RT News

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Iran's leader rebuffs Rouhani's detente policy ahead of vote

Iran's leader rebuffs Rouhani's detente policy ahead of vote Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures as he speaks during a meeting with Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries, in Tehran, Iran, April 25, 2017. Leader.ir/Handout via Reuters Iran's leader rebuffs Rouhani's detente policy... X By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin | LONDON Iranians should not thank Hassan Rouhani's policy of detente with the West for any reduction in the threat of war, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, stepping up his criticisms of the president as elections approach. In comments that appeared to favor hardline candidates in the May 19 vote, Khamenei played down the benefits of Rouhani's landmark agreement to curb Iran's nuclear activities in return for a lifting of international sanctions. "Some say since they took office the shadow of war has been faded away. This is not correct," Khamenei was quoted as saying by state media. "It's been people's presence in the political scene that has removed the shadow of war from the country." Khamenei and his hardline supporters have also criticized the nuclear deal -- which stiffled talk by Washington of possible military action against Iran -- for failing to deliver promised economic benefits. ADVERTISEMENT But speaking at the opening of a refinery that Iran says will make it self-sufficient in oil products, Rouhani defended his position. "The nuclear deal was a national achievement. We should make use of its advantages. But some have started a fight over it," Rouhani said. He cited the new refinery, in the Gulf port city of Bandar Abbas, as a result of the deal and "interaction with the world". One of Rouhani's main challengers, Ebrahim Raisi, an influential cleric with decades of experience in the hardline judiciary, said Iran had no need of foreign help to improve the economy and could always defend itself. "We should not warn our people of wars and crises. We have full security in the country," Raisi said in a recorded address on state television. "This approach, that we should wait for foreign investment and for foreigners to resolve our issues, is wrong. Also In Big Story 12 U.S. Congress negotiators set spending plan to avert shutdown, bolster defense Twenty-First Century Fox in talks with Blackstone to buy Tribune "This is wrong, to wait years and years for foreign investors to come ... We should resolve issues by relying on domestic capabilities," Raisi said in comments that echoed those previously made by Khamenei, Iran's highest authority. Rouhani has said Iran needs foreign capital to modernize its oil and gas, transportation and telecommunication sectors after decades of international isolation. However, foreign investors are still cautious about trading with or investing in Iran, fearing penalties from remaining unilateral U.S. sanctions and President Donald Trump's tough rhetoric on the Islamic Republic. This has caused long delays in contracts that Iran seeks with international firms to develop its oil and gas fields. (Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Home prices brake in April after blistering run

May 1 2017 - 10:22AM Save Print 175 reading now Home price rises slowed sharply in Australia's major cities in April, in a welcome respite for policymakers who have been alarmed at the risks of a debt-fuelled bubble in the housing market. Property consultant CoreLogic said its index of home prices for the combined capital cities rose 0.1 per cent in April, the weakest month-on-month rise since December 2015, compared with 1.4 per cent in March. Bill Shorten to moderate housing prices University funding to be cut Video duration 02:31 PMs slam Palaszczuk Video duration 01:06 Spotlight on AAA credit rating Video duration 01:57 WA GST shake up Video duration 02:05 Better days are ahead: ScoMo Video duration 00:19 One Nation risks being deregistered Video duration 01:51 AFP's metadata mea culpa More videos University funding to be cut The Federal budget is expected to include savage cuts to university funding with student fees to rise and graduates required to pay their loans back quicker. Annual growth in overall prices slowed to 11.2 per cent, from 12.9 per cent. The results come after dramatic gains in two of the country's hottest markets - Sydney and Melbourne - over the second half of 2016 and early 2017. Related Content Sydney house prices fall for first time in 18 months If the softening trend can be sustained, it would vindicate steps taken by regulators in recent months to cool the heat in the property market amid concerns that speculation in property could ultimately hurt consumers, banks and the economy. Earlier this year, the main bank watchdog tightened standards on investment and interest-only loans to try and cool the market. Banks themselves have been raising mortgage rates. Advertisement After cutting interest rates to a record low of 1.5 per cent last August, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has warned further easing would only encourage more borrowing by already heavily indebted households. "The higher cost of debt, as well as stricter lending and servicing criteria, has likely dented investment demand over recent months," CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said. CoreLogic said its index of home prices for the combined capital cities rose 0.1 per cent in April, the weakest month-on-month rise since December 2015. Photo: Pat Scala However, "we need to be cautious in calling a peak in the market after only one month of soft results". The CoreLogic data showed home prices in Sydney were flat in April but the annual pace of growth was still a blistering 16 per cent. Melbourne grew 0.5 per cent in the month with annual growth at 15.3 per cent. Canberra, another hot market, suffered a fall of 2.8 per cent. Hobart was the strongest housing market, growing at 1 per cent, with an annual gain at 13.6 per cent. Lawless noted the rush into investment properties and an expanding supply of apartments has driven yields to record lows in Sydney and Melbourne. The slowdown in yields has in turn been a major drag on consumer price inflation, which hit record lows late last year. Since January 2009, home values in Sydney have more than doubled while Melbourne has increased by 93 per cent. The inexorable price rise in the major cities has taken homes out of the reach of many first-time buyers and become a political hot potato. The conservative government of Malcolm Turnbull has blamed a lack of supply for the problem and is likely to announce some measures in its budget next week

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saudi palace coup: The sequel

