TOMORROW: Fed Square: Mark Allen and Mark O'Connor do Population at Sustainable Living Festival 2016

Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12-12.30pm: Mark Allen of Population Permaculture and Planning asks: Is it possible to accommodate a growing population without unacceptably high density living and urban sprawl? If so, what rate of population growth should we be looking at and what types of community should we be creating? This workshop discusses the merits of village style living in combination with permaculture principles and asks the question, where do we go from here?

Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12.30-1pm: Mark O’Connor, co-author of Overloading Australia, will look at why environmentalism is almost meaningless when there is no plan to limit growth of population, why this issue is often ignored, and what a better form of environmentalism could and should do. What are humane and practical ways to limit Australia’s and the world’s population? (Sustainable Population Australia - Victorian Branch (SPA Victoria) organised this event.)

Lateline interviews Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Syrian President Bashar al Assad's top adviser, 11 Feb 2016

Dr Shaaban says UN Report claiming to uncover torture and murder by the Syrian government has no more credibility than the 'weapons of mass destruction' that the US used as an excuse to invade Iraq and which were later shown not to exist. "Everybody who is carrying arms against civilian and against the Government is a terrorist. The Russians are here according in response to the requests of the Syrian Government. The Russians are coordinating with us every single step and they are only fighting terrorists"; "The Security Council Resolution 2254 asked for one broad delegation from the opposition to represent the opposition in Geneva. Let us wait to see when that delegation is going to be made. The reality, Tony, again, is that these oppositions are paid by Turkey, by Saudi Arabia, by Qatar.

Frankston bandicoot expert, Hans Brunner on ABC Sunday 22nd of Feb 7 pm NEWS.

The ABC has interviewed Hans Brunner about the problems of bandicoots in Victoria. The interview will be screened on Sunday 22 February 2016 on the 7pm news, we believe. (The schedule changed from this Sunday.) Hans Brunner is well-known to professional ecologists and wildlife enthusiasts in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula, where he has continually championed the rights of bandicoots to safe habitat in the face of ever-increasing obstacles and stone-walling by government. Hans continues to be involved in the defense of preserving a full natural ecology in Frankston.

Direct from Aleppo: Reaction to UN anti-Syrian Government, Anti-Russian propaganda

ALEPPO, SYRIA, 11 Feb 2016: Our correspondent writes: "President Assad is not exterminating his people. I'm still alive, and no one said a word to me. If something bad happened to me in the near future, it would be because of the terrorists' policy of extermination. I'm living happily because there are Syrian soldiers who are defending us in hot summers and cold winters. The UN is lying as usual in their reports about Aleppo and Syria in general."

Kelvin Thomson objects to motion to disempower environmental groups

This article contains a speech by Kelvin Thomson, critical of a motion to change environmental law by George Christensen, Member for Dawson, Queensland. Monday, 8 February 2016, House of Representatives, Chamber Speech, page 22 Hansard proofs.

Is ‘POPULATION’ a dirty word in the sustainability movement in Australia?

Population is a big issue happening in the world today, with our numbers having increased massively from around 1 billion in 1850 to what now looks like 11 billion at the end of the century. Right now, the numbers of the world’s poor increase by 80 million each year and the number of unwanted pregnancies are 210 million per annum. Considering that human population predicts 88% of impact to other animal and plant species (according to the International Union for the Conversation of Nature) human population remains a huge, yet very controversial concern. (This article was written by Michael Bayliss as part of an information booklet with Mark Allen (founder, Population Permaculture and Planning) entitled: 'Why We Need To Talk About Population.' This booklet is designed to engage with a younger, left leaning generation including environmentalists and activists.

