Antarctica is going green!? and more Zedlines...

Researchers say climate change is turning Antarctica green. Image source: Wikimedia

A study suggests global warming has spiked plant growth in the continent over the last fifty years.

Rising temperatures have increased the rate of moss growth in the region by four to five times since the 1950s.

Co-author of the research Matt Amesbury from the University of Exeter said while Antarctica will not become entirely green, it is likely to become greener than it currently is.

 

Queensland government offering Adani a ‘royalties holiday’

The Queensland Government is said to be offering Adani further leeway with a “royalties holiday” as the coal mining company decides whether or not to go ahead with the Carmichael mine.

The proposed agreement would see the company evading an estimated $320 million belonging to the state, subsequently paying only $2 million per annum once the mine was up and running.

The deal, which could be signed off as early as this week, has left some senior Labor figures scratching their heads after the Palaszczuk government made pre-election promises of no taxpayer funds being handed out to the international mining company.

 

Researchers developing ‘smart windows’

Researchers from Griffith University on the Gold Coast are looking at ways to develop “smart windows”, which could be used to reduce power bills and provide a new form of insulation for the average household.

With the cost electricity on the rise, the team plans to spend the next three years experimenting with nanotechnology which they hope will adapt to different weather conditions, eliminating the need for air-conditioners and heaters.

Associate professor at Griffith University, Jason Byrne, believes the intended technology could have enormous benefits, with around 70% of Australia’s energy consumption being spent on heating, air-conditioning, ventilation and lighting.

 

Centrelink robo-debt debacle sparks new privacy laws

New privacy laws will be created in the aftermath of the Centrelink “robo-debt” debacle involving the minister for human services, Alan Tudge.

The laws have been called for after the minister was found to have sent internal departmental briefings to a journalist concerning a welfare recipient’s personal circumstances.

The Australian privacy commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, says the new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service and will be implemented in 2018.

Pilgrim made the announcement on Thursday, during the Senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system.

 

NSW government tackles illegal dumping

The NSW government is cracking down on illegal asbestos disposal by installing more surveillance cameras and funding clean-up operations as part of a $65 million strategy.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton says illegal dumping puts people at risk, contaminates the environment and undermines legitimate recycling facilities.

A whopping $52 million of the funds will be spent on a compliance program, designed to target illegal commercial operators and repeat offenders.

 

WikiLeaks leaker officially released from prison

Chelsea Manning, the notorious leaker arrested for passing secrets to WikiLeaks in the largest breach of classified information in US history, has been officially released from prison.

Manning was released from a military prison in Kansas on Wednesday, having served seven years of a 35 year sentence.

Following her release, Manning posted a picture on Instagram, picturing herself as a free transgender woman; this follows pictures released as she made her first steps of freedom from prison, holding a glass of champagne in her hand while touting white Converse shoes.