorist offences in the UK have been graduates, and often middle class. They point to the grievances about Western foreign policy and say: stop riding roughshod over Muslim countries and the terrorism will end. But there are many people – Muslim and non-Muslim alike – who are angry about western foreign policy and don’t resort to acts of terrorism. They also point to the profusion of unelected leaders across the Middle East and say: stop propping them up and creating the conditions for extremism to flourish. But this raises the question: if a lack of democracy is the problem, why are there extremists in free and open societies? Now, I am not saying these issues aren’t important. Yes, we must tackle poverty. Yes, we must resolve sources of tension – not least in Palestine. And yes, we should be on the side of
openness and political reform in the Middle East. On Egypt, our position is clear: we want to see the transition to a more broadly based government with the proper building blocks of a free and democratic society. I simply don’t accept that there’s a dead-end choice between a security state and Islamist resistance. But let’s not fool ourselves, these are just contributory factors. Even if we sorted out all these problems, there would still be this terrorism.
Identity and radicalisation
The root lies in the existence of this extremist ideology. And I would argue an important reason so many young Muslims are drawn to it comes down to a question of identity. What I’m about to say is drawn from the British experience, but I believe there are general lessons for us all. In the UK, some young men find it hard to identify with the traditional Islam practised at home by their parents whose customs can seem staid when transplanted to modern Western countries. But they also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views – racism, for example – we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them. The failure of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage – the practice where some young girls are bullied and sometimes taken abroad to marry someone they don’t want to – is a case in point. This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. All this leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology. For sure, they don’t turn into terrorists overnight. What we see is a process of radicalisation. Internet chatrooms are virtual meeting places where attitudes are shared, strengthened and validated. In some mosques, preachers of hate can sow misinformation about the plight of Muslims elsewhere. In our communities, groups and organisations led by young, dynamic leaders promote separatism by encouraging Muslims to define themselves solely in terms of their religion. All these interactions engender a sense of community, a substitute for what the wider society has failed to supply. You might say: as long as they’re not hurting anyone, what’s the problem with all this? I’ll tell you why. As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were
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initially influenced by what some have called ‘non-violent extremists’ and then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence. And I say this is an indictment of our approach to these issues in the past. And if we are to defeat this threat, I believe it’s time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone. Let me briefly take each in turn.
Tackle all forms of extremism
First, confronting and undermining this ideology. Whether they are violent in their means or not, we must make it impossible for the extremists to succeed. For governments, there are obvious ways we can do that. We must ban preachers of hate from coming to our countries. We must also proscribe organisations that incite terrorism – against people at home and abroad. Governments must also be shrewder in dealing with those that, while not violent, are certainly, in some cases, part of the problem. We need to think much harder about who it’s in the public interest to work with. Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement. So let’s properly judge these organisations: Do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separatism? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations. No public money. No sharing of platforms with Ministers at home. At the same time, we must stop these groups from reaching people in publicly funded institutions – like universities and prisons. Some say: this is incompatible with free speech and intellectual inquiry. I say: would you take the same view if right-wing extremists were recruiting on campuses? Would you advocate inaction if Christian fundamentalists who believe Muslims are the enemy were leading prayer groups in prison? And to those who say these non-violent extremists are helping to keep young, vulnerable men away from violence, I say nonsense. Would you allow the far right groups a share of public funds if they promise to lure young white men away from fascist terrorism? But, at root, challenging this ideology means exposing its ideas for what they are –completely unjustifiable.
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We need to argue that terrorism is wrong – in all circumstances. We need to argue that their prophecies of a global war of religion pitting Muslims against the rest of the world are rubbish. Governments cannot do this alone. The extremism we face is a distortion of Islam so these arguments, in part, must be made by those within Islam. So let’s give voice to those followers of Islam in our own countries – the vast often unheard majority – who despise the extremists and their worldview. Let’s engage groups that share our aspirations.
Second, we must build stronger societies and identities at home. Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. A genuinely liberal country does much more. It believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens: this is what defines us as a society. To belong here is to believe in these things. Each of us in our own countries must be unambiguous and hard-nosed about this defence of our liberty. There are practical things we can do as well. That includes making sure immigrants speak the language of their new home. And ensuring that people are educated in elements of a common culture and curriculum. Back home, we are introducing National Citizen Service – a two-month programme for sixteen year-olds from different backgrounds to live and work together. I also believe we should encourage meaningful and active participation in society, by shifting the balance of power, away from the state and to people. That way common purpose can be formed, as people come together and work together in their neighbourhoods. It will also help build stronger pride in local identity so people feel free to say yes, I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am Christian but I am also a Londonder or a Berliner too. It’s that identity – that feeling of belonging in our countries that is the key to achieving true cohesion.
Let me end with this. This terrorism is completely indiscriminate and has been thrust upon us. It can’t be ignored or contained. We need to confront it with confidence. Confront the ideology that drives it by defeating the ideas that warp so many minds at their root. And confront the issues of identity that sustain it by standing for a much broader and generous vision of citizenship in our countries. None of this will be easy. We need stamina, patience and endurance. And it won’t happen at all if we act alone. This ideology crosses continents – we are all in this together. At stake are not just lives, it’s our way of life. That’s why this is a challenge we cannot avoid – and one we must meet.
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wi tne ssing the dawn of a new ice age
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Y: N OAA
E S: T
NC E R
M Y EA
O T O PH
ASA has been warning about it…scientific papers have been written about it…geologists have seen its traces in rock strata and ice core samples. Now, “it” is here: an unstoppable magnetic pole shift that has sped up and which may be causing lifethreatening havoc with the world’s weather. Forget about global warming – man-made or natural – what drives planetary weather patterns is the climate and what drives the climate is the sun’s magnetosphere and its electromagnetic interaction with a planet’s own magnetic field. When the field shifts, when it fluctuates, when it goes into flux and begins to become unstable anything can happen. And what normally happens is that all hell breaks loose.
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Magnetic polar shifts have occurred many times in Earth’s history. It’s happening again now to every planet in the solar system including Earth. The magnetic field drives weather to a significant degree and when that field starts migrating, superstorms start erupting. The superstorms have arrived The first evidence we have that the dangerous superstorm cycle has started is the devastating series of winter storms that pounded the UK during late 2010. On the heels of the lashing the British Isles sustained, monster storms began to pummel North America. The latest superstorm – as of this writing – is a monster over the U.S. that stretched across 2,000 miles affecting more than 150 million people. Yet even as that storm wreaked havoc across the Western, Southern, Midwestern and Northeastern states, another superstorm broke out in the Pacific and closed in on Australia. The southern continent had already dealt with the disaster of historic superstorm flooding from rains that dropped as much as a metre in a matter of hours. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. After the deluge bull sharks were spotted swimming between houses in what was once the quiet town of Goodna. Shocked authorities now numbly concede that some of the water may never dissipate and have wearily resigned themselves to the possibility that their region will now contain a small inland sea. But then only a handful of weeks later another superstorm – the mega-monster cyclone Yasi – struck northeastern Australia. The damage it left in its wake is being called by rescue workers “a war zone”. The incredible superstorm packed winds near 300 km/h. Although labeled as a category-5 cyclone, it was technically a category-6. The reason for that is storms with winds of 250km/h are considered category-5, yet Yasi was almost 22 percent stronger than that. Yet Yasi may only be a foretaste of future superstorms. Some climate researchers, monitoring the rapidly shifting magnetic field, are predicting superstorms in the future with winds as high as 300 to 400mph – 500 to 700 km/h. Such storms would totally destroy anything they came into contact with on land. The possibility more storms like Yasi or worse will wreak havoc on our civilization and resources is found in the complicated electromagnetic relationship between the sun and Earth. The synergistic tug-of-war has been compared by some to an intricately constructed cat’s cradle. And it’s in a constant state of flux. The sun’s dynamic, ever-changing electric magnetosphere interfaces with the Earth’s own magnetic field affecting, to a degree, the Earth’s rotation, precessional wobble, dynamics of the planet’s core, its ocean currents and – above all else – the weather. Cracks in Earth’s Magnetic Shield The Earth’s northern magnetic pole was moving towards Russia at a rate of about eight kilometres annually. That progression to the East had been happening for decades. Suddenly, in the past decade the rate sped up. Now the magnetic pole is shifting East
32 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
at a rate of 70 km annually, an increase of 800 percent. And it continues to accelerate. Recently, as the magnetic field fluctuates, NASA has discovered “cracks” in it.1 This is worrisome as it significantly affects the ionosphere, troposphere wind patterns, and atmospheric moisture. All three things have an effect on the weather. Worse, what shields the planet from cancer-causing radiation is the magnetic field. It acts as a shield deflecting harmful ultraviolet, X-rays and other life-threatening radiation from bathing the surface of the Earth. With the field weakening and cracks emerging, the death rate from cancer could rise and mutations of DNA can become rampant. Another federal agency, NOAA, issued a report caused a flurry of panic when they predicted that mammoth superstorms in the future could wipe out most of California. The NOAA scientists said it’s a plausible scenario and would be driven by an “atmospheric river” moving water at the same rate as 50 Mississippi rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. The US Geological Survey issued a similar dire warning just a few weeks ago.2 Magnetic field may dip, flip and disappear The Economist wrote a detailed article3 about the magnetic field and what’s happening to it. In the article they noted: “There is, however, a growing body of evidence that the Earth’s magnetic field is about to disappear, at least for a while. The geological record shows that it flips from time to time, with the south pole becoming the north, and vice versa. On average, such reversals take place every 500,000 years, but there is no discernible pattern. Flips have happened as close together as 50,000 years, though the last one was 780,000 years ago. But, as discussed at the
Mads Faurschou Knudsen of the geology department at Aarhus University in western Denmark, told the Videnskab journal. “He and his colleague Peter Riisager, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), compared a reconstruction of the prehistoric magnetic field 5,000 years ago based on data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman.” In the scientific paper “Midday magnetopause shifts earthward of geosynchronous orbit during geomagnetic superstorms with Dst = -300 nT”6 the magnetic intensity of solar storms impacting Earth can intensify the effects of the polar shift and also speed up the frequency of the emerging superstorms.
