Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Australia ends direct aid to Palestinian Authority

Australia has ceased providing direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying the donations could increase the self-governing body's capacity to pay Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence.

Ms Bishop said funding was cut to the World Bank's Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program after writing to the Palestinian Authority in late May seeking assurance that Australian funding was not going to Palestinian criminals.

Australia sends about $10 million in aid to Palestine territories. It will now direct its funds through the United Nations.

Concerns have been raised by some Coalition politicians, including backbencher Eric Abetz, that the money sent through the World Bank had gone towards funding violence in the region.

Ms Bishop said she was confident no Australian funds had been used inappropriately. "I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended," she said in a statement.

    "However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA's operations, there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to [fund] activities that Australia would never support."

"Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians," she added.

Australia allocated $43 million for humanitarian assistance in the region for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1.
Australia following US lead

In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US Government for passing a law that suspended some financial aid to the Palestinians over the stipends paid to families of Palestinians killed or jailed in fighting with Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said the Taylor Force Act, named after an American killed in Israel by a Palestinian in 2016, a "powerful signal by the US that changes the rules" by cutting "hundreds of millions of dollars for the Palestinian Authority that they invest in encouraging terrorism".

Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rdeneh condemned the law, saying it did not "allow for the creation of an atmosphere conducive to peace".

Mr Abetz welcomed Ms Bishop's decision.

    "Minister Bishop's strong and decisive decision today to ensure that the Palestinian Authority can no longer use our aid to free up money in its budget for state-promoted terrorism is very positive," Mr Abetz said.

Ms Bishop said the United Nations' Humanitarian Fund helps 1.9 million people, predominately in the Gaza Strip where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.


Thermal coal boom a big boost for Australia

COAL will be declared “king” again by Resources Minister Matt Canavan amid eye-watering price surges that will resuscitate the fortunes of Adani’s mega mine and entrench battle lines for Turnbull Government agitators fighting for another coal-fired power station.

World demand and high prices drove Australia’s thermal coal exports to a record high of $23 billion last financial year, with coal this financial year set to overtake iron ore as our biggest export.

Senator Canavan will point to today’s release of the Chief Economist’s Resources and Energy Quarterly June report to vindicate his assurances that coal is not dead, and to underscore that billions of dollars flowing to federal and state coffers come from the black rock.

Financial analysts Wood Mackenzie estimates the coal from the Adani mine will raise about $US40 per tonne – but with coal prices now more than $US100 per tonne, the project in central Queensland has become more profitable.

The chief economist’s projections come at a critical time for Malcolm Turnbull, who is fending off calls from Tony Abbott and the Nationals to create a multibillion-dollar fund to build a new coal-fired generator, potentially in Queensland, at the same time he tries to limit carbon emissions from the national electricity market.

World demand and high prices drove Australia’s thermal coal exports to a record high of $23 billion last financial year.
It is also likely to give Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg political heartburn ahead of next month’s meeting with states where he aims to sign-off on a new national energy plan. Mr Turnbull does not want to give coal any subsidies.

And this week, the LNP’s state convention will put to vote resolutions calling on the Federal Coalition to invest in new coal-fired stations and fund a rail line between Abbot Point and the Galilee Basin.

“Prices are back at near record levels, and the future demand looks bright. It’s time for Labor to end its war on coal,” Senator Canavan said. “Coal produces thousands of jobs, billions in tax revenues and record exports. A strong coal industry means a strong economy.

“The strong demand for coal also gives us the chance to get projects like Adani and the Galilee Basin going. Opening up the Galilee would generate 16,000 direct mining jobs and tens of billions in taxes.”


No-nonsense principal of elite $30,000-a-year private school receives an outpouring of support after calling out 'bully' parents for treating teachers like their 'servants'

An elite private school principal has received an outpouring of support after a scathing letter to parents telling them that they need to 'chill' and stop treating teachers like their servants.

Dr John Collier, principal of Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral School, started a national conversation after calling out  'agitated' parents in a recent newsletter. 

He has since received a mass of support for standing up to 'bully' parents, who he threatened to ban from entering school grounds if they continued to verbally abuse his staff.

'Well done Dr Collier for speaking out and supporting his teachers. As a former student under his leadership Dr Collier is an exceptional man and his views should be respected,' one former student wrote online.

'If the parents behave like that towards the teachers, how do the parents expect their children to behave? Sad behaviour,' another wrote. 'We love our principal,' someone else commented. 'You sir are a legend,' addded another.

Other users, including teachers at other schools, praised Dr Collier for his position - revealing public school teachers were forced to deal with the same behaviour. 'It's not just at elite schools! Public schools also see this arrogance from parents!' one woman wrote.

