Australian news, and some related international items

UN report finds in favour of Julian Assange

Assange also remains fearful of a potential future extradition to the US, where a secret grand jury has been looking into whether to prosecute him over WikiLeak’s publishing activities……..

 the former chair of the UN working group, Mads Andenas, defended its finding, saying: “There is no doubt that the normal course of action for the Swedish authorities would have been to interview Assange in London. The extradition request was disproportionate

flag-UN.Julian Assange: ‘sweet’ victory soured by British and Swedish rejection
No release in sight despite UN panel deciding WikiLeaks founder is being arbitrarily detained at Ecuador embassy,
Guardian, ,, in Gothenberg, and   5 Feb 16 A UN panel may have found that Julian Assange is subject to “arbitrary detention” and called for him to be allowed to walk free, but the WikiLeaks founder remains exactly where he has been for the past 44 months – inside Ecuador’s London embassy and locked in a three-nation war of words.

Britain and Sweden immediately rejected the UN report, which declared that Assange had been “arbitrarily detained” since his arrest in 2010 and during his lengthy stay in the embassy, where he sought asylum in June 2012. The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, described the findings as “ridiculous” and the Australian as a “fugitive from justice”.

However, the panel’s findings, leaked on Thursday and published in full on Friday morning, were a welcome victory for Assange, and a moment he intended to savour fully. At 4.01pm he emerged on to the balcony of the west Londonembassy to greet a crowd of several hundred supporters and journalists, pausing first, just briefly, to glance at the sky he has rarely seen for more than three years.

“How sweet it is,” said Assange, holding aloft a copy of the UN report while supporters shouted: “We love you, Julian!” It had been, he said, “a victory of historical importance”, and a decision reached after a process to which both Britain and Sweden had made submissions. “They lost. UK lost; Sweden lost.”

The Swedish government, however, has insisted the report changes nothing, and that it cannot interfere in an independent prosecutor’s ongoing attempt to extradite Assange for questioning over an allegation of rape dating from 2010, which he denies.

Meanwhile, for Ecuador – the Australian’s (mostly) willing host – the findings meant it was time for the two countries to allow Assange to walk free, and to compensate both him and them for the lengthy period he has been holed up in one of its few rooms……

After exhausting all his legal options in the UK and Sweden some time ago, there is no question that the report represents a boost for Assange’s legal team. Continue reading

February 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

It’s Big Money that impels politicians to promote the nuclear industry

from CaptD 31 Jan 16 The first reason is MONEY and I mean BIG Money. Politicians are always gear Buy politiciansfor Nuclear Payback*


Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

The “other” reason is that the Nuclear Industry and their Utilities are desperate to create a radioactive waste dumping site for waste is that they are going to want to site Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) very soon, which companies like SD’s General Atomic are now working on. Since CA has a law that says no more nuclear reactors, until a waste site is developed, the lack of a disposal site is the biggest roadblock they face preventing them from deploying SMRs in CA.

SMRs Australia

I believe that most Utilities will want to phase out Nat. Gas fired Peaker plants and install SMR’s “because they don’t emit CO2.” That is, unless they are going to be making big money using nat. gas like SDG&E will be, since they already have a contract to import Nat. Gas from Mexico (which Sempra owns a share of, so they will be kind of buying Nat. Gas from themselves) for use in their two new state of the art Billion Dollar Peaker Plants that the CPUC just approved for them (despite the fact that the cost of Wind and Solar generation continues to drop almost monthly)!

SCE just had the CPUC decide against approving a Nat. Gas Peaker plant for them, so you can bet that they are now getting “very excited” about installing one or more SMR’s at San Onofre, since the grid wiring connection is already in place and they are going to be guarding that “nuclear waste” site for decades to come.

BTW: All waste facilities should be run by the Government, that way they will always be responsible for it, since Big Waste Corp.’s can go out of business any time they want as as everybody knows Radiation is FOREVER since 50 or more than 100 years is forever to everyone living today.

January 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | 3 Comments

The Ugly Australian – Peninsula Energy uranium mining in South Africa

Already today, the environment around Beaufort West is contaminated close to the previous mine sites. First field studies by the author show unprotected nuclear wastes with 10 to 20 times the background radiation.