n A man and his children cross a street in Chicago, February 2011. A total of 20.2 inches of snow was recorded at O’Hare International Airport, making the twoday storm the third-largest in Chicago history. UPI/Brian Kersey
Greenland Space Science Symposium, held in Kangerlussuaq this week, the signs are that another flip is coming soon.” Discussing the magnetic polar shift and the impact on weather, the scholarly paper “Weather and the Earth’s magnetic field” was published in the journal Nature.4 Scientists too are very concerned about the increasing danger of superstorms and the impact on humanity. Superstorms will not only damage agriculture across the planet leading to famines and mass starvation, they will also change coastlines, destroy cities and create tens of millions of homeless. Superstorms can also cause certain societies, cultures or whole countries to collapse. Others may go to war with each other. A Danish study published in the scientific journal Geology5, found strong correlation between climate change, weather patterns and the magnetic field. “The earth’s climate has been significantly affected by the planet’s magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming. “’Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth’s magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics,’ one of the two Danish geophysicists behind the study,
Possible magnetic pole reversal may also be initiating new Ice Age According to some geologists and scientists, we have left the last interglacial period behind us. Those periods are lengths of time – about 11,500 years – between major Ice Ages. One of the most stunning signs of the approaching Ice Age is what’s happened to the Chandler wobble. The Earth’s wobble has stopped.7 As explained in the geology and space science website earthchangesmedia.com, “The Chandler wobble was first discovered back in 1891 by Seth Carlo Chandler, an American astronomer. The effect causes the Earth’s poles to move in an irregular circle of 3 to 15 meters in diameter in an oscillation. The Earth’s Wobble has a 7-year cycle which produces two extremes, a small spiraling wobble circle and a large spiraling wobble circle, about 3.5 years apart. “The Earth was in October 2005 moving into the small spiraling circle (the MIN phase of the wobble), which should have slowly unfolded during 2006 and the first few months of 2007. (Each spiraling circle takes about 14 months). But suddenly at the beginning of November 2005, the track of the location of the spin axis veered at a very sharp right angle to its circling motion. “The track of the spin axis began to slow down and by about January 8, 2006, it ceased nearly all relative motion on the x and y coordinates which are used to define the daily changing location of the spin axis.” And the Earth stopped wobbling – exactly as predicted as another strong sign of an imminent Ice Age. So, the start of a new Ice Age is marked by a magnetic pole reversal, increased volcanic activity, larger and more frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, colder winters, superstorms and the halting of the Chandler wobble. Unfortunately, all of those conditions are being met and they may have nothing to do with SUV’s, high-pressure shower heads or the humble incandescent light bulb.
HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 33
$33,990 + ON ROAD COSTS
New Zealand standard specifications may vary to that shown in the picture.
0800 NEW KIA www.kia.co.nz 34 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
HIS action /DRIVE 36 2011’s Best Rides Jeep, Kia, Porsche, Jag and more
/SPORT 40 Sour grapes Did the All Whites deserve a Halberg? Chris Forster says ‘yes’
/INVEST 42 Clear the mortage Making money starts here
Not smiling now: >> Bertos and the boys gave world champs Italy and their fans a boot up the jacksie, but was it enough?
Awards season is at hand, so it’s only fitting to salute top performers in one of our favourite categories: autos. Our work as Los Angeles Times car reviewers put us behind the wheels of dozens of vehicles. Breakout stars included two new electric vehicles: the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. Luxury models by Jaguar and Porsche also impressed us with their style and power. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee, a classic, got a big thumbs up. Fans in the cheap seats will find there’s something for them too. So let’s roll out the red carpet and acknowledge some of the standouts of the 2011 model year. DAVID’S TOP PICKS
an exterior that sheds its predecessor’s amorphous and Porsche Cayenne S: Where wandering design. The Reviewers descriptions of the 2011 Cayenne stable features pick Cayenne S are concerned, variety too; there’s a V-6 you’ll need to indulge me model, a hybrid and, if in a round of existentialyou look past the boundTOP CARS ism. What exactly is a aries of common sense, a “sport utility”? 500-horsepower turbo iteraWe’ll start with the sport. tion. None of these is cheap; the Sport is climbing into a 2,100 kilo, Cayenne S I tested retails for over all-wheel-drive vehicle and laughing in NZ$180,000. the face of the laws of physics as you flog Yet any of these Porsche SUVs is worth said entity around a racetrack. No SUV every red cent. Toss me your chequebook should be able to do this as well as the and tell me to pick one vehicle to live Cayenne can, but if one has to, it makes with and it’s going to be a Cayenne. sense that it would be a Porsche. Now for the utility. Utility is taking Pick a Kia, any Kia: Kia had a banner that very same vehicle that cleaned your year in terms of introducing redesigned clock on the racetrack and taking it offvehicles, and you really roading. Or, to be more precise, it takes can’t go wrong with any of you off-roading. With a full complement them. of rough-terrain aids, such as hill descent I had the good fortune of control and a locking centre differential, reviewing the Kia Sportage the Cayenne S is as charming in dirt as and the Kia Optima last George Clooney was in “Ocean’s Twelve.” year, and spent some qualWill any Cayenne owners actually find ity time driving the larger themselves in these situations? Not if they Kia Sorento SUV. can spell their own name. But these capaAll of them jump to bilities demonstrate the level of engineer- the top of their respecing and sheer volume of performancetive segments in terms of obsessed brain cells devoted to creating value, performance, design an SUV that lives up to the gilded crest and safety. The people at on the hood. Kia deserve a trunkful of Add to these assets an interior that is credit for taking already effortlessly tasteful and luxurious, and solid vehicles from parent
36 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
company Hyundai and making them great. The Kia Sportage is a capable compact SUV that starts around NZ$33,990 for an LX model with automatic transmission. I tested a loaded EX AWD that came in at a sniffle under NZ$43,000. But the beauty of the Sportage, and indeed all Kias, is that the elements that make the vehicle shine are standard across all trim lines. Kia’s valedictorian is the 2011 Optima (coming soon to the NZ market). If it’s my dollars on the counter for a mid-size car, this is my first choice and it’s not even a close one. It beats all rivals in style, handling, safety and value. The base LX comes with a standard 200-horsepower four-cylinder, or you can punt for the Optima SX, a 274-horsepower, turbocharged sleeper.
HIS/action The beauty of the Sportage, and indeed all Kias, is that the elements that make the vehicle shine are standard across all trim lines…
WORDS BY SUSAN CARPENTER AND DAVID UNDERCOFFLER/LOS ANGELES TIMES
There’s really no loser. Nothing’s perfect, and in my review I mentioned the hard seats, but they’re not cement and are no reason to avoid the vehicle. Perhaps the biggest downside to Kias right now is their tainted pedigree. Extolling the virtues of this brand is often met with a look reserved for soured dairy products. So, to the owners of 2011 Kias, I say stay strong. Consider yourself in front of a trend. Nissan Leaf: Before you go to bed
tonight you’ll probably plug in a few items for charging. Perhaps your cell phone, your laptop, maybe an electric toothbrush. So why not your car? The Leaf (coming to NZ shortly) is the first mass-marketed all-electric car available,
and it’s a gamechanger precisely because it is so easy to live with. Charging takes place in your garage. A full charge on a standard 240-volt charging unit takes eight hours. But my time with the Leaf demonstrated that it was rare that you return home at the end of the day in need of a full charge. The Leaf isn’t for everyone, but given the limits of battery technology right now, Nissan put together a rather functional all-electric car. Fear of running out of juice fades away with a comprehensive
(and standard) navigation system that gives you all the information you could ask for on how your driving and energy usage are affecting your range, and just what that range is. It’s a well-equipped compact car powered by an 80-kilowatt motor putting out 107 horsepower and a lively 207 poundfeet of torque.
HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 37
The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee strikes an excellent balance, with a pampering interior that complements radical upgrades in technology…
SUSAN’S TOP PICKS Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4:
Long co-opted as suburban mummobiles, SUVs are rarely used to perform the tasks for which they were first designed. Off-road-capable but driven, for the most part, on pavement, they tend to suffer from a dual-purpose mandate to make them as comfortable as cars but rugged enough to trek the wilds. But the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee strikes an excellent balance, with a pampering interior that complements radical upgrades in technology.
