Great Barrier Reef under threat: Australia is fighting for world heritage status of the reef

Great Barrier Reef bedroht
Australia is fighting for world heritage status of the reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a unique natural wonder. UNESCO now wants to classify the ecosystem as endangered world heritage because of environmental damage and urges Australia to take measures against climate change.

Regardless of the resistance in Australia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee wants to classify the Great Barrier Reef, which is threatened by climate change, as an endangered natural site. The draft for the decision “is a proposal to put the site on the list of endangered world heritage”, says the director of the committee, Mechtild Rössler, at a press conference during the 44th meeting of the body of the UN organization for education, science, Culture and communication in the Chinese city of Fuzhou. The proposal is on the agenda on Friday.

The director and president of the 44th session, China’s Vice Education Minister Tian Xuejun, denied speculation that the world-famous coral reef could be put on the threatened sites list at the instigation of the Chinese government amid political tensions between China and Australia. “The recommendation is based on the reports and data that Australia has given us,” says Tian Xuejun. He opposed “baseless allegations”.

As a result of climate change, the world’s largest reef is threatened by warm water and coral bleaching. To prevent it from getting on the red list, the Australian government had invited more than a dozen ambassadors to go on a snorkeling trip to the reef in the run-up to the meeting. The Australian news agency AAP reported that nine of the 15 diplomats were from countries that had the right to vote at the committee meeting.

“A call to action”

The Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia extends over more than 344,000 square kilometers, making it larger than Italy. It can be seen with the naked eye from space. In the UNESCO draft, the World Heritage Committee urges Australia to take action against climate change. It is also about the quality of the water around the reef, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1981.

The long-term prospects for the natural wonder have changed from “bad” to “very bad”. Climate change and its impact on world heritage are an important topic of the Fuzhou session. The director of the World Heritage Committee emphasized that the idea of ​​the list of endangered sites was “a call to action” on which the entire world community should work together.

53 World Heritage sites are currently classified as endangered. For the first time in the history of the World Heritage Convention, two sites could lose their title at the same meeting: for example, advice is to be given on the port district of Liverpool, which is threatened because of the urban development and infrastructure projects called “Liverpool Waters” and a planned football stadium. According to a UNESCO document, it has already lost its character, which led to it being classified as a world heritage site. There is also discussion about the Selous game reserve in Tanzania, where a dam is to be built.


the streets of Melbourne deserted after the start of a fifth lockdown

published on Friday July 16, 2021 at 1:40 p.m.

The streets of Melbourne were sadly empty on Friday morning, hours after the start of a fifth lockdown in Australia’s second-largest city, as the country struggles to contain another outbreak.

Since Sydney has been subject to a similar measure since the end of June, a total of more than 12 million Australians are now being asked to stay at home.

“You look at the city today, there is no one here anymore. It is as if the city is asleep,” resident Mike Cameron told AFP.

People are only allowed to leave their homes for certain very specific reasons, such as shopping or playing sports. And many are crossing their fingers that this confinement does not last.

“We hope it will actually only be five days,” said Matilda Dempsey, 18. “I think it’s very playable, and I’m glad it was decided very quickly.”

“I think in Sydney they got it too late, and now they’re stuck in a bad situation.”

After an initial one-week extension in Sydney, the epicenter of the current outbreak, containment was scheduled until July 16, but it was extended at least until July 30.

– ‘zero case’ strategy –

Australia has long been praised for its initial good results in dealing with the pandemic, which have mainly been due to the very strict closure of the borders of the huge island-continent.

But the vaccination campaign is extremely slow – less than 10% of the population is vaccinated – as many developed countries begin to consider the world after.

Unlike many countries that are trying to control the circulation of the virus, Australia has opted for a zero case strategy.

Melbourne recorded six cases on Friday, all linked to known outbreaks. In total, the city has 24 contaminations as part of this epidemic wave.

But many possible outbreaks of infection have been identified in the state capital of Victoria, including the stadium which recently hosted the rugby match between France and Australia. Authorities fear that thousands of people may have been exposed to the virus there.

In total, a thousand cases have been identified in one month in the country.

