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“It’s an Atomic Bomb”: Australia Deploys Military as ‘Firenados’ Wreak Havoc, Fire Crisis Grows

“It’s an Atomic Bomb”: Australia Deploys Military as ‘Firenados’ Wreak Havoc, Fire Crisis Grows

Australia’s fires have grown so monstrous that they are now generating their own weather. 


(TMU) — Australia’s government has announced that it would call up 3,000 military reservists to confront an unprecedented bushfire crisis that is producing nightmarish “firenados”—cyclonic fire-tornadoes—and conditions that some are comparing to the aftermath of nuclear warfare.

On Saturday, beleaguered Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to reassure the country’s population that his government would take unprecedented measures to contain the fires, which have raged since September. According to AFP, Morrison said:

“Today’s decision puts more boots on the ground, puts more planes in the sky, puts more ships at sea.” 

The addition of 3,000 reservists to firefighting efforts, which have already seen the deployment of roughly 2,000 military personnel, amounts to what authorities say is most likely the largest maritime rescue operation in Australia’s history, reports the New York Times. Military aircraft, naval ships, and other materiel will also be made available to assist evacuation and firefighting efforts.

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said:

“The government has not taken this decision lightly … It is the first time that reserves have been called out in this way in living memory.”

The environmental calamity has been stoked by a combination of extreme winds, record-shattering heat waves, and drought-parched forests, grasslands, and brush.

Australia’s bushfires have also grown so monstrous that they are generating their own weather in the form of pyro-cumulonimbus clouds—dry thunderstorms that create more fires—according to Victoria’s Bureau of Meteorology. Fire-generated thunderstorms have appeared over the fires in two different locations. NASA describes them as the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Dire Circumstances”: Aussie Wildfires Intensify After Killing Half A Billion Animals; Record Numbers Evacuate

“Dire Circumstances”: Aussie Wildfires Intensify After Killing Half A Billion Animals; Record Numbers Evacuate

The brushfires raging across Australia which have killed an estimated 480 million animals have intensified over the last 12 hours, according to NASA, causing a record number of residents evacuate as forecasters predict worsening conditions.

Authorities on Friday urged evacuations for Australians living in parts of New South Wales and Victoria to avoid brushfires which are expected to rage out of control over the weekend. Temperatures in the area topped 104 F across much of the state, and no end to the destruction is currently in sight. According to NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, this is “the largest evacuation of people out of the region ever.”

I would love some big creators to help raise awareness for our beautiful country. AUSTRALIA is on fire, and we need all the help we can get. 500m animals dead. Thousands stranded on beaches. Pls RT with link to @RedCrossAUpic.twitter.com/2CwHp4CqRi— Pia (@piamuehlenbeck) January 3, 2020

Conditions are set to mirror or even deteriorate beyond what we saw on New Year’s Eve,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Jonathan How, adding that strong and dry winds would pick up over the weekend.

Over 1,300 homes have been destroyed, while 17 deaths have been reported.

In a harbinger of the searing conditions expected, a number of fires burnt out of control in South Australia as temperatures topped 40 degrees C (104 F) across much of the state and strong winds fanned flames.

Victoria declared a state of disaster across areas home to about 100,000 people, with authorities urging people to evacuate before a deterioration expected on Saturday. –Reuters

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

State Of Emergency Declared In NSW Australia As Deadly Bushfires Rage; Military Deployed

State Of Emergency Declared In NSW Australia As Deadly Bushfires Rage; Military Deployed

A seven-day state of emergency has been called in the Australian state of New South Wales amid raging wildfires that have killed eight people in the region since Monday, including volunteer firefighters, according to officials.

Military helicopters and naval vessels have been deployed to deliver water, food and fuel to remote areas which are difficult to reach by road. The Australian Defense Force has sent navy ships to Mallacoota on a two-week supply mission, according to Victoria Emergency Commissioner Andrew Crisp, who added that firefighters would be flown in via helicopter do the the lack of access.

