China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea, reports say

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea, reports say

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba docked at Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on April 19.

(CNN)Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserted the right of the Australian navy to travel the South China Sea, after local media reported three Australian warships were challenged by the Chinese navy earlier this month.

As the three vessels traversed the hotly contested waters on their way to Vietnam, they were confronted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Friday.
The ABC said that one Australian defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, “insists the exchanges with the Chinese were polite, but ‘robust’.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in London for a meeting of the heads of Commonwealth nations, refused to confirm or deny the report.
“All I can say to you is that Australia asserts and practices its right to freedom of navigation throughout the world’s ocean, including the South China Sea,” he told reporters.
In a statement to CNN, the Australian Defense Department acknowledged the three vessels were in the South China Sea in recent weeks but wouldn’t comment on “operational details” on the ships.
“The Australian Defense Force has maintained a robust program of international engagement with countries in and around the South China Sea for decades,” the statement said. CNN has reached out to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.
The Australian ships are now conducting a three-day goodwill visit in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
While Australian air force jets have been challenged by the Chinese in the past, this was the first time, Carl Thayer told CNN, that he’d heard of any reports of navy vessels being confronted.
“That doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred … (But) the challenge is political, it’s intimidatory and if you don’t counter challenge then China can make the argument that the international community has acceded to China’s claims,” said Thayer, regional security analyst and emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales.

Australia, China relations in deep chill

The reported confrontation comes at a moment of frosty relations between Beijing and Canberra. Turnbull admitted to the diplomatic chill on April 12.
“There has been a degree of tension in the relationship which has arisen because of criticism in China of our foreign interference laws,” he told local radio station 3AW at the time.
His remarks followed reports in local media that Australian ministers had been denied visas that would have allowed them to attend China’s signature Boao Forum in Hainan province.
The Chinese government has objected strongly to a new set of laws being considered by Australia to tackle interference by foreign nations in their politics.
Although Turnbull stressed that those laws weren’t targeted at any one country, the legislation came after a series of scandals over large donations to Australian politicians by Chinese businessmen.
“I would like to stress hereby again that we hope the Australian side will abandon the cold-war mentality and ideological bias, stop making irresponsible remarks and work with China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in February.

China tightens hold on volatile region

The South China Sea is one of the most hotly contested regions in the world. China claims a huge swathe of territory across the sea, overlapping the claims of Vietnam and the Philippines, among others.
Only last week the Chinese navy held its largest ever drills in the South China Sea, including a huge military parade overseen by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China’s only aircraft carrier the Liaoning took part in the display, launching J-15 fighter jets from the enormous ship’s flight deck.
Speaking from the PLA destroyer Changsha, Xi called for further modernization of China’s military to further his goal of creating a “world-class” force under the Communist Party’s leadership.
To reinforce their claims in the region, China has constructed and militarized a series of artificial islands across the South China Sea, building airfields and radar stations.
The United States regularly conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations close to China’s artificial bases. Last year, Arizona Senator John McCain suggested Australia’s Navy take part alongside the US in those exercises.
“I would not try to tell the Australians what they need to do, but there are exercises where a number of nations join together — we call it RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific Exercise]— that the Australians participate in. They’re broad naval exercises,” he said during a visit to Australia.

World’s First Flying Car’s Are Now For Sale

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC)

 

The world’s first flying car that you can buy has been unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland.

Dutch firm PAL-V revealed its final production model Tuesday and is now taking pre-orders for the car/aircraft on its website.

PAL-V said the first delivery will be made in 2019 once the production model has received final safety certifications.

Source: PAL-V

The firm claims the two-person vehicle has a top road speed of about 100 miles per hour (mph) while it can reach 112 mph in the air. With a maximum altitude of 11,000 feet, the air range is estimated to top out at around 350 miles.

Transforming from road to air isn’t quite as simple as pushing a button, requiring manual intervention, but Pal-V claims this can be done in less than 10 minutes.

The first limited edition model will retail at an expected 499,000 euros ($621,500) with only 90 available for sale. Thereafter a “Liberty Sport Edition” will be available for an expected price of 299,000 euros.

Flying lessons are included in the price and the company’s website is taking orders tied to hefty non-refundable reservation fees.

