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Monday, 18 June


Chinas Pacific Islands Push Has the U.S. Worried "IndyWatch Feed"

In the gritty, steamy streets of Papua New Guineas capital Port Moresby, signs of Chinas push into the Pacific island nation are inescapable.

A Chinese worker stencils a logo for China Railway Group outside the new national courthouse its building; China Harbor Engineering Group laborers tar roads under the searing midday sun.

Little by little they are taking slices of our businesses, said Martyn Namorong, who campaigns to protect local jobs and communities as China ramps up infrastructure spending in the resource-rich nation, often bringing its own workforce. My people feel we cant compete.

The nation of 8 million people is the latest frontier in Beijings bid for global influence thats included building artificial reefs in the South China Sea, a military base in Africa and an ambitious trade-and-infrastructure plan spanning three continents.

Advertisement for China Construction Bank outside the airport in Port Moresby.
Photographer: Jason Scott/Bloomberg

Chinas thrust into the Pacific islands region, a collection of more than a dozen tiny nations including Fiji, Niue and Timor Leste scattered across thousands of miles of ocean, has the U.S. and its close ally Australia worried. The region played a key role in World War II and remains strategically important as Western powers seek to maintain open sea lines and stability. For Beijing, it offers raw materials, from gas to timber, and a clutch of countries who could voice support for its territorial claims.

Weve seen a huge surge in Chinas state-directed economic investment and mobilization of an enormous amount of capital in the Pacific which clearly has a strategic intent, said Eric B. Brown, a senior fellow in Asian affairs at Washington-based think tank the Hudson Institute. The sovereignty of these nations could be compromised by these p...


Who cleans up the mess when an Australian uranium mining company leaves Africa? "IndyWatch Feed"

Who cleans up the mess when an Australian uranium mining company leaves Africa?

Jim Green 18th June 2018
Teaser Media


Australian govt rushing decision on nuclear waste dumping, avoiding Senate Inquiry report, and before next election "IndyWatch Feed"


With the Senate not reporting on this until August 14, it is clear that this selection will be a rushed job. It is no doubt the governments intention that the Senate Inquiry should be irrelevant.


Race to lock in nuclear dump before federal election...


South Australian Premier Marshalls pro nuclear stance, in agreement with nuclear stooge MP Troy Bell "IndyWatch Feed"

Marshall still open to nuclear power In Daily, Tom Richardson  ADELAIDE April 11, 2018  Marshall today embarked on his third regional tour since seizing office at last months election, visiting the South-East seat of Mount Gambier where Liberal-turned-Independent MP Troy Bell is a firm advocate for nuclear power.

Marshall and Bell broke bread this morning, their second face-to-face meeting since election day.

Bell quit the party after being charged with dishonesty offences following an ICAC investigation. He is pleading not guilty in an ongoing court case.

Ive always worked with Troy Bell its quite obvious we share a lot of common aspirations for the people of the South-East, he said.

One of those aspirations could yet be the establishment of a nuclear generator after Marshall last year flagged his interest in considering the industry, despite Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce rejecting it as a commercially viable option in the foreseeable future.

There will be a time when it may become viable, and desperate times call for desperate solutions and we are in a desperate situation, Marshall told media in February 2017.

Bell, who spearheaded the Liberals South-East fracking moratorium before he left the party-room, is a strong advocate for nuclear power and told InDaily he was absolutely happy to lead the discussion about establishing a loca...


In Search of Space "IndyWatch Feed"

In the introduction to In Search of Space, Journeys in Wild Places, Ross Brownscombe points out that nature writing which explores the poetry and magic of wild places has not developed into a strong tradition in Australia. Compared to North America and the UK this is certainly correct, and true writers in this genre are few and far between.

This book is a great addition to the library of nature writing that Australia has produced.

