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Sunday, 18 November

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Saturday, 17 November

10:16

Today #ExtinctionRebellion! #London calling "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

London, UK: Thousands of concerned citizens will today block Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges to raise the alarm on the climate and ecological crisis.

Originally published by Extinction Rebellion.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

  • Thousands of concerned citizens will today block Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges to raise the alarm on the climate and ecological crisis
  • An Extinction Assembly will feature six voices from six nations affected by climate breakdown including Raki Ap of Free West Papua Campaign, Rumana Hashem of Phulbari Solidarity Group (Bangladesh) as well as representatives from Ecuador, Kenya, Ghana and Mongolia
  • Speakers and musicians include the representative for Island States in the UN Farhana Yamin, Green Party politician Jenny Jones, academic and politician Rupert Read, Molly Scott Cato MEP, the One World Choir, female-fronted funk band Psychedelephant, Georgina Duncan, Greg Sanders Ensemble jazz band, reggae music from Pedro and the Simple Revolution, poet and singer Pete the Temp and musician Katherine Abbott, Hapi and the Lost Species, plus Tina Louise Rothery from the anti-fracking Lancashire Nanas
  • Protests planned around UK include from Cambridge and Glasgow to Sheffield and Totnes, plus large and small symbolic actions around the world in Washington DC and New York (US), Vancouver and Toronto (Canada), Cork, Galway and Dublin in Ireland, Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden plus Melbourne, Australia. 

Rebellion Day is here. We will take the London bridges, before we all fall down. 

Rebellion D...

09:11

Reporting on Extinction Rebellion in London 17th November "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

I will be in London on Saturday Nov 17th to film the Extinction Rebellion direct actions. The plans is to shut down London's 5 major bridges to force Government action on the climate. I will be reporting from one of these bridges.
Lambeth
Blackfriars
Waterloo
Westminster
Southwark

  • Thousands of concerned citizens will today block Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges to raise the alarm on the climate and ecological crisis
  • An Extinction Assembly will feature six voices from six nations affected by climate breakdown including Raki Ap of Free West Papua Campaign, Rumana Hashem of Phulbari Solidarity Group (Bangladesh) as well as representatives from Ecuador, Kenya, Ghana and Mongolia
  • Speakers and musicians include the representative for Island States in the UN Farhana Yamin, Green Party politician Jenny Jones, academic and politician Rupert Read, Molly Scott Cato MEP, the One World Choir, female-fronted funk band Psychedelephant, Georgina Duncan, Greg Sanders Ensemble jazz band, reggae music from Pedro and the Simple Revolution, poet and singer Pete the Temp and musician Katherine Abbott, Hapi and the Lost Species, plus Tina Louise Rothery from the anti-fracking Lancashire Nanas
  • Protests planned around UK include from Cambridge and Glasgow to Sheffield and Totnes, plus large and small symbolic actions around the world in Washington DC and New York (US), Vancouver and Toronto (Canada), Cork, Galway and Dublin in Ireland, Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden plus Melbourne, Australia. 
...

04:13

The spent nuclear fuel rods at Lucas Heights can only sensibly be treated as high level waste "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Steve Dale  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 17 Nov 18 , ANSTO like to say that Australia doesnt generate High Level Waste . The Emperors new clothes, the reactors spent fuel asset are similar fairy tales

The spent fuel rods at Lucas Heights can only sensibly be treated as high level waste. The pretence that spent fuel rods constitute an asset must stop from the Research Reactor Review, Future Reactions: Report of the Research Reactor Review, 1993
   ANSTO like to say that Australia doesnt generate High Level Waste . The Emperors new clothes, the reactors spent fuel asset are similar fairy tales

The spent fuel rods at Lucas Heights can only sensibly be treated as high level waste. The pretence that spent fuel rods constitute an asset must stop from the Research Reactor Review, Future Reacti...

04:12

Britains Sellafield nuclear reprocessing ends (but where will Australias toxic used fuel rods go?) "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Commercial nuclear reprocessing ends at Sellafield site , BBC 14 November 2018   Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from around the world has ended at Sellafield.

The last batch of waste has gone through its Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp), which opened in 1994.

It has generated an estimated 9bn by extracting new nuclear fuel from 9,000 tonnes of used rods from 30 customers in countries as far afield as Japan.

