Sunday, June 21, 2015


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG compares Donald Trump to Clive Palmer

'Coal and coral don't mix': Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo joins fight to save Australia's Great Barrier Reef

When you have got Hollywood actors saying something it must be true, I guess. That the reef undergoes cycles of change is not mentioned of course.  Both State and federal governments have extensive arrangements to prevent environmental degradation on the reef.  See for instance here on the dredging scare.

And a key point is that the reef does get heavily impacted by natural events such as the many cyclones that have hit North Queensland in recent years. Cyclones are very destructive of coral. HOWEVER, when we look at that storm destruction, we also  find that corals grow back rapidly. While that happens, the GBR is in no "danger". Any changes are temporary. See here and here, for instance.

Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo has thrown his weight behind the movement to save Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

The Avengers actor tweeted his support along with a link to Greenpeace site,, which states that the reef is 'under threat from the coal industry'.

Greenpeace's campaign states that the sea bed is being dredged to make way for four 'mega ports' to be serviced by 7000 industrial ships that will cross the Reef every year.

'Coal & coral don't mix. Join the movement to save the Great Barrier Reef:' Ruffalo tweeted, alongside with a photograph of himself smiling and holding up a sign that read '#savethereef'.

US President Barack Obama had plans to ban fishing, energy exploration and other activities in a large swath of the central Pacific Ocean, with Australia's Great Barrier Reef given as an example of 'environmental devastation'.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, along with the Hollywood star and environmental activist appeared at the Our Ocean Conference in Washington DC, where a video message from the president was played.

'It's fantastic to start off the day by hearing President Obama commit to expanding marine reserves in US waters and taking serious steps to prevent illegally caught fish from entering the marketplace,' DiCaprio said at the time.

In 2013, DiCaprio announced a $US3 million ($A3.3 million) donation to help protect the oceans' habitats for marine species.

'Since my very first dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia 20 years ago to the dive I got to do in the very same location just two years ago, I've witnessed environmental devastation firsthand,' he said.

'What once had looked like an endless underwater utopia is now riddled with bleached coral reefs and massive dead zones.'


Young plumber claims he was repeatedly punched and kicked by police and called a 'Lebo' after being stopped at 1am

Apparently done in front of several witnesses

A plumber charged with assaulting police claims he was the one brutally attacked by officers who also called him a 'Lebo'.

Omar El Baba, 23, was driving down St Johns Road in Heckenberg, in Sydney's south-west, when he was stopped by Green Valley police on May 29 at 1am with a female passenger.

Police say he was stopped after he was involved in an earlier incident about 10.44pm on May 28 where he was pursued in his vehicle but did not pull over. 

According to a NSW police statement, officers asked El Baba to produce his licence when he stopped, but he refused and retreated to the front yard of his home.

It was there that police tried to arrest the 23-year-old and they allege he then became violence and assaulted officers by punching and kicking out.

But El Baba tells a different version of events, saying he was the one who was viciously beaten and denies he was in the alleged car chase, the ABC reported.

The plumber said 20 police officers descended on his home and wanted to come inside, but he refused because he was scared.

It was at this point that he claims police 'rushed in and attacked' him, repeatedly saying to him: 'You "effing" Lebo, that's what you deserve'.

'They slammed me on the floor then they started kicking me, punching me, kicking my groin area,' El Baba told the national broadcaster.

'I was on the floor in front of my family getting stomped on, getting stomped on, and kicked in my face like a soccer ball.'

His sister, Mona, and his father, Salah, witnessed the alleged attack and feared for their loved one's life.

'We ran down the veranda until we finally reached where the steps were and there I could see my brother's head face down on the ground and police absolutely everywhere, bashing him relentlessly, punching into him, kicking him, kneeing him, elbowing him,' Mona said.

Salah said he thought the 20 police officers were trying to kill his son.

Mona, who is a lawyer by trade, said she pleaded with police to stop and told them what she did for a living.

But the reply she received made her suspect the incident had been racially motivated.

'They kept repeating words to the effect of, "You're a dumb secretary. Get out of our way. You're not a lawyer." Why would they be making such derogatory remarks?' Mona said.

In photographs following the incident, El Baba's face appears swollen with cuts and bruises covering his mouth, nose and cheeks.

Mona described the aftermath as 'absolutely horrific' with blood everywhere.

El Baba was taken to Green Valley police station before travelling to Liverpool Hospital for treatment of his 'minor injuries', a police statement sent to Daily Mail Australia said.

Officers also allege they found a knife in El Baba's car when they searched it and the weapon would 'undergo forensic examinations'.

The plumber's lawyer, Zemarai Khatiz, claims his client was released without charge, but when he sent a letter raising concerns about El Baba's treatment by police they charged him in relation to the incident.

He said El Baba wanted to sue the officers involved in the alleged attack. 

The 23-year-old will appear in Liverpool Local Court on July 16.

He has been charged with three counts of assaulting police, one count of resisting arrest and one count of custody of a knife in a public place.


Mum banned from breastfeeding her baby after she got a TATTOO has the decision overturned

A judge's decision to ban a woman from breastfeeding her son because she got a tattoo has been overturned after an urgent appeal.