Dust and Radiation – Two Deadly Impacts…… a particular direct relationship between occupational exposure to uranium and its decay products and lung diseases.Mining uranium ore in the Karoo will invariably create huge plumes of contaminated dust. Dust clouds are unavoidable during drilling, blasting and transporting.

Dust suppression by spraying water is only partially effective and creates new problems with contaminated slimes, adding to the environmental cost of groundwater abstraction

dust from mining
Uranium Mining Threatens the Karoo, Karoo Space, 18 Jan 16  By Dr Stefan Cramer  [Excellent] Images sourced by Dr Stefan Cramer Just as the threat of fracking seemed to recede in the Karoo, the danger of uranium mining has arisen – and it is even more frightening and more likely than shale gas extraction.

The Karoo has long been known to harbour substantial sedimentary uranium deposits. Now an Australian company [Peninsula Energy , through it’s wholly owned subsidiary Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited] with Russian funding is planning to get the radioactive mineral out of the ground on a major scale.

The company has quietly accumulated over 750 000 hectares of Karoo properties and concessions around Beaufort West and plans to set up a large Central Processing Plant just outside that town.

While the nation is still debating the pros and cons of fracking, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as the precursor to mining licences is nearing finalisation. During 2016 the Department of Mineral Resources will make a decision on the industry’s application……….

extensive studies on the risks of uranium mining over many decades are available today….yet so far there is no public debateno strategic assessment process in place in the Karoo.No advocacy groups balance the glossy claims of the industry against sobering experiences on the ground….. Continue reading

January 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international | Leave a comment

Maralinga nuclear toxicity continues

Mr Kerin and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Robert Tickner, told the cabinet that the Commonwealth would plead the Statute of Limitations if any Aboriginal initiated a common law Lester, Yamiaction against Canberra.

Further, the ministers stipulated that if Yami Lester, a Yankunytjatjara man blinded by a “black mist from the south in the 1950s”, rejected the offer and proceeded with his common law action the Commonwealth should also plead the Statute of Limitations.

Hawke,-Bob-relevantIn a coda, Bob Hawke [at left] told journalists attending a National Archives briefing on the cabinet papers last month that Australia should take the world’s nuclear waste as a way to raise new revenue as an alternative to raising the GST or reducing expenditure.

Cabinet papers: Fallout continues from British atomic tests January 1, 2016  Damien Murphy  The cabinet papers reveal how ignorant various Australian governments had remained about contamination at the British atomic test sites in Maralinga in South Australia.

They also erroneously believed that British clean-up operations were effective in removing plutonium contamination.  Continue reading

January 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics, politics international | 1 Comment

Australian government in deal with Ukraine’s troubled nuclear industry

safety-symbolflag-UkraineUkraine to sign agreement on nuclear energy with Australia in 2016  29 Dec 15   Ukraine plans in 2016 to sign an agreement with Australia on cooperation in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, Director of the Department of Strategic Planning and European Integration at the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry of Ukraine Mykhailo Bno-Airiian has said.

“One of the main tasks for 2016 is the signing of an agreement between the government of Ukraine and Australia on cooperation in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” he said at a briefing in Kyiv.

According to the department, the agreement has been agreed with the Australian government and is currently undergoing national procedures for its signature and ratification.

December 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia not welcomed into “high ambition coalition” climate action group

logo Paris climate1Aust missing from climate change group, Herald Sun, 12 Dec 15 Australia has not yet been welcomed into a new “high ambition coalition” of 100 nations at major climate talks in Paris, despite claiming it had joined through the European Union.

Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum revealed the alliance of around 100 countries, including the United States, this week at the United Nations summit.

Australia was not among them and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seemed unaware of the group when it was revealed on Wednesday.

Mr de Brum, who spearheaded the alliance, issued an open invitation to countries in Paris.

A spokeswoman for Ms Bishop on Friday confirmed Australia had been formally invited by the European Union and had accepted the invitation. However, it appears Australia hasn’t yet been welcomed into the group, the Marshall Islands hinting the country would have to prove its worth.

“We are delighted to learn of Australia’s interest and look forward to hearing what more they may be able to do to join our coalition of high ambition here in Paris,” a spokesman for Mr de Brum said.

Earlier on Friday Mr de Brum read out a list of countries that had accepted his open invitation, with Australia notably absent.

