Tamil asylum seekers being brought to mainland

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

 

The federal government is pre-empting a High Court challenge against the government’s decision to hold 157 Tamil asylum seekers at sea for almost a month.

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Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the group is being transferred to the Australian mainland on a temporary basis until India can assess if it’s possible to take them back.

 

The 157 men, women and children are being transferred to the Cocos Islands, and from there it’s believed they will be flown to the Curtin detention centre in remote Western Australia.

 

Amanda Cavill reports.

 

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

 

The boat carrying the group left India late last month and was intercepted by an Australian vessel early this month.

 

Since then the asylum seekers have been held on board the Customs ship at an unknown location, while their legal status is determined.

 

Lawyers for the Sri Lankan asylum seekers argue the group was within Australian territorial waters when their vessel was intercepted 27 kilometres from Christmas Island.

 

They say the decision to deatain them on the high seas did not fall within the bounds of legal reasonableness.

 

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says none of these people will be resettled in Australia.

 

“These are matters to be determined they won’t remain in Australia. They will not be resettled in Australia. That is the policy of the Australian Government and there is no change to our policy on any front and more importantly there is no change to our resolve.”

 

Mr Morrison denies the decision to bring them to the mainland was influenced by action in the High Court, which is due to hear the asylum seekers’ case next month.

 

It is uncertain just what effect the Minister’s announcement will have on the High Court challenge.

 

But the Greens’ immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson Young says the court case must go ahead.

 

“Yes it should because this is really important. We can’t be seen, we can’t see a situation where the Australian government acts outside our international obligations with such callous disregard for the welfare of individuals and that’s what we’ve seen for the last month.”

 

Mr Morrison has just returned from India, where he held meetings with ministers in New Delhi about the fate of the group.

 

He says the group will be held until Indian consular officials have had the opportunity to speak to them.

 

Scott Morrison says India has agreed to take back any of its citizens and will consider taking the Sri Lankan nationals who had residency in India.

 

“The Minister for Home Affairs has confirmed to the Australian Government that in addition to India’s standing policy of receiving returns of any Indian citizens, he indicated to me at our meeting that they will also consider the return of non-Indian citizen residents who may be Sri Lankan nationals. This is a significant and generous extension of Indian Government policy on these matters. And we greatly appreciate this consideration and the cooperation that has been extended to the Australian Government.”

 

Mr Morrison says the government will to continue to meet its undertakings to the High Court.

 

He says he is in regular contact with the UN refugee agency, insisting Australia is still complying with its international obligations.

 

 

 

 

Worlds fastest snail crowned at annual titles

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

 

The world’s fastest snail has been crowned at the 2014 World Snail Racing Championship in eastern England.

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The event attracts gastropod fanatics from across Europe, to decide the fastest of one of the globe’s slowest creatures.

 

Abby Dinham reports.

 

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

 

Never has the saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ been more true than in this event.

 

For more than 25 years the World Snail Racing Championships have been held in the sleepy English village of Congham in Norfolk, attracting people from across Europe.

 

Competitiors – garden snails only – are placed inside a small red circle on a white cloth draped across a table.

 

On the starting mark, racers move towards an outer ring.

 

The first to reach the perimeter is crowned the winner.

 

(Cheering, then…) “That’s a hell of a good looking snail isn’t it!”

 

150 snails were entered in this year’s championships, each competing in a series of knock-out rounds, before a final selection is chosen for the penultimate race.

 

Event organiser Neil Riseborough says some previous champions had returned to try and reclaim the title.

 

“I think people love snail racing because it doesn’t cost a penny. You can race a snail and end up being a world champion at the end of the day and how exciting is that?”

 

The average garden snail lives between two to three years, allowing competitors only a short career.

 

The title event takes place on a specially embroidered table cloth, which is regularly doused with water to help facilitate the best racing conditions.

 

One racing snail owner from Germany says a meticulous pre-race diet is the key to success.

 

“Well, I think, really, diet is everything, so I raised it on lots of salad. And lots of water, of course. You have to get hydrated for the race. Also, he got a good rest after arriving in England to adjust to the time difference, so I think it’s very fit.”

 

But it was a local who took out the title.

 

The winner – called ‘Wells’ – crossed the line in three minutes and 19 seconds, a somewhat slow time for the event.