Via The Guardian

Conditions are expected to worsen in coming days, with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicting temperatures to soar above 104 degrees in NSW, Victoria and western parts of the country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Asian oil production peaked above 8 mb/d for the period between 2008 and 2016 (with spikes in 2010 and 2015). The 2015 peak was mainly caused by peak oil in China. Since then Asia’s decline  was almost 800 kb/d or 9%.

Fig 1: The Asian oil peak lasted 8 years

The rest of Asia peaked already in 2000 (the year Australia peaked) followed by a very modest decline of 1.1% pa. Let’s go through the countries one by one.

In the following, net oil imports are defined as the difference between oil consumption and production. Please see the note at the end of this post.

Fig 2: Indonesia is in terminal production decline since the 1990s
Fig 3: Australia’s net oil imports
Fig 4: Malaysia is a net importer since 2010
Fig 5: Vietnam’s net imports are increasing fast
Fig 6: Thailand was always a net importer

Thailand’s consumption increases faster than production.

Fig 7: India’s consumption exceeded 5 mb/d in 2018

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Use of “Hidden Debt Loophole” Spreads Among Australian Corporations

Use of “Hidden Debt Loophole” Spreads Among Australian Corporations

Situation already so bad that hiding debt becomes a priority?

Australian engineering group UGL, which is working on large infrastructure projects such as Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and Melbourne’s Metro Trains, recently sent a letter to suppliers and sub-contractors informing them that as of October 15, they will be paid 65 days after the end of the month in which their invoices are issued. The company’s policy had been, until then, to settle invoices within 30 days.

The letter then mentioned that if the suppliers want to get paid sooner than the new 65-day period, they can get their money from UGL’s new finance partner, Greensill Capital, one of the biggest players in the fast growing supply chain financing industry, in an arrangement known as “reverse factoring”. But it will cost them.

Reverse factoring is a controversial financing technique that played a major role in the collapse of UK construction giant Carillion, enabling it to conceal from investors, auditors and regulators the true magnitude of its debt.

Here’s how it works: a company hires a financial intermediary, such as a bank or a specialist firm such as Greensill, to pay a supplier promptly (e.g. 15 days after invoicing), in return for a discount on their invoices. The company repays the intermediary at a later date. This effectively turns the company’s accounts payable into debt that is owned a financial institution. But this debt is not disclosed as debt and remains hidden.

In its letter to suppliers, UGL trumpeted that the payment changes would “benefit both our businesses,” though many suppliers struggled to see how. One subcontractor interviewed byThe Australian Financial Reviewcomplained that the changes were “outrageous” and put small suppliers at a huge disadvantage since they did not have the power to challenge UGL. Some subcontractors contacted by AFR refused to be quoted out of fear of reprisal from UGL.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia Deploys World’s First Law To Fight Online Extremism

Australia Deploys World’s First Law To Fight Online Extremism 

In the first application of a controversial new law passed in the wake of the March terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Australian authorities have ordered five websites to remove extremist content or face prosecution, according to the Financial Times. 

The material includes video taken by the Christchurch attacker, as well as videos showing the beheading of a Scandinavian tourist in Morocco. All five sites are based outside Australia, according to the country’s eSafety Commission, which was granted the power to investigate and order the removal of extremist content back in April.

Under the new law, social media companies, websites and even ISPs can be fined up to 10% of their annual revenue, or see their chief executives sent to prison, if they fail to remove  ‘abhorrent’ or ‘extremist’ material.

Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety commissioner, said on Monday that three of the five websites Canberra was targeting had taken down the offensive material, and no prosecutions had yet been initiated. She said the decision by the three sites showed the potential of threats of prosecution and fines.

“These are fringe websites that revel in gore and hatred. All of them are based overseas,” Inman Grant said.

In a separate move, Canberra ordered Australian ISPs to block access to eight other websites that continued to allow access to the video of the Christchurch attacks or the shooter’s manifesto.

