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Zimbabwe could seize companies

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Zimbabwe could seize companies)

President Robert Mugabe’s government says the bill is part of its drive to empower the country’s poor majority and eliminate traces of the colonial past.

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Legislators of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) kicked off debate on the bill, saying it was designed to enrich a few powerful individuals and win votes for the ruling ZANU-PF party in parliamentary and presidential elections due next March.

At the UN General Assembly in New York, US President George W. Bush denounced Mr Mugabe’s government as “tyrannical” and demanded freedom for the Zimbabwean people.

But African nations, closing ranks behind Mr Mugabe, insist on his presence at an EU-Africa summit in Portugal in December, Zimbabwe’s information minister said in response to the British prime minister’s refusal to attend if Mr Mugabe was there.

Repression blamed for exodus

Critics accuse the Zimbabwean government of causing the economic crisis by seizing white-owned farms and handing them to inexperienced black farmers, leading to soaring inflation and unemployment and crippling shortages that have forced hundreds of thousands to seek work and food abroad.

Mr Mugabe has denied charges of economic mismanagement and blames the crisis on Western sabotage.

The European Union has imposed targeted sanctions on members of his leadership group it accuses of rights abuses and election fraud.

A survey released in Johannesburg today showed political repression was an even bigger cause of Zimbabwean flight to South Africa than the economy.

Between two and three million Zimbabweans are estimated to have fled to South Africa.

“The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions to flee their homeland…The United Nations must insist on change in Harare and…on the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Bush told the UN General Assembly.

Foreign conspiracy theory

The MDC’s Edwin Mushoriwa, leading parliament’s debate on the bill, told lawmakers: “What we are seeing is an attempt obviously to use this as a campaign tool to woo voters for the elections and to give money to a few people.”

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana and ZANU-PF legislators defended the bill and accused its opponents of trying to perpetuate economic imbalances brought about by colonialism.

“If we do not dismantle the structure of colonialism that we inherited, then we have not given back all the country’s resources to its rightful owners, our people,” he said.

Mr Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has accused some foreign-owned firms of working with his Western opponents to topple his government by raising prices without reason.

He has threatened to seize foreign businesses.

Mr Mangwana tried to allay business fears by saying the government would work with industries to set timetables for foreign-owned firms to transfer majority ownership to locals.

“We are not going to indigenise in a day,” he said.

Fears for the economy

Mining and business officials said the law could accelerate the decline of an economy that has shrunk by at least 30 per cent since 1999.

“Zimbabwe is now seen as a high-risk destination because of uncertainty over security of tenure and lack of confidence in the rule of law,” Chamber of Mines leader Jack Murewa said.

Information Minister Sikhanhyiso Ndlovu told journalists Mr Mugabe had solid African backing to attend the December summit.

“If any pressure is put on Portugal not to invite President Mugabe, SADC will also not attend and the AU will not attend,” he said, referring to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last week he would not attend the summit if Mr Mugabe did because Mr Mugabe’s presence would divert attention from important agenda items.

The EU-Africa summit did not take place in 2003 after Britain and other EU states refused to attend if Mr Mugabe did.

Somalians on the brink of starvation flee

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Somalians on the brink of starvation flee)

More than 170,000 people have fled fighting in Somalia's capital in the past two weeks, as up to a million people face starvation.

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The humanitarian crisis already facing the country is worsening, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.

With near-daily clashes between Ethiopia-Somali forces and Islamist rebels, the UNHCR said it was doling out its last stocks from Mogadishu to the displaced, but warned of tough conditions as host areas struggle with the influx.

Some 90,000 people have fled to Afgooye, 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu, which has already taken in some 150,000 displaced people since the beginning of the year.

In the Afgooye area, “people can no longer find space for shelter around the town itself,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.

“Many families are simply living under trees.

Although several NGOs are trucking water to the sites, it's not enough to meet demand,” he added.

Traders stayed away from the volatile Bakara market, where forces have been searching for weapons.

Government troops patrolled strategic positions in the city, but insurgents have stayed out of sight.

President calls on residents

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed urged Mogadishu residents to join the fight against rebels or risk getting caught in the ensuing crossfire.

“People in neighbourhoods must also fight the Shabab and chase them away.

“Otherwise they are the ones who suffer in crackdowns,” he said, referring to the radical armed wing of the main Somali Islamist movement.

