Australian news, and some related international items

Hiroshima witness urges New Zealand to lead nuclear weapons elimination

Stuff,  LAURA WALTERS , June 28 2018, When the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, Taeko Yoshioka Braid watched from the second-floor window of herclassroom, 60 kilometres away.

Braid, who moved to New Zealand in 1956 and now lives in Hastings, travelled to Hiroshima the next day with classmates to look for her family members and take supplies to the victims.

Yoshioka Braid said it was hard to talk about the horrors she saw as a 13-year-old in Hiroshima, including children separated from their parents, and people dying from burns from the blast and the radiated water.

On her second trip to the town at the epicentre, she felt something sticking to her shoes. She eventually realised it was human skin, which had melted off, following the blast.

…….. At a time when the international rules-based order is being challenged, and nuclear weapons remain a global issue, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reinstated the Cabinet portfolio of disarmament and arms control. Ardern announced Winston Peters would take up the ministerial role, during her first foreign policy speech in February.     In September last year, New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at a ceremony during the United Nations General Assembly.

The treaty is a landmark legally-binding international instrument prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons and related activities.

In July last year, it was adopted by the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.

Yoshioka Braid’s comments came during the international treaty examination, at a Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee hearing on Thursday. Something that needed to take place before New Zealand ratified the treaty.

“If anyone went there the day the bombed dropped, I’m sure they would all think like me: never again…

“I don’t want those same sorts of things to happen anywhere in the world; anywhere in the world.”

Alternative NZ submission by stuffnewsroom on Scribd….(included on original) ..

It was difficult to describe the experience, she said, adding that the bomb was so strong, some people died instantly, others were alive but too injured to move or talk.

Her daughter, Jacky Yoshioka Braid said New Zealand needed to take a leadership role in the elimination of nuclear weapons.

“We need to stop the fighting, and stop this fantasy around a nuclear war that we possibly could survive – it won’t happen.

“We saw what happened in Hiroshima, we’ve seen the after effects of what happened there and in Nagasaki. They were tiny compared to what could happen today.”

New Zealand created a world-leading anti-nuclear policy in 1984, after seeing what happened in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the cold war years.

“I think it’s really important that New Zealand takes this leadership role and helps guide these other young people around the world who want to stop the nuclear proliferation,” she said…………

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

European nations meet to boost community renewable energy

Unearthed 26th June 2018 ,This week national governments will meet in Brussels to vote on a deal –
part of the EU’s clean energy package – that would recognise the right
of people and communities to produce their own energy. It could represent
possibly the biggest systematic change to Europe’s electricity market in
a generation. Unearthed has got hold of the final text of the renewable
energy directive, which could boost the take-up of renewable energy from
households and small producers in the EU. The UK appears unsure as to
whether it will integrate the policies into national law after Brexit.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Anatomy of Trumpocracy

The Anatomy of Trumpocracy: An Interview With Noam Chomsky C.J. Polychroniou,  Truthout  June 28, 2018 

With its spate of right-wing rulings this week, the Supreme Court has paved the way for Donald Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress to intensify their attacks on human rights, workers and the country’s democratic institutions, dragging the US deeper into the abyss.

US political culture has long been dominated by oligarchical corporate and financial interests, militarism and jingoism, but the current Trumpocracy represents a new level of neoliberal cruelty. Indeed, the United States is turning into a pariah nation, a unique position among Western states in the second decade of the 21st century.

What factors and the forces produced this radical and dangerous shift? How did Trump manage to bring the Republican Party under his total control? Is Trumpocracy a temporary phenomenon, or the future of American politics? Is the Bernie Sanders phenomenon over? In the exclusive Truthout interview below, world-renowned scholar and public intellectual Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at MIT and currently Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona, tackles these questions and offers his unique insights.

Qn. “…… how do we explain the fact that he has essentially taken over the Republican Party without any serious opposition?”

Noam Chomsky: Part of the solution to the puzzle is Obama’s performance in office. Many were seduced by the rhetoric of “hope” and “change,” and deeply disillusioned by the very early discovery that the words had little substance………

Quite apart from Obama’s disappointing policies, he and the [Democratic] Party were victims of the intense racism that is deeply rooted in large parts of American society. The visceral hatred of Obama cannot be explained in other terms.

