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Miscellaneous comments from 4 December 2013

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 15 Sep 2013 can be found here.

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The Coalition said it would send a Customs vessel to the Southern Ocean to monitor whaling activity by Japanese ships. Now, their promise is being diluted!

The Ocean Protector, an armed vessel designed to tackle illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean, is currently patrolling waters near Christmas Island as part of Operation Sovereign Borders.

A spokesman for the environment minister, Greg Hunt, said that the government hoped the International Court of Justice would rule in favour of Australia to prevent Japanese whaling in the coming season. Japan's defence at the court had more to do with their "cultural preferences", and they almost admitted that their "research" had little foundation!

Last week the New Zealand navy sent the HMNZS Otago to monitor fishing in the Antarctic region. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said it was important that New Zealand played its part in the region as a member country of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. However, the navy may not be able to monitor illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean because its ships are not up to the task.

New Zealand's navy patrol of the Antarctic fishery was cancelled because of concerns about its offshore patrol vessels' ability to operate in Antarctic waters. What sort of Antarctic patrol vessel is this, unable to operate in Antarctic waters? It will be back in NZ just as the Sea Shepherd crew arrive!

Too many successive governments have turned away from Japan's economic power, and abandoned Sea Shepherd. This government should stop turning a blind eye to whaling in our waters and should have a Customs vessel in the Southern Ocean. The Antarctic is a protected marine wildlife reserve, and its status needs to be protected from poachers.

Shocking footage of Australian cattle being abused in the Gaza Strip should re-ignite a national debate on the legitimacy of the live export trade. Footage emerged of Australian cattle being tortured in Gaza, with the most disturbing images showing a bound animal being stabbed in the eye and another knee-capped with bullets from an assault rifle.

With his legs bound and his body outstretched, a bull was helpless as a slaughterman clumsily cut at his throat with a blunt knife. The terrified animal was conscious throughout the prolonged and agonising ordeal, thrashing his head, blinking constantly and looking up at his tormentors as his throat was sawn open. It's unimaginable horror, and sadism!

Australian regulations failed to prevent the suffering of this animal, and others like him.

This trade is masquerading as a valid economic activity but it's really a sham, and shamefully spreading and endorsing horrific animal cruelty overseas.

Labor senators voted with the Coalition in the Senate on Thursday to overturn an Australian Greens motion calling for the cessation of exports until an investigation into previous welfare issues is complete. However, the motion was turned down!

Filmed by civilians during the Festival of Sacrifice in October, this footage shows cattle being terrorised by crowds and tortured in streets and makeshift slaughterhouses — all in breach of Australia's live export regulations. It's a victory parade of human dominance over the hapless animals that will be horrifically slaughtered, and made to suffer extreme pain and humiliation in the process.

Ban Live Exports: Take Action on Gaza

Whilst the extreme and needless cruelty recorded in this video cannot be excused, it seems more likely that such cruelty will occur in dysfunctional societies such as that on the Gaza strip.

Occupying only 360 square kilometres, the Gaza strip has become the refuge for an estimated 1,763,387 Palestinians. The population density is 4,898 people per square kilometres. This gives each Gazan Palestinian only 204 square metres, or a square of land with a side of only 14.3 metres on which to subsist!

The Palestinians' land was stolen by Jewish settlers. This was the result of the establishment, on the land occupied by Palestine, the state of Israel in 1947 and is subsequent expansion in the Six Day War of 1967.

As well, Israel has launched a number of unprovoked wars against its neighbours including Lebanon, Syria and Egypt and has committed acts of terrorism and launched air and missile strikes against other countries, including Iran.

Israel, as well as its US ally, through the use of proxy Islamist extremist terrorists (many of whom profess hostility to Israel) which both support (although Israel does so less overtly), are acting to destroy the neighbouring secular Arab state of Syria and ultimately launch a war against Iran and other middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

If this is not stopped, the magnitude of death and human and animal suffering will be much greater. Let's hope that other Palestinians in Gaza will act to prevent further cruelty such as that shown in the video before it does untold harm to their cause and others in the region.

A four degrees celsius rise in global temperature, predicted by 2100, marks the threshold point after which terrestrial trees and plants will be unable to soak up any more carbon from the atmosphere. A saturated amount of carbon in the atmosphere could accelerate global warning.
The Amazon rain forest and the vast belt of coniferous Boreal forest that rings the northern hemisphere both act as powerful carbon sinks.

