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News Today Explored Tues 22nd Feb 2022

Commuter Chaos in Sydney continues

A union and government negotiation breakdown inspired the Perottet government to shut the entire NSW rail network on Monday, with more of the same continuing today. A skeleton crew will run trains for essential workers, as the government continues to hold out against requests for rostering changes.

In spite of a strike not being called, Transport Minister David Elliot apparently made the call to shut down the entire network over the breakdown in talks.

Working from home gives US states a windfall

Consumer demand stimulated by federal pandemic measures has handed US states massive sales tax revenue which many are returning in tax cuts to residents.

Idaho received a second round of tax cuts with a six million dollar slash in January this year. Maryland also plans to remove all income tax on residents over sixty five. In Missisippi, the governor proposes to eliminate income tax.

WA winning the fight against introduced gamba grass

Damaging to the Australian eco-system, gamba grass was introduced in 1931 to the Northern Territory as cattle feed and spread to Queensland and WA with devastating effects. As well as competing with native plants, the grass acts as an accelerant during bushfires, increasing fuel loads by eight times.

A partnership pogramme beween the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, El Questro Station and Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity has had great success in eradicating the plant in Western Australia. By 2021 only eight plants had been found. Monitoring will continue for another five years.

The battle continues in the NT and Queensland.

Sri Lanka returns UK waste

Sri Lanka is one of several Asian countries returning illegally imported waste to its country of origin, with the last of the containers being shipped out to the UK this week. The two hundred and sixty tonnes of rubbish began arriving in the country five years ago, lablelled as used mattresses and flooring, however they also contained hospital waste including body parts. The same importer is being investigated over shipping illegal hazardous waste to India and Dubai around the same period

Historic Duntroon in New Zealand's South Island reveals archeological wonders

The small NZ town in the far South is a gateway to another time. The local museum has displays of a shark toothed dolphin fossil, and an amphibious four-legged whale (Peregocetus pacificus) from forty million years ago. Local trails follow ancient whale bones, evidence of the land being lifted from the sea floor during a volcanic upheaval, and Maori rock art.

WA's main energy source now renewable power.

Data from OpenNEM shows that WA's electricity grid was powered predominantly by solar and wind electricity in 2021. Mining operations are increasingly relying on industrial and portable solar systems, or wind farms as they move toward zero emission commitments. The cheap, clean energy makes commercial sense as well. Localised power generation is the next step to improve reliablity according to Curtain University's Sustainability Policy Institute Distinguished Professor Peter Newman.

Covid Protest update

The NZ anti-mandate protest is now into its fifteenth day, with tensions rapidy rising. Police were sprayed with a liquid substance that required them to receive medical treatment and a car was driven into a group of police officers leading to an arrest of the driver. Riot police have been moving concrete partitions forward to decrease the size of the occupation site. The de-escalation strategy appears to have angered citizens who have been abused and cut off from work and studies by the protesters. Local businesses are unable to trade and the relationship between the police and government is being questioned as the Police Commissioner Andrew Coster faces calls to resign.

The three week protest in Ottawa, Canada, was ended only after police used stun guns and pepper spray against the protesters, made hundreds of arrests and removed trucks and vehicles.

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