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Sunday, 11 February

12:12

Scott Morrisons Job Creation Fantasy Is Just That Fantasy "IndyWatch Feed National"

The Turnbull Government brags about strong employment growth. Ian McAuley points out that it will not be sustained unless we properly fund education, health care and other government services.

Like a Kommissar for Employment in a Stalinist centrally-planned economy, Treasurer Scott Morrison prattles on about the jobs the Coalition Government has created.

Since the Turnbull Government scraped into office, employment has indeed risen. Over the 15 months from August 2016 to November 2017 (the latest available data) employment has risen by 380,000 in seasonally-adjusted terms. Thats an annualised growth rate of 2.9 per cent, well clear of the 1.6 per cent annual growth of the working-age population.

But that doesnt give Morrison bragging rights.

For a start, it follows miserable employment growth over the previous three years. Over that period as the mining boom ran out of puff, employment growth struggled to keep up with population growth.

Second, and more fundamentally, there is little a government can do in the short term to create jobs. Government policy does influence economic growth and therefore it influences employment, but only with a lag. The new jobs emerging in 2017 or 2018 are more influenced by government policies stretching back decades, rather than anything done by the incumbent government.

Also there are strong international forces influencing the performance of the Australian economy, particularly the fluctuating demand for commodities. Morrison may have been too busy protecting Australia from same-sex marriage or from refugees coming by boat to have noticed that in 2017, the world growth rate, particularly in developed countries, picked up sharply.

Third, we learn a bit about the drivers of employment growth when we look at the composition of those 380,000 jobs.

The strongest growth has been in three sectors construction, health care and education. These sectors account for three quarters of the net employment growth over the 15-month period.

Rises and falls in employment by sector are shown in the graph below.

In view of the extraordinary breaks the Coalition has given to housing speculators, the construction boom is hardly surprising. A glance at the building skylines of our capital cities confirms that sectors strong activity. Also, in Sydne...

06:43

US to send 1,000s of troops to the East Pacific to counter Russia and China "IndyWatch Feed National"

The Pentagon reportedly plans a "major muscle movement" from the Middle East to East China, with thousands of extra Marines to be deployed. The goal is to "persuade Pacific nations to stand with the US" and not China. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the US plans to boost its military presence in the East Pacific with rotating deployment of Marine Expeditionary Units, or MEUs. An MEU is a group of about 2,200 Marines who operate from amphibious assault ships and have their own aircraft, tanks, heavy weapons, and other resources. A typical deployment lasts for seven months and may involve missions on the shore like patrols or military-to-military training. The report, citing military officials, does not say how many MEUs will be sent to the region. The US already has about 50,000 service members in Japan, almost 30,000 in South Korea, and 7,000 more in Guam. In a related move, the Pentagon will expand the number of Marines deployed in Darwin, Australia. At the moment, 1,250 troops are stationed there in rotating training assignments lasting six months each year. The WSJ said it was not yet clear how large the number of additional troops in Australia will be. The deployments will be made at the expense of the US military presence in the Middle East, and are in line with the new National Defense Strategy published earlier by the Trump administration, which sets countering Russia and China as a priority for the military. According to the report, the MEUs in East Asia will help the US "persuade Pacific nations to stand with the US."

00:34

Democracy Zindabad! A Day In The Life Of Anti-Coal Resistance In Indias Energy Capital "IndyWatch Feed National"

The controversial Adani mine has brought India strongly into Australias focus. Two countries could not be more different than Australia and India, one rich and industrialised, another rapidly industrialising but with high inequality. Australia with the worlds highest per capita emissions and India where the converse is true. Yet both are democracies and both rely on coal for energy. Needless to say, in two societies as disparate, the human and ecological impacts of coal-mining differ significantly. How do communities, if ever, win a struggle to stop coal-mining against powerful corporations and vested interests of governments in India? Against all odds! This is an account of one such rarely successful struggle from the heartland of coalmining, in Singrauli district of the Central India state of Madhya Pradesh. Ruchira Talukdar had the opportunity to visit the forested Mahan area in Singrauli with Greenpeace activists Priya Pillai and Akshay Gupta in April 2017. The time of her visit marked exactly two years since the controversial Mahan coalblock had been declared off limits for mining. It was a massive milestone for the Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS); the Greenpeace facilitated local resistance, which had united people from the surrounding villages. Strengthened by its success, the movement was preparing to take on future challenges.