Unfortunately, rainforests are fast disappearing on our planet. Humans are stupidly incapable of any effective levels of stewardship of our planet.

Initially, higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will stimulate more plant growth. But the impact of a warmer world will gradually counterbalance this trend until saturation point is reached, say the scientists.

Lead scientist Dr Andrew Friend, from Cambridge University, said: "Global vegetation contains large carbon reserves that are vulnerable to climate change, and so will determine future atmospheric carbon dioxide..."

Since 2005, the amount of atmospheric CO2 absorbed by the continent's trees has been slowing, researchers reported. Carbon sinks play a key role in the global carbon cycle and are promoted as a way to offset rising emissions.

"The impacts of climate on vegetation will affect biodiversity and ecosystem status around the world." The study used seven different computer models to simulate the effects of global warming on plant life.

Herald Sun: Warning on carbon saturation point

Despite the increased rates of reforestation and forest growth in Europe since the 1950s, managed forests in Europe appear to be closer to maximum stocking than was previously thought.

Land-use change - such as urbanisation and deforestation - has reduced the size of the biosphere, which removes carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

In 1788 Australia had 70 million hectares of forest. Today 25 percent of these forests remain relatively intact and the rest have either been removed or affected by logging (Pittock and Wratt, 2001). Nationally, methane emissions from livestock contribute about two thirds of the total greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural land use.

Any momentum to save Ghia, a holistic model of our planetary living ecological system that sustains us, is overwhelmed by industries, population growth and its demands, and land-clearing for logging and plantations.

Australia’s environmental legal centres have lost their federal funding in a move that could see the closure of some of the nine offices around the country.

The government cut $10 million in funding to Environmental Defenders Offices (EDO) in the budget measures outlined in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

It means the EDOs will not receive any federal funding after July 1 next year.

The federal government has immediately cut an estimated $10 million boost over four years quietly given to Environmental Defender’s Offices in the dying days of the former Labor government.

Brendan Sydes, chief executive of the Victorian office, said the cuts would mean about a 45 to 50 per cent reduction in his organisation’s funding.

Already Queensland's EDO has been hacked. The withdrawal of funding guts the ability to help landholders, individuals and community groups understand and act on their legal rights to protect the environment. Without our office there is no legal support available for those that want to protect the environment in the public interest.

NSW too has been chopped. Both the Australian Coal Association and NSW Minerals Council have phenomenal resources with which to advance their interests in pursuing major projects with huge implications. They are uncomfortable with a small amount of funding being provided to a community organisation which responds to the approaches of community members with immeasurably less capacity to respond to these proposals.

Cutting the funding for environmental groups is part of the "streamlining" process of giving the green light to mining permits and other businesses who want to impact on the environment.

The bandicoot is endangered nationally. Its future in Melbourne is mixed up in a battle between conservationists and property developers, with the state government in the middle. It's not hard to guess which proponent will "win" in this contest!

Bandicoots and other native species in Victoria, especially around Melbourne, are losing ground to habitat loss, degradation, and human population growth. If they do hang onto and survive the urban onslaught, like some possums and kangaroos, they are then considered "pests" to "cull" or manage!

In his travels between Melbourne and Arthurs Seat in the 1850s, naturalist Horace Wheelwright recorded the area as teeming with ''bandicotes''.

Ecologist Malcolm Legg said the bandicoots were mostly prevalent throughout the sand belt and south-eastern suburbs such as Braeside, Oakleigh, Clayton, Springvale and Frankston. But 1970s subdivisions saw the infiltration of predators such as foxes and cats and isolation of habitat leading to local extinctions.

Environment groups from across Melbourne’s growth areas called on previous federal environment minister Tony Burke to apply the full force of national environmental laws to ensure threatened species are protected from urban sprawl. However, too often these conservation, planning and environmental groups become mute when it comes to pruning our record rates of population growth, driven by immigration.

"In the northern growth area, we will see almost all of the Merri Creek Catchment under concrete. Our group has planned for Melbourne's growth with corridors for wildlife, but that has all been ignored," said David Redfearn of the Friends of Merri Creek. "Furthermore we are now likely to see the local extinction of one of the healthiest populations of Growling Grass Frog purely due to bad planning."

