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Monday, 18 January


A Snail's Eye View: Nature Photo Challenge #2: Victoria's Riflebird "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Occasionally, birds fly at high speed into the window panes and do themselves a mischief. (Sometimes they do it at low speed, apparently for entertainment. I'm looking at you, white-bellied cuckoo-shrikes.)

On Sunday afternoon, this female Victoria's riflebird smacked into the kitchen window. I picked her up and put her in a quiet spot and then, like the appalling opportunist I am, took a photo of her.

Victoria's riflebird is one of four species of birds of paradise found in Australia. (The others are two more species of riflebird and the trumpet manucode.) Adult males are black and shimmering blue and their wing feathers make the sound of rustling taffeta as they pass. Females (and young males) have more sober plumage. But what they lack in drama, they make up with subtlety: their breast feathers are mottled black and their wing and belly feathers are shades of russet and rust.

This bird flew off a short while later. As a measure of her gratitude, she pooped all over my car bonnet before heading into the forest.


Echonetdaily: Israel’s history "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

I refer to the letter from Bassam and Anne Shomali (January 12). Their claim that their family has lived in ‘the Bethlehem area’ since ‘before the birth of Christ’ strains credulity. Until relatively modern times, there were no records of births, deaths and marriages, no surnames and no other forms of hard evidence on which a reliable 2000-year genealogy could be constructed. Not even the royal family of Britain, for whom records do exist, can trace its ancestry that far.

The history writers of 2000 years ago – Tacitus, Pliny the Elder, Josephus and the writers of the Christian scriptures – are unanimous in referring to the province around Jerusalem as ‘Judaea’ and its people as ‘Jews’. In the Christian scriptures there is not a single mention of the name ‘Palestine’ or any variation of it, but there are 43 references to ‘Judaea’ and these include references to ‘Bethlehem of Judaea’ (eg Matt. 2:1, 2:5). Elsewhere, the entire land is called ‘the Land of Israel’ (eg Matt. 2:20, 2:21) and ‘the Commonwealth of Israel’ (Ephesians 2:12).

Three Roman emperors – Vespasian, Titus and Domitian – successively ordered special coins to be issued to commemorate the Roman victory over the Jews in 70 CE after four years of fighting, each coin bearing the inscription ‘Iudaea Capta’ (Judaea captive) or ‘Iudaea Devicta’ (Judaea defeated). The Arch of Titus, which still stands in Rome, was erected in 81 CE to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem by Titus’ soldiers. It depicts Roman soldiers carrying a huge golden candelabra taken from the Temple – a conspicuously Jewish symbol. It seems there was no doubt in the minds of the Romans about whose land they had conquered and which people they had defeated.

Bassam and Anne refer to many kinds of restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, but fail to mention the ongoing knife attacks, shootings and car rammings against......

12:48 Your deposits are not safe in private Australian banks "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

When the next financial crisis comes – the big banks could save themselves by stealing right out of your checking account. Banking expert Ellen Brown, Public Banking Institute/Web of Debt/The Public Bank Solution will explain how in Conversations with Great Minds.


The Witches Kitchen: Family, Phenomenology, and the Great “Do You Wash the Salt Off” Debate "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Jack and Kaela

Sisters and brothers, cousins and second cousins, grandmas and great aunts.  Nineteen of us this time and missing just a few for the annual (most years) few days at the beach.

It was nice this time feeling the change in the generations.  My sister and I firmly in the great aunt’s generation, our daughters stepping firmly into the mothers’ roles, wrangling great gangs of kids, “nobody is coming to the beach until they have a hat and sunscreen on”, “you have to eat something or you’ll get low blood sugar and be miserable and cranky”,  “find an aunt to watch the little kids in the lagoon and I’ll take the big kids out into the surf”.  Grandmothers and great aunts taking long beach walks talking about vocation and staying fit.  Long conversations about the ordinary extra-ordinariness of new babies and teenage angst and aging. Including by proxy ideas from grandad, died this time 5 years ago.

Two year olds and five year olds and twelve year olds and young adults and all the generations of parenthood and grandparent-hood and great grandparent-hood sharing and comparing the challenges of each life stage, and how to live them to the fullest.  I know too many people stuck in one life stage or another – young adults stuck in the dependence of teenagerhood,  Peter Pans in their 40s afraid to become men,  grandparents reverting to sex and drugs and rock and roll, exploring the world and trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up. One of the things I appreciate about my family is its midwi...


Echonetdaily: State govt ‘taking an axe’ to native vegetation "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

The government's reliance on satellite images could lead it to make dangerous decisions say environment groups. Photo Google Maps

The government’s reliance on satellite images could lead it to make dangerous decisions say environment groups. Photo Google Maps

Chris Dobney

A multi-million-dollar vegetation mapping system that has proved overwhelmingly defective is just the latest in a series of threats to the state’s native vegetation, particularly on the north coast, say key environmentalists.

