Calls to axe LNP candidate Kerri-Anne Dooley who posted blackface photo

There are calls for the Liberal National Party to dump a Queensland candidate who posted a photo of herself with a man in blackface on social media, but the party is refusing to back down.

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LNP candidate for Redcliffe Kerri-Anne Dooley posted the photo of her with a man dressed as late indigenous singer Mandawuy Yunupingu over the weekend.

Innovation and Small Business Minister Leanne Enoch said the LNP should immediately dump Ms Dooley, who has since deleted the post, for the culturally insensitive act.

“For a candidate, in the 21st century, hoping to represent the people of Queensland, who endorses that kind of behaviour, but on top of that reference a deceased individual, someone who is highly respected, is just appalling,” Ms Enoch told reporters on Monday.

“They should be disendorsing this candidate for this kind of behaviour.”

Ms Enoch became Queensland’s first female indigenous MP when she won the southern Brisbane seat of Algester in Labor’s shock 2015 election victory.

Ms Dooley earlier tried to explain her actions by saying she attended an Australian-themed house warming party where guests went dressed as prominent identities.

“One person was a fan of the band Yothu Yindi and lead singer, the late Mandawuy Yunupingu. I posted a photo of us together on my Instagram feed,” she said in a statement.

“On reflection it was a mistake to post this photo and unprompted, I deleted it. I apologise for any offence that this may have caused.”

LNP President Gary Spence issued a statement on Monday stating Ms Dooley would remain a candidate.

“Kerri-Anne has been a tireless worker for her community and will make an excellent local member if elected,” he said.

“She has apologised for making a mistake and for causing any possible offence.”

‘We will stop the next war’: Women march for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women have trekked through a biblical desert landscape, converging on the shores of the Jordan River in a march for peace.

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The women, many of them dressed in white, descended through the arid hills leading to the river, where they erected a “peace tent” named for Hagar and Sarah, scriptural mothers of Ishmael and Isaac, the half-brother patriarchs of Muslims and Jews.

“We are women from the right, the left, Jews and Arabs, from the cities and the periphery and we have decided that we will stop the next war,” said Marilyn Smadja, one of the founders of the organising group, Women Wage Peace.

Israeli and Palestinian women march in the desert near Beit HaArava in the Jordan Valley, Israel, near to Jericho, in the West Bank, 08 October 2017. AAP

The organisation was established after the 50-day Gaza war of 2014 when more than 2100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.

About 5000 women participated in Sunday’s march, organisers said.

It began last month at several locations across Israel and will culminate in a rally later in the day outside the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian and Israeli women take phone photographs of thousands of women taking part in a Peace march in the desert near Beit HaArava in the Jordan ValleyAAP

The march comes at a time when many analysts see little hope for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is 82 and unpopular, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads what is seen as the most right-wing government in his country’s history.

In 2015, Women Wage Peace members fasted in relays over 50 days, the length of the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

“The men who have power believe only in war, but with the strength of women we can bring something else, something new,” said Amira Zidan, an Arab Israeli mother of one of the organisation’s founders.

Sunday’s arrival in Jerusalem coincides with the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which commemorates the Jews’ journey through the Sinai after their exodus from Egypt.

Earlier Sunday, thousands of Jews gathered at Jerusalem’s Western Wall for a priestly blessing held during the holiday each year.

Up to 13 cyclones expected around Australia in the next six months: BOM

The impending cyclone season – which begins in November and runs until April – typically brings between 10 and 13 cyclones to Australian waters, with around four of those usually traversing the coastline.

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A tropical cyclone is a low-pressure system that develops over warm waters, when the sea-surface temperature is above 26.5 degrees celsius.

It can reach wind speeds of over 63 km/hr. Severe gusts have hit 280km/hr at the core, known as the ‘circular eye’.

Tropical cyclones can last for several days and cause heavy rain, floods, and strong winds.

Tropical #Cyclone Season Outlook 2017–18: typical cyclone numbers expected in Aus region. 南京桑拿,南京SPA,/qcfurKTDgm @QldFES, @DFES_WA, @NTPFES pic南京夜生活,/VprcB5YE3Y

— BOM Australia (@BOM_au) October 8, 2017

Related Reading’Dangerous’ flooding

Cyclones are categorised from one to five – category one being the least severe with minimal house damage, while category five means extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.

According to senior climatologist Dr Paul Gregory, the effects of offshore tropical cyclones can be felt on coastal regions from rough seas and storm surges.

“While the tropical cyclone outlook points to a typical season, as we saw earlier this year with severe tropical cyclone Debbie, one event can have a devastating effect on a number of communities,” he said.

“It is rare that cyclones are evenly spread across the season. Last season saw only one tropical cyclone form before mid-February, which was a very late start. But then eight subsequent cyclones in the region brought the season’s total to nine.

“When tropical cyclone Blanche crossed the West Australian coast on 6 March, it was the latest date that the first cyclone had crossed the coast on record. Tropical lows also form during the severe weather season.

“While these may lack the damaging winds and storm surges of cyclones, they can still cause widespread and very intense rainfall and dangerous flooding.”