Dozens of people, mainly civilians, have been killed and at least 170,000 displaced in some of the worst fighting since April, when Ethiopian troops swept aside the Islamists who had briefly governed much of the country, including Mogadishu.

Witnesses said Ethiopian forces indiscriminately shot civilians in a bid to clamp down on insurgents.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” said Mr Yusuf, but the UN special envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said such impunity was “unacceptable”.

Mr Ould-Abdallah raised the prospect of retribution for alleged war crimes that have long been ignored.

“People perpetuating crimes and violence are not being challenged before the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“I think the time has come to see what international justice can do to help Somalis,” he said in Nairobi, where he became the first top UN envoy to make such a call for trials before the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.

The recent clashes have worsened the humanitarian crisis that has dogged the nation for 16 years, with areas just outside the city struggling to cope with the latest influx of displaced people.

One million faced with starvation

The Shabelle region – Somalia's breadbasket – has suffered its worst crop in 13 years, putting the lives of nearly a million on the edge of starvation.

Aid workers have also said that the few who remained in the worst-affected areas of Mogadishu are beyond the reach of the relief net and face dire conditions.

Dampening peace prospects, Mr Yusuf said future peace talks, if any, would exclude Islamists, some of whose elements have been accused of terrorism.

“I will hold dialogue and consultations and reach peace deals with any group that will denounce violence.”

In Mogadishu, government forces yanked two more radio stations off the air, a day after shutting Radio Shabelle, one of the largest broadcasters in the capital.

The government said stations that “exaggerate the (security) situation” will be shut.

Mr Ould-Abdallah condemned the closure, saying: “This is the kind of thing that should be avoided.”

The International Federation of Journalists said the move was “appalling” and demanded the channels be reopened “immediately and unconditionally.”

Bloody clan bickering and power struggles that intensified after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre have scuppered many bids to stabilise Somalia.

Trade dominates Day Two talks

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Trade dominates Day Two talks)

Prime Minister John Howard says the leaders, who represent major trading nations such as the United States, Japan, China and Russia, will issue a statement later in the day on trade talks now under way in Geneva.

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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is expected to pledge to ensure that the moribund Doha round of global trade talks enter their final phase this year.

Free trade talks

Asia-Pacific foreign and trade ministers meeting in Sydney have already agreed to accelerate global free trade talks.

US President George W Bush has called at APEC for more flexibility in world trade talks, saying the Doha round of talks in Geneva was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

APEC's 21-member economies account for half of global trade and nearly 60 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

‘Close to deal’

Trade negotiators may be edging closer to a deal on the most divisive issues in the Doha talks, WTO director-general Pascal Lamy says.

"There is a strong sense that it's make-or-break moment.

“It may take a few weeks, but my sense is that there is a lot of focus and energy," Mr Lamy told CNBC in a taped interview.

Urgent negotiations

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who is attending APEC, says she also sees a sense of urgency and motivation among negotiators.

The Doha Round, named after the Qatari capital where negotiations were launched in November 2001, was first meant to wrap up by the end of 2004.

The talks have struggled to overcome many countries' resistance to open their farm and manufacturing sectors to more competition.

‘Aspirational’ climate goals

The APEC leaders agreed yesterday to a "long-term aspirational goal" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but no binding targets.

They also said all nations, developing and developed, should contribute according to their own capacities and circumstances to reducing greenhouse gases.

Green groups say the "Sydney Declaration" was a failure without binding targets to cut greenhouse emissions.

Tight security

The leaders met behind a tight security cordon at the Sydney Opera House, after police say they feared violent street protests against the Iraq war and global warming.

But yesterday's anti-APEC protest march was peaceful, with only a few arrests.

The final day of the conference will proceed without President Bush, who flew out of Australia late on Saturday.

Mr Bush returned home early to prepare for a major report on the progress of the Iraq war.

Pacific leaders to take on big polluters

July 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Pacific leaders to take on big polluters)

Big polluters China, the US and India will come in for criticism from small Pacific states threatened by climate change at the Pacific Islands Forum.

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Those powerhouses are attending a post-forum dialogue on Friday in the Marshall Islands, where they’ll face off with the leaders of low-lying states, whose future could be underwater unless action is taken to stem rising seas and other climate-related impacts.

