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Australia lowers its terrorism threat level for the first time in nearly a decade

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Australia’s national terrorism threat level has been lowered but ASIO has warned an attack could still happen

Australia’s national terrorism threat level has been lowered from ‘probable’ to ‘possible’.

However, ASIO has warned a deadly attack could still occur on Australian soil in the next 12 months.

“A decision of this nature is not taken lightly or made casually,” said Mike Burgess, who is the Director General of ASIO.

It is the first time the warning has been lowered since 2014 when radicalised foreign fighters begun travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organisations.

Burgess said the threat of terrorism has not been eradicated, and Australia remains a target for terrorist organisations—even within the next 12 months.

“We keep the terrorism threat level under constant review. There can be no set and forget in security intelligence,” he said.

How common is terrorism in Australia?

There have been 11 terrorist attacks on Australian soil since 2014. In addition, 21 plots have been detected and disrupted.

“Thankfully, there have been no attacks or major disruptions this year,” Burgess said.

However, ASIO remains on alert for violent extremists despite “fewer” operating with the intention to conduct an onshore attack.

“Ideologically motivated violent extremism—particularly nationalist and racist violent extremism—remains a threat and its adherents will continue to engage in offensive behaviours.”

MIKE BURGESS, ASIO DIRECTOR GENERAL

ASIO maintains these extremists are likely to focus their attention on recruitment and radicalisation, rather than attacking.

Authorities believe the most likely terrorist attack to occur in Australia will see a lone actor using a basic weapon, like a knife or vehicle.

These attacks can be difficult to detect ahead of time and can occur with little or no warning entirely.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he has confidence in the nation’s security agencies.

“I won’t second-guess them and I won’t comment on their behalf,” he said.

Mr Albanese’s government has led the repatriation effort of Australian women and children linked to ISIS from Syria.

The women and children were assessed by ASIO before they arrived in Australia. The decision to lower the terrorism threat level also considered the unfolding situation.

ASIO said foreign fighters may return from the Middle Eastern conflict zone and could bring “dangerous ideologies and capabilities with them”.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Boston Dynamics’ electric marvel or robot contortionist?

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Boston Dynamics has recently unveiled its latest creation, the electric Atlas robot, boasting enhanced agility and strength.

However, with its uncanny ability to contort and rise from the ground with an almost eerie grace, one might wonder if we’re witnessing the birth of the world’s first robot contortionist.

As this technological marvel flaunts its capabilities, one can’t help but ponder if we’re on the brink of a future where household chores will be effortlessly handled by robots moving like a fusion of ballet dancers and horror movie monsters.

With its cadaver-like movements and illuminated head, it’s hard not to speculate whether Atlas is destined to revolutionise robotics or simply rehearsing for a techno-horror rendition of The Nutcracker. As Boston Dynamics continues to push the boundaries of robotics, the line between science fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

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The Coffee confusion causing health concerns

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As the morning sun peeks through the curtains, many reach for that familiar brew, kickstarting their day with a comforting cup of coffee.

It’s a ritual ingrained in cultures worldwide, offering a jolt of energy to combat the grogginess of dawn.

But when is the optimal time for that caffeine fix? According to registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD, LD, the answer isn’t crystal clear.

Some experts suggest delaying that first sip until mid-morning or later. However, DiMarino reassures coffee lovers that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma.

Meanwhile, the science behind coffee production unveils fascinating insights into its instant variant. Whether produced through freeze-drying or spray-drying methods, instant coffee offers convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Yet, beyond convenience, recent studies delve deeper into coffee’s impact on our bodies. Research exploring the acute effects of decaffeinated versus caffeinated coffee reveals intriguing findings on reaction time, mood, and skeletal muscle strength.

Moreover, investigations into the gut microbiome shed light on coffee’s influence on liver cirrhosis patients. A study analyzing the duodenal microbiome in this population found correlations between coffee consumption and microbial richness and evenness.

So, as you sip your coffee and ponder the day ahead, consider not just the flavour in your cup but also the subtle impacts it may have on your body and mind.

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Laughing in limbo Canadian Just for Laughs cancelled

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The renowned Montreal-based Just for Laughs comedy festival, one of the world’s largest international comedy events, will not grace the calendar in 2024.

The Canadian company overseeing the festival announced its cancellation this year, citing efforts to steer clear of bankruptcy. Having marked its 40th anniversary in 2023, Just For Laughs has long been a beloved fixture on the city’s cultural landscape.

With its absence raising questions about which event will inherit the title of the biggest comedy festival, speculation arises whether Melbourne will seize the mantle, given its burgeoning comedy scene and the success of its own Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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