#SaudiStruggle David Hearst Wednesday 26 April 2017 08:26 UTC  2520  1544 googleplus6  4214 Topics: SaudiStruggle Tags: King Salman, Mohammed bin Zayed, Bin Nayef, Mohammed bin Salman Show comments The machinations to install a 31-year-old prince to the Saudi throne is a Verdi Opera in four acts A Saudi prince needs three sources of power to become king. In order of importance, they are the United States, the royal family, and the Saudi people, although the latter come a distant third in any calculation. This has been the case for every Saudi king since 14 February 1945 when Franklin D Roosevelt met the kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz on a US destroyer in the waters of Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake. Franklin D Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia at Great Bitter Lake in Egypt in February 1945 (Wikicommons) When King Abdullah died on 23 January 2015 and his half-brother Salman came to the throne, his son, Mohammed bin Salman had nothing in place. He was a minister of state and advisor to his father, but he was unknown in Washington and he was only 29 years old. A callow youth.  The first in a four act opera to install Mohammed on the Saudi throne began then. Act One: Royal flush King Salman flushed out the remnants of Abdullah’s court, starting with the dead king’s Cardinal Richelieu, Khaled Tuwaijri, the general secretary and gatekeeper to the Royal Court. Tuwaijri was replaced by the young Mohammed who at the same time became the youngest defence minister in the world. Salman installed his brother, Prince Muqrin, as crown prince and put his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as deputy crown prince.  Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman (AFP) Tuwaijri’s downfall was bad news for the Emirati strongman Mohammed bin Zayed. The two had funded and organised the military coup which brought Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power in Egypt, and all three were united in their common belief that the Muslim Brotherhood, not Iran, represented the existential threat. The pact between the two states was further damaged by what happened a few months later in April 2015, which could be considered Act Two.  Act Two: Son rise King Salman kicked his brother Prince Muqrin out of his role of crown prince, put his nephew, Bin Nayef, into the post and made his favoured son, Mohammed, deputy crown prince. Mohammed was pictured kissing the hand of his older cousin, Bin Nayef. But it was only a matter of time before he learned to bite it.  The ground has already shifted under the crown prince’s feet, because the king abolished the crown prince’s royal court. Until then, both the king and the crown prince had separate royal retinues. The abolition of his own court left Bin Nayef with the interior ministry as his sole power base. Mohammed was pictured kissing the hand of his older cousin, Bin Nayef. But it was only a matter of time before he learned to bite it Bin Nayef nursed a personal grudge against Bin Zayed, who had likened his father to a monkey. Furthermore, Bin Nayef’s stock with the Pentagon and Washington was high. He was Washington’s man. Very soon things started looking up for regional powers that challenged the Emiratis, the Muslim Brotherhood supporting regimes of Turkey and Qatar. Bin Zayed licked his wounds and bided his time. Bin Zayed figured he had a way of getting back into favour with the royal court, through another door, one opened by Mohammed. Bin Zayed calculated that he and Mohammed had an enemy in common. With bin Nayef in pole position as crown prince, an obstacle lay in the path of his cousin, Mohammed.  Mohammed’s first moves as defence minister did not go down too well in Washington. He launched a major intervention against the Houthis in Yemen, when Prince Meteb, the minister of the National Guard, was out of the country. The young defence minister earned a reputation for being cavalier. He disappeared on holiday to the Maldives and Barack Obama's defence secretary Ash Carter took days trying to reach him. Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister, Mohammed bin Nayef arrives to attend the 27th ordinary meeting of interior ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in April 2016 in Riyadh (AFP) By December that year, the German intelligence agency the BND issued an unusually candid one-and-a-half-page memo portraying the 29-year-old Mohammed as a reckless gambler with too much power. Bin Zayed moved swiftly. He arranged for a powerful Saudi media mogul to act as interlocutor, into whose accounts he poured millions of dollars. From his own experience, Bin Zayed advised Mohammed to act quickly. As the Middle East Eye reported at the time, Bin Zayed told Mohammed he had to end the rule of Wahabbism in the kingdom and to cosy up to Israel.  Glowing reviews ensued after his first interview with the Economist. The New York Times’ gullible Thomas Friedman swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker Bin Zayed promised to open up the channel of communication with Washington personally, but first Mohammed had to become known as a player in his own right.  He launched the biggest programme of privatisation his country had yet seen. A PR campaign was organised to sell the young prince to a Western audience and in language the West could understand. Mohammed was duly portrayed as a young Turk, an impatient reformer. Glowing reviews ensued after his first interview with the Economist. The New York Times’ gullible Thomas Friedman swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. “I spent an evening with Mohammed bin Salman at his office, and he wore me out. With staccato energy bursts, he laid out in detail his plans. His main projects are an online government dashboard that will transparently display the goals of each ministry, with monthly KPIs - key performance indicators - for which each minister will be held accountable. His idea is to get the whole country engaged in government performance. Ministers tell you: Since Mohammed arrived, big decisions that took two years to make now happen in two weeks,” Friedman wrote in his hagiography. Mohammed walked the walk of a moderniser. However, he was also a risk taker. The biggest risk he took when he launched Vision 2030 was not his promise to privatise five percent of the state oil company, Aramco, or even to push back the religious police.  It was to scrap national benefits which account for between 20 to 30 percent of the salaries of public sector workers. As this group makes up two thirds of the workforce, the murmuring of discontent was widespread. Nor was it particularly sotto voce. Bin Zayed was hard at work establishing a hotline to Washington. Many business links had already been established between the UAE and Trump Meanwhile, Bin Zayed was hard at work establishing a hotline to Washington. Many business links had already been established between the UAE and Trump. One of them came in the form a billionaire real estate developer, Hussain Sajwani, who had partnered with Trump on a golf course called Akoya near Dubai. "We made a deal with Trump as an organisation; they know how to run golf courses," Sajwani told Forbes. "We stay away from politics.” Sajwani thought it was business as usual when his US partner became president. This January, Trump revealed that he turned down a $2bn deal from his Dubai friend: "I didn't have to turn it down, because as you know, I have a no-conflict situation because I'm president," Trump said. "It's a nice thing to have, but I don't want to take advantage of something.” ►READ: The Gulf's 'Little Sparta' has big military ambitions A month before Trump was inaugurated, Bin Zayed flew secretly to New York. He broke protocol by not informing the incumbent US President Barack Obama, whose staff only found out when Bin Zayed’s name was discovered on a flight manifest. According to the Washington Post, Bin Zayed met Trump’s inner circle of advisers Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner and Stephen Bannon. Bin Zayed’s primary purpose was to offer his services to the Trump family. Bin Zayed’s brother, the UAE’s national security adviser, set up a meeting in the Seychelles between the founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, and a Russian close to Vladi­mir Putin. The idea was to establish a backchannel line of communication between Moscow and the then president-elect Donald Trump, the Washington Post claimed. But the meeting also established Bin Zayed as a fixer for Trump in the Gulf. When Trump finally met Mohammed bin Salman in the White House in March, the meeting was described as a “turning point”. Trump took the opportunity to point out that he was reestablishing links with the kingdom which Obama had squandered by pursuing peace with Iran. But the assumption in meeting Mohammed was more telling than the talks themselves: Trump was talking to the future king.   When James Mattis, the US defence secretary, paid a return visit to Riyadh last weekend, he saw King Salman and Mohammed. Bin Nayef, Washington’s former go-to man in the kingdom, was out of the picture. Act Three: Decrees of Separation Now comes Act Three. On Saturday, King Salman issued 40 decrees. The most important one was to restore Mohammed’s popularity by reestablishing the financial allowances for civil servants and military personnel that Vision 2030 had slashed. Mohammed was bizarrely given credit for this, although it was his decision to cut the allowances in the first place. This was further to diminish the role of his cousin Bin Nayef in all this. In other decrees, Mohammed's youngest brother, Khaled, was made US ambassador. Khaled’s only experience of international diplomacy is at the controls of an F16 as a fighter pilot. Curiously, in the same batch of decrees, a minister was sacked for employing his son. That rule however does not apply to the House of Saud. Another brother of Mohammed, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, was made minister of state for energy affairs. Yet another family member close to Mohammed, his nephew Prince Ahmed bin Fahd bin Salman, was made deputy governor of the oil-rich Eastern Province. The governor of that province is Saud bin Nayef, who is Mohammed bin Nayef’s brother, thus the arrival of the prince as deputy governor represented another way to tighten the noose around the crown prince’s neck.  Dozens of other members of the royal family got important posts, compounding Mohammed’s grip over it.  So that’s Washington squared, the family bought off, and the people pleased. However, Bin Nayef still stands in Mohammed’s way.  Next came decrees about the army and internal security. The head of the army, a career professional, Lieutenant General Eid al-Shalwi, was removed, to be replaced by his deputy, Prince Fahad Bin Turki, who coincidentally had just been in Abu Dhabi to brief Bin Zayed on the war in Yemen. ►READ: Why 2017 is a Saudi existential crisis The key decree which gave the coup de grace to Bin Nayef had nothing to do with Yemen. It was to create a National Security Centre under the guidance of the Royal Court. This organisation is a direct rival to the interior ministry under his cousin Bin Nayef. The fact that the new body reports directly to the Royal Court is significant, because Mohammed controls that too. When he gave up his job as general secretary to the court to become deputy crown prince, Mohammed ensured that he left an ally inside it to control it for him. That man was Saud Al-Qahtani, who established the reputation of being Tuwaijri 2.0. Saudi writer Turki al-Ruqi, the founder of Al-Wi’am newspaper, accused al-Qahtani of acting like an internet troll, launching social media campaigns against selected targets to terrify dissenters. Al-Ruqi claimed al-Qahtani had access to an army of hackers to target sites and defame and damage the reputation of many.  Al-Ruqi alleged: “The man has transgressed a lot. Many of the country’s young men have been his victims. He has provoked tension in the relations between decision makers and the country’s citizens. He has undermined the immunity that is supposed to be enjoyed by ministers and statesmen.” It is certainly true that a number of prominent Saudi voices have been silenced, like that of Jamal Khashoggi, one of the country’s foremost analysts from within the establishment.  Act Four: Bringing the house down Act Four? We have yet to know the fate that awaits the Crown Prince bin Nayef. The Trump administration ignores him. He is cut out of important meetings, and his cousin now has all the power.  Is it game, set and match? It looks like it. The old counter-revolutionary axis has been restored, with the addition of one new face, that of Mohammed. With him are two old faces, Bin Zayed, and the Egyptian president Sisi, who also appeared in Riyadh last weekend to kiss and make up after a brief spat. Trump’s fledging administration is four-square behind each of them, with Israel’s blessing. Everything is back to where it was under King Abdullah. When King Salman talked to Trump, he was careful to point out that Bin Laden had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu - known as Saudi's 'Paul McCartney - performs in Riyadh in March 2017 with Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman and Mohammed bin Nayef projected in the background (AFP) There is, however, one small difference. The Arab people from the Atlantic to the Gulf have changed. They have shed blood, lost homes, families, jobs, and their liberty. Thousands are in jail. Thousands more have drowned in the Mediterranean. Millions have been displaced. They are no longer awe struck by their absolute rulers with their absolute privilege and absolute wealth. And they are prepared to fight for basic human rights.  The House of Saud with all its court intrigues, with Abdullah merging into Salman and then Mohammed, has not changed. Access to power depends on the family tree. It makes a difference whether you are a brother or half-brother. Ministerial portfolios are still handed down from father to son like goods and chattel. Professionals are still replaced with placemen. The family puts enormous power in the hands of one man. It makes gigantic mistakes in Yemen and Syria. And it is still, with its unimaginable wealth, a house of cards.  - David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He was chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian, former Associate Foreign Editor, European Editor, Moscow Bureau Chief, European Correspondent, and Ireland Correspondent. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent. The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. Photo: Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Defence Minister and Chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs Mohammed bin Salman (R) addresses the first meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Economic and Development Affairs Authority in Riyadh on 10 November 2016 (AFP)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Byron Shire Council rejects Westpac on Adani mine

