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Monday, 15 February

15:42

cairnsnews.org: Islamic school refuses to repay millions to Department of Education "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Malek Fahed Islamic school in Greenacre is under investigation

Malek Fahed Islamic school in Greenacre is under investigation Photo: Steven Siewert

The Malek Fahd Islamic School has accused the state government of breaching racial discrimination laws in ordering it to repay $8.5 million in taxpayer funding.

The school, which educates about 2500 Muslim students in Sydney’s south-west, is refusing to pay back the financial assistance it received between 2010 and 2011, three years after the NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, declared that it had been unlawfully operating for profit.

In court documents, Malek Fahd said legislation introduced into NSW in October 2014 is contrary to the federal Racial Discrimination Act.

The legislation allowed the minister for education to declare that any financial assistance provided could be recovered as a debt if a school had operated for profit.

Last month, the school launched a cross-claim, arguing the minister doesn’t have the power to declare that it was operating for profit and recoup the funding. It has further argued that the NSW government still owes it state funding for the period from July 2012 to December 2013, approximately $1.2 million based on previous MySchool data.
The NSW government has asked the Supreme Court to force Malek Fahd to repay the $8.5 million it owes plus legal costs and interest at nine per cent.

Despite the litigation, the school is pushing ahead with rapid expansion plans for its third campus in Hoxton Park, on top of its multi-million dollar operations at Greenacre and Beaumont Hills.
The Greenacre campus received $17.5 million in f...

15:02

cairnsnews.org: US Speaker says not enough support for TPP "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

The United States Congress has left egg all over the Liberal and Labor parties’ faces. Insufficient support in Congress for TPP to pass

Speaker Ryan: Not enough votes for TPP ‘trade’ deal | 11 Feb 2016 | House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Thursday that the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal corporate takeover doesn’t have enough votes to pass Congress right now. "I don’t think the votes are there right now because of the concerns about what’s in the TPP," Ryan told reporters at his weekly press conference…Even with Republican help, the president will face opposition from Democrats. Both Democratic presidential candidates oppose the trade [sic] deal, as does Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.

– CLG News


10:06

Echonetdaily: Plan to cover council roofs with solar panels mooted "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Greens Senator Larissa Waters. Photo supplied

Greens Senator Larissa Waters. Photo supplied

A bold Greens plan that could see all council buildings and infrastructure around the country fitted with rooftop solar panels so councils can cut their power bills and save ratepayers money is being launched today.

The plan allows solar companies to install solar panels on council property in a mutal exchange to cut power costs.

Australian Greens deputy leader and climate change spokesperson, Qld Senator Larissa Waters, will discuss the plan at the Solar Citizens Political Forum at 11.30 am QUT Gardens Point today.

‘Council can offer up the roofs of its libraries, swimming pool buildings and bus depots, in exchange for cheaper power bills,’ Senator Waters said.

‘This is an example of the proactive, positive work forward-thinking local governments can do to be part of the solar-powered economy,’ she said.

Queensland Greens’ Brisbane lord-mayoral candidate, Ben Pennings, said the Greens’ ‘Shading Our Suburbs’ Plan would also invite tenders for new structures for solar panels that create shade.

‘For example, solar companies could build solar panel shade structures for car parks at council’s swimming pools to run the power-hungry pumps,’ Mr Pennings said.

‘It w...

09:10

Echonetdaily: Rescue chopper launches exclusive Rescue Club "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Elaina Underhill, 2, is the first member of the Rescue Club. (supplied)

Elaina Underhill, 2, is the first member of the Rescue Club. (supplied)

Elaina Underhill is the inaugural member of a very exclusive club.

The two-year-old was flown to the Lady Cliento Hospital in Brisbane last year on the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter after being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of her sister Elle.

Elaina is the daughter of daughter of Richmond Local Area Command sergeant Steve Underhill and his wife Michelle.

Now that she is recovered, Elaina is helping the rescue helicopter service launch a new exclusive club for others that have also been transported by the chopper.

A spokesman said the helicopter service had flown more than 8,200 missions since it was launched in 1982.

 

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is inviting past patients to join Elaina in registering to become part of the Rescue Club via its website www.helirescue.com.au

For a once off registration fee of $10 each member will receive a special Rescue Club badge, regular newsletters and special event invitations.

The spokesman aid the S...

08:49

Echonetdaily: Obama urges Putin to stop Syria assault "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

A Russian air force technician attaches a bomb to a Russian ground attack jet at Hemeimeem air base in Syria. AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov

A Russian air force technician attaches a bomb to a Russian ground attack jet at Hemeimeem air base in Syria. AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov

Washington [AAP]

US President Barack Obama has urged Russia to stop bombing ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria in support of its ally Bashar al-Assad, a campaign seen in the West as a major obstacle to latest efforts to end the war.

Major powers agreed on Friday to a limited cessation of hostilities in Syria but the deal does not take effect until the end of this week and was not signed by any warring parties – the Damascus government and numerous rebel factions fighting it.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin and Obama had agreed to intensify cooperation to implement the agreement on Syria struck in Munich.

