Home' Greymouth Star : March 29th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 9
Race on to reach cyclone-hit towns
Roads have been cut around the
cyclone-hit north Queensland
communities of Bowen, Airlie Beach
and Proserpine making it difficult
for crews to get in and assess the
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said
there had been few reports of injuries
so far, but warned many of those who
bore the brunt of Debbie’s category
four fury were still without ways to
call for help.
“At the moment, not many reports
of injury, but, having said that, we
still know that a lot of people have
lost communications, so he we want
to make sure that everyone is safe
there,” she told ABC television
A man hit by a falling wall in
Proserpine was in a stable condition
and would be moved to Mackay
Hospital as soon as possible.
Everyone in the inland mining town
of Collinsville, where Debbie passed
as a downgraded category two storm,
appeared to be safe despite structural
damage, including at the pub where
the roof was ripped off.
The premier warned access to some
parts of the disaster zone in the
Whitsunday region was going to be
“I ’ve just been advised that all
the roads have been cut off around
Bowen, Airlie Beach, Proserpine,”
“It will be a huge job to clear those
roads, so we are asking people to stay
indoors and not move until we can
get our emergency personnel there.”
Palaszczuk detailed substantial,
structural damage on Hamilton
Island, which was the first to feel the
full fury of the category four Debbie
Everyone on Daydream Island was
safe, but about 200 guests and 50 to
60 staff were running out of water.
“O ur priority is to get water on to
Daydream,” Palaszczuk said.
“ We are yet to make contact with
The Whitsunday resorts had
been rebuilt after past cyclones, the
“O ur islands, our Whitsunday
islands, are some of the most
beautiful, pristine islands in the world
that people come from all around the
world to visit. They have been rebuilt
before, and I know they can do it
again,” she said.
She also revealed a baby had been
born safely in the Whitsundays
during the storm.
“You know, out of all of this, to see a
little miracle, I think brings a smile to
a lot of faces,” Palaszczuk said.
Queenslanders would find their
“ lives turned upside down” by Debbie,
which was still causing widespread
rain. — AAP
Construction on Fiery Cross reef, in the Spratly Islands, South China Sea.
to arm fake
China appears to have largely
completed major construction of
military infrastructure on artificial
islands it has built in the South China
Sea and can now deploy combat planes
and other military hardware there at any
time, a United States think tank says.
The Asia maritime transparency
initiative, part of Washington’s Centre
for Strategic and International Studies,
said the work on Fiery Cross, Subi and
Mischief Reefs in the Spratly Islands
included naval, air, radar and defensive
The think tank cited satellite images
taken this month, which its director,
Greg Poling, said showed new radar
antennae on Fiery Cross and Subi.
“So look for deployments in the near
future,” he said.
China has denied US charges that it
is militarising the South China Sea,
although last week Premier Li Keqiang
said defence equipment had been placed
on islands in the disputed water way
to maintain “freedom of navigation”.
China’s Defence Ministry did not
respond to a request for comment.
spokeswoman Hua Chunying said
yesterday she was unaware of the details
of the think tank’s report, but added the
Spratly Islands were China’s inherent
“As for China deploying or not
deploying necessary territorial defensive
facilities on its own territory, this is
a matter that is within the scope of
Chinese sovereignty,” she told a daily
A Pentagon spokesman, Commander
Gary Ross, declined to comment on the
specifics of the report, saying it was not
the Defence Department ’s practice to
comment on intelligence.
But he said that “China’s continued
construction in the South China Sea is
part of a growing body of evidence that
they continue to take unilateral actions
which are increasing tensions in the
region and are counterproductive to the
peaceful resolution of disputes.”
The transparency initiative report said
China’s three air bases in the Spratlys
and another on Woody Island in the
Paracel chain further north would allow
its military aircraft to operate over nearly
the entire South China Sea, a key global
trade route that Beijing claims most of.
Several neighbouring States have
competing claims in the sea, which
is widely seen as a potential regional
The think tank said advanced
sur veillance and early-warning radar
facilities at Fiery Cross, Subi and
Cuarteron Reefs, as well as Woody
Island, and smaller facilities elsewhere
gave it similar radar coverage.
It said China had installed HQ-9
surface-to-air missiles at Woody Island
more than a year ago and had deployed
anti-ship cruise missiles there on at least
It had also constructed hardened
shelters with retractable roofs for mobile
missile launchers at Fiery Cross, Subi
and Mischief and enough hangars at
Fiery Cross for 24 combat aircraft and
three larger planes, including bombers.
