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Australian coalmines are at risk of
becoming "mothballed or abandoned"
as China's commodity demands
change, new research shows.
A study by Oxford University
looked at how coal demand from
China, which account's for half the
world's coal consumption, due to
environmental factors could lead to
"stranded assets" in Australia.
Stranded assets have su ered from
e study, released today from
assets programme, outlines the
environmentally-driven shifts already
under way in China.
e shifts include a desire to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the
exposure to the volatile commodity
market and improving energy
Researchers found these factors and
others could force mine owners to
re-evaluate the viability of developed
coal projects and those in the pipeline.
"Demand below expectations,
and lower coal prices as a result,
would increase the risk that coal
mines, reserves and coal-related
mothballed or abandoned," the report
"Prices could also drop to the point
where it is in the interests of miners to
cease production, resulting in stranded
mines and dependent infrastructure
such as railways."
Apart from the nancial impacts on
mine operators and magnates, state
governments would also be hurt.
e study highlighted the signi cant
impact posed to Queensland, where
"mega-mines" are planned for the
State governments can reduce the
risk of their investments ending up
as stranded assets by limiting the use
of taxpayer dollars on coal-related
infrastructure, such as ports and
Stranded assets programme director
and the study's co-author Ben
Caldecott said these developments
were not factored into positions most
coal owners and operators were taking.
"Policy makers need to wake up
to these risks as well," he said in a
statement. --- AAP
Aust coalmines could be abandoned as China changes
Actor Peter O'Toole, who shot to
international fame in the blockbuster
movie Lawrence of Arabia, has died
aged 81 in London after a long illness,
his agent said overnight.
O'Toole, who had survived a bout of
stomach cancer in the 1970s, died in
a London hospital on Saturday, Steve
Kenis, his agent, told Reuters.
O'Toole's striking good looks and
charm sustained him through a stage
and lm career of more than 50 years
that swung wildly between triumph and
e son of an Irishman, O'Toole grew
up in England. Years of heavy drinking
and chain-smoking took their toll on his
"Peter O'Toole's family announced
today that very sadly Peter died yesterday,
peacefully in hospital. He had been ill for
some time," Kenis said in a statement.
Kate O'Toole, his daughter, thanked
the public for what she described as an
outpouring of love and a ection for the
She asked for her family to be allowed
to grieve in private, saying in the same
statement it would organise a memorial
service " lled with song and good cheer"
in due course. --- Reuters
dies at 81
Peter O'Toole in 2009
Mandela laid to rest in boyhood village
e co n of former South African President Nelson Mandela is prepared for burial at his funeral ceremony in Qunu, Eastern Cape province.
Qunu (South Africa)
South Africa's rst black
president, Nelson Mandela has
received a tearful State funeral at
his childhood village of Qunu,
followed by a traditional burial
attended by family and friends.
A 21-gun salute and full military
honour guard escorted Mandela's
co n to a marquee where
4500 mourners said their nal
His ag-draped casket was placed
on cow skins, surrounded by 95
candles --- each signifying a year of
his extraordinary life.
" e person who lies here is
South Africa's greatest son," ANC
deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa
said in an opening address.
Mandela's widow, Graca Machel,
who was seldom far from his
bedside during his nal months,
looked on disconsolate, along
with his former wife Winnie
e frail and ageing leaders of
South Africa's anti-apartheid
struggle also attended: George
Bizos, Desmond Tutu and Ahmed
Kathrada, whose voice broke with
emotion as he delivered a eulogy
for his old friend.
"I rst met him 67 years ago,"
Kathrada, who along with Mandela
was sentenced to life in prison in
He recalled his fellow inmate as a
powerful amateur boxer who could
cope far better than others with the
physical challenge of hard labour.
"What I saw in hospital was
a man helpless and reduced to
a shadow of himself," he said
struggling not to break down.
"We can salute you as a ghter for
freedom. Farewell my dear brother,
my mentor, my leader.
"Now I've lost a brother my life is
in a void and I don't know who to
His words left many in tears
among the invited guests, whose
ranks included foreign dignitaries
and celebrities ranging from
Britain's Prince Charles to United
States talk show queen Oprah
Mandela was buried with
traditional Xhosa rites in a
graveyard that sits on the sprawling
family estate Mandela built in
Qunu after his release from prison
"It was in that village that I spent
some of the happiest years of my
boyhood and whence I trace my
earliest memories," he wrote in his
Overseen by male members
of his clan, the burial included
the slaughter of an ox --- a ritual
performed through various
milestones of a person's life under
the clan's traditions.
e funeral closes the nal
chapter on a towering public gure
whose courage and moral fortitude
turned him into a global symbol of
freedom and hope.
