World ‘walking blindfolded into a minefield’ due to climate inaction


According to the new analysis of commitments made at the so-called Climate Ambitions summit in December, while most countries have incrementally increased ambition, the combined impact puts them on a path to achieve only a 1 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says emissions reduction ranges to meet the 1.5 degree temperature goal should be about 45 per cent lower, and 25 per cent lower to avoid 2 degrees of warming.

Australia, which has maintained its commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030, was not invited to speak at the summit because its ambitions were viewed as being too low.

According to Climate Action Tracker, which conducts independent climate analysis, Australia is one of the nations that delivered a plan that failed to improve its 2015 target, along with Japan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand and Switzerland. Brazil’s climate plan lacked any goals to cut emissions by 2030 or stem deforestation rates, the analysis showed.

Bill Hare, chief executive of the global non-profit group Climate Analytics, said Australia had been “called out” for its “almost complete lack of action”.

“As we get closer to Glasgow, we’ll see big players like the US and China stepping up and Scott Morrison’s government finding itself isolated amid a growing threat of carbon border taxes and increasing diplomatic and public pressure to submit a stronger target for 2030,” he said.

A spokesman for Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor said the Secretary General did not reference Australia in his remarks or mention individual nations.

“As the Prime Minister has said, Australia’s policies, when it comes to reducing emissions, are set here in Australia, in Australia’s national interests.”

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said, “This report shows that current levels of climate ambition are very far from putting us on a pathway that will meet our Paris agreement goals.

“I call on all parties – even those who have submitted [new commitments] – to reflect on this and increase ambition. At the moment it is like we are walking into a minefield blindfolded.

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3 Queen St, Unley cottage sells at auction for incredible price


3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


The sellers of an Unley cottage are laughing all the way to the bank, after a runaway auction bagged them a final price well above what they were chasing.

The 3 Queen St Unley home was auctioned last Saturday, with selling agent James Robertson of Ouwens Casserly Real Estate saying the result was surprising to say the least.

“It was one of those perfect storm scenarios,” he said

“The market’s the strongest it’s been for a long time and we ended up with just a few parties that were very keen on this one and didn’t want to let it go.

“It was an exceptional result.”

3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


The home was advertised with a price guide of $850,000, and after the auctioneer read the auction preamble, the unexpected happened.

“The first bid was $1 million, straight off the bat,” Mr Robertson said.

“We’d had no feedback whatsoever at that level prior to the auction.

“The two that actually pushed the price to the strongest level were proxy bidders – one was a buyer’s agent acting on behalf of a client in Victoria. They’d flown over and had a look at the property before their lockdown luckily, so they’d probably only been there for 15 or 20 minutes.

“The other was a lady from Port Lincoln and she’d come over and seen it once for 20 minutes.

“She was looking for a lock-up-and-leave downsizer option, but it eventually sold to a first homebuyer.

“I think she was getting a bit of help from family, I don’t think it was all her money, but it’s still a crazy sum when you think about it.”

A dozen people registered as bidders for the auction, with three bidders participating in the end.

“I think the tactic of coming in strong with an opening bid of $1 million took a lot of people by surprise,” Mr Robertson said.

“It certainly caught us by surprise – I remember looking at Luke our auctioneer thinking ‘that might be the auction done and dusted in one bid’.

“We had three bidders in total and it was really those last two proxy bidders that pushed it up from $1.04 million up to the $1.2 million and that happened fairly rapidly in increments of about $10,000 predominantly.

“A number of the neighbours couldn’t believe where the property ended up in terms of the price.”

Mr Robertson said the vendors couldn’t believe the situation unfolding in front of them.

“They were in the front room listening to everything and as soon as they heard the opening bid they were in shock,” he said.

“I snuck in to see them when it was around the $1.1 million mark to see that they could hear what was happening and there were tears flowing. They were in shock. They’re obviously extremely grateful and appreciative.”

3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


3 Queen Street, Unley. Supplied by Ouwens Casserly Real Estate


The home is set on a 330sqm allotment and features three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a single carport.

Mr Robertson has been in real estate for eight years and has not seen the auction market as strong as it is now, with prices driven up largely by a lack of supply.