The flying car is certified to fly under the rules of U.S. and European safety agencies but owners will need a pilot’s licence. Pilots will also need access to a small airstrip to take off and land.

Magnitude-7.5 quake strikes Papua New Guinea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Magnitude-7.5 quake strikes Papua New Guinea

  

(CNN)Authorities in Papua New Guinea are assessing the damage after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck the Pacific country early Monday.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 3:45 a.m. local time (12:45 p.m. ET Sunday) near Porgera, northwest of the capital Port Moresby. It was 35 kilometers deep.
“The National Government has dispatched disaster assessment teams to parts of Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province following an earthquake in the early hours of this morning,” Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari said in a statement.
“The National Disaster Centre is working with provincial authorities to assess any damage and impacts on service delivery in the area. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force has also been mobilized to assist with the assessment and the delivery of assistance to affected people as well as the restoration of services and infrastructure,” the statement said.
Lupari warned residents to be aware of potential aftershocks: “It is advisable to stay out of multistory buildings, to be aware of the potential of landslides, and to be prepared to move to open ground in the event that an aftershock is felt.”
According to the USGS’s assessment, “significant casualties and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”
It estimated that the quake could have been felt by more than a million residents, with approximately 40,000 exposed to “violent” shaking.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Papua New Guinea, especially in Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces, affected by this morning’s earthquake and aftershocks. Australia stands ready to assist in assessing the damage and meeting the needs of affected communities,” Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis said on Twitter.
Radio New Zealand International reported that three deaths had been confirmed.

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NRA-ILA)

 

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2018

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

The word “Outback” used to conjure images of Australia’s tenacious frontier spirit; of hunters, ranchers, and other adventurers who carved out a harsh existence from an unforgiving land. Thanks to a decades-long campaignto distance the island nation from certain elements of its rugged heritage and the proliferation of an Australian-themed casual dining restaurant chain, today the word “Outback” is more likely to bring to mind a 3,000 calorie deep-fried onion.

Despite its namesake and decor, culinary critics have long questioned whether Outback Steakhouse offers an authentic Down Under dining experience. However, these detractors should know that in recent years the chain has gone to great lengths to replicate for their guests Australia’s culture of civilian disarmament by prohibiting diners from carrying firearms onto the premises. This commitment to reproducing Australia’s defenseless society is so profound that earlier this month a uniformed law enforcement officer was asked to leave an Outback in Cleveland, Tenn. because he was armed.

The incident occurred when Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Officer Andrew Ward and his wife went to the restaurant for dinner. In a Facebook post, Ward explained,

I was approached by the manager and asked if I would put my gun in my truck. I let her know that I couldn’t because I was in uniform. She then went and made a call and came back and we were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone.

Rightfully disturbed by the encounter, Ward added,

What is this country coming to? A uniformed Law Enforcement Officer who is sworn to protect and serve the public, is refused service because they have a firearm! I am disgusted and have no other words!!!

In an update to his initial post, Ward noted that he was asked to leave after Outback management bent to the will of an unhinged customer. According to Ward, “There was another customer who was ‘scared for her life’… because ‘police are shooting people.’” Ward explained that “the customer went on to demand to be escorted to her vehicle out of fear of being shot.”

Given the decades of statistics showing the law-abiding character of Right-to-Carry permit holders, Outback’s gun free zone policy is foolish. However, that the company would cite their gun-free policy as justification to yield to the ravings of an unreasonable individual to the detriment of a uniformed law enforcement officer is radical.

There is a general consensus that uniformed and ununiformed current and former law enforcement officers should be allowed to carry a firearm for the public benefit. That is why in 2004 Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA). Under LEOSA, current and former law enforcement officers who meet certain basic criteria, such as carrying qualified identification, are permitted to carry a firearm throughout the country. 

Showing the strong bipartisan support for this measure, the original legislation, H.R. 218, had 297 co-sponsors in the House of Representative and passed the Senate unanimously. Subsequent changes that have been made to increase the number of officers able to take advantage of this protection have been similarly popular. 

Sensing a growing public outrage, Outback reached out to the Wards and offered them a $100 gift card and an apology. Outback’s parent-company, Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., issued a statement to Chattanooga’s WTVC that contended it is not company policy to prohibit law enforcement officers from carrying at their restaurants. The statement went on to blame the incident on the individual restaurant manager.