After a phone call between Putin and Obama, confirmed by the White House on Sunday, the Kremlin said both gave a ‘positive valuation’ to the Munich meeting.

The Kremlin statement made clear Russia was committed to its campaign against Islamic State and ‘other terro...

08:46

Echonetdaily: Aftershocks rattle Christchurch "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Wellington [AAP]

Aftershocks have rattled Christchurch in the wake of a 5.7-magnitude quake that shook the city almost five years on from the devastating tremor that killed 185 people and caused widespread destruction.

A host of small shakes kept residents on edge through the night after Sunday’s shallow quake.

A cliff collapsed into the sea near Taylors Mistake, with five young lifesavers narrowly avoiding injury, stock fell from shelves and shoppers were forced to flee malls when the quake hit soon after 1pm, local time.

No serious injuries were reported and there were only minor issues with the city’s infrastructure.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city was in a much better state than it was when the deadly 6.3-quake hit on February 22 in 2011 but it did nothing for the nerves.

‘It really is a real set-back psychologically for the city,’ she said.

Prime Minister John Key said the buildings in the city are much stronger than they were five years ago and by all accounts had come through the quake well.

Three schools – Christchurch Girls’ High School, Aranui High School and St Thomas of Canterbury – will be closed on Monday and the Ministry of Education said it was up to individual schools to decide if they opened.

GeoNet spokeswoman Anna Kaiser told AAP residents can expect a number of aftershocks in the coming days and scientists say there is a 50 per cent chance of another quake above 5.

...

08:45

Echonetdaily: Building of Ocean Shores sports field set to start "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

unnamedFamilies and sport lovers in north Byron shire will soon see a start to construction of the long-awaited sports field on Shara Boulevard.

Byron Shire Council yesterday announced it was ‘full  steam ahead’ for building the new facility, with a start set for later this month.

Mayor Simon Richardson welcomed the tender being awarded for the building of the North Ocean Shores Sports Field and said there would be some very happy residents in the north of Byron Shire.

‘The community has been waiting a long time for this project and we are on the way to delivering the new facility,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘It’s fully funded and will become a central hub for the many families who support healthy lifestyles and outdoor activities.

‘Site establishment has been completed and we’re looking forwarded to the kick-off later in the year,’ he said.

The tender has been awarded to Main Constructions Pty Ltd, a contractor experienced in the delivery of sporting fields and facilities.

Council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway said construction would start later this month and due for completion in August this year.

Mr Holloway said that subject to favourable weather, the amenities building, car park and associated infrastructure was planned to be completed by June, with the field being playable by August following the required turf establishment and maintenance period.

President of the Shores United Soccer Club, Marc Patten, said ‘this is fantastic news and eagerly awaited by our community’.

‘The announcement coincides with what will be a record turn out for the Shores United Soccer Club over the next year,’ Mr Patten said.

‘The new facility is greatly appreciated in a com...

08:44

Echonetdaily: Noise harder on children than adults "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Photo Travis Isaacs flickr.com/photos/tbisaacs

Photo Travis Isaacs flickr.com/photos/tbisaacs

Washington [AP]

From the cacophony of day care to the buzz of TV and electronic toys, noise is more distracting to a child’s brain than an adult’s, and new research shows it can hinder how youngsters learn.

In fact, one of the worst offenders when a child is trying to listen is other voices babbling in the background, researchers said on Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

‘What a child hears in a noisy environment is not what an adult hears,’ said Dr Lori Leibold of Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.

That’s a quandary in our increasingly noisy lives because ‘young children learn language from hearing it,’ said Dr Rochelle Newman of the University of Maryland.

‘They have a greater need for understanding speech around them but at the same time they’re less equipped to deal with it.’

It’s not their ability to hear. For healthy children, the auditory system is pretty well developed by a few months of age.

Consider how hard it is to carry...

08:41

Echonetdaily: Vigil continues for Baby Asha in Brisbane "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Refugee activists protest outside the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane on Sunday. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Refugee activists protest outside the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane on Sunday. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Cleo Fraser, AAP

Protesters calling on authorities to let Baby Asha stay in Australia instead of being returned to detention on Nauru will again rally outside a Brisbane hospital.

The 12-month-old girl was brought to Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital last month after suffering burns when boiling water was accidentally spilled on her while in detention on Nauru.

She has since recovered but doctors say they will keep her at the hospital until ‘a suitable home environment is identified’.

Asha, as well as her mother and father, are set to be sent back to Nauru once the child is discharged.

A vigil has been held in front of the hospital since the news that Asha was being treated there broke on Friday night.

During a second rally on Sunday protesters called for immigration minister Peter Dutton and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to show Asha some love on Valentines Day and let her stay in th...

08:38

Echonetdaily: Green talks on drug decriminalisation "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

The Australian Greens will continue a national drug decriminalisation tour this week, holding round table meetings on ending prosecutions for individual user.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has long called for decriminalisation of drugs in Australia, under which the drugs would still be illegal to supply but no criminal charges would apply for users.