38 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
In addition to an all-new, 3.6-litre V-6 engine that yields an 11 percent improvement in fuel economy, the new Grand Cherokee employs an optional air suspension system that lifts or lowers the chassis, adjusting its ground clearance to between 4.7 inches and 10.7 inches with the push of a button, allowing drivers to ford deeper streams or drop passengers curbside without breaking a leg. A new Selec-Terrain system operates with the twist of a knob, electronically coordinating the powertrain, braking and suspension systems, as well as the throttle, transmission shift and stability
controls, to better traverse snow, sand, rocks – even boulders. A new hill-descent control feature allows the new Grand Cherokee to calmly descend radically steep and rock-strewn hills. And it does this from a driver’s seat that is luxuriously tactile and technologically upscale. Its interior is leather; its steering wheel is wooden and can be heated on demand. Additional options turn the Grand Cherokee into a travelling living room, with Wi-Fi connectivity and live TV. Chevrolet Volt: If there’s any upside to
General Motors’ killing its all-electric EV1 in 2004, it’s the post-bankruptcy company’s even more groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt – a plug-in electric with a range-extending petrol engine. A compact sedan that combines the best aspects of electric- and gas-powered propulsion, it operates emissions-free in pure-electric mode and is also capable of
It is difficult to fuse glamour with edge… but the large and luxurious Jaguar XJ has done it
going the distances to which commuters are accustomed. Not including a federal tax break, the Volt lists at US$41,000 (NZ$55,000). The Volt can travel up to 80 kilometres using its 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and 111-kilowatt electric drive unit, and an additional 500 km with a 1.4-litre internal combustion engine that juices its electric generator and drive motors. What’s revolutionary about the Volt is that it negates the need for drivers to choose between going green and conducting business as usual. For green technologies to succeed, they can’t require consumer sacrifice. To become mainstream, they need to be equal to or better than what consumers have come to expect. They need to handle like regular cars, to be as quick to refuel as gas vehicles and to operate at a reasonable cost. The Volt accomplishes all of these things. The weight distribution of its gas/elec-
tric powertrain is centred and low, making its ride feel utterly normal. Because the car is designed to go up to 70 km in pure electric mode, which GM says will satisfy most people’s daily commuting needs, the battery doesn’t need to be as large as one for a comparably sized pure electric car. And it can recharge in as few as four hours on a 240-volt charger. Although electricity prices vary by region, the cost to drive on electricity may be less than it is for gas. Jaguar XJ Supercharged: Middle age
often leads to unpredictable behaviour that, at its best, leads to innovation. Take the 42-year-old Jaguar XJ, a lean and lowslung luxury sedan that’s been sculpturally updated to demo the British manufacturer’s commitment to the sensuous and the sporting. A dramatic update of the Jaguar flagship, the new XJ is powered with a 5.0litre V-8 that, in its supercharged version, pounces with an incredible 424 poundfeet of torque. But its muscle isn’t raw. This is an extremely refined machine,
both under the hood and inside the cabin An active rear differential is stock, helping to improve traction and stability when cornering. A gear-selector dial lets drivers match their moods and surroundings with the way the car drives. But it’s the XJ’s interior appointments that are most impressive, making standard luxury fare seem almost mundane. Its climate-control system senses humidity as well as temperature. Its perforated leather seats aren’t just heated but air conditioned; when requested, at the touch of a button, the seats even offer massage. Quiet describes not only the inside of the cabin but the understated taste of the new XJ’s fit and finish. The dashboard is trimmed in sumptuous leather and ringed with glistening inlaid wood. The dashboard display looks old-school and analogue but is, in fact, digital, able to cycle at the touch of a button through different menus of information. It is difficult to fuse glamour with edge, and to do so in a manner that honours a model’s heritage, but the large and luxurious Jaguar XJ has done it.
HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 39
Rowing, rugby and league
are minority sports in most parts of the world. Football is a religion. Most importantly the campaign captured the imagination of New Zealanders
40 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
Sour grapes The furore which erupted after the All Whites dominated the Halberg Awards is a step back to the dark ages. It’s no surprise in a year New Zealand showcases the Rugby World Cup, but shouldn’t we have a more enlightened approach?
inning is everything. That’s the rationale behind all the arguments from commentators and sports stars who railed against the New Zealand football team for picking up the Team of the Year, and the ultimate prize – the Halberg. After all they “only” managed three draws at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa last June. The fact is, however, they were on the biggest sporting stage of them all, and one of those draws ultimately eliminated the defending champions Italy, a point conveniently forgotten by the protagonists. There’s no doubt the All Blacks were brilliant in 2010. They cleaned up in the Tri Nations, including ironically a last gasp victory over the Springboks at Soccer City in Johannesburg. They then completed a Grand Slam tour of the UK in emphatic style. They only lost one game all year, and that was to the Wallabies in Hong Kong. Even that was a dead rubber with the Bledisloe Cup locked away at NZRU headquarters for another year. So in sheer “winning-est” factor, they were superior to the All Whites, who only won one game all year. The Kiwis league side also deserved all the accolades they got for rolling the muchvaunted Australians – in Brisbane – to lift
the Four Nations trophy. It took a dodgy forward pass to seal that last gasp victory, but that’s the fine line you tread in sport. League though has never been a favourite of the Halberg Awards judges. Hark back to their snub after NZ sensationally knocked over the Kangaroos in the 2008 World Cup final. The Silver Ferns were worthy finalists too – defending their Commonwealth Games crown over the Australian Diamonds, in spine-tingling fashion in Delhi. Then there was Eric Murray and Hamish Bond’s desperate last gasp surge for gold at the Rowing World Championships on the home waters of Lake Karapiro. They were all marvellous Team of the Year moments, all worthy of accolades, praise and fond memories. But they pale into significance with what the All Whites achieved on a superior sphere. They captured world attention. They became the darlings of the international media and put remote, lowly populated New Zealand on the map in countries like Ghana, Brazil and the USA. Rowing, rugby and league are minority sports in most parts of the world. Football is a religion. Most importantly the campaign captured the imagination of New Zealanders. They were sucked into the World Cup
HIS/action from the last gasp goal to draw with Slovakia – to the superb display against Italy – and the gutsy draw to finish unbeaten against Paraguay. It captivated New Zealanders from all walks of life, people who normally wouldn’t give a fig about sport. Fittingly the people’s choice, a public vote on the best sporting moment – opted for Winston Reid’s header over the seven other adrenalin-charged nominees. Football can also feel aggrieved after inspirational captain Ryan Nelsen was overlooked for Sportsman of the Year, in favour of Richie McCaw. You have to commend the Halberg Award judges for finally recognising that X factor, and going for a popular choice, with considerable depth, rather than a straight-forward winning option. The grizzles from leading rowers and the stuck in the 80s commentators – and the needless resignation from 1974 gold medal winning athlete Dick Tayler – show this country has some growing up to do. This year’s RWC will be a serious barometer of how the nation rates on a serious international scale. Other countries’ opinions, from both their fans and the media, do matter. New Zealanders will be drawn into the hype and saturation rugby that is already dominating the landscape through til October and beyond. Even the dominant National Party recognises the result might have an impact on the elections in November. The All Blacks can not dare slip short of the demands for a hometown triumph. They are everyone’s favourites to win. How Kiwis cope with that triumph – or the fear of failure – will be the real test of how far this nation’s come in the second decade of the 21st century. Leo Bertos is desperate for another crack at the FIFA World Cup, to be held in Brazil in 2014. The midfielder was a key figure in coach Ricki Herbert’s masterplan to be competitive in South Africa last year. He switched to a deeper role and provided sweeping runs up the wings to stretch the opposition. He’s still buzzing from the whole experience, and the accolades from the Halbergs bash 8 months later. “It was such a big year for us. We captured the hearts of the whole country, the awards prove that. The big thing now is can we keep it going? We don’t want to be a flash in the pan, can we keep performing and go through to the next World Cup. “The funny thing is in professional sport, it seems a long way away. The hype of the moment was a long time ago.” Bertos is a flamboyant footballer, stemming from his background of Greek and Maori parents. His dribbling skills and crossing ability have made him a firm favourite with the Phoenix faithful and a regular with the national team since returning to Wellington from playing stints in England’s lower leagues and with the Perth Glory’s A-League side. He’ll be 30 this year. But his passion for the game – driven by the national team’s success – has never been stronger. “If there’s anything I can take from South Africa .. It’s I so des-
perately want to go to the next World Cup – that is my big goal.” It’ll be a similar qualification path through the Oceania Confederation this time around, starting with games against Pacific Island nations later this year, and then building inevitably towards the playoff with the 5th ranked Asian nation. Many nations in Europe and South America rate this as ridiculously easy, but FIFA is determined to advance the game in the Asia and Oceania regions. “It’s reachable. After doing it in the last campaign. We know it’s really do-able and we just need to give it our best shot … to emulate that.” His more defensive role will be a key factor for Bertos to retain his place in Ricki Herbert’s squad over the next few years. There are a couple of talented footballers who’ve rifled into the limelight during the A-League season. Striker Kosta Barbarouses has made every post a winner since leaving the Capital and starring for the best team in the A League regular season, the Brisbane Roar.