Pacific leaders on Thursday agreed to the Majuro Declaration, calling on forum members and others to take meaningful steps to address climate change, including boosting their carbon reduction targets.

The host of next year’s forum, Palau President Tommy Remengesau, says he plans to build on the momentum on climate change that the Marshall Islands has started.

“This is an issue of our very own survival, and our sustainability as a people, and as small island nations here,” he said.

On Friday, US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will hold one-on-one meetings with several leaders, but her reception from the host nation will be lukewarm, the Marshalls’ Foreign Affairs Minister Phillip Muller has indicated.

“We would have expected, if not (Secretary of State John) Kerry, somebody close to him,” he said, adding that Mr Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, attended last year’s forum in the Cook Islands.

“When you send a minister of the interior, that’s the person who manages the internal affairs of another country, and for us I think that’s really more than just a slap in the face.”

Along with pressure on the US to boost its climate change commitments, the Marshalls – a former US territory which endured dozens of nuclear tests 60 years ago – will also demand it live up to its obligations to Marshall Islanders still affected by resulting health issues, and settle the $US2 billion ($A2.19 billion) in compensation claims still outstanding.

Argentine boxing champion weighs in for Madrid bid

July 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Argentine boxing champion weighs in for Madrid bid)

Former England football captain Beckham helped London win the right to organise the 2012 Games and Brazilian great Pele was part of Rio de Janeiro’s successful bid for the 2016 Games.

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NBA basketball player Pau Gasol is a figurehead for Madrid, competing against Istanbul and Tokyo in Saturday’s International Olympic Committee vote to stage the 2020 Games.

Madrid, however, is also getting a helping hand from Argentine sports figures in Buenos Aires.

World middleweight boxing champion Sergio ‘Marvel’ Martinez, a Madrid resident for more than a decade, has followed Barcelona football ace Lionel Messi, also Argentine, in promoting the bid in his home city.

Martinez extolled the virtues of Madrid and Spain at a news conference on Thursday and played down the adverse effects of the world’s economic crisis on the Spanish capital.

“The crisis affects the whole world, there isn’t a country that escapes it but Spain is all right,” the 38-year-old said.

“Anyone who comes and goes between Europe and Latin America can see the difference between a crisis in a country like Spain and a country like Argentina.

“I think Spain has an excellent infrastructure already in place and an enormous solidity in the people who are committed to working to make these the best Games,” said Martinez.

“(Madrid) has the experience of having made two previous bids and they say third time lucky,” he added, referring to the failed bids for 2012, when they were third behind London and Paris, and 2016 as runners-up to Rio.

“Chances grow (with each bid) and there are lots of very capable people (working for Madrid) but the most important thing for me is the generosity and warmth of the Madridian, the Spaniard.”

Talking specifically of boxing at the Olympics, Martinez said the event had played an important part in the careers of leading fighters like Muhammad Ali.

“Although there are differences between amateur and professional boxing, the talented boxer as an amateur will be a talented pro,” he said.

“Olympic medal winners who turn professional almost always become big names,” said Martinez who won the WBC middleweight title by beating Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr last year and defended it successfully against Briton Martin Murray in April.

“I didn’t get to be at an Olympiad but I know it’s always positive for sportspeople and boxers to take part at a Games.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Baseball/softball hope for last-minute Olympic home run

July 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Baseball/softball hope for last-minute Olympic home run)

The two sports, excluded from the Olympics in a 2005 vote, have since merged into one federation to boost their chances of re-entering the Olympics in 2020.

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But with frontrunners wrestling – cut from the 2020 Games programme in February only to make the shortlist – and squash battling for inclusion the competition is tough.

While softball and baseball have no doubt improved their chances by joining forces, it is difficult to see how they could edge past wrestling, with all its Olympic funding, wide global appeal and clear IOC support as well as backing from the United States, also the heartland for baseball/softball.

Top IOC members have already praised wrestling for the changes it undertook following its shock exclusion in February while squash is advertising its small, compact and cheap proposition.

However, Don Porter, co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, told Reuters Television: “I think we are going to have a strong message, a very strong positive economic message to the IOC about what baseball and softball can do to be an added value to the Olympic programme.

“We think that this message will show that baseball and softball, economically and (through its) gender equality… is going to be something that we hope the IOC members will see as important, and put baseball and softball into the Olympic programme,” he said.

