ANZAC Day 2017

25 April 2017

We all have our own ways of doing ANZAC Day and remembering those New Zealanders (and Australians) who served and died overseas in the two World Wars as well as in other conflicts.

Post what you remember and feel about ANZAC Day here.

(This is a pre-ANZAC post that will be carried forward tomorrow)

ANZAC

Missy posted about a visit to Ypres in Belgium last August:

Past ANZAC Day posts:

“New Zealand Soldier” became the “OFFICIAL SONG” of “THE NEW ZEALAND ARMY”.
Dedicated to all those Men and Women who served in the First and Second World Wars and whom are currently serving in the New Zealand Armed Forces:

Australia threatened with nuclear retaliation

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Hot air probably, but this is getting a bit too close to home.

1 News: Australia threatened of nuclear retaliation from North Korea following sanctions talk

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has reportedly sparked a threat of nuclear retaliation from North Korea after saying the rogue nation will be subject to further Australian sanctions.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency yesterday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman accusing the Australian foreign minister of “spouting a string of rubbish again.

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Ms Bishop said on Thursday that the sanctions were to send “the clearest possible message to North Korea, that its behaviour will not be tolerated, that a nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable to our region”.

She also urged China to step up pressure on North Korea to stamp out its belligerent and illegal behaviour.

In the report from Pyongyang, the North Korean ministry spokesman accused the Australian government of “blindly and zealously toeing the US line” and said Ms Bishop had “better think twice” about the consequences of her “reckless tongue- lashing”.

“It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government. But if she is the foreign minister of a country, she should speak with elementary common sense about the essence of the situation,” the spokesman said.

“It is entirely attributable to the nuclear threat escalated by the US and its anachronistic policy hostile to the DPRK that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to the brink of war in an evil cycle of increasing tensions.”

This is probably just more rhetoric, hot air, rather than an actual threat.

But if North Korea does try a nuclear strike it would probably be easier to hit Australia rather than the US – it’s closer and probably far less protected.

A Northern Hemisphere nuclear strike would be bad enough, but in the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere New Zealand would be at less risk than most countries.

A nuclear attack on Australia is a different matter. The usual weather drift is from there to here.

North Korea probably doesn’t have the weapons nor the delivery systems to hit Australia.

But if they did, and if they did strike Australia, then things get even more serious for us here in New Zealand. And there’s a lot of Kiwi family in Aus.

Lining up for World War 3?

Suggesting the escalation in Syria is a move closer to World War 3 might be over-dramatic but if the civil war explodes into a wider conflict it will be too late to quibble.

There are already a number of countries who have been directly involved in the Syrian conflict,  including Russia, USA, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

The Herald asks Are these the battle lines for World War Three?

The US airstrikes on a Syrian regime airbase have hardened the dividing lines across the world in regards to the Assad regime.

They link to MailOnline Are these the battle lines for World War Three? Graphic shows which countries are siding with Russia or the US in their support – or condemnation – of Assad

  • President Donald Trump, 70, launched airstrikes on a Bashar al-Assad controlled airbase in Syria on Thursday
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today praised the American airstrike following the chemical attack
  • He said that the strikes sent a ‘strong and clear’ message that chemical weapons will not be tolerated in 2017 
  • Both Britain and Australia praised the US action as an ‘appropriate response’ to what happened in the week
  • Syria and Russia have denounced it as an ‘act of aggression’ with Putin saying it damages relationship with US

The US airstrikes on a Syrian regime airbase have hardened the dividing lines across the world in regards to the Assad regime.

MailOnline has set out world leaders’ positions on the conflict, which clearly shows the split between pro and anti-Assad countries.

It suggests which side of the battle line countries would position themselves on should the escalating crisis turn into an all out global conflict.

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The MailOnline has extensive coverage of the position of countries around the world on Syria.

The also have a time line of the conflict that began six years ago.


The U.S. attack on a Syrian air base came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war.

Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of the conflict, with the U.N. blaming three attacks on the Syrian government and a fourth on the Islamic State group. One of the worst yet came Tuesday in rebel-held northern Idlib and killed dozens, including women and children.

