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Friday, 22 September

03:43

The Elites Are Privately Warning about a Crash "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Many everyday citizens assume powerful global financial elites operate behind closed doors in secret conclaves, like the scene of a Spectre board meeting in the recent James Bond film.

Actually, the opposite is true. Most of what the power elite does is hidden in plain sight in speeches, seminars, webcasts and technical papers. These are readily available from institutional websites and media channels.

Its true that private meetings occur on the sidelines of Davos, the IMF annual meeting, and G-20 summits of the kind just concluded. But the results of even those secret meetings are typically announced or leaked, or can be reasonably inferred based on subsequent policy coordination.

What the elites rely on is not secrecy but lack of proficiency by the media.

The elites communicate in an intentionally boring style with lots of technical jargon, and publish in channels non-experts have never heard of and are unlikely to find. In effect, the elites are communicating with each other in their own language and hoping that no one else notices.

Still, there are some exceptions. Mohamed A. El-Erian is a bona fide member of the global power elite (a former deputy director of the IMF and president of the Harvard Management Co.). Yet he writes in a fairly accessible style on the popular Bloomberg website. When El-Erian talks, we should all listen.

In a recent article, he raises serious doubts about the sustainability of the bull market in stocks because of reduced liquidity resulting from simultaneous policy tightening by the Fed, European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England.

He says stocks rose on a sea of liquidity and they may crash when that liquidity is removed. This is a warning to other elites, but its also a warning to you.

But its not just El-Erian whos sounding the alarm

Youve heard the expression the big money. This is a reference to the largest and most plugged-in investors on Earth. Some are mega-rich individuals, and some are large banks and institutional investors with a dense network of contacts and inside information.

When it comes to big money, sovereign wealth funds are at the top of the food chain. These are funds sponsored by mostly wealthy nations to invest a countrys reserves from trade or natural resources in stocks, bonds, private equity and hedge funds.

As a result, sovereign wealth fund managers have the best information networks of any investors. The chief investment officer of a sovereign wealth fund can pick up the phone and speak to the CEO of any major corporation, private equity fund or hedge fund in the world.

Among sovereign wealth funds, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC) is one of the largest, with over $354 bi...

00:52

Australia follows nuclear weapons powers in boycotting UN treaty outlawing nuclear weapons "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Australia joins boycott of UN treaty outlawing nuclear weapons
9 News,  Sep 21, 2017 Australia has joined a boycott of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons amid tensions over North Koreas nuclear and missile tests.Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joined representatives from the US, Britain, France and others who were absent from the event at the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders overnight.

A total of 51 countries lined up to sign the new treaty.

 The treaty was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations in July following negotiations led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand.

None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel took part in the negotiations.

There remain some fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in existence. We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our childrens future, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said as he opened the treaty for signing.

NATO condemned the treaty, saying that...

00:50

At United Nations, dozens of countries signing up to the nuclear weapons ban treaty "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

50 signatories ink U.N. nuclear ban treaty opposed by major powers https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/21/world/50-nations-ink-u-n-nuclear-ban-treaty-opposed-major-powers/#.WcQszPMjHGg AP, KYODO, JIJI, 21 SEPT 17, AP, KYODO, JIJI  Dozens of countries on Wednesday signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact that the worlds nuclear powers spurned but supporters hailed as a historic agreement nonetheless.

You are the states that are showing moral leadership in a world that desperately needs such moral leadership today, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said as a signing ceremony began.

 Before the day was out, 50 signatories as different as Indonesia and Ireland had put their names to the treaty; others can sign later if they like. Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican also have already ratified the treaty, which needs 50 ratifications to take effect among the nations that back it.

They would be barred from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

Seven decades after the United States dropped two a...

00:48

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says there is no economic case for nuclear power "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

No commercial demand for nuclear power: PM http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/no-commercial-demand-for-nuclear-power-pm/news-story/fda3ef8ef990ebe9899cc8f31a605845

The prime minister says with electricity demand flat and even falling in Australia, he doesnt see there being a commercial demand for expensive nuclear power. Roje Adaimy, 21 Sept 17, Malcolm Turnbull doesnt see there being the commercial demand for nuclear power in Australia to warrant pushing its development.

The prime minister says that while the country has among the biggest uranium reserves in the world, building nuclear power stations takes a very long time.

China has a number of plants under construction but there is no cookie cutter design to help efficiently roll out the technology.

There also needed to be bipartisanship, which right now is not even remotely there, he told a politics in the pub event on Queenslands Sunshine Coast.

The projects take so long to build that they would be very likely to span the lifetime of several governments, Mr Turnbull said on Thursday night. Theyre all bespoke, so it takes a very long time to construct them and very expensive.

On top of that, demand for electricity in Australia was flat or declining. I dont see there being the commercial dema...

