Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category
Threat … much of the Maldives could be lost to climate change.
THE President of what could be the first country in the world lost to climate change has urged Australia to prepare for a mass wave of climate refugees seeking a new place to live.
The Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, said his government was considering Australia as a possible new home if the tiny archipelago disappears beneath rising seas.
”It is increasingly becoming difficult to sustain the islands, in the natural manner that these islands have been,” he told the Herald in an interview in Male, the Maldives capital.
If you read on, the article seems to confuse beach erosion with rising sea levels. Beach erosion takes place whether the sea levels rise or not; it’s caused by the effect of tides and ocean currents on sands.
But back to the Maldives:
Tim Blair points out that Nasheed
Then … attended a ceremony to mark the construction of a new airport.
When the country’s supposedly going to be swallowed by the waves at any moment?
Back to Tim Blair,
President Nasheed has more urgent problems than a few little waves:
An epidemic of cheap heroin has swept through the archipelago, but taken root in Male in particular. The UN has estimated 40 per cent of the country’s youth use hard drugs.
You mean, cheap heroin that arrives via airplanes?
Nasheed, a Muslim as the Maldives constitution obliges all Maldivians to be, also faces a rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism. Wahhabist Islamic scholars, most schooled in madrassas in Pakistan, are radicalising Islam in the Maldives.
Female circumcision is practised, and is reportedly on the increase, across the archipelago. There are calls for the return of amputation for crimes and for the banning of music and dancing. Women are flogged for having extra-marital sex.
Much more imminent problems than rising sea levels, indeed. The castaways have a long wait.
And, besides, weren’t the seas supposed to cease rising?
Linked by Hot Air. Thanks!
Nils-Axel Mörner, a sea-level expert from Sweden, sent President Nasheed a letter some time ago telling him that the sea levelsweren’t actually rising.
The Swedes are investigating him, and the Australians are “studying whether he’d broken any laws there”, so here comes Rafael Correa to the rescue,
Ecuador offers a home for founder of WikiLeaks
Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas said in audio posted online by the EcuadorInmediato news site that “we are open to giving him residence in Ecuador, without any kind of trouble and without any kind of conditions.”
“We think it would be important not only to converse with him but to listen to him,” Lucas added, saying Ecuador wanted to invite Assange to “freely expound” and see what it’s like in “friendly countries.”
He praised people like Assange “who are constantly investigating and trying to get light out of the dark corners of (state) information”
Lucas said Ecuador’s government was “very concerned” by revelations that U.S. diplomats have been involved in spying in the first of the more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables and directives that WikiLeaks has begun to release.
Assange was interviewed by Forbes and talked about “his profile”
You mean as your personal profile rises?
Yeah, the rising profile of the organization and my rising profile also. And there’s a network effect for anything to do with trust. Once something starts going around and being considered trustworthy in a particular arena, and you meet someone and they say “I heard this is trustworthy,” then all of a sudden it reconfirms your suspicion that the thing is trustworthy.
So that’s why brand is so important, just as it is with anything you have to trust.
Assange’s profile’s ought to be prosecuted. Today’s WSJ,
What WikiLeaks has done is use the betrayal by the original leaker to expose American secrets and thus destroy trust in America’s reliability. For an administration whose policy choices have already done so much to erode global confidence in the U.S., these leaks are a disaster. How should the administration go about regaining confidence? It’s astonishing that Iceland, a member of NATO, is where WikiLeaks is headquartered. Don’t we have an embassy there? It’s astonishing that the Australian government has yet to receive a request from the U.S. to take action against Mr. Assange, an Australian national. It’s astonishing that Pfc. Bradley Manning, the suspected leaker, has yet to be court-martialed. It’s astonishing that Mr. Assange should be described by National Public Radio as a “whistleblower,” while in fact he’s conducting a form of cyberwarfare against the United States.
Assange promises more megaleaks to come regarding the private sector because
there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos that cames out, and that’s tremendously valuable. Like the Iraq War Logs, yes there were mass casualty incidents that were very newsworthy, but the great value is seeing the full spectrum of the war.
You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest. The way they talk about it.
Assange says he’s got stuff on Russia, too, even when he claims,
It’s not right to say there’s going to be a particular focus on Russia.
One can easily conclude that Assange is an optimist if he believes that the Russians are going to take anything sitting down, and that he’ll be enjoying a nice comfortable existence under the aegis of Rafael Correa.
Cross-posted at The Green Room
Ed’s got more on how the Russians may approach Wikileaks.
Remember that Australia trip Obama was going to make last Spring, which got postponed?
