Archive for: March, 2019

'Musharraf part of problem' :analyst

Mar 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Ms Bhutto, 54, was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack that killed around 20 people as she left an election rally yesterday in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad.


Professor William Maley, director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University, said the rule of President Pervez Musharraf may have been the main target of the assassination.

“I don't think we should make the mistake of automatically assuming that the objective of the assassins was simply eliminate Benazir Bhutto,” Prof Maley told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

“Her assassination may have been a means to a wider end, mainly the destabilisation of the wider political system headed by Musharraf.”

Prof Maley questioned claims Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party would be swept to power by her death.

He said the political group may be too heavily identified with its assassinated leader, and to Ms Bhutto's father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who founded the party.

“For many years the Pakistan People's Party has been an expression of Benazir and before that her father,” Prof Maley said.

“It is not at all clear who would be able to take over as leader as Pakistan People's Party.”

If Pakistan descended into civil war, as feared by some commentators, it would most likely spell the end of President Musharraf, Prof Maley said.

“The military is pretty strong, and if things start to slide in that way, Musharraf himself could be at risk,” he said.

“One form of circuit breaker that may appeal to other elements of the military would be to replace an unpopular president with another leader.

“I think there is a lot of evidence to suggest that Musharraf is part of the problem and not of the solution.”

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Times Square New Year’s ball goes green

Mar 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball is celebrating its centennial by going green.


The star of the world-famous holiday extravaganza was revamped this year with 9,576 energy-efficient bulbs that use about the same amount of electricity as 10 toasters.

Philips Lighting, which created the light-emitting diodes, or LED bulbs, specifically for the event, says they are smaller but more than twice as bright as last year’s lights, which were a mix of more than 600 incandescent and halogen bulbs.

And the new lights can create more than 16 million colours for a kaleidoscope of hues against the 672 Waterford Crystal triangles.

“The whole world looks up to New York’s New Year’s Eve. I’m proud to be able to save energy and show off this technology to the world with such a special event,” said Kaj den Daas, chairman of Philips Lighting North America.

The ball was first dropped for the New Year’s Eve celebration in 1907. Made of iron and wood, it weighed 317.5kg and was lit with 100 25-watt incandescent bulbs.

Over the century, five other versions of the ball were designed to ring in the New Year. In 1999, the ball was made from crystal to welcome the new millennium.

This year, the motif is “Let There Be Light” and features a stylised, radiating sunburst on each of the crystal triangles.

The new design and technology “will make the ball glow like nothing else”, said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, a business group in charge of the event.

The ball was tested successfully on Sunday afternoon, making its way slowly up and down the 23.47-metre flagpole atop 1 Times Square with bursts of colour.

More than a million revellers were expected to crowd the streets for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration on Monday.

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Bhutto ‘responsible for own death’

Mar 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf conceded that a gunman may have shot Benazir Bhutto but said the opposition leader exposed herself to danger and bore responsibility for her death, CBS News said.


Musharraf was also quoted as telling the CBS 60 Minutes program to be broadcast Sunday that his government did everything it could to provide security for Bhutto, who was killed last week in a gun and suicide bomb attack after a political rally.

“For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone. Nobody else. Responsibility is hers,” Musharraf said in the interview taped on Saturday.


Pakistan’s government has said Bhutto died when she struck her head on a handle on her vehicle’s sunroof – a contention widely derided in Pakistan where many people suspect Musharraf’s government of complicity.

The government has also blamed al-Qaeda for the attack.

Musharraf was asked by CBS, which provided excerpts of the interview, whether a gunshot could have caused Bhutto’s head injury.

He replied, “Yes, yes”.

Gunshot ‘a possibility’

The questioner asked, “So she may have been shot?” and Musharraf said, “Yes, absolutely, yes. Possibility.”

Bhutto’s widower on Saturday called for a UN investigation of the killing.

In an opinion article in the Washington Post, Asif Ali Zardari urged that a caretaker government be named to oversee national elections that were postponed until next month and he outlined other standards for assessing their legitimacy.