In the introduction to In Search of Space, Journeys in Wild Places, Ross Brownscombe points out that nature writing which explores the poetry and magic of wild places has not developed into a strong tradition in Australia. Compared to North America and the UK this is certainly correct, and true writers in this genre are few and far between. Some of the finest in the tradition here are probably authors of fiction rather than more conventional non-fiction nature writers, people like Richard Flannigan and Tim Winton, who develop landscape as characters in the way they develop the humans in their stories.

There are, of course, a growing number of authors from indigenous traditions who speak about and for Country. I love the quote from David Mowaljarlai, repeated by Tim Winton in Island Home, who sees the world as everything standing up alive. When Im high on a mountain looking out over country, my life force (Unggurr) flows out from inside my body and I fall open with happiness. Despite our shared love for land, their perspective is going to be different to an Anglo author. Whereas Country is peopled and storied for many Aboriginal and Islander people, us Australians of European linage often seek refuge in the blank space that wild spaces represent. We go into them to find adventure and challenge, solitude, recreation, perspective, spiritual guidance and, sometimes all these things. Our relationship is profoundly different because we must create something from what is essentially a blank canvas when it comes to culture. Trying to compare a book on nature writing by an Anglo man with an indigenous author in any meaningful way is beyond me in a short review so I wont try, beyond noting that all Australia is indigenous land, even those places that we have declared wild or wilderness, with the few exceptions of orphan country, land with no people left with connection to or responsibility for that place.



USA nuclear authorities rename nuclear waste to make it sound safer: so do Australias "IndyWatch Feed"

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 18 June 18
The American Department Of Energys (DOE), June 4th 2018 proposal to re-label (reclassify or rename) Hanfords highly radioactive tank waste so it will not have to comply with the time consuming requirements of treating or disposing of such waste.
And if the DOE gets their way, high level radioactive waste residue will become ...


Fatal consequences for the nation that first strikes with nuclear weapons "IndyWatch Feed"

Paper Reveals Amount Of Nuclear Weapons Fatal To Own Citizens Of The Firing Nation   17 June 2018,   By Athena Yenko Tech Times 

In a scenario where the United States launches a nuclear attack against a country, Americans wont be spared from the fatal consequences of that same strike.

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing a nuclear war is how it could obliterate the target country. A new paper, therefore, examined the consequences of a nuclear strike on the very nation firing the weapons.

The Consequences Of A Nuclear Strike

The repercussions were imagined in best-case scenario, where the target nation would not engage in any counterattack. For example, if the United States fired a nuclear weapon, its very own people would suffer an effect called nuclear autumn or environmental blowback.

There would be a drastic drop in temperature because...


Rural community in Czech Republic votes overwhelmingly against hosting a nuclear waste facility "IndyWatch Feed"


The inhabitants of Jaromice nad Rokytnou, a village in the Vysoina region between Bohemia and Moravia, voted overwhelmingly against the construction of a nuclear waste storage site on their land in a referendum on Saturday.

Jaromice nad Rokytnou is one of nine Czech locations being considered by experts for the purposes of a nuclear waste store. About 45 percent of the villages inhabitants took part in the vote, which makes the referendum valid.


Concerns about the safety of Holtec nuclear waste storage casks "IndyWatch Feed"

What is Holtec? Company touts experience in nuclear storage, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 16 June 18



Monte Bello Islands remain a nuclear radiation risk "IndyWatch Feed"

Montebello Islands are a nuclear radiation risk, but boaters and campers flout the rules, ABC North West WA By Susan Standen , 17 June 18


Institute of Public Affairs aims for both nuclear power and privatising the ABC "IndyWatch Feed"

Steve Dale shared a link. Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 18 June 18
If the ABC was privatised, I think the public would hear even less about our nuclear f...


Michelle Grattan: expect more government bullying to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) "IndyWatch Feed"

The threat to the ABC is not sale but more bullying  The Conversation By Michelle Grattan 


Activists hold jamboree to organise beyond coal and gas "IndyWatch Feed"

GLW author Margaret Gleeson June 14, 2018

The burgeoning movements against coal and gas projects,
to defend the Great Barrier Reef and to conserve precious water resources
were boosted by the Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree
held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland over May 31 to June 3.