Adani indefinitely postpones final investment decision on Carmichael coal mine Updated about 2 hours ago Photo: The Adani board was to meet in India next week for final approval but has postponed the meeting. (AAP) Related Story: Adani $320m 'royalties holiday' proposal sparks Labor faction fight Related Story: Adani facing growing pressure on fears investors may have been misled Related Story: Palaszczuk offers $320 million 'royalties holiday' to Adani Related Story: Carmichael timeline: Planning Australia's biggest mining project Map: QLD Senior Queensland Government members were in meetings on Monday night, discussing how to urgently convince Indian company Adani to proceed with a board meeting to fund the proposed Carmichael coal mine. The mining giant has postponed its final investment decision on the $16.5-billion project in central Queensland until the State Government gives "clarity" over lower or deferred royalties. A company spokesman said they were waiting for the State Government to advise on whether it would offer a lower royalty rate or deferred royalties. The Adani board was to meet in India next week for final approval but has postponed the meeting. The State Cabinet on Monday discussed whether to give Adani a royalty discount or deferral, but no decision has been made. The ABC revealed last week the move could cost up to $320 million in lost royalties to Queensland. On Monday afternoon, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would not be drawn into revealing what was discussed in Cabinet. "There is no Cabinet submission at the moment, our main focus today was on the budget — it was on a budget which is going to be handed down next month, focused on infrastructure and focused on jobs," she said. The proposed royalty deal is understood to have caused division among Labor factions. Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Roads Minister Mark Bailey, from the Left faction, have publicly opposed any government subsidy of the mine and said that had been Labor's position since before the 2015 state election. However earlier on Monday, Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said royalty arrangements were being considered by the Government. "Queensland Labor has always taken a sensible and prudent approach to resource development," he said. Government indecision has put project at risk: Opposition After criticising the Government for considering royalties last week, the Opposition on Monday was criticising it for indecisiveness. Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the Government's had put Adani's multi-billion-dollar investment at risk.
"Labor should have come up with a decision and they've failed to do so," he said. "But their failure to come to a decision, their bitter internal divisions, their desire to say one thing in north Queensland and another in the south east, has led to the situation where Adani now is deferring its investment decision, and must be seriously wondering whether under this Labor Government the project should go ahead. "[The Queensland Government] delayed and deferred it and the people that are paying the price are the Queenslanders that are looking for jobs in this sector."
Just four days earlier, shadow treasurer Scott Emerson said it was "extraordinary" the Government was looking at "doing a secret deal" to benefit one company. Greens, activists accuse Adani of bullying Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters said the mining company was trying to bully the State Government into handing over $320 million in free coal. "So far, Adani is in line for a $1 billion handout, unlimited free water, new legal loopholes, special changes to Native Title, a free pass on reef destruction," she said. She called on the Queensland and Federal Governments to abandon their support for the project. Activist group Get Up said if Adani could not afford the project without a royalty holiday, it was not financially viable. "If Adani can't afford to build the mine without free water, free money and free coal, then Queenslanders can't afford to let them build it at all," GetUp Queensland campaigner Ellen Roberts said. Adani previously said the proposed $16.5-billion mine would create thousands of local jobs, and it was expected to produce 25 million tonnes of coal per year during its first phase. The former Newman government granted the mine preliminary approval in May 2014, before it received federal backing five months later. Over the last two years, the project has slowly stepped through the approval process for the mine and associated railway line to transport coal in the Galilee Basin to the Abbott Point port. Infographic: A map showing the Adani Group's Carmichael coal mine and rail project as of March 2015. (Sourced: adanimining.com) Adani's $16 billion Queensland mega mine gets the go-ahead File image (AAP) Hide Grid Image 1/ Video Audio Adani has officially announced they will proceed on the first stage of the controversial Carmichael coal mine. Source: AAP 6 Jun 2017 - 11:18 AM  UPDATED 26 MINS AGO Adani has given the green light to start work on the $16 billion Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin. Chairman Gautam Adani announced he had signed off on the project in a statement on Tuesday. "I am proud to announce the project has Final Investment Decision (FID) approval which marks the official start of one of the largest single Infrastructure - and job-creating - developments in Australia's recent history," Mr Adani said. Pre-construction work on the project is expected to begin in the September quarter. The company says the project will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, though opponents have challenged that claim. Mr Adani hit out at environmental activists who have challenged the project for years. "We have been challenged by activists in the courts, in inner city streets, and even outside banks that have not even been approached to finance the project," he said. "We are still facing activists. But we are committed to this project." ======================================================== April 23 2017 Save Print License article Byron Shire Council rejects Westpac on Adani mine Carolyn Cummins Byron Shire Council has upped the pressure on Westpac over any potential funding of the Adani mine by voting to withdraw the $1 million it has with the bank. Furthermore, the council, at last Thursday's meeting, said it will exclude Westpac from getting any of the $70 million-plus term deposits held by the council, that mature this year. "We will also divest $1 million currently invested with Westpac at the earliest opportunity that will not lead to financial harm for rate payers," the motion said. Bob Brown returned to Parliament House in Canberra with Geoff Cousins and environmental groups to protest against the Adani coal mine. Photo: Andrew Meares In response, the head of media communications at Westpac, David Lording, said the bank has "not been approached for funding by Adani". "But if we are approached we would look at it in the same way we look at all such funding proposals, in regard to any economic, governance and social impact," Mr Lording said. Protesting against the Adani coal mine at Westpac's 200th birthday party. Photo: Stop Adani Facebook Group "Westpac is also currently undertaking a review of our climate change action plan." On April 10, Westpac's 200th birthday party was targeted by climate change and anti-coal protesters seeking to pressure the bank into guaranteeing it will not fund the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland. Despite Westpac having no plans to fund the project, organisers from Stop Adani Sydney gathered protesters outside the driveway to Carriageworks, Eveleigh, to chant "Stop Adani" at cars dropping off guests to the invite-only event.  Those opposed to the mine say money is one of the final hurdles Adani needs to clear before it can start building Australia's largest thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland. The $16.5 billion mine already has state government and environmental approval. The coal will be sent via Abbot Point to India to be burned for electricity. Byron councillor Michael Lyon said it is time to "get serious" on climate change. He said the motion was passed to put pressure on Westpac to make a statement about any funding of Adani. The other three main trading banks have said they are not funding the mine. "Investment in renewables is the only sensible path forward and Adani's mine proposal is a step backwards. Any financial institution stuck in the past needs to understand that they will face a mass exodus of customers until they do what is required for a sustainable future," Mr Lyon said. He said Byron has an alliance with six other councils who are also opposed to the mine. "We passed this motion in support of Darebin Council, who advanced a similar initiative earlier this month, and other councils that have taken a similarly strong stance," Mr Lyon said. Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson added "the Adani mine will be a stranded asset before it is built and be a legacy to economic stupidity and inflexible ideology". "Hopefully Westpac will join the community of Byron Shire and embrace the opportunities for a renewable and fossil free future," Mayor Richardson said at the meeting. =============== Westpac's anti-coal stance exposes a Coalition out of sync with business and public on climate Mark Kenny Follow on Twitter 34 reading now Obviously Westpac's public 'un-friending' of new coal - for which you can read Adani's Carmichael coal mine in the Galiliee Basin - is a body blow for a project whose backers are thinning by the day. Westpac is the last of the big four Australian banks to bin Adani's publicly toxic prospectus. Government 'should get smashed': Jones The government using taxpayers' dollars to support the Adani coal mine is the kind of policy that will see it "smashed in an election", says 2GB's Alan Jones. All are unmoved by the lure of ongoing coal profits, especially if it comes with ties to a venture that has become a byword for climate change denial.  Adani will continue to seek other financiers - including extraordinarily, the Australian taxpayer from whom it is telling Indian backers, it remains eligible for a $1 billion loan. This is despite the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund rules, which appear to render it ineligible. t Westpac branded as 'wimps' over coal pledge With or without that welfare, the business case for new coal generally and the Adani mine in particular, looks to be ebbing. Fast.  Westpac's decision is an environmental declaration of intent. But it is a coldly commercial one also that recognises what the Australian government defiantly rejects: coal's day has passed. Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan hit out strongly at the bank, suggesting it had succumbed to the inner-city politics of Sydney rather than the employment needs of the sunshine state. Remarkably, Canavan - cabinet minister - even advocated a boycott, counselling potential customers to back a bank that backs Queensland's interests. Doubtless there would be many Queenslanders upset by the Adani venture, not least the thousands already employed around the Great Barrier Reef. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull meets with India's Adani Group founder and chairman Gautam Adani in New Delhi earlier this month. Photo: Mick Tsikas Besides, Westpac is hardly going out on a limb. Try going to the AGL website. One of the nation's biggest energy companies has announced a new campaign to end its association with coal entirely: "The reasons for getting out of coal are all around us" its homepage proclaims. Privately, Malcolm Turnbull must surely be hoping the Adani thing just goes away.  Resources Minister Matthew Canavan has suggested Queenslanders avoid banking with Westpac after the bank ruled out lending to Adani. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The PM may be a progressive rationalist at heart but in his head there are other realities to balance. Party room realities like Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton, and the Nationals, whose head-in-the-sand record on climate change has left farmers so exposed that even the National Farmers Federation now proposes a carbon price. Paul Keating once described Turnbull as a cherry on a compost heap. The trouble with compost heaps is they tend to be stationary. This issue is anything but, and if you want proof, just follow the money. ============ Westpac rules out funding projects in the Galilee Basin coalfields TONY RAGGATT, Townsville Bulletin April 28, 2017 7:41pm CUSTOMERS have been urged to boycott Westpac after the bank ruled out any finance for the massive Adani coal mine in central Queensland Northern Australia Minister and Queensland Senator Matt Canavan yesterday branded the bank “wimps’’ and unAustralian over the move which follows vigorous campaigning by environmental groups opposed to the multi-billion dollar project. “I can only conclude from this decision by Westpac that they are seeking to revert to their original name as the Bank of New South Wales because they are turning their back on Queensland,’’ he said. “May I suggest those Queenslanders who are seeking a home loan or a long-term bank deposit or some such in the next few months might want to back a bank that is backing the interests of Queenslanders.” Westpac has announced a revised climate change action plan, which includes a ban on financing thermal coal projects in undeveloped coal ­basins such as the Galilee. Green groups claimed it meant approving government loans to a Galilee rail line would be “near impossible” while the Queensland Resources Council said it was extraordinary a bank would be “judge, jury and executioner” on the viability of opening the Galilee coal province. Westpac said financing for new thermal coal projects would be limited to existing coal producing basins and where the calorific value of coal ranked in the top 15 per cent globally. Adani’s Carmichael mine, 160km northeast of Clermont, is among half a dozen new coal projects in the untapped Galilee province. In a statement, Adani Australia said it remained fervently committed to developing Australia’s next generation high quality thermal coal resource in the Galilee Basin. “The Carmichael mine will produce thermal coal that easily meets the emissions standards announced by Westpac Bank,” it said. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Westpac’s statement was ridiculous when it came to such an integral part of the economy. “I think it’s extraordinary that a bank like Westpac who, along with the other three majors, recently pleaded with the Federal Government not to have a royal commission into their operations, would now be judge, jury and executioner on whether something is economically viable and sustainable in a new basin such as the Galilee,” Mr Macfarlane said. Environmental Justice Australia’s David Barnden said Westpac’s move would likely make it impossible for the Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to provide a $900 million loan for the project’s rail line. ============== The first mega-mine of the largest coal-mining complex in the world is close to being ‘developed’ in Central Queensland, Australia. These huge coal mining projects are planned in a region known as the Galilee Basin. Only the tar sands in Canada and oil drilling in the Arctic compare in the scale of ecological disaster. Local and international companies are waiting to get their greedy hands dirty in the Galilee. Against the wishes of the Traditional Owners, they threaten irreparable harm to the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Artesian Basin and endangered woodlands. They know projects of such magnitude threaten runaway climate change. But, they continue anyway for profit. They are eco-terrorists, threatening ecocide. map 1FIRST PROJECT: Carmichael Mine Carmichael Mine is the biggest proposed coal mine in the Galilee Basin. At forty kilometres long, it would include six open cut pits and five underground mines. Measuring a whopping 28,000 hectares, the mine would be seven times the area of Sydney Harbour. Read more on the astronomical impacts of this mine alone here. Please click on map for a larger image. FIRST TARGETS: Adani and their friends Against the wishes of the Traditional Owners, conservative and ‘progressive’ governments in Australia have controversially approved Adani’s Carmichael Mine. It is also the mining project closest to financial closure. All those involved in this coal mine are priority targets of the Galilee Blockade campaign. Together we will win!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Construction for US base relocation in Okinawa continues amid protests (VIDEOS)

Published time: 25 Apr, 2017 17:12 Get short URL A crane barge works in the Henoko coastal area in Nago, Okinawa © AFP Construction for a new US military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa has taken another step forward, despite ongoing protests against the heavy American military presence and crimes committed by servicemen. Cranes could be seen lifting nets containing crushed rock and dropping them along the shore north of nearby Camp Schwab on Tuesday, according to videos posted by Japanese media. The rocks will likely serve as the foundation of a seawall built along the outer perimeter of the planned runway site, according to The Asahi Shimbun.  The move represents a step forward in the controversial relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station from Ginowan to the less-populated area of Henoko, in Nago. Full-fledged landfill work inside the sea walls is set to take place in the first half of next year. It comes despite protests against the relocation from Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and disgruntled residents, all of whom want Okinawa freed of the base and the heavy US military presence on the island. Katsuhiro Yoshida, a senior Okinawa prefectural official tasked with dealing with issues concerning US bases in the prefecture, said the move “ignored the local will” and is “authoritarian,” adding that local citizens simply cannot accept it. Read more Japan's Okinawa governor hits out at US bases during Washington visit Onaga is considering blocking the construction through legal action, claiming the central government is required to obtain his permission for the construction work, and that the last such permit expired at the end of March. The governor has also threatened to retract approval for the landfill work, according to Kyodo news agency. Onaga’s previous efforts against the base relocation were thwarted, with Japan’s Supreme Court ruling in December that it is illegal for the governor to revoke the approval for land reclamation, which was granted by his predecessor,

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Sun will be right at top of HOLY Kaaba in Makkah on 27th/28th May 2017.