According to an article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, an automated ‘segmentation’ mapping system that uses pattern-recognition technology to identify the location of the state’s 1,500 types of plant communities, and which cost $10 million to implement, had an accuracy of just 17 per cent in determining individual communities in the upper Hunter Valley.

NSW Greens’ environment spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi, who played a key role in exposing the faulty technology, told SMH the NSW government had ‘ignored the concerns of its own experts’ in spending ‘millions of dollars on a mapping system wasn’t accurate’.

Lowest common denominator

And Total Environment Centre’s Jeff Angel told Echonetdaily the process was just the latest blow for the biodiverse northern rivers region as the ‘National Party has taken over control of native vegetation in the entire state’.

The latest move fo...


Echonetdaily: Seven down, 186 bridges to go "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland and Page MP Kevin Hogan at a previous bridge funding announcement. (Kevin Hogan)

Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland and Page MP Kevin Hogan at a previous bridge funding announcement. (Kevin Hogan)

Page MP Kevin Hogan and Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland. (supplied)

Page MP Kevin Hogan and Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland. (supplied)

More than $2.2 million has been allocated to replace seven wooden bridges across Kyogle shire.

Mayor Danielle Mulholland says the council now has 186 bridges to go.

Under the second round of the Federal Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme, Kyogle Shire Council will receive $1,973,400 to replace six single-lane wooden bridges with dual-lane structures on Gradys Creek and Lions Road, and $228,000 to replace the single-lane Barretts Bridge at Old Bonalbo with a concrete and steel bridge.

‘We put in for seven bridges and we got them all. If that trend continues we’ll knock it over in no time,’ Cr Mulholland said.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said the injection of funds was a terrific outcome for the community.

‘This is a great way to kick off the New Year after I announced a $1 million Christmas present for Kyogle in December to reseal the road to Toonumbar Dam.’

‘I fought hard to ensure Kyogle g...

09:49 New X Files Mulder and Scully to take on NSA spying, FEMA prison camps and Chem-trails "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

New “X-Files” Will Take On 9/11 Conspiracy, World Government And NSA Spying

By John Vibes

Government corruption was always one of the main themes that played out in the classic television show X-Files, and it was typically shown in the form of UFO and alien cover-ups. However, the show’s creator said in a recent interview that the new revival of the series will also touch on some of the more political conspiracies that take place in our world.

X-Files creator Chris Carter said Edward Snowden and issues like the 9/11 conspiracy will be fair game in the new revival of the show. The new series will feature the same classic characters, David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully.

“A lot of the rights and liberties that were signed away [with the Patriot Act] are being abused now, and no one seems to care,” Carter said.

“We see the admitted spying by the government. These are not things we’re making up and it informs everything Mulder and Scully are doing,” he added.



Echonetdaily: Boomerang Festival needs your help "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

The Boomerang Festival is in its final weeks of a crowd-funding campaign and is hoping the northern rivers public will contribute.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has just joined with Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, and Troy Brady in doing a video of support.

The Boomerang Festival is an Indigenous arts and culture festival in Byron Shire.

The festival includes dance, weaving, carving, talks and ideas, workshops, music and authentic cultural exchanges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Originally running as a stand-alone festival, Boomerang organisers were dismayed in 2013 when the federal government made funding cuts to its arts and Indigenous programs.

The crowd-funding campaign aims to raise $100,000.

Arakwal dancers at the 2013 Boomerang festival. Photo: Evan Malcolm.

Arakwal dancers at the 2013 Boomerang festival. Photo: Evan Malcolm.

Boomerang artistic director Rhoda Roberts said without adequate funding, Boomerang must raise funds to grow into a stand alone festival, and a major contributor to the north NSW cultural landscape, tourism and economy, as well as a landmark event for Australia.

‘NSW has the largest population of Aboriginal Australians than any other state in the country, and less fiscal support than othe...


Echonetdaily: Islamic State abducts 400 Syrian civilians "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Jordanian soldiers carry Syrian refugee children stranded in a makeshift camp into Jordanian territory through the Hadalat border crossing on January 14. AP Photo/Raad Adayleh

Jordanian soldiers carry Syrian refugee children stranded in a makeshift camp into Jordanian territory through the Hadalat border crossing on January 14. AP Photo/Raad Adayleh

Ramadan Al-Fatash, DPA

Islamic State fighters have abducted at least 400 civilians in eastern Syria after an attack by the terrorist militia in which at least 135 people were killed, a monitoring group says.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the jihadists had moved the seized people from a regime-held village of al-Baghaliyeh, outside of Deir al-Zour city, following a major assault on Saturday.