 Canada which, like Australia, has been criticised for a lack of climate action in recent years, joined on Thursday…….

WHAT THEY WANT *Reference to limiting global warming to 1.5C (is in the text)

*Clear path towards a low-carbon future (emissions neutrality by second half of century in text)

*Five yearly updates (is in the text)

*Strong package of financial support for developing nations ($100 billion per year plus scale up after 2020 is an option in the text – could be removed)

December 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

‘High ambition coalition” on climate change – but Australia won’t be joining

Map Turnbull climateAustralia unlikely to join climate coalition, Sky News, 11 December 2015 Canada has joined a new coalition of 100 countries calling for an ambitious agreement at major climate talks in Sky News alia is unlikely to add its name to the list.

Some predict the new ‘high ambition coalition’ could be a significant force in the negotiations, with a majority of nations – from the richest to the poorest – involved.

Australia, while supporting its intention, hasn’t joined.

The 100 countries, including the United States, are demanding a reference to limiting global warming to 1.5C, five-yearly reviews and a pathway to low carbon.

It also wants adequate financing for poor countries.

Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum urged more countries to join while revealing the coalition on Wednesday night.

Canada’s environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna took up that offer the following day, despite not initially being on the list.

Australia is understood to agree with the group’s goals but wants to focus its energy elsewhere…….–in-climate-talks–hollande.html


December 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Pacific islanders will be climate refugees, whatever the outcome in Paris

Even If Paris Climate Talks Succeed, Pacific Islanders Will Be Looking For New Homes, New Matilda,  By  on December 4, 2015 Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours already face poverty, and soon they’ll be facing even worse. Thom Mitchell reports from Paris.

More than 70 per cent of households in the Pacific Islands of Tuvalu and Kiribati to Australia’s north east say they’re likely to migrate if the impacts of climate change become any worse than they already are, according to research presented in Paris at a global summit on climate change yesterday.


Climate change already exists as a key driver of migration in the region, according to the study presented by the United Nations University’s Dr Koko Warner, which found it motivating 23 per cent of Kiribati’s migration and eight per cent of Tuvalu’s.

In Nauru – an island nation Australia uses to arbitrarily and indefinitely detain many of its asylum seekers – more than 40 per cent of households said they feel migration would be their likely response if sea level rise or flooding worsened.

All three islands are extremely vulnerable to the climate change impacts like sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and storm surges, and the survey of more than 7,000 people across the three countries found that climate change was already affecting agriculture and fish stocks, and reclaiming or spoiling land. Continue reading

December 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Greens expose the Australian govt’s ‘paltry’ contribution on climate change

Hear-This-way PLIBERSEK: This is pretty rich considering that we have actually cut funding to countries like Kiribati that are currently struggling with climate change and adaptation and mitigation.

In fact we’ve cut $2.5 million from Kiribati. It’s plain too that there is no new money here, we are talking about redirecting some of the existing aid budget, which, as I said, is already much depleted. 

greensSmRichard Di Natale slams Govt’s climate contribution in Paris as ‘paltry’, ABC Radio The World Today Louise Yaxley reported this story on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ELEANOR HALL: The leader of the Australian Greens has accused the Federal Government of a paltry effort at the Paris climate conference.  Richard di Natale says the $1 billion that the Government is promising to help Pacific nations should not be being diverted from the foreign aid budget.

In Canberra, political correspondent Louise Yaxley reports.

LOUISE YAXLEY: In Paris, Malcolm Turnbull has promised more money for innovation by signing up with other countries for a plan to double investment in clean energy over the next five years.

Many of the details of where that money will go will be spelled out in the innovation statement next week.

Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek says that does not match up with the Government’s recent actions.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Now it seems that the Prime Minister is talking about innovation in the area of climate change. Well this is pretty ironic from a government that has halved the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, sought to abolish ARENA, abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and abolish the Climate Change Authority.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Turnbull has also promised to spend at least a billion over the next five years from the existing aid budget to help small Pacific nations adapt to climate change and to reduce emissions.

The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop defended the age budget being used that way when interviewed on AM.

JULIE BISHOP: Because this is what the aid budget is designed to do – to assist in natural disaster relief, to build resilience against natural disasters. Indeed this is what the small island developing nations of the Pacific are asking for.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It’s not new money though, is it?

