Australian news, and some related international items

New Labor leader Anthony Albanese supports UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty : News Corpse doesn’t like him!

ALP leader’s stance on nuclear weapons risks backlash: MPs, THE AUSTRALIAN,   Greg Brown 31 May 19, Anthony Albanese’s left-wing ­positions on foreign policy, ­including his support for a UN treaty that would pressure the US to eliminate its nuclear program, could become an electoral vulnerability, Labor MPs have warned.

The Opposition Leader, who has previously called for the phasing out of uranium mining and played down the Victorian Labor government’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is being closely watched by colleagues who want him to adopt a more hawkish foreign policy platform.

At the ALP national conference last December, Mr Albanese tried to move a motion that would oblige Labor to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was opposed by his now deputy leader, Richard Marles, and foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong.

The treaty, which has not been signed by the US or Britain, prohibits signatories from developing, testing and producing nuclear weapons. Its critics argue that rogue states such as Russia and North Korea would continue to develop weapons.

The motion passed after the Labor Right, led by Mr Marles, negotiated conditions on Labor signing the treaty.

“I am pleased that this motion before us today says that Labor in government will sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” Mr Albanese said in December…….

Mr Albanese has historically promoted alternative foreign policy views within the labour movement, including his push against Julia Gillard’s move to export uranium to India.

The Grayndler MP also described the Andrews government’s BRI agreement as being “much ado about nothing”, and said concerns about Chinese ­influence were naive. During the election campaign, Mr Albanese said coming into contact with the Communist Party in China was “no more shocking than someone having contact with the Liberal Party or the Labor Party here because they don’t have a separation of state and party there”…..

June 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Julian Assange a victim of torture: Australian government just let it happen

UN rapporteur on torture: Julian Assange subjected to psychological torture

Assange a victim of torture and Australia shares blame, says UN expert, The Age, By Nick Miller
May 31, 2019 London: Julian Assange has been subjected to intense psychological torture comparable to some of the gravest cases from “interrogation prisons” around the world, a United Nations expert says.He accuses the UK, US and Sweden of a “consistent failure” to protect Assange’s human rights – and Australia of a “glaring absence” where it should be helping one of its citizens…..

Nils Melzer, a Geneva-based former Red Cross lawyer and human rights expert who is now the UN special rapporteur on torture, spent four hours with Assange in Belmarsh in early May, assessing his psychological and mental state along with two medical specialists.

In a currently confidential report submitted to the British government on Monday, along with letters to the US, Swedish and Ecuadorian governments, Melzer concluded Assange “shows all the symptoms of someone exposed to prolonged psychological ill-treatment”.

“The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” Melzer said. “Mr Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.

“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity.”

Melzer said the ill treatment was a combination of the way Assange was confined, isolated and persecuted while inside the Ecuadorean embassy, especially in his last year there, along with death threats and public accusations, the prosecutions pursued against him and the public statements made by US government officials as to how he should be dealt with.

Torture did not just include active efforts, but also covers a situation where a State is “aware your behaviour will have these consequences and not doing anything about it”, Melzer said.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

Melzer told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that in his work with the UN and before in the field with the Red Cross he had seen people in rendition for interrogation after 9/11, and prisoners of war who had been ill-treated on a daily basis.

“But [Assange] is really something I’ve never seen in 20 years,” Melzer said. “I’ve seen atrocities in war areas that were physically more horrible but I’ve never seen a single person pursued so relentlessly and with so little foundation.

“[When I saw him] I immediately compared him to some of the graver cases in interrogation prisons in terms of his psychological reaction patterns. That’s what alarmed me so much.”

He said Assange’s treatment was “very close to the intentional, purposeful infliction of coercive measures to try to break him”.

Melzer said his visit on May 9 involved a three-hour psychological and physical assessment based on the “Istanbul Protocol”, a standard manual for assessing torture victims around the world.

The assessment took place before WikiLeaks revealed, on Wednesday, that Assange had been moved to a prison hospital having “dramatically lost weight” and in such a state that “it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him”…….

Assange, unlike other prisoners, was exposed to multiple major pending legal proceedings with “so much political commotion”, and was not being given enough time to talk to his lawyers and get updates on his case. ……

Melzer said he had seen no sign of Australian assistance for Assange.

“Australia is a glaring absence in this case. They’re just not around, as if Assange was not an Australian citizen. That is not the correct way of dealing with that.”…..

After it was reported Assange had been taken to the hospital prison this week, the Australian government again got in contact with the prison to check on him.

“We are confident that Mr Assange is being treated appropriately in Belmarsh Prison. Mr Assange has advised us that he is being treated the same as other prisoners in Belmarsh,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to visit Mr Assange in prison, monitor and advocate for his health, welfare and equitable treatment, and closely follow his legal proceedings.”