He told ABC radio on Monday drug use should be treated as a health issue, with police resources diverted to treatment services.

In August last year Mr Di Natale pointed to Portugal’s policy of not making personal possession of drugs a criminal offence: ‘And it’s a policy that fits in with what I learned as a doctor working in a drug and alcohol clinic.

‘The people I saw as patients had a lot in common. They struggled with physical drug dependence and with the other things that anchor us in our lives like family, friends, relationships, a job and a roof over our heads – they struggled to manage all of those things.

‘They often had mental illness – anxiety, depression or psychosis. Sometimes these illnesses were triggered by their drug use, sometimes they preceded it.

‘One thing that definitely doesn’t help them is getting caught up in the criminal justice system. For someone struggling just to get off drugs and keep a roof over their head, an encounter with the law is almost guaranteed to erase any progress they had made.

‘We wouldn’t arrest people for developing diabetes, but other patients struggling with a serious health issue could easily find themselv...

08:35

Echonetdaily: New ministers swot up as PM tours north "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses an Advance Cairns meeting on Sunday. AAP Image/Brian Cassey

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses an Advance Cairns meeting on Sunday. AAP Image/Brian Cassey

Canberra [AAP]

Members of Malcolm Turnbull’s new-look ministry will be swotting up on their portfolios as the prime minister undertakes a three-day north Australia tour.

The new team which includes more women, younger talent and promotions, will be sworn-in by the governor general on Thursday.

Education minister Simon Birmingham has thrown his support behind the changes, which have been forced by retirement, resignations and scandals but Labor says they add chaos just months from the crucial pre-election budget.

Labor will also this week continue to promote its plans in government to limit negative gearing to new properties and a cut in the capital gains tax discount to 25 per cent from 50 per cent.

The changes aim to ease housing affordability with additional supply, while providing a more level playing field for new home buyers.

But treasurer Scott Morrison has likened the proposals to Labor’s now defunct m...

08:26

Echonetdaily: Byron’s V-Day dances and rises for revolution "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Ilona Harker sings a song for 100 women who lost their lives at hands from their home as their names were shown in remembrance. Photo Tree Faerie.

Ilona Harker sings a song for 100 women who lost their lives at hands from their home as their names were shown in remembrance. Photo Tree Faerie.

Sunday dawned on over 200 women and girls – daughters, sisters, aunties, friends, nieces, mothers, lovers and others, along with small contingent of men, as part of the One Billion Rising for Revolution and the fourth annual flash mob dance to celebrate V-Day on Byron’s Main Beach.

08:15

Echonetdaily: Man charged with thefts in Nimbin "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

A 45-year-old man will appear in court today after being charged with a series of break-ins around the Nimbin area.

Police executed a search warrant at a home on Gungas Road, Nimbin last Tuesday and located a large amount of property, which was believed to be stolen.

The 45-year-old male resident was arrested and charged with 19 offences, including property, drug, and firearm offences.

Following an extensive investigation, Lismore detectives have linked the alleged stolen property to alleged break-ins throughout the Nimbin area between May 2014 and December 2015.

The 45-year-old man was subsequently charged with 20 counts of break, enter and steal, three counts of steal from dwelling and larceny.

He has been granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Lismore Local Court on Monday 14 March 2016.

 

The post Man charged with thefts in Nimbin appeared first on Echonetdaily.

08:11

Echonetdaily: Drone disabled and confiscated "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

We have in our possession the drone that was flying over our house in The Pocket today, Sunday, at approximate 08:50 hours.

This drone was flying in contravention to the laws set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. We used our own means to capture this intrusive peeping-tom aerial device and don’t intend to return it.

All drone operators, please be on notice that we have the technology to disable, capture and detain drones.

Name withhold on request, Billinudgel

The post Drone disabled and confiscated appeared first on Echonetdaily.

08:04

Echonetdaily: Byron councillor’s smooth ways not helping "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Sol Ibrahim is using the tools of an inveterate politician.

Say anything and make it sound good and the masses will not ask to see the evidence, or in this case they could be fooled into thinking that Sol has a grasp on the intricate functions of a healthy wetland, (and exactly how much building Byron Bay can sustain and keep healthy) in providing habitat for rare species, flood water escape routes, acid sulphate soil handling, breeding grounds for fish, a way for water to flow out of the hills, and care for a specific and important biota.

If there is evidence to show that the West Byron Wetland is not intrinsically crucial to the health of Byron Bay – where is it?

There has been a comprehensive and thorough alternate map submitted of how West Byron can be developed without destroying the wetland (by John Sparks.) byronbayvision.com.

That concept would require land owners to cooperate, and council to take the time to learn about the importance of wetlands, and work with the land owners to create a global example of intelligent design, to keep negotiating for the best possible thing, not a legally unchallengeable outcome, but the right one.

Sol, rather than complain of no forewarning of the scorecard, why not answer each concern publicly, you now do have the list!