The likelihood of impact

The Bureau of Meteorology has outlined the likelihood of tropical cyclones striking Australian regions during the season. It says:

Western Australia is likely to have around two coastal impacts, with the “significant risk” of at least one severe tropical cyclone coastal impact.The north has a 53 per cent chance of an “above average” number of tropical cyclones (there are usually around three) with at least one coastal crossing expected.An average season is expected in the east – where around a quarter of tropical cyclones usually cross the coast.And in southern Australia, around four tropical cyclones usually make landfall.Tropical #Cyclone Season Outlook 2017–18: typical cyclone numbers expected in Aus region. 南京桑拿,南京SPA,/qcfurKTDgm @QldFES, @DFES_WA, @NTPFES pic南京夜生活,/VprcB5YE3Y

— BOM Australia (@BOM_au) October 8, 2017How to prepare for a cyclone

Tropical cyclone forecasts and warnings are issued on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website and via its Twitter page.

It also has a safety checklist to ensure the public is prepared in the event of a cyclone. Among the guidelines are to ensure any loose items inside or outside your home are secure; have an emergency kit to hand, including a portable battery radio and food, and an evacuation kit, with warm clothes, any medication and valuables; and follow state emergency services’ advice.

Government may abandon clean-energy target as renewables become more affordable

Wind, solar and battery technologies are becoming so cheap the government may not need to use subsidies to reduce emissions, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has suggested.

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Mr Frydenberg said the government would decide on whether to implement a post-2020 clean energy target, as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, by the end of 2017.

But he said the need for a target with subsidies for renewables would be weighed against the market forces already driving down prices in the private sector.

“It is against this backdrop of a declining cost curve for renewables and storage, greater efficiencies in thermal generation, and the need for sufficient dispatchable power in the system that we are considering Dr Finkel’s 50th recommendation,” Mr Frydenberg told an energy summit in Sydney.

The government has adopted 49 of Dr Finkel’s 50 recommendations, but some conservatives in the party have voiced strong opposition to a clean-energy target.

Last month, former prime minister Tony Abbott said he may cross the floor and vote against the government if continued down the “renewable path”.

Nationals MP George Christensen also said he would vote against a clean energy target.

Mr Frydenberg said renewables were becoming more affordable and said he expected that trend to continue.

“Domestically, solar PV costs have dropped by more than 50 percent,” he said.

“By 2020, costs of battery technologies are expected to fall 40-60 percent, and over 70 percent by 2030.”

Shorten: Walking away the worst possible option 

Labor leader Bill Shorten reasserted the need for a clean-energy target to replace the current renewable energy target that expires in 2020.

Addressing the same energy conference, Mr Shorten repeated his offer to work with the government on designing the scheme.

He said a clear target would give industry and investors more certainty and help stabilise the market.

“Walking away is the worst possible option. It would leave investors in the lurch,” he said.

“Work with Labor to deliver a CET [clean energy target] that is workable.”

Labor has previously offered to compromise on the clear-energy target, but would not support a scheme that extended subsidies to “cleaner” coal-fired power stations designed to capture and store their carbon emissions.  

Mr Frydenberg also criticised Labor state governments for restricting natural gas exploration. 

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At least 12 people dead and scores missing after Rohingya boat capsizes

Authorities in Bangladesh said the boat was carrying between 60 and 100 people when it overturned and sank late Sunday in rough seas.

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More than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state for Bangladesh since late August. Many walk for days through thick jungle before making the perilous boat journey across the Naf river that divides the two countries.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) official Abdul Jalil told AFP on Monday they had recovered the bodies of 10 children, an elderly woman and a man after an all-night rescue operation.

Survivor Sayed Hossain wept as he watched the body of his two and a half-year-old son being taken away to the local cemetery for burial.

“We set off at around 6pm. We did not have any choice but to leave our village,” he said, telling how the overloaded boat overturned when it hit a shoal and sank in rough water.

“They (security forces) have restricted our movements. Many are starving as we could not even go to shop or market to buy food,” the 30-year-old Rohingya farmhand, who lived in a village east of Myanmar’s Buthidaung township, said.

Hossain’s mother, his pregnant wife and two children were all still missing. 

Border guard boats have rescued 13 Rohingya and the rest are missing, Jalil said, adding many may have swum to the Rakhine coast.

Area coast guard commander Alauddin Nayan said the boat capsized near the coastal village of Galachar with nearly 100 people on board, more than half of them children.

Dangerous journey

About 150 Rohingya, many of them children, have drowned trying to reach Bangladesh in small and rickety fishing boats that coastguards say are woefully inadequate for the rough seas.

Late last month more than 60 refugees are feared to have died when the boat carrying them from Myanmar capsized in rough weather in the Bay of Bengal.

Villagers at Shah Porir Dwip where the boats mostly land told AFP the Rohingya were increasingly travelling at night to avoid strict border patrols in Bangladesh, making the journey even more dangerous.

Last week the guards destroyed at least 30 wooden fishing vessels amid increased concern they were being used to bring the popular methamphetamine drug known locally as Yaba into the country and using the refugee crisis as cover.

Gangs of boat owners, crew and fishermen have also been charging the fleeing Rohingya upwards of $250 for the two-hour journey that normally costs no more than $5.

Nearly 520,000 Rohingya Muslims have now entered Bangladesh since deadly Rohingya militant raids on Myanmar police posts on August 25 prompted a brutal military backlash.

The United Nations has said the army campaign could amount to “ethnic cleansing” while Myanmar military leaders have blamed the unrest on the Rohingya.

The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as a distinct ethnic group and considers them illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

While the worst of the violence appears to have abated, insecurity, food shortages and tensions with Buddhist neighbours are still driving thousands of Rohingya to make the arduous journey to Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi authorities initially refused them entry but relented as the numbers became overwhelming, and have set aside land for a giant refugee camp near the border.