But it’s teenager Marco Rojas who’s now creating the buzz in Wellington. He was eased into the Phoenix by Herbert after signing a two year deal, and became an integral part of the Wellington club making it through to the playoffs for the second year running in February this year. He’s a Kiwi of Chilean extraction, and while small of stature, is blessed with sublime ball skills and deceptive speed. Rohas has an uncanny ability to deliver incisive balls into attacking areas, and he’s already scored a couple of goals himself. The boy Marco is a star in the making. He’s sure to be snapped up by a European club, especially as he gets time with the All Whites on their road towards the next World Cup. The Phoenix – and owner Terry Serepisos – now have the task of trying to hold onto this precious young cargo for another year.
HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 41
Christine and Richard were
noticeably shocked to hear that Jim and Moira had cleared their mortgage prior to reaching forty. This included raising three children and upgrading their home twice
42 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
Go debt free Clearing the mortgage remains the best savings plan, argues Peter Hensley
ichard and Christine had heard about Jim and Moira from a family friend. Christine had been told that they welcomed all comers and appreciated a little advanced notice of a pending visit. Prior to their visit Richard and Christine had no preconceptions and – if the truth be known – they were a trifle apprehensive about what to expect. They had never really sought financial advice from anyone before as it was a topic that never seemed to be discussed. Richard had read somewhere that they had to get to see Moira prior to 1st July 2011, because after that date only licensed advisers were able to provide personalised financial advice. The legislation has been developed over the past decade and after a number of false starts the implementation date has finally been set. Christine was of the opinion that the legislation was not meant to stop people like Jim and Moira from sharing good old fashioned common sense over a cup of tea, it was designed to make it more difficult for the product pushers and fast talking fly by night salespeople to operate. Jim and Moira did not sell anything, they were renowned for lending nothing more than an ear and applying good old fashioned logic to people’s financial woes. They generally did it over a cup of tea, biscuit and a chat. Over the years they had applied their same logic to their own affairs and had come
out all right. Their friends and neighbours knew this was a modest claim. Moira had a reputation of being an excellent cook and this was backed up by visitors experiencing expansive arrangements of baking treats. Many of her guests were unaware that this skill was born out of necessity. In the early days when things were tight financially, Moira learnt how to extend their housekeeping allowance by learning and applying basic cooking skills. Jim’s response to their stretched fiscal situation was to grow their own vegetables. This activity was actually the forerunner of their reputation in the neighbourhood of being generous, as Jim had a habit of giving his excess produce away to those in need. This in turn led people to look to them for advice as they always appeared to be well off financially. Jim and Moira had ceased being amazed at their neighbours’ lack of financial literacy. In the early days they worked out that they had a limited amount of income and it was up to them to decide where it should be allocated. They also knew that their outgoings had to be smaller than their income. In other words they had to spend less than they earned. This was the code that they had lived by all their lives. Everything else tended to fall into place. Moira worked out that home baking allowed them to reduce their weekly grocery bill. Jim chipped in with the vegetable garden and cutting coupons. Their budgeting
HIS/action gave them more authority over their fiscal circumstances. It was a sunny afternoon when Richard and Christine arrived for afternoon tea. The summer weather was holding and Jim ushered them into the conservatory. Richard was taken with the harbour view and the spectacle of the yacht race currently underway. Living up to her reputation, Moira had set the table with an array of delicacies. Jim was in charge of the hot beverages. After brief introductions and confirmation of their mutual friend’s welfare Moira simply asked how they could be of assistance. Richard and Christine found that it was easier than they had imagined to outline a summary of their financial circumstances to a stranger. They were in their early sixties, both had jobs paying well above the national average, and they were broke. The main bone of contention was that they were in sight of retirement and they still had a $150,000 mortgage. Christine was almost in tears. Many of her friends had already retired and they were facing the reality of working well past the expected retirement age. Richard had done the numbers and had worked out that National Superannuation would not even meet the mortgage payments. Christine and Richard were noticeably shocked to hear that Jim and Moira had cleared their mortgage prior to reaching forty. This included raising three children and upgrading their home twice. At the time it seemed an impossible task, but with hard work and fiscal discipline they were able to achieve their goal. Moira was not surprised as she had seen it before. To their credit Richard and Christine had been diligent in some of their affairs. Both had small private superannuation policies and ing sure to restock n CRUSH YOUR DEBT: Moira worked out that these balances were available for withdrawal. the biscuit plate. by using the available Moira suggested that instead of saving into the balances of their out dated Moira when on insurance based savings schemes they would be superannuation schemes to explain to their guests and slightly adjusting their better of using the proceeds to go against their that they should put themselves into the position repayment schedule, they biggest liability. of telling their money where to go, rather than could be debt free in just Richard mentioned that they had stopped sitting back each month and wondering where it over four years./ REGENCY contributing to the schemes when KiwiSaver went. Budgeting would fix their problem. started. Moira was thrilled to hear that were in, however disapEliminating their mortgage should be their first priority. On pointed to hear they had not made an active choice and were the back of an envelope Moira worked out that by using the still in the default scheme. Richard looked at her quizzically. available balances of their out dated superannuation schemes Moira explained that KiwiSaver was great because employed and slightly adjusting their repayment schedule, they could scheme members had the employer and the Government addbe debt free in just over four years. This certainly caught their ing cash to their savings, however unless the member makes a attention. conscious decision to select a scheme provider the contributor Christine then launched into asking questions about different ends up in the most conservative fund which generally does not investment options as she had heard that gold was a favourite suit their age and stage in life. amongst some advisers. Moira counseled her into focusing on Moira glanced at Jim and indicated to him that her cup was the task at hand and that maybe they should revisit this once empty and the biscuit plate needed replenishing. It was just they were debt free as that was a totally different discussion. as well that Moira had been listening intently to their guests’ A copy of Peter J. Hensley’s disclosure statement is available on story otherwise she might have noticed that it was Jim who had request and is free of charge. cleaned out the biscuits. Jim quickly tended to his chores, makCopyright © Peter J Hensley, March 2011
HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 43
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HIS gadgets /GADGETS 46 New Releases The latest in tech toys, including the world’s first Playstation mobile phone
/TECH 48 Move over iPad Google’s Android powers new tablet rivals
/ONLINE 50 Facebook insecurity How much privacy do you really have?