There's a community of Southern Brown Bandicoots in the Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. However, their survival can't be assured because the land nearby is earmarked for urban expansion.
Wildlife corridors should be part of our urban planning, but developers, land owners and planners can't comprehend the costs and thus they are considered in hindsight when another species disappears down the extinction trail.

The Age: Melbourne Conservationists battling to save the Southern Brown Bandicoot

There was a Landcare conference in Noosa on how to protect koala habitats and the animals from disappearing.

Australian Koala Foundation CEO Deborah Tabart said that the idea that we could replace koala habitat with offsets was idiotic. "We should not be cutting down koala-preferred trees in the first place," she said.

Counting trees, koalas and more surveys were being used to give the assurance that something was being done, but in reality it does nothing! It's like counting the horses bolting after the gate has been left open!

Koalas in the south east of the state are fighting what seems to be a losing battle with the three major dangers - disease, dog attacks, and being hit by vehicles. These three increasing threats are directly related to unrelenting population growth!

There are about 80 koalas at a time in care at Australia Zoo at any one time. The laws say they must be released within 5 km of where they were found. It means they are put back into the same danger zone!

Land clearing for urban development, reduced habitat is placing stress on koalas. This leads to increased disease problems such as chlamydia.

What conservation groups need to be doing is to campaign is a rethink and not avoid the obvious! It should be to limit our overseas immigration rates, and not be blinded by political correctness - that our fragile and stress-prone endemic wildlife are no match for the economic power of property developers and the pro-growth lobby.

See also: Major rethink required in the Fraser Coast Chronicle of 22 Dec 2013.

The UK government has rushed through legislation restricting EU migrants from claiming unemployment handouts. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants have made their home since the European Union expanded to eastern Europe in 2004. Open borders have attracted migration, and the biggest group came from Poland. Around 640,000 Poles live in Britain, but residents say it could be one million.

The anti-immigration party UKIP is gaining popularity, and the government has hastily ushered in legislation preventing all EU migrants from claiming unemployment benefit payments in their first three months in the country.

Cameron has also said he wants to see limits on the free movement in the EU, provoking anger in Brussels. Nearly 39,000 people from the two countries, Romania and Bulgaria, are receiving unemployment payments in Germany this year, a figure that has doubled in two years.

Over the last two years, around 11,000 people from Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Mali and Morocco, among others, have come to Bulgaria, many through a porous border with Turkey. The country's unemployment rate doubled from about 5% of the labour force in 2008 to more than 11% this year. In the same five-year period the country's GDP contracted by 5.5%.

The population of Britain could more than double in the next century unless immigration is tightly controlled, according to official estimates showing it could grow 40 per cent faster than previously thought. The population of Britain could rise from its current record level of 63.7 million to just under 78 million by 2037. The result could wreak havoc with the NHS, schools and the housing crisis.
Despite UK unemployment running at 2.49million, work was the most common reason for people heading to the UK.

Migration Watch UK believes that significant inward flows of people can detrimentally affect the chances of the native born in the labour market. In particular large flows from Eastern Europe, where wages are far lower and for whom there are no employment restrictions, are particularly detrimental to those native born workers who possess lower skills levels and especially younger workers in London. Moreover, the system of social security in the UK and the effective tax rates for the low paid distort the labour market by disincentivising work for the native born. This evidence note is confined to a discussion of low skilled migrant labour from East Europe since there has not been a direct route for non-EU workers to come to fill low skilled routes for many years.

New Zealand migration to Australia has soared 40 per cent during the global financial crisis, as tens of thousands of South Pacific and Asian migrants use New Zealand as a back door to duck Australia's tough migration controls.

Thanks to open borders and lack of any population plan for Australia except unfettered growth, migrants can go to NZ as a back-door route to immigration to Australia.

Jobless Kiwi migrants to sardine into share houses with friends and extended family on the fringes of major cities. Our living standards are being compromised by increasing poverty and unaffordable housing. Why should foreigners be paid welfare when it's not their country?

Already unemployment is increasing in Australia, and the numbers would be higher but many have given up looking for work.

Salome Swan, of Anglicare Southern Queensland, said jobless families were surviving on meagre Family Tax Benefit payments. Instead of stemming the flow, Anglicare are endorsing welfare payments for these people! New Zealand has now lost 12 per cent of its population to Australia, as Kiwis search for work and higher pay across the Tasman. We are becoming a dumping ground for their impoverished, and we are supposed to financially support them?

