Home › Monthly Archives › September 2019

Paris UN climate conference 2015: Old and new alliances line up in shadow box

The Eiffel Tower lights up with the slogan “Action Now” as part of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris. Photo: AP/Michel EulerParis: New and old alliances are making their mark on the Paris climate summit as ministers including ‘s Julie Bishop shadow box their way through key disputes over what will end up in a global agreement..
Shanghai night field

Different groupings of countries sought to position themselves ahead of the Wednesday release of a new draft version of the agreement,

which negotiators said would be the biggest test yet of the summit as it would reveal the depth of the divisions that remain.

If any group of countries choose to reject the new draft it would likely fracture the talks and threaten a final outcome, due by Friday.

The most powerful of the emerging economies – the so-called BASIC group of Brazil, South Africa, India and China – released a statement calling for rich countries to rapidly boost financial help for poorer nations to cope with climate change, which is a major area of dispute in the talks.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes a group of industrialised nations – in particular the United States, Canada and – continued to push for major emerging economies to be required to do more than has been expected in the past.

In particular, they have been agitating to expand the donor base for climate funding to include the most advanced of the developing countries – notably China. But they stress that these contributions from developing countries would be voluntary.

Perhaps the most significant moment on Tuesday was a joint statement by the European Union and 79 mostly poor African and small island countries. In part, it aimed to break down some of the traditional barriers between the developing and developed world.

The EU-African-islander statement called for a legally binding, ambitious and fair deal that established a long-term goal to tackle global warming.

It set out agreed positions on some key disputes, including how often emissions targets should be reviewed under the Paris agreement.

EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said: “These negotiations are not about ‘them’ and ‘us’. These negotiations are about all of us, both developed and developing countries, finding a common ground and solution together.” <a data-cke-saved-href=”” href=””></a>

Elsewhere, observers still have one eye on what is known as the Like Minded Developing Country group. It includes India and China and several countries such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Malaysia that are regarded as troublesome wildcards that have sought to move procedural motions that, if successful, have would slowed the negotiations.

Russia is not in this group but has been dubbed a “black box” by European negotiators because of the uncertainty surrounding the role it may play.

Countries are starting to flag their final negotiating positions. One European Union negotiator told Fairfax Media that the continent would be inclined to sacrifice some of the ambition of the final agreement provided it included a system to review emissions target with some integrity.

China and India are among nations calling for greater transparency about climateaid that is supposed to amount to $US100 billion ($136 billion) a year by 2020, and rise after that.

The EU delegate said the richer nations of Europe would likely have little problem complying with that as their reporting systems on climate finance were already open.

Of greater importance to the donors will be what happens to the money they provide. Among the options being negotiated is initially having different transparency demands for rich and developing nations, with the requirements to converge in the future.

Wednesday will likely see the talks enter a final spurt, but the EU negotiator said they were not expected to finish on time by 6pm on Friday. If they did, she said it would be a bad sign.

“It would mean we have concluded a low-level, minimalist treaty and that is not our goal,” she said.

She said success would be a treaty strong enough – even before future reviews to accelerate carbon cuts – to send a clear signal of a global shift away from fossil fuels.

Fairfax Media is a partner of the United Nations Foundation

Brawler at Lollipop’s play centre children’s birthday party avoids jail

A screengrab of the brawl inside Lollipop’s Playland & Cafe in Wetherill Park. Several parents were taken to hospital after a fight inside Lollipop’s Playland & Cafe in Wetherill Park. Photo: Facebook
Shanghai night field

A woman who pleaded guilty to affray over a wild brawl at a child’s birthday party at a western Sydney indoor play centre has been sentenced to 12 months’ jail.

But Marleen Isaac won’t spend time behind bars if she remains of good behaviour, after a Fairfield Local Court magistrate on Wednesday agreed to suspend her sentence.

Six other adults charged with assault offences over the violent brawl at Lollipop’s Playland & Cafe in Wetherill Park in June will appear in court during the course of the day.

Magistrate Vivien Swain described the melee that erupted on June 20 as “very serious”.

“These events occurred in Lollipop’s Playland, which is a place where children go to celebrate special occasions, to play, to have fun,” Ms Swain said.

“And this all started, it seems, because Mr Isaac Isaac had a disproportionate protective instinct towards [one] child.”