The Sun will be right at top of HOLY Kaaba in Makkah on 27th/28th May 2017. That means we can have the opportunity it to mark direction of Qibla, but there won't be sun [post sunrise day time] in our city. In Adelaide it will be 1st/2nd Ramadaan, 1439 A.H, :18:48 P.M so although there won't be sun rising, but as Astronomical Twilight will be ending [Appx. Isha Adhaan/Prayer] starts at 18:43 P.M on that day so those who are living on top of mountains or beach side properties with a view to WEST [283 Degree WNW], might be able to see Sun's last beams on the horizon[ if sky is clear], it may still give us some rough idea of Qibla. There are many other cities where sun will be rising so one can accurately mark direction of Qibla. In a city of millions, Karachi, it will be around 14:18 p.m, much higher on sky at 65 degree altitude. I wish you all a HAPPY RAMADAAN and I want to send a message of Ramazan's blessings, peace and tranquility with the start of Ramazan. Enquiries for other cities: +61431138537 https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000/posts/1274006795981230:0

Saturday, April 22, 2017

More than 150 feared dead in Taliban attack on Afghan forces base – US military

Published time: 21 Apr, 2017 16:48 Edited time: 21 Apr, 2017 17:27 Dozens have been killed in an ongoing attack on an Afghan military base, a US military official said, adding that the death toll may be over 150, Reuters reports. "We're talking probably more than 50 casualties," said Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command, as quoted by Reuters. "There is a mosque and a dining facility on the base that seemed to, at this point from our reports, be the subject of significant attack from enemy forces." Militants wearing army uniforms stormed a military compound in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province during Friday prayers, Daulat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said, as reported by AP. The militants entered the building with a military vehicle and began shooting at the soldiers as they prayed in the compound’s mosque, he added. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has condemned the attack in a statement. The spokesman also said that five assailants were killed on the spot, including one wearing a suicide vest, while one of the attackers was captured alive. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. General Mohmand Katawazi, the commander of the Afghan Army’s 209 Corps, said that the military managed to “eliminate” all attackers, adding that the operation is over. Shaheen camp - the area attacked - was manned by soldiers of the 209 Corps. The death toll has reportedly risen to 66, the Afghan Pajhwok news agency said, citing its sources, and adding that 73 soldiers have been injured.  US-led forces entered Afghanistan to remove Taliban control more than 15 years ago, following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The US has more than 8,000 soldiers in the country, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations. Some 6,400 NATO soldiers remain in Afghanistan, following the large-scale NATO troop reduction there in 2014. US Army General John Nicholson recently described the situation in Afghanistan as a “stalemate” as he spoke to the US Senate Armed Services Committee. Lately, the US has concentrated on fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in eastern Afghanistan, while also supporting Afghan National Security Forces against the Taliban. Last week, the US dropped an 11-ton “mother of all bombs” in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, killing 94 IS terrorists, according to the latest estimates. A figure of 36 was earlier reported. Taliban fighters overran the Sangin district of Helmand province in late March. They also killed and injured at least 15 people in coordinated attacks on a police station and an intelligence service office in Kabul earlier the same month.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Child killed in Berwick medical centre carpark crash

Andrea Hamblin and Wes Hosking, Herald Sun 16 minutes ago A CHILD has died after an out-of-control 4WD smashed into multiple vehicles at a medical centre car park in Berwick. The incident occurred just before midday in the car park of the Epworth Specialist Centre, 45km southeast of Melbourne’s CBD. The driver of a light green 100 series Toyota LandCruiser had left the nearby hospital and was driving west down Kangan Drive when he lost control. The Toyota 4WD that smashed into a carpark and killed a child. Picture: Steve Tanner The out-of-control 4WD also damaged a number of parked cars before it ended up on its side. Picture: Steve Tanner A aerial view of the crash aftermath in Berwick. Picture: Channel 7 News Cameron and Sarah Smith witnessed the incident and were overcome with emotion at news of the child’s death. Picture: Steve Tanner The car travelled over the median strip and ploughed into cars, then travelled through a garden and a further 50m before hitting the boy near the front of the medical clinic and landing on its side. Two adults were injured, with a man believed to be in his 50s taken to Dandenong Hospital in a stable condition. Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the incident. Sarah Smith breaks down at the scene of the tragic crash. Picture: Steve Tanner Cameron Smith rendered assistance at the scene. “It is believed that just before noon a light green 100 series Toyota LandCruiser was driving on Kangan Drive,” Sgt Cameron Scott said. “The four wheel drive has driven through a car park and struck and killed a 4-year-old boy. “Two adults were also hit and their injuries are not believed to be life threatening. “The adults aren’t connected with the boy. “The driver of the car stopped at the scene and is speaking with police. Kangan Drive has been closed between Clyde Rd and Casey Hospital after the horror crash. Picture: Steve Tanner The 4WD on its side. Picture: Channel 9 “The cause of the collision is still being investigated.” A woman aged in her 60s was taken to Casey Hospital with minor injuries. Aerial photographs taken by a Seven News helicopter show a number of cars appearing to have been pushed across car park spaces on the property in Kangan Drive. Paramedics and firefighters are at the scene. Kangan Drive remains closed between Clyde Rd and Casey Hospital, which can be accessed via Soldiers Rd instead. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Across Los Angeles, toxic lead harms children in neighborhoods rich and poor

