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Can the mission to save the Afghanistan girl’s national team succeed?

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The plight of the Afghanistan national girl’s football team stuck in the Taliban controlled country shows not everyone will be lucky enough to make it out

Currently there is an international effort underway to rescue the Girls, aged 12-14, their families, and football federation staff.

With the end of the US evacuation, and Australia cancelling repatriation flights in the wake of the attack on Kabul Airport, the chances of the team making it out of the country are low.

The women’s national team was evacuated to Australia last week, before the terrorist attack at Kabul Airport.

Complicating the rescue effort is the large size of the group, which includes 136 people.

The team is currently moving from place to place in an attempt to evade the Taliban, according to a report by AP News.

Robert McCreary, a former White house official under George Bush and special forces soldier who worked in Afghanistan, told AP News if the Taliban eased the exit for the girls it would create international goodwill.

“Here they’re in a very bad situation for doing nothing more than playing soccer,” he said.

“We need to do everything that we can to protect them, to get them to a safe situation.”

Australia, France and Qatar have expressed support for the mission – called Operation Soccer Balls -to bring the team to the United States.

Farkhunda Muhtaj, captain of the Afghanistan women’s national team, said the girls were “footsteps from freedom”.

“They are devastated. They’re hopeless, considering the situation they’re in,” she said.

There has been 5 failed attempts to rescue the girls in recent times, and they were close to freedom before the Kabul Airport bombing.

The United States completed its evacuation minutes before the deadline agreed with the Taliban, and Australia has cancelled any further flights for citizens and refugees after the deadly Kabul Airport bombing.

The window to complete the mission is shrinking, and each day makes it less likely. After 5 failed attempts, it will take a massive international effort to get the girls to safety.

By Parker McKenzie

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Biden channels his inner Gough | ticker VIEWS

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As Joe Biden prepares to face his most momentous week as president, with his entire legislative agenda on the line in Congress over the next few days, Biden is channeling his inner Gough Whitlam, who famously said:

“You’ve got to crash through or you have got to crash.”

Whitlam was more charismatic, more tumultuous in bearing and outlook, more larger than life than Biden. 

Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC was the 21st prime minister of Australia

But not more of a dreamer of what a good government should stand for.  The pillars of Whitlam’s policy agenda – health care, education, labour rights, human rights, anti-racism, gender equity, fairer taxes – are the same as what Biden is championing in his “Care Economy” program.

The president has been clear:  he demands action now

BRUCE WOLPE ON BIDEN’S PLEDGE TO UNIFY USA

He wants to take his climate policies to Glasgow to show the world that the United States is a leader in moving the planet to net zero by 2050 – and a lot more progress before 2030. 

And he wants to tell the American people that more help on the issues they care about every day – good jobs at good wages, education for their children and removing the wolf of poverty from their doors, expanded access to affordable health care, rebuilding roads and digital highways – is about to arrive.

Republicans are unalterably opposed and are resisting the Biden program with full political force.

The Democratic margin in the House is three votes.  There is no margin in the Senate; all 50 Democrats, plus the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, are essential. This is why Biden said in his CNN Town Hall last week that, in the 100-member Senate:

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the May jobs report after U.S. employers boosted hiring amid the easing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, U.S., June 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“Every one is a president. Every single one. So you gotta work something out.”

That’s what Biden is doing.  He is in the late stages of reaching an agreement with his Democrats in both chambers.  He has had to jettison free community college, reduce paid parental leave, abandon lower prescription drug prices through Medicare and higher tax rates for corporations. 

Still, if this scaled-back legislation is passed, Biden will have this year delivered $5 trillion in economic stimulus and investment in American households. 

In scale and scope, what Biden has on the table in Congress is as significant as Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

This is why this week is Biden’s crash through or crash moment

BRUCE WOLPE ON WHY BIDEN IS AT A CROSS ROADS RIGHT NOW

If he succeeds, it will be momentous in its own right, and will give Democrats momentum as they face the midterm elections for the control of Congress next year. 

