Over-reliance on gas delays G7 transition to net-zero power

Three years ago, G7, a group of major industrialized countries that includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, committed to decarbonizing their power systems by 2035. It was a historic and hopeful moment, in which the group demonstrated global leadership, and made a first step toward what needs to become an OECD-wide commitment, according to the recommendation made by the International Energy Agency in its 2050 Net Zero Emission Scenario, setting the world on a pathway to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

As we approach the 2024 G7 summit, the ability of G7 countries to deliver on their power systems decarbonization commitment, not least to address the still-lingering fossil fuel price and cost-of-living crisis, but also to retain their global energy transition leadership, is put under scrutiny. So far, the G7 countries’ actual progress toward this critical goal is a mixed picture of good, bad, and ugly, as new analysis shows.

via G7 Power Systems Scorecard, May 2024, E3G

Most G7 countries are making steps on policy and regulatory adjustments that will facilitate a managed transition.

Grid modernization and deployment is, for example, finally starting to receive the attention it deserves. Some countries, such as the U.S., are also starting to address the issue of long-duration energy storage, which is crucial for a renewables-based power sector.

Coal is firmly on its way out in all G7 countries, except Japan, which is lagging behind its peers. This is where the challenges begin, as things like Japan’s unhealthy relationship with coal risk undermining credibility of the whole group as world leaders on energy transition.

Despite these efforts, all G7 countries are delaying critical decisions to implement transition pathways delivering a resilient, affordable and secure fossil-free power system where renewables – mostly wind and solar – play the dominant role. A tracker by campaign groups shows that other European countries have already engaged firmly in that direction.

Progress made so far is neither uniform, nor sufficient.

Further gaps vary by country, but overall, more action is needed on energy efficiency, non-thermal flexibility solutions, and restructuring power markets to facilitate higher renewable electricity and storage uptake. The EU’s recently adopted power market reform provides a solid framework for changes in this direction, at least for the EU-based G7 countries, but it remains to be seen how the EU’s new rules are going to be implemented on the national level.

Overall: Progress made so far is neither uniform, nor sufficient. For one, translation of the G7-wide target into a legislated national commitment is lacking in most G7 countries, in Europe and beyond. Moreover, the chance of G7 countries reaching their 2035 target is at risk, along with their global image as leaders on the energy transition, due to the lack of a clear, time-bound and economically-sound national power sector decarbonization roadmaps. Whether 100 percent or overwhelmingly renewables-based by 2035, today’s power systems will need to undergo an unprecedented structural change to get there.

For this change to take off, clear vision on how to decarbonize the ‘last mile’ while providing for a secure, affordable and reliable clean electricity supply, is crucial. Regrettably, today’s G7 long-term vision is betting on one thing: Gas-fired back-up generation. While there are nascent attempts to address the development of long-term storage, grids, flexibility and other balancing solutions, the key focus in most G7 countries is on planning for a massive increase in gas capacity.

Whether 100 percent or overwhelmingly renewables-based by 2035, today’s power systems will need to undergo an unprecedented structural change to get there.

All G7 countries but France have new gas power plants in planning or construction, with the growth shares the biggest in three European countries: Italy’s planning to boost its gas power fleet by 12 percent, the U.K. by 23.5 percent, and Germany by a whopping 28 percent. The US, which consumes one quarter of global gas-in-power demand, has the largest project pipeline in absolute terms – 37.8GW, the fourth largest pipeline in the world.

This gas infrastructure build-out contradicts the real-economy trend: In all European G7 countries gas demand has been dropping at least since the 2021-2022 energy crisis, driven particularly by the power sector decarbonization. Japan’s gas demand peaked in 2007, and Canada’s in 1996 (see IEA gas consumption data). Even G7 governments’ own future energy demand projections show further drop in gas demand by 2030, by one-fifth to one-third of today’s levels in all European G7 countries and Japan, and at least by 6-10 percent in Canada and the U.S.

Maria Pastukhova | Programme Lead – Global Energy Transition, E3G

Most G7 countries argue that this new gas power fleet will be used at a much lower capacity factor as a back-up generation source to balance variable renewables. Some, for example Germany, incentivize new gas power capacity build-out under the label of ‘hydrogen readiness’, assuming that these facilities will run on low-carbon hydrogen starting in 2035. Others, for example Japan or the U.S., are betting on abating gas power generation with carbon capture and storage technologies in the long-term.

Keeping gas power infrastructure in an increasingly renewables-based, decentralized power system using technology that may or may not work in time is a very risky gamble to take given the time left.

G7 countries have got no more than a decade left to act on their commitment to reach net-zero emissions power systems. We have readily-available solutions to deliver the major bulk of the progress needed: Grids, renewables, battery, and other short and mid-duration storage, as well as efficiency improvements. These technologies need to be drastically scaled now, along with additional solutions we will need by 2035, such as long-duration energy storage, digitalization, and educating skilled workers to build and operate those new power systems.

While available and sustainable, these solutions must be deployed now to deliver in time for 2035. Going forward, G7 can’t afford to lose any more time focusing on gas-in-power, which is on the way out anyway and won’t bring the needed structural transformation of the power system.



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#Overreliance #gas #delays #transition #netzero #power

Watch | Foreign interference in elections | Is there a basis for India’s fears?

As election season takes off in India, allegations by PM Modi and EAM Jaishankar of foreign interference from the West heat up the campaign – we will look at the history of such allegations worldwide, and whether theres basis for New Delhi’s present concerns.

Hello and Welcome to WorldView- as Elections get under way in India, diplomatic activity may be on the decline- but undiplomatic activity is in the spotlight- as the PM and EAM accuse global powers and western media of running interference in Indian elections

What really is of concern to New Delhi?

1. Reactions in US, Germany and even the UN, that spoke about the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and then perhaps for the first time, spoke of the need for “free and fair elections” in India

2. The release of Human Rights reports, especially during election season by the US and EU parliament.

Pg 8 of EU Parliament Resolution on India Human Rights concerns referred to divisive speeches by leaders

In the US, Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a report this week that said there are significant human rights abuses- spoke of lynchings, Manipur violence and several other issues in India

The MEA response was tough:

“This report, as per our understanding, is deeply biased and reflects a very poor understanding of India. We attach no value to it and urge you also to do the same.”

Then, there’s the worry that embassies and diplomats are interfering in India’s internal politics- there have long been allegations by this government on Pakistan, including in Gujarat elections in the past, more recently the government accused Canadian officials based in India of interfering in India’s internal affairs, and then ordered the High Commission to downsize numbers. This was in the context of the allegations over the assassination Nijjar and of the plot against Pannun in the US, that the government’s high-level panel continues to investigate.

Finally, there is the barrage of criticism of Indian elections and democracy in the Western media that has upset the government- despite PM Modi giving interviews to foreign publications like the Financial Times and Newsweek, here’s a list compiled by former CEO of Prasar Bharati

In Ireland, India’s Ambassador came in for criticism for over-stretching his mandate with a response to the Irish Times, where he defended the current government but also criticised previous Indian governments leading to calls for his sacking from the opposition

The Indian worries over foreign interference have yet to be proven, but globally there are many such fears- especially as more than 60 countries around the world go to polls this year. according to an Oxford University Study: Industrialized Disinformation 2020 Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation, at least 81 countries’s governments attempt cyber manipulation for propaganda and disinformation. Historically it was the US and Russia that were accused of manipulating one in 9 countries’ elections during the Cold War

1. This week U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill that forces Tik Tok owner Byte dance to sell the company in the next year or face being banned, as the US Congress believes it is used by China’s ruling communist party to influence elections in the US and spy on Americans, a charge the company denies.

