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To Protect Grains from Drought, Australia Searches for Climate-Proof Crops

The national crop this year is expected to be about 10 percent below the 10-year average

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Large areas of eastern Australia have been in drought for periods ranging from one to seven years. Wikimedia Commons

Australian researchers are looking to Africa and the Middle East for drought- and heat-resistant crops as many grain farmers face another failed season.

Key farming regions in southern Queensland are forecast to miss their third winter grain crop in a row. The national crop this year is expected to be about 10 percent below the 10-year average.

Australia’s Grains Research and Development Corporation, the GRDC, is carrying out a global search for climate-proof grains. GRDC’s northern panel chairman, John Minogue, says crops in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa could be adapted to help farmers become more resilient in the face of a warming climate and less rainfall.

climate proof crops
FILE – Tracks made by sheep can be seen in a drought-affected paddock on a farm in central New South Wales, Australia, Sept. 17, 2018. VOA

“We have got people in Syria, in Africa, in all of the parts of the world, which have historically had these crops grown for thousands of years,” he said. “We have a lot of investments in people on behalf of the grain growers searching the world for plants that are resistant to drought and also that are able to handle stress conditions and heat, and identifying the germplasm [genetic material] that we can then integrate into the Australian crops.”

ALSO READ: UN Appeals Nations to Reduce Carbon Emissions by 45 Percent by 2030

Large areas of eastern Australia have been in drought for periods ranging from one to seven years. More than 95 percent of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, is officially in drought.

The national climate outlook for August to October suggests drier-than-average conditions for large parts of Australia, with higher-than-average daytime temperatures across the entire continent. (VOA)

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COVID-19: Australia Suspends 2032 Olympic Bid

The government seems to be focused on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

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Australia has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently. Pixabay

Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

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The decision was taken as the state is currently focusing on the economic recovery. Pixabay

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He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.” (IANS)

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Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death In Australia, heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

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Climate change an official cause of death in Australia study suggests. Pixabay

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.  “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

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Excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Pixabay

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke,” Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia. According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country’s death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

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“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” she said. (IANS)

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These Picturesque Australian Pools Can Now Be Visited Virtually

Don't let lockdown stop you, visit these wonderful Australian pools virtually

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Australian pools
The Australian ocean pools or ocean baths allow one to experience the public seawater in a pool built out into the ocean . Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Dotting the beautiful Australian coastline, ocean pools or ocean baths allow one to experience the public seawater in a pool built out into the ocean or carved directly into the coastal rock. Often thought of as a mini-ocean within an ocean, these pools capture marine landscapic beauty at its best.

Ocean pools are quintessentially New South Wales (NSW), with just a handful found outside the State’s borders. There are about 100 along the NSW coast, from Yamba in the north to Bermagui in the south, with 35 in Sydney alone.

Ocean pools took off in the late 19th century. Competitive swimming was becoming popular and people wanted a place where they would be protected from the pounding surf and unpredictable currents. Many ocean pools were built by surf clubs or community groups and still hold a special place in the hearts of locals.

North Coast

Yamba Rock Pool on the State’s far North Coast is built into the rocks at the sheltered southern end of the beach, near one of NSW’s oldest surf lifesaving clubs. Forster Ocean Baths opened in 1936 with a popular dance hall attached. They are now known colloquially as ethe Bullring’ after a cafe that operated next to the pool in the 1970s.

Newcastle

Newcastle is home to the oldest ocean pool on the east coast of Australia, the Bogey Hole, which was hand carved by convicts in 1819. It also boasts the largest ocean pool in the southern hemisphere, the Merewether Baths. People come to swim laps, enjoy the beach or chat on the steps leading into the water, dubbed the Steps of Knowledge by locals.

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Ocean pools built by surf clubs or community groups and still hold a special place in the hearts of locals. Pixabay

Nearby, the Newcastle Ocean Baths are surrounded by a beautiful, heritage-listed art deco pavilion. The baths feature two ocean pools; the main rectangular pool has a separate area for lap swimming and the round shallow Canoe Pool is popular with families.

Central Coast

On the Central Coast, the Entrance Ocean Baths is a heritage-listed complex of three ocean pools. A children’s pool, 22m pool and full-length Olympic-size pool make these baths ideal for swimmers of all levels. You can also find smaller ocean pools at Pearl Beach and MacMasters Beach.

Illawarra and Wollongong

The Illawarra region, just south of Sydney, has a dozen rock pools, including Towradgi, Coledale, Austinmer and Bulli. One of the prettiest is at Coalcliff Beach, set against dramatic cliffs and the escarpment. Local legend has it that miners blasted the rock themselves using dynamite they snuck out of the mines in their pockets.

The Port Kembla Olympic Pool and the Continental Pool at North Wollongong are ocean-fed Olympic pools with facilities like changing rooms and showers. Both date back to the 1920s and 1930s, and are popular with lap swimmers and families.

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These pools capture marine landscapic beauty at its best. Pixabay

South Coast

Further south at Kiama, one can find two pools. The Blow Hole Point Rock Pool offers a safe swimming spot close to the area’s famous Blow Hole. Popular since the 1880s, it was cut into the surrounding rocks, giving it an irregular shape and natural charm. The Continental Rock Pool is 50m long and a smooth rectangle, perfect for lap swimming.

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The southernmost pool in the State is the Blue Pool in Bermagui, named for the way it reflects a blue sky. A carved pool set into the rock face and continually washed with clean, clear ocean water, it’s home to thriving marine life, with fish, crabs and nudibranchs (marine snails) all coexisting happily with swimmers and snorkelers. (IANS)