Sol, who often states his good character by his work in an NGO managing child care, could do as well both politically and really by understanding the new paradigm, which is that the future of today’s children, and future generations really does matter and that health is essential to any economy.

...

07:59

North Coast Voices: What has happened in Malcolm Bligh Turnbull's first 154 days as Australia's Prime Minister? "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"


On 14 September 2015 Liberal MP for Wentworth and former Communications Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull became the 29th Prime Minister of Australia, after defeating then sitting prime minister Tony Abbott in a party room poll by 55 to 44 votes.

By 21 September Turnbull had announced his new "21st Century" ministry, removing Joe Hockey, Eric Abetz, Ian Macfarlane, Kevin Andrews and Bruce Billson from the ministry in the process.

Just 154 days later and we find that his handpicked…….

Minister for Defence Materiel and Science & Special Minister of State Mal Brough had to first stand aside in December 2015, due to an Australian Federal Police investigation into allegations that...

07:42

cairnsnews.org: Get fair dinkum, Carbon Dioxide has nothing to do with controlling climate "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"


by Viv Forbes, science writer

If governments truly believe that man’s production of carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming, they would ban the use of motor cars, motor trucks, tractors, motor homes, motor bikes, motor mowers, motor launches and petrol-driven chain saws. These all pump out the two dreaded greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide and water vapour. Horses, bullocks, wagons, bicycles, scythes, row-boats and axes are the true-green tools – all were good enough for our pioneers.

They would also close all coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, and cover the land and buildings with solar panels and windmills. (Smart people would also stock up on candles and fire-wood for those cold still nights and cloudy windless days.)

Fair dinkum climatists would also ban all tourism advertising. It just encourages people to jump into cars, buses, trains, aeroplanes and ships to go somewhere else, consume local resources, produce tonnes of CO2 and then come home again (passing in transit all the other people doing the same trips in reverse). We should surely be instructed to stay home and watch David Attenborough on battery-powered TV.

What about all the government-promoted fireworks displays, motor rallies, sport extravaganzas and never-ending world games and expos? These all require millions of people to go somewhere, consume things and then return home, producing heaps of carbon dioxide. With the modern magic of NBN, every Australian could have a ringside seat at every world circus without leaving the comfort of their own lounge chair.

And if governments were Fair Dinkum, they would have already nominated a region to pilot-test the costs/benefits of their true-green society. (I nominate Tasmania.)

Today’s politicians are not Fair Dinkum.

If they were Fair Dinkum, they would confess that carbon dioxide is innocent and all this has nothing to do with controlling climate, b...

07:31

Echonetdaily: Men arrested near Coffs in car stolen from Tweed "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Two men were arrested at Arrawarra Beach on Saturday following an alleged break-in at Tweed Heads and a police pursuit that commenced at Glenugie.

Just before 8.30am (February 13), highway patrol officers on the Pacific Highway at Glenugie spotted a silver Hyundai Veloster coupe – allegedly stolen during a break-in at Tweed Heads late last week –heading south.

A pursuit commenced when the Hyundai allegedly failed to stop for police. The pursuit was terminated a short time later for public safety reasons.

About 1pm on Saturday, police from Coffs Harbour Local Area Command received information that the Hyundai was parked at a caravan park at Arrawarra Beach.

Two men were arrested and taken to Coffs Harbour Police Station.

A 21-year-old man was charged with: aggravated break and enter in company; take and drive conveyance; police pursuit, not stop (Skye’s Law); exceed speed over 45km/h; negligent driving; and drive manner dangerous.

A 23-year-old man was charged with aggravated break and enter in company and take and drive conveyance.

Inquiries have revealed the two men are also allegedly wanted for outstanding arrest warrants in Queensland.

Both men were refused bail and were due to appear before Coffs Harbour Local Court yesterday.

 

The post Men arrested near Coffs in car stolen from Tweed appeared first on Echonetdaily.

07:29

Echonetdaily: Our material addiction "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Science seems to have flushed into awareness with recent letters about ticks and red meat, science and belief, science and the exclusion of ‘what is not’, a science teacher concerned about weed fires, and Eve as the first practical scientist.

Science has found humans can live healthily without animal products. In 2009 the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada found ‘appropriately planned vegetarian diets – including … vegan … – are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases’.

Scientist, Albert Einstein, believed imagination was more important than knowledge. Humans could imagine what would happen to domestic and wild animals if humans only ate a plant-based diet. How would that effect biodiversity conservation and Mammalian Meat Allergy?

Humans could also imagine putting in place a gardening culture from Mullumbimby to Byron in answer to Jeremy Rivkin saying in Entrophy: Into the Greenhouse World ‘The truth is that [industrialised farming] is the most inefficient form of farming ever devised by humankind’. That would supply food sustainability, iron-rich broccoli, as well as prevent weed fires.

Eve’s practical approach is held up by material addiction and accompanying procrastination. Perhaps science could enquire into that.