The attack resulted in the militants’ capture of the village, said the watchdog, which relies on a network of activists inside war-torn Syria.

‘We fear that the 400 will be executed or enslaved by the organisation on the pretext that they are loyal to the regime,’ the Observatory head, Rami Abdel-Rahman, told the news agency DPA.

He added that the abducted people were mostly families of paramilitaries loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The abductees have been taken to Islamic State-controlled areas in Deir al-Zour and the province of al-Raqqa in north-eastern Sy...


Echonetdaily: China warns Taiwan against independence "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, raises her hand in victory in the election on Saturday. AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, raises her hand in victory in the election on Saturday. AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Taipei [AAP]

Taiwan is an internal matter for China, there is only one China in the world and the island’s election neither changes this reality nor international acceptance of it, China’s government has said after the pro-independence opposition won a landslide.

Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party won a convincing victory in both presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday.

President-elect Tsai pledged to maintain peace with giant neighbour China, which claims Taiwan as its sacred territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

Shortly after her victory, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office warned it would oppose any move towards independence and that Beijing was determined to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a short statement released just before midnight on Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry said no matter what changes there may be on the island, China would never change its policy of opposing Taiwan’s formal independence.



Echonetdaily: American prisoners leave Iran after deal "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference in Tehran on Sunday. AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference in Tehran on Sunday. AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Bosorgmehr Sharafedin & Lesley Wroughton, AAP

Three Iranian-Americans have left Tehran under a prisoner swap following the lifting of sanctions on Iran that is likely to thaw ties further with the United States as Tehran emerges from years of international isolation.

A US official said the Swiss plane had left on Sunday carrying Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, Saeed Abedini, a pastor from Idaho and Amir Hekmati, a former Marine from Flint, Michigan, as well as some family members.

One more Iranian-American released under the same swap, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, was not aboard the aircraft.

A fifth prisoner, the American student Matthew Trevithick, was released separately from the other four on Saturday, a US official said.

‘We can confirm that our detained US citizens have been released and that those who wished to depart Iran have left,’ a senior US administration official said.

Several Iranian-Americans held in US prisons after being charged or convicted for sanctions violations have also been released, their lawyers told the news agency Reuters on Sunday.



Echonetdaily: Ballina prepares for wooden boat regatta "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Barry Kean and Paul Webb at work on their wooden boat. (supplied)

Barry Kean and Paul Webb at work on their wooden boat. (supplied)

By Val Hodgson

Wooden boat fever is again sweeping the Northern Rivers as Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club is hosting its 3rd Annual Wooden Boat Regatta on Sunday 24th January.

Open to all wooden boat owners and enthusiasts, this regatta features sailing dinghies and trailer sailers, hopefully some rowing skiffs, and last year, a classic wooden speedboat.

For the past 2 years Barry Kean, semi-retired Goonengerry boat builder, and Paul Webb, Meerschaum Vale woodworker and woodwork teacher, have collaborated to build a 10 foot six inch gaff-rigged clinker sailing dinghy, working together one day a week at Paul’s shed in Ballina.

‘The lines of the dinghy are taken from a Port Phillip Bay crabbing boat, so this boat is a replica of a true working boat,’ Mr Kean said.

‘We went to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart and were enthused to build a wooden boat,’ he said.

‘I did my apprenticeship building wooden boats and I want to pass on the skills.’

The yet to be named boat will be on display on Sunday, along with many others, equally as lovely.  All wooden boats and rowing skiffs are welcome.

Enquiries to Graeme Fleming 0414281699

The post Ballina prepares for wooden boat regatta appeared first on...


Echonetdaily: Turnbull briefed on Afghanistan efforts "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull poses for photos with LCPL Blaire Harris (left) and PTE Georgia Gilbertson (right) during breakfast at Camp Baird in the Middle East ahead of his visit to Iraq to meet with troops involved in Operation Okra. AAP Image/Fairfax Pool, Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull poses for photos with LCPL Blaire Harris (left) and PTE Georgia Gilbertson (right) during breakfast at Camp Baird in the Middle East ahead of his visit to Iraq to meet with troops involved in Operation Okra. AAP Image/Fairfax Pool, Alex Ellinghausen

Paul Osborne, AAP

Malcolm Turnbull has completed his global security homework ahead of his first White House meeting, visiting Australian troops in Afghanistan a day after touring Iraq.

The prime minister’s weekend visits to Iraq and Afghanistan – both of which are being helped by the ADF to battle Islamic extremists – have given him a firsthand insight into developments as he prepares to meet with US President Barack Obama in Washington.

Mr Turnbull met on Sunday with Afghanistan president Dr Ashraf Ghani, and the country’s chief executive officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah who with Dr Ghani formed a national unity government in September 2014.