Video: Former UK-Syria ambassador's disgust at Britain's role in fueling war and refugees

Going Underground's Afshin Rattansi interviews the former British Ambassador to Syria on the irony of London hosting a Syria conference to aid refugees while Cameron drops bombs to create more. "This week London hosted the Syrian Donor conference in an attempt to raise money for the people UK bombs continue to displace to the shores of Europe. But as Philip Hammond mulls sending guns to Libya to quell the rise of Isis - made possible by the British toppling of Gadaffi - should we really even believe his claims that Russia is helping ISIS/Daesh by bombing Cameron's supposedly 'moderate' rebels." (Afshin Rattansi) First published at https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/331567-assange-detainment-syria-conference/

Kangaroo culling trial: unwise call for extension to petfood trial in Victoria

National Party member for the Victorian seat of Lowan Emma Kealy has called on the state government to extend a kangaroo culling trial to West Wimmera Shire.

(Click link to vote on poll).

The government introduced a two-year trial to cull kangaroos for pet food in 2014.

A State Government trial involving Ararat, Horsham, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack, Southern Grampians and Pyrenees local government areas is due to conclude in June.

Russian-Syrian Offensive Unmasks Western Media 'Journalism'

Great advances this week by the Syrian army and Russian air force have broken the rebel siege of two towns, and broken their umbilical link with Turkey. But they have also revealed the truth about Western media 'journalism'...

Something really significant happened this week. It wasn’t the last-ditch attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict in Geneva, or their failure. Neither was it the game-changing developments on the ground in Syria and the tightening of the noose around the foreign-backed terrorist armies – though this was certainly ‘significant’.

UN text: The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Deems the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Julian Assange as arbitrary

On 4 December 2015, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted Opinion No. 54/2015, in which it considered that Mr. Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In that opinion, the Working Group recognized that Mr. Assange is entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation. The application was filed with the Working Group in September 2014. The Opinion 54/2015 was sent to the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 22 January 2016 in accordance with the Working Group’s Methods of Work.

In addition to this short working group statement, Download the inedited text of the opinion and legal argument.

UN rules: "Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN expert panel finds"

Inside is the text of the public statement issued by the UN expert panel on Arbitrary Detention, which you will not find in most mainstream publications, which are seeking to obfuscate the UN opinion and its importance, with their own opinions. Julian Assange is a Victorian-born Australian citizen and asylum-seeker, recognised as a refugee by the UN. The Ecuadorian Embassy in London granted him refugee status, but the UK government stopped him from going to Ecuador by taking his passport and surrounding the embassy with police, day and night. What did Assange do? Assange famously published, on his Wikileaks, authentic film of US soldiers hunting down civilians with helicopters and machine guns as if they were in a video game.

Aussie WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN panel finds

5 February 2016 – The founder of the WikiLeaks website, which published confidential diplomatic information, has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom since his arrest in London in December 2010, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said today.

Environment East Gippsland's 7th successful legal action for forests!

Environment East Gippsland shouldn’t be forced down this costly road but they are … and it works! If anyone would like to share in this winning strategy you can send us a few bob so they can keep it going. Donations are tax-deductible (but we understand if people have thin piggy banks after Xmas). EEG has quite a few large bills to pay now. But their work isn’t over yet! Please drink a toast to all the players tonight – the EEG lawyers, the risk taking EEG team, and the GECO and FFRC surveyors – what a force! You can donate here.

Californians for Population Stabilisation: Fight immigration myths in 2016

Malls and “destination” shopping are something I avoid, but I found myself in a retail center on January 2 to exchange a gift for another size. (My dislike for the mall world is such that if the transaction could have been handled online, I would have.) The relative tranquility in Los Angeles between the Christmas and New Year holiday due to significantly fewer people in town was gone by then, and the mall parking lot traffic lanes were filled by vehicles with nowhere to move – complete gridlock in a parking lot. Find original article here.

Victorian Forests: 20 year legal exemption must go

Wednesday 3rd February marks the 19th anniversary of an agreement that has allowed the logging industry a legal exemption from Australia’s environment laws. Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland, where this exemption from commonwealth laws was first introduced says the Turnbull government is planning to instate another 20 years of this special treatment. When the agreement between the state and federal govt was signed, EGipp was promised a multi-million dollar economic boost – 400 new jobs – a bright future. There were 20 sawmills at the time – it’s now down to 5. It employs less than 0.05% of the regional workforce. The joint MR of 3rd Feb 1997 promised world class protection of old growth and biodiversity – both of which have declined rapidly in that time.