Geoff Dawe, Uki

The post Our material addiction appeared first on Echonetdaily.

07:24

cairnsnews.org: Former FBI and National Security Intelligence officer warns WWIII is 18 days away "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

SuperStation95   95.1-FM    

New York, NY  USA

Russia has publicly warned Saudi Arabia, the US, and other countries, they risk “a new world war” if they act on plans to send troops into Syria. WW3: 18 days away.

A member of Russian State Duma (Parliament) publicly stated that “If any foreign troops enter Syria without permission from the Syrian government, Russia will consider that a declaration of war.”

 Russia issues warning to its citizens in Turkey: Leave right away

russian I am not certain if you are familiar with me, I am Hal Turner, a talk-radio host on WBCQ International Shortwave (7.490 MHz) and 95.1 FM in New York City, “SuperSta...

07:19

Echonetdaily: AGL eyes ‘virtual power plants’ in link with battery storage developer "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

agl-solar-sales

Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy

Australian energy utility AGL Energy has spent $US20 million ($A28 million) snapping up a minority stake in US-based battery storage solutions provider Sunverge as it seeks to accelerate its push into distributed generation and rooftop solar and storage and smart software.

The purchase of Sunverge was announced at the company’s interim earnings presentation, along with a plan to create a new renewable energy investment fund which aims to build 1,000MW of new large scale renewable energy capacity.

The purchase of Sunverge, which follows the purchase of a stake in Australian start-up Solar Analytics, and coincides with the launch of a ‘solar’ component of its smart App, comes as AGL looks to appeal to the emerging home energy market, particularly with competition from telcos such as Telstra also emerging.

New managing director Andrew Vesey has placed great store in the ‘new energy’ division, which will focus on solar, storage, electric vehicles and the like, although its plans were set back when the division head, Marc England, announced his departure to head New Zealand group Genesis Energy late last year.

Vesey says AGL Energy is attracted to Sunverge because it is an emerging leader in demand response management for ‘premises-based energy storage’, and he saw it as an ‘early mover advantage’ for AGL.

He is also attracted to the idea of a ‘virtual power plant’, where AGL could tap into the battery storage systems of – say – one million customers. ‘We are keen on the concept of a virtual power plant,’ he told an analysts briefing.

Sunverge has already entered into some trials......

01:23

cairnsnews.org: NEWS CORP THROW PAID INFORMANT CROWN PROSECUTOR MARGARET CUNNEEN UNDER A BUS "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Source: Kangaroo Court of Australia

A stick of dynamite was thrown under the Australian legal and political fraternity on Friday (12/2/16) which will be felt for years to come when transcript was leaked of a phone call which shows criminal conduct by Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen. As is common, the cover-up of the crime quite often becomes bigger than the original crime and that is the case here.

News Corp and a number of their journalists are up to their neck in the corruption paying Cunneen for stories and have been defending Margaret Cunneen and lambasting ICAC (Click here to read more). Then on Saturday the day after the leaks News Corp’s Hedley Thomas has attacked Margaret Cunneen with a major broadside in an article titled Victims blame Margaret Cunneen for not acting against Volkers“. The story relates to when Margaret Cunneen gave corrupt advice to make sure alleged paedophile Scott Volkers was not charged. (Click here to read more)

The leak has forced News Corp to change tactics and they are clearly gearing up to throw their paid informant crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen under a bus to save their own skins.

While the scandal might centre on Cunneen and the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) the web of people dragged into the fight spreads...

...

00:28

Bellingen area: The Control of Fire by Birds "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"



Early humans are seen as inventors of fire technology. Now birds of prey such as the the Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) and the Black Kite (Milvus migrans) join the list of those propagating fires deliberately in the Australian savanna woodlands.

Many birds benefit from anthropogenic fires or lightning fires, but narratives of ornithogenic fires have for a long time survived in legends and ceremony in many places around the world.

"Fire provides the opportunity for pyrophilic behaviour by some birds. Brown Falcons, Falco berigora, perch at the fire-front waiting for grasshoppers, frogs, snakes, lizards and small mammals.

Local Aboriginal people believe that Black Kites set fires by carrying burning sticks to new locations and drop them into dry grass on unburnt grounds...I have seen a hawk pick up a smouldering stick in its claws and drop it in a fresh patch of dry grass half a mile away, then wait with its mates for the mad exodus of scorched and frightened rodents and reptiles.

“When that area was burnt out the process was repeated elsewhere. We call these fires Jarulan.”

There is an extensive body of recorded material – some over 100 years old – of Aboriginal myths and legends relating to bird...

00:16

North Coast Voices: Nationals MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker dumped as Minister for Vocational Education and Skills "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"


Luke Hartsuyker (left) at the beginning of his brief 4.5 month stint as a full minister

Lost his bid to become Deputy-Leader of the Nationals to Fiona Nash and now swiftly given the boot from the front bench by his own prime minister – Luke Hartsuyker must either have fought an unforgivably bloody leadership battle behind the scenes, been a spectacularly underperforming Minister for Vocational Education and Ski...