The IOC will select one sport for inclusion in the 2020 Games on September 8 at its session in Buenos Aires.

The chance of an Olympic return for baseball/softball is hampered by what analysts say is a limited global appeal, the potential absence from the Games of the top American players and the larger number of competitors needed compared to the other two sports.

To boost their cause, baseball and softball have added Antonio Castro, the son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and vice president of the federation, to their delegation in Argentina.

“We are fighting for the dreams of more than 65 million boys and girls around the world, fighting for those dreams of so many people, and to be in the party that is the Olympics,” Castro said.

“If we are in the Olympic Games, it would be much more than the 65 million (people playing) that we have today.”

Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are bidding to host the 2020 Games with a decision to be announced on September 7.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Young Turks form charm offensive

July 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Young Turks form charm offensive)

The city has selected 50 young athletes under the age of 25 to woo Olympic kingpins on Saturday when the Turkish capital will go head to head with Madrid and Tokyo in Buenos Aires.

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“Turkey’s youth are our greatest natural resource and they are for the future,” bid leader Hasan Arat told reporters in the Argentine capital on Thursday.

“The delegation we have here is a clear sign of how seriously we take our pledge to engage with the huge young population in Turkey and across the Olympic Movement.

“Turkey’s youth are at the very heart of our bid, our greatest natural resource and our brightest prospect for the future – so it is right that we should turn to them to help us bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Turkey for the very first time.”

Expanding on his theme, Arat said there are twice as many high school students in Turkey than there were 10 years ago, and that the country produces 700,000 university graduates every year.

“Youth unemployment has actually dropped since the start of the global economic crisis – the creation of 4.7 million new jobs since 2009 has helped Turkey register some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe,” Arat added.

The former basketball player said the 50 youngsters would be present during Istanbul’s presentation to the International Olympic Committee and would sit in the front seats ahead of politicians, administrators and bureaucrats.

“At the IOC Congress in Copenhagen in 2009, the IOC said that ‘the youth of the world are at the heart of the Olympic Movement’, and we fully subscribe to that belief,” Arat said.

“If we are awarded the honour of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time, Istanbul 2020 will be the ideal platform for engaging young people.”

The 50 young ambassadors will comprise half the official Istanbul 2020 delegation. Arat said they represent the huge youth population in Turkey, where nearly half of the population is under 25, making it the youngest country in Europe.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

Tangled deals could turn up Senate surprises

July 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Tangled deals could turn up Senate surprises)

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

That marks a rise of more than 50 per cent from the previous election in 2010.

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But the issue, to many political observers, is not so much the wide range of choices as it is the even broader question of what impact those with little chance may have on the outcome.

Nine years ago, Labor voters in Victoria were stunned to find, when preferences in the federal election were all tallied, they had elected a man named Steve Fielding to the Senate.

Less than one in 50 of the state’s voters had actually voted for the candidate from the fledgling, socially conservative Family First party.

But Labor had listed Family First ahead of the left-leaning Greens in its preferences, and Mr Fielding, a self-avowed climate sceptic, wound up sharing the balance of power.

Nine years later, political experts are suggesting essentially, in the words of the old comic-book character who revealed secrets about Batman, You ain’t seen nothing yet.

A record number of Senate candidates are on the ballot in this weekend’s election, and a tangled web of deals between groups with no track record could bring huge surprises.

Political scientist John Wanna, from the Australian National University in Canberra, says the so-called micro-parties have learned to play the system.

“Essentially, what happened is we introduced over-the-line voting because people were getting confused voting below the line, and people who were not good at maths, or slightly dyslexic, or didn’t understand the English about the instructions, would get it wrong, and so, in ’84, there was quite a high informal vote, which was just all accidental. What’s happened is, once we’ve gone over the line, the micro-parties have realised, as a result of things like the New South Wales Legislative Council elections, that they can piece together these deals, which are basically anti-democratic deals really. They’re trying to shift your vote to somewhere else. And they’ve had a couple of decades now to work out how to game the system. And they’ve learnt how to game the system.”

In over-the-line voting, more commonly known as above-the-line voting, voters can check one box for their preferred party, which then designates the order of preferences itself.

In below-the-line voting, voters retain the power to order their preferences.

But, with this year’s Senate ballot paper running more than a metre long in some states, they must order each of up to 110 candidates.