00:46

Best selling author Junko Morimoto called on Turnbull to sign nuclear weapons ban treaty "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Junko Morimoto, author of My Hiroshima, urged Malcolm Turnbull to sign nuclear weapons ban treaty, ABC, By political reporter Anna Henderson, 21 Sept 17,  Best-selling childrens author and Hiroshima bombing survivor Junko Morimoto urged the Australian Prime Minister to sign a treaty banning nuclear weapons before her death.

Key points:

  • Junko Morimoto wrote an eye-witness account of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima
  • Morimoto urged Malcolm Turnbull to sign and ratify the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
  • The author died on Thursday morning

Morimoto was the author of My Hiroshima, her eye-witness account of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, when she was a teenager.

Junko Morimoto: Remembering Hiroshima

Morimoto was in her 80s when she died on Thursday morning.

Last month Ms Morimoto sent a letter to Malcolm Turnbull calling on his Government to sign and ratify the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

When I was 13 years old, I survived hell on earth, the letter said.

Our home collapsed around us but my brother, sister, father and I managed to crawl out of the rubble and survive the horrifying days and months that followed.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-21/junko-morimoto-urged-turnbull-to-sign-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty/8969046


00:44

South Korea and Japan alarmed at Donald Trumps bellicose speech at UN "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Jitters and surprise in South Korea and Japan over Trumps speech to the U.N  WP 20 September 17   The United States closest allies in Asia seemed blindsided by President Trumps latest outburst against North Korea, in which he threatened not just to act against Kim Jong Uns regime, but also to destroy an entire country of 25 million people.

In his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump derided Kim as Rocket Man and said the United States would totally destroy North Korea if needed to protect its allies.Those allies, Jap...

00:42

Australians won over by cheapness and reliability of solar batteries, poll shows "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Solar Batteries: Australians see energy storage as the future, poll finds, ABC By consumer affairs reporter Sarah Farnsworth and the National Reporting Teams Rebecca Armitage, 22 Sept 17, As power prices continue to surge, Australians believe household solar storage batteries are the key to cheaper and more reliable energy, according to a new poll of 2,000 households.

Key points:

  • A survey found almost three-quarters of people believe solar batteries will become commonplace
  • 68 per cent of households with solar panels are considering purchasing a battery
  • The price of storage batteries in the first half of 2017 only dropped by 5 per cent

The Climate Council found nearly three-quarters of those surveyed believe batteries, coupled with solar systems, would become commonplace within 10 years.

Of those who already had solar systems, 68 per cent were considering adding a household storage battery.

Most said the primary motivation for buying a solar battery was to reduce power bills.

Only 6 per cent believed consumers were driven by the need to protect their homes from blackouts.

...

00:40

Abbot Point spill further proof Adani cant be trusted on coal, green groups say "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Pollution of wetlands adjacent to Adanis main coal export port in Queensland is proof the Indian-owned company cant be trusted to operate a much larger operation should the Galilee Basin ever be opened up to mines, environmental groups said.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/abbot-point-spill-further-proof-adani-cant-be-trusted-on-coal-green-groups-say-20170920-gyl2dp.html


00:38

In Southern Australia, winters are becoming drier "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Australias southern winters are drying out. Heres why, ABC 20 Sept 17 ,By Ben Deacon and Kate Doyle Winter rains are in decline across southern Australia, and while it is too early to say beyond doubt it is due to climate change, scientists say it is not just about climate variability.

Key points:

  • This winter was particularly dry given there was no El Nino event
  • Winters in Australias south are drying out, affecting farmers
  • Scientists say it is not just due to climate variability

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, June was the driest on record for large parts of southern Australia, and the winter as a whole across Australia was the ninth driest on record.

Its actually quite unusual for us to get such a widespread dry through the winter without having an El Nino, Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Blair Trewin said.

El Nino often brings dry conditions to Australia, but this year it is in neutral.

Its almost more about what hasnt been happening, Dr Trewin said.

Normally in winter, storms come up from the southern Indian Ocean and clip the bottom of Western Australia, delivering rain to the south of the country.

But until mid-July, the storms largely missed the continent. Rainfall continues to decline in southern Australia. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, May to July rainfall has reduced by about 19 per cent since 1970 in the south-west of Australia.
There has been a decline of about 11 per cent since the mid-1990s in the AprilOctober growing season rainfall in the continental south-east.

CSIRO Agriculture and Food senior principal research scientist Zvi Hochman said winter rain in Australias southern wheatbelt had declined by a whopping 28 per cent since 1990.

...

00:35

Australias Dubious Role in Syria: an Ongoing Saga "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets refuelling from a KC-30A en route to the Middle East (adapted photo SBS, AAP)

by James ONeill*

In August 2015 the government of then Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with Julie Bishop as Foreign Minister announced that they were considering Australia having a role as part of the US coalition engaged in the war in Syria. They said that no decision would be made until they had received legal advice as to whether or not Australias intervention would be legally possible.

What Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop failed to disclose was that the government had solicited an invitation from the Americans to participate in the Syrian war. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the government had pushed for Washington to request that Australia expand its air strikes against Islamic State from Iraq into Syria.

