Monthly Archives: June 2019
Google has created an interactive walking tour of the northeast coast of Japan, taking in some of the areas worst hit by the devastating event.
The tech company sent its Street View vehicles to map areas directly affected by the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Many of the images were captured between July and October last year. They show cranes and workmen dotted around harbour landscapes, clearing debris and razing battered buildings.
Elsewhere, houses lay weather-beaten and abandoned. Whole towns appear to have vanished.
It’s all part of Google’s plan to digitally archive the extensive damage caused by the tragedy, which killed an estimated 15,800 people.
The images can be viewed on Street View, and also at a ‘virtual museum’ website. Each image is stamped with the date it was taken.
Kei Kawai, Senior Product Manager of Street View, wrote in a blog post that the project was intended for research and education.
“In the case of the post-tsunami imagery of Japan, we hope this particular digital archiving project will be useful to researchers and scientists who study the effects of natural disasters,” he wrote.
“We also believe that the imagery is a useful tool for anyone around the world who wants to better understand the extent of the damage.”
The following images can be found on the Google Street View project.
1. A badly damaged boat lies in Higashimaecho near Kamaishi.
2. Otsuchi Harbour, Kamihei district, Iwate prefecture.
3. A view of the now defunct Utatsu bypass, Miyagi prefecture.
3. Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture.
4. Workers repair buildings in Higashimaecho, Kamaishi.
5. Rubble awaiting clearance, Utatsu, Miyagi Prefecture.
Prince William and his wife Catherine have released the first official photographs of their baby son George – and in a break with tradition they were taken by her father, Michael Middleton.
The intimate photographs were shot earlier this month in the garden of the Middletons’ family home in rural Bucklebury, west of London, and show the newborn prince lying peacefully in his mother’s arms.
George, the third in line to the throne, is wrapped in a white blanket and is apparently asleep despite the bright sunshine.
William, 31, stands to the left of his wife in both of the photographs, with an arm around her shoulders, and they are both smiling broadly.
Kate is wearing a long maroon dress and has her hair in waves over her shoulders, while William is in his familiar “off-duty” clothes – jeans and a pale blue shirt with the top buttons undone.
In one of the shots, the couple’s black cocker spaniel, Lupo, joins them while Tilly, a golden retriever belonging to the Middleton family, can be seen lying behind them.
In his first interview since the birth, William said George was “a rascal” and admitted that the responsibility of being a father had changed him already.
“He’s a little bit of a rascal, I’ll put it that way,” he told CNN in an interview shown on Monday.
“He either reminds me of my brother or me when I was younger, I’m not sure, but he’s doing very well at the moment.
“He wriggles around quite a lot,” he said. “And he doesn’t want to go to sleep that much, which is a little bit of a problem.”
The fact that Kate’s father, and George’s grandfather, took the photographs is a radical departure for the royals, who have traditionally relied on professionals for the first official shots of new additions to the family.
Little is known how much experience Michael Middleton – the British Airways flight dispatcher-turned-businessman – has behind the lens.
Martin Keene, head of pictures at the British Press Association agency which distributed the shots, said they were impressive.
“Any photographer would have been pleased to have taken them,” he said, although some observers said both photographs were overexposed and one was slightly out of focus.
Italy’s Luna Rossa beat Sweden’s Artemis on Friday to move within one victory of advancing to a showdown with mighty Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup challenger series finals.
Luna Rossa have won all three semi-final races over Artemis Racing, who made a belated entry into the venerable sailing event after the May training accident that destroyed their first AC72 catamaran and killed British crew member Andrew Simpson.
The Italian outfit will have a chance to complete the sweep in the best-of-seven semi-finals in race four on Saturday.
Luna Rossa looked sharp, taking the lead with a perfect start and completing the seven-leg course in 47 minutes and 36 seconds — one minute and 18 seconds ahead of Artemis.
“Today was a great start,” said Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena, who was full of praise for helmsman Chris Draper.
“Chris really showed what he’s able to do,” Sirena said. “After the start we sailed probably our best race on the water as a team, which is good because tomorrow’s going to be tough. Artemis Racing is getting quicker and quicker every day and it’s not finished yet. We need to keep focused and race well tomorrow.”
