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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From Joe Kennedy remembers late Ted kennedy...

From Joe Biden remembers Ted Kennedy:

"On the morning of the day before the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin, Senator Ted Kennedy called the White House to inquire if it was appropriate to bring to the burial some earth from Arlington National Cemetery. The answer was essentially a shrug: Who knows? Unadvised, the senator carried a shopping bag onto the plane, filled with earth he had himself dug the afternoon before from the graves of his two murdered brothers. And at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, after waiting for the crowd and the cameras to disperse, he dropped to his hands and knees, and gently placed that earth on the grave of the murdered prime minister.

No spin, no photo op; a man unreasonably familiar with bidding farewell to slain heroes, a man in mourning, quietly making tangible a miserable connection."

I really don't know how to sum up a life of so much diligence, striving, and tragedy (as both victim and perpetrator, yes), so all I can say is that as a liberal and an American I hope Ted Kennedy can now rest and that our government will honor his life's work."

Certainly a man used to losing those close to him over many, many, years. Who will the Kennedy clan turn to now?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wind farms - The energy of the future...

Wind Farms - The Energy of the Future...

In order to avoid climate change the world needs to cut back on carbon emissions. One way to do this is to use renewable energy such as wind, wave, water and solar power. In the UK the Government plans to concentrate on wind power at the expense of other renewable energy sources – will this be most the efficient renewable energy source for our future planet?

The government has set a target of meeting 15 per cent of all the UK's energy demands from renewables by 2020, which means that between 35 to 45 per cent of electricity will be from green sources. Most of this is expected to be generated by wind farms. Critics feel that wind turbines are large and noisy and that they spoil the countryside ultimately the NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) attitude persists.

Although wind farms are not appealing onshore, offshore wind farms are proving successful. They are sited at sea where they do not affect the aesthetic appeal of the landscape and being at sea they are in a highly exposed and windy location. BWEA (British Wind Energy Association), the UK's leading renewable energy trade association reports that every home in the UK could be powered by electricity from offshore wind by 2020.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: "We will have a cumulative installed capacity of up to 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2015. Wind will overtake nuclear in terms of installed capacity within the next 4 to 5 years, as an important milestone in reaching 2020."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Good morning Hutt's Blogesphere...

I just posted this on the new site, "SideTick" and had to re-circulate it to my other sites:

Do you know I almost wrote, "Good morning Vietnam" here. Wonder why I wrote that? I remember the film well with Robin Williams acting the role of DJ on the forces radio in Vietnam. Good morning, Vietnam!

I had a brother and a brother -in-law in the conflict - the are both dead now. They were both still young when they died of heart failure - thats when your heart stops, you know? Funny that!

My bro was a military policeman and died of a massive heart attack at the age of 33 years. He died in camp at Burnham, just outside Christchurch, NZ. He had problems getting over what he experienced in Vietnam. He spent a lot of time in the city (Saigong) and out on patrol outside the city. Do you know the Vietcong never attacked his jeep because he was a Kiwi. Yes, thats true, they had a lot of respect for our troops and country. Thats not to say they wouldn' try to kill them in battle, though!

My bro in law came back to NZ after service as a rifleman. Some years later he developed nerve problems, had to have many operations, deterioated physically, wasted away and died. He was a big strapping young man when he went to Vietnam. Heard of Agent Orange? I have, but he didn't. But by Jesus I know what killed him!

Why do I write of Vietnam? I just thought about it, probably have Afghanistan on my mind, thinking just how dangerous this could be for our Kiwi troops, even if they are special forces, but we do have engineers and medics there too. I think of the wasted lives in Iraq! So many American boys, and girls too these days, who won't be walking back home!

Oh well, old morbid me. See you all later!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Malaysian model to receive the rattan cane for drinking beer in a bar...

A Malaysian model will receive six strokes of the rattan cane for drinking beer in a bar, after admitting her guilt to an Islamic Court.

Pretty harsh treatment for what we would regard as a right here in the West. She has decided not to appeal the sentence and will become the first woman to face corporal punishment imposed by a Malaysian Sharia Court.

This sentence has caused controversy in a country that claims moderation to foreign tourists and businesses but imposes very harsh Islamic justice on its own Muslim population.

Alcohol can be served to members of other religions at the country's many tourist hotels and bars, but for Muslims, who make up two thirds of the population of the country, consumption is punishable by a fine, three years in prison or six strokes of the cane.

It appears that this is the most harshest sentence meted out so far in Malaysia - it will be the first time that caning has been carried out on men or women. It has outraged many women in Malaysia, but the model concerned has said she will accept her punishment, which includes a fine of 5000 ringgit(NZ$2000) as well.

I can only hope she enjoyed her beer, because it proved extremely costly!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Best Job Ben seeks mates in Queensland...

Best Job Ben seeks mates in Queensland...

He's got it all — beautiful house with spa tub, free ticket to any holiday experience on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef, worldwide fame — but it seems Island Caretaker Ben Southall, aka "The Best Job in the World Guy" is still lacking in one thing — some mates.

With his hectic schedule, Ben told doesn't get as much time to socialise as he'd like. Could this be why his employer, Tourism Queensland, is advertising for four "Island Caretaker Helpers"?

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the new campaign, saying: 'Six months isn't enough time to sample everything, so we're looking for some mates who can share in the experience with Ben so they can write about it, too."