US officials said last month that China
had finished building almost two dozen
structures on Subi, Mischief and Fiery
Cross that appeared designed to house
long-range surface-to-air missiles.
In his Senate confirmation hearing
in January, US Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson angered China by saying it
should be denied access to islands it had
built up in the South China Sea.
Tillerson subsequently softened his
language, saying that in the event of an
unspecified “contingency,” the US and
its allies “must be capable of limiting
China’s access to and use of ” those
islands to pose a threat.
In recent years, the United States
has conducted a series of what it calls
freedom of navigation operations in the
South China Sea, raising tensions with
Beijing. — Reuters
Scientists have found what could be
the world’s largest dinosaur footprint
— measuring nearly 1.7m — on a
remote part of Australia’s north-
The footprint from a giant sauropod
dinosaur was among 21 types of tracks
found on the Dampier Peninsula in
Western Australia, 130km from the
beach resort town of Broome.
“They are bigger than anything that
has been recorded anywhere in the
world,” Steve Salisbury, the lead author
of a joint study by the University
of Queensland and James Cook
Sauropods were four-legged plant-
eaters with long necks and tails,
pillar-like legs and immense bodies.
Sauropod footprints measuring 1.2m
were found in Germany in 2015.
The rocks containing the tracks at
Dampier date back 127 million to
144 million years, older than previous
dinosaur fossil discoveries in Australia,
“ Most of our dinosaur fossils come
from the east coast, or east Australia,
and they are between 115 million and
90 million years old,” Salisbury said.
The scientists also found tracks from
six types of meat-eating dinosaurs
and the first evidence of armoured
The study was initiated by
the indigenous Goolarabooloo
community, which has known about
the tracks for generations and feared
the footprints on James Price Point
would be lost after it was chosen as
a potential site for an LNG project,
Scientists used drones and light
aircraft to photograph the tracks on
the peninsula, which is known for its
difficult terrain, weather and tides.
“ What makes it really tricky is that
the rocks where the tracks occur are
only in the inter-tidal zone,” Salisbury
“They are under water half the time
and there are daily tides of up to 10m,”
he said. — Reuters
Giant fossil footprints in Australia
PICTURE: University of Queensland
Paleontologists create a cast of the gigantic sauropod print.
Facebook has assured Pakistan
that concerns about blasphemous
content on the social media site
will be addressed and a company
delegation will visit this week
to discuss the issue with the
government, the interior minister
Pakistani Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif earlier this month
content on social media be
removed or blocked and that
anyone posting such material be
punished, and the government
requested a meeting with
Blasphemy is a criminal offence
in the strictly Islamic country
and can carry the death penalty.
Interior Minister Chaudhry
Nisar Ali Khan, quoting from
what he said was a letter from
received a day earlier, told
reporters: “I wanted to reiterate
that Facebook takes the
concerns raised by the Pakistani
We have also committed our
representative to meet with
you and senior officials of your
Khan described this message
as a “very big improvement ”
from Facebook as, he said, the
United States social media giant
generally had not responded to
such complaints in the past.
He said Facebook through
Pakistan’s ambassador in the
US has told him that over the
past few months it had blocked
62 blasphemous web pages,
and 45 in the past several days
“ We see it very positively that
at the highest level Facebook has
responded and takes this issue
He said Pakistan’s Washington
ambassador had spoken to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
and Justice Department to
underline Islambad’s concerns
and both agencies had been
Last week, Khan warned
he would close social media
sites which failed to prevent
on-line blasphemy, but gave no
Facebook data indicate the
social media app has between
25 and 30 million active users in
Pakistan even though internet
penetration remains poor in the
south Asian nation. Facebook’s
Instagram unit and rival Twitter
are also popular.
The ruling PML-N party’s
tough talk against blasphemy will
appeal to its conser vative voter
base ahead of elections likely to
take place next year.
At least 65 people, including
lawyers, defendants and judges,
have been murdered by Islamist
allegations in Pakistan since
1990, according to think-tank
figures and local media.
President Donald Trump early today
signed an order to undo Obama-era
climate change regulations, keeping a
campaign promise to support the coal
industry and calling into question United
States support for an international deal
to fight global warming.
Flanked by coal miners and coal
company executives, Trump proclaimed
his “energy independence” executive
order at the headquarters of the
Environmental Protection Agency.
