Fungal-like fossils found in 2.4 billion years old seafloor lava

Researchers have discovered microfossils resembling fungi in lavas that erupted on the seafloor 2.4 billion years ago, representing the oldest evidence of fungal life.

The new paper, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution today, suggests that fungi not only emerged much earlier than suspected but also evolved beneath the sea rather than on land.

Until now, the fossil evidence for cavity-dwelling fungi only extended back 46 million years, but the new discovery potentially extends that record by 2400 million years.

Full 35 minute interview of Syrian President largely omitted from 4 Corners hit-piece

See also: ABC's 4 Corners breaches Code of Practice; 'Syria's Disappeared' (24/4/17) by Susan Dirgham

By my own measurement the 4 Corners 'report' Syria's Disappeared - The Case Against Assad gave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad all of 40 seconds – 10 seconds near the start and 30 seconds near the end – to answer claims that his govenment had imprisoned, tortured and murdered tens of thousands of his own people as well as the more recent fraudulent allegation that the Syrian Army had used Sarin gas in Idlib province.

Fake Greens try to scuttle 457 visa changes - by Leith van Onselen

Unbelievably, the party that is supposed to safeguard the Australian environment – The Australian Greens – is trying to scuttle the Turnbull Government’s modest changes to so-called ‘skilled’ 457 visas. From The Canberra Times:

Mary Drost reports on Meeting with President of VCAT 18 April 2017

Mary Drost, (Convenor of Planning Backlash Inc), Joanna Stanley (Brunswick Residents Group), and Ann Reid (Convenor of Malvern East Group) met VCAT President Justice Greg Garde on Wednesday April 18. One of our objectives in having this meeting was to persuade him to arrange a forum for residents such as the ones previously arranged by Justice Kevin Bell and Iain Ross some years ago. Both of those men had actually listened to residents and had approached the then Attorney General to have some changes made to procedure so the "natural justice" would get more attention in the Planning and Environment section of VCAT than had previously been the case. Alas, apart from two minor changes no actual reform was permitted.

Justice Garde's reaction to our request was interesting. He said he would speak at a meeting but did not seem interested in following the previous Presidents and arranging a meeting to hear residents' opinions. He explained that VCAT was run by handpicked professionals who followed the rules to the letter.

Coup d'Etat USA? Interview: The Failure of Trump’s Presidency - Paul Craig Roberts and Julian Charles

Dr Paul Craig Roberts is interviewed by Julian Charles of The Mind Renewed, UK, for his explanation of President Trump's about turn on all foreign policy. The conclusion is that Trump has been sidelined and others have taken over his role at the White House. The term 'coup d'etat' is not used, but that is what is assumed. Paul Craig Roberts also suggests that the only hope of reducing the United States' dangerous power is for Europe to decouple from it. He says that we cannot hold out hope for the UK to do anything because they are completely tied to the United States, but that if the anti-globalist parties, notably the French National Front, win in Europe, there is some hope that Europe will draw back from the USA-dominated EU. Australia and Canada are held responsible, along with some European leaders, for inexplicably enabling this dangerous situation by supporting the United States in its illegal wars. First Published on Saturday, 22 April 2017 20:50 at http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2017/1035-int130

Can Trump dodge his deep state destiny by acting absurdly?

To many it might seem strange that Donald Trump's recent departure from his election promises has made me think of Marcel Aymé's story about a character in a book who wanted to avoid her destiny. What could a French author of absurd comical novels have to do with the political analysis of Donald Trump's strange about-face from the foreign policy he promised before his election? Marcel Ayme, in "Le Romancier Martin," the first story in Derriere chez Martin, writes of a novelist who developed a bad habit of killing off most of his principal characters and even some less important ones, which made very depressing reading and diminished sales. The characters themselves and Martin's editor complained that their life expectancy was grossly inferior to that of characters in other novels. Madame Soubiron, the wife of a principal character, somehow sensing that she would be next to die, decided to challenge her fate. First she visited the writer and begged him to make certain changes, but he claimed to have little say in what his characters did. Once he had created them, he said, the die was cast. Although it seemed impossible for a mere fictitious character to influence her role, Mrs Soubiron ultimately managed this by deviating from what was expected of her in strange and unusual ways which the novelist could not have considered in advance. For instance, one evening at dinner, she took off her shoe and put it on her plate. Instead of eating the slice of beef she had served herself, she dropped it down the front of her dress and rubbing her stomach, mimed how tasty it was. As she continued to act more and more absurdly out of character, she eventually escaped death.