Exactly what form that push had taken has not been disclosed, either to Parliament or elsewhere.  Similar...

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Thursday, 21 September

23:36

Why Australia Should Sign The UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Now "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

It will help stigmatise nuclear weapons and change mindsets about retaining them, but our Government doesnt support it.

 21/09/2017 Melissa ParkeFormer Member of Parliament for Fremantle and ICAN Ambassador ...

23:34

22 September More REneweconomy news "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

REneweconomy
  • Solar sedan and sports coupe in race across Australia and to commercial market
    A UNSW-built solar sedan is taking on a Brisbane-built solar sports coupe in a race across Australia and to drive as registered vehicles on Australian roads.

22:39

Nuclear Fuel Retrieval Delayed "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Screenshot from 2017-09-20 22-26-54.pngA step in the decommissioning of Japans crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could be delayed by 3 years.

Japans government and the plant operator say they need more time before they remove spent nuclear fuel rods in 2 of the reactors. The rods are in storage pools and now wont be removed until fiscal 2023. They say they first need to remove rubble and radioactive substances.

The plan to remove molten fuel debris has not changed. This step is considered the biggest hurdle to decommissioning the plant.

The plant went into triple meltdown following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Its expected to take 40 years to scrap the plant.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/nhknewsline/nuclearwatch/nuclearfuelretrievaldelayed/

View original post


22:37

Stand in solidarity: Defend the human rights of Fukushima survivors "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Solidarity.jpg

Disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima remind the world how dangerous nuclear power is. But right now, the nuclear industry is trying to downplay the risks of a nuclear disaster. In Fukushima radiation exposure is still a very real threat despite failed decontamination.

The Japanese government is set to lift evacuation orders in heavily contaminated areas around Fukushima. It will cut compensation and housing support to survivors, who are still struggling six years later.

Their basic rights to health, housing, and environment are being violated. The government is desperately trying to minimize the disaster at the expense of survivors in an attempt to revive the dying nuclear industry and suffocate other cleaner energy sources. We must say no!

Sign now to demand the government provides fair compensation, housing support, and is fully transparent about the radiation risks.

Well deliver your signature to the Prime Minister so he hears the global wave

View original post 5 more words


22:36

Cooling systems at five NRA-cleared nuke plants could fail if nearby volcanoes erupt "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

n-reactors-g-20170920.jpg

Five nuclear power plants that have passed safety clearances may be at risk of having their cooling systems crippled during huge eruptions of nearby volcanoes, the nations nuclear safety watchdog said Monday.

The five plants are Kyushu Electric Power Co.s Sendai and Genkai plants in Kagoshima and Saga prefectures, respectively, the Mihama and Oi plants, both in Fukui Prefecture and run by Kansai Electric Power Co., and the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture run by Shikoku Electric Power Co.

Additional research and data have revealed that the possible concentration of volcanic ash from huge eruptions could soar up to around 100 times that previously estimated. The findings emerged only after screenings of the plants by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

According to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, the concentration of volcanic ash that would be spewed could exceed the limit of the plants air filters.

In the event

View original post 300 more words


...

22:35

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF HELPING AUSTRALIA STAY NUCLEAR FREE "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

WA Nuclear Free Alliance

Members from the Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) have returned home this week from a weekend in Adelaide on Kaurna country for the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance annual conference to debrief and strategise for the struggles ahead.
At the core of Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) are Aboriginal people living with nuclear projects on their lands, including uranium mines and the toxic legacy of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and others trying to stop new uranium mines or nuclear waste dumps being imposed on their country.
This year marked the 20th annual conference; reflecting on the (many) wins of the past, the continued impact of nuclear projects past and present, and strategising on the future directions of the movement.
WANFA has come back from Adelaide, stronger, keener and more connected to continue fighting proposed uranium mines on their land.
We will take what we have learnt

View original post 104 more words


22:34

Never again to tyranny and dictatorship in the Philippines "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

 Contributed by Migrante Australia

Today (21 September 2017), we commemorate the 45th year of Martial Law declaration with a sense of dj vu with the transformation of President Duterte into a despotic ruler now almost complete.

So as a Dutertian dictatorship looms in the horizon and as tyranny rears its ugly head, those of us living and working abroad are called upon to stand together with our freedom-loving Filipino sisters and brothers to stop the dawning of another long and dark era of more unprecedented killings, massive destruction of our resources and unimaginable human rights atrocities. We in Migrante Australia say enough is enough! We may be overseas but our families, our friends our communities are not spared by this cruel government. We cannot remain silent about the killings and oppression surrounding us!

The senseless killings of small-time drug users and pushers including innocent people to draw attention away from the big and powerful drug pushers and to give police extraordinary powers to kill must stop. We demand an end to extrajudicial killings and mass murder in the name of the Duterte regimes war on drugs and war on terror!

The indiscriminate aerial bombings, artillery fire and other destructive military operations that target civilian communities like Lumad and Moro communities, especially residences, schools, farms and commercial/business establishments must stop. We demand the military to pull out of communities and leave the people in peace!