The move drew swift backlash from
a coalition of 23 States and local
governments, as well as environmental
groups, which called the decree a threat
to public health and vowed to fight it in
The order’s main target is former
President Barack Obama’s clean power
plan, which required States to slash
carbon emissions from power plants —
a key factor in the US’s ability to meet
its commitments under a climate change
accord reached by nearly 200 countries
in Paris in 2015.
Trump’s decree also reverses a ban on
coal leasing on federal lands, undoes
rules to curb methane emissions from
oil and gas production and reduces the
weight of climate change and carbon
emissions in policy and infrastructure
permitting decisions. Carbon dioxide
and methane are two of the main
greenhouse gases blamed by scientists
for heating the earth.
“I am taking historic steps to lift
restrictions on American energy, to
reverse government intrusion and to
cancel job-killing regulations,” Trump
said at the EPA.
The room was filled with miners,
coal company executives and staff from
industry groups, who applauded loudly
as Trump spoke. Shares in US coal
companies edged higher in response.
The wide-ranging order is the boldest
yet in Trump’s broader push to cut
environmental regulation to revive
the drilling and mining industries, a
promise he made repeatedly during the
2016 presidential campaign.
Energy analysts and executives have
questioned whether the moves will
have a big effect on their industries,
and environmentalists have called them
“I cannot tell you how many jobs the
executive order is going to create, but I
can tell you that it provides confidence
in this administration’s commitment
to the coal industry,” Kentucky Coal
Association president Tyler White
Environmental groups heaped
scorn on Trump’s order, arguing it
was dangerous and went against the
broader global trend toward cleaner
energy technologies. A coalition of
mostly Democrat-led States and local
governments issued a statement saying
they would oppose the order in court.
“ We won’t hesitate to protect those
we ser ve — including by aggressively
opposing in court President Trump’s
actions that ignore both the law and
the critical importance of confronting
the very real threat of climate change,”
the coalition, led by New York Attorney
General Eric Schneiderman, said in a
The coalition includes states such as
California, Massachusetts and Virginia,
as well as cities including Chicago,
Philadelphia and Boulder, Colorado.
US presidents have aimed to reduce
US dependence on foreign oil since the
Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, which
triggered soaring prices. But it still
imports about 7.9 million barrels of
crude oil a day, almost enough to meet
total oil demand in Japan and India
An over whelming
scientists believe that human use of oil
and coal for energy is a main driver of
climate change, causing a damaging rise
in sea levels, droughts and more frequent
But Trump and several members of
his administration have doubts about
climate change, and Trump promised
during his campaign to pull the US out
of the Paris climate accord, arguing it
would hurt US business.
Since being elected, Trump has been
mum on the Paris deal and the executive
order does not address it.
Christiana Figueres, former executive
secretary of the United Nations
framework convention on climate
change who helped broker the Paris
accord, lamented Trump’s order.
“ Trying to make fossil fuels remain
competitive in the face of a booming
clean renewable power sector, with the
clean air and plentiful jobs it continues
to generate, is going against the flow of
economics,” she said.
The order directs the EPA to start
a formal process to undo the clean
power plan, which was introduced
by Obama in 2014 but was never
implemented in part because of legal
challenges brought by Republican-
The plan required States to collectively
cut carbon emissions from power plants
by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Some 85% of American States are on
track to meet the targets despite the
fact the rule has not been implemented,
according to Bill Becker, director of
the National Association of Clean Air
Agencies, a group of State and local air
pollution control agencies.
Trump’s order also lifts the Interior
Management temporary ban on coal
leasing on federal property put in place
by Obama in 2016 as part of a review
to study the programme’s impact on
climate change and ensure royalty
revenues were fair to taxpayers.
It also asks federal agencies to
discount the cost of carbon in policy
decisions and the weight of climate
change considerations in infrastructure
permitting, and it reverses rules limiting
methane leakage from oil and gas
facilities. — Reuters
Trump dismantles Obama climate policies
Whatever way you spin it, vinyl
sales are up in Australia.
A whopping $15.1 million worth
of records were sold across the
country in 2016 — up 70% on
the previous year, figures from the
Australian Recording Industry
Association (ARIA) show.
It was the sixth consecutive
year that the industry has seen an
increase in the demand for vinyl.