Its the 31st of March, and we are driving to Amelia village for a public meeting. As we approach, three little boys in oversized shirts run after our SUV shouting Zindabad, punching the air with their little fists. The Hindi word that literally means long live is commonly used at political gatherings as a shout of encouragement.

It is mid morning and the summer loo has already started blowing. We see dust blowing across the empty fields, and spot the billowing tent top, the setting for the days programme, in its midst.

Late spring is peak Mahua gathering season for forest dependent communities in Central India. This yellow flower with a clammy fragrance, growing on spreading branches of the Mahua tree, is the economic, cultural and spiritual nerve centre for various indigenous communities in Central India. Every year during the Mahua season in early summer, forest-dependent families in these parts leave home to camp in the forests for weeks on end. They collect, dry and sell the yellow Mahua flowers, needed for various herbal and medicinal products.

Priya is rightly anxious about the turnout. But her fears are allayed when the big top fills up with men, women and children numbering over 1,000 from the neighbouring villages fringing the Mahan forests.

It is the second anniversary of the peoples victory over coalmining in the Mahan forests, commemorating a resistance that spanned four years and forged an unusual allia...

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Saturday, 10 February

15:11

Man Abandons Racing Greyhound Even Though She Saved His Life "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

So many people came together to help save a greyhound named Rita but not one of them was the person who owned her.

Credit: Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds

Rita, like many other greyhounds, was used by the racing industry in Australia. After Rita became too old to run races, she was put away in a kennel and bred over and over, just the way her mother had been Rita's mother had died of internal bleeding because her body was so exhausted. 

And it seemed that Rita's fate wouldn't be much different. 

Sadly, Rita's story isn't so unique. The racing industry is known for confining racing dogs for long periods of time, racing dogs until they injure themselves beyond repair and ultimately euthanizing them. That's why many places around the world have already phased out dog racing.

Credit: Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds

One day, Rita was in the kennel with her new litter of puppies when she noticed her owner was in trouble. Rita saw him suddenly collapse and no one else was around.

"The man was unconscious and Rita left her puppies and stood over him, barking incessantly until someone checked on her alarm," Victoria Sublette, a member of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, said. "The man was found, an ambulance was called, and this mans life was saved by this very special greyhound, Rita."

But two more years passed, and Rita's life didn't change. 

Finally, last year, her owner decided he was done with Rita so he dumped her at a vet's office. And that's when Lorraine Ramsay stepped in. Ramsay is a greyhound advocate who runs the Rescued Greyhounds NSW Central Coast Facebook group. She tries to help get these d...

14:25

Macho Madness nuclear power nuclear weapons theme for February 2018 Antinuclear

The Me Too movement exposed the sexual exploitation of women at work, and the men in authority who make the decisions to cover this up.

Men in authority have forever been making decisions to cover up the exploitation of women, children and men in every arena of society. But in no arena more than in violence and war.

Without Me Too in decisions on nuclear power and nuclear war we are all finished.

13:29

From tears to cheers: three years since South Australias nuclear Royal Commission was announced. Antinuclear

8 Feb 18 Three years ago today SA Premier Jay Weatherill announced a Royal Commission into the nuclear industry and a major community campaign against plans for an international high level radioactive waste dump began.

The No Dump Alliance (NDA) has today released a book about this campaign. To view the book, click here. S...

13:21

Russias nuclear macho men spin pro nuclear propaganda to Indian kids Antinuclear

I had a bit of  a laugh, reading this one.

Russia is using the same pathetic old comics and jolly stories that Western nuclear companies have now given up on.

And once again its the mach nuclear men that are...