2. In 2018, the US Senate released a report that concluded Russia’s spy agencies used Facebook ads to manipulate US voters in the election Donald Trump won in 2016. 

3. Canada just completed an investigation on foreign interference during previous elections, which its NSA said countries including Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and even India may have tried to manipulate. Eventually, however, its report did not find conclusive evidence against India, but did against China. UK conducted a similar enquiry last year

4. This month Microsoft said in a report that Microsoft has issued a warning that Chinese state backed cyber troops will attempt to disrupt elections in the US, South Korea and India this year using artificial intelligence-generated content, and with support from North Korean groups following a trial run during the presidential election in Taiwan- however, Taiwan elected an anti-China president

.5. In India’s neighbourhood, India is often accused, especially in Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka of leaning in favour of one party or another, to oust anti-India leaders. While these have yet to be proven, the allegations have been made by senior regional leaders like Rajapaksa, Yameen, Khaleda Zia.

6. The European Union too has released a report on its fears over manipulation during upcoming EU parliament elections in June, called Combating foreign interference in elections

7. Of course the major allegations historically made are against the two cold war powers- US and Russia- The US for elections in South America, in what were then called Banana Republics, and Russia in Europe, including famously helping a West German leader survive a confidence vote in 1972.

What does Indian diplomacy need to do:

1. It is necessary to do researched studies rather than make allegations of a foreign hand without substantiating them with proof- this speaks to the country’s diplomatic credibility

2. In the age of AI and Deepfakes, it is important to improve India’s technology security capabilities, and techonology diplomacy to share best practices

3. Counter external influences by building consumer and cyber voter awareness – and share concerns with other democracies

WorldView Take: The best response to interference and criticism is to walk the talk on democracy, and on building democratic practices into India’s diplomatic culture as well. Since independence, India has been seen as a country that is democratic pluralistic and rule-abiding- which is why many speak of “shared values” with India. Over sensitivity to criticism, invoking an imaginary foreign hand, or expressing loyalty to a government not the State or nation are not exemplars of democratic diplomatic culture, however.

Reading Recommendations:

1. Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference by David Shimer

2. Meddling in the Ballot Box and

When the Great Power Gets a Vote: The Effects of Great Power Electoral Interventions on Election Results by Dov H. Levin

3. Rules and Allies: Foreign Election Interventions Kindle Edition by Johannes Bubeck Nikolay Marinov – looking at 300 elections in 100 countries

4. How to Stand Up to a Dictator by Maria Ressa

5. The Digital Divide in Democracy: How Tech Shapes (and Warps) Elections by Sebastian Whitman

6. Deep Disinformation: Can AI-Generated Fake News Swing an Election? by Ashley Parker Owens

7. Foreign Electoral Interference Normative Implications in Light of International Law, Human Rights, and Democratic Theory- Nils Reimann

8. Election Interference: International Law and the Future of Democracy by Jens David Ohlin

Script and Presentation: Suhasini Haidar

Production: Gayatri Menon and Shibu Narayan



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US and UK strike Houthi targets in Yemen after weeks of Red Sea attacks

US and British forces struck rebel-held Yemen early on Friday after weeks of disruptive attacks on Red Sea shipping by Iran-backed Houthi rebels who say they act in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The pre-dawn air strikes add to escalating fears of wider conflict in the region, where violence involving Tehran-aligned groups in Yemen as well as Lebanon, Iraq and Syria has surged since the Israel-Hamas war began in early October.

Iran “strongly condemned” the strikes, which the United States, Britain and eight other allies said aimed to “de-escalate tensions”.

Nasser Kanani, spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, said that the Western strikes “will have no result other than fuelling insecurity and instability in the region”, while “diverting the world’s attention” from Gaza.

China said it was “concerned about the escalation of tensions in the Red Sea”, and news of the strikes sent oil prices up more than 2 percent.

The Houthis have carried out a growing number of attacks on what they deem to be Israeli-linked shipping in the Red Sea, a key international trade route, since October 7, when the Hamas-led attack on Israel sparked the war which is still raging in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The rebels have controlled a major part of Yemen since a civil war erupted there in 2014 and are part of a regional Iran-backed “axis of resistance” against Israel and its allies.

Friday’s strikes targeted an airbase, airports and a military camp, the Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV station said, with AFP correspondents and witnesses reporting they could hear heavy strikes in Hodeida and Sanaa.

“Our country was subjected to a massive aggressive attack by American and British ships, submarines and warplanes,” said Hussein al-Ezzi, the rebels’ deputy foreign minister.

“America and Britain will have to prepare to pay a heavy price and bear all the dire consequences of this blatant aggression,” he added, according to official Houthi media.

US President Joe Biden called the strikes a “defensive action” after the Red Sea attacks and said he “will not hesitate” to order further military action if needed.

With fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles, 60 targets at 16 Houthi locations were hit by more than 100 precision-guided munitions, US Central Command said in a statement.

Unverified images on social media, some of them purportedly of Al-Dailami airbase north of the rebel-held capital Sanaa, showed explosions lighting up the sky as loud bangs and the roar of planes sounded.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said at least five people had been killed.

‘Repeated warnings’

In a statement, Biden called the strikes a success and said he ordered them “against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways”.

Biden called the strikes a “direct response” to the “unprecedented” attacks by the Houthis which included “the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history”.

Blaming the Houthis for ignoring “repeated warnings”, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement the strikes were “necessary and proportionate”.

Britain’s defence ministry released footage of Royal Air Force jets returning to their Cyprus base after the mission, and US Centcom video showed warplanes apparently taking off from a sea-based carrier.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes “targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ unmanned aerial vehicle, ballistic and cruise missile, and coastal radar and air surveillance capabilities”.

A joint statement by the United States, Britain, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and South Korea said the “aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea”.

The Houthis said they will not be deterred.

“We affirm that there is absolutely no justification for this aggression against Yemen, as there was no threat to international navigation in the Red and Arabian Seas,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam posted on X, formerly Twitter.

He said there was no threat to any vessels apart from “Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine”.

Prior to Friday’s strikes, Gerald Feierstein, a former US ambassador to Yemen, said bombing the Houthis would be “counterproductive”.

Strikes against the Houthis, who have weathered years of air raids by a Saudi-led coalition, would have little impact and would only raise their standing in the Arab world, said Feierstein of the Middle East Institute think-tank in Washington.               

Saudi Arabia calls for ‘restraint’

Yemen’s neighbour Saudi Arabia is trying to extricate itself from a nine-year war with the Houthis, though fighting has largely been on hold since a truce in early 2022.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is following with great concern the military operations,” a foreign ministry statement said after the US and British strikes.

Riyadh called for “self-restraint and avoiding escalation”.

US and allied forces in Iraq and Syria, where they are part of an anti-jihadist coalition, have also faced stepped-up attacks since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, with Washington responding to several by bombing the sites of pro-Iran groups.

Israel has also stepped up strikes against targets in Syria, and has exchanged regular fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah over its northern border.

Washington, which has said it seeks to avoid a spreading conflict, in December announced a maritime security initiative, Operation Prosperity Guardian, to protect shipping in the Red Sea route which normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade.

Twelve nations led by the United States warned the Houthis on January 3 of “consequences” unless they immediately stopped attacks on commercial vessels.

On Tuesday, however, the Houthis launched what London called their most significant attack yet, with US and British forces shooting down 18 drones and three missiles.

The final straw for the Western allies appeared to come early Thursday when the US military said the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into a shipping lane in the Gulf of Aden.

It was the 27th attack on international shipping in the Red Sea since November 19, the US military said.