If Peace-movement leaders ignore international law, what hope is there?

This letter to a high profile pacifist on a Canadian peace activism email list highlights the problem within the international peace movement where some 'leaders' turn a blind eye to the egregious flouting of international law by the United States, NATO and their allies. You would think that peace activists would be highly informed on the propaganda aspect of war, and the role of mainstream press in this, but it seems that this basic education is lacking even in the upper echelons of the movement. By ignoring the illegality of recent attacks on Syria, some in the movement have again helped brutal Takfiris in their effort to take-over secular Syria. Peggy Mason is President of the Rideau Institute of which Ceasefire Canada is an arm. Ken Stone is Treasurer, of the Canadian Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War.

Just out! Pres Assad debunks alleged chemical weapons attack, fingers US Deep State

I have transcribed the text from an abbreviated version of President Bashar al-Assad's interview in the embedded video, which was released on 13 April 2017. The guts of President Bashar al-Assad's response to world allegations that Syria's national army attacked civilians with chemical weapons is that the Syrian Arab Army was not in the area at 6-6.30 am when Al-Quaeda alleges a chemical weapons attack took place, they were there around 11.30-12.00hrs. The area had no strategic value for them. Syria got rid of its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013, under international supervision, so what was the army supposed to have used? At the time of the alleged attack, the Syrian Army had the terrorists [Al-Quaeda/ISIS] on the run so why would they [invite punishment from the world community] in carrying out a senseless act with chemical weapons of no strategic importance, if they actually had chemical weapons, which they deny? The film of the alleged incident shows rescuers without any masks or other safety equipment supposedly dealing with people affected by toxic gas that is fatal on contact. Trump's U-turn on foreign intervention policy and US action on the fabricated incident shows that the president has no real power and that the United States is run by the Deep State. Text of statements are under the video inside this article. This transcription is provided because President Assad's English in the abbreviated version is not always completely clear. The entire interview, with English subtitles, is to be found at the bottom of my transcript of the shorter version. It is well worth listening to!

Yet again, ABC refuses to discuss population ponzi - by Leith van Onselen

Unconventional Economist, Leith van Onselen again takes the ABC to task over its shocking bias in reporting and discussing the impacts of Australia's population growth. In this case he exposes the failure of political guests and the moderator on Q&A to respond to the core of an importance audience question about Australia's population ponzi and housing unaffordability. Article first published on Macrobusiness on April 13, 2017 at https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/04/yet-abc-refuses-discuss-population-ponzi/.

White House claims on Syria chemical attack ‘obviously false’ - Prof. Theodor Postol of MIT

MIT Professor Theodor Postol suggests two inquiries into alleged 'verified evidence' of chemical attack by Assad in Syria: One international probably under the UN, where the Russians and Americans can provide their input and a second American investigation to find out how such a false report could be generated at the highest levels of the US government. "This is very serious. This confrontation with Russia has some potential to escalate and, if it's escalating over false intelligence claims, that is very serious."

Why is the West so keen to pick a fight with Russia? - Tucker Carlson interview

Australian politicians and mainstream journalists seem almost as one in their approval of worsening relations between the two major nuclear powers: Russia and China. Yet a sane person would ask what is so good about this? In the embedded video, Tucker Carlson, US journalist, goes to the US Democrats to find out why they are so keen for the US to pick a fight with Russia. The responses from Alfred E. Mottur, lawyer and Democrat Strategist, who has worked for Mayor Rubio and Hillary Clinton are informatively superficial and illogical. It does seem that the tail wagging the US political dog has lost contact with its brain.