iPad rivals: >>
New tablets powered by Android ‘Honeycomb’ threaten to knock iPad off their perch
HIS/gadgets Acer Iconia Discover new and immersive ways to view and interact with your favorite videos, photos, websites and movies. ICONIA delivers a visual experience like no other with all your multimedia, entertainment, communication and even web pages seamlessly flowing across dual screens.Watch a video on the top screen and browse your multimedia library on the bottom one. ICONIA gives you many ways to make your computing experience a truly personal one. www.acer.com
Boxee Box Not only is Boxee is the best way to watch movies, TV shows and clips from the Internet on your TV, it’s the easiest. All you need is a TV with an HDMI input and an Internet connection, and Boxee Box will take care of the rest. Equipped with an SD card slot, (2) USB ports, an optical digital audio connector, HDMI output and an 802.11n wireless equipped Ethernet port, there isn’t much Boxee Box can’t plug into. And with its nano-sized RF USB adapter, you can plug your Boxee Remote into any standard USB port without worrying about signal interference. www.dlink.com
Xperia Play The world’s first Playstationcertified smartphone is expected to hit global markets this month. Sony Ericsson has just unveiled the Xperia Play, based on the latest 2.3 version of Android and parked on top of a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor. The device features a slide-out games controller, and a selection of Playstation games will be available for the phone when it hits shop shelves (20 or so pre-loaded) – Sony Ericsson says New Zealand networks should have the handset available before mid-year. www.sonyericsson.com
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HIS/mall FinePix x100 The FinePix X100 takes the retro trend of cameras like the Canon G12 and the Olympus E-P1 and raises the bar in style and quality. The X100 just feels expensive. The dual-chromatic design scheme with rubberized gripping surface really establishes that retro flavor—with some help from the optical viewfinder hiding in the corner like a 1950’s Nikon rangefinder. But what we really like about the X100 is the design of the body and controls. All the dials up top are sturdy metal affairs and the upper control deck and bottom surface of the camera are cast from magnesium alloy. Some may quibble with the anticipated $US1000 price point, but this camera looks – and feels – like a thousand bucks. www.finepix-x100.com
Thule Crossover travel bags A highly functional daypack with crush-proof SafeZone compartment, the Thule Crossover withstands the abuse of your everyday adventures. Holds up to a 17-in MacBook Pro in padded safety. SafeZone compartment protects iPhone and other gear. Comfortably carrying your MacBook Pro on quick hikes, aroundtown travel, weekend getaways, mountain bike excursions and the daily commute. www.thule.com
Simple e-reader sleeve This modern and simple sleeve is made of 1/8” thick felted wool offering great protection for your reader. Snug fit and simple closure with a hand-dyed leather strap that is riveted on the back and snaps in the front. Snap and rivet locations are lined to keep your reader from touching anything but soft, thick wool felt. Original design by Byrd & Belle. Felted material is 100% wool felt and is around 1/8” thick. This high quality felt is a sustainable and renewable material and offers strength while remaining soft to the touch. Leather strap is hand-dyed here in the studio using environmentally friendly, low v.o.c. dyes. Each piece is handled and studied and minor variations in texture and color, though they are slight, are part of the unique character of each piece. www.byrdandbelle.com
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iPAD’S RIVALS ARE GO FOR LAUNCH Troy Wolverton finds much to admire in new tablets
love the iPad. But I’m happy that it will soon see some serious competition. Google last month showed off the first version of its Android operating system designed specifically for tablets. Tablets running that system – code named Honeycomb – are expected to hit store shelves within the next month. Google is only one of several major players entering the tablet market on the heels of Apple’s success with the iPad. At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, Research in Motion showed off its new PlayBook tablet, which is expected to reach the market by April, and as this went to press Hewlett-Packard was expected to unveil a tablet running the WebOS software it acquired from Palm. These new entries are likely to steal market share from Apple, which has largely had the tablet market to itself since it launched the iPad last year. More importantly, the increased competition will spur new innovation and experimentation – and possibly push down prices. That’s what happened with smart phones. When Apple unveiled the iPhone, it was the only touch-screen smart phone on the market apart from the Palm Treo range, and consumers had to spend a minimum of $800 to get it. Today, they can choose from dozens of touch-screen smart phones, and some come without any upfront cost. And today’s smart
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phones can do a lot more than they could four short years ago. That change has a lot to do with the success of Android, which is now the leading smart phone operating system worldwide. The rivalry between Apple and Google and its manufacturer partners has forced both sides to rapidly introduce new features in their software and devices. Apple has introduced major updates to the iOS software underlying the iPhone once a year and has updated features more frequently than that. And Google has updated Android at an even faster pace. In the last year, Apple added support for multitasking in iOS and the ability to send movies and music wirelessly from the iPhone to a TV, features previously available in Android. Likewise, Google just announced it will support purchases of add-on content, such as virtual goods from within an application, a feature that’s long been supported by iOS devices. I’m eager to see that same kind of innovation and competition hit tablets. Because as much as I like the iPad, it’s not perfect. I’m guessing that Honeycomb will spur the same kinds of changes in the tablet market that Android has spurred in the smart phone business. The iPad’s user interface – like that of the iPhone – is built around apps. The device can have multiple home screens, but on each screen, you’ll find ordered rows of application icons – or folders to contain those apps. Honeycomb takes a different tack. Its interface is designed to be more like a PC’s desktop, albeit one with multiple screens. Applications are hidden away inside a folder. On the home screens, you’ll find icons of your favourite applications or widgets, small pro-
grams that allow you to view things like stock quotes or your unread e-mail messages without having to launch full applications. I worry that Google carries the desktop interface too far for a device consumers will navigate with their fingers rather than with a mouse. But I love the idea of being able to use a tablet’s home screen for something other than displaying rows of app icons. I also like the idea of being able to get the weather report, for instance, by just turning on the tablet and checking the weather widget on the home screen, rather than having to find and launch the appropriate application. I don’t know whether Apple will adopt these features or any of Honeycomb’s other innovations. But if Honeycomb takes off, Apple will be under increased pressure to do so – or to come up with its own unique innovations. To be sure, Google could still learn a lot from Apple. I haven’t played with a Honeycomb device yet, but the few who have say it’s not as easy to use as an iPad. And for all the criticism of Apple for what it does and does not allow in its App Store, its controls tends to ensure a higherquality selection of apps than you’ll find on Android. As long the iPad remains popular, Google also will be under pressure to match features or introduce new ones. That pressure may involve long hours for developers at Apple and Google. But it should mean ever better, ever more capable tablets for you and me.
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online Social engineering attacks Watch for social media to become a focus for social engineering attacks such as those already commonly experienced by users of Facebook and Google. ESET thinks it is likely that there will be an increasing volume of attacks on other social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Orkut and Twitter and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. This will be especially important if the market leaders take preventive measures that increase the cost of social engineering attacks on Facebook and Google. Facebook presents a particular danger. It may continue to try to cure the symptom rather than the disease by presenting the social media privacy invasive issue as something that is what their customers actually want, placing the responsibility of their customers to ensure that their data are not shared in ways they wouldn’t agree to if they were specifically asked. Some sites (Bebo for example) have actually moved away from the ‘deny nothing’ end of the spectrum towards ‘deny some things’ even though sharing as much as possible of their customers’ data is fundamental to their business model. Facebook remains equivocal. The question is, do most of the people who blithely embrace the concept of ‘information wants to be free’ in the social media context do so because they’re not equipped to appreciate the security implications of that world view? Automated social networking site scraping tools, as well as leakage of data, will reduce the cost of creating attacks, leading to more high-profile incidents. Incautious use of social media and inappropriate or naïve acceptance of privacy claims can only increase the risks. So there you have it. Social media can be an enabler, but it can also be a risk. If you want to put yourself out there to promote a social agenda, just remember that it won’t be only your friends that read what you think. And some people have long memories.
INTERNET SECURITY: 2011 AND BEYOND
010 was the year that social media really took off (even inspiring a hit Hollywood film, The Social Network), Wikileaks proved that leaks can be a very real threat to the organisations affected and internet security hit the headlines (again). 2011 is shaping up to be an even more exciting time as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are the media of choice for social change as evidenced in both Tunisia and Egypt, botnet (robot spam systems that take over hacked personal computers) providers are going commercial and cyber-crooks are becoming much more sophisticated in their tactics. So, in addition to social upheaval (thankfully just on the telly and not here at home), what can we look forward to? While botnets are far from new, they will continue to grow in significance during 2011. Research data suggests continuing growth in botnet volumes and comparable growth in bot malware, which all indicates that zombie PCs will constitute a higher proportion of all infected systems. It is also expected that following the prominence in 2010 of botnets controlled through Twitter, botherders will
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experiment with other Command and Control channels. The good news is that recent successes in taking down botnets are expected to continue and perhaps even increase. ESET’s Cyber Threat Analysis Center (CTAC) team predicts that botnets will continue to be a major problem but hopes that the big name botnets will be monitored so closely by security researchers that they may be abandoned by their creators. Following the widespread occurrence of the Boonana Trojan Horse, which has the potential to infect on several operating systems, it’s probable that there will be more malware that uses environments like Java to work on multiple platforms. For example, botnets that include zombies running on both Windows and nonWindows operating systems. BHSEO or BlackHat SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), sometimes referred to as index poisoning or index hijacking, is by no means new. However the use of social media allows blackhats considerable scope for optimising this technique for driving user traffic towards malicious sites in real time searching.
Hacked together by Chillisoft NZ from various sources, blogs and ramblings including David Harley, Senior Research Fellow at ESET, LLC (developers of ESET NOD32 antivirus software).
we protect your digital worlds HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011 51
w w w. n i k o n . c o. n z 52 HISMAGAZINE.TV Mar 2011
HIS mindfuel /ONSCREEN 54 The Rite Based on the true story of a Catholic exorcist
/BOOKCASE 56 Michael Morrissey Close encounters of the nerd kind
/MUSIC 58 Chris Philpott Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi and Daft Punk
/CONSIDER THIS 60 Amy Brooke The dumbing-down of New Zealand
/THE QUESTION 62 Matthew Flannagan Till death do us part?
The Rite: >>
Does the Devil exist? US #1 Movie based on true story, Hopkins “no longer an atheist”
onscreen The rite ssss | reviewed by steven rea
The Rite Stuff
f one believes in Evil – yes, with a capital E – then the charmer that Anthony Hopkins has played three times now, a Chianti-swilling, sweetbreads-savouring psychopath by the name of Hannibal Lecter, could be Evil’s poster boy. But Hopkins, who has channelled mad menace in films both good (The Silence of the Lambs) and bad (The Wolfman), is not so sure that Evil of the biblical kind exists. This weighty question came up in reference to The Rite, a somewhat brainy thriller based on a true story, in which Hopkins – 73 now, and, to his own amazement, still working as much as ever – portrays an exorcist. In his rectory in Rome, Hopkins’ Father Lucas, an unorthodox Jesuit, goes nuclear on the Devil and his satanic underlings, grabbing hold of the possessed, spewing incantations, daring the demons to reveal themselves. There was a real exorcist, a priest, on hand to offer counsel during the production, Hopkins says. The Rite centres on the relationship between his character – a Welshman, like the actor himself – and a young deacon (Colin O’Donoghue) who isn’t sure, after all, that there is a God, or a Devil. Couldn’t these troubled souls be suffering from dementia, or schizophrenia? “I’m not sure what I believe,” Hopkins says, having called for the appointed interview with the disarming opener “Hi, it’s Tony Hopkins here,” and then been asked about his own views on faith and religion. He used to be an atheist, he says. Now, “I don’t know what the hell I believe. I think there’s something at the back of everything. ... And I think the film presents an interesting debate, and I respect people’s beliefs, whether they’re atheists or believers. ... “If someone believes in God, who am I to argue with that? Who am I to question the faith of people like Einstein, Kepler, Charles Darwin, who were themselves great scientists and yet believed in a deity? ... I do read everything I can. For this project, I read On the Origin of Species, and I’ve read the Psalms of Bonhoeffer, and his life story. I’ve read everything I possibly can. “And I’m not an educated man, but I love to read, and so I dig down into it to see if there’s anything I can find there. And I still come out without a clue, so I have no idea. “The only certainty Starring: Anthony Hopkins, is death,” Hopkins Colin O’Donoghue adds. “My only Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom philosophy is that if Rated: TBC this is it, if this is the Opens in cinemas: 10 March only life there is, I Running time: 114 minutes may as well enjoy it.
