My BRAINSTORM in progress:
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Oprah Winfrey’s fans seem to have lapped up her Australian tour which finished with taping of her show at the Sydney Opera House. However her trip also has had its fair share of criticism.
... an indigenous woman has sent a video message to Oprah:
A video prepared for Oprah Winfrey by Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Bev Manton, …shines a light on the living conditions of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, in particular those living under the NT intervention, an Australian Government program which the United Nations has branded racially discriminatory.
YouTube: A PERSONAL JOURNEY by Bev Manton
A MELBOURNE lawyer and former boss of Prime Minister Julia Gillard has criticised her government for its handling of WikiLeaks and its Australian founder, Julian Assange.There is also an opinion piece by Peter Gordon:
Peter Gordon, whose legal firm made Ms Gillard the first female partner of Slater and Gordon, said her comment that Mr Assange had broken the law was baseless.
He said the fact that people such as Ms Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland - both of whom he knew to be good lawyers and decent people - could be driven to behave in this way was a sobering reminder of ''the seductive and compulsive draw of power''.
Click here to find out more!
Legal fury at 'war on free speech' (The Age 11 Sep 2010)
If the WikiLeaks disclosures tell us anything, it is that no political leader, whatever their colour, is going to hesitate for a nanosecond to conflate the notion of ''national security'' with ''my own career security''. It's time to provide genuine protection for people who take the bold step of coming forward with important information. It's time to make the process cheaper and speedier.The political implications of the Australian government's response may be far reaching. Watch this space for some reflections.
...I always admired John Brumby. To hear him say that he needed to know certain information about the desalination plant, but we didn't, was a disappointment. Likewise Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I have worked with both of them and know them to be decent people. It is disappointing to me that their approaches to the WikiLeaks disclosures have seemingly lost sight of three of our democracy's real ''foundation stones'': the presumption of innocence, the right to free speech and the protection of the rights of Australian citizens abroad.
Insidious attack on free speech (The Age 11 Sep 2010)
It is extraordinary that our government can so lightly abandon one of our citizens.According to Julian Burnside, WikiLeaks has:
...It is the primary obligation of any country to protect its citizens.
...cast a light into some dark corners of what governments get up to when they think no one is watching.Julian Assange's Australian lawyer Robert Stary chaired the crowded meeting. Jon Faine of ABC 774 radio's Mornings (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), solicitor Peter Gordon, and Liberty Victoria President Spencer Zifcak also spoke in defence of WikiLeaks.
...if they want to avoid being embarrassed by that maybe they need to learn to stop doing embarrassing things.
Last night Mr Stary convened a meeting of lawyers, human rights activists and criminal law advocates in Melbourne to discuss the legal issues surrounding Mr Assange and his arrest - and particularly relating to the presumption of innocence.This newspaper report by Nick McKenzie and Paul Millar has the usual inaccuracies, naming Peter Gordon as President of Liberty Victoria. It also refers to a "small group of protesters outside". In fact a couple of people were handing out leaflets about a WikiLeaks rally in Melbourne and selling a political paper. The rally is at State Library Lawns on Friday December 10 - 4:30pm - 7:30pm.
Lawyers demand protection for Assange (The Age 10 Dec 2010)
The civil liberties organization, Liberty Victoria, today criticized the Prime Minster and the Attorney-General regarding statements that each have made about the legal situation of the Director of Wikileaks, Julian Assange.
...The President of Liberty, Professor Spencer Zifcak, said today that it was wrong for the Prime Minister in effect to declare Mr Assange's guilt before any law he may have broken had even been identified.
Liberty Victoria Criticizes PM and AG over Julian Assange comments
Julian Assange is being treated like an outlaw, even by his own country. Melbourne's Sunday Age newspaper reports:
AS THE net closes around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the notorious whistleblower has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of betraying him as an Australian citizen in her eagerness to help the United States attack him and his organisation.
PM has betrayed me: Assange
It's interesting that the journalist Josh Gordon doesn't seem to know the difference between the whistleblower (the person with access to the documants who leaked them) and the publisher (WikiLeaks). Media outlets such as The Guardian, the New York Times and online sites such as this one have presumably broken the same laws, if any, as Assange. And The Age!
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is either a hero or a villain in his home country of Australia. Many people, both here and abroad, are demanding the head of the WikiLeaks founder. Others see him as a peoples' champion.More
Local bloggers have focused less on the content of the cablegate disclosures and more on ethical issues and possible consequences for effective governance.
State secrets exposed this year by whistle-blower website Wikileaks keep causing the world to shudder. A video showing Iraqi civilians killed by U.S forces; a compilation of tens of thousands of documents about the war in Afghanistan; hundreds of thousands of documents about the war in Iraq; and now 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables.