Lead's Hidden Toll RED FLAG: In San Marino, California, a homeowner uses a home lead test – turning red when it detects the presence of the metal on the porch door of her 1920s Spanish-style house. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok Part 1: Lead poisoning afflicts hundreds of areas across Los Angeles County, from affluent hubs to low income or gentrifying areas, Reuters finds. The results surprised some local leaders, showing how lead hazards persist even in a health-conscious region. By JOSHUA SCHNEYER Filed April 20, 2017, noon GMT LOS ANGELES – With its century-old Spanish-style homes tucked behind immaculately trimmed hedges, San Marino, California, is among the most coveted spots to live in the Los Angeles area. Its public schools rank top in the state, attracting families affiliated with CalTech, the elite university blocks away. The city’s zoning rules promote a healthy lifestyle, barring fast food chains. Home values in L.A. County census tract 4641, in the heart of San Marino and 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, can rival those in Beverly Hills. The current average listing price: $2.9 million. But the area has another, unsettling distinction, unknown to residents and city leaders until now: More than 17 percent of small children tested here have shown elevated levels of lead in their blood, according to previously undisclosed L.A. County health data. That far exceeds the 5 percent rate of children who tested high for lead in Flint, Michigan, during the peak of that city’s water contamination crisis. The local blood test data, obtained through a records request from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, shows two neighboring San Marino census tracts are among the hotspots for childhood lead exposure in the L.A. area. Related content Interactive: Looking for lead How Reuters analyzed L.A. blood testing data Unsafe at Any Level: Read the series Backstory: Read how Reuters gathered the data on lead levels in Californian neighborhoods San Marino is hardly alone. Across sprawling L.A. County, more than 15,000 children under age 6 tested high for lead between 2011 and 2015. In all, Reuters identified 323 neighborhood areas where the rate of elevated tests was at least as high as in Flint. In 26 of them – including the two in San Marino, and some in economically stressed areas – the rate was at least twice Flint’s. The data stunned San Marino Mayor Richard Sun, who said he wasn’t aware of any poisoning cases in the community. “This is a very serious matter, and as the mayor, I really want to further explore it,” Sun said upon reviewing the numbers presented by Reuters. During an interview at City Hall, he directed city officials to investigate potential sources of exposure. THOUSANDS OF U.S. LEAD HOTSPOTS The L.A.-area findings are part of an ongoing Reuters examination of hidden lead hazards nationwide. Since last year, the news agency has identified more than 3,300 U.S. neighborhood areas with documented childhood lead poisoning rates double those found in Flint. Studies based on previously available data, surveying broad child populations across entire states or counties, usually couldn’t pinpoint these communities. Despite decades of U.S. progress in curbing lead poisoning, millions of children remain at risk. Flint’s disaster is just one example of a preventable public health crisis that continues in hotspots coast to coast, Reuters has found. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s threshold for elevated lead is 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. Children who test at or above that threshold warrant a public health response, the agency says. Even a slight elevation can reduce IQ and stunt childhood development. There’s no safe level of lead in children’s bodies. HOPE STREET EXPOSURE: A child was poisoned by lead in this home in South Pasadena, California, in 2012, affecting his development and requiring therapy. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok “This is a very serious matter.” San Marino Mayor Richard Sun, after reviewing data showing high lead exposure rates in the affluent area In San Marino, old lead-based paint is likely the main source of exposure, county health officials said, but they added that imported food, medicine or pottery from China could also be a factor. About 80 percent of San Marino homes were built before 1960, and the community has a large Asian population, U.S. Census data show. Exposure from old paint, drinking water and soil are widely researched. Other risks – including some candies, ceramics, spices or remedies containing lead from China, Mexico, India and other countries – are less known. The L.A. blood data covers nearly 1,550 census tracts, or county subdivisions, each with an average population around 4,000. It shows the number of small children tested in each tract, and how many tested high. In California, the exposure risks children face can vary wildly by neighborhood. Many L.A. areas have little or no documented lead poisoning. Countywide, 2 percent of children tested high. But in hundreds of areas, the rate is far higher. Reuters crunched the data, and neighborhood-level results can be explored on an interactive map. (See Map, Below) In the trouble areas, old housing is commonplace. Nearly half of L.A. County’s homes were built before 1960. Lead was banned from household paint in 1978, but old paint can peel, chip, or pulverize into toxic dust. Children are often exposed in decrepit housing. But in some U.S. areas, nearly a third of lead poisoning cases can be linked to home renovation projects, said Mary Jean Brown, a public health specialist at Harvard University and former director of the CDC’s lead prevention program. San Marino residents take pride in preserving their historic homes. Among the measures Mayor Sun wants to consider: An ordinance to ensure safe practices any time home repairs or renovations could disturb lead paint. Poverty is another predictor of lead poisoning, and many of L.A.’s danger zones are concentrated in low-income or gentrifying areas near downtown and on the city’s densely populated South Side. In one low-income area of South L.A., Reuters met with the family of Kendra Nicole Rojas, a three-year-old recently diagnosed with lead poisoning, only to find that 63 other small children living within a six block radius have also tested high. “A lot of people don’t even think of the West Coast as a place where kids get poisoned,” said Linda Kite, executive director at L.A.-based Healthy Homes Collaborative. “The biggest problem we have is medical apathy. Many doctors don’t test children for lead.” The findings highlight a need for greater medical surveillance, abatement and awareness in the health-conscious county of 10 million, public health specialists said. The county and city of Los Angeles have dedicated lead prevention programs that work with at-risk families. When a child’s blood levels persist above 10 micrograms per deciliter – double the CDC threshold – the family receives a home inspection, nurse visits and follow-up. The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible, and the programs’ broader goal is to prevent any exposure. But success hinges on many actors, and assistance from agencies such as the CDC, the department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. Like other regions, L.A. faces a looming hurdle in attacking hazards: President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposals would sharply cut funds for many lead-related programs. “We’re aware of lots of areas where homes or soil contain significant levels of lead, and those can represent an urgent need to act,” said Maurice Pantoja, chief environmental health specialist for the county program. “Any fewer resources toward poisoning prevention would be a tragedy.” A POISONED HOME Just a few miles west of San Marino, in South Pasadena, one boy’s poisoning serves as a cautionary tale. HAZARDOUS LEGACY: Floors and window areas from the interior of a home in South Pasadena, CA, in 2012, where an infant named Connor was poisoned by lead paint and dust. REUTERS/Handout via Philip Shakhnis In an old, pastel-colored home on Hope Street, an infant named Connor was exposed to lead paint and dust in 2012. The property is owned by California’s Department of Transportation, Caltrans, which had plans to expand a freeway in the area. Its floors were coated in chipping lead paint. During a bathroom repair, a crew showed up in “hazmat suits,” said tenant Cynthia Wright, Connor’s grandmother. But as the crew worked, stripping toxic paint from walls and fixtures and unleashing plumes of dust, they told the family there was no need to leave the home, Wright said. That was an unfortunate lapse, the state agency acknowledged. “There were errors in handling communications regarding this property and Caltrans has revised its business practices,” spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said, leading to “greater vigilance.” Connor continued crawling around the floors. At age one, he began missing developmental milestones. Suddenly, he lost the ability to use the few words he could say. When his mother, Heather Nolan, had him tested for lead, the result was almost five-fold the CDC threshold. Lead levels often peak among children ages one to two, when they are increasingly mobile and have hand-to-mouth behaviors. Now six, Connor needs speech and occupational therapy up to five times a week. He hasn’t been able to integrate in a mainstream classroom. “It’s not an easy road,” his grandmother said. “I would tell anyone in an old home, you really need to be aware of the risks.” In 2015, the family settled a landmark lawsuit against Caltrans for $10 million. Wright still lives in the home, which has been remediated. POOR PROSPECTS Amid an affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles, many renters don’t confront landlords to fix lead paint hazards, fearing eviction if they raise the alarm, said Kite, the healthy homes advocate. That helps explain why so many children in south and central L.A. test high. Karla Rojas, 26, was living with her extended family on 30th Street in a low-income area of South L.A. last year when her toddler, Kendra, started getting chronic bouts of illness. TOXIC WORRIES: Karla Rojas, 26, discusses her concern after her daughter Kendra Nicole Rojas, 3, was exposed to lead in South L.A. Rojas moved to a new home. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok “When you read about what lead can do, it makes me fear for her future.” Karla Rojas, whose daughter tested high for lead Mother and daughter slept on the floor, near a bookshelf where an inspector later found flaking lead paint. Tested at the local St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, Kendra’s result came back at several times the CDC threshold. Once county officials got involved, the landlord repainted the shelf and other areas where lead was found. Still, terrified her daughter’s exposure would continue, Rojas moved out. “When you read about what lead can do, it makes me fear for her future,” said Rojas, watching three-year-old Kendra play with two new pet rabbits. Exposure is common in the area, said Jeff Sanchez, a consultant at public health research firm Impact Assessment, which works with L.A.’s prevention program. Around the neighborhood, code inspectors have cited at least 35 percent of residential properties for chipping or peeling paint violations over a four-year period. Paint isn’t the only peril. A mile and a half east, in Vernon, the now shuttered Exide Technologies battery-recycling plant spewed noxious emissions for decades, polluting soil in thousands of properties with lead residue. A planned $175 million cleanup will rely in part on children’s blood tests to determine which properties should be sanitized first. Past testing has shown that children living close to the plant are at heightened risk. Yet California, like Michigan, doesn’t require lead screening for all children, leaving many untested. Prompted in part by Reuters’ previous coverage, California cities and lawmakers are pushing new initiatives to protect children. EXPOSURE SOURCE: A building from the now closed Exide factory, a former battery recycling facility in Vernon that contaminated the area with lead in its soil. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok Bill Quirk, chair of the state legislature’s Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, recently introduced a bill to require screening for all small children. “I strongly support blood lead testing,” said U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who represents part of L.A. County. “It’s important that residents have information about the threats they may face in their communities.” ‘DON’T WORRY, HE’S NOT AT RISK’ California’s current policy is to test children with known risk factors, including those enrolled in government assistance programs for the poor like Medicaid. The protocol, applied unevenly by healthcare providers, can miss poisoned kids. In 2013, when apparel designer Amanda Gries and her husband, a Hollywood film editor, rented a home in L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood, she was pregnant with son Wyatt, now 3. The century-old mansion was in a rapidly gentrifying area south of downtown, near landmarks such as the Staples Center and the University of Southern California. Gries, concerned about peeling paint and dust in the home, urged a pediatrician to screen Wyatt before his first birthday. “The doctor didn’t want to test,” Gries said. “The message was, ‘Don’t worry, he’s not at risk.’ It was like he didn’t fit the profile.” Gries insisted, and her fears were confirmed when Wyatt tested at nearly double the CDC’s elevated threshold. An inspection found lead in dust on the floor of Wyatt’s bedroom at 30 times the federal hazard level. The family moved out quickly and searched citywide before settling into a home on L.A.’s west side, chosen because no lead was detected inside. Wyatt is bright and energetic, Gries said, but has impulsive behaviors. He needs occupational therapy for sensory issues, at nearly $200 per session. Keeping Wyatt away from lead hazards and feeding him a special diet are part of the Gries’ daily routine. Poor nutrition can worsen lead poisoning, allowing children’s bodies to absorb more of the heavy metal. “All we can do is hope he’s okay,” said Gries. Additional reporting by M.B. Pell PRESSED FOR ANSWERS: When a doctor told Amanda Gries her son Wyatt didn’t need to be tested for lead, she insisted. The results showed a dangerous level of exposure, prompting the family to move to a new home. Here, Gries holds son Eli while Wyatt plays at a table in their L.A. home. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok ALARMING NUMBERS: Amanda Gries points to high lead level test results from her son Wyatt's bedroom in the family’s previous home in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok How Reuters analyzed L.A. blood testing data By JOSHUA SCHNEYER The Los Angeles data examined by Reuters offers a granular look at where children have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead in the United States’ most populous county. The data tracks blood lead level testing results for children from birth to six years old from 2011-2015, aggregated by census tract. L.A. County shared results for each census tract with at least 100 unique children tested over this period. Most neighborhoods throughout the county are included. The results show children tested, and those with one or more elevated tests. The data reflects the census tract where children were living when they were screened. An elevated result is equal to or greater than the CDC’s reference value of 5 micrograms per deciliter. Any result above 4.5 is rounded up to 5 and considered elevated, in keeping with a standard convention for reporting of lead test results. The CDC used the same convention when it found that 5 percent of children tested in Flint had elevated lead levels during the peak of the city’s water contamination crisis. The CDC lowered its elevated threshold most recently in 2012, in part to reflect the medical consensus that even low levels of lead exposure cause permanent harm to children. reuters investigates More Reuters investigations and long-form narratives The agency is considering lowering it again , a move that could lead to more children testing high and expand efforts to remove lead from the environment. The L.A. County results include both capillary (finger-prick) and venous blood tests. Both have margins of error, although venous tests are considered more accurate and “confirmatory.” The data has limits. Many children don’t get tested, and results from some cities are excluded. Data from Vernon, Long Beach and Pasadena – each with independent health departments – wasn’t available from the county. California requires testing for children enrolled in Medicaid at ages one and two, and advises physicians to test some other children, including those living in older housing. A similar “targeted testing” policy is used in most states, including Michigan, although some states require testing for all children. Elevated blood lead levels are likely more common among children who get screened for the toxin, California officials say. However, Reuters found that even children with risk factors often aren’t tested, including those living in old housing. And Medicaid paid for screening covering only about one in three enrollees for whom tests were indicated in the state, 2015 billing data showed. California’s Department of Public Health says comparisons with other areas aren’t warranted. Sources of lead exposure, and tracking of blood tests, can differ between areas. “Testing results need to be considered in the context of the unique population being tested,” the department said in a statement. The L.A. data builds upon previous Reuters reporting in California. A report last month documented areas, including parts of Fresno, Oakland and Los Angeles, with worrisome childhood exposure rates. That report was based on testing data from about a fourth of zip codes statewide in 2012, shared earlier by the state’s Department of Public Health. Today’s article is based on a far more comprehensive trove of data for L.A. County, recently obtained by Reuters. Lead’s Hidden Toll By Joshua Schneyer Data: Joshua Schneyer and M.B. Pell Graphics: Christine Chan and Charles Szymanski Photo Editing: Steve McKinley Design: Troy Dunkley Edited by Ronnie Greene

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Forget Sanctions: Exxon Would Like Access to Russian Oil Anyway