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21:21

cairnsnews.org: STOP PRESS: US Speaker says not enough support for TPP "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

The United States Congress has left egg all over the Liberal and Labor parties’ faces. Insufficient support in Congress for TPP to pass

Speaker Ryan: Not enough votes for TPP ‘trade’ deal | 11 Feb 2016 | House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Thursday that the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal corporate takeover doesn’t have enough votes to pass Congress right now. "I don’t think the votes are there right now because of the concerns about what’s in the TPP," Ryan told reporters at his weekly press conference…Even with Republican help, the president will face opposition from Democrats. Both Democratic presidential candidates oppose the trade [sic] deal, as does Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.

– CLG News


19:57

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests: Trees ain’t trees "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Where did the idea get about that our trees all ‘look the same’?

The problem has been around for a long time: in 1770 Captain Cook wrote about the NSW coast: ‘the woods do not produce any variety of trees.’ In 1836 Darwin claimed that ‘the extreme uniformity of the vegetation’ was ‘the most remarkable feature of the vegetation’ he observed in Australia. And in 1939 the poet AD Hope talked of the ‘drab green and desolate grey’ of our vegetation. And he compounded the insult by suggesting that the Australian people were just as monotonous…

Maybe these very worthy experts weren’t looking hard enough?

Our new exhibition of photos in Castlemaine is set to have a go at overturning the still widespread notion that our trees are monotonously uniform. Trees of the Mount Alexander Region mounted by the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests will run at Togs Place café from 26 February till 31 March 2016. The exhibition aims to highlight the amazing variety to be seen in our local indigenous trees: even those of the same genus—for example, eucalypts—can exhibit a wild variety of shape and colour, as well as hosting an extraordinary diversity of wildlife.

web Y 12 x 16 inch Nankeen Kestrel

One of the exhibition photos by Patrick Kavanagh (Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains). Tree hollows are vital for the survival of much of our wildlife, so even dead trees can be important features of the land. This photo shows one of three fledglings rai...

18:54

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests: Some positive news for FOBIF "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Memberships and donations are rolling in

FOBIF wishes to thank all its members for the generous donations they have made both last financial year and this current year. In fact the donations received have totalled fifty percent of the membership payments.

Your generosity will enable FOBIF to continue with its projects to help keep the biodiversity of the Box-Ironbark Forests healthy and safe into the future.

If you haven’t yet paid your membership, forms are available here.

Certificate of Appreciation

Lisa Chesters, Federal Member for Bendigo, presented a certificate of appreciation to FOBIF in recognition of our contribution to strengthening community and supporting the volunteer sector as part of International Volunteer Day December 2015.  These are fine words and well deserved – and it was appreciated by the FOBIF Committee on behalf of our members.  Well done everyone!

cert of app

 

18:36

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests: Booking needed for the first FOBIF walk "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

As explained in an earlier post, this year’s first FOBIF walk will take place on 20 March and will be a combined FOBIF/Connecting Country event. The walk on private property in Sandon (near Newstead) will be led by Andrew Skeoch (Listening Earth) and Tanya Loos (Connecting Country). Have a look at our walks page to find out more.

The walk will be part of the Feather Five Festival which will take place during the weekend of 19-20 March (click here for media release). More about the festival can also be found by clicking on the poster below and at the Connecting Country website.

You will need to book for this first walk as places are limited (booking closes 17th March 2016).  Book online at http://www.trybooking.com/KEHE. As with other FOBIF walks there is no charge and we will meet at 9.30 at Continuing Education in Templeton Street. Parking is limited at the property so buses will be used to transport walkers to the starting point. The use of this booking system is a one-off as future FOBIF walks will not need to limit the number of walkers.

 

18:25

cairnsnews.org: Peter Spencer appeal hearing: before Federal Court Tuesday, February 16 "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

This is the last train out of Hopesville for property rights

Peter Spencer

Peter Spencer

Peter Spencer has been granted a hearing to his interlocutory application by the appeals unit before Justice Griffiths, Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 9.30am in the Federal Court of Australia  NSW Division 184 Phillip Street, Sydney.

During this last week, Peter had an accident and has broken a leg. He is now in  a wheelchair and also suffered a stomach rupture needing urgent attention. None of this will not deter this man from his mission to redeem land rights for all Australians.

In an interview with Harry Palmer of SOS-NEWS, Peter Spencer stated, “this hearing is so vital – we are trying to open this can of worms and we need to fill the court on Tuesday to reflect solidarity of the people to this government theft of THEIR LAND.”

“Nineteen years ago when the first Native Vegetation Laws passed from a Bill to a Law the Liberals and Nationals said they would revoke the laws as soon as they got in to power – that is if the people voted them in… 19 years later it is still law  LIARS – nothing was done!

“But with National Parks, Valuer Generals Act variations and new “Abandonment” rules, our rural zoning is shattered…..Land owners right across the country are being forced to give up to a 3rd of their land free to councils for subdivision from Rule Zone conversions. ...