It ain’t gonna happen, again:
Obama postpones Indonesia, Australia trip again
President Obama has once again postponed his trip to Indonesia and Australia, telephoning the leaders of the two countries late Thursday night, the White House said.
It is the second time the trip has been canceled. It was originally planned for March but was put off because the president wanted to be in Washington for a critical health-care vote in Congress.
Now, the president needs to stay in Washington to oversee the worsening environmental crisis from the oil spill off the Gulf Coast, making a seven-day venture oversees impractical and politically problematic.
As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, “it’s always something!”, isn’t it?
Obama had been scheduled to leave June 13 and stay abroad for a week, spending time in Indonesia, Guam and Australia. There was no indication in the statement about when he might try again.
This time Obama dropped the pretense of a “re-schedule”,
Mr. Obama telephoned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to tell them he could not come after all, the White House said in a statement issued at midnight.
This ought to clear any doubts as to whether Obama sees himself almost exclusively as a domestic-issues president.
Well, in that case, “never mind!”
Daniel Drezner: Barack Obama has foolishly decided to blow off the most dynamic region in the globe — again
For people like me, who are midly phobic of both snakes and air flight, the synergy would be too much to handle:
MELBOURNE, April 16 (UPI) — An Australian airline said two flights were canceled due to the escape of four baby pythons from a container in a plane’s cargo hold.
Qantas bosses said workers discovered that a shipment of 12 non-venomous Stimson pythons in the cargo hold of a plane that arrived in Melbourne from the city of Alice Springs was light four snakes, Britain’s The Daily Mail reported Thursday.
Officials said the Boeing 737 was grounded after staff members were unable to locate the escaped pythons.
“At first we were not sure what had happened to the other snakes,” Qantas Corporate manager David Epstein said. “A reptile expert suggested that some of the baby pythons had eaten the others because apparently it is not uncommon for baby pythons to eat each other.”
Worse yet, they never found them.
But they fumigated the plane so everything’s back to hunkydory.
Or perhaps not?
(Language not suitable for work in this video:)
Link sent to me by Ada, who claims to have required tranquilizers for her latest LA-Newark NJ trip, even in the absence of snakes.
Regarding President Uribe, Pres. Bush said,
National leaders sometimes take office without fully knowing all the tests that await them. But when Alvaro Uribe became the President of Colombia, the challenges were in full view. He knew exactly what he was getting into.
For more than a generation, good and decent people across that country had lived at the mercy of brutal drug cartels and illegal armed groups. A contagion of terrorist violence and killings and kidnappings had shaken the political system and caused many Colombians to despair for their nation’s future. Early in this decade, the Republic of Colombia was near the point of being, at best, a failed state — or, at worst, a narco-state. In those conditions, it took more than ambition and ideals to run for political office — it required immense personal courage and strength of character.
As a presidential candidate in 2002, Alvaro Uribe pledged to his people greater security, a healthier democracy, and a better chance for prosperous lives. He was elected on a theme that expressed perfectly what the Colombian people desired in a president: “Strong hand, and big heart.”
President Uribe’s leadership has been resolute and uncompromising. Today in Colombia, homicides are down 40 percent, kidnappings are down more than 80 percent, terror attacks are down by more than 75 percent. The forces of violence are on the defensive, and the people are reclaiming their country.
President Uribe’s fellow citizens know him as someone who speaks forthrightly and follows through on his commitments. With his lifelong interest in public policy, he has a phenomenal grasp of the details of governing. At the same time, he has formed a powerful bond with his people. They met their President in town halls across the country. They’ve seen him deliver results. They like him and they trust him — and they have made him the first Colombian leader in the modern era to win reelection.
Lately I’ve been asked to reflect on the most memorable events of my presidency. Among those is a phone call I received several months ago from President Uribe. He called to say that a group of hostages — including three Americans that had been held in captivity for five years — had been rescued, and were alive and safe and sound. It was a joyful moment, Mr. President. And it was a credit to your leadership.
For President Uribe, the great demands of office continue. Today the United States honors all Colombians by honoring the man they have chosen to lead them. By refusing to allow the land he loves to be destroyed by an enemy within, by proving that terror can be opposed and defeated, President Uribe has reawakened the hopes of his countrymen and shown a model of leadership to a watching world. Colombia remains a nation with challenges. But the future will always be bright in a country that produces such men as President Alvaro Uribe.
Congratulations, mi amigo. (Applause.)
Allahpundit said that Uribe was out of place in the trio. Allahpundit is wrong. Alvaro Uribe has done more against terrorism in our hemisphere than any other head of state: the drug trade, criminality and terrorism are all threads in one fabric in our hemisphere.
More photos at Noticias24.
