Aussie sized footprints

The Aussies have got us beat as far as footprints go. In area that has 21 different identified dinosaur tracks they have discovered the world’s largest – 1.7 meters across. If one of those beasties stood on me lying down it would just about cover me completely.

University of Queensland: ‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’ the world’s most diverse

An unprecedented 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been identified on a 25-kilometre stretch of the Dampier Peninsula coastline dubbed “Australia’s Jurassic Park”.

A team of palaeontologists from The University of Queensland… unveil the most diverse assemblage of dinosaur tracks in the world in 127 to 140 million-year-old rocks in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Lead author Dr Steve Salisbury said the diversity of the tracks around Walmadany (James Price Point) was globally unparalleled…

“It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period,” Dr Salisbury said.

“There are thousands of tracks around Walmadany. Of these, 150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs, ” Dr Salisbury said.

“There were five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armoured dinosaurs.

“Among the tracks is the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurs in Australia. There are also some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded. Some of the sauropod tracks are around 1.7 m long.”

CNN: World’s biggest dinosaur footprint found in ‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’

richard_hunter_with_giant_spod_track_sws

I bet it wasn’t as fast as our Phar Lap.

They are presumably guessing at the overall size and shape but that’s a big print. And I guess rock doesn’t shrink over 130 million years.

Conservative Party active

The Conservative Party obviously has a big hill to climb (one that’s 5% high) after the debacle involving Colin Craig. But they are very active on their website at least, probably more active than any of the other parties.

ConservativePartyWebsite

Website: Conservative Party ‘Putting power back in the hands of the people’

Not so active on their Facebook page which seems to have just been revived after a few years in limbo.

 

 

Things to tell children

ThingsToTellChildren

But you won’t fool the children of the revolution.

That’s not very revolutionary these days.

But musos aren’t proper workers, are they?

Little still wants Afghan inquiry

Andrew Little on RNZ sounds fairly neutral on who to believe on the Afghan attack issue, and still thinks an inquiry is necessary.

He thinks that NZDF chief Tim Keating is a many of integrity, but for the good of the NZDF and the country he still things an inquiry is warranted.

Little also says that the Hit & Run book made comprehensive claims and can’t just be ruled out.

He won’t pick who he believes, he says that both Hager /Stephenson and Keating have made credible claims that need to be investigated.

Little wants the Government to have a Commission of Inquiry.

As Keating alluded to there could be some legal difficulties with an inquiry. The book is based a lot on claims by villagers in Afghanistan, and getting testimony from them could be difficult.

China-NZ free trade upgrade talks soon

China seems willing to do what the United States under President Trump won’t – talk more free trade. Talks initiating an upgrade to the China-New Zealand free trade agreement has been announced.

NZ Herald: China-NZ free trade upgrade talks to start soon after meeting of PM Bill English and Premier Li Keqiang

Negotiations for an “upgrade” to the New Zealand – China free trade agreement will begin next month – a step Prime Minister Bill English said would help boost trade to $30 billion.

The April 25 start date for talks was announced after a bilateral meeting between China’s Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Bill English on Li’s visit to Wellington.

English said New Zealand was hoping for better access for some exporters under a renegotiated deal. New Zealand has been pushing for an upgrade since Australia signed its free trade agreement in 2015 on better terms than New Zealand’s 2008 model.

English said the FTA upgrade would help achieve the Government’s target of $30 billion in two-way trade by 2020 – up from $23 billion now. “The upgrade will allow us to modernise the FTA to take account of changes in our economic relationship since the FTA came into force.”

Premier Li, speaking through a translator, pointed to the importance of bolstering free trade at a time of a backlash against globalisation and free trade.

“This will give a strong boost to trade links between China and New Zealand and will send a positive signal to the world and to the region that our two countries are committed to free trade.”

This is unlikely to bother the current White House administration, but if more countries turn more to China and less to the US for trade it could significantly shift the balance of trade towards Asia.

If the US stops all free trade negotiations under Trump that could still put the US at a major trade disadvantage, and it would take them quite a while to get back into trade negotiation mode even if Trump only lasts 4 years.

Of course Trump building a trade wall around the US may be wonderfully successful for them. If so the rest of the Pacific and the rest of the world will move on without them.