June 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Sea-level rise could be even worse than we’ve been led to expect

Sea-level rise could be even worse than we’ve been led to expect, WP,  By Editorial Board

May 30 19, 

ONE THING scientists are sure will happen as the world warms is that the seas will rise, putting millions of people at risk of land erosion, flooding and permanent displacement. But ask experts exactly how far oceans will advance, and their answer gets far more qualified. A studypublished May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that previous estimates of how bad sea-level rise could get were too conservative — and that coastal communities must contemplate more severe, long-term impacts from humans’ addiction to fossil fuels.

Researchers asked leading experts on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to provide their best updated estimates for the future of these frozen masses as temperatures spike. Aggregating these, the researchers concluded that the range of outcomes scientists now consider possible has shifted markedly toward more melting and, therefore, higher seas.  ……

President Trump and those in his administration ignore scientists’ increasingly dire warnings to the peril of their children, grandchildren and the rest of humanity.

June 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Swedish court rejects effort to delay Assange hearing  29 May 19.   Stockholm: A Swedish court has rejected efforts to postpone a hearing relating to Julian Assange, a lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder says.

A Swedish prosecutor this month filed a request for Assange to be detained for a June 3 hearing about a rape allegation.

Defence lawyer Per Samuelson told Reuters he visited Assange in British custody on Friday before seeking to postpone the hearing.

“One of the reasons is that Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him,” Samuelson said.

“I meant that it should be postponed until I had time to meet again and go through the issues in peace and quiet. I suggested no specific date and meant it should be postponed until everything was ready, but the district court has now decided that this won’t happen .

he Uppsala district court, where the hearing is due to take place, was not immediately available for comment. A prosecutors’ office spokesman declined to comment.

Sweden reopened the investigation into alleged rape, which Assange denies, in early May. It was begun in 2010 but dropped in 2017 while Assange was in refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy.

Assange was arrested in London last month after spending nearly seven years inside the embassy.

If the court order is granted, it would be the first step in a process to have Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

US authorities are separately seeking to extradite Assange on charges relating to the public release by WikiLeaks of a cache of secret documents, and last week unveiled 17 new criminal charges against him, including espionage.

The British courts will have to rule on the two extradition requests, with the home secretary having the final say on which one takes precedence.

June 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

“Nuclear Pride”- yet another pro nuclear propaganda greenwash outfit

The nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger is being portrayed as ‘environmental activist’ by the public and media. But Michael Shellenberger is ‘a radioactive wolf in green clothing: Dissecting the latest pro-nuclear spin’ as Independentaustralia goes on to describe the impact of the nuclear travelling salesman. Furthermore Friends of the Earth Australia critically analyzes the well financed global lobbying activities.
Nuclear Pride Coalition & Michael Shellenberger: Greenwash and Propaganda 2019,

On 21st October 2018 an article was published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, reporting on a rather curious scene that took place in Munich. In a ‘Nuclear Pride’ event, organizations like ‘Ecologists for Nuclear’ and the ‘Humanist party’ alongside other participants tried to raise awareness for their goal: The return to nuclear energy, whilst simultaneously calling themselves climate protectors.

A few years after the devastating nuclear accidents of Fukushima and Tschernobyl, which both resulted in extremely high numbers of casualties, the international nuclear lobby decided to shun the limelight for a little while. But apparently it takes more than just two global disasters to bring them down for good. The global nuclear society, the old and powerful networks between enterprises, lobbyists and nuclear parties are still very much in tact. Even though renewable energies are on the rise in the western world, and many outdated nuclear power plants are going offline, dictatorships and economically weak countries continue to establish new nuclear power plants. That is one of the reasons why new NPP’s are promoted so massively in 2018. The nuclear power plant operators make a big effort to try and win over the wary public after Fukushima and Tschernobyl. Consequently cunning campaigns are run and used to cover up facts, to spread half-truths and to boast.

Continue reading

June 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Chernobyl TV series is not an exaggeration

It’s one of the hottest TV shows in the world but what is the real story of Chernobyl and is it actually safe to visit the site now?

31 May 19,…. The five-part Sky and HBO co-production, which is based on real-life events around the world’s worst nuclear disaster, has gripped the UK and is also now available in Australia via One Demand on Fox Showcase.

The horrifying events of April 26, 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear power station went into meltdown have been brought to life in the new drama, and the show is now the highest rated program on IMDb.

Here’s a rundown of what we know about the real life events.


An alarm bellowed out at the nuclear plant on April 26, 1986, as workers looked on in horror at the control panels signalling a major meltdown in the number four reactor.

The safety switches had been switched off in the early hours to test the turbine but the reactor overheated and generated a blast the equivalent of 500 nuclear bombs.

The reactor’s roof was blown off and a plume of radioactive material was blasted into the atmosphere.

As air was sucked into the shattered reactor, it ignited flammable carbon monoxide gas causing a fire which burned for nine days.

The catastrophe released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Soviet authorities waited 24 hours before evacuating the nearby town of Pripyat — giving the 50,000 residents just three hours to leave their homes.

