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Dark hours for Russia
Instead of basking in the rising sun of social salvation as was so fervently and persistently prophesied in the callow days of Soviet Government, Russia is trembling in the shadow of starvation. In the dark hours of disaster the Bolshevist leaders are seeking assistance from political leaders whom they formerly treated with violence and contempt. The Berlin correspondent of the Daily Express says that the panic-stricken Soviet Government despairs, unaided, of relieving 30 million starving peasantry — as well it might despair — and that internal difficulties and complications are possible. Particularly welcome in the circumstances is the prospect that relief for Russian women and children will be provided by America, which already possesses a record for relief work in Europe that stands to her eternal credit. Herbert Hoover, who is now Secretary for Commerce in the United States Cabinet, has a genius for organisation on a grand scale, for the exercise of which he has had ample scope in perfecting machinery for European relief during recent years. The situation in Russia is not a case of temporary starvation following a season of plenty. It represents, in effect, the last stages of an awful human tragedy in a country whose inhabitants were promised immense blessings, the beneficial influence of which would permeate the whole world.
Seagulls cited as predators
The seagull is becoming an object of suspicion among the pastoralists of the back country (says the Christchurch Press). On some of the stations it is considered that this hitherto unsuspected bird is a rival of the kea as a destroyer of sheep and lambs. It still has not been definitely proved, in many cases “where the carcase is, there is the seagull also.” In the back country there are colonies of seagulls which make their homes on the river-beds and probably never visit the seaside. They pick up their living from the rivers, and in the season they may be seen following the ploughs and making a royal feast of the worms and grubs which are turned to the top. It is said that the eggs of the inland seagull are much more palatable than those of its sea- going sister as they have not the strong flavour which is induced by a fishy diet. The suspicion that mutton or lamb is taking the place of fish on the menu of the river-bred bird may result in this graceful and picturesque raider becoming decidedly less popular in the back blocks than he has been in the past.