If he succeeds, it will give Biden political capital to prosecute the racial equity agenda in a Senate choked by its rules for legislative debate.  

But if Biden fails, if the Democrats do not unify and vote this legislation through the House and Senate, Biden’s presidency will come to a screeching halt.  There will be no more progressive legislation of real consequence. 

Unlike Gough, Biden cannot be removed as president by a Governor General, but there will be nothing to save his presidency from paralysis for the balance of this term.

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The world’s most locked down city is free but is re-entry anxiety hitting Melbourne? | ticker VIEWS

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Melbourne was once the world’s most liveable city. It appears that Covid-19 agrees, as the city recently ended its sixth lockdown

Victorians have been isolated for 262 days. It’s a grim statistic. In fact, it makes Melbourne the world’s most locked down city.

Unsurprisingly, Victoria is also the state with Australia’s highest number of Covid-19 infections (over 73,100), and deaths (1,005).

During lockdown, people began smiling through their face masks as they greeted passers-by on their daily walks. Cupboards were cleaned, old clothes were thrown out, and alcohol consumption was rife.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews put it bluntly, “these are shitty choices”.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews

But on Friday, restaurants popped open their first bottles of champagne in months; and people left their homes outside of curfew hours. These are the things that weren’t allowed just days ago, under the state’s strict stay-at-home orders.

But for some, the mental health toll of being locked down for such a long time is hitting home.

Ticker’s own Dr Kieran Kennedy says re-entry anxiety are “feelings of uncertainty, fear and anxiety around pandemic restrictions lowering”.

Psychiatrists believe re-entry anxiety is characterised by a major period of change.

What can help?

There are a range of techniques that are clinically proven to reduce anxiety during periods of change.

  • acknowledge it
  • take it slow
  • put a simple routine or structure in place
  • plan steps to get back outside
  • look after yourself
  • talk to people
  • recognise the symptoms.

As Melbourne, and the world opens back up, there’s one word that comes to mind for me: balance.

The shadow pandemic

Australia has recently made the shift from a Covid-zero and lockdown mentality, to living with the virus.

Other countries have already adopted this approach, like the United Kingdom, where case numbers are spiking, and smaller nations like Singapore.

“We need to update our mindsets. We should respect Covid-19, but we must not be paralysed by fear.”

SINGAPORE’s PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

Some places are still working towards Covid-zero, including China, which was once the epicentre of the virus.

But as countries begin to emerge from the height of the pandemic, the mental health impacts are also coming to light.

LifeLine—a mental health support service—reported its busiest days in its 57-year history. Calls have reportedly increased by 40 per cent in recent months.

“Just two years ago we were averaging under 2,500 calls a day,” the company’s chair, John Brigden said.

You can almost feel these impacts in Melbourne. From businesses with a ‘for lease’ sticker splashed across their front windows, or for me, the reluctance of jumping straight into a weekend of socialising.

“Today we are regularly seeing more than 3,500—a 40 per cent increase.”

Lifeline chair John Brogden.

Our health experts are telling us that it isn’t the end either.

Professor Adrian Esterman is a former epidemiologist with the World Health Organisation. He says there are a “host of potential viruses” that may cause the next pandemic in our lifetime.

It’s important to acknowledge this, because we are not immune to disasters or change. The world is a complex place.

Importantly, there’s no race to get back to anything. Yes, restrictions have eased but for some, the time to adjust may take a little longer.

I’m not trying to suppress anyone’s feeling of excitement, rather, just shine a light on the perils of re-entry.

Back to reality

As cities bounce back from an incredibly devastating and dark period, I’m having different conversations with my peers.

We’re talking more about our mental health—the harsh toll of being isolated from the things that we love.

But moving back into a ‘normal’ routine—with social and community commitments—isn’t easy.

In fact, research shows that sudden changes can lead to tiredness, stress and irritability—the term known as re-entry anxiety.