While the manager might have handled the situation better, Bloomin’ Brands shares some responsibility for creating the irrational gun free zone policy that the employee was forced to interpret. Outback Steakhouse ads have long carried the tagline “Outback: No Rules, Just Right.” In order to better reflect company values and bolster ongoing efforts at authenticity, we submit for consideration, “Outback: No Rights, Just Rules.”

Seven survivors of missing ferry rescued after A Week adrift in Pacific

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Seven survivors of missing ferry rescued after days adrift in Pacific

This photo released by the New Zealand defense force shows a wooden dinghy, left, carrying seven survivors from a missing ferry and a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

(CNN)Seven people who were on a ferry that went missing in the South Pacific a week ago were rescued Sunday, New Zealand authorities say.

The seven were spotted by a New Zealand air force Orion patrol plane as they floated in the open sea about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Nauru island, said Sandra Ford, spokeswoman of the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center.
The plane directed a nearby fishing vessel to pick up the survivors, she said.
The seven were among 50 people aboard the inter-island ferry MV Butiraoi, which left the island of Nonouti in Kiribati on January 18, bound for Betio in the Kiribati capital of South Tarawa, according to the release.
Ford said the survivors included three adult females, a 14-year-old girl, and three adult males. The oldest of the group was 34, she said.
A search will continue for other survivors, she said, with aircraft returning at first light Monday, and the fishing vessel, the FV Lomalo, to stay on station overnight.
Ford described the area where the dinghy was found as “quite remote,” and said other ships would take at least 24 hours to get there.
The ferry MV Butiraoi was on a 250-kilometer (155-mile) trip that was expected to take two days, according to New Zealand authorities.
When the 17-meter-long (56 feet) catamaran-style passenger ferry didn’t arrive in Betio on January 20, the search began.
Ford said authorities were still trying to determine when the ferry sank, but she said it was thought to be early in its journey.
New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Center has been in charge of the search since Saturday, taking over from authorities in Fiji.
New Zealand is about 4,500 kilometers (3,425 miles) south of Kiribati.

Akubra girl “Dolly” killed herself due to bullying

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS)

 

Akubra girl “Dolly” killed herself due to bullying, company says

The post said the girl, Amy Jayne Everett, died January 3, and that “we need to make sure that anyone in crisis knows there is always someone to talk to.” It also urged people to act to stop bullying — a plea her father made Sunday.

“This week has been an example of how social media should be used, it has also been an example of how it shouldn’t be,” Tick Everett said in a Facebook post. “If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted.”

“…lets stop the bullies no matter where, but especially in our kids, as the old saying goes. You will never know what have untill it’s gone,” he said.

He added: “if by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.”

The BBC reports the girl starred in a well-known Akubra ad campaign when she was eight years old. It also reports the family released a statement to media outlets on Wednesday saying the girl was “the kindest, caring, beautiful soul”.

“She was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself.”

Twenty percent of children in Australia say they were bullied over the past year, according to the BBC.

The wide-brimmed Akubra hat is one of Australia’s most recognizable brands, the BBC reports.

It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying

 January 9 at 1:32 PM
 4:27
Sydney heat wave kills hundreds of flying foxes

Hundreds of flying foxes in the Greater Sydney area were found dead amid an extreme heat wave that struck Sydney on January 7.

It has been a weird few weeks of weather. In North America, Canadians and Floridians alike shivered through freezing temperatures, a bomb cyclone and a polar vortex. (It got so cold that iguanas froze and fell out of trees.)

Meanwhile, over in Australia, where it is summer now, it has been especially hot. Sweltering, really.

In Sydney, temperatures hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, the hottest it has been since 1939. That oppressive heat, a side effect of climate change, has made life hard for the country’s humans and infrastructure. Heat waves result in 10 percent more calls for ambulances and 10 percent more deaths, local experts said. Police in Victoria, on Australia’s southeastern coast, warned drivers last week that a six-mile stretch of a freeway in the central part of the state had melted. A spokeswoman for VicRoads, which manages Victoria’s road systems, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that hot weather caused the asphalt to become “soft and sticky” and the road surface to bleed.