Inman Grant said that while there were jurisdictional challenges involved in overseas prosecutions, “I expect in the next five years we will see a proliferation of similar regulators seeking to do the same thing.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia Lowers Rate to Historic Low of 1%

Australia Lowers Rate to Historic Low of 1% 

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the official cash rate for the second month in a row to 1%. As we head into the turning point of the Economic Confidence Model come January 2020, the unemployment rate increased to 5.2% in April. GDP growth remains very low at 0.4%, wage growth is sluggish, inflation is well below target, and retail sales are struggling. None of this will change until after the ECM turns as people begin to see that central banks are incapable of managing the economy.



Pablo Picasso Rest (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1932

With the news that Julian Assange is “wasting away” in Belmarsh prison hospital, and with UN rapporteur Professor Nils Melzer’s report detailing how this happens, I’m once again drawn towards the lawlessness that all “authorities” involved in his case have been displaying, and with impunity. They all apparently think they are literally above the law. Their own laws.

But they can’t be, nowhere, not above their respective national laws nor the international ones their countries have signed up to. They can’t, because that would instantly make any and all laws meaningless. So you tell me where we find ourselves today.

There’s this paragraph in an article by Jonathan Cook entitled Abuses Show Assange Case Was Never About Law, which lists “17 glaring anomalies in Assange’s legal troubles”, that sums it all up pretty perfectly:

Australia not only refused Assange, a citizen, any help during his long ordeal, but prime minister Julia Gillard even threatened to strip Assange of his citizenship, until it was pointed out that it would be illegal for Australia to do so.

See, Cook is already skipping a step there. Gillard didn’t take Assange’s citizenship away, because that is against Australian law, but it’s just as much against Australian law for a government to let one of its citizens rot in some kind of hell. Still, they did let him rot, but as an Australian citizen. At that point, what difference does anything make anymore?

This is a pattern that runs through the entire Assange “file”, and it does so to pretty astonishing levels. Where you’re forced to think that the countries involved effectively have no laws, and no courts, because if they did, the actions by their governments would surely be whistled back by parliaments or judges or someone, anyone. They’re all essentially lawless.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More Police Raids As War On Journalism Escalates Worldwide

More Police Raids As War On Journalism Escalates Worldwide

The Australian Federal Police have conducted two raids on journalists and seized documents in purportedly unrelated incidents in the span of just two days.

Yesterday the AFP raided the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, seeking information related to her investigative report last year which exposed the fact that the Australian government has been discussing the possibility of giving itself unprecedented powers to spy on its own citizens. Today they raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, seizing information related to a 2017 investigative report on possible war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan.

In a third, also ostensibly unrelated incident, another Australian reporter disclosed yesterday that the Department of Home Affairs has initiated an investigation of his reporting on a story about asylum seeker boats which could lead to an AFP criminal case, saying he’s being pressured to disclose his source.

AFP: I’m still staggered by the power of this warrant. It allows the AFP to “add, copy, delete or alter” material in the ABC’s computers. All Australians, please think about that: as of this moment, the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC’s computers. Australia 2019.

“Why has AFP suddenly decided to carry out these two raids after the election?” tweeted Australian Sky News political editor David Speers during the Sydney raid. “Did new evidence really just emerge in both the Annika Smethurst and ABC stories?!”

Why indeed?

“If these raids unconnected, as AFP reportedly said, it’s an extraordinary coincidence,” tweeted The Conversation chief political correspondent Michelle Grattan. “AFP needs to explain ASAP the timing so long after the stories. It can’t be that inefficient! Must be some explanation – which makes the ‘unconnected’ claim even more odd.”

Odd indeed.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australian Police Raid National Broadcaster Over Leaked Afghan War Crime Stories

Australian Police Raid National Broadcaster Over Leaked Afghan War Crime Stories

Australian federal police officers raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) over a series of 2017 reports known as The Afghan Files, which exposed crimes committed by special forces in Afghanistan based on hundreds of pages of leaked defense documents marked AUSTEO (Australian Eyes Only). 

The AFP officers arriving at the ABC on Wednesday. CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY (via Sydney Morning Herald)

The incident marks Australia’s second such move against journalists in just two days, after police raided the home of a News Corp editor over an April, 2018 Exposé on government spying. 