That attack prompted President Donald Trump, on day 77 of his presidency, to dramatically shift U.S. policy, with the first direct U.S. attack on the Syrian government.

Trump blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad for the attack and called on the international community to join him in trying to end the bloodshed.

A timeline of events in Syria leading up to Tuesday’s attack:

March 2011: Protests erupt in the city of Daraa over security forces’ detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school. On March 15, a protest is held in Damascus’ Old City. On March 18, security forces open fire on a protest in Daraa, killing four people in what activists regard as the first deaths of the uprising. Demonstrations spread, as does the crackdown by President Bashar Assad’s forces.

April 2011: Security forces raid a sit-in in Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, where thousands of people tried to create the mood of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests against Egypt’s autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Aug. 18, 2011: President Barack Obama calls on Assad to resign and orders Syrian government assets frozen.

Summer 2012: Fighting spreads to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its former commercial capital.

August 20, 2012: Obama says the use of chemical weapons would be a ‘red line’ that would change his calculus on intervening in the civil war and have ‘enormous consequences.’

March 19, 2013: The Syrian government and opposition trade accusations over a gas attack that killed some 26 people, including more than a dozen government soldiers, in the town of Khan al-Assal in northern Syria. A U.N. investigation later finds that sarin nerve gas was used, but does not identify a culprit.

August 21, 2013: Hundreds of people suffocate in rebel-held suburbs of the Syrian capital, with many suffering from convulsions, pinpoint pupils, and foaming at the mouth. U.N. investigators visit the sites and determine that ground-to-ground missiles loaded with sarin were fired on civilian areas while residents slept. The U.S. and others blame the Syrian government, the only party to the conflict known to have sarin gas.

Aug. 31, 2013: Obama says he will go to Congress for authorization to carry out punitive strikes against the Syrian government, but appears to lack the necessary support in the legislature.

Sept. 27, 2013: The U.N. Security Council orders Syria to account for and destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, following a surprise agreement between Washington and Moscow, averting U.S. strikes. The Security Council threatens to authorize the use of force in the event of non-compliance.

Oct. 14, 2013: Syria becomes a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting it from producing, stockpiling or using chemical weapons.

June 23, 2014: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has removed the last of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons. Syrian opposition officials maintain that the government’s stocks were not fully accounted for, and that it retained supplies.

Sept. 23, 2014: The U.S. launches airstrikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria.

Aug. 7, 2015: The U.N. Security Council authorizes the OPCW and U.N. investigators to probe reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, as reports circulate of repeated chlorine gas attacks by government forces against civilians in opposition-held areas. Chlorine gas, though not as toxic as nerve agents, can be classified as a chemical weapon depending on its use.

Aug. 24, 2016: The joint OPCW-U.N. panel determines the Syrian government twice used helicopters to deploy chlorine gas against its opponents, in civilian areas in the northern Idlib province. A later report holds the government responsible for a third attack. The attacks occurred in 2014 and 2015. The panel also finds that the Islamic State group used mustard gas.

Feb. 28, 2017: Russia, a stalwart ally of the Syrian government, and China veto a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing sanctions against the Syrian government for chemical weapons use.

April 4, 2017: At least 58 people are killed in what doctors say could be a nerve gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province. Victims show signs of suffocation, convulsions, foaming at the mouth and pupil constriction. Witnesses say the attack was carried out by either Russian or Syrian Sukhoi jets. Moscow and Damascus deny responsibility.

April 4, 2017: President Donald Trump issues a statement saying that the ‘heinous’ actions of Assad’s government are the direct result of Obama administration’s ‘weakness and irresolution.’

April 5, 2017: Trump says Assad’s government has ‘crossed a lot of lines’ with the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

April 6, 2017: The U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, U.S. officials said. It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president. Trump said strike on Syria in the ‘vital national security interest’ of the United States.


