Flash flood hits North Sumatra regency, killing 3

A car sits on its side after a flash flood hit a village in Padang Sidempuan regency, North Sumatra, on Sunday (March 26). The incident claimed three lives while one person remains missing. (JP/Apriadi Gunawan)

A flash flood hit Padang Sidempuan regency in North Sumatra on Sunday, killing three people. Another victim is still missing.

The people killed in the flood were a family of three consisting of Sahriana Situmorang, 45, Rafiah Sarumpaet, 8, and Sakinah Sarumpaet, 10. The family lived in Lubuk Raya subdistrict.

The flood also destroyed dozens of houses in several districts such as Padang Sidempuan Batunadua, North Padang Sidempuan and South Padang Sidempuan. A number of cars were swept away during the flood. Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 15:24

Jerusalem students uncover nearly 2,000-year-old relics from Bar Kokhba revolt

Over the last several months, the students have assisted archeologists excavate the remains of a Jewish settlement dating to the Second Temple period.

Boyer High School students participating in the archaeological excavations. (photo credit:IAA)

A group of Jerusalem high school students are searching the past to help finance their future.

In an effort to raise funds for a Holocaust-studies youth delegation trip to Poland, 240 eleventh graders from Boyer High School left the confines of their classrooms to unearth relics from the Bar Kokhba Revolt, led by Simon Bar-Kochba, between 132 and 136 CE.

Known as the Third Jewish Revolt, it was the final of three Jewish uprisings against the Romans due to religious and political persecution. It is estimated that many thousands of Jews died during the revolt, resulting in a massive depopulation of the communities inhabiting the Judean Hills.

The excavations are being carried out with funding provided by the Construction and Housing Ministry in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of a new residential neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Over the last several months, the students have assisted archeologists excavate the remains of a Jewish settlement dating to the Second Temple period, including eight ritual baths, rock-hewn installations, and numerous underground hiding refuges.

According to Sarah Hirshberg, Shua Kisilevitz and Sarah Levevi-Eilat, excavation directors on behalf of the Authority, the ancient settlement incorporated private ritual baths into residential quarters.

The ritual baths unearthed. (ASSAF PEREZ, COURTESY OF IAA)

“Each household had its own ritual bath and a cistern,” she said. “Some of the baths uncovered are simple, and others are more complex and include an otzar, or collection basin, into which the rainwater would drain.”

Hirshberg continued: “It is interesting to note that the local inhabitants adhered strictly to the rules regarding purity and impurity.”

Underneath the dwellings and rock-hewn installations, the students and archeologists discovered a “winding labyrinth” of hiding refuges connected to sophisticated and elaborate complexes.

Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 15:07

Frenchman ‘tries to ram crowd with car’ in Antwerp

Photo: AFP

A Frenchman has been held in Antwerp, northern Belgium, on the suspicion of driving at a crowd while in possession of a rifle and bladed weapons.

Local police said that passersby were “forced to jump out of the way” as the car approached the popular de Meir shopping street in Antwerp.

No one was injured, however, and the driver was taken away by police.

The prosecutor said the driver was a French national called Mohamed R, was born in 1977, and lived in France.

His car had French registration plates. The Belgian prosecutor said police found a rifle and bladed weapons inside the car, although some media have reported that the rifle may have been non-lethal.

Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 14:54

PEGIDA marks anniversary with Nuremberg march against Islamization, EU & Erdogan

© Ruptly

Dozens of supporters of far-right PEGIDA movement waving German flags poured into the streets of the German city of Nuremberg on Sunday to protest immigration policy and the Turkish president’s recent Nazi taunts, as they celebrated the local branch’s anniversary.

The event saw participants, carrying national and party symbols, gathering around 1pm in central Jakobplatz before marching down the streets for a rally. Despite the declared peaceful nature of the gathering, police undertook extra efforts to ensure security and prevent potential clashes with rival groups, cordoning off the streets along the PEGIDA activists’ route.  Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 10:03

Textile conservator leads specialised field

Eastbourne resident Valerie Carson is New Zealand’s first textile conservator.

She retired from Te Papa in 2007 and now works as an independent professional conservator from home.

Valerie has been in the business for almost 40 years.

Throughout her illustrious career, she has been able to work on some very memorable and exciting pieces — including Captain James Cook’s waistcoat, and dresses from Princess Diana.

“What I find is that these famous people, they’re just human. They perspire, they spill food down their front. Captain Cook did both of those.

“But you look at it and think – he actually wore that, and that is extraordinary.”