The intensifying attacks have caused shipping companies to divert around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. Electric car manufacturer Tesla said it was suspending most production at its German factory because of a parts shortage due to shipping delays linked to Houthi attacks.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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#strike #Houthi #targets #Yemen #weeks #Red #Sea #attacks

Catalyx Grapples with Security Breach in Canada

CatalX
CTX Ltd., the company behind the Canadian crypto exchange Catalyx, has taken
the unprecedented step of suspending all trading, deposits, and withdrawals in
the wake of a security breach. The breach has reportedly resulted in the loss
of some customer funds, prompting swift action from the platform.

CatalX
CTX Ltd. issued a press release acknowledging the security incident and
revealed that an investigation has been launched to uncover the details
surrounding the breach. While the company did not disclose the extent of the
financial losses, concerns are escalating over the potential impact on users’
assets.

The
nature of the security breach remains under scrutiny, with the company
suggesting the possibility of an internal involvement, possibly by an employee.
This revelation adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation
as authorities and the company work to ascertain the full extent of the
incident.

Compounding
Catalyx’s woes, Canadian regulators recently intervened, directing the exchange
to halt all trading activities related to crypto contracts. Concurrently,
regulatory authorities initiated their investigation into the company’s
operations. In response to the regulatory directive, Catalyx CEO Jae Ho Lee
consented to a 15-day freeze order imposed by the Alberta Securities
Commission. The freeze order is set to expire on January 5, during which time
further investigations are expected to shed light on the circumstances
surrounding the security breach.

It reads: “Crypto exchange Catalyx in Canada has temporarily suspended
withdrawals and stopped all trading activities on its platform after
discovering a “security incident”, suspected to be related to a among
its employees. Catalyx did not disclose the amount of crypto lost due to this incident.”

Bitstamp
Follows Binance and Bybit in Exiting Canadian Market

Earlier,
Finance Magnates reported that Bitstamp
decided to cease its operations in Canada
from January 8, 2024, following
the exits of Binance and Bybit earlier in the year. Bitstamp CEO Bobby Zagotta
expressed gratitude to Canadian customers, attributing the move to new
regulatory dynamics. Customers can withdraw funds until January 8, after which
account deactivation is required.

The
departure aligns with a broader trend as major exchanges like Binance and Bybit left
due to regulatory changes and market conditions. The Canadian Securities
Administrators allowed specific stablecoin trading under certain conditions,
signaling evolving regulatory landscapes. Bitstamp’s exit underscores
challenges in the crypto industry amid shifting compliance demands.

CatalX
CTX Ltd., the company behind the Canadian crypto exchange Catalyx, has taken
the unprecedented step of suspending all trading, deposits, and withdrawals in
the wake of a security breach. The breach has reportedly resulted in the loss
of some customer funds, prompting swift action from the platform.

CatalX
CTX Ltd. issued a press release acknowledging the security incident and
revealed that an investigation has been launched to uncover the details
surrounding the breach. While the company did not disclose the extent of the
financial losses, concerns are escalating over the potential impact on users’
assets.

The
nature of the security breach remains under scrutiny, with the company
suggesting the possibility of an internal involvement, possibly by an employee.
This revelation adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation
as authorities and the company work to ascertain the full extent of the
incident.

Compounding
Catalyx’s woes, Canadian regulators recently intervened, directing the exchange
to halt all trading activities related to crypto contracts. Concurrently,
regulatory authorities initiated their investigation into the company’s
operations. In response to the regulatory directive, Catalyx CEO Jae Ho Lee
consented to a 15-day freeze order imposed by the Alberta Securities
Commission. The freeze order is set to expire on January 5, during which time
further investigations are expected to shed light on the circumstances
surrounding the security breach.

It reads: “Crypto exchange Catalyx in Canada has temporarily suspended
withdrawals and stopped all trading activities on its platform after
discovering a “security incident”, suspected to be related to a among
its employees. Catalyx did not disclose the amount of crypto lost due to this incident.”

Bitstamp
Follows Binance and Bybit in Exiting Canadian Market

Earlier,
Finance Magnates reported that Bitstamp
decided to cease its operations in Canada
from January 8, 2024, following
the exits of Binance and Bybit earlier in the year. Bitstamp CEO Bobby Zagotta
expressed gratitude to Canadian customers, attributing the move to new
regulatory dynamics. Customers can withdraw funds until January 8, after which
account deactivation is required.

The
departure aligns with a broader trend as major exchanges like Binance and Bybit left
due to regulatory changes and market conditions. The Canadian Securities
Administrators allowed specific stablecoin trading under certain conditions,
signaling evolving regulatory landscapes. Bitstamp’s exit underscores
challenges in the crypto industry amid shifting compliance demands.



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#Catalyx #Grapples #Security #Breach #Canada

Inexperienced Matildas fall to Canada 5-0 in opening friendly

The Matildas have recorded their heaviest defeat in 17 months, with an inexperienced line-up thrashed 5-0 by Canada.

Nichelle Prince scored a first-half brace to send Canada on its way, with Cloé Lacasse, Simi Awujo and Adriana Leon completing the rout inside 62 minutes on Saturday AEDT.

It was the Matildas’ biggest defeat and poorest performance since a similarly inexperienced line-up posted a 7-0 humiliation to Spain in 2022.

Coach Tony Gustavsson had promised an experimental squad and no players from the 4-0 Women’s World Cup win over Canada were named in the starting line-up.

Sam Kerr and Mackenzie Arnold were out injured, while Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Mary Fowler and Kyra Cooney-Cross were among those benched amid heavy workloads at club level.

The starting line-up in Langford had a combined 429 caps, with 281 of those between Clare Polkinghorne and Tameka Yallop.

Charlize Rule and Sarah Hunter debuted at right-back and holding midfield and were among six players with fewer than 20 caps.

On a sodden artificial pitch at Starlight Stadium, the disjointed Matildas struggled to get to grips with the surface, or a brilliant Canada.

The Matildas were overrun in midfield and had no first-half shots to Canada’s 13 and it took just 10 minutes for the hosts to take the lead.

A heavy back-pass from Rule sold Polkinghorne into trouble and, as the centre-back got the ball caught under her feet, Prince pounced.

The striker pinched the ball away and coolly finished into the bottom corner.

Teagan Micah made three brilliant saves, denying Leon in the 24th and 31st minutes and Vanessa Gilles in the 27th.

But in the 43rd minute, Ashley Lawrence burst down the right and cut back to Prince, whose first-time shot beat a disappointed Micah at the near post.

Four minutes into the second half, the defending Olympic champions all but sealed victory when Hunter dawdled on the ball and Lacasse pinched it off her, before bursting to score.

In the 55th minute, Rule’s clearing header fell to Awujo, who had time to take a touch and fire home from distance.

Seven minutes later, Leon completed the rout when she drifted unmarked between a scattered defence to score.

Gustavsson turned to more experience in Fowler, Cooney-Cross, Katrina Gorry and Alanna Kennedy for the final half-hour.

The Matildas had their first shot through Fowler in the 74th minute, with Kailen Sheridan making a comfortable save.

In her second-last match, retiring Canada great Christine Sinclair entered the fray in the 62nd minute.

The second friendly is in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon AEDT.

AAP

Look back at how the action unfolded in our blog.

Key events

Final thoughts

Football is a cycle, and just as we saw the Matildas go through some growing pains in their early days under Tony Gustavsson, this was another moment in which we were reminded of what the next generation of players coming through the ranks looks like.

Commentator Andy Harper isn’t as forgiving of this result, though, the biggest loss Australia have copped since that 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain last year.