The practice of filing trumped-up charges against activists and government critics, thus accumulating political prisoners must end. We call for the release of all political prisoners!

 The undermining and pressure put unto the very institutions that exist as a check and balance to his powerful office, including the Supreme Court, Congress, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Human Rights must be reined in. We demand respect for these institutions, that they be allowed the unbridled execution of their tasks to the nation.

The constant flogging of the mass media for its critical reports of his administrations unfavourable policies and pronouncements must stop. The Filipino people deserve an honest media. We demand respect for the media!

The nonchalance with which he treats the sanctity of upholding the human rights of the people is totally unacceptable. We demand a stop to goading the police, military and paramilitary groups to violate human rights as we demand a stop to inciting state security forces to commit willful violence against the people while assuring them of protection from investigation, prosecution and punishment.

Let us break the silence, fear and acquiescence that have afflicted man...

14:00

Welcome to Australia where its always warmer somewhere! "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

(and other nonsense from Australias Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne and The Conversation). Dr. Bill Johnston[1] Main points. Australias Bureau of Meteorology and climate scientists at the University of Melbourne should know that nowhere on planet-earth could rainfall be less than none! The Bureaus latest Seasonal Summary (winter 2017) spuriously claims rainfall is

03:58

Strong and deep M6.4 earthquake hits Vanuatu "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

A strong and deep earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.4 hit Vanuatu at 20:09 UTC on September 20, 2017. The agency is reporting a depth of 200.2 km (125 miles). Geoscience Australia is reporting M6.3 at a depth of 204 km (126 miles). According to the USGS, the...... Read more

Historical nautical maps show coral loss more extensive than previously believed "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

A team of researchers based in Australia and the United States have used historical nautical maps to determine that coral reef loss in the Florida Keys is much more extensive than previously understood. The British empire began mapping its overseas territories in the 18th century, and coral reefs in particular were quite thoroughly documented given the danger they posed to wooden-hulled ships. In the process, these imperial cartographers unwittingly provided a source of high-resolution spatial data on coastal areas that, as it turns out, can still be useful today in establishing historical baselines for the extent of coral reefs and assessing changes to those reef systems over the ensuing centuries. The degree of biologically relevant information recorded varied by cartographer, but the best of these British maps describes the depth, shape, and color of shallow-water corals and distinguishes them from other hard structures such as rocks, the authors of a study published in the journal Science Advances earlier this month wrote. The researchers used nautical charts dating from the 1770s to help quantify changes in the coral reefs of the Florida Keys over the past 240 years. The maps were essential to expansion of the British Empire, and luckily for us, they also included a lot of useful ecological information, according to Benjamin Neal, a postdoctoral researcher at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine and a co-author of the study. Loren McClenachan, a professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine who led the study, said that,

01:51

Media reforms to benefit major players "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Rupert Murdoch is increasing his political-influence footprint in Australian. Photo supplied.

Rupert Murdoch is increasing his political-influence footprint in Australian. Photo supplied.

Veteran journalist Alex Mitchell has condemned the Turnbull governments new media legislation, saying it represented a sweeping victory for the major media owners.

Mitchell will be appearing at the September 27 Politics in the Pub event at the Mullum Court House with Walkley award winner Chris Graham, editor of New Matilda.

They will discuss the establishment and the role of the media.

Mitchell told The Echo, The big players have been given the ability to concentrate their ownership of newspapers, television and radio in the major metropolitan markets.

They have been lobbying for a multimedia monopoly for two decades and the Turnbull coalition has given it to them.

There will be scramble for major media assets in the next six months and I predict we will see single private owners controlling major media in our capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.

Fewer voices

When media plurality is diminished, and we have few voices, then it is clear that the rich and powerful steal an advantage, and accountability and transparency suffers.

Mitchell was scathingly critical of the concessions to Senate crossbenchers Nick Xenophon and Pauline Hanson. Spin doctors from the coalition and the major media are working overtime to convince people that the new legislation is fair and reasonable when in fact it strengthens private monopoly control.

The $60 million fund to support small publishers is loose change when compared to the billions of dollars that the private investors and hedge funds will make from concentrating media assets and future profits.

Good luck to the small publishers who apply for a Xenophon grant, but I bet most of them will be allocated to loyal proprietors in National Party territory.

As for the official inquiry into....

01:39

'Brains' of the plant world: Tree roots can probe hundreds of feet deep in search of water "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Searching for water, some tree roots probe hundreds of feet deep and many trees send roots through cracks in rocks, according to a new study led by a Rutgers University-New Brunswick professor. Moreover, the depth of plant roots, which varies between species and soil conditions, will play a key role in plants' adaptation to climate change, said Ying Fan Reinfelder, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Department of Environmental Sciences. "Charles Darwin once wrote, in effect, that the tips of plant roots are like the brains of plants," Reinfelder said. "Roots sense the environment. They sense the water, where there's more nutrients, and they go for these resources. Roots are the smartest part of the plant." Reinfelder and colleagues published their findings online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study demonstrated the relationship between plant roots and water availability. It shows, through observations and modeling, that soil hydrology is the key force driving local and global patterns of root depths.