During 10 days of mourning,
hundreds of thousands of South
Africans had turned out across the
country to bid the founding father
of their "Rainbow Nation" farewell.
Mandela's death marked the loss
of that rarest of world leaders: those
who are viewed with near universal
respect and admiration.
Gushing tributes poured in from
every corner of the globe, although
Mandela himself had always
stressed he was part of a communal
leadership and resisted any move
towards his public canonisation -
posthumous or otherwise. --- AFP
Pope Francis, responding
to conservative criticisms
that his economic and
social ideas smack of
communism, said in
an Italian newspaper
inter view overnight that
he is not a Marxist but that
even Marxists can be good
denied reports that he
would name a woman
cardinal, said there was
good progress in cleaning
up Vatican nances and
con rmed that he would visit Israel and
the Palestinian territories next year, La
Last month, American radio talk show
host Rush Limbaugh, who has a huge
following in the United States, railed
against the Pope for written comments
made on the world economy.
Limbaugh, who is not Catholic, said
that parts of the document were "pure
Marxism coming out of the mouth of
the Pope" and suggested that someone
else had written the papal document for
him. He also accused the Pope of going
"beyond Catholicism" and being "purely
Asked about the accusations, which
sparked a debate in the media and
blogosphere last month, Pope Francis,
a member of the all-male Jesuit order
associated with progressive social
policies, said, "Marxist ideology is
wrong. But in my life I have known
many Marxists who are good people, so
I don't feel o ended."
He has also been criticised by other
In last month's document, seen as a
platform for his papacy, Francis attacked
unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny"
said an "economy of exclusion and
inequality" had proven to be deadly for
many people around the world.
In his response to the critics, Pope
Francis said he was not speaking "as
a technician but according to the
social doctrine of the Roman Catholic
Church, and this does not mean being
Marxist". He said he was just trying to
present a "snapshot of what
is happening" in the world
In another document last
week, Pope Francis said
huge salaries and bonuses
were symptoms of an
economy based on greed
and called again for nations
to narrow the wealth gap.
Conser vatives in the 1.2
have expressed concern
about some of the Pope's
pronouncements, such as
when he said he was not
in a position to judge homosexuals who
are people of good will sincerely seeking
Asked about speculation that a woman
could be among the new cardinals he
will appoint early next year, he said: "I
don't know where that idea comes from.
Women in the Church should be valued,
In other parts of the inter view, Pope
Francis also said a committee of eight
cardinals from around the world who are
advising him on changes to the Vatican
structure would make its rst formal
recommendations to him in February
but that reform would be a "lengthy
He said that reform of the Vatican's
sometimes murky nances was "on the
right path" and expressed satisfaction
that last week a Council of Europe
committee called Moneyval gave the
Vatican a good evaluation of its e orts
to abide by international nancial
He said he had not yet decided what
to do about the Vatican bank, which
has been touched by scandals over the
decades. In the past he has not ruled out
Pope Francis said he was "getting
ready" to go to the Holy Land next year
to mark the 50th anniversary of when
Pope Paul VI became the rst pope in
modern times to visit there.
He has been invited by both Israel and
the Palestinian Authority to make a visit,
which is expected to take place in May
or June. --- Reuters
I'm not a
China's rst moon rover has touched
the lunar surface and left deep traces
on its loose soil, State media reported
overnight, several hours after the
country successfully carried out the
world's rst soft landing of a space
probe on the moon in nearly four
e 140kg "Jade Rabbit" rover
separated from the much larger
landing vehicle early yesterday, about
seven hours after the unmanned
Chang'e 3 space probe touched down
on a fairly at, Earth-facing part of
e rover and lander are expected
to take photos of each other and
start their own scienti c explorations.
e six-wheeled rover will survey
the moon's geological structure and
surface and look for natural resources
for three months, while the lander
will carry out scienti c explorations
at the landing site for one year.