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And if it’s not – maybe there’s something beyond this, and this is all a dream – then I may as well enjoy it as well. It’s a double-win situation.” The Rite, directed by Mikael Håfstrom, is not your standard-issue head-spinning, projectile-vomiting “Exorcist” affair, although it does inhabit dark, creepy cinematic space. Hopkins, in fact, was wary of the project at first (“I didn’t want to play another spooky part”), but met with the Swedish director (1408, Derailed) and liked his thinking. “He wanted to stand back a little and not make it a gory, weird movie, but just make it very real, and I said, ‘That suits me fine.’” Hopkins, who lives near Los Angeles with his wife, the Colombian-born actress Stella Arroyave, paints and composes when he’s not working. But he’s been working a lot lately. He had a central role in Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, shot in London, then went to Rome and Budapest for The Rite, then back to L.A., where he suited up (in 30 pounds of Old Norse armor) to play Odin, “god of all things,” in the adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Thor.
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bookcase BOOKS EDITOR | michael morrissey
Close encounters of the nerd kind THE UFO DIARIES By Martin Plowman Allen & Unwin, $29.99
When I was about fourteen years old I stumbled upon Flying Saucers Have Landed by George Adamski. Being a lone wolf adolescent, I thought of myself as the sole discoverer of this preposterous account of an English-speaking Venusian warning Adamski about Mankind’s folly in monkeying with nuclear weapons. From Plowman, I have learned that it was a best-seller racking up sales of hundreds of thousands. Reports of aliens (extraterrestrial ones) in the 1950s quite often portrayed them as humanoid, or, as cynical author Plowman puts it, like “Scandinavian ski instructors” who came from Venus and conveniently spoke English. They had important things to tell us. In others words, they were like heavenly prophets warning worldly sinners to mend their ways. UFOs buffs may be disappointed to learn Plowman is not a believer – he has never seen a UFO or communicated with an alien. What fascinates him – enough to write a PhD thesis – is the passion and conviction of the believers. In fact, he is wittily, if heavy-handedly, described as a ufology-olgist. I trust this ugly term does not gain currency. Plowman reminds us that the modern era of the UFO, the so called “flying saucers”, began in 1947 and the era of abduction as recently as 1961. Significantly, the latter are usually retrieved from blank memory spots through hypnosis. And both began in the United States of America. While America pioneered the modern era, it has spread widely by a process Plowman and other commentators call cultural diffusion through the whole of the Americas – Mexico in particular – and subsequently throughout the entire world. New Zealand has not escaped the “bright lights in the sky” net hence the famous Kaikoura sightings of 1978. Plowman fancies himself as a humourist and some of his cynical remarks (often overly lengthy and in brackets) are mildly amusing but many strain for effect. It must be said apart from anything else Plowman is an outstanding travel writer who can describe a landscape in lush lyric detail. Most of this book could be read as a very well writ-
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ten travel account through the Americas with the UFOs tacked on like fool’s gold. If this was a documentary or film, Plowman would finally get to see a UFO and his scepticism would be dented. No such luck! He must content himself with talking to earnest eye witnesses to whom UFOs are as familiar as the sky itself. However, when Plowman arrives, the skies are cloudy or he has only a day to spare and the elusive luminous beasties are only seen at night. Plowman reprises Roswell (it has been worked over innumerable times) and says there was an affidavit unearthed as recently as 2007 claiming there were alien corpses. He doesn’t mention the crash test dummy theory about these “alien” bodies or the notion that strange lights in mountains at night may be a little understood form of electricity – in other words, no hallucination, although not solid or extraterrestrial. Plowman concludes with the challenging paradox that “UFOs are and always have been real, even if they don’t exist”. Don’t worry – it will make sense after you read the book. In many ways, it’s the best written book on the subject thus far.
100 YEARS OF FLIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
By John Mounce & Richard Williams Penguin, $82 There are amiably jingoistic and romantic souls who cling to the notion that Richard Pearse was the first person in the world to achieve controlled powered flight. This notion was given liftoff in that extraordinarily brilliant film Forgotten Silver, the result of a lovely collaboration between Costa Botes and Peter Jackson. The film even provides “footage” of the Pearse flight. Of course the image was a model and the entire film what is called a “mockumentary” – a spoof. Pearse himself acknowledged the Wright Brothers as the first successful flyers. There is anecdotal evidence for Pearse making an unsuccessful attempt at controlled powered flight in March 1903. So who was the first person in New Zealand to successfully fly? As this splendid book makes clear, it was Vivian Walsh. The flight was on 5 February, 1911. The plane in question was the Manurewa 1 and the place Papakura, near Auckland. These early planes seem more space than solid construction and the
HIS/mindfuel wheels look suspiciously like bicycle wheels. Nonetheless, this box kite-like contraption flew 60 feet into the air and covered a distance of 400 yards. Then it ran out of fuel (joke). After some bad luck with subsequent flights, the Walsh brothers set up the first New Zealand Flying School at Mission Bay, Auckland in 1915. Some 50 years later, the Walsh brothers were honoured by the foundation of the Walsh Memorial Flying School. Following the Walsh brothers, there are illustrated tributes to such notable pioneers as Sir Henry Wigram, Sir Leonard Isitt, George Bolt and James Will Scotland. A big chunk of the middle part of the book is given over to military aviation. The RNZAF, modeled on the RAF, was set up in 1937. The planes most used – imported from England – in the middle part of the century were Havilland Vampires and the English Electric Canberra. The 1960s Skyhawks or updated versions are still used. The Vampires always gave me a thrill as they jetted over at what seemed incredible speeds (sub-sonic no doubt) when I was a boy. The RNZAF has a record to be
proud of, but our Airforce planes in recent times have hardly been state of the art. The expense of such planes is presumably beyond our needs and our budget. Another spasm of nostalgia overcame me when I eyeballed the sepia stills of the old flying boats. These large aircraft – a product of TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) – gave a sense of space and luxury. They took nine hours to fly to Sydney as compared to today’s two hour flight. The era of the flying boat (they took off and landed on water) ended in 1960. TEAL became Air New Zealand and the domestic National Airways Corporation (NAC) was absorbed into Air New Zealand in 1978. When you compare today’s lengthy and bulky yet sleek jet airlines with the first aircraft, it’s a bit like seeing skyscrapers compared to mud huts. Yet the biplane prop Tiger Moths are still seen in our skies along with that strange contraption called a helicopter (yes, it has its own chapter). This book is more photographs than text but what photographs they are! Their lavish spread is enough to make this book seem airborne.
THE BUSINESS Reviewed by Richard Pachter The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World By Greg Ip Wiley, 272 pages (US$19.95) Economics is “the dismal science,” all right, especially if you ponder the sundry machinations employed by banks and “shadow banks” to swindle and plunder their way to fortune and infamy. But don’t shoot the messenger. Much of what was done – and is being done – to us via the economy presumes our lack of knowledge and inattention. Journalist Greg Ip’s neat new book goes a long way toward dealing with our pandemic economic ignorance. Not far enough, in my view, but he does a really terrific job of simplifying and explaining a bit of ancient and recent history and shining some light into the dark places. He starts with a bit of autobiographical info to establish his bona fides, then explains the basics of “Economy”: what it is, how it works and the ways it rules our material lives. Not surprisingly, most of the discussion centres on interactions between government bodies and various non-governmental but authoritative organizations. There are assets and debts, and a variety of “instruments” within which they are contained and conveyed. But it’s far from a rational and logical landscape as psychology and politics drive much of the behaviour, though Ip states that
there are cycles and trends that appear (and reappear) repeatedly. To that end, Ip writes about recessions, inflation, deflation and globalization, simplifying things sufficiently without dumbing them down. How is wealth created? How does it affect individuals? He writes, “Numerous factors determine a country’s success and whether its companies are good investments. Inflation and interest rates, consumer spending and business confidence are important in the short run. In the long run, though, a country becomes rich or stagnates depending on whether it has the right mix of people, capital, and ideas. Get these fundamentals right, and the short-run gyrations seldom matter. Between 1945 and 2007 the United States economy went through 10 recessions yet still grew enough to end up six times larger with the average American three times richer. We’ve taken growth for granted for so long that we’ve forgotten that stagnation could ever be the norm. Yet, it once was. Until the eighteenth century, economic growth was so slight it was almost impossible to distinguish the average Englishman’s standard of living from his parents’. Starting in the eighteenth century, this changed.” Ip mostly manages to avoid injecting his own biases and political views into the narrative, which is wise. But he can’t help pointing out the growing U.S. debt due to a variety of factors, especially the ballooning entitlements, though he seems to largely disregard the gaping tax loopholes and other factors tilted toward politically empowered interests at the expense (literally and figuratively) of the rest of us. In this context and within the constraints of this format, Ip does an excellent job of explaining the basics and a bit more. Some illustrations might help, and perhaps an “Idiots” or “Dummies” approach would have worked better. But as an elementary overview or a refresher, Greg Ip’s little book packs a big punch.
