When a couple in Granada, Spain, kept hearing buzzing noises coming from their bedroom wall, they really didn’t know what to make of it.
They called in a bee expert, Sergio Guerrero, who uncovered a huge hive of honeybees numbering 80,000 along with a huge honeycomb. The couple reported that sometimes the bees were quiet, but at other times they were so noisy that sleeping was impossible.
Apparently, the bee population in the area is strong , possibly because of flowers in the vicinity. Guerrero had been busy rescuing bees in other hives as well.
The last Sunday of 2019 and a piercing wind is blowing on Anglesey’s Newborough Beach – the sort that knifes through all clothing defences and finds every millimetre of exposed flesh. Brrrr. By lunchtime it is growing dark too, or perhaps day never quite dawned properly. It’s anyway a big change after the entrancing blue of Christmas Day. But we are not put off: Newborough Beach is a favourite winter walk so we trundle through the high dunes to the shore, as ever joining a mass of promenading families and dogs, and face the elements. The wind takes our breath away.
But down above the tide-line there is much activity – lines laid out and out across the sand as paragliding wings are prepared by dive-suited individuals. Much clicking on of harnesses, clapping on of helmets and multi-coloured kite-fluttering. And then they are off, skimming the bay at astonishing speeds…
St. Patrick’s Life Presented by Peter Petterson Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was a Christian missionary given credited with converting Ireland to Christianity in the AD 400s. So many legends surround his life that the truth is not easily found.
St Patrick was not actually Irish. His exact birthplace and date is not known. However it is believed he was born around 375AD in Scotland. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, were Romans living in Britain in charge of the colonies.
His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat and he took on the name Patrick upon becoming a priest.
As a teen he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland to herd and tend sheep on Slemish mountain, Co Antrim.
During his six-year captivity, he became fluent in the Irish language, he turned to God in prayer. He escaped after having a dream sent from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast where he would find a ship waiting to sail to Britain.
But one-party governments have rarely survived longer than 70 years: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ruled for 74 years before the bloc collapsed in 1991, and Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party retained power for 71 years until its defeat in the 2000 elections.
Analysts say while there’s no time limit on authoritarian governments, the CCP’s one-party rule may not be sustainable in the long run despite its past resilience and distinctiveness from other regimes.
But to look at when and how China could eventually undergo political reform, it’s important to first understand how the CCP has kept its grip on power for so long.
Rory Truex, assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, told the ABC the CCP was unique in terms of how it has mitigated the two major threats to authoritarian regimes — coups and revolutions.
To prevent the former, Mr Truex said the party had a system to ensure the transfer of power from one leader to the next happened “relatively peacefully”.
Meanwhile, the regime has safeguarded itself from a revolution by “governing reasonably well to keep the population happy, so they have no desire to revolt”, and through controlling information and repression, Mr Truex said.
Michael Albertus, co-author of Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy, said the CCP staked its legitimacy on national development and had delivered on that promise in an incredible manner, lifting half a billion people out of poverty in recent decades.
We had a great Christmas Day in 2019. Everybody living in NZ attended Christmas dinner in Norris Grove in Taita, Lower Hutt. My eldest daughter and her two younger sons came up from Christchurch where they now live to be with us all. Actually she had her 50th birthday on the 27th December, a reason for another celebration two days later. We had a great barbeque then with a few extra guests, including one of her oldest friends and former schoolmate. So the siblings and their children, our mokopuna had a double reason to get together with their cousins. Only our third oldest grandson who lives in Brisbane now and has been in Australia for a number of years, and his young son who lives in Melbourne with his mother were missing. I had a few celebratory drinks with them, but it was freezing cold out in that wind, and this old fellow had to give up and go inside. Two great happy days with my family.
Just a couple of family notes: Tangaroa was off to Fiji and Japan after Christmas with his four mates from Christchurch. Hope they all had a fantastic holiday. Shaylin is due back in NZ in Feb 2020 after a year in Orlando, Florida, working at Disney World. She missed Christmas and New Years as well.
New Years 2020 was a quiet time, time with reasons on hold for another get together later in the year. See you all later on in Norris grove.
Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christ.
The case for amalgamation: There is a media generated belief that Wellington City has a population of 400;000 similar to Christchurch. It is actually barely more than half. They polled the region a few years back to establish support for a larger amalgamated city – but it was totally rejected by the Hutt Valley,about 140.000 and Porirua /Kapiti Coast round 50,000 – 60,000.