Judge Matthew Myers told the Federal Court on Thursday that the NSW mother had put the 11-month-old baby at risk by making the decision to get the body art just four weeks prior to the case being heard.jud

The Family Court overturned the decision on Friday, finding Justice Myers made the order based on evidence that 'should not have been relied upon.'

Even though The 20-year-old mother, known by the pseudonym Ms Jackson for legal reasons, received negative results from tests she underwent to determine whether she had contracted any form of infection from the equipment used, the Justice Myers dismissed them as inconclusive.

 It is believed the baby's father raised the issue in a family dispute.

The full bench of the Family Court were unanimous with their decision to overturn the original ruling.

The court heard that Justice Myers came to his decision after 'surfing the internet' on tattoo risks to infants, causing outrage among breastfeeding advocates, Nine News have reported.

Speaking to the ABC, Rebecca Naylor, chief executive officer of the Australian Breastfeeding Association expressed her shock at Justice Myers' ruling, claiming it sets a dangerous precedent.

She said that if the woman chose a  reputable tattoo parlour there should be no issue with her contracting hepatitis or HIV, for which the mother underwent tests for.  

'Does that mean that women who expose themselves to any sort of risks around the contraction of a blood-borne virus... shouldn't be allowed to breast feed?' she said.

'Women do need to be careful they're feeding a child, it's going to be their main source of nutrition up until they're 12 months of age, so you do have to be careful.  'But it doesn't mean that you have to wrap yourself in glad wrap.'


Enrolments in hard-line Islamic colleges are growing rapidly

Enrolments in hard-line Islamic colleges are growing nine times faster than those of mainstream schools, as more Muslim parents demand a strict religious education for their children in ­Australia. Six schools controlled by the conservative Australian Federation of Islamic Councils now boast 5481 students — a 53 per cent rise in enrolments in five years. Federal Education Department statistics show that 28,267 students attended Australia’s 39 Islamic schools last year — 82 per cent more than the 15,503 who were enrolled in 32 schools in 2009. In contrast, student numbers in all Australian schools grew by 6 per cent over the same period, to 3.7 million.

As with most private schools, taxpayers contribute 80 per cent of Islamic schools’ running costs, providing $300 million in commonwealth and state funding in 2013. The latest official data shows the AFIC schools received $42m in taxpayer funding in 2013, plus $21.5m in government funds for new buildings and other capital works between 2009 and 2013. The Islamic Schools Association of Australia, which represents the 33 non-AFIC schools, said  only one-quarter of Muslim students in Australia ­attended religious schools. ISAA president Abdullah Khan, who is the executive principal of the Australian Islamic College in Perth, said that meant three out of four Islamic students attended mainstream public schools.

He said the rise in enrolments at Islamic schools was fuelled by population growth, including a growing number of Muslim students whose parents were working in Australia on 457 work visas. “Academic focus is one of the reasons parents choose our schools but mainly it’s the values we provide, and the religious education,’’ he said. “Some schools, academically, are performing really well.’’ Tasmanian teacher Peter Jones, who spent time in most of Australia’s Muslim schools to research his thesis on Islamic education, said many Islamic parents thought their children would be safer at the religious schools.

“Many parents and students felt the kids were more sheltered in these schools,’’ he said. “They felt a bit more protected from the community because of hostility. People have been pulling their hijabs off and spitting at them’ Jones said. The surge in Islamic enrolments appears strongest in Melbourne’s outer working-class suburbs. The Ilim College of Australia, in Broadmeadows, has seen enrolments soar 70 per cent to 1514 students. At Minaret College, in the outer Melbourne suburb of Springvale, enrolments have jumped 60 per cent since 2009, to 1502 students last year. The Al-Taqwa College, an ultra-conservative Islamic school in Hoppers Crossing, has boosted student numbers by two-thirds since 2009, to 1701 students in 2014.

Enrolments have more than trebled at Unity Grammar College, an Islamic school in the outer-western Sydney suburb of Austral. The college now boasts 899 students. At the nation’s biggest Islamic school, the AFIC-controlled Malek Fahd Islamic School at Greenacre in Sydney, enrolments have risen one-third to 2412 students. The Islamic College of Brisbane, has seen its numbers grow 20%, to 949 students, in 5 years. South Australia’s schools registration board is investigating parents’ complaints about teaching and curriculum standards at the AFIC-affiliated Islamic College of South Australia, which has 630 students — a third more than it did 5 years ago. The Adelaide school reportedly prohibits boys and girls from mingling in the hallways.

Enrolments have more than doubled to 657 students at the AFIC-affiliated Langford Islamic College in Perth, where even the Year 1 girls are required to wear a headscarf. Dr Jones said most imams teaching religion at the Islamic schools were foreign-born, and not all were qualified teachers, but he insisted Islamic schools were not turning teenagers to jihad. “Mostly the jihadists are kids who are alienated in the state system,’’ he said. “The Islamic schools take a very firm line that suicide is forbidden, it’s forbidden to kill women and children and you can’t kill other Muslims, and violence has to be sanctioned by the state’’ Jones said.

Email from Australian Prayer Network

1 comment:

PB said...

Who is Mark Rufalo? Another famous for being famous (to some people) know-all?

Sounds a bit like Pope Francis is starting to sound.