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Biggest quake in 50 years hit Western Australia

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has hit the Western Australian mining town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder this morning.

Kalgoorlie Super Pit gold mine

It is the strongest earthquake in 50 years to hit the region. The Goldfields region of Western Australia is considered one of the more geologically stable regions of Australia, in comparison to the southwest corner of the state, which is an active zone at the edge of the Yilgarn block.

Kalgoorlie is located 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of the capital — Perth — and is historically the largest gold producing centre of its type in Australia. Kalgoorlie is also the largest urban centre in the goldfields region, and has the largest number of buildings that would be vulnerable to such an earthquake.

Minor casualties have been reported, and miners and schoolchildren have been evacuated. Buildings have been damaged in Kalgoorlie.

Nuclear Security Summit

President Barack Obama open the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

The New START treaty was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev and Iran will hold the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non- Proliferation, 2010, announced on April 4, 2010 and to be held April 17–18, 2010.

The Summit is the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Delegations from forty-six governments plus the United States are attending, thirty-eight of which are represented by heads of state or government. Read More…

On this day February 13, 2008

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.

Kevin Rudd apologising

Kevin Rudd

The Stolen Generations is a term used to describe those children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments.

The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although, in some places, children were still being taken in the 1970s. Read More…

On this day January 26, 1788

The British First Fleet, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed at Sydney Cove, establishing the first permanent European settlement in Australia.

Charlotte

Charlotte

The First Fleet is the name given to the 11 ships which sailed from Great Britain on 13 May 1787 to establish the first European colony in New South Wales.

It was a convict settlement, marking the beginnings of transportation to Australia.

On 26 January 1788, the fleet weighed anchor and by evening had entered Port Jackson. The site selected for the anchorage had deep water close to the shore, was sheltered and had a small stream flowing into it.

Phillip named it Sydney Cove, after Lord Sydney the British Home Secretary. This date is still celebrated as Australia Day, marking the beginnings of the first British settlement. Read More…

On this day December 11, 1931

The British Parliament enacted the Statute of Westminster, giving the option of complete legislative independence to the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

The Statute is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which established a status of legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the British Empire and the United Kingdom, with a few residual exceptions. Read More…

Largest dust storms in 70 years cover Sydney

A dust storm, described as “the worst in at least 70 years”, sweeps across several Australian states, covering Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney in red dust, Canberra, experienced the dust storm on 22 September, and on 23 September the storm reached Sydney and Brisbane.

Satellite image of the dust storm

Satellite image of the dust storm

On 23 September, the dust plume measured more than 500 kilometres (310 mi) in width and 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) in length and covered dozens of towns and cities in two states.

By 24 September, analysis using MODIS at NASA measured the distance from the northern edge (at Cape York) and southern edge of the plume to be 3,450 km.

Air particle concentration levels reached 15,400 micrograms per cubic metre of air (by comparison, normal days register up to 20 micrograms and bushfires generate 500 micrograms). Read More…

Oil spill in Australia’s Coral Sea

An oil spill in Australia’s Coral Sea is reported as Queensland’s worst environmental disaster.

sunshine_coastThe oil spill occurred around 10 March 2009 off the coast of southeast Queensland, Australia, in which 230 tonnes of fuel oil, 30 tonnes of other fuel and 31 shipping containers (620 tonnes) of ammonium nitrate spilled into the Coral Sea, north of Moreton Bay during Cyclone Hamish.

Over the following days, the spill washed ashore along 60 kilometres (37 mi) of coastline encompassing the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Bribie Island and Moreton Island. Read More…