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New Zealand v Wales Game 3

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Please keep the rugby related chats and scores out of Backchat, even when the game is over.  Some people may still want to watch it delayed so let’s not spoil their day.

As per usual, guess the final score before the game starts, and if you’re closest, you get bragging rights for the week.  Read more »

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Latest news headlines from Reuters

Key tries to calm down the Brex-panic

The Brexit uncertainty has hit the financial markets, but more so because none of them were hedging against this result, so the dumping has been epic.

Prime Minister John Key says markets will come to terms with Britain’s decision to exit the EU, come back to a normalised state and then settle.

The United Kingdom yesterday voted to leave the European Union (EU) after a historic referendum.

Speaking in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Key said New Zealand companies should not worry about anything for now, re-negotiation obviously would take a while.

He said the government has had assurances from both Britain and the European Union that there will be no change in access for New Zealand goods or people until new conditions are negotiated.

The move by Britain to leave the European Union shocked global markets and caused the British pound to plummet to its lowest point against the US since 1985.

Mr Key said New Zealand would not be directly affected by the move, and the uncertainty in the markets that the British withdrawal had caused was likely to be the most immediate impact.

The markets appear to have over-reacted but that was because they were surprised by the result.   Britain won’t actually start to leave the EU for at least a few months, and then the process is one that takes some years.  All of this means that today’s drops are about speculators minimising their losses rather than a loss of faith in the fundamentals of the British economy.

Give it a little while, and the markets will be jumping back in on the good bargains sitting around. Read more »

EU reacts with petulance, exactly like Brexit campaigners predicted

The EU technocrats have reacted badly to a sovereign nation exercising its democratic rights.

A senior EU leader has confirmed the bloc wants Britain out as soon as possible, warning that David Cameron’s decision to delay the start of Brexit negotiations until his successor is in place may not be fast enough.

Cameron announced on Friday morning that he would step down as prime minister by the autumn, after the British public caused a political earthquake by voting 52%-48% to leave the European Union.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, told the Guardian that EU lawyers were studying whether it was possible to speed up the triggering of article 50 of the Lisbon treaty – the untested procedure for leaving the union.

As the EU’s institutions scrambled to respond to the bodyblow of Britain’s exit, Schulz said uncertainty was “the opposite of what we need”, adding that it was difficult to accept that “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party”.

“I doubt it is only in the hands of the government of the United Kingdom,” he said. “We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until October, but that must not be the last word.”

Read more »

Get ready for Nexit, Frexit and ItaLeave

After the result of the EU referendum in the UK there are now calls for the Netherlands, France and Italy to also have referenda on the issue.

The plague is spreading.

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union fired up populist eurosceptic parties across the continent on Friday (Saturday NZ Time), giving fresh voice to their calls to leave the bloc or its euro currency.

Right-wing and anti-immigrant parties in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and France demanded referendums on membership of the union, while Italy’s 5-Star movement said it would pursue its own proposal for a vote on the euro.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch anti-immigrant PVV party, said he would make a Dutch referendum on EU membership a central theme of his campaign to become prime minister in next year’s parliamentary election.

“I congratulate the British people for beating the political elite in both London and Brussels and I think we can do the same,” Wilders told Reuters. “We should have a referendum about a ‘Nexit’ as soon as possible.”

On Thursday (Friday NZT), Britons voted to leave the 28-nation EU, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

“There is no future any more (for the EU),” Wilders said.   Read more »

The Kakapo Syndrome

kakapo

Rob Hosking at NBR describes the Kakapo Syndrome of the government.

But first you need to know a bit about the Kakapo so you can understand his analogy.

Firstly, it finds it extremely difficult to actually find a partner. The kakapo in fact does everything it can to make it difficult to attract a partner: When it is on the kakapo equivalent of “the pull,” it’s inclined to stand at the top of an excessively tall crag of rock in a particularly remote spot and send its mating call booming across the forest tops in the hope some nice, suitable, obliging and above all patient partner will hear it and make the difficult way over the primordial forest so they can enter into the kakapo equivalent of connubial bliss.

Now, I’m not a specialist in New Zealand’s native fauna, and I’m relying on my memory from a talk someone gave at the Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club some years ago, but I seem to recall the kakapo also does this at times inconvenient to other kakapo, given that it has to do a bit of a mating dance against other males.

It may also exude a musk that actually repels most other kakapo, though I’m not sure about this.

If you need to know, google it.

The point is the kakapo makes itself difficult to love.

It may not be blessed with a huge choice of partners, and one suspects the kakapo must’ve lived in a state of almost permanent sexual frustration but it had one advantage that other creatures seldom have – it lacks natural predators.

So, the theory goes, Mother Nature, in her infinite if customarily coldhearted wisdom, evolved a way so the kakapo wouldn’t breed in the manner later made famous by the Flopsy Mopsy Cottontail and Peters of the animal kingdom.

That lack of breeding capacity, that evolutionary turning of the kakapo into a kind of nerd bird, repelling most partners, counterbalanced the absence of anything much that would effectively counter the kakapo’s place in the food chain.

So when a bunch of predators turned up in the 19th  century, the kakapo had a problem. No natural defences, not used to being attacked effectively:  It was very nearly wiped out.

Read more »

Whaleoil Rugby History Quiz

by Nige

Mental Health Break

The Poms are looking forward to burning silly EU laws

The Poms are celebrating and realising that they can finally get rid of stupid EU laws that were imposed on them.

As the country reflects in the wake of the EU referendum, Leave voters are celebrating changing the course of history and breaking free from the shackles of the European Union – and its laws and regulations.

Despite the fact Britain has voted in favour of leaving the EU, this is still the start of a long process before the country officially untangles from the network of institutions in Brussels.

And among that network there were a number of bizarre – and some argued trivial – rules the Brussels bureaucracy passed.

Here are some of the more bizarre regulations the Brexiters can enjoy saying goodbye to.

1. Ban on curvy bananas and crooked cucumbers  

The first – and one which reared its head as the Brexit and Remain camps drew up their battles lines – was the banana regulation.

An example often cited as ‘legislative heavy-handedness’ was the EU ban on ‘bendy bananas’ and crooked cucumbers.

A 1994 EU regulation specified that bananas must be ‘free from abnormal curvature.’

EU rules also governed the shape of many other fruits and vegetables — cucumbers, for example, needed to be almost perfectly straight.

Read more »