Wikipedia: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Syrian Missile Strike – reactions

CNN: Live updates and Key things to know about the airstrikes

  • THE STRIKE: US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield. The map below shows the location.
  • THE MESSAGE: Ambassador Nikki Haley told the United Nations moments ago that the strike was a “measured response” and the US is “prepared to do more.”
  • RUSSIA: Putin said the strike was a “significant blow” to Russian-US relations.
  • US RESPONSE: Many US lawmakers voiced support for Trump’s decision. They want him to talk to Congress about next steps.

After dinner was over, Trump told China’s President about the airstrikes

Summary of reactions (from Geeza ex Aljazeera):


World and regional leaders and countries were quick to react to the news.

*Russia

…which has been bombing rebel-held areas in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad since September 2015, condemned the strikes, saying Washington’s action would “inflict major damage on US-Russia ties”, according to Russian news agencies.

In its first public response to the attack, the Kremlin labelled the US move as “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”.
“Washington’s step will inflict major damage on US-Russia ties,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was quoted as saying.

*Saudi Arabia

…said it “fully supports” the strikes, adding that it was a “courageous decision” by President Donald Trump in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in northwestern Syria

“A responsible source at the foreign ministry expressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s full support for the American military operations on military targets in Syria, which came as a response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians,” a statement carried by state news agency SPA said.

The statement said it holds the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the deaths of dozens of civilians in in Khan Sheikhoun.

*Iran…

…also an Assad ally, said it strongly condemned the missile strikes against the Syrian army’s Shayrat air base.

“Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes … such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria … and it will complicate the situation in Syria and the region,” ISNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman  Bahram Qasemi as saying.

*Turkey…

…which hosts three million Syrian refugees, said it views the US missile strikes positively and called for the establishment of a no-fly zone, as well as safe zones, in Syria.

“What happened in Idlib on Tuesday proved again that the bloody Assad regime show complete disregard for the prospect of a political transition and efforts to enforce the ceasefire,” read a statement by presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

“The destruction of Sharyat airbase marks an important step to ensure that chemical and conventional attacks against the civilian population do not go unpunished.”

*Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…

…said he supports the “strong and clear message” 😎 sent by the US strikes.

The Israeli military said it had been informed in advance of the attack. 🤔

“In both word and action, President (Donald) Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.

“Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”

*Britain…

…said the US action was an appropriate response to the “barbaric chemical weapons attack” launched by the Syrian government, according to a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May.

*Italy also gave its support, saying it was a suitable response to Syrian aggression.
The strike was “a commensurate response … and a signal of deterrence against the risks of further use of chemical weapons by Assad”, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in a statement.

*Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

… also weighed in, saying that he supported the strike, calling it a “proportionate and calibrated response”.

In a televised statement, he also called on Russia to play its part in bringing peace to Syria.

*Bolivia…

…  has requested the UN Security Council hold closed-door consultations on Friday about the missile strikes, a senior Security Council diplomat said.

Source: Aljazeera.

Also Russia apparently says only 23 of the 59 cruise missiles actually hit their targets?

And that they are boosting their air defences in Syria.


Missy reports:

The Security Council are currently holding an emergency meeting on Syria.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has just spoken as says that the US will do it again if necessary.

Key quotes from her speech:

“The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary.”

“Assad did this because he thought he could get away with it. He thought he could get away with it, because he knew Russia had its back.”

“The moral stain could no longer be unanswered. His crimes against humanity could no longer be ignored.”

“The US will no longer wait for Assad to use weapons with no consequences. Those days are over.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/07/us-strikes-syria-tensions-rise-russia-warns-damage-ties-washington/


Apparently the Pentagon are looking into whether Russia was involved in the Syrian Chemical Weapons attack.

Senior officials are reported as saying a drone from either Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the CW attack.

They also allege that a hospital bombed shortly after was to cover up the attack.

From the Telegraph:

“Pentagon probes Russian involvement in chemical attack
A potentially game-changing development, just in from Associated Press:

Senior military officials say the US is looking into whether Russia participated in Syria’s chemical weapons attack.

The officials say Russia has failed to control the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.

They say a drone belonging either to Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the chemical weapons attack Tuesday after it happened. The drone returned late in the day as citizens were going to a nearby hospital for treatment. Shortly afterward, officials say the hospital was bombed.

