Basslink to Become Bassland

By Canberra, Australia correspondent Erica Quarterbee on assignment in Launceston

Australian experts have been scratching their heads on how to fix the electrical power link between Tasmania and the mainland since it failed in December but a permanent solution may be at hand from the opposite side of the planet. The Basslink undersea cable has been problematic from the outset and finally failed shortly after Tasmania’s hydroelectric generators tried to use the link to export electrical power to the mainland.


Sweden’s Vattenfall is proposing a sustainable solution that will provide Australia’s eastern seaboard with reliable, baseload, renewable energy capacity.

Bass Strait is a relatively narrow, shallow sea passage that separates Tasmania from the mainland by a few kilometres. It is infamous for its rough seas and high winds.

Vattenfall propose to exploit its experience in wind and hydro-power, deploying a chain of wind turbines, wave, tidal and pumped storage within Bass Strait. The ambitious plan is to build two land-bridges joining Cape Otway in Victoria to Cape Grim in Tasmania, via King and smaller Islands to the East; and Wilsons Promontory in Victoria to Cape Portland in Tasmania, via Flinders, Cape Barren and minor islands. Continue reading

Belgium Hardens as Brussels Dithers

By correspondent Georges Simenon  in Liege, Belgium

The machines at FN Herstal near Liege in Belgium will be busy over Easter this year with the arms manufacturer spreading its manufacturing staff over 3 shifts around the clock.

p90_std_3_4_dFN Herstal’s Public Relations speaker Georges Remi announced just after midnight that the company would operate over Easter to manufacture an extra 6000 FN P90 personal defense weapons (PDW) to be carried by military and police personnel while off-duty. Hundreds of off-duty military and police personnel had reacted to the bombings of Brussels (Zaventem) Airport and subway stations by drawing their weapons from stores to bolster the numbers and strength of local police.
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600,000 Migrants “Disappear” in Germany

By Berlin, Germany correspondent D. Wolfgang Spitz-Bubel

German and other European press are starting to report that nearly half the recent migrants registered into Germany have disappeared without a trace. Earlier reports didn’t reveal the extent of the problem. While it’s possible that a few thousand of the more than a million recent migrants could go missing simply due to bureaucratic accidents, the scale of the disappearances suggests that a system has been created to move the migrants on.
Wolfsburg, VW Autowerk, Kraftwerk

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SCOOP! Volkswagen Group of America Bugs Out

The following appears to be a leaked draft of a speech to be given by the CEO of  the Volkswagen Group of America at a press conference later today (USA time) . Author details will not be provided with this article to protect our sources.

Embargoed until 16:08, 1/8/2016

President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc,
Michael Horn

Former CEO Michael Horn

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I speak now to you as the most recent and indeed the last President of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Volkswagen Group has determined that it will be unable to sustain a profitable business in the USA and will have closed and abandoned all of its physical facilities in the nation by the time of this press conference. All factories, warehouses, offices and testing grounds have been abandoned without expectation of compensation. Continue reading

Rising Sea Levels Force Giant Funnel-Web Spiders to Nest in Trees

Every millimetre of sea level rise has consequences.

Every millimetre of sea level rise has consequences.

By Canberra, Australia correspondent Erica Quarterbee

Scientists in Australia have discovered giant, deadly funnel-web spiders nesting in trees in the Booderee National Park in New South Wales.

Dr Thomas Wallenius from the Australian National University suggested that a mutation from the ground-dwelling genus Atrax to the tree-dwelling genus Hadronyche could be a consequence of rising sea levels. As sea levels rise and inundation becomes more likely, the larger equally deadly, tree-dwelling genus is likely to become the dominant one.

Merkel Puts Refugees into Holiday Rentals

By Berlin, Germany correspondent D. Wolfgang Spitz-Bubel

German Chancelloress Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel – Huffington Post

After inviting all of Syria to come, Germany’s Chancelloress, Angela Merkel has announced an emergency policy for accommodating a possible 2 million Asylum seekers from Syria expected in Germany this year. Syria previously had a population of 22 million.

She has instructed the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge – BAMF) to survey the national pool of holiday apartments and houses (Ferienwohnungen); to immediately reserve any available accommodation. Continue reading

Australia Seeks Chief Engineer

By Canberra, Australia correspondent Erica Quarterbee

A draft advertisement for the position of Chief Engineer is circulating through the corridors of power in Canberra.

Bureau of the Chief Engineer AustraliaThe Chief Engineer is to run an independent Bureau to advise on policies relating to technologies and to audit spending on infrastructure and deployment of technologies within all of government. The Bureau of the Chief Engineer will operate as an independent, professional, “corporate consultancy and inspectorate” to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Australia has lacked a Science Minister since the installation of the current government. It’s understood that the Prime Minister’s Office wants to install a permanent mechanism by employing independent professionals who are able to interpret the science and technology for relevance and effectiveness.

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PM Abbott Announces Team Aussie-COP21 for Paris

By Australian correspondents Erica Quarterbee and Jennie Drimmof.

Greg Hunt

Greg Hunt

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott MP BEc LLB MA has instructed the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt MP BA LLB MA to form the best possible team to represent Australia at the IPCC Olympics later this year, culminating in the COP21 Games in Paris.

A total budget allocation of $412,786.24 means that the Minister has had to cut some corners in terms of team numbers, travel and accommodation arrangements. The budget has to stretch to 2 sets of games, the 4-day UN-FCCC ADP preliminaries in Bonn, Germany in mid-October and then the 14-day finals in Paris, France starting at the end of November. Continue reading

Charles Narrows in on Deadline for Climate Action

By Ochsbridge, UK correspondent Summer Rose Winslip-Harrow

Source: Guardian

Picture Source: Guardian

The Prince of Wales today renewed his warning of the increasing urgency to tackle climate change, with the deadline for action drawing ever closer.
His Royal Highness today stated we have just 35 years to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.

HRH has been meticulously assessing the science of climate change for more than a decade; calculating and narrowing in on the deadline for climate action.

In May 2008 he urged action within 18 months to avoid a climate change disaster. Then again, in mid 2009, he reminded us that we had only 96 months to avert catastrophic climate change.

It may be too late to wait for the next warning in ca. 23 years; renewing the call for decisive action within the next 175 years to avert a real climate catastrophe.