For candidates to be successful in this year’s half-Senate election, they will need to win a quota, or proportion, of total formal votes of about 14 per cent in the states.

Those who get more than 14 per cent on first count of votes are declared elected, but then begins the complex distribution of preferences to decide the other winners.

Professor Wanna suggests the next federal parliament may act to change the voting system again, requiring a higher threshold of first-preference votes to qualify to win a Senate seat.

But that does not help this time around.

So an associate professor of politics at Adelaide’s Flinders University, Haydon Manning, offers some advice.

First, for those 95 per cent of Australians traditionally expected to vote above the line.

“Any voter looking to vote above the line, it would pay just to do a Google search (of) Senate vote 2013 preferences. You’ll get to one of the web sites that simply show your state, show the party you prefer, and what they’ve registered with the Australian Electoral Commission as to how they want their preferences to go. Have a look at that. If you’re happy, (and) there’s not a problem, vote 1 above the line. But if you’re not happy, well, then take a deep breath, take a cup of coffee — just take a flask of coffee — into the polling booth, and just take your time and fill out all the boxes below. Because, that way, you’ll get what you want.”

Maybe.

On further thought in this most unusual of Senate elections, Dr Manning has some advice for those voting below the line, too.

“The best advice I can say to people going below the line is a bit like, ‘Count backwards.’ So, if there’s 110, work out the ones you really don’t like, start with them — 110, 109, 108, et cetera. Get rid of them. Then in, you know, the first third or so of the count, make sure you’ve got the bigger parties, the more likely ones to be elected. Put them there. And then if you’re going for some minor parties — you know, the little parties, (the) Shooters (and Fishers Party), Sex Party, One Nation, whatever — put them up the top … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, in that order, that sort of range. But you’ve got to recognise the party’s likely going to be eliminated — although, I’d best be careful, One Nation has got a chance in New South Wales.”

One Nation founder Pauline Hanson is, indeed, a prime example of the micro-party bonding.

Almost every small right-of-centre party is directing its preferences to her for a New South Wales Senate seat ahead of Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos, who’s seeking re-election.

Arthur Sinodinos has been seen as the probable Finance Minister in a Coalition government, but he could be kept out of parliament altogether.

The House of Representatives also has a record number of candidates this time – almost 12,000 – but the Coalition appears all but certain to win an easy majority there.

The Senate races, then, have taken on a vital role, because they could determine if an expected Coalition government has to negotiate – and with whom – to pass its legislation.

Greens leader Christine Milne says the focus has already shifted to the Senate in this final week of the campaign.

“Tony Abbott has now become so arrogant that he is assuming that he’s already got The Lodge. What he’s now coming after, this week, is control of the Senate as well, absolute power and control of both houses of parliament. And the Liberal Party’s advertising is going in that direction.”

But at the Australian National University, John Wanna suggests a lot of people will still be scratching their heads in wonder when they hear some of the results on election night.

“I expect a lot more people will vote over-the-line because it’s so complicated below the line and they won’t realise – they personally won’t realise – where their preferences are going, because they just won’t know. And, if, when they get home on election night and they … you know, someone is saying it’s quite likely that, ‘in this state, these voters who voted for this party have ended up electing this person,’ they’ll all scratch their heads and go, ‘Who voted for them?'”

 

 

Syria talks dominate G20 in Russia

June 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Syria talks dominate G20 in Russia)

Foreign Minister Bob Carr had a serious chat with Vladimir Putin as he headed into the first working meeting of the G20 leaders’ summit in St Petersburg.

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Most world leaders simply shook the Russian president’s hand and had a few brief words at the official welcome but Australia’s foreign minister engaged the president in a more lengthy conversation before entering the Constantine Palace.

During the round-table talks Senator Carr – standing in for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – was seated next to Mr Putin as Australia is taking over the G20 presidency for 2014.

Before the talks got underway, Senator Carr told reporters he was hopeful the two-day forum could resolve the differences between the United States and Russia over how to handle the Syria crisis.

“I have never demonised Russia for its position,” the foreign minister said.

“We’ve got to work with Russia to see if we can bring together the possibility of a ceasefire and a negotiated solution.”

World leaders discussed Syria at a dinner hosted by Mr Putin at the historic Peterhof Palace on Thursday night.