12:27

USA now producing medical radioisotopes without nuclear reactor (no need to import them from Lucas Heights) Antinuclear

U.S. FDA Approves NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes RadioGenixTMSystem (Technetium Tc 99m Generator) for Non-uranium Sourced Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) Production of Imaging Isotope Technetium-99m (Tc-99m)

Enables domestic Mo-99 supply produced without uranium for U.S. healthcare

First U.S. source of medical radioisotope Mo-99 in more than 25 years

...

12:26

Netherlands project to produce medical isotopes with no need of a nuclear reactor Antinuclear

Steve Dale No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 10 Feb 18  There is also a promising electron accelerator approach too (started in the Netherlands) . Search for Lighthouse and you may have to translate the pages. Here is snippet Lighthouse: next phase production of medical isotopes without a reactor
January 23, 2018
Chip machine manufacturer ASML has found a partner in the Belgian National Institute for Radio Elements (IRE) for the further development of LightHouse, a technology that makes it possible to make medical isotopes in an easy way without the release of radioactive waste. LightHouse was declared the (Dutch) National Icon last year, but is now being further developed by a Belgian company. With this, the phase of feasibility research seems to have been completed and the development is entering a new phase. First production of medical isotopes is expected in 2020. 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

12:21

New South Wales Liberal Premier Berejiklian is approving a solar energy revolution Antinuclear

The Berejiklian government has approved 11 large-scale solar energy plants in the past 12 months, clearing the way for NSW to join a tsunami of new renewable energy capacity across the nation.

The 170-megawatt Finley Solar Project in the Riverina, which will include half a million solar panels, is the first to get approval in 2018.

The 10 to get the go-ahead in 2017 doubled the number in the previous year, and alone supported 1800 construction jobs, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said.

Those 10 collectively reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking around 800,000 cars off the road, he said.

NSW had more renewable generation capacity under construction than any other state, Energy Minister Don Harwin said.

...

12:02

Arriums saviour Sanjeev Gupta says his power plans will transform the South Australian energy market Antinuclear

  Man of Steel vows to power up the state
Arrium saviour Sanjeev Gupta believes the nations energy costs are the biggest debacle in Australian history but the good news is hes here to help fix the problem. The British billionaire has revealed more about his extraordinarily ambitious plans to transform our state [subscribers only] 
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/arriums-saviour-sanjeev-gupta-says-his-power-plans-will-transform-the-south-australian-energy-market/news-story/e910378d68c43f17f90800810dd6aefe

11:59

Dispatchable wind and solar: Theyll be the death of coal and gas RenewEconomy Antinuclear

Its been a year since the last South Australia blackout and when the Coalition brandished a lump of coal in parliament. And the progress since then has been remarkable on the cost front, on storage, and the emergence of dispatchable renewables.

via Dispatchable wind and solar: Theyll be the death of coal and gas RenewEconomy

11:58

Adani coal plans take another hit, as Aurizon withdraws loan request RenewEconomy Antinuclear

Aurizon withdraws application for NAIF funding to build Gallilee rail line, in fresh vote of no confidence in the Adani-led mega coal project.

via Adani coal plans take another hit, as Aurizon withdraws loan request RenewEconomy

11:58

CEFC invests $25m in Australias first residential housing green bond RenewEconomy Antinuclear

The CEFC has made a $25 million cornerstone investment in the first ever green tranche of an Australian residential mortgage backed bond.

via CEFC invests $25m in Australias first residential housing green bond RenewEconomy

09:57

Scientists discover 18 new spider-hunting spiders from Madagascar "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