e mission marks the next stage
in an ambitious space programme
that aims to eventually put a Chinese
astronaut on the moon. China's space
programme is an enormous source
of pride for the country, the third to
carry out a lunar soft landing which
does not damage the craft and the
equipment it carries after the United
States and the former Soviet Union.
e last one was by the Soviet Union
"It's still a signi cant technological
challenge to land on another world,"
Peter Bond, consultant editor for
Jane's Space Systems and Industry,
said. "Especially somewhere like
the moon, which doesn't have
an atmosphere so you can't use
parachutes or anything like that. You
have to use rocket motors for the
descent and you have to make sure
you go down at the right angle and
the right rate of descent and you don't
On Saturday evening, State-run
China Central Television showed
a computer-generated image of
the Chang'e 3 lander's path as it
approached the surface of the moon,
saying that during the 12-minute
landing period it needed to have no
contact with Earth. As it was just
hundreds of metres away, the lander's
camera broadcast images of the
e Chang'e 3's solar panels,
which are used to absorb sunlight to
generate power, opened soon after
e Chang'e mission blasted o
from south-west China on December
2 on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
e Chang'e 3 mission is named
after a mythical Chinese goddess
of the moon and the "Yutu" rover,
or "Jade Rabbit" in English, is the
China's military-backed space
programme has made methodical
progress in a relatively short time,
although it lags far behind the United
States and Russia in technology and
China sent its rst astronaut into
space in 2003, becoming the third
nation after Russia and the US
to achieve manned space travel
independently. In 2006, it sent its
rst probe to the moon. China plans
to open a space station around 2020
and send an astronaut to the moon
" ey are taking their time with
getting to know about how to y
humans into space, how to build
space stations, how to explore the
solar system, especially the moon and
Mars," Bond said. " ey are making
good strides, and I think over the
next 10 to 20 years they'll certainly
be rivalling Russia and America in
this area and maybe overtaking them
in some areas." --- AP
An elderly man who won a steamy
date with two top prostitutes after his
grandson entered him in a contest on
United States radio shock jock Howard
Stern's show died the evening before
meeting the women.
Johnny Orris was picked as the winner
of Stern's I Want to Get my Grandpa
Laid after his grandson revealed the
86-year-old had not had sex since his
wife died a decade ago.
Orris was own to Nevada on ursday
to prepare for a meeting with the women
who would be showing him a good time
at the infamous Bunny Ranch, but he
reportedly choked on a piece of steak
while dining with his grandson and died,
according to TMZ.
Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof said:
"He just wanted a steak before having
sex with Caressa Kisses and Vanity. e
bunnies loved him." --- WENN
Contest winner, 86,
dies before sex date
Chinese begin moon survey
A woman who decided to search
for the son she gave up for adoption
almost 50 years ago has discovered
her only child was killed in the
Carol King Eckersley, from Oregon
in the United States, had dreamt of a
reunion with Ken Bissett but instead
is now grieving for her son who died
in the 1988 atrocity, two days after
his 21st birthday.
She tells her story in a BBC
Scotland documentary marking
25 years since Pan Am Flight 103
exploded over Lockerbie.
King Eckersley, 65, began
searching for the son she gave up
as a teenager earlier this year. After
losing her husband she went on-
line to try to trace Ken and found
a familiar-looking face on a site
featuring students from Syracuse
University, New York.
She told the documentary: "I
looked and I said 'my God, it's him'.
"It was his birth date, he looked
just like my dad. I looked in the
mirror and I said 'he looks like me'.
"I called my sister and I said 'but
why are they only showing a part of
his life? ey've got December 1967
but then they've got December 21,
1988. at's not right'.
"And it nally dawned on me that
it was right and I just said 'my God,
my baby's dead'.
"I realised that it was the Lockerbie
Pan Am 103 remembrance page
and I said 'My God, he was on that
"Two hundred and seventy people
died in that tragedy and one of
those happened to be the only child
I ever had."
irty- ve Syracuse University
students were among the victims
of the terrorist bombing four days
Ken had been returning to the
US from a term spent studying in
"I gave up Ken for adoption at
birth and even though I was told
his name I never looked for him
because I had given my word," King
" ere was always the hope and
dream that some day there would
come a knock on the door and I
would open it and there would
be this tall, handsome gentleman
saying 'hi, I guess you're my mum'."