Most, including Senator Carr, arrived together, but US President Barack Obama was initially nowhere to be seen and only turned up at the palace half an hour later.

The Australian foreign minister was laughing with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as they walked through the palace grounds.

Senator Carr earlier held bilateral meetings with his French and Canadian counterparts.

He is planning to meet with the Chinese foreign minister too before leaving St Petersburg.

Mr Obama arrived in Russia after clearing the first hurdle in his race to win domestic congressional backing for punitive strikes over the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Senator Carr reiterated at the summit Canberra’s support for any limited US air strikes that doesn’t involve boots on the ground.

The G20 is predominantly a financial forum which helps set the global economic agenda.

Australian lawyer Robert Milliner is part of the B20 group which channels the business community’s policy recommendations to the G20.

He said the B20 was hoping for a better investment environment that would lead to the creation of more jobs.

He told AAP while the G20 had a critical role to play on economic matters it was understandable Syria was interfering with that in St Petersburg.

“But we would encourage governments, while they have to deal with issues of the moment, to also focus on using these institutions to drive the outcomes that are necessary around economic growth.”

Trade unions wants targets to be set for increased investment and jobs growth to ensure the G20 isn’t just a “talk-fest”.

But Mr Milliner on Thursday said it was difficult to have specific targets given member states were so varied in terms of economic development.

The leaders’ summit winds up on Friday.

Coalition backtracks over net filter policy

June 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Coalition backtracks over net filter policy)

The federal coalition has been embarrassed over its “opt out” internet filtering policy, with Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull forced to step in and kill it off.

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The coalition’s plan to enhance online safety for children, released on Thursday, promised a default filtering system for smartphones and other internet services “which provides maximum protection”.

The coalition was accused of wanting to impose an “opt out” internet filter on all Australians, prompting communications spokesman Mr Turnbull to issue a terse statement saying the policy was “poorly worded” and incorrect.

“The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material,” the statement said.

“The policy posted online today is being replaced with the correct version.”

Later on Thursday Mr Abbott also junked the “opt out” policy, authored by Liberal backbencher Paul Fletcher.

“We don’t, wouldn’t, won’t support any policy of filtering the internet – you simply can’t do it and it shouldn’t be done anyway,” Mr Abbott told reporters at Silvern, east of Melbourne.

“I read the policy last night, quickly it has to be said, and I thought it was a reference to the ability of people to get a PC based filter.

“I’m sorry that it’s poorly worded, but that’s been cleared up.”

Mr Abbott reiterated: “We don’t support filtering the Internet, we don’t support censoring the Internet”.

“We do want to see children protected where parents wish from the kind of material which is available on the net,” he said.

Hunter sparked massive Yosemite fire

June 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Hunter sparked massive Yosemite fire)

Investigators believe a hunter sparked the monster wildfire which spread into America’s world-renowned Yosemite National Park and became California’s fourth biggest blaze ever.

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They dismissed earlier reports that the so-called Rim Fire, which is now 80 per cent contained, was caused by activity on an illegal marijuana farm near the US landmark park.

“Investigators from the US Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations and Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office have determined the Rim Fire began when a hunter allowed an illegal fire to escape,” said a statement by the US Forest Service.

“There is no indication the hunter was involved with illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands and no marijuana cultivation sites were located near the origin of the fire. No arrests have been made at this time.”

The hunter’s name is being withheld pending further investigation, the statement added.

The fire, which began on the afternoon of August 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest just outside Yosemite, now covers 95,442 hectares, according to the latest update on the Inciweb inter-agency website.

More than 4,300 firefighters are still working to contain the blaze, while aircraft have dropped more than 15.14 million litres of water and fire retardant over the last 17 days.

It is the fourth largest California wildfire since records began 1932, with an area five times that of Washington DC.

The largest in California history remains the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which destroyed 2,820 buildings and left 14 people dead after ripping through 110,000 hectares of land.

Authorities in California have in recent years faced increasing problems with marijuana farms hidden deep in the region’s rugged wilderness.

A 2009 fire that burned 36,420 hectares in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara was triggered by a campfire at a marijuana farm.

Mankind’s global warming role

June 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Mankind’s global warming role)

Climate change caused by human use of fossil fuels played a role in about a half dozen extreme weather events last year.