 

Judges say the racers were hampered by humid conditions.

 

The next world championships will be held on July 18, 2015.

 

It’s not yet clear if Wells will return to defend the title.

 

 

Ukraine forces take another strategic city

Ukrainian troops have retaken the strategically-important city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, as they press on with their offensive to stamp out a pro-Russian rebellion.

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“Ukrainian forces have raised the flag over the town council in Lysychansk,” the presidency said in a statement late on Thursday.

Operations were continuing to drive the remaining insurgents out of the town, the statement said.

Lysychansk – a city of around 105,000 about 90 kilometres northwest of the rebel stronghold of Lugansk – was seized by separatists in early April at the start of a bloody insurgency that has now claimed the lives of 1000 people, including the nearly 300 on board downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The government offensive against the rebels has made significant progress since rebels unexpectedly fled a string of key towns earlier this month.

Government forces say they are now closing in on the major cities of Lugansk and Donetsk, where the bulk of the insurgent fighters have dug in and pledged to fight to the death.

Meanwhile President Petro Poroshenko asked parliament to pass a vote of confidence in the government on Friday after the shock resignation of premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk piled political uncertainty on to the crisis wracking the country.

“I hope that the strong emotions will calm down and be trumped by cold reason and a sense of responsibility and that the entire Ukrainian cabinet will continue its work,” Poroshenko said in a statement released late on Thursday.

Yatsenyuk quit in protest Thursday after the ruling European Choice coalition collapsed following the withdrawal of several parties, a move that paved the way for long-awaited parliamentary polls to be announced.

Ukraine’s cabinet on Friday elevated Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman – who has been co-ordinating Kiev’s response to the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 in east Ukraine – to the post of acting premier.

Pro-Western Yatsenyuk – who helped steer the country through upheaval since the ouster of Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych in February – lashed out at the decision to pull the plug on the coalition as Kiev is struggling to end a bloody separatist insurrection tearing apart the east.

The break up of the parliamentary majority gives Poroshenko – who was elected in May – the right over the next month to announce a fresh parliamentary election, which has been on the cards since Yanukovych’s toppling.

Achieving elusive justice for flight MH17 victims will be a challenge

By Lorraine Finlay, Murdoch University

Addressing the United Nations Security Council, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop condemned the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as “barbaric” and “an absolute outrage”.

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She demanded justice, saying:

We must have justice. We owe it to the victims and their families to determine what happened and who was responsible.

When 298 innocent civilians are killed in such tragic circumstances what exactly do we mean when we call for justice? What are the chances of justice being done in this case? Can international law realistically deliver a measure of justice that will provide any level of comfort or closure to the grieving families and friends?

Ordinarily, calls for justice rely on demands to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible. This is reflected in the resolution that the Security Council adopted. It emphasised the importance of a “full, thorough and independent international investigation” and demanded that those responsible be held to account.

Unfortunately, both history and recent events suggest that justice under international law is elusive and difficult to deliver. Several avenues may be pursued. None is swift or straightforward.

Obstacles to an ICC prosecution

 

An ICC prosecution is problematic despite Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s claim of an ‘international crime’ EPA/Andrew Kravchenko

The then-Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, initially suggested that this is an international crime that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should investigate. This is unlikely to occur, for a number of reasons.

Initial jurisdictional hurdles include the fact that neither Ukraine or Russia is a party to the ICC Rome Statute. Russia could also veto any attempt by the UN Security Council to refer the matter.

The ICC itself is limited to considering specific offences. While some have characterised the shooting down of MH17 as an act of terrorism, terrorism is not an offence within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

It has also been suggested that this may be either a crime against humanity or war crime. There are, however, difficulties with both of these characterisations given intelligence reports suggesting pro-Russian separatists mistook MH17 for a Ukrainian military transport plane.

Prosecutors would then struggle to show the act was part of a systematic attack directed against a civilian population or that a civilian object had been intentionally targeted. They would need instead to rely on recklessness in verifying a military target to establish a war crime.

The most significant challenges facing any ICC prosecution are practical. Finding the necessary evidence when the integrity of the crash site was so comprehensively compromised in the days after the disaster is going to be enormously difficult.