It has also been nearly unbearable for some animals. “Anytime we have any type of heat event, we know we’re going to have a lot of animals in need,” animal specialist Kristie Harris told the BBC. It was so hot that possums burned their paws on roofs and roads. Birds needed to be specially rehydrated. Koalas around the region were being sprayed down to keep them cool.

And hundreds of flying fox bats died because they didn’t have enough cover to protect themselves from the heat. Animal rescuers in Sydney described “heartbreaking” scenes of dozens of dead baby bats piled on the ground. As the adult bats sought shade near a creek, babies were left dangling from trees with no means to survive the heat, according to a charity organization in the Sydney suburb of Campbelltown, home to colonies of flying foxes. Many were found scattered on the ground. Others died before they made it down.

“It was unbelievable. I saw a lot of dead bats on the ground and others were close to the ground and dying,” volunteer Cate Ryan told the Guardian. “I have never seen anything like it before.”

Flying foxes have adapted to Australia’s warm climate, but these fruit-eating bats are unable to regulate their body temperature when the outside temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The young ones are especially vulnerable, Ryan told the Camden-Narellan Advertiser.

“They have less heat tolerance,” she said. “Their brain just fries and they become incoherent.” Often, she said, they will simply get too hot and fall to the ground while the adults seek out precious shade.


A heat-stricken bat is rescued in Sydney. (Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown/AFP/Getty Images)

Wildlife volunteers and rescuers spent Sunday picking up bodies of about 200 flying foxes, most of which were babies, according to the charity Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown. The death toll was expected to rise to the thousands, as many were still dangling from trees and were unreachable to volunteers.

“Many pups were on their last breaths before getting much needed help . . . There were tears shed and hearts sunken,” the charity said Sunday in a lengthy Facebook post. “It’s devastating when a colony like our local one goes down like this due to heat, this colony needs more canopy cover and shaded areas to help with our ever rising hot summers because this episode will surely not be the last.”

Australia considers the gray-headed flying fox, one of four types, a vulnerable species — with about 400,000 left, down from more than 560,000 in 1989. The bats live in woods and swamps along Australia’s east coast and play an important role in pollination and seed transportation.

Experts link the plight of flying foxes to the globe’s steadily rising temperature. More than 30,000 flying foxes died across Australia during heat waves between 1994 and 2008, bat ecologist Micaela Jemison wrote in 2014.

Last year, more than 2,000 flying foxes were found dead in the Richmond Valley region of northern New South Wales on Australia’s east coast, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. Temperatures topped 113 degrees Fahrenheit. About 100,000 bats across the state of Queensland died during a heat wave in 2014.

“This is of great concern to scientists not only due to the increased risk of these ‘die off’ events, but also for the long term impact it will have on the recovery of several of these already threatened species,” Jemison wrote.

Australia’s heat wave — and the United States’s bomb cyclone — come on the heels of the second-warmest global year on record since the 1800s.

A new report, pointing to signs of climate change such as the thawing of Arctic ice and intensifying wildfires, says the global average surface air temperature in 2017 exceeded 14.7 degrees Celsius (58.46 Fahrenheit), making last year a bit cooler than 2016, the warmest on record. But 2016 included the tail end of a strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific, and that bumped up temperatures that year, as well as in 2015, according to the report by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a European agency.

These findings are echoed in Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology’s climate report for 2017, the country’s third-warmest year on record.

“Despite the lack of an El Nino — which is normally associated with our hottest years — 2017 was still characterized by very warm temperatures. Both day and nighttime temperatures were warmer than average . . . Seven of Australia’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2005 and Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year — 2011 — in the past decade,” according to a news release.

Australia Finds Wreck of World War I Submarine, Solving a 103-Year Enigma

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Continue reading the main story

LONDON — For more than a century, the fate of Australia’s first military submarine was one of the country’s enduring maritime mysteries.

The vessel, lost off Papua New Guinea in September 1914, barely seven months after being commissioned for service, disappeared with 35 crew members during operations to capture the German Pacific colonies in World War I.

Now the puzzle is solved.

The Australian Navy announced on Thursday the discovery of a wreck they identified as the submarine, the AE1. The discovery was made by a survey ship, the Fugro Equator, that was used in another seemingly impossible endeavor: the search for the remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Photo

The underwater autonomous vehicle used in the successful search for the AE1 submarine.CreditBayden Findlay/Royal Australia, via European Pressphoto Agency

Images captured during the expedition suggested the submarine was well preserved and still in one piece.