Thorp will operate until the 2070s as a storehouse for spent fuel as the site around it in Cumbria is cleaned up.

Sellafield Ltd said there would be no redundancies as a result of the closure, with all employees in roles no longer required offered alternative jobs in the business.

The decision to wind it down was taken in 2012, as a result of the majority of its customers opting to store rather than reprocess their fuel.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cumbria-46206495

03:51

Federal govt on nuclear waste dump: Minister has absolute discretion, dismisses Greens concerns "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The Ministers ability to exercise judgement to determine whether there is broad community support, based on the circumstances relevant to each nomination, is consistent with his absolute discretion under the Act.

The Government does not support the recommendations proposed in the dissenting statements by the Australian Greens or Centre Alliance

Federal governments response to the Senate Economic References Committee report into the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility.  Senate Thursday 15 November 2018  Economics References Committee

Government Response to Report

INTRODUCTION

The Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to respond to the findings and recommendations of the Senate Economic References Committee report into the site selection process for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (the Facility), and agrees to the Committees recommendations, either in full or in-principle.

The process undertaken by the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and the department, including seeking nominations and making a decision on a site, is consistent with the requirements set out in the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (the Act). In addition to those requirements the department engaged in a comprehensive community consultation process resulting in the communities being empowered to make an informed decision.

Consultation and...

03:50

IAEA sees Areas for Enhancement in Australias Nuclear and Radiation Safety "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

IAEA Mission Says Australia Committed to Strengthening Nuclear and Radiation Safety, Sees Areas for Enhancement, IAEA, 52/2018, Melbourne, Australia An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said Australia is committed to strengthening its regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety. The team also noted areas for further enhancements, including implementation of the framework in a more consistent manner across the country.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team on 16 November concluded a 12-day mission to Australia. The mission was conducted at the request of the Government of Australia and hosted by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Commonwealth Government regulator. Under Australias federal system of government, ARPANSA regulates Commonwealth entities and other entities are regulated within the six states and two territories. The majority of licenced activities in Australia are carried out within states and territories. This was the third IRRS mission to Australia since 2007 and the first to include all nine jurisdictions.

..The IRRS team commended the hosts for inviting a comprehensive review involving all jurisdictions in Australia, adding that it was the first such IRRS mission. The team identified this as a good practice and a model that other federal countries may want to consider when planning for future IRRS missions. Regarding the national framework, the team noted ongoing activities to address consistency in the countrys radiation safety programmes, but said further efforts were warranted in several areas

The team provided recommendations and suggestions for further enhancements, including:

  • All relevant authorities should consider formalizing the existing elements of the framework for safety into a comprehensive national policy and strategy for safety.
  • The Commonwealth Government should make a firm commitment and take actions with specific milestones to address decommissioning of facilities and radioactive waste management.
  • The Governments of all jurisdictions should ensure that all parties responsible for the safety of facilities and regulatory activities have the necessary capabilities and human resources to carry out their responsibilities.
  • ARPANSA should establish criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of licensees emergency exercises and assign roles and responsibilities for its staff during emergency sit...

03:48

Australia-UK agreement on nuclear co-operation and development after UK leaves European Union "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

This agreement allows the strong links between the UK and Australia in the civil nuclear sector to continue following the UKs withdrawal from Euratom and provides the basis for future  collaboration.

International treaty Gov UK

[CS Australia No.1/2018] UK/Australia: Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy     Presented to Parliament 12 November 2018

03:15

Did the Woolsey fire disturb a nuclear waste site? California says no, and a group of doctors say yes "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Is the California Fire Spreading Nuclear Toxins?

 Zero Hedge, By Zo Schlanger & Daniel Wolfe, November 13, 2018 As the Woolsey fire tore through more than 90,000 acres of Southern California over the weekend, it scorched land at a closed-down lab where the US government and private companies tested nuclear weapons and rocket engines for decades beginning in the 1940s.

The Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL), in the Simi Hills right on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, is now a federal Superfund site. It was the site of several nuclear accidents, including the worst nuclear meltdown in US history when, in 1959, facility operators intentionally vented nuclear material from the sites  Sodium Reactor Experiment to prevent it from overheating and exploding. By the time the leaks were closed, the site had released 459 times more radiation than was leaked during the better-known 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island.