The ICC will also rely on the cooperation of individual states, notably Russia, to ensure that the responsible individuals and relevant evidence are handed over. The releases of images and videos reportedly showing the MH17 missile launcher in the area and then being moved into Russia is concerning in this respect.

Video posted by the Ukranian Ministry for Interior claiming to show the Buk missile launcher being driven towards Russia.

Russia did ultimately vote in favour of the Security Council resolution, which included a demand that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability. But Russian cooperation can certainly not be assumed.

Prospects for a domestic court trial

It is more likely that any criminal prosecution will take place in a domestic court. This has the advantage of likely being a faster option than the notoriously slow ICC processes.

The most obvious state with jurisdiction is Ukraine, which has a clear territorial connection. There are, however, difficulties, given both the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the political reality that Russia will be less likely to cooperate with a prosecution that it would see as being inherently biased.

Any other state would first need to establish jurisdiction. One possibility is the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the tragedy. The Netherlands’ International Crimes Act allows Dutch criminal law to be applied to war crimes or crimes against humanity committed abroad against Dutch nationals. Dutch public prosecutors have formally opened an investigation of the crash, which is the first step towards a domestic prosecution.

Any criminal prosecution, whether international or domestic, will face the practical challenges outlined above. That is, the initial interference with the crime scene and the likely need for Russian cooperation present significant hurdles. This will not be a straightforward prosecution wherever it occurs.

Can a state be held responsible?

A further possibility is that a state may be held responsible, as opposed to individuals. This would allow a case to be started before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

There is evidence of strong links between Russia and the separatists who appear to be responsible for shooting down MH17. This includes Russia providing weapons and training throughout the Ukrainian conflict.

The White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes recently acknowledged, however, that a “direct link” between Russia and the missile launch had not been established. In particular, it isn’t clear whether any Russian operatives were present at the launch. Nor is it clear whether Russia provided either the weapons or training to those who used them.

To attribute the conduct of individuals to a state, that state needs either to exercise effective control over the conduct, or to subsequently acknowledge and adopt it as its own.

It is difficult to argue that Russia has “acknowledged and adopted” the conduct of the separatists, particularly in light of its support of the UN Security Council resolution. The “effective control test” will also be difficult to satisfy. A high degree of control over the specific operation is required to be demonstrated at international law.

The acknowledged lack of a “direct link” at the present time suggests that current evidence is not sufficient to establish this case.

Can justice be delivered?

Clearly, considerable hurdles must be overcome before any individual or state will be held legally responsible for the deaths of the 298 passengers and crew aboard MH17. The most promising option would appear to be a domestic prosecution by a country like the Netherlands.

However, the contamination of the crime scene has made any prosecution significantly more difficult. Russian co-operation will likely be essential to any successful prosecution.

Justice under international law is often a frustratingly elusive concept. The UN Security Council resolution is a positive step, which signals an international commitment to seek accountability in this case, but there is still a long way to go before justice is delivered.

Lorraine Finlay does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Asylum seekers head to Australia

The arrival of 157 asylum seekers held on a Customs ship for nearly a month to the Australian mainland will end the federal government’s six-month drought of boat arrivals.

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But the government remains adamant it is not a sign its border protection policy is weakening.

The asylum seekers are reportedly set to travel from Cocos Island to Curtin detention centre in Western Australia within days.

They have been detained at sea in an undisclosed location since their vessel was intercepted 27km from Christmas Island on July 7.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison on Friday would not confirm the transfer details but said the group will be moved to Australia to undergo identity checks from Indian consular officials.

India has agreed to take back any of its citizens and will consider taking Sri Lankan nationals who are Indian non-citizen residents.

Mr Morrison remained steadfast when questioned how the public should react to the development given his promise to stop the boats.

The government was resolved as ever to get the results it sought, he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this was the first boat that had come so close to Australia in the past six or seven months, proving the need for “permanent vigilance” to secure its borders.

He expected many of those detained would return home.

“Even if you get here, you won’t stay here,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The decision pre-empts the hearing of a High Court challenge against the government’s decision to hold the asylum seekers at sea, due the week after next.

Lawyers for the group say it’s still unclear what their clients’ legal rights will be once they reach the mainland.