The Afghan president accepted an invitation to visit Australia this year.

Mr Turnbull spoke with a number of the 250 defence personnel involved in Afgh......


Echonetdaily: Perth couple abducted in Burkina Faso "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Photo of Dr Ken Eliot from Facebook.

Photo of Dr Ken Eliot from Facebook.

Perth [AAP]

A Perth doctor and his wife, abducted by suspected Islamist extremists in West Africa, have ‘dedicated their lives’ to helping people, a family spokesperson says.

Dr Ken Elliot and his wife Jocelyn are believed to have been abducted in the north of the country following an attack on the capital of Ouagadougou on Friday that killed 28 people.

The couple, in their 80s, moved to Burkina Faso in 1972 to set up a medical clinic in the northern town of Djibo.

The Elliots ‘dedicated their lives’ to helping the people of the region, according to a family statement released through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Sunday.

‘Recent news from the country indicates an alleged abduction of Ken and Jocelyn on Friday night, however no reason is yet given for this and their whereabouts is still unknown,’ a family spokesperson said.

‘Their commitment to the local people is reflected in the fact that they have continued there with only a few holidays since 1972.

‘They are held in high esteem by the local people.’

Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore confirmed on Sunday that two Australians had been kidnapped near the border of...


Echonetdaily: Smartphones lead in news growth "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Photo by

Photo by


More Australians than ever are getting their news via their phone, with smartphones the fastest-growing platforms for news consumption last year, figures show.

The use of smartphones to read and watch news media grew eight per cent in the year to November, 2015, the latest emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) media survey shows, with readership on mobiles rising to 3.6 million.

The figure for tablets was slightly lower, at three million readers in November – unchanged year-on-year.

PCs and laptops still dominated the digital news space, with 9.8 million readers, but were down three per cent over the year.

Newspapers remained the most popular news medium, with 13.8 million people reading papers in November, although readership fell six per cent over the year.

Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands said the growth in smartphone readership showed no signs of stopping as newspaper publishers continued their focus on delivering stories to mobiles.

‘I expect we’ll see this trend continue well into 2016,’ Mr Hollands said.

‘Despite the ongoing growth of digital, print newspaper readership remains strong, with 77 per cent of Australians reading a print newspaper every month.’...


Echonetdaily: Second stage of Byron Bay paid parking up and running "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Byron-Bay-paid-parking-mapThe second stage of Byron Bay’s controversial paid parking scheme was rolled out over the weekend, with four-hour and all-day parking meters now operational in the town centre.

The final machines were installed in the outer areas of the CBD including: along the beachfront at Lawson Street through to Massinger Street; the remainder of Jonson Street; Shirley Street (east of Milton St); the north side of Somerset Street and Butler Street (to Somerset St).

Butler Street Reserve has also been opened and will provide parking from 6am to 1am daily.

Byron Shire Council’s transport and traffic planner Simon Bennett said the free parking spaces in residential areas adjoining the pay parking zone would now have either a two-hour or four-hour time limit restriction put in place.

‘The new time limits in residential areas are being put in place to help ensure residential amenity and to stop these areas becoming packed with parked cars,’ he said

‘Residents who live in the time-limited residential streets will receive in their letterbox a permit to display on their dashboard and a letter explaining how the permit will work.

‘Basically, their car or visitor’s car will be exempt from the time limit introduced and allow them to continue to park all day, as per normal,’ Mr Bennett said.

The areas affected are outlined in blue, purple and orange on the map (pictured).

Council warns that motorists parking in residential streets must check the signage and adhere to the new time limits.

‘When your time is up in the residential streets, motorists need to leave the area, otherwise you could be fined,’ Mr Bennett said.

He added that......


Echonetdaily: Kingscliff must not become another Gold Coast "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

The concern with Kingscliff’s future runs deep.

Gold Coast style development, especially high rise, became an issue in the early 1980s.  Two rather sedate members of the community were elected to Council on the back of that protest.

The largest survey ever of Kingscliff residents and visitors has shown that an overwhelming 97 per cent wished to retain the existing character of Kingscliff and the three storey height limit.

The Council executive and development-at-any-cost councillors appear to be hell bent on giving us another Gold Coast.

Their consultation practices seem designed to minimise resident participation in decision making.  Council consults mainly with ‘stakeholders’.  Their definition of stakeholders in Kingscliff at least, includes individual businesses but not residents.  It’s as if residents have no financial or social investment in the Tweed.

Council needs a real shake-up if the Tweed is to have any chance preserving its character.  We can’t let the Gold Coast roll over the Tweed on the back of big money and an out-of-control growth mentality.

Ron Cooper, Our 490, Kingscliff

The post Kingscliff must not become another Gold Coast appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Echonetdaily: Image released of man wanted over Coffs abduction "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

An EFIT image of the man police believe may have been responsible for an abduction at Coffs Harbour.

