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lomer.jpgKathryn Lomer — [ABC]

Hobart poet, Kathryn Lomer, was today awarded the $30,000 Kenneth Slessor Prize for poetry.

Kathryn’s second collection of poetry, Two Kinds of Silence, was recognised as part of the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards.

The judges praised her poetry for its consistency, bravery and stylistic dexterity.

“I had no expectation of winning,” she said. “I mean, really, I was short listed with David Malouf and a number of other fantastic poets and so I already felt in good company in that way and then on the awards night well it was just fantastic to be there with all those other writers,

[From ABC News ]

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UPDATE: Smoke haze from burnoffs pushed Tasmania close to breaching air safety standards last week.

In one 24-hour period, emission levels from the forestry regeneration and fuel-reduction burns “were approaching the standard”, state environmental management director Warren Jones told the Sunday Tasmanian.

Elevated particle levels had been detected in Launceston and Hobart on several days during the week.

A Sunday Tasmanian investigation into the smoke haze has revealed:

Between 5000ha and 7000ha is earmarked for forestry regeneration burns this season. About 70,000ha of the state’s forest was razed by wildfire in the past summer.

The smoke contains a mix of carbon monoxide, tar, ash, ammonia and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene.

[From Sunday Tasmanian]

 

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Photograph by Kevin Keirnan

A Tasmanian academic warns smoke generated from forest regeneration burns could pose a worse outcome for human health than pollution from car exhausts.

Fay Johnston, a respiratory health researcher with the Menzies Institute, has begun a four-year study on the health effects of wood and bushfire smoke.

The study will take in Tasmania, Western Australia as well as towns and cities in New South Wales.

Dr Johnston says smoke pollution has a detrimental effect for many people.

“In the limited amount of studies that have been done so far that have directly compared smoke from fires with the same level of particulates and smoke from car exhaust, or industry have all tended to show that the effects from the wood smoke are actually worse for lung conditions than a similar amount from, say, car exhausts,” she said.

The Asthma Foundation of Tasmania has refused to criticise the smoky burn-offs of the past week, saying it is not qualified nor the appropriate body to say whether they should or should not occur.

“We are not denying smoke can be harmful but we are not in the business of saying regeneration burning should or shouldn’t occur,” foundation chief executive officer Cathy Beswick said.

“Some people say we are not looking after the best interests of people with asthma, but we can’t become a lobby group.

“We get funding from a variety of sources and if we start talking about burn-offs without looking at the science, that could affect the funding for programs we do in the community.”

Ms Beswick said her organisation did not receive funding from the forestry industry.

[From Sunday Tasmanian]

Angry Hobart aldermen have branded Targa Tasmania as ‘organised hooning’ and its competitors ‘environmental bandits’.

Eva Ruzicka and Bill Harvey came out firing in their decision not to approve a proposed Targa stage on the Domain in April.

‘It’s organised hooning, and we’ve a problem with hooning on our streets,’ Mr Harvey said. ‘Targa actively encourages that behaviour.'”

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Photographs by Matt Newton and Rob Blakers.

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Anti-pulp mill activists will ratchet up their campaign to stop the $1.9billion Gunns project with a boycott of its corporate backers, according to The Mercury.

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According to James Kirby in The Age today:

The commercial logic of Tasmania’s new pulp mill is crumbling by the day. If only Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull could have delayed his approval for the monster mill a few more months, he might have saved himself a lot of bother.

It’s extraordinary really, but in the six weeks since Turnbull signed off on the application from Gunns Ltd, bankers to the mill are dithering, while the builder doesn’t think it will go ahead.

While Gunns chief executive John Gay has been looking over his shoulder threatening court action against environmentalists, he should have been looking straight ahead, because some stockbrokers have been losing faith in the company and are now arguing the mill could be a flop.

The backlash against Gunns from inside the market is based on fears that current high pulp prices cannot be sustained; forecasters believe pulp prices will begin a steep plunge in two year’s time, just as the mill is set to open.”

There’s more.

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Hobart firemen in the thick of it. Photographs above by James Moult. See more of his dramatic photography in this gallery.
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red moon

Tonight, Tasmanians will be able to view a total lunar eclipse.

Shevill Mathers from Southern Cross Observatory, Cambridge, together with Discovery Science Channel TV, is filming the total lunar eclipse that will be happening tonight, August 28, 2007.

It will be visible in its entirety for all of Eastern Australia and New Zealand.

astronomy testbed
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Wild weather and huge downpours continue to flood three major valleys in Tasmania, triggering car crashes, fires and a dangerous landslide.

The number of roads underwater continue to climb as emergency crews work around the clock to save homes from flooding.

Tasmania Police media spokesman Sgt Pat Lee said the floodwaters had threatened the Derwent Valley, where seven key roads, including the Lyell Highway, had been severely hit.

While townships are yet to report significant water damage to homes, Sgt Lee said emergency crews were setting up shelters for residents.

More:

Police say a major rockfall on the Murchison Highway in Tasmania’s north-west could take up to three days to clear. Thousands of tonnes of rubble have fallen onto the highway, two kilometres south of Rosebery.