The Big Dry

December 25, 2006

Phil Mercer, journalist for the BBC, has written an article about the drought in Australia. There’s no rain, it’s hot. Some think it’s part of the climate change. Australia hasn’t signed the Kyoto protocol. The rough weather conditions has sparked an intense debate about Kyoto, climate change and lack of rain. There’s some panic as well, because some experts think the dry climate is there to stay for a couple of years. Some say even fifty.

“I can imagine Australia being a desert in a few decades’ time in some of these agricultural areas. The soil is blowing away, the rivers are drying up”, says Cate Faehrmann from the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales.

The Ashes

December 21, 2006

Oh yeah, Australia regained The Ashes from England. Australia has won the three first test matches. There two to go, but England is defeated.

Bikini booze offer

December 21, 2006

Interesting offer, but I think the unlimited booze was a bit over the top. The homepage of Amber Lounge is blocked by my Firewall as ‘Adult content’.

Robbie Williams

December 18, 2006

Robbie Williams in Brisbane
Picture taken in Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, by Larinalou

Robbie Williams has to pay a fine of 90 euro, because he lit up a cigarette on stage. After the first concert Robbie was reminded that smoking was prohibited, but the day after he smoked again a cigarette. The smoking is part of the act, is his explanation. Moreover, smoking is his last addiction. He quitted drugs and alcohol, but is still smoking.

The British superstar doesn’t have to pay his fine himself. Peter Beattie, the premier of the Queensland state, offered him to pay his fine. Explanation: “The entertainer is guest of the state”.

5,60 AUD for a Qantas share

December 15, 2006

The Qantas board accepted the bid worth 11 billion Australian dollar. The airline company is taken over by a group of foreign and Australian investors. Some participants of the consortium are Macquarie, Texas Pacific Group and Onex from Canada. 60% of the shares will remain Australian, but Qantas will be delisted from the stock exchanges.

The new owners of the airline company don’t want to change the strategy. Qantas will not be broken into pieces, they said. But it isn’t clear what they will do with the national carrier.

Politicians fear that the bid will damage the airline and that the public will chose another carrier. Moreover, they think this deal can have a backlash on them as well, as next year Australians go to the poll.

Map with hotspots

December 13, 2006

Still about the bushfires in Australia: a great map with the hotspots.

Hotspot map

Smoke

December 12, 2006

Before and during the bushfire

The above picture was taken by SplaTT. Both photos are taken on the exact spot in the Upper Yarra Valley in Victoria. On the picture above you clearly can see what the impact of the smoke of the bushfires. According to SlaTT the fires are located 50-60 kilometers away.

Friday I saw some television footage of the smoke in the city center of Melbourne. That was scaring too.

On Tuesday morning (Australia), media reported that two fires in the north east of Victoria merged in one big blaze. Nearly three and a half thousand people are fighting the fires in Victoria. On Tasmania a firestorm damaged fourteen houses. Luckily, the fires haven’t killed anybody.

Ten Canoes

December 8, 2006

The aboriginal movie ‘Ten Canoes‘ was the big winner on the AFI Awards. “Ten Canoes swept all before it, taking out best film, best director and best original screenplay, on top of an award for “pursuit of excellence” to director Rolf de Heer”, writes The Age. Another film that was celebrated in Melbourne was ‘Kenny‘, a mockumentary about a toilet plumber.

You can browse through the list of winners at the website of the Australian Film Institute.

If you have the chance to watch ‘Ten Canoes’, you should take that opportunity. It’s just a brilliant movie. It can win an oscar 😉

Fires in Victoria

December 7, 2006

Smoke above Victoria

This picture was taken by a Nasa Terra satellite on 5th December 2006. It shows the smoke of the bushfires in Victoria. The red spots are the actual fires. Today fifty fires are burning throughout the area and firemen don’t think they’ll be able to control the fires today because the weather is bad. Nasa stipulates that a strong El Nino-influence on the weather is not a good thing for the firefighters.

The fires are a result of the ongoing drought and high temperatures. These have created extremely risky conditions for fires in many parts of the country.

The Australian wheat exporter AWB is to temporarily lose its monopoly. AWB is the sole exporter of Australian wheat. But after reports that it paid bribes to the Saddam regime in Iraq, the situation was criticised.

The government said AWB would lose its power to veto exports for six months, reports the BBC. The threat that the monopoly would be abolished forever, was not executed. Rivals of AWB see opportunity to sell crops overseas.

AWB was one of the biggest suppliers of the United Nations Oil for Food program.