The lab property, now owned by airplane manufacturer Boeing, stretches for 2,800 acres in the Simi Hills, and remains contaminated with toxic materials. Thousands of people live within two miles of the site, and roughly half a million live within 10 miles, according to an investigation by...

03:13

The leaders of Frances colonial Pacific islands deceived their people about the safetyof nuclear tests "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

French Polynesian president acknowledges nuclear test lies https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/french-polynesian-president-acknowledges-nuclear-test-lies-1.23500250, Thomas Adamson / The Associated Press, NOVEMBER 16, 2018 PARIS French Polynesian President Edouard Fritch has said the leaders of the French collectivity of islands in the South Pacific lied to the population for three decades over the dangers of nuclear testing.

03:06

British scientists secretly used Australian population to test for radiation contamination after nuclear tests at Maralinga "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

the agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in all Australian capital cities.
 https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/british-scientists-secretly-used-australian-population-to-test-for-radiation-contamination-after-nuclear-tests-at-maralinga/news-story/988651beb4e94e1a4fd1b4c4649b3f03 ...

03:01

A Fukushima waiting to happen? Huge stockpile of nuclear waste on California fault line threatens US "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Ticking time bomb giant stockpile of nuclear waste endangers USA

The San Onofre nuclear plant, located just 108 feet from a popular beach, was shut down in 2015 after a leak was discovered. Now, the Southern California Edison energy company is burying the nuclear waste at the failed site a move which has been approved by federal regulator

Charles Langley, the executive director of Public Watchdogs, told RT that the situation at San Onofre is of grave concern because spent nuclear fuel and water dont mix.

Langley claimed that research carried out by experts which highlighted the extreme risks of storing the waste at the facility was suppressed by the very government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety.

There are actually fault lines that run underneath the facility. Weve documented this in geological reports that were suppressed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Its in a Tsunami zone and its also extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

So far, 29 of 73 canisters of waste are below the surface of the ground. Langley warns, however, that the canisters are unequipped to store the toxic nuclear waste. The warranty for the containment system is only for 10 years and the canisters themselves are only guaranteed to last 25 years, he said.

Nina Babiarz, a board member at Public Watchdogs, told RT that there should have been a requirement for an underground monitoring system before one can even went in the ground.

Babiarz believes the San Onofre plant is a ticking time bomb.

Its still very prevalent to me that this not only could happen, but it has happened at Three Mile Island, of course it has happened at Chernobyl, its happened at Fukushima and lest we forget, it could happen at San Onofre, she said.

Edison refused to answer any of RTs questions. On its website, however, the company says they are being proactive in seeking out...

02:55

Indictment Against Assange Mistakenly Revealed By Prosecutors? Or Mueller Shaking The Tree? Mining Awareness + "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Why does the NY Times, as well as WaPo and others, assume that it was mistakenly? It could be clerical error but appears intentional, either by Mueller to flush out someone or something, or to warn Assange. Shake the tree and watch the monkeys jump out. Its almost certain that Assange is working with Mueller, []

via Indictment Against Assange Mistakenly Revealed By Prosecutors? Or Mueller Shaking The Tree? Mining Awareness +

02:55

November 16 Energy News geoharvey "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Science and Technology: A Warmer Planet Means Hurricanes Will Drop More Rain and Have Higher Winds A report published in the journal Nature, suggests that future hurricanes could drop up to 30% more rain and have winds as much as 33 miles per hour stronger than current storms if global warming reaches 2C []

via November 16 Energy News geoharvey

02:54

Four key steps to take Australia towards 100 per cent renewable electricity RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Here are the four key policy initiatives we must take to propel Australia towards 100 per cent renewable electricity. The post Four key steps to take Australia towards 100 per cent renewable electricity appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Four key steps to take Australia towards 100 per cent renewable electricity RenewEconomy

02:52

Project Sunshine tested dead babies for radioactive fallout "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Only baby bones used in nuke tests https://www.news24.com/xArchive/Archive/Only-baby-bones-used-in-nuke-tests-20010607 2001-06-0 Sydney, Australia Bone samples from dead babies were shipped to the United States and Britain to be tested for radioactive fallout as part of an Australian government programme, officials said on Thursday.