Child abuse a far worse problem than terrorism

If people and Governments put as much effort into reducing the risks of child abuse as they do terrorism perhaps we would make some real progress in dealing with one of New Zealand’s biggest actual problems.

It’s a lot more difficult screening parents in their homes than it is screening passengers before boarding an aircraft.

Jarrod Gilbert: We really must stop this cycle of child abuse

James Whakaruru’s misery ended when he was killed in 1999. He had endured four years of life and that was all he could take. He was hit with a small hammer, a jug cord and a vacuum cleaner hose. During one beating his mind was so confused he stared blankly ahead. His tormentor responded by poking him in the eyes. It was a stomping that eventually switched out his little light. It was a case that even the Mongrel Mob condemned, calling the cruelty “amongst the lowest of any act”.

An inquiry by the Commissioner for Children found a number of failings by state agencies, which were all too aware of the boy’s troubled existence. The Commissioner said James became a hero because changes made to Government agencies would save lives in the future. Yet such horrors have continued.

My colleague Greg Newbold has found that on average nine children (under 15) have been killed as a result of maltreatment since 1992 and the rate has not abated in recent years. In 2015, there were 14 such deaths, one of which was three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri, or baby Moko as we knew him when he gained posthumous celebrity.

For every child killed there are dozens who live wretched existences and from this cohort of unfortunates will come the next generation of abusers. Solving the problems of today, then, is not just a moral imperative but is also about producing a positive ripple effect.

We have heard of a number of horrifying abuses of children, but they are just the worst. Most of the children being scarred for life suffer in private.

This cycle of abuse is well known, yet state spending on the problem is poorly aligned to it, and our targeting of the problem is reactionary and punitive rather than proactive and preventative.

Of the $1.4 billion we spend on family and sexual violence annually, less than 10 per cent is spent on interventions, of which just 1.5 per cent is spent on primary prevention. The morality of that is questionable, the economics even more so.

The Government say they are investigating ways of using money more effectively to reduce social and criminal problems.

Not only must things be approached differently but there needs to be greater urgency in our thinking. It’s perhaps trite to say, but if nine New Zealanders were killed every year in acts of terrorism politicians would never stop talking about it and it would be priority number one.

In an election year, that’s exactly where this issue should be.

Violence, especially violence against children, is one of the most serious problems we have in New Zealand. It has widespread immediate and long term effects and is very costly to the state – on top of costing many people a decent quality of life.

Why isn’t it a top election issue? Why aren’t parties making it a bottom line when they posture over coalition deals?

Why don’t ‘the people’ demand more from our Government and our politicians?

It’s something we must do more about, but we seem more concerned about things beyond our control, like Trump and Brexit and Islam that are low risk to us.

There are children in our communities at high risk now. Shouldn’t we me more outraged and more demanding of action?

 

Hager: NZDF rebuttal “doesn’t change anything”

After NZ Defence Force chief Tim Keating strongly contested claims made by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson in ‘Hit & Run’ Hager says this doesn’t change anything.

1 News: NZDF Afghanistan raid rebutal ‘doesn’t change anything’, Nicky Hager says

Mr Hager this evening hit out at the press conference, saying the NZDF is simply desperate to avoid a formal inquiry.

“If they were right and I don’t think they are that the location of this destruction was 2km from where we were told it was, this doesn’t change anything,” he said.

“I think what is going on here, inside of the Defence Force they are very keen to avoid an inquiry.”

But it has changed things considerably, switching Hager and Stephenson from attack to defence as they try to counter Keating’s claims.

They will be well aware that their reputations are on the line – as is Keating’s.

RNZ: Hit & Run authors dispute NZDF account

It is impossible the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) carried out a simultaneous raid on a separate Afghan village the night that civilians in two nearby villages were killed, the authors of Hit & Run say.

The NZDF has not claimed simultaneous raids, they say the SAS were never at the villages that Hager and Stephenson claimed were attacked by them.

One puzzle – if a simultaneous  raid could not have been carried out how could two villages have been attacked as they claim?

Hit & Run co-author Jon Stephenson told Checkpoint with John Campbell both the Defence Force and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) agreed there was only one raid that night.

“It’s virtually impossible that there were two identical operations in the same area.”