“I think we will look back on this period down the track and be in awe of what has happened just in the space of a couple of months,” Mr Robertson said.

“The market’s been good for two to three years in that Unley area, but it hasn’t been as strong as it is right now and so much of that is fuelled by the lack of properties.

“Interest rates play a part, but a lot of it is not having somewhere to go and thinking ‘what am I going to do? If I don’t buy something now what am I going to find in three or six months time?”

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Davis tells court the burden of samurai sword killing made him suicidal


“I feel you have used every tactic at your disposal to vindicate yourselves,” she said.

“You claimed you have suffered anxiety and trauma … I don’t believe you know what those words mean. The life you cut down in such a cowardly way was more than you’ll ever be.”

Davis told the court he felt remorse as soon as he found out Mr McKee had died, and would have sent an apology letter to his family earlier had he not been told it would be a breach of his bail to contact them.

Crown prosecutor Chris Taylor put to Davis, a professional actor, that he had rehearsed his answers and was “ad libbing” and telling lies for the sake of improving his sentence.

Davis replied “I’m sitting here today under oath telling the truth”.

Davis, 31, struck the fatal head blow to aspiring Mr McKee, a rapper, on August 10, 2018, after Quinn chased him from their Forest Lodge home where Mr McKee had attempted an armed robbery.

He was tried for murder but found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter on December 22, while Quinn, 26, was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter. They had both claimed their actions were in self-defence.

During the trial, the court heard Mr McKee, who had a “toxic to lethal” level of methylamphetamine, or ice, in his blood, burst into Davis’ home in the afternoon armed with a pistol that fired blanks before striking Davis in the face with knuckledusters.

Mr McKee’s father told the court his son deserved to face the consequences of his actions instead of being slain in the street.

“Jett was punished in the worst possible way and our family continues to be punished,” he said, complaining about how his son was portrayed in media coverage of the trial.

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Cane toad discovered in southern Riverina prompts community alert | The Border Mail


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A cane toad has been discovered in the southern Riverina, sparking an alert as biosecurity authorities investigate how it ended up in the region. The deceased female toad at Jindera was reported to and confirmed by the NSW Department of Industries invasive species biosecurity unit late on Monday. It is still unknown how the toad made it to the region, and whether its arrival could spawn more of the pests. IN OTHER NEWS: “The nature of the toad’s death meant that a post-mortem was unable to be performed to confirm whether it was either carrying or had just laid eggs,” NSW DPI said in a statement. The community is urged to be on the lookout for more suspected cane toads, and advised not to kill an amphibian unless it has been positively identified to be a cane toad as it could be a native frog. Murray Local Land Services (LLS) biosecurity and emergency services manager Geoff Corboy said it’s likely the cane toad hitched a ride on a southbound truck. “The most likely explanation is that it was a stowaway on a truck delivering materials from north-east NSW or Queensland,” he said. “If you’re coming from cane toad infested areas such as Queensland or the Northern Territory, please check your luggage, vehicle or trailer to ensure you are not unwittingly carrying an unwanted passenger.” Suspected cane toads should be reported immediately to the DPI Biosecurity by calling the helpline on 1800 680 244, completing the online form or emailing a photo of the amphibian’s face and details to invasive.species@dpi.nsw.gov.au If you think you have seen a cane toad, the DPI advises if you catch it to report it, be careful. Wear protective clothing before touching it, watch out for poisin and keep it in a well-ventilated container with a little water in a cool location while the organisation determines the species. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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News returns to Facebook in Australia after media code passes parliament



Facebook has reversed its ban on news content in Australia after the government’s new media bargaining code, which forces social media giants to compensate news publishers, passed parliament on Thursday. 

The Facebook pages of media publishers, including SBS News, were reinstated early on Friday morning after being blacked out for a week when the social media giant abruptly blocked Australian users from posting or sharing article links.

Users navigating to news pages during the ban found generic grey bars where custom cover photos used to sit, and the message “no posts yet” in place of news content and shared stories.

The ban was widely criticised across the world, with warnings the absence of news would allow misinformation to flourish.