With their long necks and sharp, fang-like mouthparts, assassin spiders hunt a strange prey other spiders. Now, thanks to a study published recently in ZooKeys, there are 18 more known species in the world. Researchers think even more lie in wait in Madagascars unique, isolated forests, but are worried the countrys rampant deforestation will claim the spiders before theyre discovered. Assassin spiders, also called pelican spiders, are native to Madagascar, South Africa and Australia. Theyre nocturnal, hunting other spiders under the cover of darkness by following the silk lines of their unsuspecting prey. Once an assassin spider is close, it dispatches its victim by stabbing it with its fangs; its protracted neck keeps the hunter at a safe distance in case the other spider puts up a fight. Known as living fossils because those that are alive today have scarcely changed from their forebears preserved in amber 50 million years ago, assassin spiders have been little studied since the first was discovered in Madagascar in the late 1800s. Pelican spiders are beautiful and iconic Madagascan spiders. They have a bizarre appearance, with a long neck and chelicerae (jaws) that are used to prey on other spiders from a distance. This pelican spider (pictured above, top) is dangling its spider prey (bottom) upside-down using its chelicerae after capturing it. These spiders also occur in Australia and South Africa; however, the species with the longest necks occur in Madagascar. All of the pelican spiders that Wood described live only in Madagascar,

08:37

Student Shot Dead In Porgera "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Jerry Sefe | Post Courier | February 9, 2018

A Porgera student was attacked and shot dead at the Lime plant in Porgera District by a tribal group on Wednesday.

The twenty-two year old Locklan George Brugh was on his way with his fellow cousins to drop-off food supplies for Mt Kare after a long awareness campaign on law and order and tribal issues affecting people of Porgera when they were held up and attacked.

The late Locklan who comes from a mix parentage of Australia and Porgera was a student at Mt Diamond Secondary in Central Province and left to Porgera on December, 28, 2017 after his acceptance letter from the Porgera Gold Mine Job Ready Program.

Familys immediate uncle and Porgera community leader Mr Philip Mungalo said the late Locklan was among other students awaiting his offer to start job at the mine when he met his faith at the hands of the tribal group from Mt Kare.

Mr Mungalo said the attack was an act of inhuman and disrespect and not inv...

07:47

Kurds in Conflict-Ridden Northeastern Syria Turn to Kidnapping, Conscription, ISIS-like Tactics "IndyWatch Feed National"

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and political commentator.  She covers a broad range of issues relating to the Syrian war, Kurdish issues in Iraq and Syria, as well as U.S policy in the Middle East.  The following is an account of Sarahs conversations with Assyrian Christians living under Kurdish rule in occupied northern Syria, as well as her personal take on the issues surrounding those conversations.  MintPress News could not independently verify the information given by Sarahs sources.  

AL QAMISHLI, SYRIA (War Report) Over the past few weeks, multiple independent on-the-ground sources have provided and corroborated information regarding disturbing events taking place in and around the Al Hassakah governorate in northeastern Syria.

One of the most startling allegations made is that the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been arresting and kidnapping men aged 18 to 40 in the Al Hassakah governorate, which includes Al Qamishli and other towns under their control. They are taking these men against their will to Kurdish militia training camps, where they will stay for some time and receive training before being forced to fight in the so-called New Syrian Army or North Syrian Army. I was told that some of these men are being taken to the front lines to fight in Afrin as well.

According to RT, in late December:

Russias Reconciliation Center for Syria issued a statement accusing the U.S.-led coalition of creating the so-called New Syrian Army. The group comprises remnants of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), the Al-Nusra Front and others, and is based at a refugee camp in north-east Syria, which is located 20 kilometers from Al-Shaddadah town. Local refugees, returning to areas freed from IS, say the refugee camp has been used by the coalition as a training ground for militants for over six months.

 

Surge in kidnapping by Kurdish YPG and Asayesh

Eddie Gaboro Hanna founder of Patriarchal Relief Care Australia, a group that provides aid to Christian families impacted by wars in Syria and Iraq stated on January 20th, that a few days prior:

The Kurds started a new operation [whereby] they are taking young Christian boys by force to sign them up for the Kurdish military & send them to the front line at Afrin wher...

