Chief Correspondent, Sydney
Michael's Feed
Jul 5, 2011

Jockeying starts for posts in new Thai govt

BANGKOK, July 5 (Reuters) – Jockeying for ministerial posts
in Thailand’s new government began on Tuesday as Prime
Minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra seeks to deliver on billions
of dollars of populist campaign promises that critics say will
fuel inflation.

Yingluck, a political novice, must also pacify critics who
fear a return of her divisive brother, Thaksin, after their Puea
Thai Party won a landslide victory in Sunday’s election.

Jul 3, 2011

Thai red shirts predict peace after election win

UDON THANI, Thailand (Reuters) – The message from Thailand’s rural heartlands, a bastion of red-shirt protesters who paralysed Bangkok last year, was simple.

“Thailand will be peaceful,” said Kwanchai Praipana, a protest leader in northeastern Udon Thani province, after the movement’s populist hero Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister won Sunday’s national elections.

Jul 3, 2011

As Thais vote, red shirts rally behind opposition

BAN SAMPRAN, Thailand (Reuters) – In Thailand’s rural “red shirt” heartlands, villagers set out for polling stations early Sunday, hoping to change the country’s government and avoid further bloodshed after six years of sporadic unrest.

But as they cast ballots in rustic villages adorned with red flags in solidarity with a red-shirted anti-government movement founded to support ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, many question whether the vote will be fair.

Jul 2, 2011

Thai red shirts see poll win, return of “saviour” Thaksin

UDON THANI, Thailand, July 2 (Reuters) – Red shirt supporters of exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra believe they will win Sunday’s election, which will return their “saviour” and improve their lives.

But they also fear they will be cheated out of office and warn of a new wave of protests across Thailand if that is the case, triggering memories of last year’s demonstrations in Bangkok which were put down by the military in a crackdown in which 91 people were killed.

Jun 27, 2011

Philip Morris threatens to sue Australia over packaging

SYDNEY, June 27 (Reuters) – Tobacco giant Philip Morris
is threatening to sue the Australian government for
possibly billions of dollars over its plan to be the first
country to introduce plain, brand-less packaging for cigarettes.

Philip Morris Asia said on Monday it had served a notice of
legal claim on the government under Australia’s bilateral
investment treaty with Hong Kong, which holds the government
responsible to protect Hong Kong investments in Australia.

Jun 26, 2011

Australians cool on tackling climate change

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has staked her troubled leadership on introducing a carbon price to fight climate change, but a new poll on Monday found the majority of voters no longer regard tackling climate change as a major goal.

The Lowy Institute for International Policy poll found that for the first time in seven years there was no longer majority support for action on climate change.

Jun 8, 2011

Australian PM’s anniversary sparks leadership talk

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Prime Minister Julia Gillard was meant to be the saviour of Australia’s Labor government. But after a year in office, some question whether her position is so secure.

She became Australia’s first female leader on June 24, 2010 — appointed by a Labor party desperate to avoid electoral defeat.

May 31, 2011

Australian business groups warn strike plans threaten investment

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia is facing what employers say is its worst period of industrial unrest in decades, with disputes hitting airlines, ports and mines as unions use an unprecedented resources boom and labour shortage to fight for a greater share of profits.

Business leaders say the spate of disputes is threatening investment and exports and rekindling Australia’s old reputation as an industrial relations minefield — a claim unions reject as scaremongering.

May 25, 2011

Australia’s weather bureau says 2010-11 La Nina has ended

SYDNEY, May 25 (Reuters) – The devastating 2010-11 La Nina
weather event has ended, said Australia’s weather bureau, after
bringing record flooding to the country, disrupting major coal
exports and destroying thousands of homes, and damaging crops in
Asia.

“The 2010-11 La Nina event has ended, with climate
indicators of the El Nino, the Southern Oscillation, having
returned to average levels,” the Bureau of Meteorology said on
Wednesday.

May 23, 2011

Climate change warnings add heat to Australia CO2 price

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A team of Australia’s top scientists warned on Monday of dire climate change in calling for the nation’s carbon-dominated energy sector to turn green, as the government struggles to win support for a carbon price to cut pollution.

In a report by a government-appointed Climate Commission, the scientists said many of Australia’s major cities faced a serious threat from rising sea-levels, particularly Sydney.