Another “worst kept secret” announcement: Mike Moore quits as ambassador to US

The former Prime Minister suffered a stroke in April this year and a statement given to his staff today says next month will be his last in Washington.

After leaving politics, Mr Moore became director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
Trade was a focus during his time as ambassador too, as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was negotiated.

“I am now the longest serving continuous ambassador to the US. I didn’t seek this job but felt I should do it because great issues were at stake. The time was ripe for it,” Mr Moore said.

“On a security level things have moved up several notches. You are aware of the many exercises we do together and the important contribution we are making in the struggle against Isis. Read more »


How do Americans see Islam?


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Question for Mr Key: do you trust your security screening more than the USA does its own?

John Key

By the time you read this, the number may have changed, but close to half of the US state governors have come out saying they will not accept any Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks.

The announcements came after authorities revealed that at least one of the suspects believed to be involved in the Paris terrorist attacks entered Europe among the current wave of Syrian refugees. He had falsely identified himself as a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad and was allowed to enter Greece in early October.

In announcing that his state would not accept any Syrian refugees, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Monday on his personal account, ?I demand the U.S. act similarly,? he said. ?Security comes first.?

?American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger,? referring to Friday?s deadly attacks in Paris. Read more »


Photo Of The Day

Photo: Life Magazine The Monkey from Mars.

Photo: Life Magazine
The Monkey from Mars.

The Monkey from Mars

In 1953, three men managed to convince their town that it was being invaded by aliens using nothing more than a monkey, green food colouring, and a blowtorch. Their hoax was so convincing that they even managed to get the US Air Force involved. They did all this to settle a bet.

It was a hot night on July 8, 1953. Police officer Sherley Brown and his partner were doing a routine patrol down rural Bankhead highway near Austell, Georgia when up ahead they saw a pickup truck stopped in the middle of the road. They pulled over to investigate. What they found was the most unusual scene they would ever encounter during their entire careers as officers.

Three frightened young men ? Ed Watters (a barber, reportedly 28, although he looks younger), Tom Wilson (a fellow barber, 20), and Arnold ‘Buddy’ Payne (a butcher, 19) ? were waiting nervously by the side of the road. And lying there on the tarmac in front of the truck, illuminated by the vehicle’s headlights, was a bizarre two-foot tall creature that looked for all the world like a space alien.

Space aliens had been in the news a lot. Just the night before there had been multiple reports of a large, multicoloured, cone-shaped object flying overhead near Marietta, Georgia. But no one had ever produced a flesh-and-blood alien before.

The young men spilled out a strange tale. They said they’d been out in their truck “honky-tonking” around, when they came over a hill and suddenly found themselves careening towards a small flying saucer that was ‘glowing red all over.’ Three small aliens were outside the craft wandering up and down the highway. The young men said they jammed on their brakes, but couldn’t avoid hitting one of the aliens. The other two spacemen made it to the ship and blasted off, leaving circular scorch marks on the road that were still visible.

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No wonder Kim Dotcom is shitting his pants at the prospect

ODT columnist Lisa Scott received a welcome in the US of A she’ll never forget.

Remember all the trouble the economist and I had in our attempts to get a J-1, or five-month academic visa?

Crashed systems, cancelled flights … eventually, homeless and visa-less, the remaining days of the economist’s sabbatical running like water (and money) through his hands, we decided to get a quick and easy $14 three-month electronic system for travel authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver.

No worries!

Childishly excited, dreaming of beer and bicycling around Lake Michigan, we flew from Frankfurt (upgraded to premium economy, a harbinger of good times to come, said the economist, ”Stick with me Baby”), finally making it to Chicago last Monday.

As we entered the arrivals hall, a loudspeaker broadcast an announcement about measures to prevent the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

”Have you been to a bed and breakfast, near livestock? Please see your nearest agricultural officer. We appreciate your co-operation.”

”Hello!” we said with enormous smiles to the heavy-set lady manning passport control.

”Come with me,” she said grimly.

It was the beginning of two days of hell at the hands of Homeland Security. Read more »


Guest Post – The USA remembers the ANZACs (do we honour them back?)

USS Arizona Memorial Photo/ Alwyn Poole

USS Arizona Memorial Photo/ Alwyn Poole

By Alwyn Poole

Each year approximately 1,600,000 people visit the Pearl Harbour Memorial sites on Oahu and many New Zealanders are among them.

Last week Karen Poole and I has the privilege of spending a day between the:

You can think that you are prepared and that you have thought these things through before and have organised your intellectual and emotional response. Nothing was further from the truth and in the days since my thoughts have been quick to return to what was there – seen, heard, experienced. A lot of it is reflecting on this event with ANZAC Day so close.

I can add nothing to what the history of the event tells us but a summery is appropriate here (without hope of doing it justice). World War Two had been raging and Japan had been active militarily since July 7 1937. The USA had, by and large, stayed out of the war but was massively concerned about Japanese intentions and actions in the Pacific and had moved a significant fleet to Pearl Harbour. At 6am on December 7th 1941 Japan launched waves of fighter, torpedo and bomber aircraft in a surprise attack from undetected aircraft carriers that had sailed from Japan. They attacked airfields and the fleet at Pearl Harbour. ?? Read more »

Home of the Brave versus Land of the Warrior

Monday nightCap

Map of the Day

Nobody Lives Here - USA



Dark green areas indicate no one lives there.




Wednesday nightCap