They "pay taxes" in Australia, but if they are unemployed, this doesn't mean they are entitled to what residents get!

Immigration data reveals that 648,200 New Zealand citizens are living in Australia - up from 470,000 in 2007, before the start of the global financial crisis.

Globally, human population is not only in ecological overshoot, but the new phenomenon is economic overshoot. There just aren't enough jobs being produced by our economy to provide for the swelling numbers of people.

PM David Cameron has recently reduced welfare for foreigners in the UK, and Australia should do the same.

New Zealand Migration to Australia soars 40%

The UN says 10 days of violent fighting in the area has left thousands of people dead and forced another 80,000 to leave their homes. The Australian military is to send two aircraft to help the UN respond to the crisis.

Recent fighting in the world's newest nation erupted after president Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar, who was fired from the government in July, of attempting a coup. The latter denied the claim and accused Kiir of carrying out a vicious purge of his rivals.

Thousands of South Sudanese have been killed in over a week of violence with reports of bodies piled in mass graves, the UN says, due to the civil war.

The United Nations estimates the population of South Sudan to be over 11 million, saying that over 1.9 million people have returned to the country since the 2008 census that put the population at 8.3 million.
And there are over 4.4 million Internally Displaced Persons in Sudan / South Sudan.

Population growth rate is about 2.5%, and despite oil wealth, it's one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Annual food consumption in South Sudan is between 1.1 million and 1.3 million tonnes. In the past five years, there has been an increase in production but it has been outpaced by an increase in population driven by natural growth, returnees and displaced people.

Overpopulation drives hunger, hunger drives conflicts, and conflicts are caused when limited resources are being sourced in a time of ecological overshoot.

Assistant director of demography at the ABS, Neil Scott, says the last time migration levels were this high was before World War Two.

"So over recent years probably about 60 per cent of our population growth, roughly, is now coming from overseas, where as about 40 per cent is from the birth of young Australians."

This is evidence of Australia, a global or international territory as opposed to a sovereignty.

Dr Bob Birrell from the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University says that "British migrants are predominantly coming in the skilled category and they're going to where the most jobs are available, which in recent years have been in Western Australia and Queensland. They, for quite some time, have tended to bypass Victoria and New South Wales." Now, Victoria, without mining and a State losing manufacturing jobs, is the hot spot for migrants!

The ABS says many people migrating to Australia now do so on temporary visas, like student or 457 visas. Dr Bob Birrell says a proportion of these go on to live longer-term in Australia. It shows that there's little that's "temporary" about temporary visas! They are residency visas by stealth.

Angela Chan from the Migration Institute of Australia says it makes sense that migrant numbers continue to grow in Australia. She says skilled workers overseas who are willing to move country for work will move to where the jobs are. This is at a time when our official unemployment rate has reached 5.8% - the highest rate in 4 years! If jobs aren't being created, then it means residents must face harsher competition from more applicants - thanks to our excessively generous welcome-mat to Australia!

SBS: Australia's migrant population exceeds six million

State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney said the expansion of the Mt Cotton quarry would ensure the state's building and construction industries were supplied with the material they needed, and would also create hundreds of jobs. Population growth, economic growth, and jobs are eating away at our country's natural foundations and displacing it's rightful indigenous inhabitants.

Local residents, however, say it will prove the death knell for koalas and their quality of life. About 30 koalas currently lived on the site and that number would decrease as a result of the expansion.

"The Mt Cotton quarry extension must abide by the South East Queensland Koala Conservation State Planning Regulatory provisions and the Offsets for Net Gain of Koala Habitat in SEQ Policy," Mr Seeney said.

The Queensland Government has still not released details of the declining numbers of koalas in south-east Queensland as it is required under legislation. 174ha would not be quarried.

In its application to council, Barro said it would cut down about 14,801 non-juvenile koala habitat trees.

More than 11,000 residents have protested against the expansion, which local resident Mr Bridge said had been rejected by Redland and Logan city councils and the Planning and Environment Court.

The demand for houses, land and materials will eventually require the paving of habitat as human population needs and economic growth will always be prioritised over the non-materialistic value of koalas, and bushland habitats. "Big Australia" will leave little room for the original inhabitants of Queensland's coasts.