JULIE BISHOP: No, it’s not new its money out of the aid budget…….

Continue reading

December 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

United Nations call on Australia to produce a consistent climate policy, not ‘mixed messages’

flag-UN.Map Turnbull climateUN calls for consistent climate policy from Australia   Australia needs to be more consistent on climate change after mixed messages under recent governments, a senior UN official says. Australia must be more consistent on climate change after a series of erratic policy changes, a senior United Nations environment program official says.

Kaveh Zahedi, the UN’s Environment Program (UNEP) Asia Pacific representative, says Australia’s climate policies have failed to reflect wider community concerns over climate change.

“It seems we are getting mixed messages (on climate change policy),” Zahedi told AAP.

Zahedi’s comments come ahead of next week’s Paris summit on climate change, which is aimed at forging an agreement to cut greenhouse emissions, and limiting global warming to 2C.

Policy measures to deal with climate change have included a carbon tax introduced by the former Labor government, which was later repealed by the coalition under Tony Abbott.

Zahedi said Australia needed to bring policy certainty to the Paris negotiating table next week.

He hoped the underlying message from the Paris summit would be clear and “override some of the mixed messages that might or might not exist at the national level”.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam in Parliament, on the sale of uranium to India

“……One of the most striking differences between the uranium market and those other commodity markets which Australians might be more familiar with and the one which the industry is most determined to deny is the link with weapons of mass destruction. In September this year this parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties handed down a unanimous report on the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement with India…..

The unanimous recommendations, in essence, say that there should not be uranium sales to India by Australia at this time under the terms of the current agreement. They made those recommendations on the advice of, among others, very senior former Australian officials from within the nonproliferation world who cautioned that the nuclear cooperation agreement:

… has a number of loopholes which mean that under the terms of the NCA India could use our uranium in the production of material that could end up in bombs……..

India is engaged in an active nuclear weapons arms race with its neighbour Pakistan, and just under one and half billion people live in these two countries.

Australia seems determined to circumvent and undermine the only disarmament and nonproliferation framework that the world has, just in order to open up another market for the desperate uranium sector…… Far away, on the other side of the world, in United Nations meetings in Geneva and New York, which our government assumes will never filter back to Australia, we are quietly sabotaging the first hopeful signs in a long while of global resolve in this area. The UN General Assembly’s First Committee recently voted overwhelmingly in favour of an Austrian sponsored resolution to fill the legal gap for the staged prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. This resolution was based on the careful study of the unthinkable humanitarian consequences of the use of these weapons. As a result, early in 2016, serious negotiations will get underway in Geneva to scope the elements of a global treaty banning these weapons. Why did Australia vote against this initiative? How many people in this country are even aware that that is what Australia’s diplomats were instructed to do by the Turnbull government?……

The third issue that the miners would probably prefer that we did not point out is that their industry, even at the primary end, at the mining end, is in very deep trouble not just because of the catastrophe that overwhelmed Japan’s Pacific coast on 3/11 but because peak nuclear was in the year 2002. Europe is on its way out. Japan is out. France is trying to work out how to drawn down and not have to replace the nuclear reactors it built in such a rush in the 1970s and 1980s. Germany is getting out. Italy has already got out. These are the things the uranium miners would probably prefer we did not talk about. The Beverley uranium mine is over. The Honeymoon mine in South Australia is over as well. The Roxby Downs expansion is cancelled. The Ranger 3 Deeps proposed expansion in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, which I had the good fortune to visit about this time last week, is cancelled. The Jabiluka deposit will never be mined. The Koongarra deposit has been reincorporated into Kakadu National Park. Colleagues, are you seeing a pattern here because I am? This is an industry that is on its last legs and it is just as well.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Indonesia will close their waters to ship carrying radioactive trash to Australia

ship radiationIndon to ‘block Aust-bound nuclear waste’ November 21, 2015 AAP
 INDONESIA’S Navy and police reportedly want to close their waters to a ship carrying nuclear waste bound for Australia.

“WE will block the ship because nuclear waste is very dangerous,” sea security coordinating agenda head Vice Admiral Desi Albert Mamahit told The Jakarta Post newspaper.