They have yet to inform the asylum seekers of their options under Australian law and are waiting for the government to advise the High Court on the details of the transfer.

“This is a short-term reprieve, but welcome for the time being,” Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser told AAP.

Labor and the Australian Greens accused Mr Morrison of losing control of his portfolio, saying the decision to bring the group to the mainland should have been made earlier.

“A few weeks ago, Scott Morrison refused to even confirm these 157 people existed,” Labor’s acting immigration spokeswoman Michelle Rowland told AAP.

“His border protection policy is in a complete shambles – his job is now being done by the High Court.”

Australia’s no Asian food bowl: Joyce

Australia is not the food bowl of Asia, nor should it claim to be.

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That was the message from Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce at a farmers conference at Sydney’s Grace Hotel on Friday.

He said Australian farmers needed to focus on being recognised for the quality of their produce, not the quantity.

Produce from Australia feeds about 60 million people in Asia.

While that is more than double Australia’s population, it’s a few blades of grass in a paddock compared with the output of nations such as China and Indonesia.

“Even if we double it to 120 million, we couldn’t feed Indonesia,” Mr Joyce said.

“Food basket of Asia? That’s an absurd statement.”

Aside from the figures being far from food bowl levels, Mr Joyce believes promoting Australia in this way could be politically detrimental.

“As soon as the farmer in Indonesia finds out that (Australia is) apparently going to be the food basket of Asia, he starts asking himself what job he’s got,” he said.

“And the political pressure will start mounting.

“We’ve got to make sure that people understand we produce a premium product, in a premium market, and we are not a threat to other farmers in other areas.”

But Mr Joyce was not playing down the economic and trade opportunities in agriculture; far from it.

He noted the burgeoning middle class of Southeast Asia and rising demand for quality produce from the Middle East as strong causes for optimism.

He said the “clean, green” image of Australia’s produce was crucial to maintaining premium prices for exports such as beef, lamb and dairy.

“Mothers care about what they put in their babies’ mouths. It’s the premium image that counts,” Mr Joyce said.

He said 12 per cent of agricultural land was foreign-owned, which he called “substantial”.

And the family farm remained the backbone of Australian agriculture.

“The family farm is still the most fundamental unit to economics in rural Australia,” he said.

“This is a strong belief I still hold.”

The aerodynamics of a Tour de France time trial

By Timothy Crouch, Monash University

As the Tour de France approaches its final days, teams will be looking to place their top riders in the best possible position for the all-important individual time trial in the penultimate stage, where the winner of the Tour is determined.

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There’s no better example of the importance of this stage than Greg LeMond’s legendary Tour victory in 1989. Fellow rider Laurent Fignon had a 50-second lead heading into the stage, but lost to LeMond by just eight seconds, the smallest winning margin in Tour history.

In 2011, our very own Cadel Evans gained the yellow jersey in the final time trial stage, winning the tour by 94 seconds.

Evans in time trial mode. EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

 

Unlike the gruelling mountain stages the tour is renowned for, the final 2014 individual time trial stage – a 54-kilometre race from Bergerac to Perigueux tomorrow – will take place over relatively flat terrain.

This stage exposes individual riders with no team members to support them across the finish line. It showcases individual speed (typically around 55km/h) and those who can cycle from start to finish in the shortest time possible.

Cycling to win

There are two critical factors that govern the time taken for a rider to complete the stage:

    the power output they sustain over the duration of the coursethe magnitude of the resistive forces that oppose their forward motion.

At these speeds and with shallow hill gradients, up to 95% of the total resistance is attributed to the aerodynamic drag force. This is why aerodynamics is particularly critical to time trial stages, and why teams invest so many resources in finding ways to minimise drag force.

The drive to improve aerodynamics over the past two decades has impacted the positioning of riders on their bicycles, leading to advances in frame design and equipment geometry.

For the final stage of the Tour, riders will replace their standard road bicycles with more aerodynamically shaped frames and wheels, assume positions of lower aerodynamic drag, and utilise streamlined helmets and skin-suits.

Many attribute Greg LeMond’s famous 1989 victory to a last-minute decision to race with revolutionary time trial bars (which are now standard) and a streamlined helmet.