The Lock the Gate Alliance has slammed the Federal Government’s decision to approve another huge mega mine in the Galilee Basin saying the social and ecological impacts of the mine cannot be justified.

Clive Palmer’s Galilee Basin mine, grandly titled the China First mine, was given official blessing on Wednesday 18 December.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has imposed some 49 conditions on the mine but the Alliance says “the environmental impact assessment process is broken, if the companies are not made to assess the full impact of their projects before being given an approval."

Apart from water contamination, the EIS fails to assess the impact of the mine on Koalas, despite the species being listed as vulnerable federally last year. In this respect, the EIS conforms to the letter, but not the spirit of the law, and given that over 50,000 hectares of remanent woodland is earmarked for clearing in the Desert Uplands bioregion for Galilee Basin coal mines, it is clear that a more thorough cumulative impact assessment for threatened species, including the koala, is called for. How many "offsets" are our native animals meant to endure, having their habitats whittled away by mining?

Killing off Australia’s wildlife for the sake of a deadly and completely unsustainable industry is not what environment ministers are supposed to encourage.

Sign the Petition - Take action now

The image below was posted to Twitter by the English language Syrian News Agency (SANA)


#Syria: 11 thousand seeds planted during aforestation campaign in the #Sweida, #Idleb and #Qunaitra Governorates

Australia would do well to follow Syria's example.

Pardon Snowden!

Isn't it time to cut a deal with Snowden? Will Snowden get a fair trial in the US? What kind of national security reform do we need? And, what future leaks can we expect from Snowden?

CrossTalking with Mary Fan, Ray McGovern and Timothy Carr.

In the debate, fellow whistleblower and former CIA professional Ray McGovern shows that the criminality of United States government legislators and administrators, which has resulted in the illegal torture of prisoners and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in illegal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, vastly exceeds the technical criminality of Snowden's actions which revealed information about these crimes to the world.

The views put by McGovern and Carr about Edward Snowden are quite different from those put by another whistleblower, former FBI agent Sibel Edmonds, and James Corbett.

NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher said the decision to halt coal seam gas exploration in the Sydney water catchment area was a response to community concern that these activities had affected the quality of water supplies for Sydney and the Illawarra.

There are five major drinking water catchments that are managed specially to provide clean drinking water to over 4 million people in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. Large parts of the catchments have been gazetted as Special Areas designed to exclude public access and protect the quality and quantity of water to the city.

Dr Turner, the National Parks Association-nominated committee member, said the contamination of surface waters by underground mining was commonplace in Sydney's drinking water catchment. Coal extraction results in subsidence which cause cracks in the bedrock of rivers and streams. Water then passes through these fractures, leaching out minerals that end up in streams and reservoirs.

there are 8 underground coal mines currently operating within the Sydney drinking water catchments. Over the last 20 years, longwall mining in the catchments has led to major land subsidence which in turn has caused cracking and draining of rivers, creek beds and undergrounds aquifers, cliff falls, draining of swamps, fish kills, methane gas bubbling to the surface of creeks and rivers, and iron oxide pollution, as well as the discharge of polluted mine water into local creek systems.

Lock the Gate

Longwall mining involves giant machines that shear coal from the seam causing the rock above to collapse behind the machine as it moves forward.

SMH: Drinking water call for halt to coal mining as contamination levels increases

The oil and gas industry said fracking had been conducted for decades without incident and the development of the state's unconventional gas resources would create jobs, boost the economy and lower greenhouse emissions.

The O’Farrell government has time and again sided with industry over local communities. It is critical that they hear from people who oppose this irresponsible, unbalanced policy.

Take Action

The baseline of contamination has been moved, and reporting periods are longer, so that reporting is "consolidated" - or the goal-posts moved in favour of mining!

Thank you for this important contribution, PGE.

"A population of 35 million by 2050 should not be feared, it should be embraced," he told The Australian. "This is not an easy issue for Labor or the Coalition, but we must embrace immigration as a big idea for Australia's future and win support for it in the community."

There's a misguided idea coming from Dastyari that a "big Australia" would be "good" for us, and bigger is naturally better!

His megalomaniac idea won't sit well with the public, the voters, who are facing increasing austerity measures, rising unemployment rates and soaring costs of living. Our organic population growth rate is below long term replacement levels because of measures to live sustainably within budget and service constraints. Force-feeding a "big Australia" through immigration rates is socially engineering a big population growth rate, and won't be easily sold to the voters.