Fair elections needed

“Democracy in Pakistan can be saved, and extremism and fanaticism contained, only if the elections, when they are held, are free, fair and credible,” he wrote.

Zardari is the new co-chairman of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, alongside their son Bilawal.

Musharraf, a US ally in its battle against terrorism, postponed the general election from January 8 to February 18, and the PPP is expected to benefit from a wave of sympathy for Bhutto.

Musharraf, whose re-election as president in October is still disputed by the opposition, will need support in the next parliament and looks likely to have to renew efforts to reach an understanding with the Bhutto’s party, analysts say.

PPP signals participation

Zardari has said the PPP would take part in the vote.

But the elections, he said in the Post, must be conducted under a “new, neutral caretaker government, free of cronies from Musharraf’s party.”

He also called for an independent election commission, monitoring by trained international observers with access polling stations and an ability to conduct exit polls, press freedom and an independent judiciary.

Push for UN probe

He urged that the United States and Britain join the push for a UN probe.

Britain has sent a team from Scotland Yard to help the government of nuclear-armed Pakistan investigate the killing, and Washington has endorsed the step.

However, Zardari said, “an investigation conducted by the government of Pakistan will have no credibility, in my country or anywhere else”.

Security detail questioned

Bhutto had complained to an acquaintance shortly before she died that the Pakistani government was not meeting her security requests.

CBS asked Musharraf whether he believed the government did everything possible for her security. “Absolutely,” he said.

“She was given more security than any other person.”

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Aust-Pakistanis fear for loved ones

Mar 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Australia's Pakistani community fear for loved ones back home in the wake of violent protests over the death of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.


But Aqueel Syed, an active member in Melbourne's Pakistani community, said it was the assassination of Ms Bhutto that was creating fear, not the riots themselves.

“When the leader of a party can be assassinated, can you imagine how it would be for ordinary people?” he told AAP.

“Nobody is safe, (that's) what they're feeling, it's terrible really.”

In Pakistan, at least 10 people have died in the hours following

Ms Bhutto's death, while rioters took to the streets with guns and destroyed property.

Ms Bhutto, 54, was assassinated in a gun and suicide bomb attack that killed around 20 people as she left an election rally yesterday in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad.

However, Mr Syed rejected calling the protests “riots” and said it was simply the typical way of expressing emotion in Pakistan.

He called on international communities to assist in a formal inquiry into Ms Bhutto's assassination, which he attributed to terrorists.

Travel advice upgraded

Australians have been advised not to travel to parts of Pakistan following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has reviewed and reissued its travel advisory for the troubled country today following the attack.

It says Australians are strongly advised to reconsider the need to travel to Pakistan at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack sectarian violence and the unpredictable security situation.

It says anyone travelling to Pakistan should exercise extreme caution and those in Pakistan who are concerned for their safety should consider leaving.

Australians are advised to avoid any demonstrations, religious festivals, street rallies and public gatherings as they may turn violent.

The advisory also says the federal government has continued to receive credible reports that terrorists are in the advanced stages of planning attacks.

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Anti-whaling activists brace for fight

Mar 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Australian Benjamin Potts, 28, and Briton Giles Lane, 35, have been detained on board the Yushin Maru No 2 since Tuesday after boarding the harpoon boat from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship, the Steve Irwin.


Captain of the Steve Irwin Paul Watson said his ship was pursuing the Japanese whaling ship holding his two crewmen.

Captain Watson would not disclose Sea Shepherd's tactics if his ship caught the whaler, which is about 70km in front outside Australian waters in the Southern Ocean, more than 4,000km south-west of Fremantle.

“We will try and do everything we can to stop them killing whales. That's what we are doing down here,” Captain Watson told AAP.

“We don't divulge our tactics until we do them but over the last 30 years we have shut down dozens and dozens of illegal whaling operations. We have never been convicted of a crime and we have never injured anybody.

But when asked directly if their action could involve once again boarding the Yushin Maru No 2, he said: “That's always a possibility. We board poaching vessels all the time, especially shark-finners off Guatemala, the Galapagos, Costa Rica. We have boarded probably 65 different poaching vessels and disabled them.”