LeMond in 1989. Note his helmet and handlebars. BeWePa/Flickr, CC BY

 

We now understand that this decision likely provided him with a competitive advantage over Fignon, who rode with the less streamlined standard circular-tubed cow-bars and no helmet.

Optimising aerodynamics

To continue to gain a competitive advantage, athletes in the Tour need to take full advantage of the latest research in cycling aerodynamics, which investigates new ways to further reduce aerodynamic drag force and optimise rider position and equipment.

The primary tool used to optimise the aerodynamics of the bicycle-rider system is the wind tunnel, fast becoming a necessity for top-performing teams across the world.

The Monash Wind Tunnel being used in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics.

 

Once these were constructed for the primary purpose of aerospace and automotive applications. However recently we have seen leading bicycle manufactures develop their own wind tunnels in order to optimise the aerodynamic performance of their bicycle designs and cycling teams.

Finely tuned wind tunnel testing simulates different environmental conditions – even the interactions between multiple riders. Current cycling research investigates the complete system and all interactions between the cyclist, their bicycle, and the equipment choices available to them – rather than treating each as a separate component.

 

Monash University, Author provided

 

According to David Burton, manager of the Monash Wind Tunnel:

“Aerodynamics is critical to these types of events, which are often reduced to seconds. Using force measurements performed in the wind tunnel, we often see that minor changes in rider position, equipment or test conditions could easily account for the small margins seen over the duration of a 50-kilometre time trial.”

Due to the large role that the aerodynamic forces play in cycling speed, the largest gains in cycling performance are most likely to arise from research that pushes the boundaries of equipment design, rider position and race tactics, with a focus on optimising aerodynamics.

One thing is for certain: aerodynamics will have played a significant part in the success of the rider who comes down the Champs Elysees and is named the winner of the 2014 Tour de France.

Timothy Crouch receives funding from the Australian Research Council (project number LP100200090).

No Hird at Bombers until 2015

Essendon say senior coach James Hird has agreed he won’t have any involvement preparing the team or on match days for the rest of the AFL season.

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Hird, whose 12-month ban for his role in Essendon’s use of supplements in 2012 is due to expire next month, said on Friday in a club statement that he didn’t want to be a distraction.

There’s no doubt he would have been one by creating a huge sideshow through his mere presence.

AFL coaching great Leigh Matthews is wondering how this situation could have been allowed to drag on.

Matthews says it’s ridiculous.

“Hirdy should have come to that conclusion himself,” Matthews told Radio 3AW.

“You don’t need the club to be telling you that. It is so obvious.”

Hird returned to Australia from a study tour of France earlier this week, with uncertainty surrounding his role at the club.

Essendon chairman Paul Little met this week with Hird, general manager of football performance Neil Craig, new chief executive Xavier Campbell and interim coach Mark Thompson.

The meeting was called to discuss what was in the best interests of the club, Little said.

“We have all agreed that when James is eligible to return to the club on 25 August, James’ focus will be entirely on the 2015 season,” Little said in a statement.

“He will not be in the coaching box or have an active coaching role at training.

“In that time period between 25 August until our final game of the season, James will take the opportunity to begin planning the upcoming pre-season, list management, recruiting and preparation for 2015 away from the club.

“Due to the considerable interest in this matter, we think it is important to clarify this today so that everyone understands how the club is approaching the next couple of months and there is no room for confusion or speculation.”

Club great Tim Watson has led calls in the past week for Hird to stay out of the spotlight in August and September.

Thompson, a two-time premiership coach at Geelong before becoming Hird’s assistant coach, has been appointed on a one-year deal before Hird takes charge for the 2015 season.

The Bombers have a 10-7 record this season under Thompson and are strong contenders for a top-eight finish.

“As much as I would dearly love to have jumped straight back into working with the team, I am determined that whatever role I play should in no way act as a distraction from the 2014 campaign,” Hird said.

Hird had said on July 23 he definitely wanted to return to the club during the 2014 season.

A Federal Court trial between Essendon and Hird against ASADA, launched after the anti-doping body issued show-cause notices to 34 current and former players, is scheduled to begin in August.

Campbell’s appointment was announced on Friday.

The 34-year-old former SANFL player previously held the position of Essendon’s chief operating officer.

Milk proteins may help relieve eczema

Special proteins found in milk are being investigated by scientists to see if they can help relieve eczema.