An EFIT image of the man police believe may have been responsible for an abduction at Coffs Harbour.

Police have released an EFIT image of a man who may be able to assist with inquiries after a teenage girl was forced into a car in Coffs Harbour  last week.

About 7pm Thursday  (January 14), a 16-year-old girl was walking along Shepherds Lane when she was approached by a man who pulled up in a car next to her.

Police have been told that the man forced the girl into the car before driving to Don Patterson Drive where he took her into bushland.

The man drove the girl back to Shepherds Lane and left her.

He man was last seen driving west on Shepherds Lane.

Investigators have released a computer-generated EFIT image of a man they believe can assist with inquiries.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance with tanned skin, a medium/muscular build, and blond hair. At the time he was wearing a black bandanna, a black long-sleeved shirt and dark jeans.

Investigators are also seeking assistance to identify the car the man was driving, which has been described as being similar to a black Holden Commodore sedan.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any information that could assist inquiries, is urged to contact Coffs Harbour Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



Echonetdaily: Police investigate fatal crash at Mummulgum "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Police are investigating a fatal crash in Mummulgum, about 30km west of Casino.

About 5.30pm Saturday (January 16), a white Ford Festiva, travelling east along the Bruxner Highway, and a red Toyota Aurion travelling west, collided.

Emergency services attended and officers from Richmond Local Area Command established a crime scene.

The Festiva driver and sole occupant, a 46-year-old Bonalbo man, died at the scene.

The Toyota driver and sole occupant, a 73-year-old Bonalbo man, sustained serious injuries and was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance Paramedics before being taken to Lismore Base Hospital.

Specialist officers from Far North Coast Crash Investigation Unit examined the area and are continuing their inquiries into the incident.

Investigators are keen to speak with anyone who may have seen the vehicles involved before the crash occurred.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page:

The post Police investigate fatal crash at Mummulgum appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Byron Bay Blog: V Day – One Billion Rising Annual Byron Event "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

In 2016, the theme of Revolution continues with a call to focus on marginalised women and to bring national and international focus to their issues; to bring in new artistic energy; to amplify Revolution as a call for system change to end violence against women and girls; to call on people to rise for others, and not just for ourselves.

V-Day DANCE Byron Main Beach
Sunday 14th FEB at 6.30am for a 7am DANCE

For further information visit and join the Byron One Billion Rising Facebook Event.

one billion rising

The post V Day – One Billion Rising An...


Echonetdaily: Cinema Review: Daddy’s Home "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"


There’s a lot to be said for a good low-brow comedy, especially when it pairs the likes of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. The upshot often turns out to be smarter than your high-brow cinephile anticipates and, best of all, funny. Before continuing, however, I should come clean – I’ve been a fan of Ferrell’s flabby-gutted iconoclasm since Talladega Nights (2006). Here he has built on the tradition of Clark Griswald’s self-deluded, all-American idiot family-man, without relying quite so heavily as Chevy Case did on transparent goofiness. As Brad, he is the doting stepfather of Sara’s (Linda Cardinelli) two little kids. When Dusty (Wahlberg), the children’s biological father, unexpectedly comes to town the two men find themselves in a battle to be numero uno in their shared family’s hearts. It’s a premise that results in a screenplay that wavers between slapstick and sharp insight to explore the accepted if sometimes silly ideas of what it is that makes a man a man.

Brad is four-square reliable, whereas irresponsible Drew rides an enormous Indian motorbike and looks fab without a shirt. Brad’s toolbox consists of a hammer, but Dusty can do anything he puts his hands to. Inevitably, the two arrive at a matey détente, but not before a succession of edgy conflicts; challenging Brad to break out of PC’s straightjacket, Dusty tells him he’s racist if he doesn’t sack a handyman (Hannibal Buress) just because he’s black, but when Brad sacks the handyman he is then accused of racism.

There are enough cleverly constructed sight gags to keep things zappy – Brad being briefly pronounced clinically dead after a misadventure on his old skateboard is a......


Echonetdaily: PLTS flying high at the Northern "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"


Following the release of their brand-new single On & On, Byron Bay’s PLTS (Pilots) have unveiled a run of summer dates.

Backing up their recent performances, PLTS will be returning for a set of special co-headline shows with Brisbane rock band Pro Vita. Coming fresh from their performance at Originals Festival, Pro Vita will be launching a new single and road-testing their recently released track Not Gonna Lie. Drummer Harry Deacon spoke with The Echo about the burgeoning career of this Byron band.

Hi. Tell me about your new single On &On – what is it about? What was the feel you were going for in the studio?