But on Wednesday evening, Facebook announced it had agreed to restore news pages in the coming days after striking a deal with the federal government to amend the legislation. 

“Absolutely critically, the code maintains its key measures, namely it is a mandatory code,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters. 

“Secondly, it is based on two-way value exchange, and third, it involves a final-offer arbitration mechanism.”

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Hardcore porn to blame for disturbing teenage sex culture


The petition calling for better sex education, circulated by former students of private girls’ and boys’ schools across Sydney, makes for devastating reading. From the testimonies shared, it is clear many young women have carried the weight of heinous sexual crimes against them for years, not knowing what to do with the shame that should not be theirs. Their call for education on consent is a good one, which I imagine most schools will support.

And yet reading these harrowing stories tells me that such an initiative is a candle in the wind. In each story, I could not help thinking: these young men are living out something they’ve seen in hardcore porn.

Young men’s minds are being formed in a culture where they have easy access to hardcore porn.Credit:Penny Stephens

That the allegations against these young men describe crimes that are patriarchal, violent and violating speaks volumes about the culture in which their young minds have been formed. And while we can easily and perhaps rightly point to their privilege – existing at the tripartite crossroad of race, class and gender – I would like to suggest that the patterns in these horrific stories go beyond that. The “education” our teenagers are receiving on how to relate to one another is sitting in their pockets, as they walk through the front doors of their schools and homes.

The hours we might invest in teaching young men and women about consent would be far outclassed by the hours of access young men have to hardcore porn, on their phones and on their computers, in which women are routinely debased, violated and used for patriarchal pleasure.

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China accuses Australia of being part of an ‘axis of white supremacy’


China has accused Australia of being part of an “axis of white ­supremacy” because of our intelligence alliance with Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In its state-run media mouthpiece – the Global Times – Beijing said the alliance, known as Five Eyes, was taking co-ordinated action against China.

“They have formed a US-centred, racist, and mafia-styled community, wilfully and arrogantly provoking China and trying to consolidate their hegemony as all gangsters do,” the tabloid wrote.

“They are becoming a racist axis aimed at stifling the development rights of 1.4 billion Chinese.”

The author wrote that the Five Eyes nations collectively appear to feel as if they have a “civilisation superiority” over China.

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“Five Eyes alliance members are all English-speaking countries. The formation of four states, except the UK, is the result of British colonisation,” they wrote.

“Those countries share the Anglo-Saxon civilisation. The Five Eyes countries have been brought together by the US to become the ‘centre of the West’. They have a strong sense of civilisation superiority.

“The bloc, which was initially aimed at intelligence sharing, has now become an organisation targeting China and Russia. The evil idea of racism has been fermenting consciously or unconsciously in their clashes with the two countries.”

They wrote that Five Eyes had been transformed from the intelligence-sharing mechanism into a “political clique”.

“Global diplomacy in the 21st century must not be hijacked by a fake international community with an axis of white supremacy,” they wrote.

“We cannot allow their selfishness to masquerade as the common morality of the world, and they cannot set the agenda of mankind.”

The strongly-worded piece came just hours after Canada’s House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to declare China’s treatment of its Uighur minority population a genocide yesterday.

They also called on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympic Games from Beijing.

Canada’s move follows similar declarations from the US. In one of his final acts as ­Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo also declared China’s ­repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang an act of “genocide”.

Human rights groups say China has dramatically increased its prosecution of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang through the formal court system, handing out long prison terms for dubious charges such as “picking quarrels” and giving gifts to overseas relatives.

These criminal convictions are in addition to the detention of an estimated one million Uighurs and other mainly Muslim minorities in “political education” camps in Xinjiang.

More than 250,000 people in the northwestern region have been formally sentenced and imprisoned since 2016, according to Human Rights Watch.

“Despite the veneer of legality, many of those in Xinjiang’s prisons are ordinary people who were convicted for going about their lives and practising their religion,” HRW researcher Maya Wang said in a statement.

HRW said criminal sentences in the Xinjiang region had spiked between 2017 and 2019 during a crackdown on Uighurs and other mainly Muslim minorities.