The governments Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) said from 1957 to 1978 Australia operated a programme to measure levels of strontium 90 radioactive fallout in humans by testing corpses. Nuclear weapons tests were conducted in Australia and there was concern about radioactive fallout building up in the atmosphere.

In the early years of the study, known as Project Sunshine, hundreds of human bone samples from corpses of babies, children and adults aged up to 40 years were reduced to ash and sent to the United States and Britain for tests on radioactivity levels. Facilities were later constructed for the tests to be carried out in Australia.

ARPANSA chief executive officer Dr. John Loy said on Thursday that it was unlikely scientists sought consent to do the tests from relatives of the deceased.

Loy said the studies were part of an overall programme to measure the impact on Australians of atmospheric nuclear testing throughout the world.

In the 1950s and 60s there were hundreds of nuclear explosions throughout the world and this led to contamination, Loy told The Associated Press. There were measurements of activity in water, air, food and bone tissue, he said.

Loy said human bone absorbs strontium 90 from the atmosphere. So it was important to get a handle on what sort of exposure was resulting from these tests, he added.

Project Sunshine was not kept secret by the government and reports on the study were published in scientific journals, Loy said.

Interest in the project was renewed this month by media reports that the bodies of stillborn babies from Britain and Australia were also used in the research.

The reports quoted documents from a meeting of the projects scientists in 1955, during which project leader Dr Willard Libby said the supply of stillborn babies had been cut off.

If anyone knows how to do a good job of body snatching, they will really be serving their country, said Libby, a Nobel Prize laureate, according to The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

State...

02:45

Victorian Labors policies on Aboriginal issues "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

ABORIGINAL CULTURE AND COUNTRY
5.2.1.1 SELF DETERMINATION
Labor supports the development of a treaty with our first nations people. Labor will: * resource and support the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission to develop a representative structure to negotiate the terms of a Treaty with Victoria; * support the representative structure to negotiate a treaty; * work with Aboriginal Victorians to determine a process that reports against a set of key indicators and monitors government efforts to improve outcomes across the Victorian Aboriginal Community:
 
5.2.1.2 LAND RIGHTS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE Labor acknowledges and supports traditional owners and their connection to land, culture and heritage. Labor will develop and lead a policy reform that provides self-determined land-based initiatives, aimed at providing economic development and employment opportunities and reaffirming the access and development rights of traditional...
...

02:40

Federal governments water gift to Adani exposed "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Green Left,   Margaret Gleeson, 15 Nov 18  The Environmental Defenders Office Queensland said new documents raise fresh questions about why the water impacts of Adanis huge North Galilee Water Scheme will not be assessed under federal laws.

Queensland is suffering through a severe drought. Despite this, state environment minister Melissa Price decided in September not to apply the water trigger assessment on Adanis proposal to extract river water for up to 60 years, expand a dam and build a pipeline to transport the water to its mine.

This was despite federal environment law dictating that coalmines that are likely to have a significant impact on water resources must undergo a full environmental assessment.

On November 7, the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) said that new documents released under a Freedom of Information request raised fresh questions about why the water impacts of Adanis huge North Galilee Water Scheme  its pipeline from the Suttor River in Queensland to its Carmichael mine site will not be assessed under federal laws.

The ABC reported that it had seen documents showing that the federal environment department ruled against water experts from the Department of Agriculture and Water who recommended applying the water trigger to Adanis plan to pump 12 billion litres of river water to the Carmichael mine.

Community groups have questioned why the projects impacts to water resources will not be assessed under the water trigger. The documents received by Lock the Gate confirm the communitys concerns.

A submission from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources advised that the North Galilee Water Scheme could have a significant impact(s) on a water resource, in relation to coal seam gas development and large coal development, protected under the EPBC Act.

A submission from Geoscience Australia also called into question Adanis own referral documents to the federal government, indicating the company failed to consider groundwater dependent ecosystems, despite there being a large number in the affected area.

EDO Qld principal solicitor Sean Ryan said the contents of the documents were concerning.

These new documents raise serious questions as to why the water impacts of this project are not being thoroughly assessed under federal laws, Ryan said.

Read...