This figure is significantly lower than the balance sheets of most major cities in the world. But it poses a significant challenge for Australia because of its zero-case strategy.

The Sydney outbreak presumably started from an unvaccinated driver who was caring for airline crews and who tested positive in mid-June.


HelloFresh shares in the red: HelloFresh buys in Australia | 07/13/21

HelloFresh SE buys the Australian Youfoodz Holdings, which offers prepared meals as well as snacks and drinks for private and business customers.

To be paid 0.93 Australian dollars per share or a total of 125 million dollars, the equivalent of 79 million euros, as HelloFresh announced. The Youfoodz Board recommends that its shareholders approve the takeover offer.

HelloFresh regards the acquisition as part of the strategy to become the “world’s leading food solutions group”. The Australian market is growing rapidly. The intended takeover will enable synergies and create growth potential for the future.

Youfoodz is one of the fastest growing brands in the Australian food sector, according to the information. The company specializes in providing fresh meals with a focus on healthy eating, locally sourced ingredients and next day delivery after ordering. The company will continue to operate under its own brand in the future.

The HelloFresh share is currently in XETRA trading 0.36 percent to 83.98 euros.



Corona vaccinations in Australia: Drastic video should shake up

TThe patient in the hospital bed gasps for air, spitting the ventilation tubes in her nose. In addition to their breathing sounds, only the beeping of medical equipment can be heard. Her wheezing sounds more and more strained. It sounds like someone is trying to pull air through a valve that is way too narrow. Pleadingly, the woman’s gaze swings from left to right. “Why is nobody helping me?” Her eyes seem to say. Her eyelids close for a moment as she tries another breath. Then she looks into the camera and directly in the direction of the viewer. A hard swallow later, the screen goes dark. This is followed by a message in white letters, while the gasping of the woman can be heard in the background: “COVID-19 can affect anyone. Stay at home. Let yourself be tested. Book your vaccination. “

The drastic video commissioned by the Australian government is currently being shown primarily in the greater Sydney area. The metropolis of millions is currently struggling with a sharply rising infection curve. On Monday, the state of New South Wales, to which Sydney belongs, reported 112 new infections, one of the highest daily values ​​to date. A woman over 90 years old who was infected in her family died as a result of COVID-19, making her the first person to have been infected locally since the beginning of this wave. After Australia had the virus under control last year thanks to strict border closings and quarantine rules, the more contagious Delta variant is now causing uncertainty. So far, 31,000 infections and 911 deaths have been reported across the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

Sydney is currently experiencing its third week in a tightened lockdown, which has been extended to Friday this week for the time being. The streets of the metropolis, which were otherwise busy during the pandemic, are now deserted, the schools are empty, people have curled up in their apartments, which they are only allowed to leave to buy groceries or to do some other absolutely necessary activity. State prime minister Gladys Berejiklian warned the city’s five million residents that they were facing “the greatest threat since the pandemic began.” No wonder, then, that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s central government sees the time for a stirring message.

Nevertheless, there was also criticism of the “tactless” video clip. Some saw it as an unnecessary “fear campaign” that worked with the dramatization of a horror film. Jessica Kaufman, an Australian scientist who researched people’s vaccination readiness, even warned that the clip could have the opposite effect that it was supposed to trigger. According to her, drastic images like this also fuel fear of possible side effects of the vaccines. The fact that the video shows a young woman appealing to those who are not vaccinated is also criticized. Because for the age group under 40 it is currently extremely difficult to get the right vaccine in Australia.

Australia originally relied primarily on the vaccine from the manufacturer AstraZeneca, which, however, is only recommended for people aged 60 and over in Australia due to the low risk of blood clots in people of younger age. According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, younger people can also get the vaccine after consulting their family doctor. But many shy away from this risk. As Morrison made clear in an interview with the broadcaster “Sky News”, the request for vaccination is only part of the message that the video clip is supposed to get across. The other is the warning to obey the lockdown measures. According to the Prime Minister, a lot of young people in Sydney have not complied with the requirements.