Also blogging: Gateway Pundit
UPDATE, Wednesday 14 January
Bush Awards Freedom Medals to Three U.S. Allies in Terror War
Bush credited Uribe with taking a country rife with drug cartels, killings and kidnappings, to one where terror attacks are down more than 75 percent. “The forces of violence are on the defensive and the people are reclaiming their country,” Bush said.
Elected in 2002, Uribe has strengthened democracy and the rule of law and brought to the country what voters most wanted in a president: “a strong hand and a big heart,” Bush said.
Related: Uribe’s Voice: Transcript of a Call
Philip Rucker and Al Kamen of the WaPo believe that Obama was “kicked out” of Blair House by John Howard:
The veil is lifted. We now know who is booked at Blair House, kicking President-elect Barack Obama and his family to the waiting list and across Lafayette Park to the Hay-Adams Hotel.
The only overnight visitor at the presidential guest manse is none other than John Howard, a former Australian prime minister and leading member of President Bush’s coalition of the willing in Iraq.
No, Al & Phil. Obama was not in Blair House and John Howard didn’t come over and booted him out of the place. Blair House is “the President’s guest house
playing host to foreign heads of state visiting the United States on official business.”
Barack Obama is president elect (not head of state yet) of the United States (not a foreign country), who will take office later this month. He is not a foreign head of state. John Howard, as former Prime Minister (head of state) of Australia (a foreign country) will be here to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (official business).
Tony Blair and Alvaro Uribe will also be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
Howard and his entourage will be bunking at Blair House on Jan. 12, the night before he, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe are to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bush, said Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush.
From Colombia’s point of view, this will be a nice yet symbolic gesture of support for Mr. Uribe; Nancy Pelosi’s Congress has failed miserably by denying Colombia the real support that country has requested, which is the free trade agreement.
Much to their credit, the WaPo’s editorial board supports the free trade agreement with Colombia.
A couple of people asked if I’ll be posting on the election results in Puerto Rico. Yes, I’m working on a post for later this afternoon
Please note that I translated all the items below that were not originally in English from their original Spanish, French, or Portuguese. If you use any of them please credit and add link to this blog. Thank you.
Brazilian newspaper O Globo has a list of newspaper reactions from around the world: Principais jornais do mundo: vitória de Obama é feito histórico (Main newspapers of the world: Obama’s vitory is an historic event).
Clarin, Argentina: El Gobierno considera que la victoria de Obama es “un mensaje de esperanza” para el mundo (The [Argentinian] government considers Obama’s victory a “message of hope” for the world.) Argentinian chancellor Jorge Taiana added, “it’s the end of the cycle of neoliberalism.
El Universal, Venezuela, quotes Hugo Chavez, who never misses a chance to be inopportune,
“I truly wish (the new president of the United States) to change the imperialist vision; I wish him to suspend the blockade on Cuba (which has been effective since the 1960′s); everybody has been asking for it for a long, long time.”
Noticias 24, Venezuela: La embajada de EEUU en Caracas celebro una fiesta electoral (Election night party at the US Embassy in Caracas)
La Razon, Bolivia América Latina busca mayor atención
REACCIONES • Los gobernantes y analistas consideran que se acabará la indiferencia con la región, serán revisados los acuerdos comerciales y restablecidas las relaciones diplomáticas. (Latin America seeks more attention
REACTIONS: Leaders and analysts believe it’ll be the end of indifference towards the region, business agreements will be revised, and diplomatic relationships will be re-established.)
El Mercurio, Chile: Obama se convierte en el primer Presidente de color de EE.UU. (Obama becomes the US’s first president of color.)
Las victorias demócratas en los estados clave de Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Carolina del Norte, Nevada y Colorado le aseguraron a Obama tempranamente el triunfo, a pesar de que aún faltaba el recuento de votos en parte del territorio. (The Democrats’ victories in the key states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado insured Obama’s early triumph, in spite of parts of the country’s vote not yet being tallied.)