According to the police, the raid was “in relation to allegations of publishing classified material, contrary to provisions of the Crimes Act 1914,” while the warrant names the authors of the report, Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, along with ABC news director Gaven Morris. 

“It is highly unusual for the national broadcaster to be raided in this way,” said ABC Managing Director David Anderson in a statement, adding: “This is a serious development and raises legitimate concerns over freedom of the press and proper public scrutiny of national security and defense matters.” 

During the raid, ABC staff members were rounded up and asked to assist in examining their email server to look for “a series of key words.” Others searched a hard drive, according to ABC executive director John Lyons – who live-tweeted the raid. 

After four hours, authorities had collected more than 9,200 files and were deciding which ones were allowed to be seized under the warrant, according to RT

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

It looks like global food production could be well below expectations in 2019, and that could spell big trouble in the months ahead.  In recent weeks, I have written extensively about the problems that we have been experiencing here in the United States.  As many as a million calves were lost to the flooding that hit the state of Nebraska in March, farmers have planted less than half of the corn that is normally in the ground by this time of the year, and a lot of the crops that have been planted in the middle of the country are really struggling due to extremely wet soil.  But it isn’t just the United States that is facing a very troubling year.  Earlier today, one of my readers sent me an article entitled “Global food crisis ahead as extreme weather events devastate crops and fields around the world”which I would encourage everyone to read.  In that article, we are told that after the worst drought in 116 years Australia has actually been forced to import wheat.  And according to the Guardian, this is the first time in 12 years that this has happened…

Australia is planning to import wheat for the first time in 12 years after drought across the eastern states saw grain production fall 20% last year.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources confirmed this week it had issued a bulk import permit to allow wheat to be brought in from Canada to be processed for the domestic market.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australian Fuel Security Review ignores peak oil in China 2015 (part 3)

Australian Fuel Security Review ignores peak oil in China 2015 (part 3)

Australia increased its internal oil dependency & vulnerability

Let’s summarize what we covered in part 1 and 2

  • Australian oil production peaked in the year 2000 while oil consumption is going up relentlessly
  • 3 Australian refineries closed, resulting in fuel imports dramatically increasing, mainly from South Korea and Japan. This is a big problem if there is a military conflict in the South China Sea
  • Australia’s emergency oil stock is only 60% of IEA requirements since 2014. The government has no firm plans to improve this situation
  • Asian oil production started to peak in 2010 while consumption is still going up
  • China’s oil production started to decline after 2015. Oil imports are now around 10 mb/d. No one really knows where China will import its oil from in the next 5-10 years, not to mention in the next decades
  • China’s maritime silk road project is to be seen as securing China’s oil import routes
  • Asia imports around 16 mb/d from the Middle East, making it highly vulnerable to the next ME war
  • US shale oil will peak in a yet unknown year, but it will peak due to extraordinarily high decline rates
  • The Fuel Security Review argues that the global oil industry will always solve problems of supply disruptions and return to business as usual. This is an untested assumption because there will be fierce competition as Asia has entered the era of peak oil.

So what should Australia have done to prepare for this change? It should have REDUCED its oil use by

  1. developing alternative transport fuels and building up associated infrastructure
  2. introducing bio-fuels for sole use in agricultural production and for transport of food to the cities
  3. electrifying rail: intercity, freight and urban rail including expanding and modernising manufacturing capacities for rolling stock and other rail equipment
  4. NOT planning and building additional oil dependent infrastructure like freeways, road tunnels and airports

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australian Fuel Security Review ignores peak oil in China 2015 (part 2)

Australian Fuel Security Review ignores peak oil in China 2015 (part 2)

Coming back to the 2019 Liquid Security Review

Figures 9-11 in part 1 show how dependent Australia has become on fuel imports from South Korea and Japan, even China. The Review is aware of this, as shown on this map:

Fig 18: Australia’s oil supply routes

Note that any military confrontation in the South China Sea would necessitate the re-routing of crude supplies from the Middle East to South Korea and Japan via the Strait of Lombok (East of Bali) or – in the worst case – the Bass Strait as shown on this sketch map of the Centre of Strategic and International Studies (Washington):

Fig 19: Alternative shipping routes for the Sunda and Malacca Straits

Similar detours will be necessary if there is a military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait or around the Korean peninsula. Although tensions have eased, the North Korean problem has not been solved. Particularly vulnerable is the refining complex in Ulsan because of its size.