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music latest releases | reviewed by chris philpott
My name is Michael… Michael Jackson
Michael On the one hand it would be easy to view Michael, a “new” album of unreleased material that Jackson was working on prior to his death in June 2009, as a money-making escapade. After all, this is the seventh album to be released in the 18 months since the singer’s tragic death, coming after a slew of theme-based greatest hits compilations, with titles like La Legende De La Pop and Mellow Michael Jackson, and the smash hit movie This Is It, made up entirely of behind the scenes rehearsal footage for the concert run at O2 Arena, London, which never happened. But on the other hand, Michael is an album of unreleased material, providing a sign to fans that he really was getting his act together (pun intended). Sadly the quality of music here isn’t great: take first single “Hold My Hand”, which features singer Akon – while Michael himself was known for edgy pop singles, “Hold My Hand” is a generic R’n’B song that sounds like everything else on the radio. Unfortunately that sentiment rings true for the entirety of this record, meaning that Michael ends up a forgettable collection of songs that, one can only imagine, Michael wouldn’t actually have approved of.
Greatest Hits: The Ultimate Collection I suppose I could harp on for 200-odd words about the legacy of Bon Jovi, or how “Living On A Prayer” has somehow remained a must-play track for party bar DJs up and down the country. But how much fun would that be when the more pertinent question is: Are Bon Jovi really that great? It’s hard to argue with sales figures – the group has sold over 130 million records while embracing the same shtick (big hair, stadium anthems, loud/quiet dynamics within songs) that helped them hit the big time with 1987’s Slippery When Wet. The fact is that every major Bon Jovi single was released before 1993’s “Bed Of Roses”, the last really great Bon Jovi song – that’s a 17 year drought! Seriously, ask anyone to name three Bon Jovi songs, and I guarantee they all came from before 1993. In fact, I’d bet “Living On A Prayer”, “Bad Medi-
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cine” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive” are the most common answers. All of this means that this greatest hits album doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know, thus it has no real value. Maybe they should wait until Bon Jovi have a few more hits before releasing the next Best-Of package.
Tron: Legacy Original Soundtrack It seems like the latest trend for Hollywood blockbusters has been to bring in established music stars to provide the score and incidental music for the movie. The Social Network is the most notable example from the last 12 months, with Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor and English composer Atticus Ross to providing a score that has garnered several award nominations and looks to be the favourite to win the Academy Award for Original Score as well. The most recent example is blockbuster action movie Tron: Legacy, which went in a different direction by employing quirky French electronic dance duo Daft Punk to provide the score. It’s a match made in heaven – Daft Punk’s futuristic beats and sounds are a perfect partner for Tron’s light cycles and sci-fi imagery, and provide an ambient, electrifying score to go with the movie. However, listening only to the soundtrack album is a different experience again. More than just a collection of background music, the album shows that Daft Punk are more talented than singles like “One More Time” would have you think: the Tron: Legacy soundtrack is a deep, highly affecting listening experience that can be enjoyed even without the films’ visuals.
This greatest hits album doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know, thus it has no real value. Maybe they should wait until Bon Jovi have a few more hits before releasing the next Best-Of package
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It would be a brave or deluded individual who could maintain that we have not largely deteriorated as a people, morally,
intellectually and socially
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A low decile country?
et’s pull a few threads together, because there is a depressing similarity to them relevant to any assessment of what is happening to New Zealand as a country, and as a people. There is a valid saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson that our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can; in other words, help us to be the best we can individually manage, not simply academically, but in all the really important aspects of living. Contrast this truth with how the secondary teachers union, dominated invariably by aggressive activists, currently president Kate Gainsford, is so irritated by the prospect of top schools turning their back on our NCEA substitute for quality evaluation that she wants them punished. Nothing changes. NCEA candidates re-sit the same papers until they scrape through, already knowing the questions, coached by teachers, in contrast to the independent, academically rigorous, Cambridge-based examinations. Top teachers enjoy the challenge of helping their pupils achieve well. But predominately mediocre teachers, unable to cope with what they don’t begin to understand or even master, the importance of in-depth learning – the things we should value and pass on to our children – have succeeded in downsizing such expectations for decades now. We can legitimately use education as a touchstone. One of the (not always) sensible things Plato said was that, if a man neglects his education, he walks lame for the rest of his life. Some might even consider it odd
that those most implacably opposed to quality education being provided for New Zealand’s children are the teachers’ unions. A general deterioration in social standards is now undeniable. These indications of where a society stands, where it is aiming, or from wherever it has departed, aren’t just artificial, wowser-like impositions designed to afflict us all. Genuine standards are the values arrived at that won their way to general consensus – in a more reflective, more stable age – essential for any society to survive. In his great series, Civilization, Kenneth Clark made the point, pondering on the rise and fall of past civilisations, that what held a civilised society together was its sense of permanence, that calm acceptance of shared values which had arrived by general agreement as to their necessity – a kind of moral underpinning, providing coherence. The less well-educated a society becomes; the less its young are taught how to use their own language well. The more they are kept muddle-headed, largely ignorant, deprived of the reasoning behind appreciating the requirement to act and think well, the better the chance for others to control and do their thinking for them – as Orwell pointed out. If this happens long enough, over a period of several decades, we might expect a marked change in the social mores of that society in all sorts of interlinked, overlapping areas during this time. One might also expect to have seen a prolonged, aggressively determined attack on Christianity itself. What has been disregarded or deliberately obscured is the fact that it is Christian values, essentially, which underpinned the
HIS/mindfuel flowering the West, with their insistence on the freedom and responsibility of individuals – both to be respected as unique in value, and answerable to their own society – while also facing an intellectual and moral challenge to lead the best possible lives and to emphasise the importance of this to their children. However, it would be a brave or deluded individual who could maintain that we have not largely deteriorated as a people, morally, intellectually and socially. Television has descended into an emphasis on violence, criminal behaviour, inappropriately confessional, intimate-lives programmes, and, above all, those highly sexualised – including graphic portrayals of intercourse – as nightly “entertainment”. Alcohol-related problems have reached an epidemic level, taking their toll on individuals’ lives and daily claiming those of innocent people on the roads. Parliament, far from being a democratically representative body, has become a sly political oligarchy with deal-making, ethnic vote-buying and the corrupt endorsement of now spurious neo-tribal Maori claims rubberstamped for political advantage. Our present Prime Minister, seemingly ignorant both historically and philosophically, accuses New Zealanders of being “North Korean” when they look with apprehension at communist China’s move down into the Pacific, aiming for territorial advantage as well as gobbling up and monopolising resources. Initially describing his own wife in sexist terms as “hot”, our image-bearing leader also envies Australian Shane Warne’s relationship with a “hot” Liz Hurley (maintaining “she’d be thrilled by the endorsement”), wouldn’t mind being Tiger Woods, and recently “minced” onto a catwalk, camping it up for his audience. He has danced on stage with drag queens on the Big Day Out, and goofily, like some stand-up comedian, opinionated on the US Letterman show that one of the top 10 reasons to visit New Zealand was our having “the loosest slot machines in the Pacific Rim”. An enormous change has taken place in our society when a leader has to have even standards of conduct explained to him, and when an unelected Minister of Treaty Negotiations turns on and badmouths knowledgeable New Zealanders because of their opposition to his arrogant assumption of power and monopolising of decision-making. In a democracy? What of our children, as the flood of crude books for our vulnerable young now embraces third-rate, trashy, even pernicious reading. Books about “farting, “stinking” – and a puerile emphasis on bottoms – extend to those with crude texts and awful illustrations, such as the unpleasant, deeply dark, bleak, and deliberately misspelt Wolves in the Sittee, by Margaret Wild. In today’s tradition of celebrating utterly inappropriate, even frightening and nasty themes in writing for children, it was naturally shortlisted for an award by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Or consider the multi-million best-seller, the, n TV3 The Wonky Donkey… depressingly unpleasantly illustrated, as so many cartoonised children’s books now are, which won the APRA Children’s Song of the Year, 2008 – with its ugly, supposedly funny pictures and banal rhymes. The most restrained of the comments back from those to whom I showed it
for interest included …”stupid”…and, quite simply, “low decile stuff”. Naturally, it’s been heavily promoted by its Scholastic publishers who, like so many other of the large publishing houses, are, with this sort of promotion, dismaying intelligent parents. The latter have the problem of seeing it inevitably endorsed by teachers and librarians, but object to seeing the third-rate foisted off on their children, displacing much better reading and really good books. What about books for 12-yearolds titled “Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging”…or “It’s OK. I’m wearing really big knickers”? Beside them, the utterly pointless, if zanily illustrated story by Pat Hutchins We’re going on a Picnic! published by Red Fox might strike a parent as a relief, if it weren’t so totally pointless. I’m reminded of Bernard Levin’s observation that “The trade of catering to taste at a low level is now in full swing…” But there are consequences to our having become largely ignorant of what constitute standards of excellence – and genuinely important values. Apart from a now minority of brave, intelligent, and knowledgeable individuals, and a few pockets of excellence, have we become a low decile country – a low decile people? © Copyright Amy Brooke www.amybrooke.co.nz www.100days.co.nz www.summersounds..co.nz http://www.livejournal.com/users/brookeonline/
n NZPA/Ross Sefton
They don’t want to disobey God and yet have often taken years to gain the courage needed to escape an
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Till death do us part?