But just like that game, this was an experimental team: Five players with 15 or fewer caps, and with a number of key senior players benched until the hour mark.

“When you make bulk changes, bulk experiments, with so many young debutants, it makes it really difficult for them to shine,” Amy Chapman says on the broadcast.

She reckons a better balance needed to be struck by drip-feeding young players into the senior starting side, citing Kyra Cooney-Cross’s partnership with Katrina Gorry on the field as a big reason why she’s come such a long way so quickly. Maybe we’ll see that in the next game on Tuesday.

That’s not to say Canada weren’t excellent. They were a team who have clearly played a lot of football together, and who will be thrilled to put five past the team that defeated them at the World Cup six months ago.

The field itself was tough; a slick artificial surface in the frosty rain made it really difficult for both sides, and you could see the Matildas’ confidence wane as the game wore on.

They registered just two shots all game — both coming through Mary Fowler when she came on — which, you’d hope, will be a focus for the side in their final match of the year next week.

All in all, given the gulf in experience and quality between the two sides, it’s perhaps no surprise that it ended the way it did.

How they bounce back and what changes they make before the rematch on Tuesday will determine whether the Matildas can finish their remarkable 2023 with a bang or a whimper.

Until then, thanks for joining me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Full-time: Canada 5 – 0 Australia

What’s next?

Is there much to be gained by serving up another experimental line up on Wednesday Sam? Surely we field our strongest line up to see if we can spoil the Christine Sinclair farewell party. A big crowd deserves a competitive game.

– stumcin

It’s a good question. I think it depends on a few things: 1) how the younger players pull up after this game, 2) how the more experienced players are feeling, and 3) what Tony Gustavsson wants to work on.

I can see a situation where there’s a combination of the “two” teams we saw tonight. Where, say, a Sarah Hunter plays alongside a Katrina Gorry, or a Remy Siemsen starts up front alongside a Hayley Raso or Mary Fowler.

Seeing how some of the individuals slot into the regular starting team would be the way I approach it, personally. But I’m not Tony. So we’ll have to wait and see.

90′ 2 minutes of added time

89′ The game is winding down now

Both teams have mostly cancelled each other out in the last 15 minutes. In terms of the scoreline, it’s well out of sight, and you feel that the substitutions Gustavsson made were partly made to save the confidence of the younger players. Those on the field now didn’t really need minutes, and they’re not playing with the kind of hunger that they may have had the scores been a little closer. That’s OK though. So long as nobody gets injured, that’s what matters.

84′ Canada try the counterattack

Christine Sinclair picks up the ball in midfield and turns before charging forward after Australia’s midfielders over-committed.

Young winger Bianca St. George is tearing down the right wing, and is spotted by Sinc, who delivers a delightful outside-of-the-foot through-ball into her teammate’s path.

She tears into the box, but Alanna Kennedy is in lockstep with her. The towering centre-back throws herself across the grass as she anticipates the cross, but St. Georges loses control of the ball and it trickles out for a goal kick.

80′ Canada 5 – 0 Australia

The Matildas have looked much more composed since those substitutions were made just after the hour, but Canada aren’t letting them back into the game.

While they’re not charging forward with quite the same energy or savagery as they did early on, they still don’t look super fazed by Australia’s fresh bodies, passing the ball calmly around the back and out onto the wings before recycling it back again.

The Matildas aren’t giving up – Mary Fowler had another penalty-box entry about a minute ago – but this seems to mostly be about damage control now.

77′ Tekkers Buchanan

The Chelsea centre-back looks to be at sea, on the ball with her back to goal as Amy Sayer pressures her from behind, but the veteran does a couple of lovely step-overs and wiggles away from the young Matilda, taking on three other Aussies and jinking a lovely pass through them all.

They’re just toying with us now …

76′ Substitution Australia

Hayley Raso comes on in place of Tameka Yallop.

73′ And just as I say that!

Mary Fowler receives an incisive pass from the right wing, turning into the D at the top of the box and rocketing her foot through the rubber.

It’s almost too straight a shot, though, and it slams right into the chest of goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan for her first save of the night.

That’s something, I guess…

71′ Canada 5 – 0 Australia

With 20 minutes left, the Matildas have a mountain to climb.

They’re not going to get back into this game, you’d think, but a start would be actually having some shots at goal.

I don’t remember the last time Australia went for so long in a game without registering a single shot.

Their possession has improved since the substitutions were made, but with Mary Fowler the only recognised senior attacker on the field – with Emily Van Egmond and Tameka Yallop supporting her – you wonder whether they’ll get close enough to register even one.

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The potential economic and trade fallout of strained Indo-Candian diplomatic relations | Explained

File photo:- Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, walks past Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation site, during the G20 Summit in New Delhi, on September 10, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick

The story so far: The current strain in diplomatic relations between Canada and India has raised concerns about the impact spiralling onto commercial and economic spheres of cooperation. Negotiations towards the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), which was to serve as an early transitional step towards the larger Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) now stand “paused.” This was widely expected to be sealed in a trade mission that was expected to arrive in India this October — now cancelled. Further concerns relate to the longer-term impact on the larger commercial and economic sphere should relations further deteriorate.

How significant is the trade relationship between the two countries?  

As per the Ministry of Commerce’s TradeStat database, in FY 2022-23, Canada was India’s 35th largest trading partner overall.

Further, as put forth in an earlier joint statement following the sixth Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment (MDTI) in Ottawa in May, Canada-India bilateral trade in goods reached C$12 billion in 2022, growing 57% on a year-over-year basis; of this, the bilateral services trade contributed C8.9 billion to the overall figure.

According to Mohit Singla, Chairman at the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) the trade between the countries is “pretty balanced.” He elaborates that Canada is ranked 14th in imports globally (with a share of 2.3%), but is 32nd in India’s export markets, with a share of 0.9%, currently exhibiting “low potential.” Having said that, he adds that the past two years have seen a sudden upsurge in exports from India at a CAGR of 32%. Other than mineral fuels, categories that have shown strong CAGR in this period include iron and steel, electrical machinery, rubber, nuclear reactors, apparel, pearls, and furniture and plastics, Mr. Singla says.

“This shows a strong surge in confidence by Canadian companies when it comes to sourcing from India across a wide range of categories. Clearly, the momentum has been building as compared to the pre-2020 period, when the overall export CAGR (2013-20) from India to Canada was just around 4%,” said Mr Singla.

From the Canadian perspective, India is a “priority market.” It was the North American country’s 10th largest trading partner. Global Canada (the international diplomacy and affairs department) has also said that “India will be a key partner as Canada strengthens its economic links to the Indo-Pacific under a new, comprehensive strategy for the region.”

How will this impact trade relations? 

India imported merchandise worth approximately U.S.$4.05 billion in FY 2022-23 from Canada and exported about U.S.$4.11 billion worth of goods — indicating a largely balanced trade. India’s primary export items include coal, coke and briquettes, fertilisers, iron and steel, and lentils. On the other hand, India’s major items of export are pharmaceutical products, iron and steel products, organic chemicals and marine products, along with apparel and textiles of varied forms and variants.

The CEPA, which now stands “paused,” was to further take care of “trade in goods, trade in services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and other areas of economic cooperation”.

Mr Singla notes that, from available data, “Equivalent ad valorem tariff for India is high on dairy products, cereals, meat, fish, cocoa, apparel, textiles etc., which would undoubtedly be areas of interest for exporters,” adding that “to that extent, the FTA negotiations would delay possible easing of trade barriers in these sectors.”

On the other hand, as Mr Singla observes, “most of India’s top exports face minimal tariff barriers, with the exception of cereals and apparels, so a delay may not have a substantiative impact on India’s exports to Canada.”  