Nobody knows what caused the AE1 to sink in 1914 — it had not been under attack at the time — though theories include an explosion of one of its torpedoes or a failure of a high-pressure air cylinder. It was one of the first Allied vessels to vanish in the war.

Continue reading the main story

The submarine was found south of the Duke of York Islands at a depth of about 1,000 feet.

The AE1 and its sister vessel, the AE2, arrived in Australia in the spring of 1914, crossing half the globe after their construction in England. They soon joined the war, but neither lasted long. After the AE1 vanished, the AE2 was reported to have been sunk by Turkish warships near the Sea of Marmara in 1915, during the Gallipoli campaign. The AE2 was discovered in 1998, about 240 feet down.

Locating the AE1 proved more difficult: 13 previous attempts failed to find its final resting place. On Thursday, the Australian defense minister, Marise Payne, hailed the successful conclusion to the search, saying “Australia’s oldest naval mystery has been solved.” She said the loss of the submarine had been “a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies.”

The Australian Navy said that it hoped investigators would be able to piece together the causes of the submarine’s demise and that the Australian government would work with the authorities in Papua New Guinea to consider “a lasting commemoration and recognition” of the crew.

A Woman Had Stomach Pains. Doctors Discovered It Was Something She Swallowed–A Decade Ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

A woman had stomach pains. Doctors discovered it was something she swallowed — a decade ago.

 August 8

(iStock)

Doctors at a hospital in Australia were bewildered when a 30-year-old woman showed up with intense stomach pains.

Her heart rate was faster than normal, and the membrane lining her abdominal wall was inflamed, one of her doctors wrote in a medical article published Monday by BMJ Case Reports. But her vital signs, laboratory tests, ultrasound and a scan of her liver, gallbladder and bile ducts were all normal.

The woman also had not had surgery recently, which eliminated the possibility that a surgeon accidentally left a foreign object inside  her, according to Popular Science. But a CT scan revealed that a thin, metallic wire was lodged in her intestines.

And it had been there for at least a decade.

That object, a little more than 2½ inches long, was a dental brace wire that the woman used to wear, according to her doctors. It caused her intestine “to twist around on itself — a condition known as volvulus,” according to a news release from BMJ Case Reports, an online collection of articles and case reports submitted by health-care professionals and researchers.

The woman told doctors that she wore braces 10 years ago and has had them removed since. She also said she does not remember ingesting the wire or losing part of her braces, wrote Talia Shepherd, one of the doctors who treated the woman at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands in Western Australia.

A thin metallic wire is lodged in a woman’s intestines. (BMJ Case Reports)

“The case is so unique is because normally if you swallow something like that, it presents earlier,” Shepherd told Popular Science.

More typically, people unknowingly ingest things like fish bones instead of metallic objects, Shepherd said. And they usually realize it shortly after. In the woman’s case, she didn’t experience any pain until recently.

“We were all a bit dumbfounded,” Shepherd told the magazine. “It wasn’t what I was expecting to find at all.”

Accidentally ingesting foreign objects is not unheard of.

Last May, Live Science published a list of “11 Weird Things People Have Swallowed.” It includes small and pointed objects like a bobby pin and a dental instrument, as well as larger ones like a cellphone, a pen, a lighter and a toothbrush.

In a 2015 medical case from Saudi Arabia, doctors examining an X-Ray of a 16-month-old boy’s esophagus came face-to-face with an image of a smiling SpongeBob SquarePants. Ghofran Ageely, a radiology resident at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, told Live Science that the toddler had swallowed his older sister’s SpongeBob pendant.

Ageely said she initially thought it was a pin or a hair accessory because an X-ray of the child’s body from the side showed a thin object in his esophagus. She was shocked after looking at the frontal view.

“‘ SpongeBob,’ I screamed!!!” Ageely told Live Science in an email. “I was amazed by the visible details. You can see the freckles, shoes and fingers … AMAZING.”

