Australians demand PM’s resignation amid bushfires

UNTV News   •   January 10, 2020   •   532

Sydney – Thousands of Australians on Friday protested in several cities demanding Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s resignation over his failure to act on raging fires and his lack of commitment to the climate crisis.

The protests were organized by the student-led organization, Uni Students for Climate Justice and members of the Extinction Rebellion movement.

Anneke De Manuel, one of the organizers, told EFE that they were demonstrating because unprecedented fires were burning since September and urgent action against the wildfires and climate change was required.

She also emphasized the need for an immediate and complete transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies as well as Morrison’s resignation.

The bushfires that have been raging since September have claimed the lives of 26 people, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and an area twice the size of Belgium, and have killed or destroyed the habitats of one billion wild animals.

The police authorities in the southeastern state of Victoria said they have insufficient resources as the majority of personnel are fighting bushfires affecting the southeastern region of the country.

During wildfires, Morrison has refused to acknowledge the connection between the climate crisis and wildfires by arguing that attention should be on casualties and on controlling the flames.

According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, climate change is influencing the frequency and severity of dangerous fire conditions in Australia and other parts of the world.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and Morrison, before becoming the prime minister, gave a speech in Parliament with a piece of coal in his hand to defend mining companies against appeals to reduce production.

The demonstrators have also demanded for subsidies to polluting industries to be canceled and used instead to finance firefighters, to help in controlling bushfires and to care for communities affected by the flames.

Despite Morrison publicly apologizing for having gone on holiday to Hawaii with his family as fires tore through forests and property in his country, citizens have criticized his handling of the crisis. EFE-EPA

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90 pilot whales die after mass whale stranding in Australia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 22, 2020

At least 90 pilot whales are reportedly dead after around 270 whales washed up on a sandbar in the coast of Tasmania in Australia.

Marine rescue teams arrived on Monday (September 21) to save the whales, however, authorities estimated there will be more casualties due to difficulty in getting the whales back to the ocean.

“We’ve got animals spread over a large area and in really challenging locations. We’re going to take the animals with the best chance to start with and the ones that we are able to deal with,” according to Parks and Wildlife Services marine biologist Dr. Kris Carlyon.

Carlyon also reported that authorities began its large scale operation on Tuesday (September 22), however, he said it will still take days. Experts are still investigating the cause of the mass stranding but it might be due to food hunting. AAC (with reports from Nina Bascon)

Australia extends international travel ban to December 17

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2020

The Australian government has extended the implementation of international border restrictions for at least three more months until December 17. 

This was the decision of the country’s Health Protection Principal Committee given the prevailing global health risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Australia closed its borders in March to prevent the entry of COVID-19 in the country. 

In July, the Australian government allowed the return of around 4,000 of its citizens and permanent residents. 

To date, only those covered by travel exemptions are allowed to leave or enter the country. 

Travel exemptions can be processed online through the Australian Border Force but only qualified individuals will be granted.

These included those working in essential industries and businesses, those needing immediate medical treatment outside Australia, unavoidable personal circumstance, compassionate or humanitarian grounds or anything related to national security. 

Meanwhile, temporary visa holders need not acquire travel exemptions from authorities as they may leave anytime to be able to return to their home country.

They have to make sure, however, that their country of destination will accept them once they leave Australia.

For list of exempted individuals, travelers may check on the official webpage of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. MNP (with inputs from Danny Delleva)

PH temporarily bans poultry products from Australia amid bird flu outbreak

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2020

The Philippine government has implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Australia following the bird flu outbreak in the said country.

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary William Dar issued Memorandum Order No. 40 series of 2020 on August 14 which was released to the media on Wednesday (August 19). The memorandum states the ban of importing poultry products including chicken meat and eggs from Australia.

On July 31, the Australian government reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N7 in Victoria, Australia.

Meanwhile, meat processors raised concerns over possible shortage of mechanically deboned chicken (MDM) due to the said temporary ban. According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI), MDM is a common ingredient for emulsified products like meatloaf, hotdog, siomai and others.

The DA recently implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Brazil after a batch of frozen chicken wings from said country reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to this, PAMPI spokesperson Rex Agarrado said this could affect canned goods companies.

“The travel time in the Philippines to Brazil or Brazil to the Philippines is five to six weeks; eight weeks if you go to Cebu. You will realize that in a matter of time, 6 weeks from now, 7 weeks from now, you will see some brands not being available in the market anymore,” he said.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo, however, assured the supply of imported chicken in the country will not be affected by the import bans. Domingo also said there is a 150-day surplus of chicken in the country.

“Marami po tayong bansa na kinukuhanan ng manok. Labing apat na bansa po iyon. Hindi po natin sinarado po iyon at ikalawa, sobra po ang manok natin this year, (We get our chicken supply from numerous countries. There are 14 of them. We also have a surplus of supply this year)” he said. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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