She told how he had assaulted a little girl who had bumped into another child, “grabbing her by the arm and saying: ‘Don’t do that. Play nice.’ “

The girl, aged just seven, ran over to her father, who approached Isaac Isaac for an explanation.

Within moments, six members of the Isaac clan had dived into the fray – including family patriarch Aduard Aushana, also known as Edward Isaac, who at 61 is the oldest person charged over the offences.

A police statement said the grey-haired war veteran, who the court has previously heard relies on the disability pension, inserted himself in the brawl before he returned to his table, removed his jacket and sunglasses, then walked over to another man who was not involved in the violence.

Ms Swain said Mr Aushana “set upon” that man, the grandfather of a little boy who was celebrating his fourth birthday at Lollipop’s, and punched him down.

The brawl, which was filmed on a mobile phone, was said to have started when children from each birthday party were using the equipment at the indoor playground for children aged two to 11.

The brawl involved up to 12 people of the approximately 70 who were at the play centre at the time.

In the days after the brawl, the uncle of a seven-year-old girl believed to be at the centre of the dispute told Fairfax Media that his niece had come out of the play equipment crying, claiming that “a man pulled my hair”.

The situation then degenerated into a brawl between the adults.

Superintendent Peter Lennon, from the Fairfield Local Area Command, said at the time: “After viewing footage of the incident, police were concerned about the safety of all people involved, particularly the children, who were heard to be screaming at the height of the brawl.

“The search warrants and arrests [issued] this morning send a strong message to the community, that the behaviour that was seen at a children’s venue will not be tolerated.

“The behaviour we saw in the play centre was something I cannot understand.

“There are a number of children that can be seen in the footage who are extremely upset and crying.”

The play centre, on McIlwraith Street, promotes itself as a popular party venue for babies, toddlers and school-aged children with slides, ball pits, jumping castles and a tea-cup ride.

AAP, Megan Levy, Patrick Begley

More to come

‘Weight-loss is really easy’: Celebrity trainer James Duigan

James Duigan. Photo: Supplied”I lost my dad to cancer two years ago,” James Duigan, the n famous for training A-listers like Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, tells me over a green juice in Sydney’s Bondi.
Shanghai night field

He is telling me about the effect of emotions on our weight and overall wellness.

During his battle, his father ate to keep his weight up and because he “felt lonely”, Duigan ate with him, putting on 10 kilograms in the process.

“Dad passed away and I felt like I’d let him down – I wanted to save him and I couldn’t and I was just racked with shame and guilt,” Duigan explains.

Previously, with his support and making lifestyle changes, his father had beaten cancer, Duigan says. He had faith they could do it again, telling his son, “Now I know you’re here we can beat it”.

“He had so much trust in me and I just felt like I’d let him down,” Duigan recalls.

“I was just holding onto it all and there was nothing I could do and I’d just go ‘OK, I’m going to clean up my diet because I’ve written five Clean and Lean books and I’d just find myself not.”

Unable to pull himself out of his rut and return to shape mentally or physically, he says his wife, Chrissy, eventually told him he had to let go of his guilt.

“I really worked at it,” he says. “It wasn’t like ‘that’s right, I’ll let go of the guilt’. I worked at it every day. It was affirmations and being disciplined with my thoughts – it’s really easy to get into a spiral with your thoughts and I just thought ‘enough’.

“You can control your thoughts and then thinking these good things and being vigilant with them you just start to feel better generally and I looked around and I’d lost 10 kilos in three months.”

Guilt and shame are important, often overlooked, components of weight and health problems, according to the owner of Bodyism and author of Clean and Lean.

“Weight loss in itself is really easy,” he says. “Biologically it is – unless there’s a really hard-core hormonal or parasite type of thing going on, the mechanics and biology of weight loss is really simple.

“It’s the psychology of it that’s the issue. And also all of the mixed messages – gluten-free, low-fat.”

Duigan (pronounced Dye-gan) is mostly gluten-free and sugar-free but says as soon as you start to get dogmatic about any way of being “people fall through the cracks”.

“Like if you’re going to have a brownie, have a brownie. Not a beetroot and brussels sprout brownie. Just go for it, do it,” the 40-year-old father of two says.