Robbie Gramer and Emily Tamkin Foreign Policy MagazineApril 20, 2017 Because Russia just doesn’t loom large enough already in Washington. More With the simple submission of a technical sanctions waiver, oil giant Exxon Mobil created a potential PR headache for the White House. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Exxon is seeking a greenlight from the U.S. government to bypass sanctions on Russia and resume doing business with the country’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft. It’s hard to imagine how the optics could be worse. One of the biggest of the many scandals plaguing Trump’s White House is the FBI investigation into whether his campaign coordinated with Russian intelligence to tip the election in his favor. An unverified dossier alleges that Rosneft may have played a role in the Russian election meddling. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson happens to be the former Exxon CEO — who before becoming America’s top diplomat had lobbied the Obama administration to ease sanctions that hamstrung Exxon’s business in Russia. The State Department is one of several government agencies that will oversee Exxon’s waiver application, though a State Department spokesman told the Wall Street Journal Tillerson (who received the Russian Order of Friendship in 2013) is recusing himself from any decisions relating to Exxon for two years. The sanctions were put in place in 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea. The sanctions prevent U.S. companies from dealings with Rosneft involving technology transfer, and also target Rosneft chief — and Putin confidant — Igor Sechin. Under Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbying groups to argue against U.S. sanctions and he personally met with senior Obama White House officials a dozen times to discuss sanctions on Russia (though he assured Congressional leaders at his confirmation hearing in January he “never lobbied against sanctions personally” and “to [his] knowledge, Exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions.”) Exxon figures the sanctions, which have forestalled exploration in places like the Russian Arctic, cost it at least $1 billion. Exxon is apparently trying to get U.S. permission to drill in the Russian Black Sea; if it doesn’t drill an exploratory well this year, it could lose the concession. But existing sanctions aside, Exxon’s efforts now to get access to deepwater, offshore oil fields is a little curious given the big global oil supply glut and still-cheap prices. Deepwater projects, like the one Exxon is trying to get going, generally need oil prices closer to $70 a barrel to be economic; crude oil has spent months in the $50 a barrel range. (Exxon’s other sanctions-stalled project with Rosneft, in the chilly Kara Sea, would be an even dicier proposition at these prices.) But under the terms of its agreement with Rosneft, Exxon’s Black Sea play could expire if it doesn’t act soon, so it presumably wants to keep the proverbial pilot light on so they’re ready to pounce when prices rebound. Another reason could be sheer competitive pressure. The European Union is granting sanctions waivers to its own companies, including Italian oil company Eni, to explore cooperation with Russia in the Black and Barents Seas, even while the sanctions freeze out U.S. firms. “Exxon is worried it could get boxed out of the Black Sea by the Italians,” one person briefed on the Exxon waiver told the Journal. Photo credit: ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images

Monday, April 17, 2017

Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query

topic Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query in Tax and Business Activity Statements http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/441343#M7487

I did, actually. You can't distribute the SBTO amount through entities to the individual along with the income. In the individual's tax return you have to prepare the Share of partnership small business income schedule (sbp) or Share of trust small business income schedule (sbt).

Convoluted, but the estimate included the SBTO and the NOAs matched.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 03:31:10 GMT DanielOP 2016-11-22T03:31:10Z Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/427020#M7180



We are aurrently trying to complete client's tax returns which includes a Partnership and Individuals who are eligible for the Small Business Tax Offset.


We are completing Item 5 Label V within the Partnership return, however are having difficulty understanding how using the worksheet for this label matches what the ATO require.


For example, the business has income of $1,000 and only a deduction of accounting fees for $200. Therefore the net business income is $800, however the income for Small Business Tax Offset purposes should be $1,000 as accounting fees need to be added back when calculating income for this purposes. We have discussed this with the ATO and they have advised our understanding of the offset through this example is correct.


The worksheet within the Partnership tax return works the opposite way. It populates the income from the business schedule to be $800, and the 'subtracts' the accounting fees to reduce the income for Small Business Tax Offset to $600.


Can you please advise how to understand the software.





Mon, 01 Aug 2016 01:24:17 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/427020#M7180 Anna_Walker_DKM 2016-08-01T01:24:17Z
Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/429324#M7221

I am having the same issue.

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 02:53:36 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/429324#M7221 CraigMS 2016-08-17T02:53:36Z
Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/430783#M7238

I am having the same issue. The schedule is subtracting the accounting fees and donations that I am inputting, rather than adding them back as the schedule should. I found the details in the Act and it stated that adding back the accounting fees and donations will increase the offset.


In your example, the SBE income should be $1200, assuming that accounting fees were in the initial $1000. Therefore $1200 would be divided by the taxable income of the individual and then calculated against the individual's tax liability. It is then multiplied by 5% to create the offset.


We did input the data in a tax return and manually calculated the offset. It confirmed that the calc is incorrect for the purposes of this offset.

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 07:39:37 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/430783#M7238 TimCollins 2016-08-29T07:39:37Z
Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/435162#M7300

My query is slightly different to the topic posted but it's related to the SBTO.


My query - is a trust distributed net business profit to another trust and from the other trust distribute to individual beneficiaries. Will the "the other trust" income distribution to the individuals get the SBTO?


The share of net small business income recorded on Item 8 of the "received Trust return" does not flow thru to the Statement of distribution for the individuals beneficiary.


My question is the SBTO can't be distributed from the "received trust return" to the individuals?


Is it only from the original trust return which has the net business income distributed then individuals beneficiay gets the share of SBTO?


Or do we manually entered the share of net small business income in the "individuals" returns as there is no option in the "received trust" to flow thru the info to the indvidual return?


Please advise.




Mon, 03 Oct 2016 01:31:14 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/435162#M7300 DT-Tracy 2016-10-03T01:31:14Z
Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/437823#M7382

I have this exact issue. Business income from partnership is distributed to trust with SBTO amount which shows in Distribution from Partnership income worksheet in Trust tax return. Trust also has small amount of its own business income, but Small Business Income Worksheet doesn't pick up the SBTO income amount that should be flowing through from the Partnership.

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:51:25 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/437823#M7382 DanielOP 2016-10-21T00:51:25Z
Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/439841#M7451

DanielOP, I am having the exact same issue. Did you find a solution? Thanks.

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 01:14:54 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/439841#M7451 CJohnson 2016-11-08T01:14:54Z
Re: Small Business Tax Offset - Partnership and Trust Tax Returns Calculation Worksheet Query http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/441343#M7487

I did, actually. You can't distribute the SBTO amount through entities to the individual along with the income. In the individual's tax return you have to prepare the Share of partnership small business income schedule (sbp) or Share of trust small business income schedule (sbt).

Convoluted, but the estimate included the SBTO and the NOAs matched.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 03:31:10 GMT http://community.myob.com/t5/Tax-and-Business-Activity/Small-Business-Tax-Offset-Partnership-and-Trust-Tax-Returns/m-p/441343#M7487 DanielOP 2016-11-22T03:31:10Z

Albert Park’s Beach Hotel sells to Chinese

NewsBY Adrian Ballantyne | 11 APRIL 2017
Chinese investors have bought the Beach Hotel at Albert Park in Melbourne. Melbourne waterside pub the Beach Hotel at Albert Park and a neighbouring Foodworks supermarket have been sold to Chinese investors. The pub, once owned by Collingwood Football Club in an ill-fated investment, sits on one of the city’s most prominent bayside corners directly opposite Port Phillip Bay. The two-storey venue was built in the 1880s and has undergone numerous refurbishments over the last 130 years. It now features bars, dining rooms, functions spaces, an outdoor courtyard and guest rooms on the second level, as well as poker machines. Commercial Insights: Subscribe to receive the latest news and updates Combined, the pub and supermarket draw an annual income of more than $758,000, with the hotel also licensed for 32 poker machines. CBRE Hotels’ Scott Callow and Mark Wizel marketed the sales campaign, and while the sale price was not disclosed, some reports put it at around $18 million. Callow says the affluence of the surrounding bayside area made for a hotly contested sales process, with both local and foreign buyers making a play for the property. “Located in the heart of Albert Park, the Beach Hotel and neighbouring Foodworks supermarket service a prosperous inner bayside suburb of established families and independent young professionals,” he says. “This affluent suburb is earmarked for future residential development, which will ensure this venue is well positioned to benefit.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why female genital mutilation still exists in modern Singapore

By Yvette Tan BBC News 21 November 2016 From the section Asia These are external links and will open in a new window Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with Messenger Share this with Email Share Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Zarifah (not pictured) was just two weeks old when her mother handed her over to the midwife Female genital mutilation is carried out by communities around the world. But though it is not commonly associated with modern, cosmopolitan Singapore, it is quietly happening all the time, as the BBC's Yvette Tan writes. Zarifah Anuar didn't find out she had been circumcised as a child until she was 23. She was just two weeks old when her mother handed her over to her bidan, a traditional midwife, to have part of her clitoris cut. Years later, a colleague asked her if she had undergone the procedure. "I answered very confidently that I would know if I had," said Zarifah. "'You should ask your mother', she told me." So she did. "What was a previously casual and happy mood turned sour and antagonistic very quickly", said Zarifah. "'Did I cry? Was I asleep? Did I wake up?' I asked my mother. She didn't answer and told me the conversation was over." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than 200 million women and girls worldwide have been cut The WHO estimates more than 200 million women and girls worldwide have been cut, varying from a partial nick to a complete removal of the clitoris or sewing-up of the labia. Most Singaporeans have little idea of the procedure's existence in the city-state, but it is observed, typically among Malay Muslims, who make up some 13% of the total resident population. Sunat Perempuan, as it is known in Malay, is usually carried out on girls before the age of two, who normally have the tip of the clitoris cut, with a tiny piece of skin sometimes removed. "Many of my Indian Muslim friends didn't have the procedure done on them, and were shocked that such practices still exist within the Malay community," said Filzah Sumartono, who found out she had undergone the procedure as a baby when she was in her teens. Singapore has no legal ruling against FGM, but many Muslims take guidance from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), a statutory board that provides advice on religious matters to Muslims. Ibrahim Sawifi of MUIS has said the body "does not condone any procedures which bring harm to the individual", adding that the council has "always held the position that FGM should be avoided". Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some believe Sunat Perempuan is a compulsory part of Islamic law But many Malay Muslims, especially amongst the older generations, believe the procedure reduces a woman's libido and decreases the risk of extramarital sexual affairs. Others believe it is a compulsory part of Islamic law, though it is not listed as mandatory in the Koran. "I had it done, my daughter had it done, and I would definitely like my granddaughter to do it too," said a 45-year-old Muslim Malay woman the BBC spoke to. "It's something compulsory for us to do in Islam." 'This is what it's like to pee after female genital mutilation' Nearly 6,000 new FGM cases in England Singapore clinics carry out FGM on British girls Do first, ask later "If performed, one gets extra merit but if not performed, it is not considered sinful or going against the precepts of Islam," said Dr Maznah Mohamad of the Department of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore. "But people are still afraid of going against Islam if they don't subject their young daughter to it." Yet it is not the procedure itself that many find fault with, but rather the lack of consent that it signifies. "We start trying to control women's bodies at infancy. It's the first sign to a child that her body is not hers, it's the community's," said Filzah, who is a project co-ordinator at gender equality rights group Aware. "An infant at two weeks wouldn't know anything at all. How could she possibly consent to anything?" adds Zarifah. According to her, all the Malay Muslim girls in Singapore she knows have undergone this procedure. All of them were unaware of it until they asked their parents. Image copyright Zarifah Anuar Image caption "I now know just how much my body is not mine," says Zarifah "Parents should be responsible for keeping their children safe, this goes completely against that. There is a part of me that regrets asking, because I now know just how much my body is not mine," she said. But not everyone agrees. "There are many things parents do without the consent of the child, out of love and their best interests." said 28-year-old civil servant Siti*, who also underwent the procedure as a baby. "What parent would intentionally put their child through harm?" "I have no knowledge of how different things would feel with or without [the procedure] but I can feel what needs to be felt," Siti added. "It doesn't make me less of a woman." What all the women can agree on, is that more awareness is needed on the subject. "The community itself is divided," said Siti. "MUIS must create a conversation regarding this topic to help the community move forward and equip young parents with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision." "The Muslim Malay community needs to talk about the issue an understand and accept that it is against the human rights of girls," said Zarifah. "I refuse to accept that this conversation is over." *Names have been changed