Australia is a "good place to live", but adding more people to our cities, already suffering from infrastructure overload, will actually end it as a "good place to live" - sold off piece by piece!

"Only Namibia and Mongolia have a lower population density than Australia..." Australia is the largest dessert continent, so overall population density is irrelevant. Do we have to compete for ratings as a highly dense nation? There's no reward involved.

Australia is like northern Africa, with large desserts and a green fringe. Overloading Australia would be a disaster, and any artificial population increases at a time of threats of climate change, higher temperatures and more extreme weather patterns would be a result of lack of planning - and a caving into complete denial and personal megalomaniac policies that "big" is better!

A bigger future doesn't mean we have to have a bigger population - but one appropriate and sustainable now and for future generations.

The Australian: A bigger future makes sense so let us prepare for it

Editorial comment: Visitors are advised that the page linked to above contains only a brief introduction. The full article is designated "Premium Content". To read "Premium Content" you first have to give the Australian (the Oz) information about yourself and pay a 'subscription'. To pay a 'subscription', one typically has to allow money to be deducted from your credit card every month until you take the considerable trouble that is usually necessary to "unsubscribe". Given the deceitful reporting of the Oz and given that only a tiny fraction of the issues reported in the pages of the Oz are even of interest to me, the cost would be vastly more than any value I could hope to get in return. To receive similar disinformation, but at no cost, visit the ABC or the SBS.
Other news services, which are free and which report much more truthfully include the Iranian Press TV and Russia Today. For reporting which is also free, but more detailed and insightful, if not quite as current, visit Global Research andVoltaire Net.


The Australia (Welcoming a big Australia)
blatantly and openly supports Sam Dastaya's "big Australia", without any balanced arguments, or consideration of opposing side of the debate. The media is meant to be a "news" paper, not a lobby tool.

"The benefits of immigration are evident: it boosts economic growth, generates much-needed taxation revenue to pay for an ageing population and helps to build national wealth".

On the contrary, the taxation produced does not cover the costs of growth!. That's why we are facing shortfall in our budgets and razor-cut backs to services and benefits. Australia's debts are growing, and we are not benefiting from all the growth that's promised. The costs of growth are ignored.

"Businesses benefit from having a larger consumer base for their goods and services. We also need migrants to deal with supply-side constraints in the economy such as skills shortages in key industry sectors..."

What underlies "big Australia" is creating a swelling business base of consumers, at a time of heavy debts for tertiary education and training. Rising unemployment is a symptom of an over-skilled society, and insufficient opportunities, not "skills shortages". Skills should be developed in our own country, not from overseas.

"The alternative to a growing population is evident if one casts their eyes towards Europe. There, you will see nations enduring stagnant or falling populations with sclerotic economies, weaker growth and shrinking wealth".

Europe is suffering not from a small population, but underemployment! "Stagnant" is a symptom of people not working, or moving, not lack of population growth. Growth can't always occur, and there must be a point of maturity, of fulfilment and a time to face the long haul of sustainability and steady -state condition. Our planet and resources are finite, and population sizes should be appropriate to global scarcities of natural resources, climate change, biodiversity threats and food security. The welfare of the planet, environment, and non-human species trying to survive human onslaught, is not even considered. The Earth is simply an economic resource, with not intrinsic or value as a life support system?

The Australian's blatant support for big Australia, and economic/business bias contrary to the concerns and welfare of the people of Australia, condemns it as nothing more than a tool for the benefit of the elite, and shows a complete lack of integrity. This "news"paper should be dismissed as having any value, balance, integrity, and any unbiased reporting.

Sam Dastyara is a migrant from Iran, originally. Australia is his family's adopted nation. He should appreciate the opportunities given to him and not try to fit the country into his own personal preference for high rates of immigration. As a member of the senate, he should be representing the interests of his new country, not impose megalomaniac ideas that's only supported by the elite - ignoring empirical evidence to the contrary!

The Great Barrier Reef is not only under threat from mining, and dredging, but from tourism and the growth of resorts.

The Age: Danger- massive new resorts will be death by 1000 cuts to Great Barrier Reef

It is estimated that each year about two million visitors travel through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Most of the tourism, about 85 percent, is focused around Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands.