Wednesday, 20 September

23:55

Major Bank to Governments: Go on, Give us your Carbon Tax Money "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Guest essay by Eric Worrall Banks have become remarkably coy about demanding carbon tax cash, in return for support for climate investment, but at least one major bank wanted to make sure readers got the hint. Banking on climate change 19 Sep 2017 Andrew Cornell Leaving aside that the energy debate in Australia is almost

23:04

Madrid raids Catalan government to stop independence referendum "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Joe Montero

In the lead up to the intended 1 October independence from Spain referendum  in Catalonia, police have raided the Catalan governments offices of the departments for Economic Affairs, Foreign Relations and the Presidency and arrested officials, including the junior economy minister, Josep Maria Jove.

The day before, a trove of documents were confiscated from the private delivery company Unipost in the Catalan city of Terrasa.

This followed last Fridays announcement by the Conservative Mariano Rahoy government in Madrid that it was taking over control of the Catalan governments finances, a move designed to hinder the carrying out of the referendum. It has also taken over the payment of public sector workers, effectively making them employees of the central government.

The Catalan government will lose funds to provide for such things as healthcare, education and public infrastructure.

In addition, the banks have been instructed to control all movements of cash in the accounts and credit cards of all Catalan leaders.

The pro-independence parties won the 2015 regional election and were able to form a coalition government between them, with 72 seats in the 135-seat parliament.

This government has accused Madrid of a totalitarian attitude and unlawful arrests and is challenging its actions in Spains Supreme Court, although the court has already announced that it would not intervene until it had made a ruling.

Catalonias pro-separatist government challenged Madrids actions in Spains Supreme Court, but a court spokeswoman said it was in force and would not be suspended while judges rule on its legality.

Despite the barriers set up, the Catalan government remains defiant and determined to press ahead with the referendum. At least 70 percent of the 7.5 million people living in Catalonia behind this.

For Madrid, the move looks like desperation and it will have repercussions, not only in Catalonia, but in the other regions also seeking their independence. It will also impact across a Spain, where much of the population has turned away from the traditional political parties and politicians and demand a new course for the country.

 

The post Madrid raids Catalan government to stop independence referendum appeared first on The Pen.

20:03

The Demise of Civic Journalism: The Xenophon-Turnbull Deal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

It was never spectacular, but the Australian media scape is set to become duller, more contained, and more controlled with changes to the Broadcasting Services Act.  In an environment strewn with the corpses of papers and outlets strapped for cash, calls for reforming the media market have been heard across the spectrum.

The foggy deception being perpetrated by the Turnbull government, assisted by the calculating antics of South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, is that diversity will be shored up by such measures as the $60 million innovation fund for small publishers while scrapping the so-called two-out-of-three rule for TV, radio and press ownership. Such dissembling language is straight out of the spin doctors covert manual: place innovation in the title, and you might get across the message.

As Chris Graham of New Matilda scornfully put it, The Turnbull government is going to spend $60 million of your taxes buying a Senators vote to pass bad legislation designed to advantage some of the most powerful media corporations in the world.

Paul Budde of Independent Australia was similarly excoriating. To increase power of the incumbent players through media reforms might not necessarily have an enormous effect on the everyday media diversity, but it will allow organisations such as the Murdoch press to wield even greater power over Australian politics than is already the case.

As the statement from Senator Xenophons site reads, Grants would be allocated, for example, to programs and initiatives such as the purchasing or upgrading of equipment and software, development of apps, business activities to drive revenue and readership, and training, all of which will assist in extending civic and regional journalism. The communications minister Mitch Fifield went so far as to deem the fund a shot in the arm for media organisations, granting them a fighting chance.

The aim here, claims the good senator, is to throw down the gauntlet to the revenue pinchers such as Facebook and Google while generating a decent number of recruits through journalism cadet-ships.  Google, claimed Xenophon in August, are hoovering up billions of dollars or revenue along with Facebook and that is killing media in this country....

16:20

AUDIO TRIBUTE: Remembering Syrian Victims of U.S. Coalition Massacre at Deir Ezzor "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

On September 17, 2016, the US-led Coalition launched a brutal sneak attack which slaughtered some 80 plus Syrian soldiers on the ground who were fighting ISIS near the city of Deir Ezzor.

In one of the biggest diplomatic failures of all-time, a cowardly US US Secretary of State John Kerry rendered no explanation as to the sustained attack by US and Australian aircraft. However, the motive was clear: as it turns out, the US strike helped ISIS advance against the Syrian Army and hold territory for the next 12 months, until the terrorist cohort was finally dislodged by Syria and Russia last week. According Syrian and Russian officials reporting at the time, Straight after the coalitions strikes, IS militants launched an offensive, adding that fierce fighting against the terrorists ensued nearby.