He stuck to the book’s claim that the single raid that occurred was carried out in Khak Khuday Dad and Naik.

“Lots of things were found [in the two villages] that are consistent with our story, including cannon rounds from Apache helicopters,” Mr Stephenson said.

“We know that the Chinooks left big indentations in the wheat fields that were seen and measured by the villagers.”

That’s what the villagers are claiming. Villages where insurgents came from (Stephenson says they had left the villages to avoid being attacked).

The book’s other co-author, Nicky Hager, said General Keating’s claims were a bluff by the Defence Force, which Mr Hager said was doing everything it could to avoid a formal inquiry.

“If Tim Keating is confident that they have done nothing wrong, they should have a full inquiry.”

“Releasing selective information is not the way you get to the bottom of a story … and they should be welcoming this if they think they’ve got nothing to hide.

“But I believe they are desperately trying to avoid it [an inquiry] because they know the book is true.”

Keating said he would welcome an inquiry, although he thought there would be legal difficulties with that.  He said he would try and have video coverage of the attack released.

Hager is implying that if there is no ‘full inquiry’ the NZDF must be trying to hide something.

But if an inquiry is held and it finds no proof that the SAS attacked to two other villages as alleged, or that the SAS killed civilians contrary to terms of engagement, then Hager may still claim only selective information has been released.

It isn’t up to Keating to order an inquiry. Prime Minister Bill English sounds reluctant to have an inquiry at this stage.

Westminster attack: “clearly an interest in jihad”

London’s metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner “Whilst I have found no evidence of an association with IS or AQ, there is clearly an interest in jihad.”

In a statement Khalid Masood’s mother says she is “deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions my son has taken” and “I do not condone his actions nor support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity”.

Guardian: Westminster attacker Khalid Masood had interest in jihad – police

Khalid Masood, who killed four people in the Westminster attack, had a clear interest in jihad and his method echoed the rhetoric of Islamic State leaders, Scotland Yard has said.

Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu, senior national coordinator for UK counter-terrorism policing, said on Monday there was no evidence yet that Kent-born Masood, 52, had discussed his plans with others.

“His attack method appears to be based on low-sophistication, low-tech, low-cost techniques copied from other attacks, and echo the rhetoric of IS leaders in terms of methodology and attacking police and civilians, but at this stage I have no evidence he discussed this with others.

“There is no evidence that Masood was radicalised in prison in 2003, as has been suggested; this is pure speculation at this time. Whilst I have found no evidence of an association with IS or AQ [al-Qaida], there is clearly an interest in jihad.”

There does appear to be at least an interest in the methods and aims of ISIS and Al Qaida, even if there was no direct association.

Masood’s mother, Janet Ajao, released a statement:

“I am so deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions my son has taken that have killed and injured innocent people in Westminster. Since discovering that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.

“I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I do not condone his actions nor support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity. I wish to thank my friends, family and community from the bottom of my heart for the love and support given to us.”

It would be a terrible thing for a parent to have their child involved in this sort of despicable attack. She has lost a son in one of the worst possible ways, and has to live with the stigma of the attack.

US discussion

News or views or issues from the USA.USFlag


Fox News: Failed ObamaCare repeal spurs fresh round of GOP finger-pointing

Fierce finger-pointing broke out in Washington in the wake of Friday’s flameout of the GOP alternative to ObamaCare, with conservatives and moderates blaming each other, President Trump sending mixed signals as to he faulted and Democrats gloating over the law’s preservation.

Kurtz @ Fox:Mission Impossible: Why Trump’s health care compromise was never going to pass

The ObamaCare battle was Mission Impossible from the beginning, because Donald Trump ran against Republican orthodoxy on health insurance.

There was simply no way to satisfy the GOP’s most conservative wing, which wanted to junk most of ObamaCare, the center-right conservatives who don’t want millions to lose coverage or face huge rate hikes, and Trump’s own conditions.

These difficulties should have been predictable when the health care repeal was promoted as a key campaign policy.

Trump approval dipping:

RCPTrumpApproval20170327

Media watch – Tuesday

28 March 2017

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

As usual avoid anything that could cause any legal issues such as potential defamation or breaching suppression orders. Also remember that keeping things civil, legal and factual is more effective and harder to argue against or discredit.