What about the investment ecosystem? 

As per the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency’s Invest India, Canada is the 18th largest foreign investor in India..

Several Canadian companies have established their presence in India; this is besides the country’s more important pension funds such as the Canadian Pension Fund (or CPP). As reported by news agency Reuters, CPP increased its investment in the Indian markets to about $15 billion in areas such as real estate, renewables and the financial sector at the end of the previous financial year.

Other big pension funds with sizeable exposure to India include Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) — which has investments of about C$8 billion and the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (OTPP) with $3 billion — both until the end of last year. Observers in Canada believe that in the immediate term, their positions might not be at risk. They argue that the tensions could however cause operational inconveniences, as travel may be an issue.

What about education in Canada?  

As per official statistics, Canada has about 1.08 lakh students from India at present. This accounts for more than 37% of its overall international student pool. Canada- based publication The Global and Mailwrote that the international student tuition (fee) is “several times higher than for Canadian students,” adding that it “has become essential to the finances of many postsecondary schools.” Any strain in the relationship between the two countries would not bode well for them.

In an advisory on September 23, the Ministry of External Affairs in India urged Indian nationals and students in Canada to “exercise utmost caution.”

Jeff Nankivell, President and CEO at the think-tank Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada told BNN Bloomberg that the “single greatest economic relationship between the two countries is the inflow of students from India… and if that is diminished, it would have negative implications not just for educational institutions but also for Canadian communities that are hosts to Indian international students.”

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India expels Canadian diplomat amid fallout over alleged assassination

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate of Sikh independence from India, was gunned down on 18 June outside a Sikh cultural centre in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

India dismissed allegations that its government was linked to the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada as “absurd” on Tuesday, expelling a senior Canadian diplomat and accusing Canada of interfering in India’s internal affairs.

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It came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described what he called credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate of Sikh independence from India who was gunned down on 18 June outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia, and Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau told Parliament Monday. “In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the government of India to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”

The duelling expulsions come as relations between Canada and India are tense. Trade talks have been derailed and Canada just cancelled a trade mission to India that was planned for the fall.

In its statement announcing the expulsion, India’s Ministry of External Affairs wrote that “the decision reflects Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities.”

Nijjar was organising an unofficial referendum in India for an independent Sikh nation at the time of his death. Indian authorities announced a cash reward last year for information leading to Nijjar’s arrest, accusing him of involvement in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India.

India has repeatedly accused Canada of supporting the Sikh independence, or Khalistan, movement, which is banned in India but has support in countries like Canada and the UK with sizable Sikh diaspora populations.

In March, the Modi government summoned the Canadian High Commissioner in New Delhi to complain about Sikh independence protests in Canada. In 2020, India’s foreign ministry also summoned the top diplomat over comments made by Trudeau about an agricultural protest movement associated with the state of Punjab, where many Sikhs live.

Canada has a Sikh population of more than 770,000, or about 2% of its total population.

Trudeau told Parliament that he brought up Nijjar’s slaying with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 meeting in New Delhi last week. He said he told Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.

India’s foreign ministry dismissed the allegation as “absurd and motivated.”

“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it wrote in a statement issued earlier Tuesday.

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At the G20 meeting, Modi expressed “strong concerns” over Canada’s handling of the Punjabi independence movement among the overseas Sikhs during a meeting with Trudeau at the G20, the statement added.

The statement called on Canada to work with India on what New Delhi said is a threat to the Canadian Indian diaspora and described the Sikh movement as “promoting secessionism and inciting violence” against Indian diplomats. Earlier this year, supporters of the Khalistan movement vandalised Indian consulates in London and San Francisco.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada had expelled a top Indian diplomat, whom she identified as the head of Indian intelligence in Canada.

“If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat.”

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security adviser and the head of Canada’s spy service have travelled to India to meet their counterparts and to confront the Indian intelligence agencies with the allegations.

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He called it an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Joly said Trudeau also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson. “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

Joly also said she would raise the issue with her peers in the G7 on Monday evening in New York City ahead of the United Nations General Assembly.

Canadian opposition New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, who is himself Sikh, called it outrageous and shocking. Singh said he grew up hearing stories that challenging India’s record on human rights might prevent you from getting a visa to travel there.

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“But to hear the prime minister of Canada corroborate a potential link between a murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil by a foreign government is something I could never have imagined,” Singh said.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada called Nijjar an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “often led peaceful protests against the violation of human rights actively taking place in India and in support of Khalistan.”

“Nijjar had publicly spoken of the threat to his life for months and said that he was targeted by Indian intelligence agencies,” the statement said.

Nijjar’s New York-based lawyer, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, has said Nijjar was warned by Canadian intelligence officials about being targeted for assassination by “mercenaries” before he was gunned down.

India’s main opposition party issued a statement backing Modi’s position. The Congress Party wrote that “the country’s interests and concerns must be kept paramount at all times” and that the fight against terrorism has to be uncompromising, especially when it threatens the nation’s sovereignty.

Indian authorities have targeted Sikh separatism since the 1980s, when an armed insurgency for an independent Sikh state took off in Punjab state.

In 1984, Indian forces stormed the Golden Temple in the state’s Amritsar city to flush out Sikh separatists, who had taken refuge there. The controversial operation killed around 400, according to official figures, although Sikh groups estimate the toll to be higher.

The prime minister who ordered the raid, Indira Gandhi, was killed afterwards by two of her bodyguards, who were Sikh. Her death triggered a series of anti-Sikh riots, in which Hindu mobs went from house to house across northern India, pulling Sikhs from their homes, hacking many to death and burning others alive.

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Residents flee, airlifts begin as wildfire approaches capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories

Thousands of residents fled the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories ahead of an approaching wildfire on Thursday, some driving hundreds of miles to safety and others waiting in long lines for emergency flights, the latest chapter in Canada’s worst fire season on record.

The fire, boosted by strong winds, was within 16 kilometers (10 miles) of Yellowknife’s northern edge, and people in the four areas at highest risk were told to leave as soon as possible, Fire Information Officer Mike Westwick said.

Officials worried that winds could push the flames toward the only highway leading away from the fire as long caravans of cars evacuated the city of 20,000, and although some rain was forecast, first responders were taking no chances. Westwick urged residents in other areas to leave by noon Friday.

“I want to be clear that the city is not in immediate danger and there’s a safe window for residents to leave the city by road and by air,” Shane Thompson, a government minister for the Territories, told a news conference. “Without rain, it is possible it will reach the city outskirts by the weekend.”

Evacuating such a large number of people is “going to be tough,” but people were cooperating and staying calm, Westwick said.

Canada has seen a record number of wildfires this year — contributing to choking smoke in parts of the U.S. — with more than 5,700 fires burning more than 137,000 square kilometers (53,000 square miles) from one end of Canada to the other, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. As of Thursday, 1,053 wildfires were burning across the country, more than half of them out of control.

In the Northwest Territories alone, 268 wildfires have already burned more than 21,000 square kilometers (8,100 square miles).

Thursday’s evacuation of Yellowknife was by far the largest so far this year, said Ken McMullen, president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and fire chief in Red Deer, Alberta.

“It’s one of those events where you need to get people out sooner rather than later,” because fire could block the only escape route before ever reaching the community.

Resident Angela Canning was packing up her camper with important documents, family keepsakes and basic necessities and leaving with her two dogs, while her husband stayed behind as an essential worker.

“I’m really anxious and I’m scared. I’m emotional … I’m in shock,” she told The Canadian Press. “I don’t know what I’m coming home to or if I’m coming home. There’s just so much unknowns here.”