However, the government has also done its own part to ensure that just eleven percent of Australians are fully vaccinated today, significantly less than in other industrialized countries. Since the number of infections had remained manageable for a long time, she had taken her time with her vaccination campaign. Ultimately, she was also unlucky because, in retrospect, she might have opted for the “wrong” vaccine. Now she is hoping for a turnaround in this regard. Pfizer / BioNTech will deliver 40 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year, some sooner than expected. With the plan to vaccinate one million doses of Pfizer a week, the government wants to get closer to its goal of having at least one vaccination available to every Australian by the end of the year. This is one of the reasons why the campaign with the horror video comes at exactly the right time, according to Prime Minister Morrison.


Ashleigh Barty wins Wimbledon, Australia is proud

Evonne Goolagong, Cathy Freeman and Ashleigh Barty, three athletes whose successes in Australia mean a lot more than victories at the highest level. “A trio that has contributed more to racial understanding than any other,” one commentator described the importance of the three after Ashleigh Barty’s Wimbledon victory.

All three are proud of their native Australian ancestry. Cathy Freeman tweeted: “We are very proud of our girl!” The Olympic champion from Sydney 2000 once wrapped herself in the Aboriginal flag after a success and triggered a very controversial debate at home. Evonne Goolagong won her first Wimbledon title 50 years ago, just four years after the indigenous people became full citizens after a referendum in a country they had inhabited for around 60,000 years. Cathy Freeman won at a time when race issues were more openly discussed. But it took another eight years before Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized in parliament for the past injustice on behalf of all Australians.

Part of the Ngarigo tribe

Ashleigh Barty is part of the Ngarigo tribe and has always been proud of her origins. In honor of Evonne Goolagong, whom Ashleigh Barty referred to as “my little sister”, she wore a retro outfit to Wimbledon that was reminiscent of Goolagong’s dress from the early 1970s. Fittingly, their success came on the penultimate day of NAIDOC Week, an annual festival of all kinds of cultural events celebrating the oldest permanent culture in the world.

With her victory in London, “Our Ash” increased her popularity even further in Australia. Millions slept a little longer on Sunday morning because the game on the Australian east coast didn’t start until just after eleven o’clock in the evening. The Australians see themselves well represented by the no-frills athlete. “She has developed normality into an art form,” wrote one journalist. Even Barty’s partner Garry Kissick fits the picture perfectly. In training he is not too bad to play the ball boy, to the desperation of some journalists, the two are “the most normal couple I know”, as a friend of the two said.

After the Wimbledon victory, Ashleigh Barty has one more opportunity to increase the boundless admiration of her compatriots: A win at the domestic Australian Open at the beginning of next year would finally put her on a par with Goolagong and Freeman, it would be the first triumph Australian since 1978. And then a not very serious suggestion from a compatriot could come true, please rename the national holiday Australia Day to Ashtralia Day.


Test match – For the Blues, "the most exciting is happening" –

  1. Test match – For the Blues, “the most exciting is happening”
  2. Summer tour: the XV of France “in the thick of it”
  3. XV of France. What composition for the 2nd test against the Wallabies? Should we change everything?The Rugbynistère
  4. Arthur Vincent (XV of France): “We were a little too close to the limit” against AustraliaThe
  5. XV of France: a framework looks back on the end of the matches of the Blues!Fifteen World
  6. See full coverage on Google News


Experts from the USA named the main disadvantages of China as a superpower :: Politics :: RBC

Analysts of the RAND Corporation in a report on China’s position on the world stage admitted that it has a serious economic influence, but noted the inability of Beijing to offer an original development model

Photo: Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Emphasis on economics

Today, the main trump card of China is its economic power, experts of the American research corporation RAND state in the report Understanding Influence in the Strategic Competition with China, dedicated to the role of Beijing in the world arena. According to their conclusion, for China the most effective leverage on third countries is the opportunity to offer them trade and investment partnerships – and this is more effective than direct military threats or the promotion of the Chinese political model.

In their report, RAND experts analyzed the global influence of the PRC in terms of military and economic pressure on other countries, as well as the ability to promote its own values. The researchers focused on efforts to build influence in twenty countries, including Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam.

Based on the data for 2018, the list of countries most dependent on economic relations with China includes Laos (trade with China accounts for 42% of the total trade turnover of this country), the Philippines (41%), Vietnam (33%), Australia (32% ), South Korea (30%) and Cambodia (29%). Chinese direct investment is of particular importance for Laos (78.5% of all foreign direct investment), Kenya (33.7%), Cambodia (24.8%) and Thailand (14%).