But there is far more than that. For some time, candidates for Republican primaries who emerged from the base have been far off the traditional spectrum. The establishment was able to suppress them and gain their own candidate, but that didn’t change the basis for their support. For years, both parties have drifted to the right — the Republicans off the spectrum of normal parliamentary politics. Their dedication to wealth and corporate power is so extreme that they cannot get votes on their actual policies

…….. Trump has had overwhelming support among whites and less educated sectors, but for the most part, his mass voting base is relatively affluent and privileged. A recent Pew poll of Trump approvers found two-thirds are either college graduates, women or nonwhite, the last group apparently not many.

……. For the actual Republican constituency of wealth and corporate power, these are glory days, so why object, even if his antics sometimes cause some grimaces? The core constituency of Evangelicals is solidly in Trump’s pocket, thanks to the crumbs thrown their way. Many working people maintain the illusion that Trump cares about them and will bring back lost days of steady jobs in mining and manufacturing.

……… Trump himself seems to be having the time of his life. He’s constantly in the limelight, his loyal base worships his every move, he’s free to defy convention, to insult anyone he chooses, to disrupt the international economic and political order at will — whatever comes to mind next, knowing that he’s the biggest thug on the block and can probably get away with it — again, for a while, at least.

“….Qn: How do we explain the fact that Trump continues to cause chaos on all fronts, both domestically and internationally, and yet his popularity remains at quite high levels?

As I mentioned, Trump’s popularity among Republicans is unusually fervent and high, though not uniquely so. The affluent are doing fine. The economy is continuing the slow growth under Obama, though wages are barely rising and job security is low.


June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Renewable energy is booming across Asia

Physics World 27th June 2018 Dave Elliott: Renewables are booming across Asia, but there are variations
in pace and rival options also play a role. An interesting paper by Indian
academic Nandakumar Janardhanan looks at competition in renewables in
developing countries in Asia, focusing on India and China.

Janardhana notes that “India and China, being major developing economies and having huge
energy appetite, focused heavily on strengthening their respective
alternative energy sector” so as to reduce their over-reliance on
conventional fossil fuels. He adds that “India depends on external oil
supplies to meet two thirds of its oil demand, one third of oil demand in
China is met by imports”.

As a result, the renewable energy sector has
gained great momentum in these two countries and “as innovation and
development began to lead the growth of alternative energy sector,
opportunities for expansion within their respective borders as well as
outside emerged as promising avenues for the industry from both

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tesla batteries arrive for world’s first wind-solar-battery project — RenewEconomy

Tesla batteries arrive on site at company’s third big battery project in Australia, and at what will be the world’s first grid-connected project combining large scale wind, solar and battery storage.

via Tesla batteries arrive for world’s first wind-solar-battery project — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables replaced more than half Hazelwood capacity — RenewEconomy

AEMO data shows some surprising results on the replacement of Hazelwood, and what happened to wholesale electricity prices.

via Renewables replaced more than half Hazelwood capacity — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Storer to chair select committee on electric vehicles — RenewEconomy

Australia is uniquely placed to take a leading role in this transformation, with all the natural and human resources needed to build EVs from scratch.

via Senator Storer to chair select committee on electric vehicles — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report — RenewEconomy

Latest version of major UN science report concludes the upper temperature goal of the Paris Agreement does not represent a climate safe zone.

via Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia solar costs hit “extraordinary” new lows – $50s/MWh — RenewEconomy

ARENA says Australia utility-scale solar prices has plunged to “somewhere in the $50s” today, while BNEF says China module surplus could lower prices further in Australia by end of the year.

via Australia solar costs hit “extraordinary” new lows – $50s/MWh — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New coal doesn’t stack up – just look at Queensland’s renewable energy numbers — RenewEconomy

Renewable energy is a much better choice than coal fired generation, in terms of both costs and jobs.

via New coal doesn’t stack up – just look at Queensland’s renewable energy numbers — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 28 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Can Wind Turbines Make You Sick?” • Whether the sound, audible or inaudible, actually impacts human health remains a deeply contested issue. Scientific consensus suggests it does not. Twenty-five peer-reviewed studies looking at a range of health effects have found that living near wind turbines does not pose a risk on human health. [NOVA […]

via June 28 Energy News — geoharvey

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment