Recommended Posts


Australia's military is investigating whether a training exercise using explosives may have started one of the huge bush fires burning in the state of New South Wales.

The exercise took place at a base near the town of Lithgow in the Blue Mountains region on Wednesday.

It was the same day that a massive bush fire - which is still burning - began.

About 200 homes have been destroyed in dozens of fires which have been burning for several days.

The BBC's Jon Donnison in Sydney says this year's fires have come unusually early after unseasonably hot weather, and many are fearing a long and dangerous summer.

One man has died - possibly of a heart attack - while trying to protect his home.

The Australian Defence Force issued a statement about the fire burning between Lithgow and Bilpin, some 80 km (50 miles) north-west of Sydney, which is reported to have burned through 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) and destroyed properties.

It said it was investigating the circumstances of the fire, which began on defence land.

"The fire started on 16 October, the same day that defence personnel were conducting an explosive ordnance training activity," the statement said. "Defence is investigating if the two events are linked.

"Our thoughts are with those who have lost property or whose property is threatened by these devastating fires."

Firefighters have been trying to make the most of a relatively cool day to tackle about 20 fires that are burning out of control, but higher temperatures and strong winds are expected to create difficult conditions in the coming days.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said Saturday's conditions were a "pause", but that the fire perimeter stretched for more than 500km.

"We're by no means out of the woods," he told broadcaster ABC. "It's just calmed down a little bit and obviously we're bracing ourselves for these worsening conditions."

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said some of the fires were so large they would take some time to completely extinguish.

"Firefighters will be working on these fires for weeks," he said.

"It's all about reducing the risk of these fires to breach containment lines and run under hotter, drier, windier condition over coming days."

Smoke and ash from the wildfires have blanketed the Sydney skyline.




Link to post
Share on other sites

200 homes lost, no casualties. 
Just another day down under really. Also the fires are no where near as bad as the media is playing it out to be.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By zikalify
      Japan's asteroid return mission arrives on Earth
      by Paul Hill

      A Japanese space capsule carrying large quantities of rock from the asteroid Ryugu has landed back on Earth, more specifically, near Woomera in South Australia. According to BBC News, the capsule was captured on camera streaking across the sky before parachuting down to the ground. It was subsequently found at 19:47 UTC after it transmitted a beacon which was tracked from a helicopter.

      The capsule which came back to Earth had been attached to the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft that originally collected the samples which weigh more than 100 grams. Hayabusa-2 detached the capsule at an altitude of around 200km. The capsule then came through the atmosphere with a fiery tail travelling at 11km/s before deploying its parachute and separating its heat shield. As it got closer to the Earth, a beacon began transmitting so that it could be found.

      The 16kg capsule will undergo examination in Australia and then it’ll go to a JAXA facility in Sagamihara for further analysis and storage. The cargo that it’s carrying is significant because it will help scientists learn more about the history of the Solar System but also about asteroids like Ryugu.

      Hayabusa-2 was launched on December 3, 2014, and rendezvoused with Ryugu on June 27, 2018. It spent about 18 months surveying the asteroid and took the samples. It began its return last November before arriving back several hours ago.

      Source: JAXA via BBC News

    • By Usama Jawad96
      ACCC soliciting feedback regarding Google's acquisition of Fitbit
      by Usama Jawad

      Back in November 2019, much to everyone's surprise, Google announced that it is buying wearable manufacturer Fitbit in a deal valued at $2.1 billion. Since then, this transaction has gone through multiple phases including a probe from the European Commission regarding antitrust concerns. Despite this hurdle, Google is optimistic of completing the purchase by the end of this year.

      Now, regulatory authorities such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are also looking into the deal.

      As spotted by ZDNet, the Australian watchdog has published draft undertakings submitted by Google and is now soliciting feedback from interested parties among the general public. The undertaking - which can be enforced by the court - restricts Google from utilizing user data harvested from Fitbit and future wearables developed by the company for its own advertising purposes for 10 years. This time frame could be extended by another 10 years if the ACCC believes it to be necessary. That said, Google also has to provide certain user data to third-party health apps and ensure their interoperability with Android handsets for the next 10 years.

      ACCC chairman Rod Sims went on to say that:

      The undertaking is meant to restrict potential anti-competitive behaviour from Google, and to stop it from utilizing user data gained from this acquisition to enhance its targeted advertising capabilities. The ACCC is soliciting feedback about the undertaking from interested parties until December 9, 2020.

      Source: ACCC via ZDNet

    • By Usama Jawad96
      Google criticizes Australia for new code about news media bargaining [Update]
      by Usama Jawad

      Like every country, Australia clashes with tech giants over various issues from time to time. Back in 2018, Huawei slammed the government ban that prevented it from providing 5G services in the country, claiming it to be a politically motivated. In the same year, numerous companies including Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook formed an alliance to combat Australia's efforts to weaken encryption.

      Now, the country's legislation has once again come under fire, this time from Google's content publishing wing.

      In a nutshell, the new legislation, called the "News Media Bargaining Code", states that organizations such as Google and Facebook will have to bargain with Australian news outlets to secure "fair payment" for the content shown on their platform. Three months will be allotted for negotiations, and if these fail, an independent arbitrator will evaluate which side's offer was the most reasonable and decide in favor of either party within 45 business days.

      This code has now come under fire from Google. In an "open letter to Australians," Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia, has stated that the new law hurts the free services that its users utilize. It claims that the company already pays news media millions of dollars per year and provide them billions of free clicks, but instead of fostering this partnership, the Australian government is encouraging local news media to make unfair demands. Silva went on to say that:

      Silva has stated that Google will devote its efforts to changing the law while building and maintaining constructive partnerships with news media organizations, and that it will be talking more about this code in the coming days.

      Update: The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has now responded to Google's accusations, essentially calling them baseless. The organization went on to say that:

      The ACCC says that it will continue to consult with those involved, including Google, until August 28.

    • By Namerah S
      Atari VCS pre-orders go live in Australia and New Zealand today
      by Namerah Saud Fatmi

      Atari's upcoming new hybrid gaming PC/console, the Atari VCS, is set to debut in the Australian and New Zealand regions later this year. Today the company announced that it has partnered up with Bluemouth Interactive for distribution purposes in these markets. Customers located in these areas will be glad to know that pre-orders for the VCS go live today.

      Frédéric Chesnais, CEO of Atari, commented on the alliance with Bluemouth:

      After a long and arduous journey featuring multiple delays and other issues, Atari finally announced a release window of fall 2020 for the VCS last month. An exact release is still missing from the picture, however, the upcoming gaming system's website states that orders in the U.S. will be delivered before December 24, 2020.

      Today's updates contained in a press release shed more light on the matter, stating that the Atari VSC will launch in Australia and New Zealand in November 2020. Presumably, this applies to the U.S. as well, as it aligns with the previously disclosed information.

      It must be noted that only the Atari VCS 800 with 8GB of RAM will be available in the Australian and New Zealand regions. As for the pricing details, they can be found below:

      Atari VCS 800 Onyx Base version | AU$699.95/ NZ$749.95 Atari VCS Classic Joystick | AU$109.95/NZ$129.95 Atari VCS Modern Controller | AU$109.95/NZ$129.95 Atari VCS 800 All-In bundle (includes Classic Joystick and Modern Controller) | AU$849.95/NZ$899.95 Those who are interested in purchasing the hybrid PC/console and its accessories and are situated in either Australia or New Zealand may pre-purchase the items starting today. Orders can be placed through Bluemouth's online store or other participating retailers such as EB Games, JB HiFi, The Gamesmen, and

    • By zikalify
      Amazon Project Zero arrives in seven more countries
      by Paul Hill

      Amazon has announced that its Project Zero anti-counterfeit tool is now available in seven more countries including Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, and the U.A.E. Project Zero combines Amazon’s “advanced technology, machine learning, and innovation” with brands’ knowledge of their intellectual property to crack down on counterfeit products.

      By using Project Zero, over 10,000 brands including Arduino, BMW, ChessCentral, LifeProof, OtterBox, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Veet can ensure that customers always receive authentic products when using Amazon to do their shopping. This, in turn, may encourage customers that have had a positive experience to come back to Amazon to shop in future.

      Discussing the product, Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Worldwide Customer Trust and Partner Support at Amazon, said:

      Businesses that are enrolled with Amazon Project Zero and have an existing trademark in one of the new countries will automatically be able to use Project Zero in these areas. If you’re a brand on Amazon that’s not yet using Project Zero, you can learn more and sign-up on the dedicated page.