Guilty until proven innocent: Assad and the mainstream press

Days of incessant propaganda from the ABC, SBS and all other mainstream media toeing the Trump/US Establishment line on chemical weapons in Syria, without any overt logical basis, prompted the author to make a complaint. David Macilwain was in Syria in 2010, corresponds internationally with diverse people concerned about Syria's rights, and has visited Russia twice in the past three years, in a quest to discuss and share views on current events and to build up contacts who might be interviewed by the Australian press rather than the narrow sample usually referred to.

More saying how chem weapons story implausible - Prof Tim Anderson

As we watch the mainstream newsmedia step up their promotion of western government narrative in a kangaroo court on President Assad, more and more high profile people are coming out saying how implausible the mainstream line is. Those people deserve our support because the mainstream newsmedia and government are going after them precisely in order to deprive the rest of us of informed debate. One example in Australia is how the Sydney Morning Herald has published an article citing infotainment and advertising placement specialists, Associated Press, and PolitiFact, a corporate press network propaganda outfit, as authorities condemning Professor Tim Anderson's work as 'conspiracy theory', implying the same for some associated academics. Tim Anderson is in a unique position to judge conspiracy, having been convicted then freed after a conspiracy portrayed him as guilty in 1990 over the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney. It is thought that the Australian Government organised the Hilton Bombing as a false flag. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Hilton_Hotel_bombing The failure of the Sydney Morning Herald article fails to analyse Professor Anderson's arguments, preferring simply to condemn him via a press organisation and a propaganda outfit, is a hallmark of 'Fake News' and propaganda. The Sydney Morning Herald's inclusion of an old overturned conviction for Tim Anderson without further explanation seems gratuitous if not designed to damage the standing of his opinion. On the 17th and 18th of April, the Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies will be holding a two day conference at Sydney University on the Syrian conflict: http://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/syria-conf-program/. This event is endorsed by Sydney University's Political Economy Society. We at candobetter.net do not necessarily endorse everything that comes out of universities, because these have now become strongly commercialised and mainstream-politicised, but we do endorse this conference because Tim Anderson's book, The Dirty War on Syria comes from long study, many documented visits to Syria and interactions with the Syrian community in Australia, and uses logical and documented arguments, unlike the Sydney Morning Herald or the Australian Government. We are also impressed by Sydney University's support for academic free speech.

Mediawatch - defenders of war the state and corp media: Response by Tim Anderson

How shallow the ABC’s Mediawatch (‘Media war over Syria’ [11 April 2017]) treats such an important issue, the 6 year long war against Syria. They have cobbled together a few tweets so as to defend the war story of the US and Australian Governments, and the state and corporate media (ABC, BBC and UK Guardian) which faithfully reflect that line.

Video: Syrian gas attack is a lie - "Stop your governments!" - Russia

On April 7th, US warships delivered an illegal blow to a Syrian airbase in Homs. Their justification was the recent "chemical weapon" attack on behalf of the Syrian government in Idlib. The Kremlin condemned the strike as an act of aggression against a sovereign state, and a violation of international law. Meanwhile, at the UN, representatives of Western governments attempt to push through a resolution that is based on information taken out of thin air. It includes the removal of Assad, whether or not he was behind the attack. CBS News reporter: Russia says that the airstrike on Khan Sheikhun took place between 11.30 and 12.30 pm. Medics on the ground say that the hit happened hours before that. How so? This is one fascinating question posed to Russian foreign affairs minister, Maria Zakharovna at a press conference on 5 April 2017. See inside the article.