02:36

8 charts to show how Australia is failing on climate and energy RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

In case it was not already clear, a new international report has charted Australias performance on climate and energy policy, putting its insufficiency in stark relief. The post 8 charts to show how Australia is failing on climate and energy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via 8 charts to show how Australia is failing on climate and energy RenewEconomy

02:07

Sunshine after no rain "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Queensland turns the corner

To look at the latest employment and unemployment figures you might things haven't been so bright for Queensland.

But these are lagging indicators, and business investment growth is now at the highest level in years, albeit coming off a low base. 

The latest state accounts for financial year 2018 released today showed gross state product up by 3.4 per cent - behind only Victoria of all the states - for the strongest result since 2011-12, while final demand in the Sunshine State was also up by 3 per cent. 

New South Wales saw its agricultural production hit by drought, slowing the state result. 


Source: ABS

Better still, business investment in Queensland recorded double digit growth at 10.6 per cent after a lean five years. 

Provided China keeps importing Australian coal in 2019, the period ahead should be brighter for profits and wages.

Gross income per capita grew in Queensland by 2.3 per cent after an awfully sluggish few years (nothing compared to the Canberra bubble, mind you!).

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Friday, 16 November

12:58

California Is Burning Heres Why "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

California forests have long been a disaster waiting to happen. Forest density, antiquated forest practices, stressed and dead trees as a result of bug infestation, conflicts between state and federal government, and private property owners wanting to live close to the wildland-urban interface are just a few of the problems.

In this weeks WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with longtime California environmental reporter, Julie Cart, about just how bad the problem is and what is being done to prevent more death and destruction.

She explains that a full 30 percent of California is forested. Of this total, 60 percent is owned by the federal government, 2 percent by the state of California, and the rest is owned either privately or by local governments. Each has a different approach to dealing with the problem.

California has an estimated 129 million dead trees, an acknowledged factor in spreading wildfires, Cart says. The cost for removing a single dead tree is approximately $1,000, and the optics of cutting down trees, even dead ones, in a state with strong environmental rules make remediation even more difficult.

The impact of climate change on forest fires involves a deadly feedback loop. So many of the fires are a direct result of extended drought related to climate change. But in torching so many dead trees, a severe fire season of one or two months can release enormous amounts of carbon into the air more than that emitted by all the cars in California each year which significantly adds to the buildup of greenhouse gases fueling climate change.

Last years fires cost over $9 billion; this year the toll will be even higher. In both dollars and lives lost. Cart points out that while Cal Fire and the US Forest Service have vast resources, so much of those resources are diverted to firefighting, leaving little time or money to do the necessary work of prevention.

Cart suggests that perhaps the real solution is simply to tell people, as they do in Australia, that if they choose to live in certain areas, they cannot expect a fire truck to roll up the driveway during the next disaster. They will have to learn how to fend for themselves.


...

06:58

China in South Pacific Region: One Step Away from Absolute Power "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

4421

The South Pacific region, stretching from the shores of Australia to South America and encompassing more than 30,000 islands, has felt Chinas growing influenced since 2000s. By 2018, it had grown so strong that it became a threat to Australias strategic security. It should be noted that in the last 30 years, Australia has viewed itself as a regional leader. Chinas enormous investments, loans, grants, intended for the benefit of thirteen small island-states and another thirteen dependent territories in the South Pacific, belonging to Australia, New Zealand, France, and the USA, have made PRC a key benefactor, but not a strategically important player in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean as yet. Beijings negotiations with the island states on stationing Chinese bases there have been thus far successfully countered by Australian diplomacy. These negotiations are linked with PRCs initiative One Belt One Road, a part of which encompasses the Pacific Ocean. And establishing Chinese military bases in the territory of country-participants is a by-product of the project.

Papua New Guinea could have become a geostrategically convenient location for Chinas first military base in the South Pacific. The country lies only 2,000 km away from Australia and provides a convenient access point to the South China Sea, an area where PRC is pursuing its policy of expansion (including military expansion). Historically, China and Papua New Guinea have had close ties. By the middle of the 20th century the biggest Chinese diaspora in the region (approximately 100,000 people), working in the export of timber and natural resources, had made Papua New Guinea its new home. In 1968, the Chinese established Papua New Guineas second most powerful party. In 1980 (five years after the nation had gained its independence), the leader of this party, Julius Chan of Chinese and Papua New Guinean descent, became the countrys leader. In fact, in the following twenty years he occupied the post of Prime Minister three more times. By the end of the 20th century, the Chinese had settled in South Pacific islands, rich in forests and natural resources, such as the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and French territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia (better known as Tahiti, where from 2006 to 2011 a member of the Chinese diaspora, Gaston Tong Sang was in power three times).