Morale is high on the Steve Irwin despite yesterday's events, Captain Watson said.

“We're all feeling pretty good because of the the fact that they haven't killed any whales for six days and it looks like we can stop them for another six to 10 days, so that is a good thing, and

I'll bet the guys on board the Japanese whaler are feeling pretty good about that too,” he said.

“We're chasing them and they can't whale, so we are keeping them on the run.”

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith today said the two governments had struck a deal to have the men returned to the Steve Irwin and called for cooperation between the captains of the two vessels.

Conditions unacceptable

But Japanese Fisheries Agency's chief of whaling Hideki Moronuki said the pair would not be released unless the Sea Shepherd boat agreed to a set of conditions.

According to Sea Shepherd, they include agreeing not to take any action against the whaling activities, including filming or photographing the hunt.

But Mr Watson demanded international action to recover his crewmen.

“All I know is that if I was down here holding Japanese whalers hostage and making demands there would be all hell to pay, so I can't understand how these guys can come down here, engage in criminal activity like plundering endangered species in a whale sanctuary, and get away with abduction, kidnapping and extortion.”

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Sea Shepherd 'hampering handover'

Mar 01 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

The Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean says Sea Shepherd's protest ship is deliberately avoiding its attempts to hand over two detained activists.


Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research claims the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel the Steve Irwin is trying to prolong the controversy.

The Japanese government has agreed to release the Sea Shepherd activists held on the Yashin Maru No 2 since they boarded the catcher boat in the Southern Ocean last night (AEDT).

Institute spokesman Glenn Inwood said phone calls and emails to the Steve Irwin to arrange the handover since the diplomatic agreement was reached have been unsuccessful.

“I believe that they want to continue this for as long as possible,” Mr Inwood told Sky News, referring to the media coverage of the incident.

The spokesman also denied the two men – Australian Benjamin Potts and Briton Giles Lane – had been mistreated on the Yashin Maru, saying they had been given hot meals, a bath and had a good night's sleep.

“They were restrained for a short period (on deck) before being taken to an office,” Mr Inwood said.

“It was the only way, you couldn't have them running around the deck not knowing what they're going to do.

“They're highly unpredictable people and it was that they were restrained for a short period.

The Steve Irwin's captain Paul Watson said the Japanese crew roughed up the activists, tried to throw Mr Potts overboard and tied the pair to a mast in freezing conditions for a couple of hours.

Mr Inwood said the Japanese had displayed tolerance in the face of illegal activity by the Steve Irwin, whose activists had a right to protest but not police the whaling.

“Because Japan's research is legal obviously they're the ones who've broken the law.

“They are just a group of vigilantes seeking publicity and out to cause as much damage as they can.”

He said the Japanese would be considering follow-up legal action against the activists.

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Former chess champ Bobby Fischer dies

Mar 01 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Bobby Fischer, the eccentric genius who became America\’s only world chess champion by humbling the Soviet Union\’s best, but who spent his last years as a fugitive from US authorities, has died at 64.


A spokesman for Fischer said he died after an unspecified illness at midday on Thursday in Reykjavik, the site of his 1972 victory over Boris Spassky at the height of the Cold War.

Once feted as a national hero and seen by some as the greatest chess talent ever, the Chicago-born former child prodigy seemed unable to resist perplexing his public with angry gestures, decade-long sulks and outrageous opinions.

Refused to defend title

Having won the world title, he gave it away again to the Soviet champion Anatoly Karpov three years later by refusing to defend it.

After years of obscurity, he defied US sanctions to play and beat Spassky again in former Yugoslavia during the Balkan wars.

This was the match that got him into trouble and forced him to become a fugitive wanted by US authorities.

Anti-semitic remarks

Of Jewish ancestry himself, Fischer claimed to be the victim of a Jewish conspiracy.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks he said he wanted to see the United States wiped out.

He spent months in a Japanese jail cell, and his last years as a wild-haired, shambling recluse after Iceland gave him refuge.