nne was clearly angry. She relayed how her former husband had been abusive, had beaten her and sexually violated her. Despite this, however, he had never – as far as she knew – had an affair. Did this mean she had sinned before God for leaving her marriage? Was she now required to remain celibate for the rest of her life? Anne recited Jesus’ words with palpable sarcasm, “whoever divorces his wife, except for adultery, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Anne’s story was the real life face of an intellectual journey and struggle I had faced some years earlier during my theology studies. How should I understand the Bible’s teaching on divorce? When I was at Bible College I remember two approaches vividly. The first was from a marriage counsellor who, when I asked him if we should counsel battered spouses to leave their marriages, responded “no, until death do we part”. He refused to take with any seriousness my suggestion that in some cases the death of one spouse might be a realistic outcome if the battered spouse does not leave. The second was a lecturer who argued that the New Testament did not speak unequivocally on this topic. While Matthew’s gospel allowed an exception for adultery, Mark’s gospel seemed to condemn divorce outright with no exceptions. On the other hand Paul, in his epistle to the Corinthians, contended that a person abandoned by their spouse “is not bound”. The Greek in this epistle alluded to the wording of a Jewish divorce certificate, which stated that the person in question had a right to remarry. The lecturer,
quite correctly, concluded that Paul allowed divorce and remarriage for abandonment. The lecturer then suggested that because Paul added to Jesus’ teaching so could we. Both approaches seemed to me to be evidently problematic. My questions remained equally unsolved by the Pastor who told me that he accepted Jesus’ teaching as correct but did not follow it because it was “impractical” in the real world and in his experience. I was underwhelmed by the author who suggested that because Mark, Paul and Matthew disagreed, we should just choose the one we find the most congenial. Then I discovered a study, which to my mind answered my questions and addressed Anne’s concerns. The book was Divorce and ReMarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context by David-Instone Brewer. Brewer is a scholar of first century rabbinical writings. In his book he places Christ’s teaching within the cultural context of first century Judaism; the results are interesting and enlightening. The passage Anne cited comes from Matthew 19. This passage begins with a question from the Pharisees – the Jewish religious scholars at that time – which asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” In the dialogue the Pharisees appeal to Deuteronomy 24 and ask, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” The passage Anne cited at the beginning of this article is part of Christ’s response to this argument. Brewer’s study documents the background of this debate. In the Judaism of Christ’s day there was a consensus that people could divorce on grounds of abuse or serious
HIS/mindfuel neglect. This was based on a passage in Exodus 21, which regulated a man’s relationship with a concubine; although I would argue that the Bible does not condone this practice, its existence meant the Old Testament law (The Torah) did tolerate and regulate it. The Torah stated that if a concubine was deprived of “food,” “clothing” or “conjugal rights” then she was free to leave. The Rabbis argued, quite sensibly, that if this was true of a concubine then how much more true is it for a wife? The requirements to provide food, clothing and conjugal rights became the basis of Jewish marriage vows. Hence, by the time of Christ the consensus was that divorce was allowed for the gross violation of these vows through abuse or neglect. This position was assumed both by the conservative school of Shammai and the liberal school of Hillel; the two dominant schools of thought in Christ’s day. Where these schools differed was over Deuteronomy 24 – the very passage cited by the Pharisees in Matthew’s Gospel. This passage refers to a man divorcing his wife for “a reason of sexual immorality”. The liberal Hillel Rabbis split this phrase into two separate clauses and argued it allowed a person to divorce for “immorality”, which they understood as adultery, and also for “a reason”, which they understood as any reason at all. Some liberal Rabbis were quite candid, the reference to “a reason” meant a man could divorce his wife if she cooked him a bad meal or if he thought she was too ugly or if perhaps he saw someone more attractive and he wanted to ‘trade her in’. However, the conservative Shammai Rabbis argued that it should be read as a single phrase, “a reason of sexual immorality” so that the passage only allows divorce for adultery. Brewer also documents how records of rabbinical debates tended to not spell out all the background details and qualifications, which everyone at the time knew about. An example from contemporary moral debates might illustrate this. In New Zealand society today there is an ongoing debate over the drinking age. Now suppose I hear someone on the radio saying “the drinking age should be 18.” I would not interpret this to mean that the person supports a ban on drinking per se, that they were arguing for young people to consume no fluids – no water, milk, Coca Cola, orange juice or anything – until age 18. That would be a ridiculous interpretation. Rather, I assume they mean to limit their use of the term ‘drinking’, in that context, to refer only to alcoholic drinks. I make this assumption despite the fact that the phrase “drinking age” is commonly used without any explicit qualifications because everyone knows what it means when they hear it. In a similar way, when a conservative Rabbi stated that it was “not lawful to divorce” or it is “not lawful to divorce except for adultery,” people knew the Rabbi was saying that it was wrong to divorce on grounds of “any reason”, a reference to the practice advocated by the liberal school. This background sheds an interesting light on Christ’s teaching in Matthew 19. When the passage begins with the question “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” it seems that Christ is being asked to comment on the specific proposal of the liberal school. Is it lawful to divorce for not just material and physical neglect and infidelity but does The Torah, in fact, allow a fourth category of “any reason”? The appeal to Deuteronomy 24 to back this up by the Pharisees then fits quite nicely in this context as this was the standard liberal argument. Christ’s response, in this context, is a rejection of the liberal
reading in favour of the conservative one. In fact, Brewer notes the very phraseology and wording Christ used was the same as that used by the Shammaites; however, his claim “whoever divorces his wife, except for adultery, and marries another woman commits adultery” took the conservative reading one step further. Not only are liberal “any reason” divorces wrong but they are invalid. People who have divorced on the “any reason” ground did not gain a legitimate divorce. Brewer’s analysis is the best I have come across to date; it makes sense of the text without requiring the reader to turn a blind eye to the bits that don’t seem to sit right. His argument further explains the apparent differences between Mark, Matthew and Paul. Mark’s gospel is significantly more summarised than Matthew’s, hence his unqualified claim that divorce is forbidden is simply a summary without qualification. Similarly, Paul’s application in 1 Corinthians is not in any real conflict with Jesus’. Taken in its context, Jesus was not condemning a person who, after being abandoned, walked away from the marriage and remarried. Material and physical neglect as a ground of divorce was not in question. In Jesus’ teaching he was simply rejecting the “any reason” approach of the liberal school. This background to Paul’s writing is strongly suggested by the fact that in the same passage he refers to sexual activity between spouses as a ‘debt’ mutually owed to each other. Brewer notes that Paul’s language and teaching here reflects rabbinical understandings of Exodus 21, which allowed divorce for failure to provide “conjugal rights”. Paul is therefore not adding to Christ’s teaching, he is simply applying it to a different situation. Brewer’s analysis addresses the concern that we need to adjust Christ’s teaching to the “practical realities of life today”. Brewer shows that Christ’s teaching is immensely practical; it avoids the extreme permissiveness of our modern no-fault culture, where women are abandoned to single parenthood at the whim of a man’s lust (and sometimes vice versa). It also avoids the harsh heartlessness of the counsellor I questioned as a student which condemns abuse victims to a life of brutality and sometimes death. It also directly addresses the concerns Anne raised. Christ is not saying that a woman who flees a violent spouse is an adulterer if she re-marries; he was addressing a situation where men believed they could divorce their wives for any reason, including frivolous and poor reasons. Beating one’s spouse is a fairly obvious case of serious mistreatment and divorce for reasons like this were taken for granted in Christ’s discussion (it is why dowries were paid for brides – so they had financial means if their husbands mistreated them). As I have met with the Anne’s of this world, I have discovered this information is profoundly important to them. They don’t want to disobey God and yet have often taken years to gain the courage needed to escape an abusive relationship. The Church has not always appropriately responded to their plight; it has felt torn between the harrowing situations their congregants are sometimes living with and what they perceived to be Christ’s teaching on divorce. Brewer’s study helps us see there is no dilemma, people like Anne are free to leave and remarry. Dr Matthew Flannagan is an Auckland based analytic theologian who researches and publishes in the area of Philosophy of Religion, Theology and Ethics. He blogs at www.mandm.org.nz.
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