More than 350 activists from around Australia joined
international guests from the Pacific, the US and India
at the fourth Beyond Coal and Gas gathering.

Participants included Indigenous campaigners
against fracking in the Kimberley, Western Australia; the Northern Territory; and
against coal mining on traditional lands in the Galilee Basin, in Queensland.

All age groups were present but youth, particularly Indigenous people and women,
were well represented,

Indigenous campaigns

The opening session, Indigenous rising: protecting country and organising our people, heard how
Indigenous communities are heading up the fight to defend their lands from coal and coal seam gas mining.

Adrian Burragubba from the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council (W&J) spoke
of their opposition since 2012 of the Adani Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin,
and the court challenges they have faced. The current challenge is
against Adanis bogus Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
The mine cannot go ahead until this issue is resolved.
If the Federal Court rules in Adanis favour, the W&J will call for a judicial review
and have pledged to take it all the way to the High Court.

Micklo Corpus a Traditional owner from Yaruru people in Broome, Western Australia,
has been campaigning since 2014 against gas company Buru Energy,
where many of the gas wells are located in wetlands.


Resources curse PNG communities future "IndyWatch Feed"

Author: Michael Main. Source: East Asia Forum

Two recent reports on the massive ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project have brought renewed attention to the undesirable economic and social impacts of Papua New Guineas largest-ever resource extraction enterprise. This research shows that PNG LNG has hurt, rather than grown, PNGs economy and that it has inflamed violence and tensions in the PNG highlands region. Papua New Guineas so-called resource curse has hit local communities the hardest.

Violent conflict in the PNG highlands, certainly among the Huli landowners of Hela Province where PNG LNG is based, has been an almost constant feature since before first contact with colonial forces in the 1930s. Levels of violence have fluctuated markedly in response to historical conditions. The 1970s and 1980s were relatively peaceful, as PNG transitioned from Australian administration into the early independence years. But local political frustrations combined with the introduction of guns led to high rates of violence in the highlands around the 1992 elections.

Since that decade, Papua New Guineas government services have been in constant decline. A new generation of Huli has emerged that is less educated than the generation of its parents Huli who were educated between the 1960s and 1980s are more literate and fluent in English than those who were of school age from the 1990s onwards. Health has deteriorated with a decline in health services and the introduction of store-bought processed food. By the late 2000s, when the PNG government was promoting the PNG LNG project as a looming economic miracle for the country, the Huli population was desperate for a project that they believed would raise them from the state of poverty and neglect that had gradually descended upon them since independence.

During the first few years of the PNG LNG projects construction, it looked as if all its grand promises were being fulfilled. ExxonMobil and its partners invested US$19 billion a staggering amount for a country whose GDP was a little over US$8 billion in 2009 (just before construction began). Cash was everywhere in the projects area, and this cash was accompanied by plentiful....


The US energy renaissance happening now "IndyWatch Feed"

The mainstream headlines are still screaming about a trade war happening now, but you wouldnt know it going off the statistics from the Panama Canal.

The Wall Street Journal reports that US shipments of LNG and petroleum are booming as American tankers cut through the Americas on their way to Asia.

Japan, China and South Korea are huge and hungry markets for clean burning gas. This looks very bullish for the US, and for the world in general.

Were still in the early days of an American energy renaissance that will export cheap energy all over the world. LNG shipments through the Canal could hit 12 million metric tonnes by the end of this year. Thats come from nothing in 2015.

Its no wonder, when you look at whats happening with US natural gas production. First came the shale gas fracking companies. Now the oil guys are producing so much gas as a byproduct of their oil wells that its generating a massive surplus far beyond what America needs domestically.

Natural gas prices were over US$10 after 2008 and stayed above at least US$4 until 2012. Today, the price is around US$3. This low-cost energy is a massive advantage for US manufacturers and domestic companies.