Conflicts are more likely because Asian oil production has peaked and oil demand is growing:

Fig 20: Homework for all State and Federal governments

More details are in following posts:

15/8/2018   Peak oil in the Asia Pacific (part 3)

12/8/2018   Peak oil in China and the Asia Pacific (part 2)

18/6/2018   Peak oil in Asia Pacific (part 1)

Asia imports around 16 mb/d from the Middle East, not sufficient for its growing demand. Increasing imports now also come from Africa, South and Central America and the Former Soviet Union (FSU)

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On Health of the Great Barrier Reef and Case of Sacked Scientist Peter Ridd, Sky News Creates Alternate Reality

On Health of the Great Barrier Reef and Case of Sacked Scientist Peter Ridd, Sky News Creates Alternate Reality

Peter Ridd

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in some serious trouble, with the latest research in the journal Nature showing the number of new corals has dropped by 89 percent.

In 2016 and 2017, the reef was smashed by back-to-back mass bleaching events and heat stress caused by global warming that killed about half the corals.

“Dead corals don’t make babies,” said James Cook University’s Professor Terry Hughes, the paper’s lead author.

“We used to think that the Great Barrier Reef was too big to fail — until now,” added colleague Professor Morgan Pratchett.

The paper was just the latest in a steady and, many would agree, depressing parade of findings for the World Heritage icon. And if the scientific papers don’t do it for you, then there are always the pictures.

But the release of the study served as a remarkable contrast to the way the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News, furnished with material from climate science denial think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has been “reporting” on reef science in the past week.

On at least five occasions the channel has interviewed the IPA’s policy director Gideon Rozner, who has been updating the channel on the case of Dr. Peter Ridd, a marine scientist specializing in sediments who was fired in March 2018 from James Cook University.

According to the various interviews, the reef is in great shape, the science is probably wrong, and Ridd is a “world renowned” reef expert in a historic fight for freedom. None of this is true, yet the claims have been allowed to stand unchecked.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why We Should Not Be Surprised That Murdoch Tabloid’s Favorite Sydney School Pupil Didn’t Join Climate Strike

Why We Should Not Be Surprised That Murdoch Tabloid’s Favorite Sydney School Pupil Didn’t Join Climate Strike

Student holding sign at school climate strike

Somewhere in the order of 150,000 students went absent from classes in Australia on Friday afternoon for the global “School Strike 4 Climate” marches.

In what might be seen as an afternoon practical lesson in democracy, free speech, and civic engagement, students from cities and towns across the country and the world marched, chanted, and held placards aloft.

One of the biggest marches in Australia saw 25,000 students on the streets of Sydney, the home of the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Daily Telegraph.

But one student in particular caught eye of The Daily Telegraph — a 17-year-old, Year 12 pupil called Joanne Tran, who wrote an article for the newspaper explaining why she would not be marching.

Real Motives?

Australia’s Education Minister Dan Tehan described the march as “appalling political manipulation” and said parents needed to know “who is influencing their kids, what are their real motives and who is paying for it.”

Good advice, no doubt.

In an articulate column, Tran argued her fellow pupils were “perfect political pawns for activists and their agendas” and that the website for the School Strike 4 Climate campaign was being run by “adults who came from partisan backgrounds.”

Tran said she had learned in economics class that coal, iron ore, and gas were essential for the country’s prosperity and her mates would be better off staying in school to learn about “the importance of the mining sector to Australian life and its contribution to the world.” Clearly, her economics class hasn’t covered this study in the scientific journal Nature finding that global warming of 2.5°C to 3°C by the end of the century would likely see a drop in per capita economic output of between 15 and 20 percent globally. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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