After the accident traces of radioactive deposits were found in Belarus where poisonous rain damaged plants and caused animal mutations.

But the devastating impact was also felt in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, France and the UK.

An 18-mile radius known as the “Exclusion Zone” was set up around the reactor following the disaster.


At least 31 people died in the accident — including two who were killed at the scene and more who passed away a few months later from Acute Radiation Syndrome.

The actual death toll is hard to predict as mortality rates have been hidden by propaganda and reports were lost when the Soviet Union broke up.

In 2005, the World Health Organisation revealed a total of 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure.

About 4000 cases of thyroid cancer have been seen since the disaster — mainly in people who were children or teenagers at the time.


Farmers noticed an increase in genetic abnormalities in farm animals immediately after the disaster.

This spiked again in 1990 when around 400 deformed animals were born — possibly as a result of radiation released from the sarcophagus intended to isolate the nuclear core.

Some animals were born with extra limbs, abnormal colouring and a smaller size.

Animals that remained in the exclusion zone became radioactive — including as many as 400 wolves, which is the highest density wolf population on the entire planet.

The Eurasian lynx — once believed to have disappeared from Europe — thrived in Chernobyl as there were no humans to run them out.

Birds were also affected by radiation, with barn swallows having deformed beaks, albinism and even smaller brains.

The radioactive animals all live in the “Red Forest”, which got its name after the trees turned crimson in the fallout.


The site and Pripyat has been safe for tourists to visit since 2010.

There are around 160 villages in the Exclusion Zone but the basement of the hospital in Pripyat remains one of the more chilling stories.

The firemen were taken to the hospital for treatment and their clothes, which had been stripped off were discarded.

Later radiation readings at the site reached 7000 millisieverts — the risk of haemorrhage starts at 1000 while death begins at 4000.

The ghost town also includes a school that features in the video game Call of Duty, an abandoned Ferris wheel and homes frantically deserted when evacuation began.

Tourists have to be screened before they enter the Exclusion Zone and are told not to touch anything within the cordon.

Holiday companies offer packages that give an official tour of the Exclusion Zone.

June 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Lynas still struggling to deal with its Malaysian radioactive waste problem

June 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths | Leave a comment

Merkel urges world to do all ‘humanly possible’ on climate change

  SBS, 1 June 19 In her commencement address delivered at Harvard University in the United States, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the world to join together to combat climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday urged the world to do “everything humanly possible” to combat climate change and pledged to do her part.

“Climate change poses a threat to our planet’s natural resources,” Ms Merkel said in her commencement address delivered at Harvard University in the United States.

“It and the resulting crises are caused by humans.”,…….

June 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Queensland electric super highway will soon have 50+ EV chargers — RenewEconomy

Queensland is set to triple its electric car charging network from 17 charging sites to more than 50. The post Queensland electric super highway will soon have 50+ EV chargers appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Queensland electric super highway will soon have 50+ EV chargers — RenewEconomy

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May 31 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “How Much Can Painting A Roof White Reduce Its Tempera-ture?” • It has long been known that painting a building’s roof white reflects sunlight and reduces its temperature. But by how much and are there downsides to doing it? A cool roof can save air-conditioning costs by as much as 40%, […]

via May 31 Energy News — geoharvey

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Adani edges closer to mine start as Queensland accepts plans for endangered finch — RenewEconomy

Adani mine requires just one further environmental approval as Queensland Government grants expedited approval for management plans for endangered black throated finch. The post Adani edges closer to mine start as Queensland accepts plans for endangered finch appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Adani edges closer to mine start as Queensland accepts plans for endangered finch — RenewEconomy

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Energy transition has only just begun, but solar has already changed the game — RenewEconomy

First detailed generation report highlights growing influence of renewables on the grid but notes the transition has only just begun, and there are hurdles ahead. The post Energy transition has only just begun, but solar has already changed the game appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Energy transition has only just begun, but solar has already changed the game — RenewEconomy

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Enova Energy celebrates three years — RenewEconomy

Enova Community Energy is celebrating three years in operation as Australia’s first community-owned electricity company on Friday, 31 May and continues to make history with ground-breaking initiatives. The post Enova Energy celebrates three years appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Enova Energy celebrates three years — RenewEconomy

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New APVI solar tool shows daily, time-based forecast for each state — RenewEconomy

New tool integrated into APVI Live Solar Map, allows solar system owners to estimate how their PV generation will track over the rest of the day. The post New APVI solar tool shows daily, time-based forecast for each state appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via New APVI solar tool shows daily, time-based forecast for each state — RenewEconomy

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Electricity emissions fall sharply as renewable energy continues heavy lifting — RenewEconomy

Wind overtakes hydro as largest source of renewable energy as electricity sector emissions continue to fall and South Australia beats 50 per cent wind and solar share. The post Electricity emissions fall sharply as renewable energy continues heavy lifting appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Electricity emissions fall sharply as renewable energy continues heavy lifting — RenewEconomy

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