Lower Hutt, about 95,000 and Upper Hutt about 45000 and a combined population of 140,000 should in my opinion amalgamate. Wellington has never positively supported the Hutt Valley. Only petty parochialism has prevented this in the past. Both cities are growing and support each other on a day to day basis.
Porirua may be sympathetic to an amalgamation with Wellington, but I doubt if the Kapiti coast would be interested. Perhaps amalgamation northwards? Porirua may be sympathetic to an amalgamation with Wellington, but I doubt if the Kapiti coast would be interested. Perhaps amalgamation northwards?
Snow and glaciers in New Zealand have turned brown after being exposed to dust from the Australian bushfires, with one expert saying the incident could increase glacier melt this season by as much as 30%.
On Wednesday many parts of the South Island woke up to an orange haze and red sun, after smoke from the Victorian and New South Wales blazes drifted east on Tuesday night, smothering many parts of the island for most of the day.
On Thursday, pictures taken from the Southern Alps showed the smoke haze carrying particles of dust had tinged snow-capped mountain peaks and glaciers a shade of caramel, with former prime minister Helen Clark expressing concern for the long-lasting environmental impacts on the mountains.
“Impact of ash on glaciers is likely to accelerate melting,” Clark tweeted. “How one country’s tragedy has spillover effects.”
There are more than 3,000 glaciers in New Zealand and since the 1970s scientists have recorded them shrinking by nearly a third, with current estimates predicting they will disappear entirely by the end of the century.
Professor Andrew Mackintosh is head of the school of earth, atmosphere and environment at Monash University, and the former director of the Antarctic Research Centre.
He said in nearly two decades of studying glaciers in New Zealand he had never seen such a quantity of dust transported across the Tasman, and the current event had the potential to increase this season’s glacier melt by 20-30%, although Mackintosh stressed this was no more than an estimate.
“It is quite common for dust to be transported to New Zealand glaciers, but I would say that the amount of transport right now is pretty phenomenal – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it,” Mackintosh said.“It is concerning to me to see so much material being deposited on the glaciers.”
Mackintosh said the whiteness of snow and ice reflected the sun’s heat, and slowed melting. But when this whiteness was obscured the glacier could melt at a faster rate.
The higher glaciers around Mount Cook could likely get more snowfall soon, Mackintosh said, but the lower glaciers may not get another dump till March, and the dust would sit there until then, likely turning pink when algae began to grow.
The impacts of the dust event would likely last no longer than a year, Mackintosh said but if Australia continued to be impacted by extreme wildfires and droughts “it will be one of the factors that is accelerating the demise of glaciers in New Zealand overall”.
The recent smoke haze drifting over New Zealand is the fourth such event this summer, the Met Service said, and despite no official health warnings being issued, many with asthma said they were choosing to remain indoors during the unusual conditions.
The Met Service most of the smoke remaining over New Zealand would clear by Friday.
Early in December travel writer Liz Carlson took pictures of regions of the Southern Alps turning pink following exposure to smoke from Australia early in the bushfire season.
“Our glaciers don’t need any more battles as they are already truly endangered; it puts the impact of climate change into even more stark reality we can’t ignore.”
Residents in Auckland and some parts of the North Island woke to an unusually bright orange sun on Thursday, thought to be a result of the bushfires 2,000km across the Tasman sea.
The Ministry of the Environment has been contacted for comment.
As the climate crisis escalates…
… the Guardian will not stay quiet. This is our pledge: we will continue to give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. The Guardian recognises the climate emergency as the defining issue of our times.
You’ve read 8 articles in the last four months. We chose a different approach: to keep Guardian journalism open for all. We don’t have a paywall because we believe everyone deserves access to factual information, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.
Our editorial independence means we are free to investigate and challenge inaction by those in power. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. And we have made several important changes to our style guide to ensure the language we use accurately reflects the environmental catastrophe.
The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope. We will also report back on our own progress as an organisation, as we take important steps to address our impact on the environment.
We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable.
Wishing one and all a new year filled with the simple pleasures of peace, good health, and creativity.
Special thoughts go to my friends in Australia who are experiencing so many difficulties, and to the millions of others around the world who seek basic human needs, such as shelter, food and most of all love.
‘Birds that live on a golden mountain reflect the colour of gold’……..
Hummingbirds and colour to take us into the new year.