Negotiations, which started in 2014, on a strategic partnership between PRC and Papua New Guinea, and on repair work of four ports in the cities of Wewak (home to Japans largest air base fr...

02:30

Book Launch: Locked On! "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

[ Friday, 7 Dec; 5:30 pm; ] Friday 7th December, 5.30 pm Readers Companion, 149 Beardy St Mall This event launches Marty Branagans illustrated novel Locked On! The Seventh and Most Illegal in the Hitchhikers Guide Trilogy. Its a fictionalised account of the Leard Forest blockade against coal mining on the Liverpool Plains, and the blockade against coal seam gas on farmland at Bentley, [...] full article 

02:06

One year on from the Royal Commission, the NT youth justice system remains broken "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

To mark the anniversary of the release of the Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territorys final report, the Change the Record Coalition including human rights organisations is calling on the NT Gunner Government to raise the age of criminal responsibility and get children out of harmful youth prisons.

Everyone wants their children to be safe and supported but the Gunner Government is putting children in danger by reopening Don Dale and continuing business as usual after the Royal Commission called for a profound shift from past practice, Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Cheryl Axleby said. Tear gassing children is a significant human rights violation and sees the NT Government mark the anniversary of the Royal Commission choosing to subject kids to further trauma and harm, said Ms Axleby.

The Gunner Government reported on 11th November that children who had been locked away in police cells were returned to Don Dale following an incident where tear gas was used against the children in Don Dale.

There's no time to wait: the NT Government can make changes right now to fix this broken system. It urgently needs to raise the minimum age it locks up children from 10 years old to 14, and fund Indigenous-led programs like Balunu, which will support our kids not to end up in the system in the first place, and to stay out of detention, said Rodney Dillon, Indigenous Rights Adviser with Amnesty International.

We need to see more action from the NT Government to get children out of prison, said Ms Axleby. Expediting measures like raising the age of criminal responsibility and appointing a Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People will be a positive step to keep children out of dangerous prisons like Don Dale, she said.

The Gunner Government cannot just sit on its hands while children continue to suffer. Don Dale is a dangerous powder keg. Just in the last week children have been tear gassed and held in solitary confinement, said Shahleena Musk, Senior Lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre. Punishment and confinement will not achieve the change we want, the future of youth justice is in supporting children to thrive, with their families and in their communities, she said.

Kids should be supported in the community, including through mental health supports, bail hostels, education and training programs. It is well and truly time for the Gunner Government to show us what progress has been made in this past year in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission aimed at preventing children being funnelled into prison, said Ms Musk.

For media comment please contact:

For Cheryl Axleby please contact Karly Warner on 0423 610 587

...

01:51

Fighting breaks out in Sri Lankan parliament "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

I have written before about the Byzantine political intrigues in Sri Lanka that has led to political turmoil. A measure of how things have deteriorated can be seen by a fight that broke out in the Sri Lankan parliament when some members rushed at the Speaker.


The latest chaos followed the abrupt decision by the president Maithripala Sirisena (MS) on October 26 to dismiss the prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) and install the leader of the opposition party Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) in his place. MR had been president and MS one of his cabinet members before MS and some of his supporters defected from MRs party, joined up with RWs party in a coalition, defeated MR in the next presidential election, dissolved parliament and called for new elections in which RWs party became the largest one, and then appointed RW as prime minister. Got that? That kind of shifting alliances is not uncommon in Sri Lankan politics.

The recent falling out between MS and RW has triggered the current state of confusion. RW has said that his dismissal was unconstitutional, but MS went ahead and appointed MR as prime minister and also appointed a cabinet. When it became clear that MR did not have the support of the majority in parliament, MS first suspended parliament, a move that was challenged, and then he brought it back into session to enable MR to show that he had majority support. When that support did not materialize, MS dissolved parliament and called for new elections but then the Supreme Court stepped in and said that he could not do that.