The officials say they believe the hospital attack may have been an effort to cover up evidence of the attack.

The officials weren’t authorised to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. They say they’re still reviewing evidence.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/07/us-strikes-syria-tensions-rise-russia-warns-damage-ties-washington/

Aussie sized footprints

The Aussies have got us beat as far as footprints go. In area that has 21 different identified dinosaur tracks they have discovered the world’s largest – 1.7 meters across. If one of those beasties stood on me lying down it would just about cover me completely.

University of Queensland: ‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’ the world’s most diverse

An unprecedented 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been identified on a 25-kilometre stretch of the Dampier Peninsula coastline dubbed “Australia’s Jurassic Park”.

A team of palaeontologists from The University of Queensland… unveil the most diverse assemblage of dinosaur tracks in the world in 127 to 140 million-year-old rocks in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Lead author Dr Steve Salisbury said the diversity of the tracks around Walmadany (James Price Point) was globally unparalleled…

“It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period,” Dr Salisbury said.

“There are thousands of tracks around Walmadany. Of these, 150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs, ” Dr Salisbury said.

“There were five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armoured dinosaurs.

“Among the tracks is the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurs in Australia. There are also some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded. Some of the sauropod tracks are around 1.7 m long.”

CNN: World’s biggest dinosaur footprint found in ‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’

richard_hunter_with_giant_spod_track_sws

I bet it wasn’t as fast as our Phar Lap.

They are presumably guessing at the overall size and shape but that’s a big print. And I guess rock doesn’t shrink over 130 million years.

Can the Democrats learn and move on from Clinton?

In the US the Democrats are in disarray after not only an embarrassing loss to Donald Trump but also their failure to win majorities in either the Senate or Congress.

Trump should never have been able to win the presidency, but alongside other factors the Democrats managed to make a mess of their selection – Hillary Clinton – and their campaign.

Is there any sign of learning from their mistakes and rebuilding their chances?

Howard Kurtz at Fox: After Hillary: Are the Democrats ready to move beyond Clintonism?

The question now: Has the Democratic Party moved on from Clintonism?

Both the left and right are asking that question as the party tries to rebuild in the Trump era. I have no idea who might emerge for 2020, given the strikingly thin bench, or whether the party wants to go further left or try to recapture the working-class voters that it lost to Trump.

It seems the Democrats haven’t really had that debate, even with the low-profile chairman’s race won by Tom Perez. But some in the media are starting to examine the rubble left by 2016.

It’s not that Hillary herself has a political future. In a Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of likely voters don’t want her to run again, while 23 percent would like to see that.

But a Clinton-like candidate might face the same lack of excitement for a program of incrementally improving government, even without her flaws as a candidate.

On the other hand, a Bernie-style populist could connect on issues like trade, but might simply be too liberal to win a general election.

But surely the Democrats can come up with someone fresher and newer than Clinton or Sanders.

Salon: To win, the anti-Trump resistance must learn from the Clinton campaign’s mistakes

What’s interesting is how Salon sees Clinton as having blundered by pretty much running as the anti-Trump:

“Of all the strategic blunders made by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the most consequential — apart from neglecting the Rust Belt states — may have been the campaign’s ill-advised decision to portray Donald Trump as an outlier in the GOP who did not represent true Republican values.

“In the early stages of her campaign, Clinton went out of her way to defend the Grand Old Party’s reputation and highlight some of the conservative critiques of Trump, so as to emphasize her opponent’s uniquely ‘deplorable’ nature.”

That “backfired spectacularly,” the piece says, by alienating progressives and boosting Trump’s underdog status.

“The grand irony here, of course, is that liberals — not leftists — are the ones who have started to sound increasingly like alt-right conspiracy theorists. While alt-right Info-Warriors spew their conspiracy theories about the deep state’s planning a coup against Trump or about former President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower, liberals have gone in the other direction, embracing their own overwrought conspiracy theories with an all-powerful Vladimir Putin at the center of it all.

“But Putin is not responsible for the Democratic Party’s losing control of nearly 1,000 state legislature seats and all three branches of government during the Obama years.”