07:36

Tree-dwelling animals can climb away from climate change, study finds "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Animals that live in trees in the tropics are likely to be better at crossing mountains and dealing with climate change compared to ground-dwelling animals, a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment suggests. In the tropics, mountains are typically considered to be barriers for lowland animals. According to a popular hypothesis put forward by ecologist Daniel H. Janzen in 1967, this is because the tropics have a relatively steady climate, with temperatures never getting too hot or too cold. Tropical organisms there tend to be adapted to very narrow ranges of temperatures. So an animal adapted to warm temperatures living at the bottom of a mountain might not be able to tolerate the colder temperatures it encounters as it moves higher up. Think about a layered cake, Brett Scheffers, an assistant professor in the department of wildlife, ecology and conservation at the University of Florida, Gainesville, U.S., told Mongabay. One band represents a range of temperatures, the next band represents another range of temperatures and so on. Theres not a lot of overlap between those bands. What this means is that animals living on the bottom of a mountain will likely never have experienced temperatures at the top of the mountain and vice versa. This suggests that tropical animals could have a harder time escaping from a changing climate because of the temperature constraints that mountains impose. Trees within Mossman Gorge, a lush rainforest in Queensland, Australia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. However, temperatures within a

Friday, 09 February

22:26

Trump Declares Solar War: Syria Installs Solar Systems "IndyWatch Feed National"

In November 2017 war-torn Syria became the last country, other than the U.S., to sign Paris 15 the worldwide effort to curb global warming. In the eyes of the world, America must be as mad as a hatter.

Actually, the madness runs much deeper than failure to acknowledge Paris 15. Not only that, the Mad Hatter of Alices Adventures in Wonderland fame has unique personality traits and keeps company same as Trump, terse personal remarks directed at adversaries whilst exchanging unanswerable riddles with his Tea Party friends.

The Trump Administrations Tea Party brand of eagerness enhanced with unvarnished Libertarianism (destroy the Social Contract) proposes dramatically slashing funds for a Department of Energy program supporting research and development of clean energy technologies by 70%; Trumps latest attempt to stall renewable energy sources like wind and solar to the benefit of fossil fuels. According to Fortune magazine and Bloomberg News, Trumps solar tariffs are a big blow to renewables, as it raises costs for new domestic solar power installations. The Solar Energy Industries Association warned the tariffs delay and kill billions of dollars of solar investments.

Not only, Trump has launched a multi-pronged effort to stop growth of renewable energy while propping up dirty coal, knocking back rules that regulate the industry. In the final analysis, Trumps dangerous gamesmanship with tariffs causes irreparable damage to the biosphere, which is/wouldve been preventable, if only he were not in the WH.

In stark contrast to Trumps draconian efforts to kill renewable energy, Syria has a brighter approach. Six months ago, Syria opened its first solar-powered hospital. By adopting solar power and skirting use of fossil fuels, which are the lifeblood of Middle Eastern economies, Syria makes the United States look backwards and nonsensical, kinda like a Mad Hatter with cockamamie hard to decipher rhetoric.

Syria plans to open five more solar-powered hospitals with funding from foundations, government agencies, and philanthropists. Its a life and death matter of survival for the war-torn country. Solar powers intensive care units, operating rooms, and emergency rooms for 24 hours on end without needing diesel generators. Thus, lives are saved in Syria as Trump whacks solar across the knees.

And meanwhile, the state of South Australia is currently in the process of launching the worlds largest virtual power plant, using Tesla batteries and solar for home power systems, ultimately 50,000.

At the same time, the Mad Hatter White House is wildly in love with coal. Trump refers to it as beautiful coal and clean coal. Assuming he lasts long enough after playing footsie with Russian thugs and cleansing dirty oligarch money for so many years, his legacy will go....

17:25

The week that has been in Australian nuclear news Antinuclear

Same old same old, but new, angst about being close to the nuclear brinkRussia is upset at Americas new Nuclear Posture Review. Many commentators are alarmed as it escalates the arms race. No doubt, weapons companies are salivating at the thought of it, and Americas tax-payers ought to be concerned at its beyond  $1.2 trillion cost.

I know that this newsletter is now supposed to be leaving out climate stories. But its hard. Here we are, worrying about nuclear bombs, while climate change is bringing us its own weather bombs.

AUSTRALIA

Peace Boat with nuclear bomb survivors arrives in Sydney. ICAN founder Tilman Ruff calls USs new nuclear policy a blueprint for war 

Australias new weapons export industry secret mens business.

Most Austr...

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