On & On  is the first taste of music we’ve released in more than a year. Lyrically, the track evokes a strong sense of nostalgia as it draws inspiration from transitions in life – new places/people/relationships. Sonically, it’s a massive rock-banger, aimed to make you feel good. Instrumentally, it shows the natural progression this band has made over the years. Credit goes to Sydney-based producer JP Fung (Josh Pyke, Last Dinosaurs) who produced, engineered and mixed the track, while maintaining our original vision.

On & On has been called anthemic. What makes a song anthemic, do you think?

I’ve heard that a few times now, and it’s pretty rewarding to hear the connection people are making with the song.

Throughout the writing process we naturally gravitated towards sounds and lyrics that created an uplifting vibe. When I think anthemic I think uplifting, so I guess we ticked that box!

How did you all come to be playing together?

Byron (guitar), Eli (bass) and I grew up i...


North Coast Voices: Lawrence James "Larry" Anthony : A memory jog for voters in the NSW Northern Rivers federal electorate of Richmond "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Now that it appears former Howard Government minister and Nationals MP Larry Anthony may be contemplating a return to politics perhaps it is also time to recall a little of his history.......

Lawrence James “Larry” Anthony 
(aged 54 years)
Professional company director

Photograph from The Guardian 13 September 2015...


Echonetdaily: How the export boom is shaking up Australia’s gas market "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Tim Forcery, University of Melbourne

You might have missed it, but last month something unusual happened in Australia’s eastern gas market. Gas in a major pipeline that normally flows from north to south started flowing in the opposite direction for the first time.

This seemingly small change reflects big upheavals in Australia’s gas market as exports expand significantly.

At Gladstone, Queensland, coal seam gas companies have invested around A$80 billion in equipment to chill gas to -160℃ and convert it to liquefied natural gas (LNG). This liquefied gas is then loaded onto ships and sold to overseas customers. Exports are well underway with over 80 70,000-tonne LNG cargoes loaded in 2015.

Eventually three times as much gas will be exported from Queensland in the form of LNG each year as has historically been used in all of eastern Australia.

In 2012, the head of a major Australian gas retailer famously referred to the planned Queensland coal seam gas export projects as ‘a giant vacuum cleaner for the East Coast gas market’. This vacuum has now been switched on – and it’s sweeping up gas not just from coal seam gas producers, but conventional gas producers too.

Domestic gas consumers – renters, homeowners, commercial building managers and industry – were warned they would see gas prices rise as the attractive Asian market opened up for previously landlocked eastern Australian gas.

Producers such as British Gas, Conoco Phillips, Origin and Santos pioneered coal seam gas technology to liquefy gas ‘liquefaction-and-export’ as a way to monetise their vast resources in Queensland and New South Wales.

A second goal was gas producers’ long-held dream of...


North Coast Voices: Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull's NBN Broadband: Noely tells it like it is "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Excerpt from My Broadband v Reality, Punters don’t know any better and that is just the way PM Turnbull likes it, 14 January 2016…….

For those of you who think the NBN has nothing to do with you, think about these scenarios:

How will you feel watching your child wait in emergency at the rural hospital for the specialist in the closest capital city to look at the scans and advise the local doctors what to do? Waiting, waiting, waiting... Not because the specialist is not around, but because the scans have failed to send over the line a few times because the weather is really bad? I have been in this scenario and don’t wish it upon any...

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Sunday, 17 January


Wild BNE: Creatures of the night "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Burton's snake-lizard, Seven Hills.

Balmy mid-summer nights are a great time to spot reptiles in South-east Queensland, and some interesting sightings are happening at the moment.

Burton's snake-lizard, Seven Hills.
On a nocturnal walk through Seven Hills Bushland Reserve last week, I was delighted to find several Burton's snake-lizards (Lialis burtonis) scattered throughout the reserve.

This creature is a member of...


Friends of the Earth Kuranda: Mareeba Shire Council Plan – A Disaster for Kuranda "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

We are very concerned that Mareeba Shire Council will meet next Wednesday and are set to adopt the new Mareeba Shire Council Plan which replaces the 2012 Tablelands Regional Council Plan.  Many protections in the former plan will be scrapped. We ask that this Council postpone finalization of the MSC Draft Plan until a new Kuranda Regional […]



tyto tony: Take a butcher's at this colourful lot "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

But it's brown, why's it called a Black Butcherbird? I'm glad you asked. In North Queensland - but not too far north - Cracticus quoyi race rufescens comes with either black or rufous young, in the same nest sometimes. The rufous birds change to black in their second year (note black emerging on bird's left wing. They'll also stick around and help their parents feed the next generation.

But it's brown, why's it called a Grey Teal? I'm sorry you asked, because I've no idea. Possibly because calling it brown would confuse it with Chestnut Teal. The species confuse themselves and others by hybridizing sometimes.