The four lucky folks who win will have their own Barrier Reef adventures, all expenses paid, then report back via guest spots on Ben's blog.

But forget any notions of swinging gently in hammocks and sunning yourself on the beach. Since Ben spends every waking minute doing something — running, swimming, meeting and greeting, snorkelling, sailing, dining, blogging, diving, travelling, blogging again — whoever gets the coveted (and non-paying) jobs will have to have unlimited reserves of energy. But the good news is, he's such a thoroughly nice bloke that being his mate will certainly be no onerous task.

Ben's promising to kick off the selection process on the 26th of August, and his blog has already been inundated with nearly 300 requests for the role. You can find out how to enter shortly at www.islandreefjob.com.au.

Acknowledgements: MSN NZ

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Somali pirates get their own treatment...

A new report out just a couple of hours ago would suggest that Somali pirates are getting some of their own treatment:

BOSSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somali pirates found seven dead colleagues floating in the ocean on Saturday and vowed to take revenge against Egyptian fishermen they say killed them during an escape, an associate of the pirates said.

The 34 fishermen had been held hostage by the pirates since April, but they managed to overpower their guards on Thursday and fled in their two fishing vessels after a gun battle.

Two of their captors were killed during that shoot-out, and the pirates said the Egyptians took several others with them.

"We have found seven of our dead colleagues floating in the sea," said the associate, who gave his name as Farah, by telephone from one of the gangs' strongholds, Las Qoray.

"The Egyptian crew members killed them ... we used to welcome them and treat the Egyptians better than other hostages, but if we capture more of them we shall get our revenge."

Sea gangs from the failed Horn of Africa state have made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms targeting shipping using the strategic Gulf of Aden that links Europe to Asia.

Acknowledgements: NZ City

Thursday, August 13, 2009

MULTIBRAND: Harry is Taking a Break

MULTIBRAND: Harry is Taking a Break

Locherbie bomber may be released on compassionnate grounds - he is dying of cancer...

EDINBURGH, Scotland - Scottish officials may release the convicted Lockerbie bomber early and allow him to return to Libya, igniting debate between victims' loved ones in the United States and Britain.

British media reports say 57-year-old Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi could soon be freed on compassionate grounds because he is terminally ill with prostate cancer.

The possibility of a release has reignited fierce debate about whether justice would have been served.

Friends and family of US victims expressed outrage over the possibility that al-Megrahi could be freed early.

"I have a tough time being compassionate for a guy who killed 270 people," said Peter Sullivan of Akron, Ohio. His best friend, Mike Doyle, was among the victims.

Sullivan, 51, said there was no reason al-Megrahi should be released.
"This is total, pure, ugly appeasement of a terrorist dictator and a monster," Cohen said.

However, family members of UK victims are more open to the idea.

Many British families feel that the full truth about the bombings has yet to be uncovered.

"Other people and other countries were involved in this," said the Rev. John Mosey, from Worcestershire, England, who lost his daughter Helga, 19. "We should show him some Christian compassion."

The Scottish government said Scotland's Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill had yet to review all case information before deciding whether to release al-Megrahi.

A decision is expected by the end of August.

270 people were killed by the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103. Most of the victims were American citizens.

US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Washington had made clear that their view was that al-Megrahi "should spend the rest of his time in jail."

Al-Megrahi, a former Libyan secret service agent, is the sole person convicted for the plane bombing over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

He was arrested in 1991 in Libya, and held under house arrest until handed over in 1998 and convicted in 2001 by a special Scottish court set held at Kamp van Zeist in the Netherlands.

His co-accused Amin Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted, but al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison.

Al-Megrahi unsuccessfully appealed immediately after the trial.

A second appeal is currently under way in Edinburgh after a review by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2007 raised concerns over the evidence used to secure the conviction.

What compassion was shown to the victims, I wonder?

Acknowledgements: AP

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where's the justice here...

Berryman bridge case struck out of court. Where's the justice here?

The High Court has struck out a claim for damages in the Berryman's bridge case.

The army-built bridge leading to Keith and Margaret Berryman's King Country farm collapsed in 1994, killing beekeeper Ken Richards.

The Berrymans wanted to sue the army, claiming it acted maliciously in wake of the bridge collapse by withholding information from a coroner's inquest.

The Court of Appeal allowed the claim to go ahead in 2008 but the High Court issued a ruling on Thursday saying it must be struck out.

Justice MacKenzie says the proceeding, which was filed in 2006, did not commence within six years of the cause of the alleged misfeasance.

He says there is no public interest in allowing the matters to be further litigated and it is not in the Berrymans' interests to allow them to continue with a claim that is bound to fail.

Acknowledgements: Radio New Zealand 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Leopard never changes its spots...

Leopard never changes its spots...

The Social Development Minister says plans to cancel benefits of people who refuse three job offers are on hold...

Paula Bennett says the recession has forced her to put some of The National Party's most radical benefit changes on hold.

The Social Development Minister says she is still keen to make savings in the system, which is currently spending more than $16 billion a year.

But Ms Bennett, speaking on TVNZ's Q&A programme, said plans to cancel the benefits of people who refuse three job offers, or will not accept training, are on the back burner.

Ms Bennett says right now the country expects her to be helping people who have lost their jobs because of the downturn. She says another 35,000 people have signed on for the dole since the slowdown began, and helping them should be the priority.

The Minister says circumstances have made it necessary to soften the policy, but she still wants to see it brought in before the end of the Government's first term in office.