At the Big River Service Station about 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of Yellowknife, the line of vehicles waiting for fuel was “phenomenal,” employee Linda Croft said. “You can’t see the end of it.”

About 6,800 people in eight other communities in the territory have already been forced to evacuate their homes, including the small community of Enterprise, which was largely destroyed. Officials said everyone made it out alive.

A woman whose family evacuated the town of Hay River on Sunday told the CBC that their car began to melt as they drove through embers, the front window cracked and the vehicle began filling with smoke that made it difficult to see the road ahead.

“I was obviously scared the tire was going to break, our car was going to catch on fire and then it went from just embers to full smoke,” said Lisa Mundy, who was traveling with her husband and their 6-year-old and 18-month-old children. She said they called 911 after they drove into the ditch a couple of times.

She said her son kept saying: “I don’t want to die, mommy.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened an urgent meeting with ministers and senior officials Thursday to discuss the evacuation and pledged to provide any support needed.

Authorities said the intensive care unit at a Yellowknife hospital would close within 24 hours as the Northwest Territories health authority starts to reduce its services. In-patient units from Stanton Territorial Hospital would be moved in the coming days, if required, and most long-term care patients were transferred to institutions to the south, the Health and Social Services Authority said on its website.

Officials said evacuations have so far been safe and orderly, and that evacuees from Yellowknife who can’t find their own accommodations can get support in three centers in the province of Alberta. The closest of those centers is more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) by road from Yellowknife.

Officials in Calgary said they’re preparing to take in thousands of evacuees, and are opening a reception center at the Calgary airport, where five evacuation flights were expected to arrive Thursday. A second center has been set up at a hotel for those who drive to the city, said Iain Bushell, the city’s director of emergency management.

Only those who cannot leave by road should register for the evacuation flights, officials added. People who are immunocompromised or have conditions that put them at higher risk also were encouraged to sign up.

“We’re all tired of the word unprecedented, yet there is no other way to describe this situation in the Northwest Territories,” Premier Caroline Cochrane posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. She urged residents to obey emergency management officials, traffic control devices and posted speed limits.

The evacuation order issued Wednesday night applies to the city of Yellowknife and the neighboring First Nations communities of Ndilo and Dettah.

Indigenous communities have been hit hard by the wildfires, which threaten important cultural activities such as hunting, fishing and gathering native plants.

Amy Cardinal Christianson, an Indigenous fire specialist with Parks Canada, has said the wildfires “are so dangerous and so fast-moving” that evacuations increasingly are necessary, which is a challenge in remote communities where there might be one road in, or no roads at all.

Officials in British Columbia, where about 370 fires were burning, also braced for more evacuations, with the weather forecast for the next few days predicting dry lightning that could spark new blazes and brisk winds that could change direction quickly.

Cliff Chapman, director of provincial operations at the province’s Wildfire Service, urged anyone at risk to pack a “grab-and-go” bag and to respect any evacuation orders.

The U.S. has also seen devastating wildfires, including fires last week on the Hawaiian island of Maui that killed more than 100 people and destroyed a historic town.

Rural areas near California’s border with Oregon were placed under evacuation orders Wednesday after gusty winds from a thunderstorm sent a lightning-sparked wildfire racing through national forest lands, authorities said.

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From Argentina to Zambia, the A-Z of how fans are celebrating the Women’s World Cup

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It runs in my blood. That’s the common catchcry from fans all around Australia, who reflect on what it means to them to see their country perform at a FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Chicken, beer, and South Korean football

Employees at the Korean Cultural Centre in Sydney are excited to support the women’s team.()

A roar emerges from inside a replica of a traditional Korean hanok, or house. 

Employees from the Korean Cultural Centre in Sydney give a taste of the noise they’ll be generating during the Women’s World Cup as they support their country. 

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Jenny Chung was born in South Korea, but grew up in Australia, and looks after events and concerts at the centre. 

“Even though I’ve lived in Australia for most of my life, I would call Korea my home,” she says. 

Jenny Chung, Jihee Kim, and Joanne Tae will be attending some of South Korea’s matches. ()

“I think a lot of people feel the same way that have been living in Australia for a long time. They feel like Korea is closer to them.

“So every time we have a match like this, we go to a pub and we have chicken and beer, and we watch the tournaments together.”

The Korean Cultural Centre in Sydney runs K-Pop dance classes.()
Joanne Tae is proud to support her team.()
Kate Minji Jung is the manager of education and literature at the Korean Cultural Centre, Sydney.()

Joanne Tae is the Korean language program manager. 

“Hopefully they’ll get to the finals and win the Women’s World Cup,” she says.

“But even if they don’t, we’ll be definitely proud of our players.” 

General Manager of the Korean Cultural Centre, Inji Jung, in a traditional Korean hanok. ()

J-League star gets behind Japan’s women

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As a former J-League star, Kentaroh Ohi knows how much football means to the Japanese public.

A junior national representative, Ohi went on to make 483 appearances with three different clubs between 2003-2022, before crossing to Australia in 2023 to represent the Eastern Lions in Victoria. 

During a World Cup, Ohi says, it is common for families to “wake up at all hours”, glued to the TV as they cheer on the Japanese national team. 

Former J-League player Kentaro Ohi is excited to follow the Japanese women’s team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.()

“It’s an amazing atmosphere,” he says.

“Everyone’s up and about.” 

After the Japanese women’s team won the World Cup as underdogs in 2011, the country “went crazy”, he says.

“As soon as they won, the popularity [of women’s football] just skyrocketed in Japan,” Ohi says.

Some of those players also went on to become television celebrities.

Kentaroh Ohi played over 400 J-League games in Japan.()
Knick knacks inside Paprica Japanese restaurant in Melbourne.()
Paprica is run by Japanese football fans.()

Watching women’s sport grow in Aotearoa New Zealand 

Kiana Takairangi and Harata Butler hope the Women’s World Cup can elevate all women’s sport in Aotearoa New Zealand.()

Kiana Takairangi and Harata Butler play in the NRLW for the Cronulla Sharks, but when it comes to the World Cup, they’re ditching the code wars, to support their fellow female athletes.

“I’m a big fan of it myself, the more exposure, the more recognition that we get as female athletes, it’s really great for women’s sport in general,” Takairangi says.

“I feel like I’m in a privileged position to witness women’s sports, women athletes being recognised on an international stage,” Butler adds.

“Being hosted in our little part of the world for our girls to see women striving and achieving and reaching the goals and their dreams to be an athlete. It’s really massive.”

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Harata Butler’s Tā moko represents her family’s ancestry.()

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Takairangi was born in Australia, and has Cook Islands and Māori heritage, while Butler is from the North Island in Aotearoa. 

“To me, being Māori is my identity,” Butler says.

“It runs in my blood, it holds me grounded, wherever I go in the world, whether that is at home, on home soil, or afar, like here in Australia, it keeps me in tact with my spirituality, my beliefs and my cultural practices.”

Harata Butler plays for the Cronulla Sharks NRLW team. ()

Small, but loud and rowdy Panamanians 

The Altamiranda family are proud of their Panamanian heritage.()

There are only 300 people born in Panama who live in Australia, including the Altamiranda family. 

Andrewfer Altamiranda is the youngest of three boys — the only one of his siblings born in Australia — but his love for Panama, and especially football, runs deep.

“[My family has] been embedding the culture and the customs of the country in me since birth,” he says.

“And that’s how I’m close to Panama, and I’m passionate about my country’s heritage.

“[Panamanians are] very loud and rowdy. We’re very passionate about the culture, the music, the food.