'What happened to building resilience in children instead of having to fight every battle for them? Seriously parents are not doing any favours for their children!'

'This type of behaviour is rife in independent and private schools. I've seen aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviours, manipulations, disrespect, yelling and swearing, intimidation, name-calling, defamation, undermining of teachers are home…and social media parent groups are the latest form of bullying teachers now deal with. Schooling should be a partnership between parents and teachers,' another wrote.

Dr Collier's St Andrew's College is a prestigious K-12 school in Sydney's CBD, and charges fees upwards of $30,000 a year for its students.

'I am aware some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands,' Dr Collier wrote in the newsletter dated June 5 2018. 

He said he had noticed a considerable increase in parental anxiety this year, compared to when he began his role as the head of the school 28 years ago. 'I am having to interact with too many parents who have verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at a staff member.

'People who do this should engage in some role reversal: if someone behaved in this way towards you, would it be helpful and would it motivate you to assist them?'

Dr Collier asked parents to consider if their expectations of the school and consequent reactions were reasonable.

'A couple of years ago, a middle school parent said to me that he knew the 13 staff members who had observed his daughter committing an offence were all lying, as his daughter said she was innocent. It is very hard to make progress with this level of unreality,' he wrote.

'Recently, a middle school parent said to me that as her daughter had done poorly in her test, her life was actually over! Actually, it wasn't.

'Often, frustratingly to parents, children do not peak until Senior College. Some really don't get going until tertiary study. We need to avoid living vicariously through our children.'

Dr Collier said, in some cases, students march to the beat of their own drum, and parents need to be accepting and welcoming in support of their children.

Dr Collier said he felt as though the newsletter was the best place to bring the matter to the attention of parents, as the 'unrestrained behaviour appears to be increasing'.

He said he accepted some parents might feel inclined to challenge his policies by taking their children elsewhere, but said ultimately the student will be the one to suffer.

St Andrew's Cathedral School teaches students from kindergarten to Year 12 It is located in the heart of the Sydney CBD. It has a roll of about 1,200 students. Founded in 1885, the school was boys-only until 1999 when it became co-educational

'My experience is that some parents who are highly stressed and highly accusative eventually leave the school, seeking greener pastures. 'In fact, in such cases, there is clearly not going to be any school which will ever satisfy them or meet their extravagant expectations.

'Unfortunately some will follow the pattern of moving every year or two, unreasonably dissatisfied, searching for perfection they will never find, and actually, in uprooting their children, impeding their school performance.'

Dr Collier also said he would instruct teachers to stop answering emails and phone calls from agitated parents if he felt it necessary and would not rule out banning parents from school grounds.


University students who dressed as the Ku Klux Klan, cotton pickers in blackface and Nazis for a 'politically incorrect party' are suspended

The fact that three different costumes were used shows that this was a deliberate "stir" -- just another of the many provocations students do for entertainment.  It's a traditional part of university life and has nothing to do with racism

University students who dressed up as the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler before posting an image to social media have been punished.

The students sparked outrage when they dressed up in the hooded costumes at a party held at the Black Swan pub in New South Wales on June 14. 

Charles Sturt University has handed out misconduct penalties, including suspension,  following an investigation into the 'racist' images.

The University would not reveal how many students have been suspended when contacted by Daily Mail Australia because of privacy considerations.

The offensive photos, which were posted to Facebook and Instagram, were condemned world-wide.

One image showed five students dressed in white Ku Klux Klan robes and hoods, while a sixth man is painted in blackface while holding a bowl of cotton.

'Very very politically incorrect. Cotton pieces are unreal thought so it's a great time to be pickin', the group posted on social media.

The second image showed a student dressed as Hitler in a Nazi uniform, together with students dressed up as Jewish Holocaust prisoners. 

Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann admitted the pictures caused 'global outrage' and offended Indigenous and Jewish communities.

'As a University we will not tolerate or condone this behaviour, we will however work with students during their suspension to further educate them on the cultural impact of their actions,' he said.

'CSU has a strong stance against racism as outlined in our Anti-Racism Policy. I am satisfied that the outcomes of our investigation reflect this view.'

Students will be required to undertake further studies in Indigenous Australian Cultures, Histories and Contemporary Realities and engage with the Indigenous and Jewish communities.

Aboriginal and Jewish community leaders had earlier called for the university students involved to be expelled.

Proud Wiradjuri man and Wagga Wagga local Joe Williams told NITV News that 'anything other than expulsion isn't taking the matter seriously enough'. 

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said that the students crossed a line  making fun of three historic chapters of history and needed to be more politically and culturally aware.