It is yet to be proven whether Russia interfered with the US election but even if they did the Democrats should have been able to benefit from the allegations. Remarkably Trump won despite being linked with Russia.

Clinton was a poor choice but even then a decent campaign is likely to have succeeded. Trump didn’t win by much (a few hundred thousand votes in a few states made the difference).

The Democrats are in a mess of their own making.

Labour in the UK are also in a self inflicted mess.

Labor in Australia have been in disarray for years.

Labour in New Zealand is trying to make a comeback after struggling after Helen Clark lost in 2008 and stood down, but they are still languishing in polls and have conceded reliance on the Greens to try and compete in this year’s election.

Are these all coincidental messes? Or are left wing parties losing their way in the modern world with no hope of success unless they rethink and rebrand?

Trump versus Australia

 

Donald Trump is trying to talk tough, with one of his latest targets being Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but mixed messages are making a mockery of Trump’s so-called toughness. Perhaps he should start getting tough on his inconsistencies.

Dumping on one of the USA’s closest allies seems to be quite stupid.

Washington Post:  ‘This was the worst call by far’: Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian leader

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.

Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”

When the phone conversation was leaked (in itself a notable thing to have happened) Trump turned to Twitter.

It may look like a dumb deal, but Trump’s way of dealing with it is dumber.

Since then he has continued. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph: Donald Trump ‘upset and angry’ over refugee deal discussed with Malcolm Turnbull

US President Donald Trump has continued his public stoush with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull by declaring he needs to make “tough phone calls” because nations are taking advantage of America.

At a speech in Washington DC overnight, Mr Trump said the world was in trouble but he was “going to straighten it out”.

“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it,” Mr Trump told the audience. “Just don’t worry about it.

“They’re tough. We have to be tough,” he said. “It’s time we have to be a little tough folks.

“We are taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. “It’s not going to happen anymore.”

On top of this there has been conflicting information from trump’s administration.

From RNZ in US ‘taken advantage of by every nation’ – Trump

The tweets threw more confusion about the status of the controversial deal that Australia made with former President Barack Obama late last year.

The United States would resettle up to 1250 asylum seekers held in offshore processing camps on Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. In return, Australia would resettle refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The swap is at odds with Mr Trump’s executive order last week suspending the US refugee programme and restricting entry to the United States for travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer and the US Embassy in Australia have both said Mr Trump would honour the deal. In several media appearances after Mr Trump’s tweet, Mr Turnbull reiterated that he believed the deal stood.

“He is saying that this is not a deal he would have made, but the question is will he honour that commitment? He has already given it,” Mr Turnbull said.

Not surprisingly there has been a lot of criticism. Stuff details some in US media, congressmen stunned Donald Trump has picked a fight with Australia

I don’t know that Trump has deliberately picked a fight, it could be just his normal boorish arrogant behaviour.

Lawrence O’Donnell, the left-wing commentator and host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, lambasted the president for insulting Turnbull, “while having no idea that Australia has stood by us like no other ally, marched into battle with us where no other ally would go, including Vietnam, something Donald Trump would have known if he had served in Vietnam and heard those men beside him with those Australian accents, men who saved the lives of American troops”.

David Gergen, a former presidential adviser to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who is now an analyst for CNN, accused Trump of bullying a friend.

“Are they playing some sort of game in the White House – how many countries we can they alienate in 100 days? The list is in double digits now,” he said on the network.

“We have never had a president in my memory who has bullied our friends in this way, especially heads of government.”

Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said people had long expected that Trump, a mogul and reality television star known for his combative, impudent manner, would eventually conform to some level of political protocol, but that a pivot of that nature was never going to come.

“He’s just not going to change but that’s what’s problematic,” he said on the same CNN panel.

“Here we have in instance where we are already alienating one of our closest allies just over a phone call … just the tone of it was what’s already caused some consternation.”

Dealing with Trump will be difficult for probably every country. he seems to think he can abuse any one and any country he likes. He may end up isolating the US far more than he envisaged.

Deliberately or not Trump is making America grate.