Xinjiang courts sentenced nearly 100,000 people in 2017, up from less than 40,000 in 2016, the organisation said, citing government data.

The human rights group said police, prosecutors and courts had been placed under pressure to “deliver swift and harsh punishment” in the name of counter-terrorism, causing many to be imprisoned without committing any genuine offence.

Sentences were handed out for activities including “telling others ‘what is haram and halal’” and bringing gifts to relatives in Turkey, HRW said, noting that prison terms have also grown longer.

Prior to 2017, around 11 per cent of the sentences carried prison terms of over five years. In 2017, 87 per cent did.

A Chinese foreign ministry official rejected the findings of the report on Wednesday, saying HRW “has always been full of prejudice on issues related to China, often spreading false statements to smear China, and their allegations should not be trusted”.

– With AFP

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Racing Victoria withdraws charges against trainer Richard Laming at Victorian Racing Tribunal


Richard Laming was relieved to put a 28-month legal battle behind him after Racing Victoria withdrew charges against the Cranbourne trainer.

Trainer Richard Laming says Racing Victoria made the “right decision” dropping all charges against him for the alleged race-day stomach tubing Jamaican Rain in November 2019.

In a brief sitting on Thursday, Brendan Murphy, QC, acting on behalf of RV, told the Victorian Racing Tribunal his “instructions are to withdraw all charges”.

No reason was given for the decision.

Laming faced two charges in relation to a stable inspection in November 2019, while stable hands Marnu Potgieter and Zeyaur Rahman faced one charge each for the alleged breach.

Following RV’s sensational about-face, Laming’s barrister Damian Sheales, who also represented Potgieter and Rhaman, requested all charges be dismissed rather than withdrawn.

VRT chairman Judge John Bowman granted the unopposed application.

“We were very confident, even before the case started, we done nothing wrong,” Laming told News Australia and Racenet on Thursday.

“I don’t want to talk out of school and mention anything but there was something there that wasn’t right and their barristers picked up on it and made the right decision.”

The relieved 38-year-old continued.

“It dragged out for a long time and it’s very good for my family and friends and loyal clients, it’s good to have it behind us now,” Laming said.

“It affects your business, it affects everything, it‘s great to have it behind us to be honest.

“We can get on and train horses.

“My team has gone down in size, obviously, while the case was running, a lot of owners don’t want to support you while you’ve got that hanging over your head, now it’s behind us it’s great.”

The snap withdrawal followed an RV-led decision on Wednesday to halt proceedings midway through the five-day hearing, with Murphy citing information that could put the tribunal in “a difficult position”.

“I am making application that the matter be adjourned until tomorrow, but I will not indicate the basis of that application,” Murphy told the VRT on Wednesday.

“In our professional view it would be very dangerous to ignore the circumstances and it would put the tribunal ultimately, I would have thought, in a difficult position.”

Laming, allowed to train on a stay of proceedings, plans to appeal the three-month ban he received last week from the VRT for a cobalt presentation charge.

“Once again, we’re very confident of the right outcome there,” Laming said.

“It should’ve been a harsh fine in our opinion, and that’s probably what it should be and it wasn’t, we’ll definitely be appealing and we’re definitely confident there.”

Racing Victoria declined to comment on Thursday.

GELAGOTIS CLEARED ON DRENCHING COUNT

The Victorian Racing Tribunal has dismissed charges against trainer Peter Gelagotis, unable to be “comfortably satisfied” he illegally administered an alkalising agent on the horse Strong Influence.

Citing interviews stewards conducted from June 2019 and evidence heard by the tribunal last year, Judge John Bowman deemed Gelagotis, stable staff and the horse’s owner as “witnesses of truth”.

In a pre-race blood test taken at Sandown in June 26 2019, Strong Influence, who ran third on the day, returned a reading of 37.8 millimoles per litre in plasma on a threshold of 36 millimoles.

In its decision, which included a lengthy summary of evidence heard, the VRT said “the cause of the high reading remains a mystery”.

It also discounted “undocumented administration” within one clear day of the positive swab.

“Even if that is so, the question remains, by whom?” the decision reads.