Thursday, April 13, 2017

U.S. unleashes 'mother of all bombs' for first time in Afghanistan, HAPPY EASTER to AFGHANISTAN

Thu Apr 13, 2017 | 5:44 PM EDT ‘How many civilians killed there?’ Twitter rages as Trump drops 'mother of all bombs' on Afghanistan Published time: 13 Apr, 2017 21:31 Edited time: 13 Apr, 2017 23:21 Get short URL The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) © Elgin Air Force Base / Reuters AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 408 Share to Twitter Share to Reddit Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr The US Military dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat enflamed social media users on Thursday, drawing comments from many prominent figures including Edward Snowden. Trends Viral READ MORE: US drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan, first time used in combat  The mega GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), dubbed the "Mother of all bombs”, is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever to be used in a combat setting. US forces dropped it in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan at 7pm local time on Thursday. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden noted the strike was designed to destroy a network of tunnels that the US itself had funded during the 1980s when CIA backed Jihadists were fighting the Soviet Union. The colossal bomb, over 30 feet long and weighing more than 21,000 pounds, creates a blast radius stretching a mile in each direction. It is made of a thin aluminium skin that is designed to “maximise the blast effect,” according to Frederick Davis of the Air force Research Laboratory, who designed the destructive device.  Footage from a 2003 test shows the enormous scale of the blast. According to the Air Force, the test produced an impact cloud that could be seen from 20 miles away. The bombing drew floods of responses on social media, with many noting that the extremely expensive explosive could have paid for public services, such as Meals on Wheels, whose budgets are being cut by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, many others expressed support for the move saying it would help defeat ISIS. Trump himself described it as "another successful job”. The GPS-guided bomb was built for the Iraq war to pressure Saddam Hussein, but none had ever been used until Thursday. "The goal is to have the pressure be so great that Saddam Hussein cooperates,” then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview about the bomb in 2003. "Short of that… the goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the coalition.” 2h ago | 01:28 U.S. drops 'mother of all bombs' in Afghanistan U.S. unleashes 'mother of all bombs' for first... X By Idrees Ali | WASHINGTON The United States dropped "the mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, the military said. President Donald Trump touted the bombing as evidence of a more muscular U.S. foreign policy since he took office in January after eight years of President Barack Obama. The 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GBU-43 bomb, which has 11 tons of explosives, was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said. (Graphic - U.S. drops massive bomb in Afghanistan IMG : tmsnrt.rs/2nKoKks) The GBU-43, also known as the "mother of all bombs," is a GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003. It is regarded as particularly effective against clusters of targets on or just underneath the ground. Other types of bombs can be more effective against deeper, hardened tunnels. It was the first time the United States has used this size of conventional bomb in a conflict. Trump described the bombing as a "very successful mission.” It was not immediately clear how much damage the device did. During last year's presidential election campaign, Trump vowed to give priority to destroying Islamic State, which operates mostly in Syria and Iraq. He flexed U.S. military muscles last week by ordering a cruise missile attack on a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a poison gas attack. "If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what’s happened over the last eight years, you’ll see that there’s a tremendous difference," Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. The security situation remains precarious in Afghanistan, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the U.S. invasion which toppled the Taliban government. So far, Trump has offered little clarity about a broader strategy for Afghanistan, where some 8,400 U.S. troops remain. LONG AFGHAN WAR Last week, a U.S. soldier was killed in the same district as where the bomb was dropped while he was conducting operations against Islamic State. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the bombing "targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area." ‹ 3/3 The GBU-43/B is launched from a MC-130E Combat Talon I at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida on November 21, 2003. Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout/File photo 1/3 The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb is pictured in this undated handout photo. Elgin Air Force Base/Handout via Reuters 2/3 The GBU-43/B, also known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, detonates during a test at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida, U.S., November 21, 2003 in this handout photo provided April 13, 2017. Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout via REUTERS 3/3 The GBU-43/B is launched from a MC-130E Combat Talon I at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida on November 21, 2003. Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout/File photo 1/3 The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb is pictured in this undated handout photo. Elgin Air Force Base/Handout via Reuters › Spicer said the bomb was dropped at around 7 p.m. local time and described it as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." U.S. forces took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage," he said. Afghan soldiers and police, with the aid of thousands of foreign military advisers, are struggling to hold off a resurgent insurgency led by the Taliban, as well as other groups like Islamic State. The U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said earlier this year that the Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of the country. Foreign policy experts said that it appeared the use of a specialized weapon like the GBU-43 had more to do with the type of target -- tunnels -- than the United States sending any message to other countries by using such a powerful weapon. "This is a very specialized weapon, we don't have very many of them, you can only use them in a very narrow set of circumstances," said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. Related Coverage VIDEOU.S. drops mega-bomb on ISIS caves in Afghanistan Cancian added that while sending a message to Syria or North Korea could have been among the secondary factors considered, they would not have been the main reason for using this type of weapon. U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the use of this bomb was a sign that the United States was committed to Afghanistan. But Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Democrat who was the only "no" vote for authorization for use of military force in Afghanistan in 2001, said the move was unprecedented and asked for an explanation. "President Trump owes the American people an explanation about his escalation of military force in Afghanistan and his long-term strategy to defeat ISIS," she said in a statement. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said recently that he needed several thousand more international troops in order to break a stalemate in the long war with Taliban insurgents. U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province. Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500. The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence. (Reporting by Idrees Ali. Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Patricia Zengerle and Will Dunham.; Editing by Alistair Bell)

United States' first female Muslim judge found dead in Hudson River

By Ian Simpson A groundbreaking black jurist who became the first Muslim woman to serve as a U.S. judge was found dead in New York's Hudson River on Wednesday, police said. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a 65-year-old associate judge of New York's highest court, was found floating off Manhattan's west side at about 1:45 p.m. EDT (1545 GMT), a police spokesman said. Police pulled Abdus-Salaam's fully clothed body from the water and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Her family identified her and an autopsy would determine the cause of death, the spokesman said. ADVERTISEMENT Abdus-Salaam, a native of Washington, D.C., became the first African-American woman appointed to the Court of Appeals when Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo named her to the state's high court in 2013. "Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all," Cuomo said in a statement. The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History said Abdus-Salaam was the first female Muslim to serve as a U.S. judge. Citing unidentified sources, the New York Post reported that Abdus-Salaam had been reported missing from her New York home earlier on Wednesday. Attempts to reach her family were unsuccessful. Also In U.S. United passenger launches legal action over forceful removal Jurors due to deliberate Nevada case of Bundy ranch standoff A graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School, Abdus-Salaam started her law career with East Brooklyn Legal Services and served as a New York state assistant attorney general, according to the Court of Appeals website. She held a series of judicial posts after being elected to a New York City judgeship in 1991. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Tait)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Divorce in South Australia