Japan, Australia still backing TPP

After an official meeting the leaders of Japan and Australia have said they were committed to proceeding with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

RNZ: Japan, Australia both back TPP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement after their official meeting as part of Mr Abe’s four-country trip to boost Japan’s trade and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

In his first visit to Australia since Mr Turnbull became Prime Minister, he said both leaders were committed to ensuring the 12-country TPP trade deal would come into effect.

“On the economic front we agreed that we should demonstrate anew the importance of free trade,” he said.

“We confirmed that we would coordinate toward the early entry into force of the TPP and the prompt conclusion of the RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership].”

There is still a major problem though – Donald Trump has said made a priority of taking the US out of the TPP.

The commitment came despite United States President-elect Donald Trump criticising the TPP as a “potential disaster” for the US and vowing to prioritise withdrawing from the pact.

Mr Abe, who had previously said the TPP would be meaningless without the US, said the countries also agreed to maintain “solid cooperation” with the Trump administration.

NZ Herald report that Bill English says a rethink on the TPP may be necessary in Bill English optimistic about Donald Trump US presidency

One of Trump’s first acts will affect New Zealand’s interests – Trump has pledged to initiate the US withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership on his first day in office.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and Japan PM Shinzo Abe met recently to discuss how to salvage the TPP and English said he was not ready to give up altogether either.

“I wouldn’t say it is futile, but I think along with those countries, we need to rethink our approach. It could be as soon as next week that the US executes its position and that means we need to rethink it.”

“I would hope there would be a way of keeping the US engaged in the Asia Pacific and the TPP certainly would have done that. There may have to be some adaptation or some other way of doing that.”

‘Rethink’ may mean trying to do a TPP without the US, unless Trump makes a major reversal on his stance.

‘One Nation’ wants to kick New Zealand

The Aussies have been a bit negative about the Security Council vote by Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, United Kingdom and Venezuela (and not vetoed by the Unites States) against Israeli settlements and supporting a two state solution.

None more so than One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts who wants Australia to clamp down on New Zealand immigration and immigrants in response to the vote. Crazy.

Last week Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop implied they would  have gone against the position held by New Zealand, the United States and the 13 other countries, but they can say that because they weren’t there, it doesn’t mean they would have voted against Resolution 2334.

Liberal senator Eric Abetz is reported to have been critical of New Zealand when he released his own statement condemning the resolution, but all I can find is United Nations vote on Israel:

The Foreign Minister is absolutely right to stand with Israel over the United Nations’ ill-founded and poorly considered motion in relation to Israel.

While Australia did not have a vote on the Security Council, it is concerning that the Obama Administration effectively cheered on this silly act. This kind of behaviour is exactly why the American people embraced Donald Trump and the British people embraced Brexit.

We should be unashamed in our support of Israel – the most free and democratic nation in the middle east which shares the Judeo Christian ethics shared by the Western world.

The unelected United Nations bureaucrats should take a serious look in the mirror over these latest actions which come following a long list of actions which seem to indicate it wants to be a left-wing thinktank rather than a bringer of peace and good to the world.

That doesn’t name New Zealand, it just takes a swipe at President Obama’s administration.

Now a One Nation’s Roberts has more than taken a direct swipe at New Zealand, he wants to cut New Zealand immigration and benefits.

Australia’s One Nation party says Kiwi migrants should be punished over Israel

Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said he was “appalled” by the Security Council resolution, which called for an immediate end to any and all settlement activities in disputed zones, including East Jerusalem, which he said “have contained Jewish settlements since biblical times”.

But Roberts went further, accusing New Zealand of “stabbing our ally in the front”, while criticising the Turnbull government for not putting enough pressure on New Zealand to stop it.

“2017 marks the centenary of the ANZACs’ brave actions to free the Palestinian territory – now Israel – from Ottoman oppression of Christians, Jews and other groups,” he said.

“It would never have been possible for those brave ANZACs, charging as part of the Light Horse Brigade, to have ever thought that events 100 years later would go full circle and future generations would betray the very people they were about to liberate.

Accusing New Zealand of a “hostile attitude” towards Israel, Roberts suggested Australia take a stronger stance against New Zealand “settlements”.