“Further, can we be comfortably satisfied that the administration was by Mr Gelagotis or on his orders? Was it done with his knowledge?

“In our opinion, we cannot be comfortably satisfied that the evidence supports a conclusion that any administration was done by Mr Gelagotis, on his orders or with his knowledge.”

The tribunal said speculation the illegal stomach drenching was done by someone with a grudge or vendetta against Gelagotis “has led nowhere”.

A penalty in relation to the lesser charge – detection of a prohibited substance – Gelagotis pleaded guilty to will be handed down at a later date.

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Link to make COVID-19 flexible work permanent


The plans to downsize offices came as Link announced it would assess the viability of an initial public offering for its property settlements platform PEXA, after it reported another record half for transaction volumes, contributing $18.7 million in profits to the group.

Link said it will continue the trade sale process for its stake in PEXA, with a private equity consortium led by Pacific Equity Partners still running the ruler over the company.

Mr Bhatia said he did not have a preference for the future of PEXA but said it was probable the company would be listed on the stock exchange in the future. “If I was a betting man, I would say yes. Eventually it will be listed. And the question then becomes, when rather than if?”

Link owns a 44.18 per cent stake in Torrens Group, the ultimate holding company for PEXA, alongside Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The ASX-listed company on Thursday reported a $31 million profit in the six months to December 31, up from $29 million from the same period last year after it pursued $32 million in cost savings.

Link also announced it would pay shareholders an interim dividend of 4.5 cents per share, down from 6.5 cents per share last year. Link’s shares jumped by more than 2.4 per cent to $4.84 at 2pm.

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The group has global operations spanning Europe, Asia, the UK and Australia selling administration services to large super funds such as AustralianSuper, Hesta and Cbus.

The newly appointed chief executive is pursuing a strategy to “simplify, deliver and grow” the business by dumping takeover bids and selling profitable assets. However, a key part of this strategy is taking the knife to unprofitable assets such as office spaces.

Link closed down three UK offices in the six months to December in Bristol, Edinburgh and Huddersfield and will now close another in Beckenham, London in the next six months as part of its $75 million annual cost saving target.

The group will also “consolidate” its Australian offices in both Melbourne and Sydney, in what Link’s chief financial officer Andrew MacLachlan said could save an additional $8 million.

“We’re also developing plans to embed flexible working for our staff as a permanent feature which can facilitate further premise savings in the future,” Mr MacLachlan said.

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Twin City Classic Vehicle Club running drive-in cinema in Albury | The Border Mail


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Drive-in cinema is returning to Albury thanks to the Twin City Classic Vehicle Club. The first of what’s hoped to be many drive-ins is taking place at Albury Showgrounds on Saturday night. Aussie cult film Running on Empty will play on a 10-by-six-metre screen. Club president Nathan Maloney said there had been many discussions over the years about getting such an event happening. “We’re looking to make it an ongoing thing, whether it be our club or other clubs, that also come in and run it as a community thing,” he said. “Entry will be raising money for the car club and that’ll give us an opportunity to give to a few charities. “We’re hoping to bring drive-in back to the Border. “I was six when I last saw one out at Thurgoona.” Unlike the drive-in that used to operate on Corrys Road, the screen – purchased by Redi 2 Hire in Wodonga a few months ago – is a pop-up. Running on Empty was a logical first choice for the car club, which has a dark green 1975 Holden HJ Monaro, the only model and colour of its kind in Australia, among its ranks. “It’s probably the most classic car movie Australia has ever made,” Mr Maloney said. “There’s a ’57 Chev and a couple old Holdens and panel vans. “You’ll see some of the makes in the movie in the crowd.” Saturday night will be the biggest event the car club has run since before the pandemic, and there has been huge interest on social media. “We’ll probably have to cap it at 300 cars,” Mr Maloney said. “We’ll have a COVID check-in and monitors in the crowd. IN OTHER NEWS: “The Lions Club will have their kiosk open, so people can get some food and then sit back and enjoy the movie.” It will be first-in, best-dressed – gates open at 6pm with the movie starting at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $12 per adult and $6 per child under 16.

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