The negative impacts can be ecological, social or cultural, and stem from tourists' needs. Tourism requires accommodation, transportation, shopping and entertainment, water and food, and waste and sewage management.

Tourism on the Reef is an annual $6 billion industry and supports over 60,000 jobs. With mining, around 83% of the profits go overseas and if not properly managed and regulated, mining can affect other people’s livelihood for the worse. Selling all our coal only drives massive profits for overseas companies and little royalties for the Australian government. However, the annual $6 million tourism industry is also impacting on The Great Barrier Reef.

A recent report showed that reef coral cover had fallen by over 50 per cent during the last three decades. Responsible for this loss were tropical cyclones, the crown-of-thorns starfish, and coral bleaching. The Newman Queensland government has a turbo-charged development agenda. Media releases are replete with references to growing the "four pillars" of the Queensland economy: construction, resources, agriculture and tourism. To speed development, the government says it will cut "red tape and regulation".

UNESCO is expressing "extreme concern" about the impacts of coastal development on the reef's World Heritage values and asking for a strategic assessment to ensure future development can be managed to protect the reef's health. At the same time, the government has been supporting economic growth on the Sunshine Coast. It is now one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia.

As the region becomes increasingly residential, most of the district's distinctive small farms – especially tropical fruit farms – have disappeared, as have most of its theme parks.

The Reef is a precious natural jewel that either must be dug up and lost under soil and threatened by pollution and waste, or chopped up and shared for tourist dollars. It's based on an economic model that the Reef and natural treasures must justify themselves through income and financial benefits - even if is loved to death!

A constant demand for perpetual GROWTH, in population, economic activities and travel, means trampling on the very treasures that bring tourists and industries to the reef. Once it's whittled away, it's gone forever, like eating the proverbial Goose that laid the Golden Egg, and smelting it for short-term cash flows!

If I had to choose between, on the one hand, the choking of much of the Barrier Reef's coral with silt residue caused by dredging for the planned expansion of the Abbot Point coal loader in order to further increase the already huge quantity of exports of global warming coal to China on the one hand and, on the other hand, the preservation of the Barrier Reef's tourism industry, of course, I would choose the latter.

Still, no sovereign community should become over-reliant on tourism in order to gain the income necessary to pay for its needs. The principle beneficiaries of the natural beauty of any area should be the local inhabitants. In a healthy and sustainable economy, the food and artifacts necessary for the sustenance of any community would either be produced locally or bought from outside the community by trading for commodities or services produced within that community. They should not have to give up access to local regions in order to meet their needs.

In the case of the Great Barrier Reef where there is an unusually large area of natural beauty, it should be first shared with other citizens of this country. That many Australians seem unable to afford to visit the Barrier Reef as often as the local tourist industry would like reveals that our economy is not working properly.

It should not be necessary to give up the best parts of the local environment for enjoyment by wealthy outsiders at the expense of local inhabitants.

More than 30,000 African asylum seekers who entered Israel illegally have protested in Tel Aviv, in the biggest rally ever staged by migrants in the Jewish state. The protesters sharply criticised Israel's refusal to give them refugee status and the detention without trial of hundreds of asylum seekers. Now, giving "refuge" to those escaping conflict are demanding that they are given the benefits of residency.

Rights groups say most African migrants in Israel cannot be deported because their lives would be under threat if they returned to their homes in Sudan and Eritrea.

Many illegal immigrants, who are often employed in menial jobs in restaurants and hotels, also launched a three-day strike in several Israeli cities on Sunday. Under legislation passed on December 10, authorities can detain illegal immigrants entering Israel for up to a year without trial. Starting from Sunday, the asylum seekers will not go to work and will probably continue to strike throughout the week.

Israel says that there are close to 60,000 illegal immigrants from Africa in the country and that they pose a threat to the state's Jewish character.
National borders are tightening up, due to global population pressure and compassion fatigue.

Population growth has affected Israel's wildlife

Israel offers a microcosm of the global situation on overpopulation: At the middle of the twentieth century, this tiny country was still home to an astonishing assemblage of mammals, birds and reptiles. That's because in 1949 there were one million people living in Israel. Today there are eight million. The equation is simple: more people means less wildlife.

Accordingly, about a third of the country's 115 indigenous mammal species today are either endangered or critically endangered. The amphibian population is almost entirely extirpated.

