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Ukraine Crisis

Australian Government cops criticism over $50 million gas fund

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Australia's government cops criticism over $50 million gas fund

The Australian Greens have taken aim at Labor’s decision to vote with the Liberals today in the Senate to spend public money opening up a $50 million gas fund

The Beetaloo plan forms part of the government’s proposed “gas-led recovery” to drive economic growth amid the ongoing pandemic.

The $50 million Beetaloo Co-operative Drilling Program has been championed by Nev Power, the former Fortescue executive, and Andrew Liveris, the former Dow Chemicals executive.

But the Greens say the fund is set to lead to a climate disaster – just as the world turns its focus on climate control following a report by the IPCC

What the Greens wanted:

The Greens had been hopeful that Labor would vote alongside them and the crossbench which would have seen the fund abolished, given the numbers in the Senate.

Labor is responsible for the continued existence of the $50 million Beetaloo Co-operative Drilling Program to open up new gas projects.

Reports suggest the Greens have vowed to revisit the issue when Parliament meets again in October, and off the back of the Labor party writing to the Auditor-General to investigate the fund they support, the Australian Greens have also written to the ANAO asking for this work to be completed before the next and final vote.

The $50 million grants program which was announced in December 2020, aims to expedite gas exploration in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young is one of many left disappointed with the vote:

Senate committee wants Beetaloo gas grants investigated as Labor refers matter to auditor general:

A Senate Inquiry earlier today found that Empire Energy’s “close financial and personal relationships” with the Liberal party warrant an investigation into the government’s decision to award it $21m in federal gas exploration grants.

According to reports, the company’s chairman, Paul Espie, is a frequent Liberal party donor. That was made public in the inquiry, and has been previously described in parliament as a “doyen” of the party.

Almost half of the $50 million funding has already been granted to a single recipient – Empire Energy.

Empire Energy shares connections with the Liberal party, according to the upper house inquiry.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Ukraine Crisis

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

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Finland and Sweden have officially submitted their applications to join NATO

Finland and Sweden have handed in applications to join NATO.

It ends decades of political neutrality for both nations, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Chief of NATO says the applications are quote an “historic step”.

If their bid is successful, it will bring the alliance’s membership to 32.

While Russia strongly opposes the move, there are also members within NATO’s own ranks voicing their concerns.

Dubbed the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the NATO alliance was founded in 1949

It follows one rule: an attack on one, is an attack on all.

It sought to counter Russian expansion in Europe after World War Two.

But following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of its former Eastern European allies joined the alliance, something that has raised concerns in Moscow.

Finland and Sweden need the support of all member states to join. If they’re successful, it will take the alliance to 32 members.

NATO members must spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. Finland already meets this target and Sweden says it will do so “as soon as possible”.

The two countries will also bring a range of military might.

Finland has over 19-thousand active troops, and Sweden has over 14-and-a-half thousand.

There are 220 tanks, and over 200 combat aircraft.

Russia believes NATO has been verging on its door stop and is warning both nations against joining.

Turkey’s President is also voicing concerns, saying the two Scandinavian nations should not send delegations to convince him of their bids.

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Ukraine Crisis

Russian government slammed on state media by former Kremlin official

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The Russian government has been slammed for its war in Ukraine by former members of the Kremlin

Russia’s mainstream media outlets offer a view of the Ukraine war that is unlike anything seen from the outside world.

Firstly, they don’t even call it a war – instead they call it a special military operation.

Now, three months into a war, the Russian government has come under fire, copping criticism in is a very rare occurrence on live television within the country.

A former senior Russian officer has warned on state television that the situation will get worse, and called for it to end.

“Let’s not drink ‘information tranquilizers,’ because sometimes information is spread about some moral or psychological breakdown of Ukraine’s armed forces, as if they are nearing a crisis of morale or a fracture,”

retired Col. Mikhail Khodarenok said on Monday’s edition of Rossiya One’s 60 Minutes show.

“None of this is close to reality.”

He openly criticised his country’s actions in Ukraine, and admitted that Russia knows the entire world is against it.

His comments are expected to Vladimir Putin as it directly contradicts with his objectives.

The Former Government Official did receive some pushback from the show’s presenter a short time after those comments.

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Ukraine Crisis

Azovstal evacuations – Fighters arrive in Russian-controlled territory

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The buses carrying the Ukrainian soldiers who had been defending the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol have begun arriving in Russian-controlled territory

A convoy of at least seven buses has been seen leaving the besieged city, arriving at a former penal colony near Donetsk.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian officials have confirmed the arrivals, but a news agency in Russia says its nation’s Investigative Committee plans to question the soldiers.

Moscow says it will be investigating “Ukrainian regime crimes”.

But now the soldiers have been evacuated, what happens from here?

The exact details of any deal made between Russia and Ukraine remain under wraps, but Kyiv has previously indicated its forces will be exchanged for Russian prisoners-of-war.

Moscow is yet to confirm this publicly, with the Kremlin avoiding questions on the prisoners’ status or possible transfer.

Ukrainian officials will be likely holding their breath, with individuals including a senior Russian MP accusing the Ukrainian soldiers of being “Nazis and war criminals”.

The MP has requested their exchange be banned all together, as Russia’s Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold a request to designate the group many of the fighters belong to as a terrorist organisation.

But, despite all of this, Ukraine says it was left with just one option – to save lives.

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