Stanley town trying to defend its water from international bottling industry

The Stanley Plateau nestled in the foothills of the Victorian Alps, is fighting for the right to preserve its water resources from extraction by a company that transports the water to a plant in Albury, across the border in NSW, for bottling. The bottled water from Stanley and surrounding areas is for domestic and overseas distribution processed by a multi-national company. Stanley has commenced fund raising for the next stage of the Cue Springs Water Challenge - an appeal to the Victorian Court of Appeal. The website http://stanleywater.org.au/ invites a contribution to the fundraising appeal. Please distribute the webpage through your networks as Stanley needs all the help it can get. Stanley is a small Australian community fighting for its water and needs your help.

Syria decries US missile attack on army airbase as ‘act of aggression’

Syria has censured a US missile attack targeting an army airbase near Homs as an “act of aggression” against the country.

“A US act of aggression (was committed) against Syrian military targets, using several missiles,” said the Syrian state TV right after the US announced the attack.

The attack drew the applause of the foreign-backed opposition, which called for continued US military action against the Arab country.

The state TV quoted a Syrian military source as saying that US missile strike on a Syrian air base had led to “losses.”

Homs Governor Talal Barazi also deplored the aerial assault, saying the attack serves the goals of Daesh and other armed terrorist groups operating in the country.

Impressive false Flag In Syria analysis by Shroyer and McAdoo

Lee Ann McAdoo and Owen Shroyer do a fantastic in depth analysis of the history and current stories on chemical weapon use in Syria. The best I have seen. And they take Trump to task. And finger McCain. Alex Jones, who produces Infowars, has been an ardent Trump supporter and some people feared he might get his journalists to pull their punches on Trump if Trump stepped out of line, but this is disproven here.

Remarkable French Presidential election debate with 11 candidates 4 April 2017

The French system just pulled off a remarkable 11 candidate debate. Lasting nearly four hours, it was riveting viewing. Six less-knowns challenged the five established candidates, intellectually even if their presidential chances remain far behind. Most made valid and sometimes impressive points. As now nearly all the major contenders have adapted aspects of her policies, Marine Le Pen, ex-criminal trial-lawyer, who makes mincemeat of most interviewers, hardly stood out in the crowd of copycats.

Don't fall for another chemical weapons story: Idlib Syria US-NATO

It is weird that the mainstream press and the US-NATO war machine continue to put out the same stories as if they were spambots. You would think that real human beings could come up with something more convincing. It is known, however, that people tend to believe a message they often hear repeated, to the detriment of their own eyes and reason, so perhaps this is the intentional modus-operandi of the US-NATO-military industrial media complex. The only way to combat the oft-repeated lie is to repeatedly question it, which we are doing here. Once again the US-NATO deep state war-machine has tried to use the UN like Lucy's football for Charlie Brown, to give authority to accusations against the Syrian government which it actually has no reliable basis for. The consequences could be truly awful - but what do spambots care about World War 3?

Rebel warehouse with chem weapons hit by Syrian airstrike in Idlib – Russian MOD

"We deny completely the use of any chemical or toxic material in Khan Sheikhoun town today and the army has not used nor will use in any place or time, neither in past or in future," the Syrian army has said in a statement. The Syrian Air Force has destroyed a warehouse in Idlib province where chemical weapons were being produced and stockpiled before being shipped to Iraq, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman said. The strike, which was launched midday Tuesday, targeted a major rebel ammunition depot east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. The warehouse was used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas, Konashenkov said. The shells were delivered to Iraq and repeatedly used there, he added, pointing out that both Iraq and international organizations have confirmed the use of such weapons by militants. [First published by RT at https://www.rt.com/news/383522-syria-idlib-warehouse-strike-chemical/]