But it's black, why isn't it called the Yellow-streaked-necked-male Bittern? Ha! They get it right sometimes, though the female isn't really ver...


Ben's Blog: Fire in the Henge "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Henge Fire
Fire in the Henge
– Where two hapless hengemakers face the full force of the law

This story involves little drama but much melodrama.
Either a great calamity is averted due to scrupulous adhesion to the letter of the law, or a great deal of time effort and water is wasted due to a failure to apply just a modicum of good old fashioned common sense.
You be the judge.
The story begins right here in Sleepy Hollow, just across the road from our brand spanking new fire station. It is mid-March 2015. The Fringe Festival is taking shape. My contribution is a henge of fridges.
After much wrangling and cajoling and begging and pleading l finally wrestle 40 fridges from the clutches of the Lords of the Landfill, who are reluctant to part with them for reasons l cannot not fathom.
Studious students from all the local schools except South School have gone to great effort to adorn the fridges with pictures of food and filled the shelves with mock food; good food, bad food and absolutely rotten food.
Before we have even begun to arrange them, all hell brakes loose, a hue and cry from all corners of the shire.
The council, who see their primary role as keeping us all safe from harm, is flooded with distress calls laden with angst and anguish concerning the danger of the little kiddies becoming trapped inside the fridges and slowly being asphyxiated. Many old people still alive today vividly remember such horror stories from their youth, indelibly etched in their consciousnesses.
I try to reassure the agitated officer not to fret, modern fridges do not have latches or catches, any child can open them with ease. But he is not to be reassured. The fridges must be lain down lest a someone climb inside, rock the fridge till it falls on its door...



4) Electricity Supplies Affect Human Development Index In Papua 


17:29 Trump and Cruz favoured to become Presidential nominees "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

News Updates from CLG
16 January 2016

Breaking:Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Are Lifted | 16 Jan 2016 | International inspectors confirmed Saturday that Iran had dismantled large sections of its nuclear program, as agreed in a historic accord last summer, paving the way for the lifting of oil and financial sanctions by the United States and other world powers. The announcement came just hours after Iran said it had released four Americans, including The Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian, as part of a prisoner swap with the United States…In a statement, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said that "agency inspectors on the ground verified that Iran has carried out all measures required under the JCPOA, to enable implementation day to occur," using the acronym for the accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Republicans now see a Trump-Cruz race, with time for a shift running out | 16 Jan 2016 | As the presidential primary moves into a more urgent and combative phase, there is growing acceptance among Republicans, including the Washington and financial elite, that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the two candidates most likely to become the party’s nominee. Their commanding performances at the sixth debate – along with their continued dominance in national and early state polls – has solidified the conclusion of many Republicans that the campaign is becomi...


tyto tony: Dusky Musky mimsey whimsy "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Dusky Musky,
gipsy Hypsi,
mimsy whimsy.

Walla Wallaman Falls


A Snail's Eye View: Nature Photo Challenge #1: Grey-headed Robin "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

A friend tagged me on Facebook in a nature photo a day challenge, so I thought I'd share those photos here.

Today's pic is of a grey-headed robin sunbathing in the garden. Endemic to north-east Queensland, grey-headed robins are common and conspicuous residents of upland rainforests.

Despite the common name, they are not related to European robins, but they do have grey heads, so well done whoever settled on that epithet*.

They might hop around the garden looking all cuddly and winsome, but grey-headed robins are keen enforcers of the bird bath pecking order and ferocious predators of small insects. Given the chance, they will also clean up dropped crumbs, because who knows where the next meal is coming from? It's a jungle out there.

Although they are usually quiet birds, even when shouldering others out of the bird bath, they have a distinctive call. Their peep-peep-peep-peep-peeps are as much a part of the dawn and dusk choruses as the yowls of spotted catbirds and the seamless duets of eastern whipbirds. You can hear the call in this lovely video from Crater Lakes Cottages (near Lake Eacham). 

Another Nature Photo Challenge pic tomorrow.

* Don't get me started on common names.


Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group: Daily life inside a detention centre "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Many of us would have read that shocking article Self-harm epidemic in the SMH Saturday 16 January 2016. Pamela Curr, Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre writes the following to help us understand what life is like inside an Australian detention centre. Behind the report, take a look at daily


Refugee Action Coalition: Nazanin’s family brought to Australia: Now bring all sexual assault victims off Nauru "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

In May, 2015, Nazanin, a 23 year-old Iranian asylum seeker was raped on Nauru.

It took three months and a medical emergency for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to finally medivac her from Nauru to Australia in August 2015.

At the time, the Department said that Nazanin’s mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support. But the Department reneged on that promise.

