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31 December 2019


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Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

Happy New Year to everyone!


Happy New Year! I rang in the new in traditional Australian style - drinking water from a plastic bottle at midnight while fighting to hold a bushfire to a fire break along with 55 fellow volunteer firefighters. No sleep for 24 hrs. More to follow.


Happy New Year Col, to you and your family! That Ghosen escape to Lebanon is a classic Lebanese drama/comic opera. I'm hoping it brought a rueful smile to your face!


Happy New Year to one and all.


Happy New Year to Pat and his Committee of Correspondents, from smoky Canberra, Australia. We are 50+km from the nearest fires, but woke this morning to the densest pall of smoke I've seen. Here's the view from my driveway. A cool change has turned yesterday's 35 degrees C and winds gusting to 50km/hr to dead calm and 17 degrees now. But it will warm up again soon enough. And it's been much hotter elsewhere- up to 44 degrees in Gippsland yesterday. You can get a good idea of the extent of the fires here https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me

What will also warm up will be the debate over responsibility for preparedness. National leaders providing leadership have been conspicuous by their absence. The Prime Minister was shamed into returning early from a private Hawaiian holiday; the NSW State Emergency Minister is, believe it or not, on holiday in Europe.

While expressing obligatory concern for the victims, the Commonwealth and State Governments will continue to try to push responsibility on to each other. This is all very well, but won't address the increasing severity of fires- a consequence of the long-term drying trend across Australia. Ross Gittins, one of Australia's most astute economic commentators makes a few relevant observations today https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/why-i-didn-t-donate-to-the-rural-fire-service-this-time-around-20191231-p53nt1.html

Ingolf Eide

Second that from out here in Oz.

Ishmael Zechariah

Happy 2020 to all. May you have health and serenity in the coming year.
Ishmael Zechariah


@ Elora.
What a surprise, the first line I read this year reminds me of my birth place San Sebastián where kokotxas are sublime. Thank you.


Happy New Year!

Australian lady

Happy New Year ,especially to Walrus and co. You are the stuff of legend!

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