Ken's adoptive parents are now
both dead but left a detailed account
of his childhood in Syracuse
University's archives, where his
mother saw a baby picture for the
"I had never seen him, except
wrapped up in a yellow blanket on
the day we left hospital."
"In a way, I'm going backwards ...
because the getting to know him
makes it sharper, makes the regret
deeper. He was an incredible artist.
I saw comic strips that he drew
when he was 11-years-old."
"I have carried that stigma around.
It's just a real regret that I'll never,
in this life, see him." --- PA
Search for son ends
in Lockerbie grief
e eruption of the Mount Etna
volcano in Sicily has forced the closure
of nearby Catania airport because of the
plumes of ash billowing into the sky,
airport o cials said.
Twenty-one scheduled departures
from Catania had to be scrapped and
26 arrivals re-routed to alternative
destinations. e smaller airport of
Comiso in the area was also closed
Sac, the company that manages Catania
airport, said in a statement overnight
that "the wind direction and intensity"
meant the ash was a risk to ights and it
had to close o its air space.
Sac said it will review the situation
Etna is an active volcano and eruptions
are frequent but the latest activity, which
began on Saturday, is the most intense
e lava ow down one side of the
mountain is visible from Catania and
Taormina, a popular seaside resort. ree
small earthquakes were also registered
around the volcano overnight. --- AFP
irteen people have been killed in
four attacks in Kenya during week-long
celebrations to mark the country's 50th
anniversary of independence, including
the rst attack on tourists in two years.
No one has claimed responsibility for
the attacks --- the most recent of which
was an explosion on a Nairobi bus that
killed four people on Saturday --- and
there have been no arrests.
Kenya has been the target of sustained
attacks since the army sent troops
into neighbouring Somalia to ght
the country's al Qaeda-linked Shebab
insurgents in October 2011.
Eastern Kenya, along the 700km border
with Somalia, has been particularly hard
Experts are reluctant to draw any link
between the armed con ict with the
Shebab and the latest series of attacks.
One western obser ver told AFP that, as
yet, there was "no evidence" to link the
Late on Friday, one person was killed
and three injured in a double explosion
at a market in the town of Wajir, some
100km from the Somali border.
On Tuesday, eight people were killed,
including ve policeman, in the Garissa
region some 20km from the Somalian
frontier after their vehicle was attacked
in an apparent ambush.
Another policeman is missing
following the attack.
Saturday's bus attack blew the vehicle
apart, turning it into a mangled metal
skeleton and sending shrapnel ying
through the air. Four people died and 36
ere was also a rare attack on tourists
during the week in the popular tourist
location of Mombasa, a predominantly
A grenade thrown at a minibus
transporting British tourists hit a
window, but did not explode. It was the
rst attack on tourists since 2011.
e British tourists were on their way
to the famous Masai Mara safari park.
Many attacks remain unclaimed,
though the nger of suspicion is often
pointed at jihadists.
However, the authorities in the border
regions and several other areas of Kenya
know there are sometimes serious
con icts between tribes caused by issues
such as access to water or grazing land,
which can be fuelled by local politicians.
ese con icts, especially in areas
where there is deadly weaponry, regularly
escalate. --- AFP
Attacks mar Kenya's
Noel Gallagher has reportedly turned
down a $40 million o er to reunite with
his brother for an Oasis anniversary
Noel has been embroiled in a feud with
singer Liam Gallagher since 2009, when
tensions between the siblings resulted in
a split of the band.
e brothers have continued to
exchange barbs in the press and now it
has emerged that Noel has reportedly
rejected a muti-million dollar o er
to reunite with his former bandmates
next year to mark 20 years since Oasis
released their debut album, De nitely
" ere were hopes he would do it but
frankly, he just doesn't want to," a source
close to Noel told Britain's Sunday
" e Oasis reunion is well and truly o .
He has refused all o ers, it got to £20m
but even the lure of money like that just
"Liam is very keen to get back together,
if only for the money, but Noel is having
none of it. ere have been several
intermediaries from their respective
camps working very hard indeed to reach
some form of agreement but Noel isn't
budging and a working solution between
the brothers simply can't be found.
"It's a real shame and Noel knows how
much his fans would love to see the band
reform, but he doesn't want to commit to
the time, he is quite happy as he is."
Gallagher rejects $40m for Oasis reunion
Volcanic eruption closes airport
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