“And once we find someone from Panama as well it’s an instant connection, like a brotherhood or sisterhood.”

Andrewfer Altamiranda plays a Panamanian drum.()

Andrewfer’s mother, Sofia, her husband and two oldest children came to Australia to escape the dictatorship of Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno. 

“We came to this wonderful and beautiful country to make them happy, better life for all of us,” she says.

“We still have [Panama] in our blood. The first time Panama [plays] in this event, it’s wonderful for us to give a lot of support to them.”

The Altamiranda family prepare dinner, while sharing their thoughts about the Women’s World Cup.()
Dayal Ortiz is excited to see Panama’s women on the world stage.()
The Panama women’s team have proven themselves equal to the men by making it to the big stage.()

Andrewfer’s wife, Dayal Ortiz, has only been living in Australia for a few years, and seeing Panama’s women here means a lot.

“We’re going to support [them] because they have done a magnificent job.

“They need to have fun, enjoy. I hope after this they receive all the support for the government that they need to.”

Andrewfer Altamiranda was born in Australia but is passionate about supporting Panama.()

Jamaica punches above its weight

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Ranked 43rd in the world, Jamaica punches well above the weight of its just 2.8 million population, qualifying for the two most recent tournaments.

Roderick Grant, a former professional player who now runs a Jamaican food truck business, moved to Australia when he was 15.

He sees the tournament as a new opportunity to inspire young girls to take up the sport.

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“It’s going to be excellent because Jamaica is so isolated as a small island,” he says.

“It’ll be a great motivator for the young girls to focus in on something and show that it can be achieved. It’s just hard work and dedication.”

Roderick knows first-hand how ingrained football is in Jamaican life, having gone on to represent his family worldwide.

Ranked 43rd in the world, Jamaica will be hoping to advance past the group stage for the first time at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.()

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Roderick Grant knows first-hand how ingrained football is in Jamaican life.()
Roderick Grant found a balance between playing football and bringing Jamaican cuisine to Australian.()

“Football, man, it’s one of those things growing up in Jamaica, you finish school, go home and get changed, straight to the football field in the evening,” he says.

“It’s not even to play as a club, it’s just to play with your friends, your mates, and everyone just pulls teams together. It’s a big part of what we do in Jamaica.”

Football part of Norwegian identity

Sebastian Grøgaard (centre) says football is a central part of Norwegian life. ()

At a celebration for Norway’s ‘Constitution Day’, Norwegian ex-pats get together to celebrate. 

“It was the day that the constitution was signed back in 1814, and it’s also known as the Children’s Day,” says one of the attendees, Bente Ryan.

Norwegian Constitution Day is also known as Children’s Day.()
There are many proud Norwegians in Australia.()
Traditional Norwegian food.()
Norwegian Constitution Day is a time for socialising.()

“So in Norway people will gather in towns and have parades, national costumes, flags, brass bands, lots of ice cream, lots of hotdogs. And it’s a whole lot of fun.”

Amongst the group is Håvard T. Osland, the Norwegian Chaplain to Australia and New Zealand, mainly working as a university chaplain for Norwegian international students. 

“It’s always exciting when your national team is doing really well, and football definitely is a big sport in Scandinavia,” he says. 

“So it really is one of the things that connects us, and is part of our DNA and our identity.”

Chocolate cake brings a smile at the Norwegian Constitution Day.()
Traditional Norwegian outfits.()
The Norwegian colours.()
Traditions are celebrated by Norwegians.()

Generations of Italians share joy together

The Raspoli and Pafralis family say football runs in the blood, with everyone playing locally or watching the national team.()

For generations, family has meant everything to Carmela Rispoli, who moved to Australia in the 1960s and raised four children.

As Italian-Australians, her daughter Philomena Pafralis and granddaughter Natalie Pafralis know when they come together and watch or play, it’s always special.

Italian-Australian mother and daughter, Philomena Pafralis (left) and Natalie Pafralis (right) love to watch Italy play.()

“It’s just beautiful to get together with the family,” Philomena says.

She was born in Italy and moved to Australia at just one year of age.

Italian nonna Carmela Rispoli (centre) moved to Australia in the 1960s, raising four children including Philomena Pafralis (left), and third-generation Natalie Pafralis (right).()

As for Natalie, there was really no other option, being born into an Italian family and raised in Australia.

“If I didn’t want to do it I didn’t have a choice. I was playing all my life, all my childhood,” she says.

And after all – “Italy has to win because they’re the best in the world,” Carmela cries in Italian.

Portuguese community linked by football

As soon as you walk into the grounds of Fraser Park FC in Sydney’s inner-west, the melodic sounds of an accordion ring throughout the area.

Members of Sydney’s Portugal Community Club are enjoying a meal and listening to the traditional music, while on the football field next door, the senior men’s team is preparing to play.

A man plays an accordion at Sydney’s Portugal Community Club.()
Fraser Park FC in Sydney’s inner-west is connected to the Sydney Portugal Community Club.()
David Palma used to play for Fraser Park FC, and is now a supporter.()

Football and community are inseparable here. 

Andrew Alves was born in Australia, after his parents migrated from Portugal. He used to play for Fraser Park, but now supports the team from the sidelines.

“It’s always been a massive part, the Portuguese community here, and has been for many years,” he says.

His niece, 13-year-old Annabella Vasconcelos, plays football, and is amongst the generation of players watching the tournament and being inspired.

“[I’m] more excited than to have the men’s World Cup here,” she says.

The glue that binds Argentines in Australia

Argentines in Australia are still on a high after the men’s team won last year’s World Cup in Qatar.()

“The women’s World Cup means a lot to Argentinians,” says Alfredo Couceiro of Melbourne City Football Club, based in South Kingsville, Victoria.

This is especially the case, he adds, for those like him who have relocated to Australia. 

“Even if you migrate to another country, your heart is beating for Argentina,” adds fellow Argentinian Melissa Gugliara. 

“Football is born into you [as an Argentinian]. 

“It’s in your veins, it’s in your blood.

“You love it, you become passionate.”

Argentina fans at a fan day in Melbourne.()

Cristian Emanuel Mansilla adds that football is the glue that binds Argentinian migrants.

“We are always trying to connect with other Argentinian people within our community,” he says.

“[With football], we are together the whole time. It’s why we love it; hugging, supporting, singing together.”

Even pets are roped in to support the team.()

Brazilian football ‘like a religion’

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No one does football like Brazil, with some of the most passionate supporters and best players in the world.

When Adilson Andrade de Melo Júnior moved to Australia, he knew there was a spread of sports compared to back home in Brazil.

“It’s hard to explain … in Brazil when you talk about football, soccer, it’s part of the culture. It’s a religion in a way,” he says.

Brazilian supporter Adilson Andrade de Melo Júnior performs on drums and other instruments at any match he can attend when they’re playing in Australia.()
Brazilian supporter Adilson Andrade de Melo Júnior performs on drums and other instruments at any match he can attend when they’re playing in Australia.()

“Everyone follows, every four years we stop for this magnificent event.

“Whenever Brazil comes here, myself and a couple of other friends, we get together trying to organise tickets for everyone and being close to each other.

“Last game that Brazil had here we probably had over 300 people sitting together cheering, which was an amazing atmosphere.”

Zambia’s Copper Queens inspiring a nation

Dr Elias Munshya is Zambia’s High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand.()

Zambia is one of eight countries making its tournament debut, and no one is more excited to sing their praises than the country’s High Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand, Dr Elias Munshya.

“It’s a huge, huge time for us,” he says.

“It’s amazing just to see the impact that this qualification of Zambia National Women’s [team] has had on young girls in Zambia.