It appears that RWs party then brought a no-confidence vote against MR and it passed on Wednesday. MR addressed the parliament on Thursday and apparently the fight started when the Speaker called for a vote on whether to approve or reject MRs remarks. Parliament has been adjourned until Friday afternoon but it is hard to see how this impasse will be resolved.

It is truly a mess.

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Thursday, 15 November

20:48

Spain moves to go completely renewable by 2050 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Jim Hayes

The Spanish governments declared intention to completely switch over to renewable energy by 2050. Its aim is to slash 90 percent off carbon emissions and take a major step towards decarbonising the whole economy, and it is grabbing worldwide attention.

The plan includes installing at least 3,000 megawatts of wind and solar power each year for the next ten years.

The shift to renewables is not sudden. Spain has been a leader in this for some time. The strength of public opinion had been difficult for the pro mining conservative government to hold back the tide. Now that the Pedro Sanchez led Socialist Workers Party of Spain is in a minority government, it has a strong incentive to consolidate its position.

Holding barely more than a quarter of the parliamentary seats, it can only survive if the anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can) and the Catalan and Basque independence parties dont vote against it. The Socialists falied to enter into a left coalition, because an agreement could not be struck with Podemos. In its absence, they do not have a great deal of room to maneuver and faces a high prospect  of political instability, before facing the polls in 2020.

After  being thwarted in an attempt to bring a modest increase to the budget by the conservatives, still wed to cutting back spending, and by those on the other side, branding it as insufficient, the government needs a way out that will win it some political capital to consolidate political support.

This led to successful negotiations in October, which brought an agreement on raising the minimum wage by 22 percent,  raising pensions, increased funding for education and science, increasing disability benefits, more spending on housing and increased paternity leave. This agreement set the ground for progress on renewable energy.  Both the political circumstances and the push within the Socialist Party have created the political conditions for change.

Consequently, Spains efforts to meet commitment to the Paris Agreement has been lifted to a higher level.

Under the plan, there will be a ...

Wednesday, 14 November

07:58

Europes 3rd largest insurance company turns away from coal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Generalis recent announcement about its improved coal exclusion policy puts an end to insuring new coal plants and mines while turning away new coal clients with more than 30% of their energy production or revenues coming from coal.

Generali follows Allianz, AXA and Zurich which all have announced restrictions on insuring coal. Now, Europes four biggest primary insurers have limited coverage for the coal industry, supporting the phase-out of the main driver of dangerous climate change and the cause of hundreds of thousands of premature deaths globally each year, including more than 22,900 in the EU. [1]

Greenpeace, Unfriend Coal and Re:Common have called on the remaining coal insurers around the world to also restrict and exclude coal investments and insurance.

Greenpeace Italy climate campaigner, Luca Iacoboni, noted that this new coal exclusion policy sends an an important signal today that coal is becoming uninsurable and the answer to this is an urgent energy transition to 100% renewable energy. This is not just a matter of securing the survival of our planet, but of the insurance industry as well. Moodys Investor Service has also warned that climate change has a net negative credit impact on the the re/insurance industry. Re/insurers like AIG, Chubb, Mapfre, Hannover Re-Talanx, Vienna Insurance Group and Uniqa, who are all still actively insuring coal must move away from this dirty fuel or face public scrutiny and economic losses.

Re:Common campaigner, Alessandro Runci, said that while Generalis new policy is another strong signal to the coal industry, Generali fails to mention when existing coal clients, like those in Central and Eastern Europe, will be dropped. In order to become real climate leaders and to address the air pollution problem exacerbated by their clients, they need to quit coal with no exceptions. That includes no life extension of plants in the form of retrofits beyond 2030 and no to retrofits that would even temporarily increase capacity of existing plants.

Lucie Pinson of the Unfriend Coal campaign observed that Generalis move shows that coal is increasingly becoming uninsurable. The majority of global insurance companies with the expertise to lead in assessing and underwriting new power plants have now committed to end or limit insurance for new coal projects. Recent climate disasters should remind industry laggards of the urgent need for action.

According to the European Environmental Agency, member countries incurred economic losses caused by weather and climate-related extremes up to approximately...

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