For six months, the Department has ignored advice from its own medical service provider, IHMS, on Nauru and the advice of Nazanin’s treating doctors and psychiatrists in Australia that she be re-united with her mother and brother. Requests for the transfer of her mother and brother were over-ridden ‘by Border Force in Canberra’.

Last Thursday, 14 January, with 30 minutes notice, Nazanin’s brother and mother were told they were being sent to Australia.

Thankfully, the separation of Nazanin from her family, enforced by the Department, has finally ended, but it has taken a terrible toll on Nazanin and her family.

But the belated transfer of the family to Australia raises the wider question of the contempt exhibited by the Minister and the Immigration Department, the Nauru government and the Nauruan police for the victims of sexual assault on Nauru.

There were at least two other victims of sexual assault brought to Australia from Nauru on that flight last Thursday. But other victims have been left suffering on Nauru.

“The transfer of more victims of sexual assault from Nauru is a tacit admission that Nauru is unsafe. But the begrudging response reveals the official policy to cover-up the scale of the abuse on Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“As a matter of urgency, all the victims of rape and sexual assault on Nauru should be immediately brought to Australia; some victims have been unable to leave their accommodation for months for fear of more har...


North Coast Voices: Natural Gas & Coal Seam Gas: A lesson in consequences for Australian federal and state governments "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

When gas mining went wrong on a large scale in America..........

LA Times, 6 January 2016:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered new regulations, including stepped-up inspections and safety measures, for all natural gas storage facilities in California in response to the continuing leak that has displaced thousands of people in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The emergency regulations would require Southern California Gas Co. and other operators of gas storage facilities to conduct daily inspections of wellheads using infrared leak-detection technology, verify the mechanical integrity of wells, measure gas flow and pressure and regularly test safety valves, among other steps.



cityhippyfarmgirl: Owning your shadow "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Hello. My name is Brydie. For all professional creative goodness endeavours I am Brydie Piaf. For six years I’ve blogged in the very comfortable space of In the last couple of years I’ve written in the pages of Earth … Continue reading

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Friday, 15 January


James O'Brien: Stockholm for a Week or Two "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

There’s a couple of people I know who are planning to spend between one or two weeks in Stockholm next year, during the months of April and May.

Based on my own experiences of being in Stockholm during that time of the year (and other times of the year), here are a few handy tips I’ve prepared for them, which you might find useful also.

Where to stay in Stockholm: Where you choose to stay depends on a whole range of things: do you like city-life, do you like the countryside, how much you’re prepared to pay etc. My biggest best advice would be to stay near a public transport stop, especially near the subway/metro system, the Tunnelbana. You can buy affordable transport tickets that give you unlimited travel for 7 days, a fortnight or a month. When you don’t have to worry about how you get around, you spend a lot less time worrying about the dailies. And besides, trains and subways go exactly where they’re supposed to. My other piece of advice would be to make sure where you’re staying has a washing machine in your apartment. There are so many awful stories of conflict over “the washing room” in older Swedish apartment blocks, so if you’re using AirBnB, just double check the washing machine is actually in your apartment.

Personally, I really like the southern island, Södermalm. Traditionally a working class suburb, it’s now become quite fashionable. There are two things I really like about Södermalm: first, it’s a cool, funky, and interesting place to walk around; second, it’s close to the city, so you can actually walk to lots of great tourist places. You also look back over the water to the Old Town, Gamla Stan which is fantastic.

What Clothes To Wear: Earlier today when I was chatting with my friend and colleague who’ll be in Stockholm in mid to late April, she asked what clothes she should wear. She doesn’t want to pa...

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Thursday, 14 January

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Wednesday, 13 January


Environment East Gippsland Inc: Will logging kill a critically endangered fish? "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In April last year the East Gippsland Galaxias was listed as Critically Endangered under the states FFG Act. Endemic to a small stretch of waterway in the Arte River system, a tributary of the Goolengook River.

The specific name aequipinnis  is from the Latin aequalis, meaning 'like' or 'same', and pinna, meaning 'fin', in reference to the almost equal size of the pectoral and pelvic fins of this species, BUT NOW …

VicForests is set to log the forest next to this critically endangered fish. Studies clearly show that logging impacts stream life for 10km below a logged forest. The EG Galaxias (Galaxias aequipinnis) only lives in this small catchment and according to the precautionary principle (enshrined in law) it should receive decent upper catchment protection and substantial buffers of at least 100m deep along the whole stretch of river to prevent siltation and sedimentation which clogs up the stream bed and can choke or kill off in-stream life. The dirt chokes the pebbly stream bed needed by many species for laying eggs in, hiding under and finding food in.

Many reports show how damaging logging and roading are to in-stream life. Even Tasmanian logging groups believe better protection is needed.

Despite being partly fu...

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Tuesday, 12 January

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Monday, 11 January

Sunday, 10 January

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