Racism, is it the heart of the Australian dream? - and other 8am Zedlines:

A speech made by an Indigenous journalist has cited racism as the heart of the Australian dream in what is being described as a Martin Luther King moment. (Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Calls for air-pollution monitoring in mining towns:

A central Queensland doctor has joined calls for further monitoring of air-pollution around mining towns.

With only one air-quality monitoring station in the state’s coal-rich Bowen Basin, located at Moranbah, Emerald GP Ewen McPhee says the Queensland Government needs to expand its network.

High levels of respiratory illness and allergies in surrounding communities are not just bad luck, he added.

Fearless in the high seas:

The Coxless Crew, a group of women striving to become the first ever team of four to row the Pacific Ocean will arrive today in Cairns.

The British ladies began their voyage in San Francisco in April 2015 and have spent 235 days at sea in their 29-foot rowing boat Doris.

The 15,640km trip is to raise money and awareness for Charities Walking with the Wounded, which supports injured servicewomen in the UK, and Breast Cancer Care.

Racism, is it the heart of the Australian dream? :

A speech made by Indigenous journalist Stan Grant on the impact of colonisation and discrimination has surfaced online in the lead-up to Australia Day.

Addressing the audience at The Ethics Centre IQ2 debate series last year, Grant spoke on the topic of racism and the Australian Dream, saying racism was at its heart.  

The speech has been viewed over 750,000 times and has drawn praise for Grant from fellow journalist and the wider public, with media figure Mike Carlton calling it a Martin Luther King moment.

The dawning Republican age:

The Australian Republican Movement is welcoming in the dawn of a new republican age as all but one Australian state premier and all chief ministers signing a declaration calling for an Australian head of state.

Peter FitzSimons from the movement said the declaration was timed for tomorrow’s Australia Day along with an online petition already signed by nearly 4,000 people.

However, the Australian Monarchist League has said there is no widespread public support for replacing the monarchy but merely a call based on the will of politicians, evidenced by so many premiers and politicians supporting the petition.

Heavy snow hits New York City:

People in New York are today digging themselves out of up to 56 centimetres of snow after a storm on the country’s east coast left the city with its second highest snowfall since records began in 1869.

Heavy snowfall was reported in other major cities along the east coast as the storm hit the region for over 36 hours, killing at least 19.

As the storm weakened overnight, a travel ban issued for the New York city was lifted, but officials say with possible flooding and black ice due to melting snow, the city’s travel issues are far from over.

Protests along the Greek and Turkish borders:

Hundreds of people have protested in north-eastern Greece against the security fence along the Turkish border.

The protest came mere days after 45 people died making the risky Aegean Sea crossing and had locals crying out for the opening of safe routes for migrants.

Greek demonstrators marched from the village of Kastanies, close to the frontier but were stopped by police a few hundred metres away from the border fence which is located on a restricted-access military zone.