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April 2, 2013

Sydney plans loss of rainbow

Sydney plans loss of rainbow – Wikinews, the free news source

Sydney plans loss of rainbow

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Correction — April 8, 2013
 
The cost of painting the crosswalk was misstated here as 11,000 AUD; the cost was reportedly about 80,000 AUD, with funds allocated of 110,000 AUD including about 30,000 AUD for removal if necessary. We apologize for the misstatement.
 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The rainbow colored sidewalk
Image: Bidgee.

Yesterday, the deadline expired for the rainbow colored sidewalk located at Rainbow Oxford St, Taylor Square in Sydney, Australia to remain intact.

The pedestrian crossing had been painted with the colors of the rainbow to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT) pride march in Sydney during this year’s Mardi Gras celebrations, at a cost of AU$11,000 and, according to a spokesman for the City of Sydney, it had a very positive impact for local tourism and within the community.

The initial idea plan was to conduct a month long pilot and, if positive, keep the crossing painted in rainbow colors for twelve month period. However, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) warned of the potential danger the painted the road could pose for drivers and demanded the road be painted over. Despite an online petition gathered almost 15,000 signatures to save the rainbow, the Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Premier Barry O’Farrell decided not to meet the requests from the City of Sydney for the road to remain with the colors of rainbow.

A spokeswoman for Gay’s office cited road safety hazard and unsafe behavior as the reason for removal, including people who sat in the road to take pictures. Alex Greenwich, the local representative from Sydney in the New South Wales state government, had organised the petition earlier and said Gay exaggerated the potential safety hazards, and said that people took pictures during the parade of Mardi Gras, when there was no traffic.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore also disputed Mr Gay’s claims, citing no safety hazards, “The audit also shows that generally the risk to the public of having the rainbow crossing is low. This is bureaucracy gone wild — the Minister wants to remove the crossing because he doesn’t like some pictures that people have been taking. Those pictures are a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of thousands of other pictures of the crossing that have … promoted Oxford St as one of the best LGBT tourism destinations in the world.” The walk is scheduled to be painted over this week and will cost about AU$35,000.



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Greg Barns named Australia\’s Wikileaks Party national campaign director

Filed under: Archived,Australia — admin @ 5:00 am

Greg Barns named Australia’s Wikileaks Party national campaign director

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Australia
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Yesterday, Greg Barns was named Australia’s WikiLeaks Party national campaign director following the party receiving support from philanthropist Philip Wollen of Melbourne.

Barns is not new to political campaigning; the barrister served as the leader of Australian Republican Movement during the late 1990s and served as a Liberal Party of Australia staffer. Barns was personally asked by Julian Assange to take the position, following Assange’s own announcement late last year that he would run for a federal Senate seat in Victoria. John Shipton is already serving as the party’s secretary.

Julian Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy last year
Image: Snapperjack.

Barns said the WikiLeaks Party’s federal platform will focus on several issues including human rights, freedom of speech, privacy issues, and government transparency. The Wikileaks Party has not been registered yet with the Australian Electoral Commission as they do not have 500 enrolled electors as of today.

Assange is still based in London in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been living for the last nine months. Assange would need approximately 15% of the Victorian vote to win a senate seat. Voting in Australia is compulsory.



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Cyclists Jason English and Liz Smith win 24 Solo in Australia

Cyclists Jason English and Liz Smith win 24 Solo in Australia

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. Eventual race winner Jason English.
Image: Hawkeye7.

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. Solo riders.
Image: Hawkeye7.

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. In mountain bike riding, three riders is practically a peloton.
Image: Hawkeye7.

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. Support crews for the riders provide food, liquids and mechanical assistance to the riders.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mount Stromlo, Canberra — This Easter weekend, elite mountain bike riders competed in the Australian 24-hour solo championships at Canberra’s Stromlo Forest Park. Jason English from Port MacQuarie rode 33 laps and won the men’s race. Liz Smith from Wollongong rode 25 laps and won the women’s race.

Races are won by riding the most laps. If two riders complete the same number of laps in 24-hours, the winner is the one who has ridden them in the shortest time.

Riders wear lights on their helmets and bicycles during night laps. Due to the time of year, there is roughly twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness each day.

The event is a curtain raiser for the WEMBO World Solo 24 hour Mountain Bike Championships, which will be held at Stromlo Forest Park on 12 and 13 October 2013. The race was for solo riders only.

Mont24 at Kowen. Riders go past on the first lap
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mont24 at Kowen. Riders with cramps receive a massage
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mont24 at Kowen. General announcements are made, including a review of the race rules
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mont24 at Kowen. A typical team tent layout
Image: Hawkeye7.

The weekend before, the teams of riders took to the track at the Mont 24 hour race at Canberra’s Kowen forest. With over 3,000 riders participating, it is now Australia’s largest cycling race.

The team version of the race was favoured by the weekend warriors, but also attracted more than a few elite athletes. Laps were ridden in relay fashion: each rider handed over the baton (which looked like a credit card) to another member of the team after riding one or more laps.

The track was in excellent condition, running through the trees. Without steep climbs or overly difficult technical sections, it permitted fast lap times.

No injuries were reported.



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Authorities at Jakarta Airport, Indonesia seize 687 endangered pig-nosed turtles

Filed under: Archived,Indonesia — admin @ 5:00 am

Authorities at Jakarta Airport, Indonesia seize 687 endangered pig-nosed turtles

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Indonesia
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File photo of a pig-nosed turtle.
Image: Bjoertvedt.

Authorities announced yesterday that last month approximately 687 endangered pig-nosed turtles were seized at the Sorkarno-Hatta International Airport in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta. The turtles were reportedly destined for the city of Hong Kong, China.

Teguh Samudro the head of BKIMP, the Indonesian quarantine said yesterday: “The packages were broken when they arrived at the airport, so we could tell what was inside”; “We don’t know where they were being sent as the address on the package does not exist”. He noted the turtles are to be returned shortly to their native Papua habitat.

He went on to say that, “Violators of the 1992 law on animal, fish and plant quarantines or the 1990 law on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation face up to three years’ imprisonment and fines of up to Rp 150 million (US$15,400).” The person who sent the endangered turtles has not yet been identified.

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora aims to ensure that international trade of animals and plants a risk of extinction are restricted, the pig-nosed turtle species are listed. They are at risk of extinction after having been smuggled for many years and the The Jakarta Post reports that 15 centimeter long adult pig-nosed turtles can get up to US$2,000 on the black market.



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