The people in charge of displaying some of Princess Diana’s dresses contacted Valerie urgently the night before the Michael Fowler Centre exhibition because they couldn’t fit any of the dresses over the mannequins provided.

“I had to make the mannequin fit the dress, and it should be the other way around.

“I only had hours to do all this, so I got someone to go and get a whole lot of dacron wadding to pad them out.”

Valerie also worked on the big Versace exhibition at Te Papa in 2001, which she described as stunning.

“There were clothes in there that Gianni Versace himself wore — and the famous dress with the safety pins, I put that on display.

“Sting’s wedding outfit was there. I can remember very clearly telling someone I had done up Sting’s fly – and it was true, but not with Sting in it!”

Valerie’s move into the textile field was a fairly unconventional, albeit creative, one.

She originally trained as a school dental nurse in Wellington, a profession she loved. She worked in various schools around New Zealand.

“We had to go up to the old technical college and actually do artwork – they had to make sure we had an eye and a feeling for art because you have to recreate parts of the tooth that are missing.

“They were made out of soap because soap cut well, and then we polished them, so you got a real feeling for what a tooth looks like.

“It’s a restoration – it’s putting something back into the mouth that’s missing.”

Valerie was then asked by the National Library to review textile books that came into New Zealand.

She came across one that was written by Karen Finch, who started the Textile Conservation Centre. The centre had been set up in 1975 as a charity to offer people a conservation service for textiles of all kinds, and it also gave training, in the form of recognised courses run in conjunction with the – Courtauld Institute of Art.

“I thought, that’s something I’d really love to do. But by this stage I was 42.

“I was totally satisfied staying at home because I was creative and got to be creative at home,” she says. However, the opportunity to train with experts in the field of textile conservation was too good to pass up.

Valerie packed her bags and moved to London to study textile conservation at Hampton Court Palace with a group of ten women from other countries – including the United States, Canada and Norway.

She then returned to New Zealand to become our first professional textile conservator.

“One of the reasons I wanted to go away and train is the fact that people in other museums overseas wanted to talk to someone about caring for Maori textiles that have gone offshore, and how to look after them.

“Very often, people would write to us and say, you’re in New Zealand, Maori live there, tell us how we’re going to conserve the Maori textiles.” Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 08:06

Damage to police cars on the rise, along with cost of repairs

FAIRFAX NZ | A police car badly damaged in a crash in Hamilton in 2011. (File photo)

Damage to police cars is increasing, and so is the bill to repair them, with taxpayers forking out more than $12 million in the past five years.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show that since 2012, $12,589,001.14 has been spent on repairs for 5384 crashes or incidents in police vehicles.

Last year was the most expensive in the five-year period, with 1339 reported crashes or incidents costing $3,211,370.33.

Since 2012, over $12m was spent on repairs for police cars involved in crashes. (File photo)

Police declined an interview on the matter, but in a statement defended the mounting cost. Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 08:00

Tommy Kapai: Reconnect our troubled youth

Tommy Kapai says talkback radio should be bottom of the list for information.

Good news travels fast in poor communities, mostly because bad news has the market cornered, and those who make their living from bad news – especially in the talkback world – know it.

In a world where fake and reality are on a collision crossroad and the minds of the masses can be shifted, as we have found out in the poorer parts of the far from United States, talkback and not talk-to has a lot to answer for when it comes to the lack of good news stories.

I don’t do talkback in politics or on the radio, and never have.

More and more we need to be mindful of where we source our information and talkback radio for me should be at the bottom of our list.

The Leightons and the Willies of the talkback world polarise opinions – in my opinion, to guarantee an audience – and now talkback politics is driving down the same dirty track.

Recently, I tuned into the Kaikohe korero on National Radio when the gang of disconnected teenagers smashed their way into a local liquor store.

The usual lynch mob bayed for blood, as did the colonels of corporal punishment who wanted to bring back the boot camp and give these kids a damn good hiding – something they would have had more than enough of already.

My two bobs’ worth when invited to comment on the programme was all about front-line resourcing. Moving it from back of office to front of whare.

“We need a clear, focused laxative to free up the constipated resources to the front line,” was my korero with Jim Mora, the well-informed host.

“What we are seeing manifested on the streets of Kaikohe and in many other poorer parts of the country is a backlash of under-resourced front lines. The generals in charge of the troops (the crown agencies) need to put their putea where it is needed most – the front line.”

The best comment on the subject came from an old kuia: “On the same day in the same town where these disconnected kids were playing merry hell I saw another group of well-guided kids in the local park practising their kapa haka,” she empathised. Read more

Updated: 27/03/2017 — 07:50
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