Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Japan Says FU To The World

Older Japanese are licking their lips in anticipation: their country will resume whaling in the Antarctic in late December...oh, only for 'science', of course!
This is despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Japan cease all whaling.
The Jap.govt says it's "taken into account" the court ruling and its whaling programme this time will be much smaller. But the announcement has been condemned by environmental groups and the Oz and UK govts.
Minke whale breaching
The whaling fleet sailed for the Southern Ocean doubt hoping to catch environmentalists on the back foot. Under it's revised plan, it will reduce the number of minke whales caught each year by two thirds to 333. Japan believes it's plan is scientifically reasonable, but that's unlikely to placate opponents.
In 2014, Australia and NZ won a case against Japan in the ICJ in the Netherlands. The court ruled that Japan's 'scientific' whaling programme was not scientific at all - and ordered Tokyo to recall its fleet. Crucially, the ruling stated that it did not believe it was necessary for Japan to kill whales, in order to study them.
...meanwhile, in a landmark ruling, the Oz Federal Court has found Japanese whalers to be in contempt of court and fined them AUS $1 million for killing minkes in the Sthrn.Ocean's Australian Whale Sanctuary, in violation of a 2008 injunction.
The Australian court ruling finds the whalers in "willful contempt" of a 2008 injunction, banning them from killing, injuring, taking or interfering with any Antarctic minke, fin or humpback whale in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established in 1999 to protect whales within 200nm of the Australian continent and of portions of Antarctica over which Australia asserts sovereignty.
Sadly, there's a snowball's chance in hell of seeing that fine paid!
...the nasty Nippons are also facing claims filed by environmentalists Sea Shepherd, asking a US court to find that Japan's Sthrn.Ocean whaling programme violates international law, and to impose an injunction to prevent it from continuing.

Monday, November 30, 2015

NZ Passports Grow Wings

From today (Mon.30 Nov.2015), you can now purchase a ten-year New Zealand passport again!
Since 2005, kiwis were issued 5yr passports: that was in response to security concerns after the New York Twin Tower attacks on Sept.11 2001. But last May, the NZ Govt announced passports would return to a 10yr validity, as modern biometrics technology was considered strong enough to address passport fraud security issues.
So from today, NZers aged 16yrs+ can apply for the new passport at a cost of $180 - $40 more than a 5yr version. And although the new 10yr passports are more expensive per unit than the 5yr ones, they work out cheaper per year of validity. Children's passports remain at 5yrs (as is international convention), due to the rate at which their appearance change. But the 5yr adult passport is now a gone-burger.
A surge of applications is expected from today on, as lotsa folk wanting to renew their 5yr passports have been holding off until now. However the Department of Internal Affairs is confident that new passport turn-around time will be within 10 working days.
The new passport validity period brings NZ passports in line with US, UK, French, Dutch, German and Ozzie passports.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Puppet Power!

Who's the dummy?!
If you're tired of the same ol' ventriloquist and puppetry acts - y'know, wooden dummy sits on human dummy's knee, taking the piss out of human dummy in tired slapstick routines, dubiously half-funny back in the '50s - well, be prepared for a massive sea-change!
Puppetry just got supa-COOL! In the video clip below, puppet master Alexander Jorgenson does a phenomenal performance with his marionette Barti, controlling more than 40 strings to make this puppet come alive. Barti plays the piano and sings Lucille (a big hit for Little Richard in 1956) for a cabaret crowd, and afterward Barti even steals a few kisses from some of the ladies in the audience!
This must surely be the most stunning marionette work you'll ever see!