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A team of international scientists examined 12 wild weather episodes in 2012, from droughts in the United States and Africa to heavy rainfall in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, China and Japan.

About half of the hand-picked events showed some sign of being worse than expected due to elements like warmer oceans and hotter temperatures brought on by the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and aerosols in the atmosphere.

The report, called “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective”, was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The peer-reviewed study included 18 research teams from around the world.

“All of the 2012 extreme events considered in this report, based on the authors’ analyses, would have likely occurred regardless of climate change,” said Thomas Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s National Climatic Data Center.

The goal of the research effort is to understand whether extreme events are likely to occur more frequently in the future, and “whether their intensity is changing because of natural factors or human caused change,” Karl told reporters on Thursday.

Human influence on climate could be partially to blame for heavy rainfalls in Australia and New Zealand and in the record winter drought in southwestern Europe, scientists said.

However, unusual rains in China and Japan, while extreme, did not appear to have a clear link to human-caused climate change.

Nor did the US drought of 2012 appear to be influenced by climate change, even though the same group of scientists reported last year that a harsh dry spell from 2011 did appear to have been worsened by human-caused global warming.

Attribution of extreme events is difficult because climate change may be a contributing factor, but is not the sole factor, said Tom Peterson, principal scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

“If you add just a little bit of speed to your daily highway commute, you can substantially raise the odds that you will get hurt someday. But when you do get into an accident, the primary cause may not be your speed itself, it could be wet roads or texting drivers,” said Peterson.

While natural variability in climate may be the equivalent of dangerous drivers or slick streets, he likened the added speed on the road are the increases in heavy precipitation and sea level rise that are caused by global warming, he said.

“We know that the world is warming and the primary reason is the burning of fossil fuels,” Peterson added.

One of the strongest examples of human influence was seen in an unusual heat wave in the eastern US from March to May 2012. The human contribution to that event was estimated at 35 per cent, raising the risk of such a hot spell by 12 times, the report said.

Arctic sea ice hit a record low point of 3.41 million square kilometres, in September 2012, about half of the 1979-2000 average for that time of year.

The phenomenon that could not be explained by natural variability alone, though the extent of human influence was unclear, the report said.

Scientists expect Arctic sea ice extent will continue to decrease and may be all but gone by mid-century.

When it came to Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc along the US east coast near New York and New Jersey, the storm “required many different factors to come together to create the major impacts that it did,” said the report.

“Therefore, Sandy is probably one of the most difficult extreme events of 2012 to fully explain.”

In the future, even weaker storms will be able to produce similar devastation due to sea level rise and coastal erosion, the report warned.

Superstorms are also expected to become more frequent in the US and elsewhere, it said.

Happy Mata pledges future to Chelsea

June 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Happy Mata pledges future to Chelsea)

Mata was voted Chelsea’s player of the year for the last two seasons but his omission from the team against Manchester United and Hull City in the Premier League and for last week’s Super Cup defeat by Bayern Munich prompted claims he was out of favour with coach Jose Mourinho.

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“I think it’s normal in every transfer window that there are lots of rumours but I’m happy here,” the former Valencia playmaker told Chelsea TV on Thursday.

“It’s been a very, very good two seasons for me here, maybe the best of my career, and what I want this season is the same.

“I’m looking forward to achieving as many trophies as we did the last two seasons and hopefully this is going to be a good season for us again,” said Mata, referring to the 2012 Champions League and FA Cup triumphs and last season’s Europa League win.

Mourinho has said repeatedly that Chelsea’s number 10 is not for sale and now the Spaniard is over the thigh strain that troubled him in pre-season, Mata is raring to go.

“My only aim is to play here, grow as a player and do as good a season as the last two which were amazing for me,” said the 25-year-old who was left out of the Spain squad for the World Cup qualifier against Finland on Friday and next Wednesday’s friendly versus Chile.

“These two seasons have flown by… but to me this is good because when you are enjoying things and you are happy, time goes quicker.

“I had four weeks off (ahead of pre-season training) and to be honest that’s too much time for me because in the last five or six years I didn’t have this sort of rest,” he said, referring to his international commitments.

“But I’ve had plenty of rest and now I’m feeling really good. The best thing for me is to play because I love to play.”

Chelsea, who are second in the Premier League table with seven points from three matches, play their next fixture at Everton on September 14.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)