“Our ships are on standby, although the ship is still far from Indonesia. We have information about the ship.”On October 16, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed a project to repatriate radioactive waste from France, where it was sent for reprocessing in the 1990s and early 2000s, and which will now be retained at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights, Sydney, facility.”Consistent with security requirements and practice established during nine previous export operations, ANSTO will not confirm the destination port, land route, or timing,” it said on its website.The Indonesians are concerned about a ship called the MV Trader, which was close to the African coast and expected to pass through the Malacca Strait, according to reports.

November 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, safety | Leave a comment

 Paladin called on to close and rehabilitate Malawi uranium mine

Paladin-thumbConservation Council of Western Australia, 20 Nov 15  Shareholders at Perth based company Paladin’s AGM will call for the non-operational Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi to be closed and rehabilitated. Calls for rehabilitation follow years of community opposition to the mine and failure to prevent the release of radioactive material into the environment.

The mine has been under ‘care and maintenance’ for several years due to the falling demand for uranium globally.

Charles Roche from the Mineral Policy Institute who will be attending the meeting said “With predicted operating costs almost double the long-term uranium price, there is a real danger that Kaylekera will be abandoned or sold off to reduce company debt. Instead of endless optimism Paladin should be honest about the possibility of re-commencing of mining in the next few years and begin rehabilitation works to protect communities, secure the site and end the cycle of financial losses”.

Mia Pepper, CCWA nuclear free campaigner who is in Africa at the Nuclearization of Africa conference this week said “We’ve been asking, along with French group CRIIRAD, for Paladin to release monitoring data from testing downstream from the mine. CRIIRAD have completed intermittent tests which indicate there is some radiological impact from the Kayelekera mine on the environment.”

“As the mine is about to go into a third year of being in Care and Maintenance we are concerned about the ongoing management of water on site and the structural integrity of the site. We would like to see this mine going into early rehabilitation, given the failures of Paladin to address community concerns, the clear local opposition to the project and the failure to contain radiological material onsite and an uncertain future. Rehabilitation should be done to the same standards expected in West Australia.”

Paladin has two uranium exploration projects in WA, also on hold given the stagnant uranium price and no mid term prospects of improvement. Paladin’s project in Qld is on hold indefinitely given that the Queensland Government reinstated the ban on uranium in Qld. Their JV proposal in the NT is also indefinitely on hold given strong opposition from the NT Government and Alice Springs residents.

November 20, 2015 Posted by | business, politics international, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull “browns down” OECD deal to limit coal subsidies

According to the Australian Greens, the Turnbull government’s deal could allow the development of up to 16,000MW of extra coal plants – already in the planning pipeline – to be financed.

Waters,-Larissa-Senator-1Greens Senator and climate spokesperson, Larissa Waters, said the Turnbull government’s “grubby gambit” had tipped the scales against clean energy in these developing countries, and towards coal – a situation that would benefit Australia’s resources sector.

Turnbull accused of “browning down” OECD coal subsidy fossil-fuel-industryTurnbull climate 2 facedcuts, By  on 18 November 2015 The Turnbull government has been accused of “browning down” the deal to limit global coal plant subsidies, struck this week by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, after the compromise it proposed alongside South Korea was worked into the agreement. Continue reading

November 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Despite warnings, Malcolm Turnbull, in Turkey, announces uranium deal with India

Turnbull nuclearAustralia – India Civil Nuclear Deal Finalised Amidst Warnings, Australia Network News, 17 Nov 15  In 2014, India and Australia signed the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement during then Australian PM Tony Abbott’s visit to New Delhi. Now, his successor, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, told PM Narendra Modi on Sunday that procedure for the deal had been completed and could now be implemented…….The significant part of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement was that Australia agreed to become “a long-term reliable supplier of uranium to India.”…..

However, a Huffington Post piece suggests it was only around two months ago that the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties delivered a well-considered report into Australia’s controversial plan to sell uranium to India. The government-controlled Committee identified a number of practical steps & recommendations needed to address safety, security and legal uncertainty around the deal.

According to Dave Sweeney, earlier this week, the government chose to ignore these recommendations — emphatically stating that “the Government does not accept the Committee’s recommendation that exports of uranium to India should be deferred.”

November 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment


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