On Global Voices, we have looked at worldwide online citizen media reactions. The leaked documents contain so much information, both journalists and bloggers have struggled to make sense of them. The initial excitement is huge. What happens next?
Selected posts about WikiLeaks on Global Voices
03 Dec - Brazil: blogosphere reacts to WikiLeaks
02 Dec - Azerbaijan: First Lady responds to Cablegate criticism?
01 Dec - Latin America & Cablegate: Analysis, Reactions & Questions
30 Nov - Africa: Cablegate: Does the US care about Africa this much?
30 Nov - Caucasus: Revelations & Confusion over Cablegate
30 Nov - Central & Eastern Europe: Initial Reactions to WikiLeaks' Cablegate
29 Nov - South Asia: The Morality Of Exposing Others' Secrets
29 Nov - Jordan: Wikileaks' “Cablegate” Raises Questions
29 Nov - Middle East: The Not-So-Secret US Embassy Secret Cables
12 Aug - Afghan Bloggers on Wikileaks War Logs
26 Jul - Liveblog of global reactions to Wikileaks Afghanistan war logs
North Korea has fired more than a hundred artillery rockets at a populated South Korean island near its western border. Two South Korean Marines were killed by the skirmish, at least a dozen more were injured and buildings were set on fire. South Korea returned fire and scrambled fighter jets.
Photos taken by Twitterer @givenjoy shows traces of South Korean fighter jets in the air as they flew over to the West Sea where the skirmish had taken place.It is already available in Korean, Italian, Dutch and Spanish as well as English.
Just seconds after the news broke, South Koreans tweeted madly regarding possible future scenarios and evacuation plans, as well as re-tweeting news updates. Many scoured for accurate sources, as some unconfirmed rumors, such as North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had died, circulated online. Twitterers, quoting friends in the army, said the Korean peninsula was in a near-war situation.
North Korea/South Korea: Deadly Skirmish, Live On Twitter
...builds and manages eco-friendly children's villages with education, social and health facilities for vulnerable women and children in developing countries.(Photos: fws)
Who we are
Elephants have followed Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott from Hobart to Geelong, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.Following the big swing to the Greens, the outsider is becoming an insider in Canberra:
Today the elephant showed up at the National Press Club in Canberra to greet the Opposition Leader and even scored an interview with Sky News.
Eighteen-year-old Amy Hall did the honours on Friday, donning the grey suit and trailing the Prime Minister from the Blacktown RSL club in the marginal western Sydney seat of Greenway to a social housing project in Lilyfield.
Elephant protesters follow leaders on campaign trail
The "climate elephant" which followed the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader during the election campaign, is holding talks with politicians at Parliament House.
Australia and the United States will embark on a joint solar power research program in a bid to drive down the cost of the technology.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement in Melbourne on Sunday, with the Australian government set to commit up to $50 million towards the program.
Ms Clinton also announced up to 15 additional Fulbright Scholarships would be awarded over the next three years for studies into climate change and energy.
Australia-US in solar research pact
The first tray of mangoes of the season has been bought for a cool $30,000 at Sydney Markets' annual charity auction.
First tray of mangoes sells for $30,000
Federal Greens leader Bob Brown has left open the possibility of his party entering into a power-sharing alliance with the Victorian Coalition if the election produces a hung parliament.Long gone are the days when The Greens were seen as idealistic purists.
He said in Melbourne yesterday that the Greens had every right to negotiate with either side of politics if it meant getting a better deal for their supporters.
Greens put heat on ALP
On the domestic front, in a more bottom-up world countries will have both more freedom and more responsibility to define the mitigation problem as suits them.
On the international front, a strategy is needed to deal with America’s intransigence on climate change. It isn’t easy to think of one. No country will probably have more impact on US action than China, but China will only act decisively if it is not acting alone.
Finally, in a bottom-up world it will be more difficult for each country to judge what others are doing, since countries will tend to pursue different policies and measure impacts with different metrics.
Climate change negotiations: unravelling or shifting gear?
In the end, progress at the China climate negotiations was mixed. There was good progress in some sections of the talks, however, other key components were stalled. A colleague commented to me “oh dear, it seems we’ve ended with a question mark”.His posts give both an international and an Australia perspective on recent developments. He also blogs at A Climate for Change.
Stocktaking Progress on a Global Climate Agreement
Researchers in Newcastle north of Sydney are constructing the largest solar field of its type in the world, using entirely locally produced materials and attracting international interest potentially worth billions of dollars.