Blow to Soviet dominance

Fischer\’s triumph over Spassky ended the dominance of the seemingly invincible Soviet chess system.

From the late 1920s to 1972, Soviets had held the world title for all but two years.

Fischer\’s style of play was often hyper-aggressive.

Unlike many grandmasters, he always strived to win each game rather than settle for a draw – even when he was playing with the black pieces, which are at a disadvantage as white moves first.

Logic over intuition

He acquired a reputation for relying on pure mathematical logic, calculating as many positions as humanly possible, rather than on intuition.

Spassky, who now lives in Paris, had little to say about his one-time nemesis.

Asked by Reuters for his reaction to the news, he said: “It\’s bad luck for you. Bobby Fischer is dead,” then hung up.

Chess \’pioneer\’

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov hailed Fischer as a pioneer of chess.

“We have lost a great individual,” Kasparov told reporters in Moscow.

“He was always alone … but while alone he demonstrated that a human being is capable of reaching new heights.”

\’Ultimate romantic\’

Reigning champion Viswanathan Anand called Fischer the ultimate romantic: “He fought the whole system,” he said.

“He was someone who could not deal with being a world champion.”

Karpov called him a “a chess giant and a unique personality”.

But he said Fischer had avoided challenging him. “I don\’t want to say he was afraid, but he must have been vaguely sensing he could lose. And this thought gnawed him.”

Life devoted to chess

Russian chess grandmaster Mark Taimanov, who lost to Fischer in 1971, said: “His whole life was dominated by the chess board, by chess and this is perhaps why he was so great.”

“It is symbolic that he died at 64 as 64 is the number that symbolises the chess board,” he told Reuters Television.

The events that had led the American to spend his final years in the city of his 1972 triumph were typically bizarre.

Royalties kept him afloat

By the 1990s, he was said to be living under assumed names in cheap hotels in Pasadena on the outskirts of Los Angeles, surviving on occasional royalties from his books.

After victory in the Yugoslav game, which earned him $US3 million ($A3.4 million), he spent years globetrotting, a wanted man in the United States.

He resurfaced in public to praise the September 11 attacks in an interview with a Philippine radio station.

Jailed in Japan

In 2004, he was detained in Japan for trying to travel on a revoked US passport.

After eight months in detention, during which the United States sought to have him extradited, Iceland granted him citizenship in March 2005.

Debate has always raged in chess circles about who was the greatest, but Fischer himself was in no doubt.

He once said: “It\’s nice to be modest, but it would be stupid if I did not tell the truth. It is Fischer.”

Fischer told interviewers his favourite moment was when opponents began to feel they would lose. “I like to see \’em squirm,” he once said.

Teenage wonder

He was US junior champion at 13 and US Open champion at 14, retaining the title whenever he chose to defend it.

He became an international grandmaster at 15, gaining the rating at his first international tournament in Yugoslavia.

He once defeated 21 grandmasters in succession – no other US player had beaten more than seven in a row.

Unpredictable persona

As Fischer\’s fame grew, he became more unpredictable.

He walked out of tournaments because of what he considered to be bad lighting or bad air conditioning.

In the mid-1960s, he opted out of two world championship qualifying series because he thought the tournament system favoured the Russians.

In 1967, when officials would not meet his demands for better conditions, Fischer angrily withdrew from international competition “for a period of introspection”.

\’Revenge plotted\’

He took his collection of chess books to California, where he later said he had “plotted my revenge if I ever came back”.

When the rules were changed in 1972 to include an eight-player eliminator to find the challenger to world champion Spassky, Fischer had the chance to prove he was as good as he always said he was.

A friend of the chess master told Reuters Fischer had been taken to hospital in October last year. Not trusting doctors, he returned home and was looked after by friends until his death.

One commentator said there was one constant through his life – his “running battle with the rest of the human race”.

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G-G urges Australians to do voluntary work

Mar 01 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Governor-General Michael Jeffery has kicked off a week of Australia Day celebrations with a dawn event at Tasmania's Cradle Mountain, urging more Australians to do voluntary work.