If these strikes were due to an error in the target coordinates, that would be a direct consequence of the US refusal to coordinate with Russia its fight against the terrorist groups in Syria, said the Russian military at the time.

Listen to this moving audio tribute which was broadcast LIVE during Episode #202 of the SUNDAY WIRE radio show. This memorable clip includes testimonials from Syrians as well supporters of note from Lebanon, Europe and Australia:

.
SUPPORT 21WIRE  SUBSCRIBE & BECOME A MEMBER @ 21WIRE.TV

SEE MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

11:17

Australia: stop being blindly aligned with nuclear weapons nations: sign the treaty! "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Tomorrow The World Is Going To Try And Ban Nuclear Weapons. Australia Wants To Keep Them. New Matilda, By Rewena Mahesh on September 19, 2017 A global push to save the world from a nuclear armageddon has the backing of more than 120 nations. Australia isnt one of them. Rewena Mahesh explains.

On July 7, a global treaty was adopted at the UN General Assembly to prohibit nuclear weapons. This treaty now sets precedence for a powerful norm that will change the course of history by helping promote disarmament and preventing further proliferation.

This treaty closes a large international law gap, by prohibiting states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons once ratified by 50 states.

That will happen tomorrow, on the 20th of September.

Despite an overwhelming 122 countries endorsing the treaty, strongly and actively supported by hundreds of civic society organizations including the World Medical Association, Medical Association for Prevention of War, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, nine member countries that possess nuclear weapons and most NATO allies boycotted the agreement.

Shamefully, one of those countries absent from negotiations and which played a role in boycotting the treaty is Australia. We fall under the nuclear protection of the USA.

While Australia, possesses no nuclear weapons, it is a major producer and supplier of uranium used in the production of nuclear arsenals for the US and British military and most recently Russia, China and India.

Australia has had a long history with nuclear testing, hosting the British in the 1950s and 60s to conduct 12 major nuclear tests which dispersed radiation across much of the continent. In particular site workers and Aboriginal communities nearby have been suffering the consequences of radiation, seen in high rates of cancer with very little compensation, and a lack of capacity to use traditional land due to contamination.

As a result of Australia hosting the US military and intelligence facilities, such as Pine Gap near Alice Springs, we are offered protection in the face of a nuclear threat, under the extended nuclear deterrence, and thus consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate, useful and necessary despite their devastating and catastrophic effects..

Given the current volatile...

11:13

Nuclear lobby bringing top USA nuclear spruiker Michael Shellenberger to Australia "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Michael Shellenberger  will visit Australia in November to promote a rethink on nuclear at a minerals industry conference.

A radioactive wolf in green clothing: Dissecting the latest pro-nuclear spin https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/a-radioactive-wolf-in-green-clothing-dissecting-the-latest-pro-nuclear-spin,10735

 Noel Wauchope 20 September 2017,  Michael Shellenberger is a nuclear salesman posing as a new generation environmentalist with unsubstantiated energy solutions, writes Noel Wauchope.

LAST WEEK, The Australian excelled itself in uncritically regurgitating nuclear lobby propaganda in the...

11:11

An Australian to be proud of Dr Tilman Ruff "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Whats your alternative? CommonSpace talks to anti-nuclear expert Dr Tilman Ruff Ahead of the UN signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, CommonSpace discusses disarmament with Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Dr Tilman Ruff

THE TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS was passed by the United Nations in July after being voted for by 122 countries, making it the first legally-binding international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

This historic development came about amid heavy opposition from the nuclear-armed states and rising tensions between the United States of America and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, who have warned that recent sanctions will only accelerate the North Korean nuclear programme.

On 20 September, the ban treaty will be open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Once the treaty is ratified by at least 50 countries, it should come into force within 90 days.

One among many of the anti-nuclear activists who brought the treaty to this point was Dr Tilman Ruff, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which collectively received a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts towards disarmament in 1985, and founding member of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Following his...

11:09

Rural South Australia could end up with the curse of stranded nuclear wastes "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Robyn Wood, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 19 Sept 17

Greg of FLAG has a letter to the editor in todays Advertiser for those who can get around the paywall

On the charge

HEA...

11:08

Nominations sought for Kimba Consultative Committee on National Radioactive Waste Dump "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Details on how to apply are at www.radioactivewaste.gov.au.         Media Contact: 0438 619 987

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility:
Nominations sought for Kimba Consultative Committee

Nominations have opened for the Kimba Consultative Committee. The Committee will give the community the opportunity to have their say about a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The formation of the Kimba Consultative Committee is an important next step in the Phase Two consultation and technical assessment process, which is now underway in the Kimba area.

Most of Australias current and future waste stream is linked to the production of nuclear medicines that, on average, one in two Australians will need in their lifetime.

The waste is stored in more than 100 locations around the country, and after landowners volunteered two sites and the community was found to be supportive, Kimba is being considered as the location for the facility where that waste will be consolidated and managed. Barndioota is the other site currently under consideration.