Another effective method of Chinese influence is the development of informal ties with representatives of elites in other countries. RAND experts cite China’s attempts to influence elites in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea as examples. For example, representatives from China have offered economic preferences to politicians in Australia and New Zealand so that they can take measures beneficial to Beijing. “China has demonstrated the ability to win support among elites and officials <...> even with negative public opinion towards China in these countries,” analysts said.

And although the United States retains its leading position in terms of influence in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), Beijing is closing the gap with Washington. This follows from the integrated rating of the power of the Asia-Pacific countries, compiled by the Sydney-based think tank Lowy Institute. It takes into account such factors as the state of the economy (size of GDP, level of technological development, etc.), military potential (military spending, quality of weapons, etc.), sustainability (stability of institutions, level of geopolitical security, reserves of resources) , foreign policy weight, and the degree of economic and military influence. According to Lowy Institute calculations, the US rating in 2020 was 81.6, followed by China with 76.1. Back in 2018, America’s rating was 84.5, and China’s was 75.9: in two years, Beijing has narrowed its gap with Washington by 3.1 points. Lowy Institute experts confirm RAND’s conclusion that China’s main resource is its economic strength. According to this indicator, Beijing ranks first in the region with a rating of 98.9 against 87.7 for the United States. In terms of the degree of economic interconnection with other countries, the Asia-Pacific region is ahead of the United States by 37.2 points. The third place in the overall rating of the Lowy Institute from 2020 is occupied by Japan (41), the fourth – by India (39.7). Russia is in fifth place with a score of 33.5.

Limited model

Read on RBC Pro

Despite growing economic power, China’s ability to offer other countries an attractive development model based on original values ​​is limited, RAND concluded. According to the researchers, one can speak of the “Chinese model” in a theoretical way rather than in a practical one. “This is a mixture of various methods promoted by the state. [экономического] developments that are adjusted over time. This is not a clear sequential list of measures that can be applied in another country, ”experts say.

According to RAND analysts, China’s economy is likely to face problems in the coming years. “Along with rising anxiety over China’s lack of human rights, the slowdown in economic activity [в Китае] will reduce the attractiveness of his model, ”the report says. While the values ​​of democracy and freedom are attractive to the population in and of themselves, the values ​​of authoritarianism are attractive only as a means of achieving economic success, RAND believes. “China’s attempts to increase its influence will be largely limited by the fact that the addressees of their influence share more values ​​with the United States than with China,” experts say.

Based on the forecast of the consulting company PwC, if in 2016-2020 the growth of the Chinese economy, according to preliminary data, amounted to 6%, then in 2021-2030 it will decrease to 3.4%. Analysts at the Dutch bank Rabobank point out that the slowdown in the PRC economy in the long term will be influenced by an aging population, rising debt obligations, falling labor productivity and rising political tensions. So, if in the pre-crisis 2019, China’s GDP growth was 6%, then in 2025 – only 4%, follows from the bank’s forecasts. However, if Beijing carries out successful economic reforms, then GDP growth in 2021-2030 could reach 7.5%, economists from the Australian National University and Cornell University in the United States calculated.

Another weakness of China is its inability to compete with the United States in the sphere of military influence. According to RAND’s estimates, the United States spent $ 13.7 billion on military aid to other countries in 2018, while the leading states of Europe – Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain and Italy – $ 7 billion. And China’s annual spending on military aid to other countries is about $ 100 million. analysts write, admitting that these items of Beijing’s expenditures are classified, and therefore it is difficult to establish an exact figure. But if in 2017 the United States supplied arms to other countries for $ 12 billion, China – for less than $ 2 billion. Most of all it provided Cambodia ($ 115 million in 2013-2018), the African Union countries ($ 100 million) and Afghanistan ($ 70 million ). Ultimately, China can only threaten those countries with which it has territorial conflicts. China’s growing power is forcing its neighbors, including Japan, India and Australia, to seek opportunities to contain Beijing, including with US support, RAND experts conclude.