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Remembering 9/11 and fearing for the future | ticker VIEWS

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Counterterrorism Analyst Oz Sultan was supposed to be in the World Trade Centre tower on September 11, 2001

September 11 or 9/11, marks twenty years since the world changed forever. It’s been two decades since the deadly terrorist attacks covered New York City in terror.

“Sheer horror, sheer panic, is what most Americans felt.”

“As an American-Muslim, it had been difficult enough dealing with Islamaphobia. No one knows the difference between a god-faring Muslim and these cultists.”

Oz Sultan, Counterterrorism Analyst

https://twitter.com/tickerNEWSco/status/1435842295182491649?s=20

September 11, 2001

In a mind flash, most people can tell you where they were and what they were doing when the attacks occurred.

The September 11 attacks were a series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks performed by nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group, al-Queda.

Four commercial airliners were hijacked mid-flight by the terrorists. The first plane was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The second plane hit the South Tower seventeen minutes later.

Both towers collapsed, blanketing New York City in rubble and debris of the 110 story buildings. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon and the fourth had an unsuccessful attempt at reaching The White House.

Now, that time has passed, there is a whole generation that doesn’t have that “I remember” moment. However, fast forward to today, the terror threat posed by extremist terror groups still lingers.

Fears for another 9/11 terror attack

The United States formally responded to the 9/11 attacks by invading Afghanistan and claiming the al-Queda leaders, who were behind it.

The United States successfully did this, but then spent twenty years in the region, to restore democracy and to depose the Taliban. However, the Taliban is back.

Questions now loom over the Taliban’s intentions, their fuel for revenge, their relations with extremist groups, and the potential for more terrorist attacks.

“The terror threat is actually higher now.”

“It’s cost us $2 trillion, and ended up making us far less secure than we were twenty years ago.”

“The nature of terror has changed, the terrorist organisations are now working together.”

“ISIS-K has plenty of money, the Taliban has millions.”

” Biden has set the stage for geopolitics that are unlike any danger we’ve had since World War II”

Oz Sultan, Counterterrorism Analyst

The United States is no longer in Afghanistan to monitor perceived threats and keep extremist groups at bay. There are now concerns about whether their intelligence is equipped to deal with developed extremist groups now.

Now that we live in a digital world, Sultan explains future attacks will vary between physical, financial, and cyber.

“We’re going to have physical attacks, online recruitment challenges that are coming from this, and we’re going to have cyber attacks.”

Oz Sultan, Counterterrorism Analyst 

“Younger generations are being approached and radicalised online, from every avenue.”

Oz Sultan, Counterterrorism Analyst

China VS the United States

People have been fearing China’s willingness to resume friendly relations with the Taliban. Now China has pledged 200 million Yuan worth of aid to Afghanistan, including food supplies and COVID vaccines.

The aid comes as Beijing says it is ready to maintain communication with the Taliban Government. It says the establishment of the new interim government was a “necessary step to restore order” in Afghanistan.

Chinese Foreign Minister says the aid measures will include three million vaccine doses to the country. The Taliban’s interim cabinet was announced last week, with the country declared an “Islamic Emirate”.

United States President Joe Biden, says the country is still a “long way off” from recognising the Taliban Government.

So, is this a bold move from China to ensure they’re not the victims of any future terror attacks? 

More divided than ever before

9/11 created a religious divide like never before. Extremists’ goal is to create fear, divide, and hatred. So from this perspective, they might have won.

Oz Sultan served as the interfaith coordinator for the ground zero mosque, where the towers once stood. He explains the long-term impacts for people who experienced September 11, 2001, are unimaginable.

“For New Yorkers especially, it’s been traumatic.”

“In the faith communities, it’s a shock. What President Biden has done is basically told the Muslim world not only do you not matter, but we’re legitimising a cult which you’re now going to have to deal with.”

Oz Sultan, Counterterrorism Analyst

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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POV: Fully vaxxed Melbourne reporter in the centre of chaos | ticker VIEWS

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Sunglasses to protect my eyes from pepper spray, trench coat to hide my microphone, and a helmet to protect my head from flares.

A face mask isn’t the only covering I need as a news reporter in Melbourne, Australia

Isn’t it funny how Melbourne was voted top 10 safest city in the world on Sunday.

Two days later, I’ve never felt more scared to be at work.

On scene

I could feel thousands of eyes glare towards me as I pulled my microphone out, to show our global audience what it feels like to be in the city experiencing the longest lockdown in the world.