I'm not against growth but....

How do people in Australia see the massive disruptions in their environment and diminution of their quality of life brought about by population growth which is more than double the natural increase of the nation's population? This overheard conversation gives some insight.

Eastern Europe's home ownership leads the world; France is catching up; Australia far behind

A growing number of French people own their own homes. Ownership runs at 64% today, and is expected to grow to 68% in the next six years. France is well behind other European countries though in home ownership. The champions are in Eastern Europe. 96% of people own their own homes in Romania. 70% own their own homes in Italy. Seven out of ten French home owners have entirely paid off their home loan. For people purchasing today, the average time to pay off a home is 17 years. This is a situation to dream of for Australian home-buyers, who are only second to Hong Kong's in suffering under a terrible system. The French system discourages land-speculation in a number of ways which therefore deter the flourishing of a malignant property and growth lobby there.

Video Interview: Danish Parliament member recommends Australian refugee processing system

A frank discussion about the consequences of Merkel's open borders on Denmark, with a number of references to the Australian system for processing refugees. Note, however, that refugees do not usually achieve permanent resettlement in Europe, whereas they usually do in Australia. When European governments talk about taking in refugees, they are talking about a temporary situation. In this interview Oksana Boyko of RT asks Ft. Anders Vistisen about the Danish plan to confiscate valuables from refugee applicants to pay for their costs and how many more refugees can Denmark accept. Why is Denmark moving refugees to rural camps? Won't that detract from their integration?

EU plan to deal with Migrant Crisis in shambles: French report

Four months ago, France committed to taking 30,700 refugees over two years, but after four months only 62 refugees have been sent from the processing centres. The European Union planned on 11 reception centers in the 'hotspots' of Italy and Greece, but there are only 4 functioning ones. Seven countries voted against the redistribution of immigrants by the EU and one is taking the EU to court for breaching the rights of national parliaments and the European parliament itself. Greece says it was depending on other EU countries sending reinforcements to its coastguard, but so far, the number of reinforcements has been minute, with France far in the lead. This article is a translation of a news item from France 2 and the illustrations are taken from that item. (Translation by Sheila Newman)

Sex life of sleeping sickness parasite could lead to its own extinction

January 26 2016: A parasite which kills thousands of people each year in sub-Saharan Africa arose comparatively recently, and its unusual sex life may lead to its own extinction, scientists have found.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine have discovered that Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (T.b. gambiense), the main parasite that causes African Sleeping Sickness, has existed for thousands of years without reproducing sexually.

Australia Day ambivalence

Back in 1788 on 26th January, the First Fleet of British Ships arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales, having landed a few days earlier at Botany Bay. The British flag was raised right there at Port Jackson by Governor Arthur Phillip and the previous inhabitants were summarily and officially dispossessed. The First Fleet comprised six convict ships lead by two Royal Navy escort ships. There are varying accounts of the number of convicts who arrived in the First Fleet but I conclude after looking at a number of relevant sites that over 700 convicts arrived of whom about a quarter were female.

Good News! Reconciliation, peace and return home of Syrian refugees in two Syrian locations due to Syrian Government efforts

Videos inside: These films are dated 21 January 2016. They show successful attempts by the Syrian government to make Syria safe again. The government has been able to reconcile with 'rebel groups' that recognise that war is tearing their country apart. Refugee activists please take note. Nearly the biggest problem that Syrians continue to face is the refusal by US-NATO and its allies, such as Australia, to recognise that we must all work with the Syrian Government to make Syria safe. Because of these evil US-NATO policies, it is most unlikely that these positive developments will be promoted in the Australian media, if they are transmitted at all. So, please send these films round to everyone you know, to help end this war and place pressure on western governments to stop intervening.

Male-skewed immigration to Europe and sexist violence: Oksana Boyko interviews Prof Hudson

The assault and robbery of scores of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve, allegedly perpetrated by groups of migrants, has fanned the flames of the refugee crisis in Europe. And while European leaders introduce stricter measures to deal with offending asylum seekers, many are questioning the wisdom of the policies that brought them there. What's behind the seemingly increasing wave of violence by migrants and is the predominantly male migration skewing the European demographic profile, thereby predisposing its societies to even more crime? Oksana is joined by Valerie Hudson, a Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University, to explore these issues.