The Black Swan Hotel issued a social media post saying they were not aware of the 'behaviour' outside the pub, but had zero tolerance.


Hamel: historic WWI battle for Australia

The Battle of Hamel during World War One was a major milestone in Australian military history and cemented the reputation of commander General John Monash.

At precisely 3.10am, the guns thundered into life and the soldiers rose, lit up cigarettes and followed the booming artillery barrage into battle, their objective a French village named Le Hamel.

As dawn loomed it was all over. The village had fallen, casualties were mercifully light (by World War One standards) and victory was complete.

In his detailed planning, Australian commander Lieutenant General John Monash calculated this would take 90 minutes. It actually took 93.

The Battle of Hamel, fought on July 4, 1918, was a sign of what was to come as allied forces achieved battlefield mastery after three years of trench warfare marked by frightful casualties for minimal gains.

Praise for the Australians and for Monash followed and a succession of British commanders visited his headquarters to study his methods.

This did much to establish Monash's reputation, which would only grow as he led the Australian Corps in a succession of triumphs, culminating in the Armistice on November 11.

But Hamel wasn't a turning point. Eleven days later, 52 German divisions counter-attacked south of the Somme and were fought to a halt. Three days later, French forces supported by the Americans attacked, opening the famous 100 days that pushed Germany to the point of collapse.

A century on, the Battle of Hamel will be remembered in France and Australia. A ceremony will be held at the Australian Corps Memorial in Hamel.

And in Canberra, a new statue of Monash will be unveiled at the Australian War Memorial.

By mid-1918, the allies had much going in their favour. The massive German March offensive was running out of steam and the blockade of Germany was starting to bite. Supplies, even food, were running low.

American forces were arriving in big numbers and there were ample stocks of food and munitions.

In May, Monash was chosen to lead a united Australian Corps, comprising five divisions with around 120,000 troops. Previously Australian divisions were allocated to British corps according to need.

Monash promptly got on with planning for Hamel, his first battle for a united Australian Corps. For the Western Front, this wasn't a huge deal, just advancing two kilometres on a 6.5 kilometre frontage.

Monash planned meticulously, writing later that a modern battle was akin to an orchestral composition, with every unit entering at precisely the proper moment to play its part in the general harmony.

What Monash planned was a progenitor of a modern day combined arms operation, featuring infantry, armour, artillery and aircraft, all working together.

The Australian Army recognises this heritage - Darwin-based 1st Brigade's major biennial warfighting exercise is called Hamel.

Monash saw the benefits of emerging technology.

The diggers had a low opinion of British tanks, which performed poorly the previous year at Bullecourt.

Monash believed they could be useful and the Australian Corps was assigned 60 of the latest Mark V models and before going into action, tanks and infantry practised together, the soldiers developing much needed confidence in the machines and their crews.

Monash also exploited air power, with aircraft initially flying over German lines to drown out noise of approaching tanks and then dropping ammunition to the advancing infantry.

Even official correspondent Charles Bean, at that time no fan of Monash, conceded he was a master of lucid explanation.

Two hundred and fifty officers attended his final conference on June 30, wading through 133 agenda items over four and a half hours. No-one departed with any doubt about his role and that cascaded right down to individual soldiers.

AWM senior historian Ashley Ekins said the Australians were now an extremely efficient fighting machine, fully reconstituted following the carnage of Passchendaele the previous year.

"A lot of men had seen a lot of action and they were now developing new tactics," he said.

"They have a greater appreciation of using all the tools at their disposal, which Monash makes abundantly clear he's going to use - tanks, aircraft, artillery and of course assault machine guns, the Lewis Gun, in greater numbers than ever before."

Hamel had another feature - Americans. Hamel was to be their first action, with the diggers mentoring these newcomers on the battlefield.

It was for precisely that reason that Monash picked July 4 - American Independence Day.

Initially about 1000 were to participate but US commander General John Pershing objected, insisting that most and then all be withdrawn.

Monash drew the line - either the Americans were in or he would cancel the attack.

They were in and at 3.10am, more than 600 guns deluged German positions with high explosives and poison gas. Infantry followed close behind the artillery barrage with the tanks close behind, ready to be called forward to crush wire or obliterate strong points.

With no preliminary bombardment to alert defenders, surprise was complete.

In many places, German soldiers fought hard. Sergeants Thomas Axford and Henry Dalziel were awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism in attacking German positions.

But the result was never in doubt. German losses were substantial, around 2000 including 1600 prisoners captured, along with 200 machine guns and trench mortars.

Compared with earlier battles, Australian casualties were light - about 1400 dead and wounded, while 45 of the accompanying Americans were killed.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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