To my left, hundreds of the Victoria’s top authorities. Riot police were sent to control the protesters, who first gathered outside the CFMEU—Australia’s main trade union headquarters.

To my right, hundreds of protesters shouting anti-vaccination messages.

And I was standing in the centre—fuelled by adrenalin, waiting for movement from either side.

I was scared of the unknown, standing in the middle of passionate Melburnians who were chanting for their freedom from months of stay at home orders

Thousands of construction workers in metropolitan Melbourne and some parts of regional Victoria were stood down after the state government shutdown was announced last night.

Some held a banner reading “freedom”, while others chanted “f*** the jab”.

I feel their anger, I too want to live a life free of government mandated restrictions and emerge from lockdown in Melbourne—a grim reality we’ve lived for too long.

I understand that I’m extremely privileged to be classified as an essential worker. I attend my shifts at the newsroom and can rely on a steady income.

For many, we don’t know what it’s like to be at breaking point. There were protestors in the CBD today who have been out of work for months, struggling to put food on the table and just want their voices heard—because that’s all they have left.

In a shared sense of frustration and anger, some protestors turned violent, with some participants throwing objects, including bottles, at police.

It’s my job to inform people. Rolling coverage on the scene is authenticity

Yet I was shoved and screamed at by angry protestors for standing outside Queen Victoria Market with a microphone.

This is a similar experience for many who work in media.

For giving protestors a voice. For reporting fairly and accurately.

Some argue it’s media who “paint a bad picture” or “write a bad narrative” – but how can you make up the narrative of journalists getting attacked whilst on the job – who are there on scene to hear, report and share their opinions, feelings, and actions.

One identified and unmasked woman approached me so close to the point of touching noses.

“You are FAKE NEWS” she spat into my face. I felt like a targeted villain in a sea of vigilantes

Standing alongside other Australian media outlets, I experienced the first hand hate and disgust towards reporters.

My heart was pounding a million miles a second. I gripped my umbrella tight, in case a protestor launched on me.

I was glad I was wearing a long sleeve jacket, shielding my microphone when off camera to avoid being a target.

A fellow reporter told me to keep sunglasses on my head to use for eye protection from pepper spray and flares.

Many female reporters stayed close to cameramen, as another layer of protection.

We stayed close behind police, who were getting many more profanities sprayed at them. I’m sure they were just as anxious to the unfolding events playing out before our eyes as we were.

Running to keep up with protestors barging through the streets of the City of Melbourne, I witnessed Channel 7 reporter Paul Dowsley get physically attacked.

A protestor approached his camerman and shook him to the ground.

Shortly later, Dowsley had a can of drink thrown at the back of his head while he was presenting live on camera.

“I’ve been grabbed around the neck today, I’ve had urine tipped on me, and now I’ve had a can of energy drink thrown on me,” he said.

Dowsley’s bleeding head was shown on camera. This shakes me. It actually makes me sick to my stomach.

If you can protest against a jab, no matter what industry you’re in, you’re privileged

I’m a fully vaccinated young adult, but it was stressful being amongst unmasked anti-vaxxers parading their hatred towards the Covid-19 vaccination.

Several protesters identified themselves as construction workers and CFMEU members who opposed mandatory vaccinations.

I understand the hesitation towards receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, but it’s an answer to being at work safe and having a ‘normal’ life beyond these life shattering lockdowns.

Just metres down the road from protestors chanting against the effectiveness of COVID vaccines, frontline health workers are treating Covid-19 patients on ventilators in the intensive care unit at the state’s best hospitals.

My dad is frequently in and out of Royal Melbourne Hospital, and visitors are currently banned.

My dad and I receiving a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from Royal Exhibition Centre in August.

He has a rare airways disease as a result of cancer, and I’m vaccinated to protect him.

It’s one thing seeing images of people the government calls “[people of] appalling behaviour on site and on our streets” but being in the centre of them, I see the pain in their eyes.

They’ve simply had enough, and it’s not just tradespeople. People of all professions joined the protest to support construction workers today and these scenes will only continue to make headlines.

Their emotions were raw. Their message was clear.

And as I write my own headlines and tell their stories. I just wish to be safe and respected.

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Australian Energy Ministers set to clash over ‘CoalKeeper’ within hours | ticker VIEWS

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State and Federal Energy Ministers in Australia are gearing up to meet on Friday 24 September to discuss the energy market

As the rest of the world moves away from coal, Australian energy ministers are preparing for a potentially fractious meeting this week, to discuss keeping coal-fired plants open. This is to ensure the country’s power system remains reliable during a transition to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal, known is known as the capacity market, will provide a strategic reserve for significant events in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The NEM accounts for more than 80pc of Australia’s total electricity demand, and coal-fired plants are its largest fuel source.