Major-General Jeffery said about 4.5 million people did some form of voluntary work.

“So there's a fair bit of caring, but I'd like to see perhaps double that,” he told reporters.

The governor-general said he was making both a challenge and a plea to Australians.

“If you've got some time, go out and be a school volunteer, go into the scouts and teach, go and join Rotary or what have you.

“Do something – meals on wheels – doesn't matter, so long as you're doing something for the community.”

Major-General Jeffery also said more people were taking Australia Day seriously, even though Anzac Day still loomed largest in the national mind.

“Australia Day is catching up, and rightly so.”

The Queen's representative and his wife Marlena braved windy, freezing conditions at Dove Lake in the world heritage site to join 2007 Australian of the Year category winners in reflecting on the national culture.

Senior Australian of the Year Phillip Herreen said he hoped the country remained a place where people in bad times could count on someone helping them.

“When someone's in trouble in Australia, you can bank on your neighbour or someone to help you overcome whatever you're faced with,” said Mr Herreen, a former speedway driver paralysed in a crash, who mentors disabled people.

Tanya Major, an indigenous youth advocate and Young Australian of the Year, said the opportunities created by the award had led her and her family to move away from perceiving January 26 as invasion day.

“I respect that view, I fully respect it, but for me it's opened up a different day,” Ms Major said.

Scientist and author Tim Flannery, who promised to challenge former prime minister John Howard's government over climate change policy when he was named Australian of the Year, gave credit to voters at last November's federal election.

“I suppose the people of Australia have made their choice on that and we now have a changed policy,” Professor Flannery said.

He urged people to make adjustments in their lives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These included being aware of the impacts of products they consume, such as food, water and electricity and the type of cars they drive.

“We're not going to see the rewards immediately from those changes but they need to be made in order to give us a better future a decade or two from now,” Prof Flannery told reporters.

No word on successor

The Governor-General also said he hopes his successor is a caring person who loves people and promoting Australia abroad.

But he declined to comment about weekend newspaper speculation that senior Labor figures were promoting former federal leader Kim Beazley as the Queen's next vice-regal representative.

The appointment was a matter for the government of the day and the Queen, he said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday said neither Mr Beazley nor ny other former or current politician would fill the post.

“One would hope that all governors-general appointed have particular characteristics,” Major-General Jeffery told reporters in Tasmania.

Major-General Jeffery will fly to Antarctica tomorrow on the newly launched air service from Hobart to officially open the ice runway at Wilkins aerodrome, near Casey Station.

He said he was particularly interested in talking to scientists about their research work in the Antarctic.

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Activists clash with whalers during refuelling

Mar 01 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Environmentalists have again clashed with Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters, with Greenpeace activists

failing in a risky attempt to prevent the refuelling of the fleet's factory ship.


The Australian government ship Oceanic Viking arrived in the Southern Ocean only hours after the altercation.

The protesters today piloted an inflatable boat between the Nisshin Maru and supply ship the Oriental Bluebird during the operation, a spokesman on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza said.

“They've gone ahead with refuelling now – it was too dangerous for us to continue blocking them because they were pushing their two ships together, which was quite a dangerous manoeuvre with people sitting between on a boat,” Greenpeace spokesman Dave Walsh told the ABC.

“So they are refuelling at this point and if they move on again, we'll be with them and if they try whaling again, we'll be there to stop them.”

Photos released by Greenpeace showed crew of the two whaling ships directing water hoses at the tiny inflatable as it navigated the narrow gap between them.

After delaying the refuelling, the Greenpeace activists went back to documenting whale meat being transferred into the Oriental Bluebird.

But they were harassed by Japanese vessels for more than an hour and were pushed away from the ships, a Greenpeace spokesman said.Shortly afterwards the Australian ship Oceanic Viking was spotted on the horizon and at 7pm (AEDT) it was close to the Esperanza and Japan's whaling fleet.

Mr Walsh said the refuelling was occurring south of the 60-degree line in the Southern Ocean in breach of the Antarctic Treaty, which contains a 1998 protocol to protect the environment.