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Many people with eczema shun milk and other dairy products as they can often make the debilitating skin condition worse.

But a study underway in Sydney is investigating whether two specific milk proteins can actually help relieve the dry, itchy skin symptoms associated with eczema.

The pilot study involves giving adults with eczema a daily supplement containing the whey proteins lactoferrin and immunoglobulin.

It was devised after a separate study examining the effects of the two proteins on people with colds and flu found that participants who had eczema noticed improvements in their skin.

One of the scientists involved in the study, Griffith University researcher Nic West, says the test now is to determine whether the improvements in eczema symptoms witnessed in the cold and flu probe were coincidental or linked to the proteins.

“Anecdotal observations from people with a range of skin conditions say it helps with the severity of the symptoms they are experiencing,” Dr West told AAP.

“There is something going on. Whether we can actually determine it in a study is going to be interesting.”

It is estimated that between 15 and 20 per cent of school children and up to 10 per cent of adults have eczema.

With no cure available, people with eczema often turn to cortisone creams and make dietary changes to help ease the itch.

Some people with eczema can suffer flare ups after drinking milk because they have an allergic reaction to the protein lactoglobulin.

The two proteins being used in the supplement for the pilot study help bolster the body’s immune system.

Lactoferrin acts as a barrier to foreign bodies trying to enter the body, while immunoglobulins can remove them.

Dr West said it is possible that there is some sort of aberration in the normal function of those proteins in people with eczema.

He expects results from the pilot study in February and hopes it will lead to a full scale clinical trial involving thousands of people with eczema across Australia and overseas.

The study is being run by the St George Dermatology and Skin Cancer Clinic in Sydney, along with Griffith University and Sydney University’s Centenary Institute.

Forty five adults aged 18 to 55 and with mild to moderate eczema are needed to take part in the 12-week study. As part of the study participants receive free appointments with a dermatology specialist.

* People interested in taking part can email [email protected]广西桑拿,

Hoax media release activist walks free

An activist who temporarily wiped $300 million off a mining company’s value by issuing a hoax media release has walked free.

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Jonathan Moylan, 26, was released on a two-year good behaviour bond on Friday after the judge decided he was unlikely to attempt a similar stunt in future.

The anti-coalmining activist sparked market upheaval after he issued the bogus release on January 7, 2013.

It claimed ANZ Bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan from the company Whitehaven, which was intended to develop its Maules Creek open-cut coalmine in northern NSW.

The email bore the ANZ logo, email address [email protected]广西桑拿, and used the name of actual ANZ employee Toby Kent.

“We want our customers to be assured that we will not be investing in coal projects that cause significant dislocation of farmers, unacceptable damage to the environment or social conflict,” Moylan quoted Kent, ANZ’s group head of corporate sustainability, as saying.

Within 10 minutes it had sparked the first media report.

As a vast number of shares were traded, Whitehaven had about $300 million temporarily wiped off its market price.

After the fallout, Moylan said his intention had been to get ANZ to admit to funding the controversial project so customers knew where their money was being invested.

Sentencing him in the NSW Supreme Court for disseminating false information, Justice David Davies accepted he did not mean to hurt investors, which included superannuation and retirement fund holders.

“If he had thought the matter through a little more carefully, he would have realised that some investors would undoubtedly be injured,” Justice Davies said, adding later that “some investors lost money or their investment in Whitehaven completely”.

He said it was “quite hypocritical” of Moylan to point the finger at journalists for running the story, after it was clear he set it up with the idea that at least some would accept it as genuine.

The judge also remarked that Moylan had committed a number of minor offences pursuing what he believed but this hoax “was the most successful … in drawing public attention”.

While Justice Davies considered it likely that Moylan would continue to engage in “minor breaches of the law”, he said there was a “low likelihood” the activist would reoffend by committing one “similar in nature and scale”.

Moylan’s supporters cheered as he came out of the court complex.

While he apologised to the shareholders who had lost money, Moylan told reporters: “When governments and mining companies work so closely together … then people have no choice but to take action and sometimes those actions fall foul of the law.”

He said he “stands with” the other people arrested for protesting at Maules Creek.

“Good on you. They’re the people who are doing it not for themselves but they’re doing it for all of us,” he said.