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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for New Zealand
New Zealand Headlines
Wednesday, July 31st, 2002
: RCN Administrator
New Zealand rugby chiefs have called for a vote of no confidence in the country’s governing body, the NZRFU, following the loss of the rights to co-host the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
At least eight of the 27 provincial unions have joined the Canterbury Rugby Union’s call for a clean-out of the body’s board of directors.
"We believe that we need to clean the slate and go forward," said Canterbury chairman Mike Eagle.
"We don’t see any alternative way of doing that other than going for a vote of no confidence."
The vote is expected to take place next Tuesday at a meeting of provincial union chairmen in Wellington.
Provinces demanding action
Taranaki, Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, North Otago, King Country, Mid Canterbury, Otago and South Canterbury
The NZRFU confirmed on Thursday that the meeting would take place after more than one third of provincial unions requested it.
NZRFU chairman Murray McCaw and chief executive David Rutherford both resigned last week after a damning report found them responsible for losing the co-host role.
New Zealand was removed as co-host in mid-April when the International Rugby Board gave Australia the sole rights to stage the 48-match, 20-team tournament in October and November of 2003.
NZ lose 2003 Rugby World Cup
Under an initial agreement, New Zealand was expected to host 23 matches, including a semi-final, with the opening match and final hosted by cup holder Australia.
But the NZRFU refused to sign off on the co-host agreement in March, saying it could not deliver on tournament demands to provide stadiums that were free of advertising and comply with corporate seating entitlements.
Rob Fisher, who replaced McCaw as chairman, Thursday did not rule out the possibility of the entire nine-member board resigning.
"We don’t know what’s going to happen on Tuesday," he said.
"I made the point last week that the board were not power-crazed people wanting to hang on and if the provinces want the board to resign I can’t see that being a problem."
Thursday, July 11th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
A Tahitian man who drifted for 133 days across the South Pacific was recovering in hospital in the Cook Islands Friday after his boat ran onto on a reef and he was found by local fishermen.
Raeoaoa Taurae, 55, "looks like a prisoner of war," Mata Strickland, a doctor treating Taurae, told The Associated Press by telephone from Aitutaki, one of the northern Cook Islands.
He’s "thin, he’s dehydrated, with sunken cheeks and sunken eyeballs and he has very loose skin," Strickland said.
Such tales of survival are not unknown in the South Pacific where fisherman often take to the high seas in small boats with unreliable engines.
Last November, two Western Samoan fishermen washed up in Papua New Guinea after surviving almost six months adrift in a small metal boat.
Two other men died during the torrid journey, which saw them drift nearly 2,480 miles west from Western Samoa to Papua New Guinea. The survivors said they caught fish and birds to eat and drank rainwater to stay alive.
Only one day after his voyage ended on the reef, Taurae was already taking semisolid food and trying to strengthen his legs after more than four months aboard his 25-foot boat.
"He’s dying to have some meat and sausages," Strickland said. "He’s a strong man, a strong man, [even though] he’s lost a lot of weight."
Taurae told the doctor through an interpreter he had gone fishing on March 1 from his home village at Fa’a near the airport at Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, and more than 685 miles across open sea from Aitutaki.
After "going a bit further out" he ran out of gasoline.
Strickland said Taurae, with no motor, no sail and not even a paddle, had drifted helpless, rationing himself to a single glass of rain water a day. He had eaten raw fish to stay alive.
"He came in here yesterday weak, dehydrated, wobbly legs. Police helped him into the hospital and when he tried to walk he almost fell over," he said.
After just one day of intravenous drip feeding "he managed to speak properly, weeping and thinking of his family and thanking god," Strickland added.
The doctor said the 55-year-old was expected to make a full recovery and should be ready to be discharged from the hospital within two days.
Police meantime had towed Taurae’s boat to the local port and lifted it from the water for minor repairs.
"I wouldn’t mind buying his boat," Strickland said.
Tuesday, July 9th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
By Kim Griggs
in Wellington, New Zealand
In a little over a week, two pilots, one of them US adventurer Steve Fossett, will attempt to glide into the stratosphere and the record books.
If we do [encounter turbulence], the airplane is strong enough to hold it and to handle it
Ed Teets, Perlan’s chief scientist
Far above the tiny town of Omarama in the South Island of New Zealand, Fossett and former Nasa test pilot Einar Endevoldson will be aiming to reach 62,000 feet (18,900 m), a height that would smash the current world altitude record for a sailplane of 49,009 feet set in 1986.
The flight is just the first part of Fossett and Endevoldson’s ambitious Perlan Project. In the second part, the team wants to try to fly as high as 100,000 feet (30,500 m) - more than 30% of the way into space.
"Most of the atmosphere we live in is in the troposphere, so when you get into the stratosphere you’re through most of it," said Elizabeth Carter, the Perlan Project’s chief meteorologist.
In the first phase of the project, a combination of the polar vortex that swirls past the gliding capital of Omarama, mountain waves and specially built pressure suits will give the pilots the ability to soar into the stratosphere, the Perlan team believes.
"The pressure suit system is the key. Right now the physiological ramifications can be quite significant," said Ed Teets Jr, the project’s chief scientist and a Nasa aerospace engineer and meteorologist. "You get to those [high altitudes], the nitrogen inside your body will start to boil."
Once the sailplane tops 40,000 feet (12,200 m), the pilots’ pressure suits will inflate. Foot warmers will ward off the frostbite that the outside temperature of minus 50 Celsius would inflict.
Also helping them soar into the stratosphere will be westerly winds that sweep across New Zealand’s Southern Alps, creating the mountain waves that the gliders ride. And it is the Antarctic polar vortex, rather than its northern equivalent, that appears conducive for the record attempt. "It’s stronger, it lasts longer and it’s more regular," said Dr Carter.
This combination of the waves and the vortex should, the project team hope, enable the glider to be able to pierce the tropopause, a band of air that separates the troposphere from the stratosphere, and which often extinguishes mountain waves.
Steve Fossett: From one adventure to the next
"When you get the winds hitting the mountains near perpendicular - along with this polar vortex which gives you increasing wind speeds with altitude - that allows these waves to penetrate on up through," said Dr Carter.
Flying into the unknown is not without its dangers. Riding a true mountain wave is smooth, but severe turbulence could occur.
"It’s going to be hit and miss." said Dr Teets. "We don’t know for sure that there will be turbulence. We just don’t. But if we do [encounter turbulence], the airplane is strong enough to hold it and to handle it."
If the plane does become uncontrollable, the pilots have the option of using a drogue chute as a stabilizer.
"They’ll use that stabilisation until they either get control of the aircraft back or they get to a low enough altitude that they can jump out," said Dr Teets.
The vortex lasts longer than its northern counterpart
The plane will be the main limitation for the Omarama flights, as it has an upper reach of 62,000 feet. In the second part of the project, a specially designed pressurized sailplane would be built to soar to 100,000 feet.
That altitude would mimic flying in the Mars atmosphere and could answer crucial questions for any future Mars voyagers. "What can we expect? What is the Mars atmosphere like? Is it turbulent? Is it smooth? Is it windy?" asked Dr Teets.
The 60,000-foot flights will bring important atmospheric data. "To characterize a wave, that’s something that’s never truly been done," said Dr Teets.
Each attempt on the world record is expected to last between four and six hours. The team in Omarama starts preparatory flights this week and will begin record attempt flights around 21 July.