Above all, it can lead to unease. We’ve all changed our priorities and daily activities for well over a year, it’s bound to affect our recovery.

Picnics are back, as people around the world celebrate ‘freedom day’.

For me, I wonder what the world will look like in a month, and years to come.

I’m not in any hurry to rush back to ‘normal’ because our entire sense of normality has changed.

I think it’s been nice to strip life back, and appreciate the smaller things—a walk on the beach; dinner at the table; or connecting with an old relative.

However, I appreciate that the world moves fast, and people are keen to suppress these recent memories.

As people make reservations; gather outdoors, and see their friends; it’s time to enjoy these freedoms—at our own pace.

But remember, there is always light at the end of the tunnel if you are struggling—short, or long-term.

If you, or someone you know needs help, please contact your local helpline.

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Leaders convene for the ‘Global Race To Zero Summit’ | ticker VIEWS

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As the global climate conversation heats up, leader’s prepare to convene in a month of historical talks

On Ticker News this week, Holly Stearnes and Scott Hamilton spoke with the Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council, John Grimes. We delve into the Global Race To Zero Summit on 20-21 October.

The virtual summit will host thirty climate action leaders from around the world, giving all global perspectives. 

Climate change conversation

Global warming and climate change has been an ongoing conversation for world leaders for decades. However, it’s not until now that the conversation has reached a boiling point.

The climate scientists have said there is no more time, no more political debates, serious action needs to be taken now.

In Australia, Former Prime Minister John Howard committed Australia to put a trading emissions trading scheme.

 ‘Stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will be difficult, but not impossible. We do not have to sacrifice our economic prosperity to tackle the problem.”

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard

“I will also be announcing a ‘cap and trade emissions trading system that will help Australia substantially lower our domestic greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost.” 

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard

“Sadly, Australia and leaders around the world failed to heed these warnings. Global greenhouse emissions have continued to sky-rocket and we are now experiencing the existential threat of dangerous climate change.”

– Scott Hamilton, Ticker CLIMATE

However, as long as the climate debate has continued, there are always two sides to the argument. The things that are most damaging to our planet, also financially and economically support thousands of people and livelihoods.

Climate Wars

As the COP-26 climate event approaches at a rapid pace, Australian lawmakers are struggling to reach an agreement over net-zero targets. The Nationals have continued to withhold their support for a net-zero plan.

As the world transitions away from coal, Australia seems reluctant to consider a future without it. Country coal towns and the Australian economy rely heavily on the coal industry. However, it is crucial that Australia now paves its way in a new direction.

The coal industry gives thousands of Australians jobs, but when the rest of the world moves away from coal, Australia’s exporting opportunities will no longer be there.

That’s why it’s essential to create a plan, so people are not left in dead-end industries and we’re in line with the rest of the world in tackling climate change.

John Grimes is the Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council, the independent, not-for-profit body for the Australian smart energy industry thinks the Morrison will be dragged “kicking and screaming” to committing to net-zero target by 2050 at the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow.

“That’s [net-zero by 2050] is the bare minimum.”

– John Grimes, CEO, Smart Energy Council

https://twitter.com/TurnbullMalcolm/status/1449216364242112516

Global Race To Zero Summit

This will be one of the biggest virtual climate events in 2021.

The Summit will explore the opportunities that emerge from taking action on climate change and provide a clear pathway forward for governments, citizens, and companies.

Taking place just 10 days before the G20 meeting in Rome, on 30-31 of October, and in the lead up to the critical COP26 meeting in Glasgow from 31 October–12 November, this event will be instrumental in influencing ambitious global action.

Insert video promo: Global Race to Zero Summit – We Demand Change

Register here for free: https://t.co/3X4J0UdMag

https://twitter.com/StarScientific_/status/1448517960096628739

https://twitter.com/SDHamiltonVIC/status/1449547035288358914

 

Watch the full episode here: https://tickeroriginals.co/2021/10/18/the-race-to-zero/

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