On the traditional roles of men and women in Industrial Society

I have found that I and people I know are increasingly working longer and longer hours. And this with ever increasing demands on the job, as the demands for perfection increase, and the support to achieve it decreases. Especially the large organisations in which we are working appear as despotic, in that one has no say over what happens or what might happen, but instead is faced with a stream of orders and new demands being delivered constantly, yet randomly, through the impersonal medium of email. There is no discussing with this new invisible master - often the sender is not even a person with whom you can engage in conversation, but some impersonal departmental (i.e do-not-reply) email address. Then one finds that travel to anywhere is time consuming, and extremely stressful, as conditions are crowded and arrival on time is far less than certain - whether it be by train or car. With people arriving home late, exhausted we must prepare meals, often reply to a few still-unanswered work emails. All of which leaves us little spare time - and in such a state of mental exhaustion that we could not enjoy it anyway. Necessarily our weekends are often consumed with the other chores of life, maintaining houses, shopping, and preparing food and clothing for the next hectic week. This sad condition of modern people led me to reflect as to how we got into this state, and what has changed to make modern life so difficult. I wondered how we used to cope, and I recall as a child how the weekends were quiet, the shops were closed after midday Saturday, and there was hardly any traffic. Now, the busiest traffic times are on weekends, as is the busiest trading. And a major reason, I think is the fact that now both partners work, there is no-one with time to do shopping in the day, prepare meals for 6.00 pm (we often eat much later, even if we feed the children earlier, either my wife or I may find it is 9.00 pm before we have time for dinner). So why is modern life so crazy?

Video interview: Tony Kevin's book Return to Moscow might help save the world yet

Recording of a timely and important interview with Tony Kevin, author of Return to Moscow UWA 2017. As a young Australian diplomat, Tony Kevin visited Brezhnev's Soviet Union in from 1969-1971. He returned on official business in 1985 when Chernenko was in power, then again, very briefly, in 1990. During these times he was not able to get to know the Russians due to the policy of both governments against fraternisation, thus Russia ironically became a source of growing fascination for him. He continued to inform his fascination from many sources, always at a distance. Concerned today by the threat to peace from US-NATO anti-Russian propaganda, and more fascinated by Russia than ever, he returned on his own to Russia (no longer the Soviet Union, of course) in 2016. Return to Moscow examines past and present attitudes to the people of Russia and to its leaders through empathic eyes and an understanding of the change in geopolitics from cold war to US interventionist.

On Putin: "Not since Britain's concentrated personal loathing of their great strategic enemy Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars was so much animosity brought to bear on one leader. Propaganda and demeaning language against Putin became more systemic, sustained and near universal in Western foreign policy and media communities than had ever been directed against any Soviet communist leader at the height of the Cold War. This hostile campaign evoked an effective defensive global media strategy by Russia. [...] A new kind of information Cold War took shape, with - paradoxically - Western media voices more and more speaking with one disciplined Soviet-style voice, and Russian counter voices fresher, more diverse and more agile." [Cited from Tony Kevin's book.] The interview in the video took place at Russia House in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. It was organised by Claire Woods of the Traveller's Bookstore. The interviewer was Associate Professor Judith Armstrong, former head of European Languages Department at Melbourne University.

Online Auction: Environmental Artist Jackie Ellis donates work to fight overpopulation

Kimberley artist Jackie Ellis is totally switched on to the environment and the impact on it of human activities and over population. Her paintings show an exquisite appreciation of the area that surrounds her, both intact and with human impact. Jackie, a member of Sustainable Population Australia, has generously donated two major works to that organisation to be auctioned as a fund raiser.

Towards "Melbourne at 8 million" and beyond

This article is adapted from a talk with power point given to U3A Deepene on March 15th 2017 by past president of VicTas branch of Sustainable Population Australia, now secretary, Jill Quirk, who is also now the secretary of Protectors of Public Lands Victoria. The talk explored the noticeable effects of rapid population growth and compared some past and current projections for Melbourne’s population to mid–century and beyond, considering what Melbourne on current trends might be like in 50 years. These comparisons, not usually available, make it clear how Victorian governments have increasingly snowed citizens with every successive plan for Melbourne.

