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Syria talks dominate G20 in Russia

June 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 苏州美甲 - (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 苏州美甲 - (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 苏州美甲 - (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 苏州美甲 - (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 苏州美甲 - (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)