17:41

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club: Geology Excursion to be Rescheduled "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Professor Julian Hollis’s talk to the CFNC last Friday (12 Feb 2016) had a large audience fascinated by the geological finds that he has made at the Upper Coliban Reservior over recent years.  Unfortunately, the planned excursion for the next day to this location had to be canceled due to the Total Fire Ban rating.

However, Julian has kindly offered to lead this same excursion on another day, which I am sure will be very popular.  I know I am looking forward to it.   The CFNC committee will discuss possible new dates for this excursion at their next meeting.   Further details to follow soon.

The AGM was also held on the same evening.  Thank you to the 2015 CFNC commitee for all of their efforts, and congratulations (and thanks in advance) to those elected for 2016:  Nigel Harland (president), George Broadway (secretary, for the 19th consecutive year!), Geoff Harris (Treasurer), Richard Piesse, Geraldine Harris and Peter Turner.  Chris Timewell (me) was elected Webmaster. Further assistance on the committee is always welcomed.

A call-out was also made for urgent assistance on the club newsletter, and in particular someone who could source and manage the incoming articles.  Special thanks was made to Noel Young for his all-composing role on the newsletter for the past 8 years.  At least in the short term, Noel is available to continue with the ‘type-setting’ of the newsletter (I hope this is the correct term).


17:27

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club: Autumn 2016 SEANA Camp "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

New CFNC committee member Peter Turner has made us aware of the upcoming camp of SEANA on the Bellarine Peninsula.  (SEANA is the South East Australian Naturalists Association).

This camp runs from 8 to 11 April, and is being hosted by the Geelong Field Naturalists Club.  Camping is at Queenscliff and excursions are planned to Mud Islands, Popes Eye and other coastal locations.  All members of field naturalists club are welcome to come along.  It looks like an interesting mix of marine and terrestrial natural history activities and talks.

Further details are available in the attachment (CLICK HERE).


17:23

Radio 2RDJ FM 88.1: Vale Colin Richardson "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

It is with sadness that we let you know that Colin Richardson, a long-standing and valued member of the Radio 2RDJ family, and a member of out Board of Directors, passed away this morning at 9.20 am in Concord Hospital.  He was 79.

He was admitted to hospital on New Year’s day following a fall.  Until quite recently it was hoped that he would come out of there into some level of assisted living facility but ultimately his heart could not compensate for his other health issues.

Colin is survived by his brother, Ken Richardson.

14:45

89.3 FM 2GLF: Are Community Radio Listeners More Tech Savvy & Smarter than Average? "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Listeners are demanding more than an old fashion radio transistor, they are wanting to listen to content at a time that suits them.

14:12

Streams & Desolations: My New Instagram Profile! "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

Just a little bit of housekeeping news, I have created an Instagram profile that will be just for my art and writing-related images. You can find it under the username fionakat.art on Instagram. Any new followers are much appreciated! Are you on Instagram? Tell me your user name and the sorts of photos you share […]

13:11

Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary: Valentine’s Day: Animal Magnetism "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Valentines Day

Sometimes, when you meet someone, you just click. Love, friendship and bonds that last a lifetime aren’t formed on a whim, soul mates warm together like two magnets pulled by an invisible force. We meet new face after new face, sometimes we want to nurture a budding companionship, other times we just want to back away slowly.

Farmed animals share our desires to have someone by their side. Many of Edgar’s Mission’s residents have found their special somebody, here are a few of their stories.

Valentines Day 

Lombard and Jewell

Lombard was rescued as an adult and so is flighty around people, he prefers to keep a safe distance – safe meaning the furthest side of the furthest corner of the paddock. That was until he met Jewell. Jewell was born with a congenital hoof disorder and needs a lot of care and medical attention to ensure they’re clean and trimmed comfortably.

While Jewell is having her pedicures, Lombard is always right by her side. Sheep are prey animals and instinctively run away when humans are in their flight zone, but amazingly Lombard stays close to the ewe he loves, selflessly denying his instincts to flee and bravely standing in the face of his greatest fear.

Valentines Day

Leo and Imogen

Leo once ruled the roost in Chicken Village, that was until age got the better of him and plucky younger roosters strutted into town and...

12:14

Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park: Healthy Park Walks "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

Healthy Park Walks are back for 2016 and the first one is this Wednesday February 17th.
There is no better way to get active than to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in the beautiful surrounds of Tarra-Bulga National Park. Experienced guides will lead the way for a leisurely paced walk that will give you time to enjoy the wildlife and the stunning rainforest surrounds. For further details and to register visithttp://walking.heartfoundation.org.au/…/tarra-bulga-park-w…/

Park Walks_a

 

Tarra Bulga National Park Heart Foundation walks 2016


Filed under: Activities, Events Tagged: Guided Walks, Heart Foundation., Heatlhy Park Walks, Suspension Bridge, Tarra Bulga...