“These players have inspired a whole generation of young girls that believe in themselves, that they believe they can achieve, that are fighting for equality, that are fighting for equity.”

Nigerians use sport as a form of survival

As Africa’s top-ranked nation, Nigeria’s women’s national team has plenty of support, including from Toyin Abbas.

“From day one, we embedded with soccer because we were colonised by Britain,” he says.

“It’s one of the reasons people play sports in Africa.”

As he knows well as a former professional player, Toyin played football, just as the Super Falcons players do so across the globe.

“People started to see soccer as a form of survival. Like you want to earn a living and it’s tough for some families, it’s very tough for some individuals.

There’s plenty of support from Melbourne’s Nigerian community with sport being a way to make a living for some players.()

“It unifies relations, the people, it binds people together.”

Nigerian supporter, Toyin Abbas says the Super Falcons can win it all at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.()
The Super Falcons are 11-time champions at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament, but have never made it past the quarter-finals at a World Cup in nine attempts.()

As Toyin says, the Super Falcons players will have success if they stay tactically disciplined together.

“We’re going to win the trophy, I will tell you,” he says.

“The Nigerian team, we have what it takes, we can be world beaters.”

Canada to ‘knock people’s socks off’

Stacey, Dylan, and their boys come from Edmonton, Canada.()

Stacey, Dylan and their three boys hail from Edmonton, Alberta.

They’re a long way from home but their Canadian national pride is never far away.

“We’re really, really proud. I think they have a really good chance of winning, [we’re] really hopeful, we will be cheering them on,” Stacey says

Rod Johns is the president of the Canada Club in Melbourne.()

Equally ecstatic is Rod Johns, president of the Canada Club in Melbourne.  

“I think it’s great that they’re coming because the girls don’t get enough exposure, it’s good for soccer in Australia, and it’s good for women’s sports in general, Mr Johns said. 

“Based on their pre-performance I think they’ll knock some people’s socks off, they should do very well.” 

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This summer is what climate change looks like, scientists say

The blistering heat threatening lives and fueling wildfires across Southern Europe and North America this July would have been “virtually impossible” without man-made global warming, scientists said on Tuesday. 

Their findings come as the planet’s ocean and land temperatures hit new records in recent weeks, with waters around Florida and the Mediterranean coast surpassing 30 degrees Celsius and parts of the Northern Hemisphere baking in heat of 45C or more. 

Scientists have long warned climate change would make heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent. Tuesday’s study found that this month’s extreme temperatures are no longer an outlier now that humans have warmed the Earth by about 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.  

In fact, “it could well be that this is what will be a cool summer in the future unless we rapidly stop burning fossil fuels,” said study co-author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. “This is not the new normal. As long as we keep burning fossil fuels, we will see more and more of these extremes.”  

The study was published by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) consortium of scientists, which uses peer-reviewed methods to conduct rapid analyses of the role climate change plays in extreme weather events. 

The researchers found heat waves like those seen in mid-July can now be expected roughly once a decade in Southern Europe and every 15 years in North America. But if the global average temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial levels, the upper limit of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, “events like this will become even more frequent, occurring every 2-5 years,” the researchers said. 

Current climate policies put the planet on track to warm at least 2.4C by the end of this century. 

China, which registered a new temperature record of 52.2C in mid-July, can already expect such heat waves to occur every five years, the WWA study found. Climate change made the Chinese heat wave 50 times more likely to occur, according to their models. 

But global warming hasn’t just made such heat waves more likely. It’s also made them more intense. 

The study found the European, North American and Chinese heat waves were 2.5C, 2C and 1C hotter, respectively, than they would have been without climate change.

On the ground, these abstract-seeming numbers translate into record-smashing temperatures. In the U.S., the city of Phoenix saw three weeks above 43C; across the Atlantic, Catalonia and Rome hit new heat records last week. Sardinia reached 46C. 

Such extreme heat is dangerous to human health. More than 60,000 Europeans died in last summer’s heat waves, a recent study found. Italian hospitals reported an uptick in hospitalizations last week; doctors in the southwestern U.S. are warning of an increase in severe, and sometimes deadly, burns from extreme surface temperatures. 

In countries like Canada and Greece, the heat contributed to tinderbox conditions allowing wildfires to spread with ease. The smoke from Canada’s fires continues to choke North American cities, while dramatic evacuation efforts are underway on several Greek islands. 

“The Mediterranean has seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of the hot-dry conditions that were considered extreme at the end of the last century, and these increases are expected to accelerate for each added degree of warming in future,” said Matthew Jones, a fellow at East Anglia University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. 

NASA scientists expect this July to become the world’s hottest month on record. 

Other parts of the Northern Hemisphere have seen flash flooding, record-breaking hail, intense storms or a combination of all three this month. Last week, a hail storm sent a flood of ice through the northern Italian town of Seregno. 

While scientists say that climate change will fuel extreme precipitation or flash flooding in some parts of the globe, not all such events are attributable to global warming. A WWA study earlier this year, for example, found that climate change had no significant impact on deadly spring floods in Italy. 

Attributing heat waves to climate change is a more straightforward matter, and numerous studies have found a clear link. 

“It’s a very boring study, from a scientific point of view,” said Otto. “We see exactly what we expected to see.”

She also said that the arrival of El Niño — the warming cycle of a naturally occurring phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean — contributed very little to the high temperatures seen across the Northern Hemisphere. 

“Increased global temperatures from burning fossil fuels is the main reason the heat waves are so severe,” the study authors noted. 

Scientists have also said that El Niño, whose full warming effect won’t be felt until later this year, also isn’t to blame for current sea temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic. 

Coastal waters in Florida have reached about 35C — an existential threat to coral reefs — while last month, the sea around the British Isles registered temperatures 5C above normal. 

The EU’s Copernicus climate change service, which described the North Atlantic heating as “off the charts,” says a mix of global warming and “unusual” atmospheric circulation is driving the anomaly. Scientists also point to a reduction in shipping pollution and an absence of Saharan dust over the Atlantic as contributing factors. 

While the North Atlantic’s temperature spike looks especially dramatic, global sea surface temperatures have hit record highs in recent months. 

The arrival of El Niño will fuel warming both in the oceans and on land, boosting the likelihood of extreme weather events, according to the World Meteorological Organization, whose scientists have warned that the planet is entering “uncharted territory.” 

As the Northern Hemisphere’s extreme summer goes on, all’s not well on the other side of the planet, either. 

Antarctica’s sea ice is in sharp decline, setting new records at such a pace that scientists are increasingly fearing for its capacity to recover in the winter. 

Oceanographer Edward Doddridge told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this weekend the unprecedentedly low sea ice extent “is a five-sigma event. So it’s five standard deviations beyond the mean. Which means that if nothing had changed, we’d expect to see a winter like this about once every 7.5 million years.” 

Doddridge added the root cause of the decline is likely climate change, although he cautioned that other factors can’t yet be ruled out. 

But there’s no doubt that ice loss at the poles further accelerates climate change. The bright ice caps reflect the sun’s warming rays back into space, while the dark polar waters absorb them. Less ice means the planet absorbs more heat. 

Earlier this year, a study found the rapidly melting Antarctic ice is slowing deep ocean currents, with potentially devastating consequences for ecosystems and the broader climate. 

The authors of Tuesday’s heat study stressed that governments now have to take urgent action on two fronts — reducing emissions to avoid disastrous climate change and enacting measures to adapt to rising temperatures. 

“Even if we stop burning fossil fuels today, temperatures will not go down. They will just stop getting even higher,” said Otto. “And so the heat waves we are seeing now, we definitely have to live with that.”



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