Its probably part of the reason the US small cap index is also booming. These companies generally service the American domestic market. And the best measure of US small caps the Russell 2000 index keeps pushing into all-time new highs.

And why do you care? Well, its a very good sign the US economy is healthy and that the overall bull market in US stocks can keep going. This sets a strong lead for the Australian market to follow.

My colleague Steve Sjuggerud likes to say that bull markets dont die of old agebut they do pass on from ill health. A booming small cap sector is one of the vital signs he watches to measure how the equity market measures up. Things are looking good here.

Todays edition of The Australian cites an investment analyst who suggests there could be a rotation into smaller US companies as investors shift out of the big tech stocks.

Maybe. More of my interest was around his research trip to the US and his comment that wage pressure is building in the US economy, and just how strong the US consumer is looking right now.

This keeps bolstering my case that commodities are the asset class to watch from here. Theres just so much construction and demand happening all over the world, and supply is crimped.

It wont be a smooth ride, however. Gold and oil slipped last week as the trade war fears keep rolling around the world. But its notable that the US stock market didnt sell off in a major way. You might recall that the US market fell sharply in February when the trade...


Yemeni Forces Destroy Saudi-backed Troops, Capture French Vessel [VIDEO] "IndyWatch Feed"

Sanaa (GPA) Despite western media claims about coalition success, Yemeni resistance forces continue repelling advances in Hodeidah. In fact, resistance forces have destroyed dozens of coalition vehicles, cut off their supply routes, and captured a French vessel.

Ansarullah (aka. the Houthis), Yemens Army and Popular Committees, and allied groups have spent the last three years preparing for this very battle. These Yemeni forces are currently fending off Saudi, Sudanese, and Emirati troops, Saudi and Emirati paid mercenaries, Black Water (Academi) mercenaries from Australia, Colombia, and other countries, Emirati-backed Southern separatists, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other troops allied with the Saudi coalition. The United States and France have both sent special forces and naval support to Yemen on Saudi Arabias behalf.


The United States, Canada, most of Europe, Egypt, Bahrain, and a slew of other countries provide military or diplomatic support to the Saudi coalition against Yemen.

Despite these efforts, Yemens Army and Popular Committees have successfully repelled many advances in the coalitions attempts to take the important port city of Hodeidah. Saudi-friendly mainstream outlets like BBC initially reported that the coalition had captured the strategic Hodeidah airport. This appears false, however...

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Sunday, 17 June


Is the Budget built on a bed of lies? "IndyWatch Feed"

Truth table

Being variously occupied with other things, this year's Australian Budget came and went with nary a comment from me (except briefly in passing here). 

A Budget effectively in balance is forecast for 2019-20, and a solid surplus of $11.5 billion or 0.5 per cent of GDP is now forecast for 2020-21. 

The 2017-18 underlying cash balance was the strongest since the financial crisis, and so too was the estimate for 2018-19.

Rose-tinted outlook?

It's apparently become something of a tradition to lambast the Treasurer for the Budget forecasts.

In fact, last year it was variously claimed that the Budget was built on a bed of lies, in part because of the apparently optimistic iron ore price projections.

This year's main point of contention is wages growth being forecast to rise to 3 per cent by 2020-21.

Looking at the latest wages numbers you'd have to agree that this is an optimisti...

Saturday, 16 June


Another week in nuclear news Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

Its getting hard for comedians, to compete as far as international relations go, with real life becoming more ridiculous. Politicians in Norway and USA are recommending Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. All sorts of reactions to the much vaunted Nuclear Summit between Trump and Kim. My own favourite was Trumps own proud boast about not preparing for the summit he makes decisions by touch and feel.

Accelerating Sea Level Rise is Being Driven by Rapidly Increasing Melt From Greenland and Antarctica.  Leaked UN draft report world is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming.


Donald Trump alienates Americas allies, raising the question Should Australia get its own nuclear weapon?


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