The Swedish team’s crew also delivered a crisp performance on San Francisco Bay, reducing their deficit to as little as 1min 2sec during the race, but they just couldn’t match the Italians.
“We upped our game hugely today, but the bad news for Artemis Racing was so did Luna Rossa. They sailed excellently from start to finish,” said Artemis Racing skipper Iain Percy. “Now it’s sudden death tomorrow and we like that, we look forward to that pressure.”
The winner of the semi-finals will take on Team New Zealand, who won all of their races against Luna Rossa in the round-robin first round to advance directly to the challenger finals.
The winner of the challenger series will race against defender Team USA in the America’s Cup finals that start on September 7.
It’s terminology the Federal Opposition uses regularly but refugee advocates and experts in refugee law says such descriptions are deliberate misrepresentations designed to create a sense of panic or fear about people who arrive in Australia without a visa.
Greg Dyett reports.
This week the Federal Opposition posed a question which ended up being answered by vandals.
On a billboard in West Perth came the question, how many illegal boats have arrived since Labor took over?
The coalition’s answer was 641 illegal boats.
But within 24 hours after it went on display vandals used spray paint to provide a different answer.
The number 641 was replaced by a zero and the vandals added the words: no crime to seek asylum.
The Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott had travelled to West Perth where he addressed the media in front of the billboard.
“I regret to say that now there have been 641 illegal boats and there have been more than 38 thousand illegal arrivals by boat. It doesn’t matter what this government says, the situation is just getting worse, and worse and worse. As with everything this government does, they make a bad situation worse.”
When taking questions from journalists, Mr Abbott was heckled by someone who took issue with his use of the word illegal.
“When you’ve got the illegal arrival problem that this government has created (Background heckler) They’re not illegal, you’re lying! (Abbott) You can say…(heckler) you know it’s a lie! (Abbott) You can say your piece in a sec, let me say my piece and then you can say yours sir.”
Professor Mary Crock from the University of Sydney Law School is a specialist in migration, citizenship and refugee law.
She too has a problem with the use of the word illegal.
“The complaint being made about the use of the word illegal with an asylum seeker is that it implies that it is somehow illegal to claim asylum in a country and the central point of having signed and ratified the Refugee Convention is that we agree that it is a lawful thing to do for a person to seek asylum in a country. It’s really just about emotion and the use of words here.”
Tony Abbott defends his use of the world illegal by referring to Article 31 of the Refugee Convention.
In part, Article 31 says contracting states shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees.
But Professor Crock says Article 31 is quite clear when considered in its entirety.
“Article 31 operates so as to require states who are parties to the Refugee Convention not to penalise people by virtue of how they come into the country. Now, if you come into a country without a visa, you come without authorisation. That makes you illegal in terms of Australian domestic immigration law, there’s no question about that. But the whole point of the Refugee Convention is that you sign on to agree that even if someone enters the country without authority that they are able to claim asylum and that they should not be penalised by virtue of the fact that they came in without a visa. That’s the central aspect of Article 31. (Reporter) Because it actually says ‘provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence. In other words, to claim asylum, correct? (Crock) Correct, that’s right, that’s right.”
Professor Susan Kneebone from Monash University in Melbourne is a specialist in forced migration, human trafficking and refugee law.
She says Australian law refers to foreigners as either “illegal” or “legal” non-citizens.
That is illegal if they arrive without a visa, or legal if they have a visa.
Professor Kneebone says the term illegal is only referring to someone’s migration status.
“It is not illegal for people to move in international law. People cannot be described as illegal. It’s contrary to the whole concept of the existence of a human being. It’s referring only to their migration status and in Australian law we actually don’t talk about illegals, we talk about persons with a lawful or an unlawful status which is, in fact, recognising the point that I’m making, namely that people are not, as such, illegal, to call a person illegal is to deny their very existence.”
One of the largest media organisations in the world, America’s Associated Press, has just recognised this very point.
Its editorial guidelines now instruct its journalists not to use the terms illegal immigrant or illegal to describe a person.