Quirky things in Greece these days - a politically incorrect diary on austerity, yachts and immigrants

Neighbours squabbling over the back fence. The english language NYT newspaper reports sham dogfights daily between Greek Mirage fighters and Turkish F-15s. A NATO wargame and cyber-wargame around Lesbos was cancelled due to a Greek-Turkey squabble. Turkey still claims all the Aegean islands slap-bang up against their coast. No-one remarks on the irony of 50,000 muslim economic migrants camped up on Lesbos and Samos. "Inhuman racist treatment" scream the UN & liberal left cosmopolitans. But there is silence on the million or more criminal invaders, aka undocumented aliens, camped up in Turkey, in far worse conditions. My. Refugees in Turkey don't even have access to a lawyer! The shame of it!

Vic Auditor General Report shows Vic Planning and Development is reckless, incompetent; makes recommendations

The Victorian Auditor General notes that Victoria's population grew from 5.5 million in 2011 to about 6 million in 2016, and is expected to reach 10 million by 2051. That is in 34 years! Responding to this madness, the Auditor General has recommended the introduction of "a risk-based approach to development assessment processes and guidance materials, by developing clear, simple assessment pathways that ensure applications are progressed in a transparent way in proportion to the potential risk, impact and cost, and in accordance with community expectations reviewing efficiency indicators to support the application of a risk-based approach (see Section 2.2.2); [the strengthening] of accountability requirements for decisions by applying better-practice principles for discretionary decision-making and transparent public reporting, including publishing reasons for all planning decisions, and publishing advisory committee reports within three months of the committee handing its report to the Minister for Planning (see Sections 4.2 and 4.3.1). [It has also recommended working] with councils to complete the performance measurement framework for the planning system so that it provides the relevant information and data at the state and local levels to assess the effectiveness of the planning system, measure the achievement of planning policies and support continuous improvement of the planning system through monitoring the effectiveness of reforms (see Section 5.2)." Will this help Victorians and Australians to halt the environmentally dangerous and antisocial development push from growth lobby governments? This is an excellent and informative report that will be of use to anyone wanting to understand our current predicament and the relevant bits of the law. It includes the subject of loss of agricultural land and how so defined and a summary of the objectives of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, which have an ironic flavour under the present Victorian regime. [Emphases by candobetter.net editor.]

Vic Auditor General scrutinises Vic Gov's Environmental Effects Statements in property development

Successive Victorian governments too closely aligned with property development and investment have inflicted continuous rapid population growth on Victorians. This has had a terrible effect on democratic rights to object and protect property and the environment, built and wild. It has seemed that no power could hold the government up to any effective criticism. The Victorian Auditor General has tabled the following reports. We have included an extract from the report which shows a democratic deficit in the public review process. This report may be of use to population and environment activists and they should publicise it.

4Corners climate change propaganda against Syria by pre-Trump military establishmen

Don't mention the role of war in climate change and economic devastation. Why we shouldn't believe that the US military establishment is sincere on its warning to Trump (and the rest of us) on climate change. I would once have swallowed this whole. A bunch of military men from prior US administration proselytise about climate change on this 4Corners program. Of course they totally ignore the role of war in carbon emissions which is probably the greatest contributor to carbon emissions. This is my reaction to the Australian 4Corners program of 20 March 2017.

‘American public doesn’t share establishment’s hostility towards Russia’ – Reagan's adviser

The Cold War has long been over, but it seems, not for all. The idea of reconciling with Russia has been met by fierce resistance on Capitol Hill. Though Trump promised to repair broken relations while on the campaign trail, the new US administration has been forced into a struggle against the nation’s establishment. Will the new president still be able to find common ground with Moscow? Or are we in for Cold War Two? RT's Sophie Shevardnadze asks a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan on Russian affairs, Russia scholar and author – Suzanne Massie. Originally published on RT 13 Mar, 2017 07:24 at https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/380460-cold-war-russia-us/

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