Melbourne's daily dose on Talkback Radio

AD Good morning listeners, time to think about getting up. (I already have). Just a few news items before we move into the program and here’s GH with the traffic report.

GH Traffic has built up already on the Monash freeway, it's at a crawl along Flemington road due to a pile -up near the Royal Children's Hospital and to cap it all off the morning traffic and commute nightmare, trains on the Sandringham line are suspended due to a derailment at Gardenvale and a signalling failure has caused the boom gates to be locked down on Grange Road Carnegie. Traffic is banked up about 1 km. Apart from these hitches things are running normally in the metropolitan area. Well I suppose this IS normal! ( Laughs ruefully).
AD Thanks GH and now to the weather from CB.

Geoff at Eco Bushwalks Sydney's picture

A pathetic response from Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young to my Dutton letter

Geoff Dowsett writes that he received a pathetic response from the Greens re the letter he sent to the Australian Minister for Immigration. He invited people to comment on the Greens response. Inside find some apt responses from Jane 0`Sullivan, of Sustainable Population Queensland. The responses are inserted in a different colour, email style.

Bernard Salt reverses take on Australia's population as aging

A business blog, calling itself, The Advisor, is advertising its 'Better Business Summit' with an article quoting the well-known population growth spruiker, Bernard Salt, who they describe as 'One of the nation’s leading demographers'. This would hardly be news for candobetter.net, except that Mr Salt, who does a line in growth 'demography', has suddenly changed his well-known tune. Previously a household word in pushing the aging population bogey, Salt has suddenly begun describing Australia as 'young and vibrant'.

Vegetation clearing on days of total fire bans and development in guise of reducing fuel load - public should be concerned

Bearing in mind the recent Crib Point tragedy - a suspected arson attack, with wildlife loss yet to be detailed, one home destroyed and one home damaged plus several sheds destroyed, we have to be more vigilant about how and whether we develop our bushland neighbourhoods more densely. Planning laws allow property owners to remove large amounts of vegetation without permission from their land citing their reason as 'fire protection'. After the vegetation is removed, those property owners may apply to the council for permission to intensify development on the land. Council usually does not deny permission for individual cases. But such individual cases mount up and create a danger which councils and planners may not have seen.

Geoff at Eco Bushwalks Sydney's picture

Letter to Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Dear Minister Dutton.
Australians are sick of your government's excessive and irresponsible immigration rate and 457 Visa intake levels. This is clear by studying recent polls, Mark O'Connor's book Overloading Australia, and monitoring social media. Of particular concern is the dreadful impact that the your resulting unsustainable and damaging population growth rate is having on our local urban and natural environments.

Demonizing Dingoes on Fraser Island is criminal – Hans Brunner


Fraser Island provides the last opportunity to secure the protection of purebred Dingoes. It is therefore our obligation to look after them as we look after elephants, tigers, lions, rhinos,monkeys etc.
(dingo searching for food on Fraser Island- Jennifer Parkhurst photographer)
While we spend millions of dollars on these exotic species we not only neglect our own iconic dingoes, we actually demonize them and especially so on Fraser Island.

These dingoes need to be looked after and as well fed as all the exotic animals in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries are.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem leads Syrian delegation to India

I was honoured to have met the Syrian Foreign Minister Mr Walid Mouallem yesterday in New Delhi. Also present was the Syrian Ambassador Mr Riad Abbas and a host of other Indian and foreign dignitaries and veteran journalists. Mani Shanker Aiyar, the veteran Parliamentarian is also seated to the right, at the table in the photogram.

A high powered Syrian delegation has been present in Delhi, where the Govt of India has supported the Syrian-Russian position, that the Syrian crisis must be resolved by Syrians alone through a process of dialogue, constitutional reforms and elections. The Syrian delegation met the Indian PM Narendra Modi, the Foreign Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

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