Solar project shines light on Australian potential
1.1. consult, negotiate, and report to the Cabinet, through the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, on agreed options for the implementation of a carbon price in Australia; andThe inclusion of a price for carbon was a major change from their election stance. In recent weeks the support a carbon price has gained momentum with this call from the world’s largest miner:
1.2. provide advice on, and participate in, building community
consensus for action on climate change.
Prime Minister establishes Climate Change Committee
THE boss of Australia's biggest mining company has urged the Federal Government to introduce a carbon tax before the rest of the world.In other political developments, Australia has a new Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, and a new Parliamentary Secretary, Mark Dreyfus. This dynamic duo will hopefully get the government back on track.
BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers conceded a global move on carbon would come in the future, and Australia needed to move ahead of the curve to stay competitive.
BHP calls for carbon tax
Source: US Climate Action Network
This week Frank Jotzo, Director of the Centre for Climate Economics & Policy and Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University's Crawford School, has published an analysis of progress, 'Copenhagen targets and Australia’s climate commitment':
An analysis that puts the different pledges on a common footing and compares them across the different metrics (Jotzo 2010) shows that the pledges given by both major developed and developing countries imply significant effort, and that on the whole they are broadly comparable across important metrics. This allows a cautiously optimistic assessment of the prospect for countries actually following through with their pledges.
Cutting Australia’s emissions cost-effectively will require carbon pricing, possibly starting with a fixed price permit scheme. Investments in emission reductions in developing countries are also likely to be part of a cost-effective approach.
Seasonal Outlook for Tropical Cyclones
The outlook suggests that the coming tropical cyclone season is likely to have
* a higher than average number of tropical cyclones over the full Australian region,
* a higher than average number of tropical cyclones in the Western region,
* an average to above average number of tropical cyclones in the Northern region,
* a higher than average number of tropical cyclones in the Eastern region.
2010/11 Australian Tropical Cyclone season outlook
The Commonwealth allocated 7,300ML of environmental water to the Hattah Lakes in Winter 2010. This water will help ensure the long term sustainability of this iconic site, provide refuge for waterbirds and benefit fringing river red gums and will fill a number of lakes that have not been full since 1996.
Environmental watering: Murray catchment
Mashable and 92Y present a summit of today’s most inspirational and promising leaders discussing effective ways in which new media can help address the world’s challenges. By focusing on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — being addressed in high-level plenary sessions at UN Week in September 2010 — the Mashable/92Y Social Good Summit celebrates the power and potential of new media to effect change. The Summit is presented in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, a public charity that advocates for the UN and provides a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve global problems.
The Australian media seem distracted from this week’s UN Millennium Development Goals Summit. Our Federal election with its hung parliament and the football finals season are among the causes. Nevertheless, deposed Kevin Rudd has received a lot of attention for his current overseas trip. Unfortunately it has been mainly for local political reason.More: Australia: MDG Summit Lying Low Down Under
Thankfully the Oz blogosphere has plenty of MDG traffic, though most of it is confined to NGOs and church groups.
Ten years ago, world leaders developed a blueprint for improving the social and economic situation in the world's poorest countries. To ensure progress, United Nations member states agreed to adopt a set of targets called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The deadline for achieving these eight goals is 2015.
With only five years to go, world leaders are currently attending a United Nations Summit in New York on 20-22 September 2010 to discuss how to accelerate global poverty reduction. On Twitter, you can follow these Global Voices bloggers who are there in person: @SonamOngmo @bhumikaghimire @andrea_arzaba and @lastoadri
Together with our friends at the UNFPA blog Conversations for a Better World (On Twitter, @_conversations_) we would love to hear more examples and ideas from bloggers worldwide.
This week, as nations gather to assess the goals, the UN announced that the world was on track to halve the percentage of people on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.
Even with the global recession, the ranks of the world's desperately poor are likely to shrink to 15 per cent of the population by 2015, less than half of the original 42 per cent, according to a recent UN report.
UN says world on track to halve severe poverty
"Every nation is racist. Every nation has an element of racism. We live in a region surrounded by mono-cultures. Talk about racism. Go to Japan. Go to Malaysia. Go to the Philippines. No comparison. We're pretty tolerant."The video of the discussion is online:
Rather than smoothing the waters between different religious groups, yet another wave of discontent has been created through media misinformation.Some light was shed on the facts by Matt Feutrill, Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA, a co-sponsor of the event:
"We've been working with the women's only swim group for the past two years in the city of Dandenong. It is a multi-faith group, multi-nationalities, multi-disabilities who feel comfortable swimming together. This Ramadan, because there are members of the Muslim community, the members felt it was such a rewards experience to share the celebration of Ramadan together that they would like to extend next year, that session, as a one-off to their broader family to join in, to join with this group of people of mixed faiths, mixed nationality, to enjoy the celebration of Ramadan."The full post with links to these items is also available in French.