Archives for April2019

Program for the big thinkers

A week-long summer program will tap into the creativity and passion of young people, helping them develop a project that would “be at home in a museum or art gallery”.

The Recharge program, a collaboration between Bitlink andthe Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG), will run from January 16 to 20from Launceston College’s STEAM NGN, which is a technology facility at the college.

In creating their project, 12inspired young people of high school and college age will use and develop a range of skills.

“It’s not a project where you come along and expect to do just one thing …[it’s]a combination of a bit of woodwork, a bit of 3Dprinting, a bit of computer graphics, a bit of programming, a bit of electronics and so on,”Bitlink managing director James Riggall said.

“Creativity is a huge part of this as well so people who are interested in design, and how people experience things, and video game design, and that sort of stuff are a really good fit for the program as well as someone who is really hard into the engineering side of things,” he said.

“If we don’t get a mix of those sorts of students, we won’t come up with anything near as good as we would if we had a bit of diversity there.”

The participants will also be mentored, listen to guest speakers and attend site tours.

Grifin Brooks has completed the program before, and said it can really open doors into the industry.

“My involvement certainly didn’t stop at the end of the program,” he said.

Mr Brooks learnt a lot from the program, and it has certainly been a jumping-off pointfor him. He isn’t able to participate in this year’sprogram as he has developed to a point where he is participating in a similar national program.

For more information or to register for attendance visit 苏州美甲培训bitlink苏州美甲培训419论坛/events.

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Serious car crash in Tilba closes Princes Highway

Police at the scene of the crash on the Princes Highway. Photo: suppliedUpdate 3.45pm:

The Princes Highway remainsclosed in both directions at Central Tilba due to a serious car accident near Brushgrove Lane.

Northbound traffic is being diverted toOld Princes Highway via the Tilba township.

Southbound traffic is being diverted to Mystery Bay Road, then Sunnyside Road.

The diversions are suitable for light vehicles only.

Heavy vehicles are advised to delay their trip.

Emergency services and traffic response crews are on scene, while the Crash Investigation Unit is attending.

Due to the serious nature of the accident there is no forecast of when the highway will reopen.

For the latest traffic information, visit苏州美甲培训livetraffic苏州美甲培训or call 132 701

2.30pm: A serious car accident has closed the Princes Highway in both directionsatCentral Tibla.

Emergency services are at the scene of the northbound crash, which happened near Bushgrove Lanearound 1pm.

Traffic response crews are also inattendance.

Traffic is heavy in both directions and motorists should expect significant delays.

“Motorists are advised to delay their journey as there is no suitable diversion,” the Transport Management Centre said in a statement.

“Due to the serious nature of the accident there is no forecast of when the highway will reopen.”

For the latest traffic information, visit苏州美甲培训livetraffic苏州美甲培训or call 132 701.

Live Traffic info: To avoid the incident, from Bega, use the Snowy Mountains Highway, then from Cooma, the Monaro Highway to Queanbeyan, then Kings Highway to Batemans Bay to return to the Princes Highway. Motorists are strongly advised to delay their journey due to the additional time of the alternative route (4-5 hours).

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South China Sea: Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte courts Russia in snub to US

Controversial Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has now declared he wants Russia to be his country’s ally and protector, after months of fiery rhetoric aimed at the United States.

“We welcome our Russian friends. Anytime you want to dock here for anything, for play, to replenish supplies or maybe to be our ally to protect us,” Mr Duterte said while visiting a Russian anti-submarine vessel docked in Manila.

“Friends, long live…that’s from the heart,” he told top Russian naval officers, thumping his chest.

The comments came after Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines, Igor Khovaev, said his country is ready to supply the Philippines with sophisticated weapons.

Deals under discussion included the purchases of drones and sniper rifles.

Mr Duterte signalled during a rare visit to the Philippines of two Russian warships that he will allow joint military exercises between the Philippines and Russia, and declared he intends to visit Russia in April.

The Russian warships arrived in Manila last week with an eye-catching “charm offensive” that included Russian marines showing off their martial arts skills in a Manila park.

The former mayor of southern Davao City has not yet visited the US, his country’s closest ally for more than 60 years.

Since being swept office at elections in May last year Mr Duterte has thrown the Philippines’ future relations with the US into question as he sought closer ties with China, threatening to “separate” from the US alliance, end joint exercises and remove US troops from the Philippines.

Mr Duterte’s reaching out to Russia at a time of heightened tensions between the out-going US administration and Russia over telephone hacking during the US election is a further blow to Barack Obama’s key strategy to “pivot” US forces and diplomatic emphasis to Asia.