Lisa Omar
12 July 2016 Assalamualaikum Out of curiosity, when muslim couples divorce (for whatever the reason might be), and despite whoever requests it (be it the wife or the husband), is there some paper documentation/certificate given to say 'yes these two aren' t married to each other anymore' issued by masjids/imams/respected sheikhs? Because I know it is not necessary for us to register our marriage to the Aussie side of things especially when your marriage is recognised (for example, nikah in Malaysia, recognised by Australia 'cause we get proper documentation saying we' re married etc issued by islamic council back in Malaysia. The same goes if a couple is divorced) If no, shouldn't there be one? To avoid certain complications in the future of course incase they wanna remarry etc. Just asking. Not stirring up anything. Representatives, please explain😊 3 Comments 2 2 Like Show More Reactions Comment Comments Taher Alwani you should ask this to a shiekh or alim not here. but yes there is a paper given by whichever shiekh does the divorce. Like · Reply · 1 · 12 July 2016 at 13:28 Lisa Omar I assume there be representatives of masjids and associations here there could explain seeing that there are people in our community going through (or may have exprienced) a divorce, just so they know their rights, brother. Understandable there might be people in our community who are shy or may have language barriers to seek assistance with local sheikhs /imams... shy because they're worried people spreading rumours,because IT HAPPENS. We're all here to learn, to be informed and this should be a safe environment, don't you think so? #haqq Unlike · Reply · 5 · 12 July 2016 at 14:21 · Edited Taher Alwani regardless they must go to a shieck/alim to go through with the divorce so might aswell ask one first inshAllah. There is no alims or shiekhs on this page so we should avoid opinions when it comes to these matters. Unlike · Reply · 2 · 12 July 2016 at 14:25 Lisa Omar Well of course they do, not saying that they should not.Just that they should also know what will happen, and what to expect and all that stuff.I think my question was pretty clear, whether there is a paper documentation given in talaq cases (as there wouldbe in nikah).It's not a gray area question, I believe it was pretty much a yes or no.That is all.jazakallahu khayr Like · Reply · 4 · 12 July 2016 at 14:29 Tessa Umm Yousef Plus a lot of the time the Sheiks never answer :P Like · Reply · 2 · 13 July 2016 at 02:58 Melissa Beaver Ahmed Bassal could u find out the answer to this please? Like · Reply · 13 July 2016 at 18:43 Write a reply... Faiza Kaply Yes in Malaysia we have a mufti for each states (14 altogether). The marriages, counselling and divorce must be register to the state mufti office. And we have to attend pre marital course and take hiv test before marry. Like · Reply · 1 · 12 July 2016 at 13:36 Marcia Bell Ok I've asked this question at the mosque On Monday, in order to be divorced Islamicly u first need a divorce here in Australia, 2 after the divorce goes to court and approved after 1 month u will get documents from the courts here, 3 u take those divorce papers and show the imam, they will help u Islamicly divorce in the mosque Unlike · Reply · 3 · 12 July 2016 at 19:14 Lisa Omar Jazakallahu khayr for the info, sister. 😊 Insha Allah I hope anybody who needs assistance /wants to know the procedure /information now knows that this is how it is done and may Allah make it easy on them. I understand the sensitivity of the issue, but when you see it so rampant in our community and some may be at loss or unsure(divorce is a very emotional situation & very stressful that affects everyone from the married party & both families involved) especially those who just reverted, it can be such an overwhelming matter. Unlike · Reply · 2 · 13 July 2016 at 00:42 · Edited Marcia Bell Also the talaq has to be done infront of the imam, not saying it to it face or in a sms either it is not valid so the imam that I saw was at the Ali khalil mosque On torrens road, very good advice I was given Unlike · Reply · 1 · 12 July 2016 at 19:40 Lisa Omar Yes, that is a well known fact (shari'ah-ly speaking). But it has come to my attention there are cases where no letter was issued to the divorced parties by the local imam/sheikh. Wallahu'alam. Unlike · Reply · 1 · 12 July 2016 at 19:43 Marcia Bell My advice to the local mosque and just ask for advice, ========================================================================================================================================= https://www.facebook.com/groups/indiansatmelbourne/permalink/1277864428949092/ Jasmeet Kaur January 28, 2017 hi I want some suggestions regarding my marriage dispute....My husband is living in australia ....After marrige he left me in india and went to australia and never came back .last day I got a divorce application from a perth lawyer . My husband want divorce after 4 years marriage .I dot want divorce .Is he eligible to get divorce?. as i m india and he is in perth ... pls give me suggestion what should i do Like Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry Comment 10 10 Comments View 3 more comments Karina Kang Hey sweety is there a possibility you could get a lawyer? I think a lawyer would be very helpful in your situation. Just keep in mind that in terms of divorce they will have a look at how long you two have been physically together. 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jasmeet Kaur v just lived together for one month ....i cant afford any lawyer in australia 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay Happened to a friend of mine. But other way round. He was in India and got a divorced letter after 2 yrs from the girl Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay The divorce letter is from Indian court, right ?? Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jasmeet Kaur NO...IT IS FROM PERTH LAWYER Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay Is ur marriage registered in Australia ? Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jasmeet Kaur ITS REGISTERED IN India Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay Then Divorce will happen in India if u dont sign this letter. U ll actually get divorce papers from indian court when he files a divorce. And He has to come back on final hearing atleast to sign the papers. 3 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Mahesh Rohira since u r Indian citizen got married in India, registered marriage in India & stayed post marriage ( for short while) in India divorce proceedings have to follow laws of India...but u need to reply to divorce notice...i presume its a lawyer's notice from what u have stated....pls appoint a competent divorce lawyer from ur home town reply to the notice & den counter sue him for restitution. he will have to appear before the family or district court in ur home town 4 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Saqlain Naqvi Jasmeet Kaur I will help you in terms of any Qs about Family Law. https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000 Manage Residential & Commercial Real Estate Investment, and Conveyance-RESCOM LAW 4.5 star · Commercial Real Estate Agency·Open Now Zareena Khalid, Sue Dvivedi and 1 other like this or have visited Like Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry · Reply · 1y · Edited Unnati Patel Dear jasmeet. If your husband cheat you. So why do you want reunion with him. If he really loves you, he never leave you. Aise kutto ke sath Kya krna chahiye. Muje achhe se malum hai. Bcoz same happened that thing with me. I will help you my best . I known Australian and Indian family law. Be strong and give up. Don't ruine your life and wasting your time behind cheat people. Bcoz that disgusting people alwys take a chance of Australian laws , which we can't go and come again two countries. In Australia is a one side divorce law if husband or wife separated last one year or more. No contact, message or any type of conversation or sex between them. if he proof in court of Australia .He will get divorce easily. Bcoz by Australian law you can't force to someone to live with you without their interest. Even court don't need to your sign on divorce hearing or application. If he proof divorce criteria darling. Message me personal . I will give you my best guidance. Good luck to you. Do good. God will help you. Bcoz khuda Ek rasta band krta hai to 1000 kholta hai Par hum us band darwaje ko hi dekhte hai..! 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y · Edited Write a reply... Kaur Jeet Hello jasmeet very sad to hear that something happen like that to u be strong I think it's better u just go and see a lawyer legally need to show one year separation and in ur case it's 4 years but u can claim financial support and don't try to stay with such an idiot who left his wife like that hopefully u will get justice 9 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Saqlain Naqvi That's so sad to hear. Manage Like · Reply · 1y Write a reply... Jasmeet Kaur thank u Manage Like · Reply · 1y 3 Replies Mohan Lal If you have not lived together for 4 years there is a strong possibility that he will get divorce unless it is contested. For that you will need a solicitor to file a case on your behalf. You should write to Australian High Commission in India immediately 4 Manage Like · Reply · 1y · Edited Jasmeet Kaur thank u.... Manage Like · Reply · 1y Sumitha Bhandari Sorry to hear that Jasmeet. Men are such jerks. I hate them for this very reason. 6 Manage Like · Reply · 1y 3 Replies Beenu Arora Beenu is an administrator in this group. File a compliant with Australian High Commission. Pls refer to this look for more assistance - https://www.mea.gov.in/.../faq-marraiges-of-indian-women.pdf 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y 3 Replies Nagendra Thaluru What husbands taking Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jeet Grewal If u signed that application, u'll straight away get the divorce.. if u didn't reply to them at all, they might send another letter.. automatically divorce will be consider after few months if u didn't reply to that letter.. so it's best let immigration know abt this first of all & later on u can claim half of his financial assets according to Australian law.. but he'll be in deep trouble, it's sure.. it's better to hire the lawyer, if u win the case, he will pay for lawyer's fees.. 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y 5 Replies Nagendra Thaluru I'm not married Manage Like · Reply · 1y Ram Reddy get seperated.. get a job, dont think u are rejectd stuff.. move on 5 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Mishaan Magan .....what is with Indians today. Find that true love and get married for life. 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y · Edited Ishan Ruhil Guys we need to hear story from both the sides before making our opinion and abusing him. 7 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Aman Parmar This is the first sensible comment from the top till your comment... Manage Like · Reply · 1y Aman Parmar Even some ppl suggesting to put some charges on him... Manage Like · Reply · 1y Ishan Ruhil People go crazy when a girl comes crying to them. She automatically becomes victim. 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Write a reply... Hęm Verma Pöôñàm He is eligible for everything. Even though he will get divorce if u don't sign the divorce application. In Australia it's possible if another person don't sign the application or contest . 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Hide 11 Replies Jasmeet Kaur AS I M IN INDIA ....THEY WILL NOT CONSULT WITH ME.... 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jasmeet Kaur ? 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Saqlain Naqvi Court allows certain time, but to get out of contract, it needs both spouses formal consent. 0431138537. Manage Like · Reply · 1y · Edited Jasmeet Kaur IF ONE OF THEM IS NOT READY FOR DIVORCE ....AS I LOST MY TIME MONEY FOR HIM ....THEN ? Manage Like · Reply · 1y Saqlain Naqvi Jasmeet Kaur You can file financial claims hiring professionals. https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000 Manage Residential & Commercial Real Estate Investment, and Conveyance-RESCOM LAW 4.5 star · Commercial Real Estate Agency·Open Now Zareena Khalid, Sue Dvivedi and 1 other like this or have visited Like · Reply · 1y Hęm Verma Pöôñàm Jasmeet Kaur yes some time they do . Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jasmeet Kaur Hęm Verma Pöôñàm OK THANKS Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay the letter of divorce u got is from Indian court, isnt it ? Aus court has nothing to do with it. Manage Like · Reply · 1y Jasmeet Kaur Vee Kay I GOT IT FROM A PERTH LAWYER Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay Also if its from perth it means he s acknowledging to aus court that u both are married. In which case u can also file ur PR visa consult a good aus lawyer Jujhar Bajwa 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vic Rana You r ryt Hęm Verma Pöôñàm, couple living separately for at least 12 month opposition for a divorce is very limited Manage Like · Reply · 1y Write a reply... Karan Mutreja Hi Jasmeet, hope u remember me... Manage Like · Reply · 1y Karan Mutreja My dad said that you must consult Sushma Swaraj, she is a foreign minister of india.. Pls talk to her she will definitely help you.. 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Ishan Ruhil Lol sushma swaraj will definitely look into this matter Manage Like · Reply · 1y Karan Mutreja whats so funny dude?? Manage Like · Reply · 1y Ayushi Punj Yes sushma swaraj will help Manage Like · Reply · 1y Write a reply... Nagendra Thaluru Hi Karan Mutreja Manage Like · Reply · 1y Karan Mutreja Hi Do I know u mate? Manage Like · Reply · 1y Nagendra Thaluru Ya I know Manage Like · Reply · 1y Karan Mutreja cant remember mate, pls remind if u can.. TIA Manage Like · Reply · 1y Write a reply... Jasmeet Kaur THANKS TO ALL ...UR ADVICESWILL HELP ME A LOT .... 3 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vic Rana Hey sorry to hear this , obviously if one person in a relationship want to be out he/she is definitely allowed to do so .seems like you have a 4 years separation so won't be too hard for the other party to got out irrespective of where it is registered. Still you will be able to claim a few things with in the marriage act if you got the necessary paperwork.4 years separation would be more than enough for one party to be out . 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Saqlain Naqvi right 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Write a reply... Jitendra Pratap Agree to divorce n move on with life Jasmeet..no use barking at a tree 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Robin Ka Please contact immigration department Pls contact Australian Federal police. Manage Like · Reply · 1y Vee Kay They wont do anything. Every1 has right to divorce. Manage Like · Reply · 1y Karan AhluWalia Hi jasmeet..sry to hear but he can take divorce very easily because if u separated more than one year .he even not need u for signature. 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Ignatius Schultz Im got no one to Marry. :( Looking for marriage brokers if possible. 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Aman Parmar Gender stereotype.... 2 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Anuprabha Michael Get all your documents and evidence N go to the embassy. You can go to the Australian commission in India. If you have really given him dowry, you have to file a case. As Mr RAM Ram Swaminathan say, not false cases. If you feel this was for money that he married you, you have to get justice, he should explain his decision. Write to Sushma Swaraj. 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Sam Greenwald Personal Assistant & Professional Organizer Corporate, Individual or Working Network If you don't have the time, Sam's the Man! https://www.facebook.com/Assistant-Sam-228823554231216 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Shikkha Bhatia Yes u will get divorce as you both have not lived together for four years Manage Like · Reply · 1y Let's Spread Peace Work hard and prove yourself!! Show him you were much more precious!! Get a good score in English and come here!! His ass will burn like a "twa" This is life my dear friend!! There are high chances, he will escape 1 Manage Like · Reply · 1y Rajib Mondal 1. Be strong. 2. Get a lawyer and claim half of his financial assets. 3. Give him divorce and get a job. 4. If it's not easy to find someone else keep trying. 5. Stay strong. =======================================