Greenpeace also says the Panamanian-registered Oriental Bluebird does not have a Japanese government permit to be a part of the whaling fleet.

The Esperanza radioed a statement to the Bluebird calling on the vessel to leave Antarctic waters and was told to keep clear, Mr Walsh said.

He said two of the fleet's three catcher boats were also in the vicinity.

The Esperanza has been shadowing for the past 11 days the Nisshin Maru, which has rejoined the rest of the fleet in the wake of last week's international incident between protesters and whalers.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says its ship the Steve Irwin – which had two crew detained and eventually returned after they boarded a Japanese harpoon boat – is about a day's sail from the whalers.

Steve Irwin captain Paul Irwin estimated the refuelling of the Nisshin Maru would take about six or seven hours, allowing his ship to narrow the gap.

“Either way it's a win-win situation. If they're running, they can't whale. If they stop, we'll engage them,” Capt Watson said.

The Japanese fleet is thought to have suspended whaling until the protest ships, which are unable to refuel, are forced to return to port.

“We're good for another couple of weeks and that's seriously cutting into their time,” Captain Watson said.

“Two weeks they've lost already. I think they're not going to get their quota because of those two weeks.

The Japanese fleet has a quota to kill 935 minkes and 50 fin whales during its so-called scientific whaling hunt over the summer.

Captain Watson says the Steve Irwin is being followed by another large drag trawler called the Fukuyoshi Maru No 68, which he claims is monitoring the Sea Shepherd ship's movements.

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Emerald mop-up continues as Rockhampton braces

Mar 01 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

As a third looter was arrested by Emerald police, emergency workers were focusing on a hard-hit area west of the Nogoa River where the homes of 30 people have been badly damaged by the flood.


Emerald mayor Peter Maguire said several homes would have to be assessed today for structural damage.

“We're sending a heap of resources out that way,” Mr Maguire said, adding that citrus crops in the area had also been adversely affected.

“We need to take fresh water, pump out septic systems, all sorts of things.

“These houses have had pretty severe inundation and flooding. We're waiting for further advice on the structural damage on some of the houses.”

At noon AEST yesterday, the Nogoa River was 11.6 metres and falling.

A 19-year-old man was arrested on Saturday and charged with one count of stealing with circumstances of aggravation and two counts of break and enter, police said.

He has been remanded in custody to appear in court later this week.

The arrest came after two boys, aged 14 and 16, were on Friday charged with wilful damage and break and enter over looting in Riverview Street between Tuesday and Thursday.

They were flown to a youth detention centre in Brisbane on Saturday amid fears they would be attacked by furious locals.

Authorities estimate looters smashed their way into up to 20 units and houses and stole personal items while the owners were in evacuation centres.

Rockhampton braces for peak

In Rockhampton, the community rallied behind the rescue of a family of magpie-larks trapped in a nest atop a tree on the banks of the Fitzroy River.

Water moving downstream from Emerald to Rockhampton was endangering the four chicks, with a flood peak of about eight metres expected on Wednesday.

The birds, known as peewees in Queensland and NSW, were moved to a nearby tree out of harm's way in a joint rescue operation between the SES and the local wildlife organisation.

“At this stage the chicks hadn't reunited with their parents,” local MP Robert Schwarten told AAP.

“Food is still being taken to the branch, but it would seem the relocation of the chicks into another tree went seamlessly.”

A new amphibious, all-terrain ambulance and a 15 tonne support truck have been sent to Rockhampton, but Mr Schwarten is confident the vehicles would not be needed.

He believed flooding in Rockhampton would have several positive effects, including the movement of noxious weed hyacinth down the Fitzroy River and into the sea.

“There's huge amounts of hyacinth and other noxious weeds going into a sudden death in the salt water so everyone's delighted about that,” Mr Schwarten said.

“The present indications are that it (the floods) will do more long-term good than harm.

“Everyone's on red-hot alert out here. We are carefully optimistic, not complacent.

“The biggest complaint was that council closed the electric barbecues, for obvious reasons. It just shows that some people wouldn't be happy in heaven.”

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