“I love food. It should be celebrated. The energy you put into your food is almost as important as what you’re eating.”

He is saying that the more we are stressed about the food we eat, the more we produce cortisol which inhibits fat loss.

It relates to exercise too.

“Some of the most dramatic weight-loss results we’ve had is when we’ve said, ‘OK, you need to to stop running’, you get them walking and doing yoga and their stress levels go down and they just become unrecognisable versions of themselves,” he says.

Does that mean that if we really enjoy moments of indulging, (or not running) the cascade of pleasure hormones counteracts the effects, at least a little, I wonder.

“I think so,” Duigan replies. “Guilt is the deep-fried doughnuts of emotion – it will hold onto more fat than anything you eat.”

That’s not a licence to go and eat whatever you want, he adds.

“Choose foods that work for you. People say, ‘go on, live a little’ – yeah, absolutely, do stuff that makes you feel better.”

I suggest that the message gets skewed along the way – that people often take the idea of eating what makes you feel better as the foods that are emotionally comforting rather than foods that make your body feel better.

It comes back to psychology, he says.

“A lot of people don’t have a deep belief that they deserve to be happy and healthy … There’s a lot of shame and guilt.

“The minute you change that conversation and the minute that you do understand that you do deserve to be happy and healthy, everything becomes easier and you tend not to sabotage yourself and you tend not to do these crazy things, because if it sounds crazy, it is crazy.”


“Instagram has promoted health and wellness but, it’s also so dangerous,” Duigan says. “You’ve got the rise of Instagram anorexics who are just ruthlessly opportunistic and ruining people’s lives.

“There’s zero accountability. If someone says something horrifically dangerous, like just eat 10 bananas a day, limit your intake to 800 calories a day and do these plyometric exercises that I do so cutely with my boyfriend.

“The banana one – that’s actually a real thing and there’s another one – they had a fight – who has 4 million followers – hard-core plyometric exercises, super calorie-controlled – all just on the border of acceptable in terms of dietitians. It’s crazy.”

Everyone is affected by the images on Instagram, he says.

“I speak to people now – one of the most famous actresses and she’s like ‘I feel terrible’ and I said, ‘why?’ and she said, ‘I was on Instagram for half an hour this morning, just feeling terrible’.

“There’s a Victoria’s Secret girl we’re training and she’s like ‘Oh, for god’s sake, I can’t do it anymore’.

“I know two of the biggest wellness bloggers and my heart goes out to them, but they’re suffering eating disorders and it’s like ‘you didn’t eat that, stop it, stop saying you did’.

“The good news is that the fastest way to lose weight is to focus on your health. And that’s a great thing, but people can’t believe that. They’re like ‘where’s the pill’ or ‘what do I have to do miserably for this to work?’

“A lot of people think health means boring and drab like steamed chicken breasts with a bowl of dust … that’s where Instagram is great – people sharing beautiful, delicious food.

“There’s nothing wrong with social media it’s just a few opportunists are ruthlessly exploiting it and are faking it as well: ‘Oh look this is this thing I like’, and they’re getting paid for it.”​

Duigan has a new cookbook out in December called Clean & Lean for Life. 

Burt Reynolds blasted for saying Charlie Sheen ‘deserves’ HIV positive status

Burt Reynolds’ comments were called “ignorant” and unnecessary”.Burt Reynolds recovering from heart surgeryCharlie Sheen announces he is HIV positiveCOMMENT: Sheen’s HIV admission isn’t shameful
Shanghai night field

Screen legend Burt Reynolds is under fire for saying he thought Charlie Sheen deserved his HIV-positive status on national television.

The 79-year-old made the comments on UK television show Loose Women when asked if he sympathised with the actor.

Reynolds himself was the subject of HIV rumours in the 1980s after he lost a considerable amount of weight due to a prescription pain killer addiction.

“He’s handled it badly, I think,” he said. “His father [West Wing actor Martin Sheen] is a very, very decent man and a dear friend of mine.”

“I feel bad for him. But Charlie? I don’t feel bad for him. He’s getting what he deserves. If you’re going to misbehave, then they’re going to get you.”

When pressed by host Ruth Langsford to clarify his comments, Reynolds went further.