“ Vinyl is selling really well. It
actually took over CD sales in the
last half of last year for us,” Matt
Huddy, manager of Sydney ’s Red
Eye Records said.
Huddy says Red Eye’s biggest
sellers on vinyl cover all musical
genres with a particular interest on
back catalogue releases in classic
rock and hip-hop.
“ Last year the biggest seller was
David Bowie’s Black Star which
obviously had a bit to do with his
passing. Things like Dark Side of
the Moon (Pink Floyd) we’ ll sell
several copies a week, same with
Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Beatles
albums,” he said.
But sales are not just confined to
nostalgic Baby Boomers. There is
one current Australian psych-rock
band that sells particularly well in
“ King Gizzard and the Lizard
Wizard that goes really, really well.
Any new album of theirs we can sell
quite a lot of copies and they have
three albums a year,” he said.
“We get kids as young as 12 in
with their parents. They’ve dug the
turntable out of the garage and they
want Taylor Swift on vinyl.”
It follows a growing trend
around the world. In the United
Kingdom, vinyl sales for 2016
rose 53%, according to the British
In the United States, a Nielsen
Music report showed vinyl sales
accounted for 11% of total physical
album sales in 2016, the 11th
consecutive annual rise for vinyl.
The question is, why are consumers
turning to a musical format that
had its heyday in 1981 when total
vinyl album sales surpassed one
“I think a lot of people got turned
off digital sound-wise and people
still want to own things. They
want to be able to hold something.
There’s a bit of coolness to it at the
moment as well,” Huddy said.
CD sales still beat vinyl though,
accounting for a total of $87.2
million in sales Australia last year.
However, this dropped from $110.5
million in 2015.
“People see CDs as daggy now
which we hate because we still love
CDs. There’s definitely that vibe
about CDs,” Huddy said.
Overall, Australian music sales
rose 5.5% to $352.2 million last
year, largely due to the rise in
streaming which has become the
dominant music consumption
format in the country.
Sales from streaming nearly
doubled to $135.5m while digital
downloads dropped by a fifth to
Overall, digital sales now account
for nearly three quarters of the total
market. — AAP
Vinyl record sales
up 70% in Australia
A court in Ivory Coast acquitted
former First Lady Simone Gbagbo of
crimes against humanity and war crimes
charges linked to her role in a 2011 civil
war that killed about 3000 people, State
television announced overnight.
The west African nation had refused
to extradite her to face similar charges
before the International Criminal Court
where her husband Laurent Gbagbo is
standing trial, choosing instead to try her
at home. — Reuters
People are smuggling bees into
Australia — and it has the potential to
become a major issue.
A parliamentary committee has asked
the Federal government to investigate
the issue following a review of biosecurity
around Australia’s honey bee industry.
The inquiry was told of examples of
queen bees being smuggled through the
mail, some of which could be carrying a
parasite known as Varroa.
While these incidents are reasonably
rare, if those bees are put straight
into hives it could enable the rapid
establishment of pests.
Australia has a National Bee Pest
Sur veillance Programme, but that
only targets ports of entry and can be
circumvented by smuggling.
The committee has recommended a
detailed analysis of bee smuggling —
including the number of incidents, the
potential for further incursions and
how to prevent, detect or combat such
incidents — be completed by June 2018.
It has also suggested the government
look into developing a smartphone app
to help the public more easily contribute
to eradication programmes. — A AP
Bee smuggling fears buzzing
A fire has been contained at the
famous XXXX brewer y in inner
Brisbane, after sending plumes of
thick black smoke into the dusk
Firefighters were greeted with
the billowing smoke at the
Milton brewery after a fire alarm
on the ground floor went off
about 5pm yesterday.
The building was evacuated
Fire crews contained the fire
shortly after 6pm but traffic
around the brewery remained
affected, with diversions in
place on busy Milton Road and
surrounding streets. — A AP
Fire at famous brewery
Dog helps rescue woman
A woman has been rescued after
she fell down a South Australian
cliff face while walking with her
dog, who ran back to her husband
and led him to her.
The 55-year-old woman was
walking with the red heeler at
Gleesons Landing on the Yorke
Peninsula late on Monday
afternoon when she tripped, fell
at least 3m down a sandy cliff
face and fractured her leg, police
The dog ran back to the camp
where the woman’s husband
was waiting and led him to the
spot where she had fallen several
hundred metres away.
The woman was flown to the
Royal Adelaide Hospital in a
stable condition. — AAP
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