“At the very least, we should look at further cutting benefits for New Zealanders living in Australia,” he said.

“Perhaps a tougher immigration policy aimed towards New Zealand would stop Kiwis from establishing settlements in Australia.”

That’s ridiculous.

Roberts’ statement presents a marked turnaround in One Nation policy, with the party previously calling for changes to make to make it easier for New Zealanders to apply for citizenship and social security.

“We have opened our borders and our hearts to people from all over the world offering them the opportunity to become Australian citizens, but not to our closest neighbours, our allies and our ANZAC mates,” the One Nation policy says.

“They are working, paying their taxes, and raising families, but when hardship hits they cannot apply to receive help from our social security system. Many New Zealanders are then left homeless, destitute and desperate.

“We believe Australians would open their hearts to our neighbours. Therefore, we are calling on the government to change the current laws.”

One Nation (or at least Roberts) sounds very flakey.

Threatening punitive measures against one country involved in a unanimous UN vote is pathetic.

There is no way Australia would do any of what Roberts has suggested, but it shows they have crazies in their Parliament too.

Not all Aussies are anti. Bob Carr, ex foreign minister and a patron of Australian Labor Friends of Palestine, wrote on the resolution – The genius of the UN’s resolution on Israeli settlements:

Both Labor and Likud governments have funded settlers, many religious extremists, and gifted them the best land.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are denied building approval for homes, even a chicken coop. If in Area C they throw up a granny flat it’s promptly demolished by army bulldozers.

If Israel is really open to giving the land back in a peace deal why allow settlements in the first place? That’s the question, if I’d been sharper, I would have put to my interlocutor. And settlements not just along the border. Thirty-five per cent are now being approved deep in the territory everyone sees as an ultimate Palestinian state.

This is the essence of the boiling US frustration that resulted in America refusing to veto Friday’s Security Council resolution.

Two former prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, have warned their country risks getting saddled with apartheid, proving again that searching argument and criticism are among Israel’s most resilient features.

Donald Trump can tweet and bluster. But the resolution stands as international law, to be taken seriously by cabinets and bind the International Criminal Court. After years of provocation by Israeli hawks that’s the genius of what Obama and Kerry have pulled off.

Abetz and Roberts can bluster all they like too. Australia weren’t on the Security Council.

And Carr posits:

In the meantime consider the following motion, an elegantly simple one: “Given that Israel continues to defy the 2016 resolution of the Security Council and spreads settlements so that a Palestinian state is no longer possible we move that every resident of Greater Israel be afforded equal rights. This includes the right to vote in national elections.”

Majority support Muslim & asylum seeker immigration

An interesting Australian immigration poll of  by Roy Morgan.

“Over the last year (2015) about 180,000 immigrants came to Australia. Do you think the number of people coming here to live permanently should be increased, or reduced, or remain about the same?”

  • Remain about the same 40%
  • Increased 21%
  • Reduced 34%
  • Can’t say 5%

“Judging by what you see and hear, do you think immigrants are changing Australia’s culture and way of life – or having little effect.”

Respondents who responded that immigrants are changing us were then asked: “Do you think immigrants are changing Australia’s culture and way of life for better or for worse?”

  • Better 32%
  • Worse 32%
  • Can’t say (better or worse) 10%
  • Having little effect 19%
  • Can’t say (changing us) 3%

This is a similar result for ‘better’ to a poll in 2010 but a slight reduction from a poll last year.

“Australia’s population has increased by 6 million from 18 million to just over 24 million over the last 20 years. What population do you think we should aim to have in Australia in 30 years – that is, by 2046?”

  • Under 30 million 34%
  • 30-under 35 million 24%
  • 35 million or more 24%
  • Can’t say 18%

That’s a fairly even spread, but a big reduction since 2010 in the preference for under 30 million.

“Please say whether you support or oppose (Muslim / Asylum seeker/ Skilled migrant/ Family reunion) immigration?”

  • Support 58% (54% 2010, 65% 2015)
  • Oppose 33% (35% 2010, 28% 2015)
  • Can’t say 9%

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7017-australian-views-on-immigration-population-october-2016-201610241910