The Committee will ideally be made up of community members with a variety of views on the project, and include business owners, direct neighbours, local government and other stakeholders.

It...

11:07

Trumps first United Nations appearance was not well received "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Trumps First U.N. Appearance Was a Clunker, Slate, 19 Sept 17  But why is the United Nations so worried about bureaucracy at a time like this? By Fred Kaplan  President Trump got off to an underwhelming start at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday morning. He sat on a panel flanked by various diplomats, including Ambassador Nikki Haley, who introduced him before he delivered some brief remarks, and it would be charitable to describe the welcoming applause as light.

Then came the clunker. Haley had told the assembled that the new American president sees tremendous potential in the U.N.a cold enough slap at an organization thats been around for 72 years and, for all its flaws, has accomplished quite a bit. But Trump followed that dig with a face-splash of ice water, saying that the real potential he saw was right across the streeta reference to one of his East Side real-estate projectsand noted that the U.N.s presence was what gave it such potential.

ts so typical of Trump to view the rest of the world, even the official assembly of the worlds leaders, as a footnote to the saga of his own wealth.

Trumps remarks, which he read from notes, were brief and inc...

11:06

Australia VERY QUIETLY signs up to help develop new nuclear reactors "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

How is it that Dr Adi Paterson of ANSTO signed up to this, in advance of Parliamentary approval, and that the whole thing can be done without any proper public consultation? Australian tax-payers are now to be supporting the development of these new dreams of nuclear power  advanced nuclear reactors that exist now only as blueprints, and will be expensive, require government funding, and will not be commercially operational for many decades, if ever.
Surely it is time for a thorough inquiry into ANSTOs funding and finances. The New Generation nuclear reactors are controversial, to say the least. They are in fact, part of the global nuclear lobbys push to save itself  its future being threatened by its dire economics, and by its connection to the nuclear weapons industry.
The Australian media is regularly used to promote ANSTOs nuclear reactor as having as its purpose medical research  and medical isotopes saving lives despite the fact that non nuclear production of these isotopes can be, and is, being done.  The reality is that ANSTO is part of the global nuclear...

11:05

BHP supports climate change action is at odds with Minerals Council "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

But dont lets forget that BHP is a big member of the nuclear industry   which claims (incorrectly), that nuclear power is  clean energy, and the solution to climate change

 

BHP considering Minerals Council exit over lobby groups climate policies

Key points:

  • BHP under pressure to quit lobby groups that dont support clean energy target
  • Activist group backed by big investors including ANZ, AMP, Australian Super, Blackrock
  • Board considering move before next months AGM

BHP announced it would review its membership of all industry associations, and publish the findings, by the end of this year.

The review comes hot on the tail of a demand by activist shareholders that the miner sever ties with the council, which successfully advocated for the abolition of the carbon price and is currently lobbying the Federal Government to reject a clean energy target.

We are aware that some civil society and other organisations believe that, where an industry body advocates for a position which does not align with our own, we should cease to be a member of that in...

11:03

Most Britons would not be happy living near mini nuclear power stations "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Guardian 18th Sept 2017 Most Britons would not be happy living near the mini nuclear power stations that Rolls-Royce and several other international companies want to build in the UK, a survey has found.

The government has promised the developers of small modular reactors a slice of a 250m funding pot in a race to position the UK as the place where the first generation of the power stations should be built.

Polling by YouGov, however, believed to be the first survey of public attitudes towards the plants, found that 62% of people would be unhappy living within five miles of one.

The poll, commissioned by the climate change charity 10:10, found that only 24% would be unhappy living near an onshore windfarm, which the Conservative party has stymied with tougher planning rules. The figure fell to 17% for community-owned windfarms.

Ellie Roberts, a campaigner at 10:10, said:
These results show just how wildly out of step with public opinion UK energy policy has become. Most small modular reactors (SMRs) would generate less than a tenth of the power the projected Hinkley Point C will provide, but are backed by industry as a cheaper option to big nuclear plants and an opportunity for British firms to be first in a new technology. Harry Holt, the president of nuclear at Rolls-Royce, said: With demand for energy set to rise in the near future, in part due to
the growing popularity of electric cars, we believe that a UK SMR programme is a vital addition to our national infrastructure....

11:02

Donald Trump at the UN threatens to totally destroy North Korea "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Donald Trump threatens to totally destroy North Korea in UN speech
President castigates a small group of rogue regimes
Iran nuclear deal an embarrassment to the United States, Guardian, 
Julian Borger 20 Sept 17, Donald Trump has threatened to totally destroy North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on righteous countries to confront them.

The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.

In an address heavy with echoes of George W Bushs Axis of Evil State of the Union address more than 15 years earlier, Trump said: The scourge of our planet today are a small group of rogue regimes.

If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph, the president said.

He first singled out North Korea, recounting its history of kidnapping, oppression, and missile and nuclear tests....