Instead, it instructs its journalists that illegal should describe only an action such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
Susan Kneebone from Monash descibes Tony Abbott’s use of the word illegal as dishonest.
“The politicians are exploiting the use of the word and attempting to create a sense of panic or fear or just alienation of people who have come without a visa in the minds of the Australian public that is well documented, well researched and well known. As to whether it’s a fine distinction, I don’t think it’s a fine distinction. I don’t think it’s even a semantic distinction. I think it’s a fundamental distinction between recognising that a person has rights and has rights in international law and that this has to be distinguished from the way that they are described in terms of migration status under the laws of a particular state and as I say, it is dishonest, in fact, for politicians in Australia to be using the term illegal because it’s not in our Migration Act. Our Migration Act talks about lawful and unlawful non-citizens.”
Professor Mary Crock from the University of Sydney says the use of the word illegal is being done with a deliberate, political intent.
“It’s absolute deliberate political play and they’re playing with peoples lives in doing this. And I really think that one of the key features to getting anything like control back into this area is going to be a bi-partisan approach and as long as you’ve got an opposition carrying on like this, it’s virtually impossible to do anything sensible in the area.”
The founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, Kon Karapanagiotidis says the use of the term illegal by politicians and the media amounts to lying to the Australian public.
He says he recently became infuriated after hearing WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash using the terminology.
“And they sit there going ‘another boat of illegals, another boat of illegals’ and as long as you’ve got politicians feeding the lies, a Murdoch media reinforcing the lies and you’ve got very little leadership on this issue and very little traction to have a real debate and go ‘actually, seeking asylum is not illegal, actually 90 per cent of these people are refugees and are not economic migrants, actually these people are fleeing for their lives and they’re exercising a human right that Australia actually granted them back in 1951 by agreeing to be part of the Refugee Convention. That’s what’s actually happening but we’re not interested in that debate because there’s not votes in that.”
Echo Entertainment Group does not fear James Packer’s probable entry into the Sydney casino market and is making plans to remain a strong competitor there after its exclusive licence expires.
James Packer’s Crown Ltd has proposed building a $1.3 billion resort and invitation-only VIP casino at Sydney’s harbourside Barangaroo development, to operate from 2019, when rival Echo’s exclusive licence expires.
The NSW government has favoured Mr Packer’s proposal over Echo’s rival $1.1 billion expansion plan for its Sydney casino, The Star.
Echo chief executive John Redmond said he did not fear competition from Mr Packer.
“It’s not something that we are worried about,” he told AAP on Thursday.
“We’re, obviously, developing a strategy over what to do (in Sydney), and that will not be divulged yet,” he told AAP.
Echo, which released its annual financial results on Thursday, described the NSW government’s response to its plan for The Star as disappointing.
But, it said, the benefits of being the incumbent sole casino operator in Sydney for at least another six years should not be under-estimated.
Echo said it continued to have productive talks with the Queensland government around a possible relocation of its Treasury casino in Brisbane and further investment in the Jupiters casino on the Gold Coast.
Chairman John O’Neill said both would be positive investments for Queensland and Echo shareholders.
Echo also operates the Jupiters casino in Townsville.
Mr Packer has flagged a move to take on Echo in Queensland, saying Crown’s rival had done a terrible job at its casinos there.
Mr Redmond said there was an opportunity to make a significant investment in casinos in Brisbane and southeast Queensland.
But until there was more certainty around what the Queensland government wanted in this regard, Echo would not divulge any plans.
Echo on Thursday said its 2012/13 net profit rose 97.9 per cent to $83.5 million.
The result was skewed by higher income tax and restructuring costs in 2012/13 and higher finance costs in the previous year.
Echo’s reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding significant items, rose 12.1 per cent to $372.9 million.
The Star generated 17.5 per cent more revenue, but revenue from the Queensland properties fell 3.3 per cent.
Echo said revenue in the first seven weeks of the current financial year was up 6.8 per cent, with strong growth in VIP revenue offset by softer performance in the domestic business.
Shares in Echo were four cents, or 1.47 per cent, higher at $2.76 at 1322 AEST.