However defence analysts point out that despite Mr Duterte’s threats, the Philippine’s key agreements and arrangements with the US remain in place, including a treaty allowing US troops, ships and planes to rotate through the country’s military bases, including the strategic Subic Bay that was once America’s largest military installation outside US borders.

Richard Heydarian, a Manila-based analyst, said Donald Trump’s election in the US could see a turnabout in US-Philippine relations.

Mr Trump has already reportedly praised Mr Duterte’s crackdown on drugs that has left more than 6200 people dead, indicating he will be less tough than Mr Obama’s administration on human rights in other countries.

The US’s criticism of the killings prompted Mr Duterte to tell Mr Obama to “go to hell” and to call him the “son of a whore.”

Professor Heydarian said Mr Trump’s tough approach to China is likely to benefit the Philippines.

“For Duterte, this means the Philippines could step back and let the two superpowers slug it out in the high seas, while Manila tries to reap the benefits of friendly ties with Beijing and Washington,” said Professor Heydarian, the author of Asia’s New Battlefield: The US, China and the Struggle for Western Pacific.

“For the Philippine leader it is best to keep out of the clash of the titans,” he said.

Mr Duterte, who has been described as the “Trump of Asia,” has praised Mr Trump and said he hopes to boost business with the US during his time in office.

In November, Mr Duterte appointed Philippine real estate tycoon Jose Antonio to be US trade envoy.

Mr Antonio built the almost completed US$150 million 57-storey Trump Tower in Manila, through his Century Propertries Group.

“I’ve always loved the Philippines,” Mr Trump says the Trump Tower Manila website. “I think it’s just a special place and Manila is one of Asia’s spectacular cities,” he says.

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Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold challenges Aaron Calver to fill the void left by Matt Jurman

The day defensive stalwart Matt Jurman departed Sydney FC, the club welcomed back a man long regarded as the future of the Sky Blues back line.

On Monday, young central defender Aaron Calver resumed full training with the senior squad after being out for eight months with a horror run of injuries.

His long-awaited return to fitness could not have come at a better time for the Sky Blues, who are looking to the 20-year-old to fill the void left by the departure of Jurman to Suwon Bluewings in South Korea.

While Sydney FC are in a position to reinforce their defence in the January transfer window, coach Graham Arnold is in no hurry to find a replacement for Jurman, instead putting his faith in the returning Calver to provide cover in their charge towards a first title in seven years.

“Aaron Calver is back ready to go, so we’re very comfortable at this moment,” Arnold said. “Calver played in the Champions League for us last year. He’s been at the club for a long time, he’s made 20-odd A-League appearances, so we’ve got a lot of confidence in Aaron that he can step in.”

It doesn’t mean the youngster is likely to start against Central Coast Mariners on Sunday with Sebastian Ryall preferred to partner Alex Wilkinson in the heart of defence. But at a time when the club is being inundated with inquiries from all over the world from experienced centre backs eager to move to the league leaders, Arnold’s show of faith has not gone unnoticed by Calver.

“It’s very humbling,” Calver said. “He gave me a lot of faith last year, giving me a chance to play in ACL games. I’ve played nearly 30 games [in all competitions] now and I’m ready to step up and restore the faith he’s put in me.”

Only Terry Antonis made his debut for Sydney FC at a younger age than Calver, who was thrown into the A-League at just 16. However, it has been a long road to becoming a regular for the slim defender who suffered a terrible run of injuries, which began with the Sky Blues away defeat to Guangzhou Evergrande last May. Complications following a knee injury set back his pre-season and prevented Calver from playing any football since two brief trial cameos.

“I’ve had two operations in that time,” Calver said. “The first one was to repair all the ligaments, which was pretty severe, but I got back to training for a couple of months and then had to get another arthroscopy to clean up stuff they couldn’t find in the first one. It was a pain, but it’s all good now.”

A hyperextended knee, suffered in an innocuous challenge gone horribly wrong, then left Calver with ruptured ligaments and damaged muscles. Calver knew it was bad at the time, but never expected to have to wait until the new year to play first-team football again.

“I just went to clear the ball backwards and one of their players ran through my knee, but the bottom half of my leg kept going, hyperextending it really bad and it ripped everything on the inside,” he said. It wasn’t pretty.

“I ended up tearing the ligament and the hamstring tendon came off the top of my fibia, so that was meant to be about four months. I got back from that and eight weeks ago I tore my meniscus in training, which they think was from the first [injury] anyway.”

