Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Iraq casualties: which people are paying the biggest price?

Unquestionably, Iraq has suffered the largest death toll per 100,000 of population with 504 deaths based on a low end estimate of 53,101 deaths from a population estimated by the CIA to be 26,783,383. However, you might be surprised by the people who follow. According to the US Marine Corps Times website, 10.4 American Samoans per 100,000 of population (65,000) have lost their lives in the conflict compared, say, to 0.77 per 100,000 of the population of New York State, which has a population of nearly 19 million. That’s some sacrifice, especially when one considers that persons born in American Samoa are United States nationals, but not United States citizens. Samoan is the fourth largest ethnic group (20,730) in Auckland, following New Zealand European/pakeha (206,937), Chinese (30,285) and Maori (29,139).

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You know you’re in Auckland when…

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson plans to pop over from Oz – just for a cocktail party.

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Greenpeace’s Esperanza in Auckland

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza will arrive in Auckland tomorrow morning. The Esperanza is Greenpeace’s newest ship and it is on its first New Zealand.

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“Last whaling season the Greenpeace crew stopped many whales from being killed in the Antarctic. This year they will be carrying out activities designed by supporters who have posted their ideas on www.greenpeace.org.nz/whales.” says Greenpeace New Zealand.

For those who are interested in Greenpeace and their anti-whaling campaign, you can pop down to Princes Wharf and have a look around, the Esperanza will be open for public visits during the next two weekends (Jan 13/14/20/21) between 10 and 4 before she leaves for the Antarctic.

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Suck it up

Ninety volunteers in Auckland will try a new nictotine lozenge developed by Swedish researchers in a trial run by Auckland University’s Clinical Trials Research Unit. Almost three quarters of a million New Zealanders smoke and it kills about over 4.500 Kiwis a year. Unlike a good many Metroblogging cities, Auckland, along with the rest of NZ, already has a smoking ban in many public places, bars and restaurants but these faster-working lozenges may help those who want to quit.

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How to spot top pot crop

Northland trampers have been helping the police with their enquiries. Apparently, the hot and cold weather makes a bumper dope crop more likely this year. The Northern Advocate lends a lazy journalistic hand by telling folks what to look out for on their country walks, like:

  • Stolen electric fencing from rural locations used to keep animals out of cannabis plots
  • Stolen black piping used for irrigating cannabis plots
  • Cars regularly parked on the side of the road in rural places
  • Pungent smells associated with hydroponic cannabis production

As someone who lives and spends a fair amount of time in the country, I have the following questions:

  • How do I tell whether electric fencing is stolen?
  • How do I know which black irrigation piping is stolen and which isn’t?
  • Couldn’t cars regularly parked on the side of the road in rural places belong to trampers or folks growing legal crops?
  • What if I am not familiar with the pungent smells associated with hydroponic cannabis production?

Those more schooled in the art of nosing out narcotics can ring 0800 BAN DRUGS (0800 226 3784) to report their finds – calls are free and can be anonymous.

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NZ’s lowest holiday road death tally in 25 years

traffic c/o NZ Police

The cost of life in this year’s motorised mayhem was:

  • 1 driver died as the result of an impact at a junction.
  • 3 were killed in head-on collisions.
  • 5 drivers lost control and killed themselves in the process.

Thankfully, this equates to under half of the toll for the same period last year. That said, a motorcyclist became the first fatality in the post-holiday period and cyclists continue to be pinged, winged and run off the road on a daily basis, around here at least. For one, I am resolved to using the car less (though I can’t commute any other way), do my best to avoid becoming a statistic and drive more economically and safely.

More details via Stuff.co.nz, NewstalkZB and TVNZ

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Bombs in Bangkok

Please spare a thought for our fellow Metrobloggers and those in Bangkok whose New Year’s Day has seen bombings throughout the city.  Local bloggers are covering the events and aftermath in which it appears children and six foreign visitors were hurt by what are reported to be grenade explosion.

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Hep A with your fries, anyone?

Not so much Golden Arches as Jaundiced Arches for those who ate a late burger at the Greenlane McDonalds on December 15th.  A food handler (not a comforting term in this context) has sparked a public health hepatitis alert after working a late shift while highly infectious.

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Shedding a little light

A key feature of the new $207m Central Motorway Junction are the ramp lights which help phase traffic from the on ramps onto the motorways.  What a shame then that Transit have switched them off until January 8th, saying that that not enough operators have been rostered over the holidays to monitor the new signals.

I have two questions:

  1. $207 million and we have signals that need humans to monitor them?
  2. Not enough staff rostered? 

and two comments:

  1. I understand the need for folks to watch CCTV feeds and phase things accordingly in the past but in the age of advanced modeling and intelligent transport systems, this is the best we can do?
  2. Back in mid-December, the Transit big cheese Rick van Barnveld said that the “Christmas period is a crucial time [for the implementation of this scheme] when we don’t have peak traffic flows” and pleaded for Aucklanders to work with them.  It’s a shame his HR and Operations managers weren’t listening.

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You know you’re in Auckland when…

…a dolphin puts a woman in hospital.

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