Last May, a Texas mother warned other parents after her daughter accidentally swallowed a fidget spinner. They were in a car when she noticed her daughter choking, Kelly Rose Joniec wrote on her Facebook page, according to USA Today.

recent report by a consumer watchdog group warned parents of the dangers of the popular toy, which it said has “the potential to lead to tragic or deadly consequences.”

As for the woman from Australia, Shepherd said she recovered well.

READ MORE:

Fidget spinners are hugely popular with kids. They’re also a choking hazard, consumer group warns.

Popular magnets pose risk if swallowed

She thought it was a chocolate candy bar. What she experienced was unexpected.

Australia’s Prime Minister Slowly Realizes Trump Is A Complete Idiot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘NEW YORK MAGAZINE.COM’)

(Is Donald “FAKE NEWS” Trump The Biggest Idiot On Earth?)(TRS)

11:49 am

Australia’s Prime Minister Slowly Realizes Trump Is a Complete Idiot

By 

Image
Donald Trump and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Getty Images

The transcript of Donald Trump’s discussion with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull obtained by the Washington Post reveals many things, but the most significant may be that Trump in his private negotiations is every bit as mentally limited as he appears to be in public.
At issue in the conversation is a deal to settle 1,250 refugees who have been detained by Australia in the United States. I did not pay any attention to the details of this agreement before reading the transcript. By the time I was halfway through it, my brain could not stop screaming at Trump for his failure to understand what Turnbull was telling him.

Australia has a policy of refusing to accept refugees who arrive by boat. The reason, as Turnbull patiently attempts to explain several times, is that it believes giving refuge to people who arrive by boat would encourage smuggling and create unsafe passage with a high risk of deaths at sea. But it had a large number of refugees who had arrived by sea, living in difficult conditions, whom Australia would not resettle (for fear of encouraging more boat trafficking) but whom it did not want to deport, either. The United States government agreed under President Obama to vet 1,250 of these refugees and accept as many of them as it deemed safe.

In the transcript, Trump is unable to absorb any of these facts. He calls the refugees “prisoners,” and repeatedly brings up the Cuban boatlift (in which Castro dumped criminals onto Florida). He is unable to absorb Turnbull’s explanation that they are economic refugees, not from conflict zones, and that the United States has the ability to turn away any of them it deems dangerous.

Donald Trump Is His Own Worst Enemy

President Trump’s efforts to fix his headline-making crises often have the effect of making the situation worse.

Turnbull tries to explain to Trump that refugees have not been detained because they pose a danger to Australian society, but in order to deter ship-based smuggling:

Trump: Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

Turnbull: Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

At this point, Trump fails to understand the policy altogether, and proceeds to congratulate Turnbull for what Trump mistakes to be a draconian policy of total exclusion:

Trump: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am … Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries.

Trump has completely failed to understand either that the refugees are not considered dangerous, or, again, that they are being held because of a categorical ban on ship-based refugee traffic.

He also fails to understand the number of refugees in the agreement:

Trump: I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

Turnbull: With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

Trump: Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

Turnbull: The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting.

Then Trump returns to his belief that they are bad, and failing to understand the concept that they have been detained merely because they arrived by sea and not because they committed a crime:

Trump: I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

Turnbull: I would not be so sure about that. They are basically —

Trump: Well, maybe you should let them out of prison.

He still thinks they’re criminals.

Later, Trump asks what happens if all the refugees fail his vetting process:

Trump: I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

Turnbull: That is the point I have been trying to make.

After several attempts by Turnbull to explain Australia’s policy, Trump again expresses his total inability to understand what it is:

Trump: Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

Turnbull: Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

Trump: Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

After Turnbull has told Trump several times that the refugees have been detained because they arrived by boat, and only for that reason, Trump’s question is, “But they are arrived on a boat?”

Soon after, Turnbull again reiterates that Australia’s policy is to detain any refugee who arrives by boat:

Turnbull: The only people that we do not take are people who come by boa. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.”

Trump: What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

No, you don’t get it at all! It’s not that they come from certain regions! It’s that they come by boat!

So Turnbull very patiently tries to explain again that the policy has nothing to do with what region the refugees come from:

Turnbull: No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea.

At this point, Trump gives up asking about the policy and just starts venting about the terribleness of deals in general:

I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it — START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

Shortly afterward, the call ends in brusque fashion, and Turnbull presumably begins drinking heavily.

Damian Daily

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