El Tiempo, Colombia: Editorial Obama logro lo practicamente imposible (Obama achieved the nearly impossible)
Granma, Cuba: Obama a la Casa Blanca (Obama to the White House)
As I said in the podcast, prior to the podcast I didn’t have enough time to link to Mexican newspapers; here are two, both from Mexico City:
El Universal: Cae barrera racial
Obama primer presidente negro en Estado Unidos (Racial barrier comes down. Obama’s first black US president)
El Sol de Mexico: Récord de votantes hispanos en EU; mayoría con Obama (Record number of Hispanic voters in the US; most for Obama)
El Pais, Spain: Sarkozy destaca la “victoria brillante” de Obama
Los mandatarios mundiales felicitan al líder demócrata.- Irak no espera “grandes variaciones” de la política de EE UU en su país (Sarkozy highlights Obama’s “brilliant victory”; World leaders congratulate the Democratic leader – Iraq doesn’t expect “big changes” in US politics towards their country). El Pais lists world leaders’ reactions:
France’s Sarkozy highlights the “brilliant victory”
Germany’s Merkel asks for unity between the US and the EU
The EU’s Barroso believes in the “strength through unity”
UK’s Brown is encouraged by Obama’s “progressive values”
Iraq doesn’t expect “big changes” in US politics towards their country:
“El Gobierno iraquí, que da la bienvenida y respeta la elección del pueblo estadounidense, no espera un gran cambio en la política de EEUU hacia Irak, ni que se pueda producir de la noche a la mañana”, ha destacado el ministro iraquí de Asuntos Exteriores, Hoshiar Zibari. (“The Iraqi government, which welcomes and respects the American people’s election, does not expect a big change in US policy towards Iraq, nor that it would change overnight,” Exterior Minister Hoshiar Zibari stated.
Mexican president expects a new stage in US-Mexican relations
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asks for “accelerated efforts to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”
Afghanistan “applauds” the voters’ choice
Iran believes the US should change its attitude
Moscow expects a more constructive relationship
The EU’s Solana proposes joint solutions between the EU and the US
Italy’s Berlusconi congratulates the winner
Mandela applauds the commitment to peace and security
Notice the difference between what that article said about Iraq, and that of The Guardian, UK: The world reacts to the new US presidentOverwhelming congratulations and an ‘awesome’ from Bush while Baghdad remains sceptical
Elsewhere, the vast majority of world leaders welcomed Obama’s win as a landmark moment for both the US and the wider world, while warning of the challenges the new president will face once in office.
A couple were less enthusiastic – Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, noted that the new president “will not have the same enthusiasm and momentum for this situation (in Iraq)” as did Bush – while Sudan was distinctly underwhelmed.
Additionally, El Pais did not mention Israel.
Times, UK: Analysis: Barack Obama’s victory is head-spinning stuff
Two years ago Barack Obama identified that the overwhelming sentiment in this election would be a desire for change They also have a video on Obama’s rise.
Le Monde, France: “Les Etats-Unis ont surmonté les démons du passé” (“The US has surmounted the demons of the past,” says Le Monde’s editor, Alain Frachon)
Le Figaro, France: Le monde salue la victoire
de Barack Obama (The world salutes Obama’s victory)
Pravda, Russia: A change for the better, which starts with
Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime.
I guess that’s their take on “thank goodness for term limits”?
Haaretz, Israel: Livni: Israel expects strong U.S. friendship to continue under Obama
“Israel expects the close strategic cooperation with the new administration, president and Congress will continue along with the continued strengthening of the special and unshakeable special relationship between the two countries,” she said.
In a statement, she called the Obama’s election “a mark of merit for American democracy.”
China Daily: Commentary: We wish US president-elect Obama well
The Standard, Kenya: Kenya erupts in celebration as Obama wins
The Australian, Australia: Janet Alberchstein’s blog, Is America a racist nation after all?
The NY Times: The Promise
For Many Abroad, an Ideal Renewed
Wall Street Journal: Read Their Lips
And the winner is … tax cuts.
Washington Times: EDITORIAL: Why weren’t they ready?
In heavily contested battleground states like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida, state elections officials recorded ever-expanding voter rolls month after month. But in most cases, they only marginally expanded access or upgraded their voting machines. Tuesday, the high turnouts proved they weren’t ready. Election officials need to explain why.
Post from last August: Latin American news media cover the Presidential campaign, and McCain is invisible
More on world reaction at 10AM Eastern in today’s podcast. The call-in number is 646 652-2639, and chat’s open by 9:45AM. Please join in!
You can listen to the podcast here.
Siggy forwarded this article, Machete-wielding teens attack Australian school
A group of teenagers armed with baseball bats and machetes attacked Australian teachers and students on Monday, injuring 18 people and forcing a high school in Sydney to be locked down, police said.
Five youths barged into the morning assembly at Merrylands High School in south-west Sydney, witnesses said, grabbing students before starting to smash windows at the school.
Five punks injure eighteen people and terrify hundreds.
Siggy then posted, Terror Down Under. He explains that
When violence or threats of violence are considered legitimate forms of political or social expression, inevitably violence or threats of violence will manifest themselves.Terror has become an accepted form of political and social expression, that status granted by those who most profess to be non violent or peaceful.
If we allow or excuse terror elsewhere, it is only a matter of time before that terror will manifest itself on our shores. What is terror here has to be regarded as terror everywhere, no matter what one might think of the ’cause.’
Go read the rest.