The United Nations estimates that Palestinian and Israeli annual population growth is 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Even expanded desalination does not change the burden created by geometric population growth on infrastructure, food security and ecosystems.

Animals are collapsing and falling down from the sky as Australia continues to sizzle in record-breaking temperatures. After news of 100,000 bats falling from the sky, reports of kangaroos "fainting" because of exhaustion and scorching heat have circulated in the country.

Winton in Queensland is one of the hottest spots in Queensland, and with a prolonged drought and hot weather, parrots, emus and kangaroos are collapsing in the heat and dying. Hunters have found many dead near waterholes.

A temperature of 50 degrees was reported in the sparsely populated Pilbara region on Jan 9. 50.7C in Oodnadatta in South Australia was the highest temperature recorded in 1960. This record could be broken soon as many other records are being broken across Australia. The delayed arrival of a monsoon in northern Australia is adding to the heat wave.

In Queensland, heat caused 100,000 bats to fall from the sky to their deaths. As soon as air temperatures climb into the 30s, flying foxes experience heat stress. Above 42°C, the black flying fox (Pteropus alecto), found along the northern Australian coast, start dying; at around 44°C, so too does the grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), found along the east coast.

The southern hemisphere's high temperature is in contrast with the deep freeze in some parts of North America caused by a phenomenon known as the polar vortex. The planet is getting increasingly hostile for native animals species as we head for climate change, and the deepening crisis of the human-caused sixth extinction.

Campaigners vowed to continue their fight against the $1m catch-and-kill policy, with a second rally planned for February 1. WA State Government will next week award the contract to commercial fishers to maintain and patrol up to 72 lines off beaches in Perth and the South-West.

Following the sixth fatal attack off the WA coast in two years last month, the state government announced tougher measures aimed at preventing attacks, but denied it was a cull. A "cull" by definition is an effort to kill numbers and reduce their population!

Experts from the University of WA who are on research into sharks - have already said a cull would be a pointless reaction, and that a surge in shark-bite incidents off WA's coast are linked to the growing population, which means more people in the water.

Sharks are already heavily threatened by over-fishing, and they are important apex predators that help in the health of our oceans. They shouldn't be killed because of tourism and to support our lifestyles. Entering the zone or territory of wildlife should mean knowing the risks, and minimising them, not killing the predators to make it "safe" for one non-marine species - humans!

Bear bile is promoted as a Chinese medicine and it's meant to be beneficial for liver, heart, digestive problems and even for cancer. What's not apparent is the barbarity of the industry. Bears are kept for years confined in crush cages, and continually fact the painful extraction of bile.

Luke Nicholson, the project manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, says its use has got to stop.
Once wild bears were killed for their bile, and other body parts. Now, ultrasound is used to locate the gall bladder, then a catheter or syringe is inserted through the body cavity to extract the bile.
"It is a horrific scene, it really is," he said.

"You have got one of the most majestic animals, a very large mammal, trapped inside a cage that is literally in most cases no bigger than an old telephone booth. In Australia over the past five years, Customs has seized 270 consignments containing bear bile.

These include bear bile capsules, vials of bear bile, bear gall powder, bear pills and haemorrhoid ointments. The pharmaceutical benefits of bile juice can be obtained in alternative forms.

"It is horrifying, it is disgusting, it appals me, but I guess that is why I do what I do," he said, "I want to move the world to protect animals and this is my contribution to ending the bile industry."

Australian on a mission to stamp out bear bile trade: ABC

Bear bile: Donate to WSPA

The evidence of the innocence of Schapelle Corby is not only overwhelming, but conclusive, and was known to be at the time of Schapelle's conviction 27 May 2005 in Bali, not by jury, but by a judge.
No-one who spends more than 5 minutes looking at available evidence such as as that presented in the video blow could have any lingering doubt about Schapelle's innocence, or of the complicity of the Australian 'news' media and a number of Australian politicians including John Howard, Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd in her frame up and ongoing cover-up.
More comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the frame-up of Schapelle and the corruption of the Balinese police and civil services, etc., can be found in the pages of books by Kathryn Bonela: Snowing In Bali: The Incredible Inside Account Of Bali's Hidden Drug World (2012), Hotel Kerobokan (2009) and My Story: Schapelle Corby (2007).
See also: Schapelle Corby 2014 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHklAdpwj_k by Edgar Lindquist, published 9nbsp;Jan 2014.