But the proposal has proved to be contentious, as some state ministers have announced that they will not support it.

The Federal Government has announced its #CoalKeeper program to support the coal industry. However, experts are urging the Government to consider the opportunities in other industries to transition away from coal.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio is urging the Government to incentivise sectors like renewable energy. D’ambrosio will meet with Angus Taylor on Friday to go head to head about the end of coal in Australia.

“Victoria won’t support Coal-Keeper payments”

“Vicotria remains committed to clean energy investment and jobs.”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister

Who will prevail?

The Victorian Government has been criticised for opposing “Coal-Keeper” subsidies to extend the life of coal plants. A new “capacity mechanism” aims to offer financial incentives to encourage the construction of power sources and prevent the premature closure of coal generators.

Victoria’s stance on coal is setting up a clash at the national cabinet meeting of energy ministers. It will be D’ambrosio versus Taylor. Who will prevail?

This all comes after Victorian government provided secret financial backing in March to ensure EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn plant stays in the state’s power system until 2028.

The Victorian Government refuses to release further details on this, but D’ambrosio is standing strong on her views.

NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean, an outspoken critic of the Morrison government’s climate change ambition, has given his preliminary backing to the plan but did caution he was worried about the costs.

The capacity mechanism has been endorsed by the Australian Workers’ Union and the CFMEU.

Renewable energy companies and investors including the powerful Clean Energy Investor Group say the move will kill investment in new supplies and drive up costs for consumers by subsidising old coal plants.

“There’s been no leadership from a national level”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister

“You can’t transition tomorrow, what you can do is have a proper plan.”

“Sending a clear message to the market this energy will no longer be there, invest in new technology, invest in replacement energy.”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister

“This coal keeper program, this is a carbon tax- but it’s going to give money to the coal-fired power stations.”

Scott Hamilton, Ticker Climate co-host 

 

 

You can watch the full episode of ticker climate here

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‘I thought the roof was caving in’- Anchoring through an earthquake | ticker VIEWS

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I was anchoring the morning news, when the cameras, walls, and ceiling began to shake- I thought the building was about to collapse

In my lifetime, I have never experienced, heard, or felt an earthquake. So, it was fair to say I didn’t consider the possibility of an earthquake when the studio began to shake around me.

It was 9:15 AM on Wednesday morning, we had just completed the first half of our news bulletin. As I observed the studio shuttering and thudding, I heard our producer’s muffled voice scream out, “What is happening, the building’s moving.”

With adrenalin rushing through my veins and high heels not made for running on, we dropped everything and ran for the exit. At that fleeting moment, the only plausible explanation I could think of was the infrastructure of our building has faults- get out!

A moment of panic

I’ve always been that person who said in a moment of emergency I would grab my possessions and think rationally. I was wrong. In a moment of sheer panic, I left my phone and possessions behind and ran for the door.

With the floor shaking beneath our feet, our morning newsroom team huddled together and sprinted to find the closest exit. I know it might sound dramatic, but I was immediately mapping out potential outcomes of the roof caving on top of us or the floor beneath us.

After about 30 seconds, our entire team was outside, trying to fathom what had just happened. In hindsight, I should have taken my phone, I should have taken a camera and I should have kept the rolling coverage going.

However, hindsight is a wonderful thing, because you never know what you will do when you experience a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in a three-story building. In a moment of panic, I had no idea we were living through the biggest earthquake to hit Australia since British settlement, 200 years ago.

How long did it last?

  • The 5.8 magnitude quake hit near Mansfield, 180km northeast of Melbourne, about 9.15 AM today.
  • The earthquake was initially recorded at a 6.0 magnitude but later revised down, with tremors lasting for about 30 seconds.
  • Another 4.0 aftershock was recorded 18 minutes after the first tremor.
  • Tremors were felt as far afield as Sydney, Dubbo, and Launceston — all about 700km away.

How much damage did it cause? Has there been any extensive damage?

  • Images of minor damage to buildings have flooded social media
  • So far there have been just 46 reports of damage across the state. About 35,000 homes lost power but must are back up now
  • Building’s on the popular Chapel Street shopping precinct has collapsed

Tim McDonagh, the managing director of Betty’s Burgers, said seeing the damage was surreal and that it was a “catastrophe” in already unusual circumstances.

  • there were reports of damage to brickwork and cracked pavement across the city.

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