Some Oz news:

G20 trouble-makers fly into Melbourne

Police will closely watch a dozen international activists considered potential trouble-makers at this weekend's G20 summit. But they don't believe there is an increased threat of terrorism. Several agitators are known to have flown to Melbourne from Europe and elsewhere to disrupt the summit. "There is about a dozen who are very experienced organisers and co-ordinators of protests at international political summits," a source said.

Treasurer Peter Costello, who will chair the meeting of the world's most powerful bankers, confirmed intelligence reports that professional agitators were arriving in Melbourne. "I say to them that we want this to be a successful summit," he said. "We do not like violence and disruption in Australia."

Protesters are expected to stage sit-ins in the foyers of several big companies around the city today. Up to 10,000 people are expected to join a rally tomorrow that will begin at the State Library at noon and finish outside the Grand Hyatt hotel. Protesters have threatened to return in numbers on Sunday if any activists are arrested tomorrow.....

Police have been warned they could be provoked by demonstrators. And they were told their response should be "reasonable, proportional and co-ordinated". Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon told a G20 briefing yesterday there was nothing to indicate a significant threat of terrorism. "At this stage we do not have any significant threat. So the threat level is at medium," she said. Mounted police, the search and rescue squad and force response unit will be used to help control protesters


NSW opens up water industry to private sector

New laws have been passed in New South Wales Parliament to open up the water market to competition. The legislation ends the monopoly of the current providers, Sydney Water and Hunter Water, and allows private businesses to sell drinking, recycled and waste water services. The Minister for Water Utilities, David Campbell, says the private sector now has the opportunity to bring innovation to the water industry. "For some time people in the private sector have been saying that Sydney Water needs competition, that the private sector can do things better," he said. "The Government has given them the opportunity to prove that. "The challenge is now before the private sector to put their money where their mouth is." The State Government also says Sydney-siders can be assured there are no plans to build a desalination plant, despite Government approval of the plan. Development approval for the $2 billion plant at Kurnell will lapse if it is not built within nine years. Mr Campbell says the Government will continue to reduce water use and encourage recycling. "The development approval does not trigger construction," he said. "The metropolitan water plans indicate that if dam levels drop to below 30 per cent then the Government would need to commence construction of a desalination plant."


Snow falls in subtropical Queensland

Drat that global warming!

Snow has fallen in southern Queensland. Granite Belt residents say snow flakes and sleet fell for between 10 and 15 minutes at about 10:30am along the border between Queensland and New South Wales. Mobile Mechanic Paul Verri has lived in the Stanthorpe area for 28 years and says he has never seen snow this late in the year. "More sleet and light rain," he said. "We've got a couple of cars parked outside and there's flakes on the cars, just an odd isolated scutter. "I guess I've never seen it before this time of the year." Senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, Craig Mitchell, says cold air from Victoria and New South Wales triggered the snow. He says such cold temperatures in November are rare. "I think it's pretty unusual, especially now that we're nearing summer time," he said. "To get that cold outburst with temperatures to the extreme that we're currently seeing at the moment would put it down to a pretty unusual sort of weather event." The Bureau of Meteorology says the last time snow or sleet was reported this late in the year was in early October 1941.


Old medical equipment risking patient care: AMA

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says lives are being put in danger because of outdated equipment at regional hospitals. The AMA's Victorian president, Dr Mark Yates, says a CT scanner at the Bendigo Hospital has been breaking down continually and it was out of action for two weeks recently. He says some patients were taken to a private hospital for tests, but critically ill patients could not be moved, and had to be treated without vital diagnostic assessment. Dr Yates says doctors in Bendigo are extremely concerned about the backlog of inadequate medical equipment. "In Bendigo there's a significant problem, we've got an old piece of machinery in a hospital that is a critical trauma centre and that needs to be fixed and we certainly can't have a situation where patients are put at risk," he said.



1 comment:

  1. Here's an article on Prince Charles' recent green initiative. Kudos for him at least attempting to raise awareness of global warming...


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