A chance to return to the match-day squad, albeit on the bench, against the Mariners in Gosford on Sunday will be a major step in the youngster’s recovery, but he knows it will take another major stride to break into the league’s best defence.

“It’s just like clockwork,” he said. “They’ve been unbelievable, haven’t really conceded many goals at all and I don’t think the team is at full potential yet. It will be a big step up to fill those shoes, but I think I’m capable of that.”

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Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte and the ‘war on terror’

The most worrying aspect of the burgeoning relationship between Russia and the Philippines is the focus on counter-terrorism. For decades, Moscow has unleashed a brutal counter-terrorism campaign in Chechnya, which should not become a model for Rodrigo Duterte’s counter-terrorism operations in Mindanao.

On January 3 after a four-day visit to the Philippines, Eduard Mikhailov, a senior Russian naval officer, stated the Russian Navy is willing to help the country fight against terrorism. “The problem here is terrorism … You have the task to fight this problem and we will show you what we can do,” he said during a media interview.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines, Igor Anatolyevich Khovaev, reiterated Moscow’s support, stating they are willing to provide sophisticated arms to the Philippines, including light weapons, submarines and helicopters.

Moscow is no novice when it comes to dealing with terrorism, with Islamic militants continuing to threaten Russia’s stability until this day. Most of the terror attacks stem from instability in Chechnya, a region that historically fought for independence from Moscow.

Although most acts of terrorism are confined to Chechnya and neighbouring Dagestan, occasionally Islamic militants have conducted terror operations elsewhere in Russia, most notably the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, the 2002 Moscow theatre hostage crisis, and the 2004 Beslan School siege. In 2013 alone, 31 terrorist attacks claimed 40 lives and injured dozens more, according to the Investigative Committee of Russia.

Moscow has adopted a policy of collective punishment, whereby the entire population of Chechnya has suffered as a result of Islamic militancy. Putin led the campaign against Chechnya, being accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity along the way in an attempt to put an end to the terrorist attacks. Human rights are regularly dismissed in defiance of the law in order to advance counter-terrorism operations.

For decades, 8252 kilometres away from Moscow, Manila has been facing an Islamic insurgency in the southern island of Mindanao. Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani formed a violent extremist group in the Philippines known as Abu Sayyaf, who split from the separatist movement Moro National Liberation in 1991.

Today, Abu Sayyaf seeks an independent Islamic state on Mindanao, not so different from the Caucasus Emirate in southwest Russia, who aspire to expel Russia from the North Caucasus and create an Islamic emirate in its place.

After losing the support base it garnered in the 1990s, today Abu Sayyaf has no more than 400 members, but still continues to threaten Philippine stability.

As recently as September 2016, terrorism struck Duterte’s hometown, Davao City, in the southern Philippines.

Duterte has vowed to address terrorism in Mindanao but acknowledges time is needed to combat the problem at its root. “I have six years to do it. I do not know how many concessions God can [give], but he made me a President, so I hope He helps me,” he said.

With the threat of battle-hardened Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle-East to South-East Asia, aspiring to create a caliphate in the region, the prospect of terrorism is growing.

In the past, the Philippine military have tried to halt terrorist gangs such as Abu Sayyaf with support from the United States and Australia to little avail. The new relationship with Russia offers an alternative. According to officials, the Philippines is “open to cooperating with the Russian Ministry of Defense through education and training exchanges on counter-terrorism operations”.

Duterte has shown a liking to Putin’s brash politics, often emphasising his admiration for the Russian president. The two men met for the first time at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader’s meeting in Lima, Peru last November. “You know, we have become fast friends”, Duterte said in the aftermath. Putin and Duterte claim to share not only a mutual understanding of Western hypocrisy in global affairs, but similar outlooks on how to best handle terrorism.

According to Duterte, Indonesian and Malaysian authorities have permission to bomb fleeing Filipino militants and their hostages at sea. “[B]omb them. If they cannot be captured, you bomb them. How about the hostages? Eh, bomb them also,” he allegedly told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

For Duterte, the loss of civilian life is justified if it means combating terror. Putin has regularly conducted operations in a similar way, ignoring large-scale loss of civilian life in its counter-terrorism campaign, most notably in 2002 and 2004. Taking counter-terrorism advice from Putin may suit Duterte, but it will undermine the rule of law in the Philippines as it has in Russia.

At present Duterte’s “war on drugs” is making headlines with the death roll reaching 6200 since his election. But the second war Duterte may decide to wage, the “war on terror”, is just around the corner, which may prove equally damaging for the country.

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