10:46

Ben's Blog: Valentines Day – Official History "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Dead love

Catholic Martyrologies and Hagiographies list no less than 11 Saint Valentines, but it is one Saint Valentius of Narnia (l kid you not) that has come to symbolize ‘Romantic Love’, quite possibly due to the reason for his gruesome execution in Rome, way back in the year 269 -on the 14th February coincidentally.

Whilst delivering his weekly sermon to the good people of Narnia,
a town in Umbria, Valentius couldn’t help slipping the word Jesus into his homilies from time to time,(Yes, the very same J.C. who has since become a household word) a bad habit to get into, as it turns out. The mere mention of this word made the local judge, one Autuaro Asterius, prick up his ears. (if you will pardon the expression)
Valentius was put under house arrest – in the judge’s own house –as was the custom of the day. Yet again, the excitable Valentius couldn’t help blurting out that word. Now Artie explained patiently to young Vali(they were on a first name basis by now) that he was under strict instructions from ‘The-Powers-That-Be’ to have him beaten to death with a blunt instrument –publically, ( there was no television in those days) if he some much as whispered that word. But being the kindly old sock that he was, he gave young Vali one last chance to redeem himself. The judge had a beautiful daughter who was as blind as a bat. If Vali could restore her sight he would be spared the gruesome death that awaited him. Vali duly laid his hands on the girl’s eyes and spoke that word several times, (soto voce, of course) the girl opened her eyes and for the fist time in her life she saw the world in all its radiant beauty. A Miracle!
Young Vali had ticked the first box on the Application for Sainthood. Judge Arty not only revoked Vali’s imminent de...

10:11

Mountain Journal: Monaro dieback brings science and Aboriginal knowledge together "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

Mountain Journal has previously written about the die back of eucalypts that has been occurring on the Monaro tablelands on the eastern side of the Snowy Mountains.

The dieback has affected a massive area, leaving a sea of “dead, standing trees” across the tablelands.

No one is, as yet, certain about the causes. It has been suggested that climate change is an underlying cause because background warming may have helped the spread of the weevils and stress on the ribbon gum trees that have died.

This piece from Bill Brown of the ABC quotes traditional owners:

Aboriginal custodians say a massive 2,000 square kilometres of eucalyptus viminalis, known as Manna Gum or Ribbon Gum, that has died on the Monaro Plains in New South Wales is the result of a lack of traditional burning practices.

Aileen Blackburn, a Ngarigo traditional custodian, points to a lack of traditional low-intensity burning as practised by Aboriginal people for thousands of years until European settlement.

“That would be one of the contributing factors and it would be a big contributing factor,” she said.

According to the story, the NSW Government recently announced funding of $499,460 over a 10-year period for Greening Australia and the CSIRO to work on a recovery strategy.

The project will involve seed collection and planting trials in a search for resilient species as well as traditional Aboriginal burning trials on Travelling Stock Reserves to evaluate the outcomes upon remnant species.

Greening Australia project co-ordinator Nicki Taws said it was hoped the traditional burning trials would result in stimu...

08:40

Natural Newstead: Where have you sprung from? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

After a brief appearance in the Spring, White-browed Woodswallows didn’t hang around to breed locally this season. Such a shame as they are striking looking birds. These seasonal migrants usually travel in flocks of between 20 and sometimes up to a thousand birds, frequently in the company of Masked Woodswallows.

It was a pleasant surprise to come across a pair in the Mia Mia earlier in the week, presumably on their way back north. This species often feeds on blossom, generally eucalypts. I can recall, many years back, seeing ironbark trees in north-east Victoria festooned with hungry White-browed Woodswallows sipping nectar from trees laden with flowers. I can’t remember seeing them using mistletoe flowers as this female was doing, but am sure it’s not an uncommon occurrence. I’d be interested in hearing of any local observations of this species that have been made over summer.

WBWS1

White-browed Woodswallows, Mia Mia Track, 11th February 2016

WBWS2

The female feeding on mistletoe

...

07:01

AWPA Sydney News: 1) Call for Media to Advocate on West Papua Issue "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

...
2) New Vanuatu PM good choice, says think tank
———————————————————-

1) Call for Media to Advocate on West Papua Issue

...

07:00

cityhippyfarmgirl: Keeping it real "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

It was the array of vegetables quietly lying in their own individual plastic that finally broke it for me. I felt deflated, defeated and pretty bloody miserable to be honest. Moving cities was always going to have its pockets of … Continue reading

Saturday, 13 February

21:37

Wild BNE: Suburb Guide: Edens Landing "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Crested pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes) are numerous throughout Edens Landing.

Featured areas: (1) Edens Parkland, (2) Nexus Forest Park,
(3) Suburban Edens Landing, and (4) the Water Tower hill.
Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Edens Landing, as it stands today, is a residential suburb along a ridge between Logan and Beenleigh that has existed for thirty years. For over a century prior to this however, it was a rural area used by German and English farmers to grow small crops of maize, potatoes and tobacco. One of the residents in the area during these early days of European settlement was Henry Eden, who pi...

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