11:00

Fossil discovery in Indonesia reveals lost world of beasts "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

As recently as a few thousand years ago, the Indonesian island of Sumba was home to miniature elephants, giant rats and dragons, according to fossil discoveries reported in a scientific journal last month. The expedition marks the first discovery of a Komodo dragon fossil outside the islets off of Flores, an island east of Bali, prompting one scientist to wonder if the creatures might be reintroduced in Sumba. The report, published last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, described fossils of dwarf elephants (Stegodon florensis insularis), rodents as big as cats, and the worlds largest living lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the only one of the group that still exists. The island of Sumba in eastern Indonesia. Image by Gunkarta via Wikimedia Commons. Some of these species are estimated to have inhabited Sumba as recently as 12,000 years ago, according to the paper. The expedition took place in 2011 and 2014 when scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) collected fossils from several deposits on Sumba, part of a group of islands tucked between the continental shelves of Asia and Australia. The archipelago, known as Wallacea, was named in honor of the biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who first identified the borders of species distribution across the region in the 19th century. The region received global attention in 2004 when a group of archaeologists described fossils of an extinct tiny human, dubbed the hobbit, or Homo floresiensis, on Flores, just north of Sumba. The discovery of

10:10

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF HELPING AUSTRALIA STAY NUCLEAR FREE "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Members from the Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) have returned home this week from a weekend in Adelaide on Kaurna country for the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance annual conference to debrief and strategise for the struggles ahead.
At the core of Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) are Aboriginal people living with nuclear projects on their lands, including uranium mines and the toxic legacy of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and others trying to stop new uranium mines or nuclear waste dumps being imposed on their country.
This year marked the 20th annual conference; reflecting on the (many) wins of the past, the continued impact of nuclear projects past and present, and strategising on the future directions of the movement.
WANFA has come back from Adelaide, stronger, keener and more connected to continue fighting proposed uranium mines on their land.
We will take what we have learnt from ANFA back into our communities so we can keep WA uranium free.
We made a strong commitment over the weekend along with many other people from around this country to;
* recognise that everyone has the same issue when dealing with the nuclear industry and we are committed to supporting traditional owners and communities on country; and
* we are going to keep fighting against uranium mining at Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Mulga Rock until we get a permanent ban on mining uranium in Western Australia.
We have upcoming events organised so please keep in touch.
Call 0401 909 332 for more information.

...

09:27

Privatising universities places individual corporate interest above societys needs "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Joe Montero

Ross Gittens article (The Pen 19 September 2017) about the backdoor privatisation of Australian universities has prompted the following comments. To begin with, he is right to suggest that government defunding is causing university administrations to turn towards establishing special relationships with corporations and that this is compromising them as institutions of higher learning.

One can take issue with his favourable comments on the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (which puts students into long-term debt) and the growing shift towards recruiting overseas students. But they are secondary issues to the central one of defunding and turning universities over to corporations.

University education is often thought of as a means, to expand knowledge. After all, individuals attend to gain expertise and those who progress to academia, are supposed to contribute to the expansion of collective knowledge in their chosen field.

A more basic reason for universities to exist, is to train the next generation as the providers of specific forms of labour required by the economy. Australias economy is capitalist and this means, for the most part,  meeting the requirements of privately owned enterprises. From this direction, the push is for a quite narrow set of skills and applied knowledge that is specific to the demand of the corporate world.

To expand knowledge, universities must break new ground and stretch the field of theory, as well as pass knowledge to the new generation. They must go beyond immediate economic application and embrace a whole of society approach. Doing these things does not mesh well with the demands of the current market.

In theory and policy,  neoliberalism is driving the present changes. This comes from the corporate world and filters through government, seeing that whatever doesnt serve the bottom line of the corporate world is a waste of resources that must be eliminated as much as possible. This outlook is closely tied to the mantra of small government, which has become a cover to divert funds to raise corporate subsidies and other related expenses. Removing funds from universities is part of the package.

Neoliberalism is not a new idea. It is applied orthodox economics in times of relative economic downturn. At these times, the rate of return in investment is in decline, even if the absolute return isnt. It provides incentive for the corporations to socialise costs as much as possible. In every-day language this means to transfer costs to the rest of society.

The means to do this is to raid the public purse. Spending on government services goes down, alongside company tax and personal tax on the wealthiest. At the same time as corporate welfare in the forms of grants, contracts and privatisations and o...

07:00

Vacancies falter "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Resources recovery

August 2017 was a softer month for job vacancies on the Department of Employment's index.

The trend is now +6.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, and +23.8 per cent below the October 2013. low. 


Despite the weaker month, Queensland and Western Australia still experienced double digit growth from a year earlier, with a decent lift in Victoria. 


The annual figure was down in Tasmania, but that's as likely related to a surge in employment uptake based on other indicators.

The wrap

It's good to see that vacancies in Western Australia are now well off the lows of 2016, at about 12 per cent higher.

But nationally, this was a softer result. 

Perhaps this is an early indicator that the economy is set to underwhelm in 2018.

Westpac's Bill Evans, always worth following closely, sees no rate hikes in 2018 on this basis. 

...

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