“No, he deserves it. He misbehaved badly. Very badly. But you know when you’re that age, it’s tough. All the things are coming at you and it’s difficult.”

The comments were blasted by UK-based HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, as well as shocked viewers, who called Reynolds “ignorant”.

“What a horrible thing to say,” one woman wrote on Twitter. Did Burt Reynolds really just say Charlie Sheen deserved what he got? #loosewomen— Madeleine Rich (@MadeleineRich) December 8, 2015#loosewomen#burtreynolds what a horrible thing to say about #CharlieSheen, felt sorry for #ruthlangsford she didn’t know how to react.— gilly (@gillypants) December 8, 2015What an ignorant person Burt Reynolds is!! How can he utter those words – Charlie Sheen deserved HIV!! #loosewomen— Nina Boyden (@BoydenNina) December 8, 2015

Terrence Higgins Trust executive director of external affairs, Shaun Griffin, also shot-down the harmful comments.

“The comments made today on Charlie Sheen’s HIV status are completely unnecessary,” Griffin told the UK’s Independent. “It is not right for anybody to be deemed ‘deserving’ of HIV, or any health condition.”

Reynolds is currently on the publicity circuit for his new memoir, But Enough About Me.

Sheen, 50, revealed his HIV status on NBC’s Today show last month, saying he wanted to put an end to rumour and speculation.

“I am here to admit I am HIV-positive and I have to put a stop to the onslaught and barrage of attacks and sub-truths and harmful stories that are about threatening the health of so many others,” he said.

In 2012, the former Two and a Half Men star was forced to apologise for a homophobic slur at the opening of a club after he called the audience ‘f**gots’.

Households face further strain as economy struggles, says former RBA economist Jeremy Lawson

Jeremy Lawson: residential investment contributed about 20 per cent of growth in 2015. Photo: Dominic LorrimerThe n economy will struggle to maintain already lacklustre growth rates next year as the main drivers of expansion in 2015 start to flag, a former senior economist with the Reserve Bank of has warned.
Shanghai night field

Standard Life Investments’ chief economist Jeremy Lawson says a decline in housing investment, along with the impact of cooling property prices on household spending, will add to the continuing drag from weak commodity prices and falling resources-related business spending to further slow growth rates.

“If you think about the housing market, residential investment contributed about 20 per cent of the growth that saw in 2015,” he said.

“Forward-looking indicators suggest that that investment is slowing down quite substantially, and it’s not just on the volume side – there are also signs that price growth is levelling off.

“So, without having to forecast an actual drop in n house prices, if you think about the wealth effect and how that tends to operate in , I’m pretty convinced that one of the reasons why household consumption growth has been solid despite weak wage growth is because of that positive wealth effect,” he said.

His comments add to a chorus of economists warning that despite better than expected gross domestic product growth of 2.5 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, faces a difficult 2016.

and New Zealand Banking group economists Katie Hill and Justin Fabo cautioned this week that the Reserve Bank of ‘s forecasts for household spending “are highly exposed to disappointment”. Squeeze coming

They say entrenched weak wage growth and shrinking national income from falling export prices will further squeeze household budgets, which will crimp spending and so discourage investment by business.

“First, our view is that households are viewing lower income growth as being relatively persistent rather than mostly transitory,” they wrote in a note to clients.

“This is consistent with elevated measures of job insecurity and the drag on income growth from the falling terms of trade.

They said the extent to which consumers would dip into their savings to compensate for the fall in real incomes is “likely to be limited in our view amid much more muted wealth gains”.

“A soft outlook for household spending will also hinder the ability for non-mining business investment to strengthen appreciably,” they wrote

“Together, these account for two-thirds of GDP.” Slow pick-up

Although less downbeat, Barclays’ chief economist for Kieran Davies said this week slowing property price growth would hit sentiment and household consumption, although he argued the health of the job market would prop up incomes and support spending.

“We expect spending to slowly pick up next year on a hiring-driven lift in incomes, as we think wages will stay subdued for some time yet,” he said.

Mr Lawson, meanwhile, argues that with the boost from two cash rate cuts and lower oil prices this year already absorbed, households have run out of support for a lift in spending.

“I think it’s likely that we’ll see disposable income growth slow in 2016,” he said.

“Unless the household savings rate declines, that will mean slower consumption growth.”