Sunday, October 14, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major Jam...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major Jam...: Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Mora...

Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Morant”

Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Morant”


Author: James Unkles

Title Details

ISBN-13: 978-1-925230-50-5


235 pages

Australian History

Sid Harta Publishers Melbourne Australia


The Book


In 1902, three Australian volunteers who served with the British Army during the Anglo Boer War were tried and sentenced for executing Boer combatants. Lieutenants Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant and Peter Handcock were executed and George Witton sentenced to life imprisonment.
The manner in which these men were treated remains controversial, shrouded in protest that they were scapegoated for the war crimes of their British superiors.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Major James Francis Thomas who was relegated to history without an understanding of who he was and the part he played in the dynamic development of the town of Tenterfield in New South Wales, Australia, as a property owner, solicitor, newspaper proprietor, historian, poet, proponent for Australian nationalism, volunteer soldier.  How he came to serve in the Boer War, yet destined to die alone from malnutrition, destitute having suffered from the stress of what he experienced in representing Morant, Handcock and Witton as their trial lawyer.
This book acknowledges Thomas’ sacrifice he made in acting for his clients, a task that took a terrible toll on his mental and physical health and his life in Tenterfield.


Author bio


James Unkles is a military and civilian lawyer who began researching the 'Breaker' case in 2009 and had serious misgivings about the legality of the trials of Morant, Handcock and Witton.
James has conducted significant research into the Morant case. His work has included petitioning the British and Australian Governments. In 2018, he succeeded in securing a motion in the Australian House of Representatives that provided an apology to the descendants of these men and an expression of sincere regret that they were not tried according to the law of 1902 and suffered a fatal injustice.
Ready, Aim, Fire! James seeks justice for Thomas and to highlight Thomas’ place in Australian history.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy Co...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy Co...: Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea The d...

Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea

Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea

The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, covers production sharing contracts 03-19 and 03-20 and retention leases NT/RL2 and NT/RL4.

The licences contain the Sunrise and Troubadour gas and condensate fields, collectively known as the Greater Sunrise fields, which have remained undeveloped since being discovered in 1974 and which are estimated to hold 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and 225.9 million barrels of condensate.

The Timor-Leste government has long advocated for the gas to be piped about 150 kilometres to an onshore liquefaction plant on the country’s south coast, a concept the current joint venture partners have resisted.

“ConocoPhillips and the other joint venture partners have always known Timor-Leste’s preference for the development of Greater Sunrise through a pipeline to Beaco on the south coast of Timor-Leste,” Timor-Leste special representative and former president Xanana Gusmao said this week.

“Timor-Leste looks forward to working with the other joint venture members to successfully develop the project.”

In a joint statement, ConocoPhillips Australia-West president Chris Wilson revealed that the company came to the decision to sell its stake in the Greater Sunrise resource after it was approached by the Timor-Leste government.

“We respect the Timor-Leste government’s preference to develop the Sunrise fields through a new greenfield, Timor-Leste based liquefied natural gas facility,” he said.

“While we differ on the proposed economic development option, we recognise the importance of Sunrise to the nation of Timor-Leste and hope the sale of our interest to the government allows them to progress their vision for the development of Sunrise.”

Greater Sunrise had been a lead candidate for backfill for the ConocoPhillips operated Darwin LNG facility. However, the project had stalled amid differences of opinion over the development concept, as well as a maritime boundary dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste that was resolved earlier this year.

Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips’ Barossa project has jumped to the front of the queue as a backfill candidate for Darwin LNG, with a final investment decision currently being targeted for the end of 2019.

This would place it well ahead of Sunrise, with operator Woodside Petroleum not anticipating a decision on the development until the third horizon of its current growth period, which starts in 2027.

ConocoPhillips executive vice president production, drilling and projects, Al Hirshberg, said earlier this year he believed it would be difficult for Greater Sunrise to move into development “in the near future”, while labelling the government's plan as "uneconomic".

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman has also previously stated it was unlikely his company would be involved in a development that sees the gas piped back to Timor-Leste, claiming the returns on such a development would not meet the company’s “economic hurdles”.

However, he also refused to rule out the option completely, adding certain arrangements could be put in place to allow the company to participate.

Wood Mackenzie analyst David Low backed the joint venture’s assessment over the economics of an onshore Timor-Leste development, while adding that concerns over building the pipeline across the seismically active Java trench, while more expensive than a typical subsea pipeline, was not a key driver of increased development costs.

“The economics of an onshore Timor-Leste LNG project is less competitive when compared to utilising existing infrastructure,” he told Upstream.

“We believe the key risk is the construction of a greenfield LNG project in a country that has historically lacked large-scale infrastructure project experience. For the project to screen we believe that the Timor-Leste government will need to provide considerable support via either adjusted contract terms or direct project investment.”

The agreement between the government and ConocoPhillips is still subject to certain conditions, including funding approval from the government of Timor-Leste, regulatory approvals and partner pre-emption rights.

Following the announcement of the deal, Woodside appeared to leave its options open as to whether it would look to increase its interest in Greater Sunrise.

“The joint venture participants hold certain rights that may or may not be exercised in such circumstances,” a Woodside spokesperson told Upstream.

“Woodside and the Sunrise joint venture remain committed to the development of Greater Sunrise and we look forward to working with Timor-Leste to deliver value to both the people of Timor-Leste and the shareholders of the joint venture participants.”

Woodside holds a 33.4% stake in Greater Sunrise, ConocoPhillips holds 30%, Shell has 26.6% and Osaka Gas holds 10%

Josh Lewis, Perth

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Asia’s Arms Bazaar: Growing Market For China and U...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Asia’s Arms Bazaar: Growing Market For China and U...: Asia’s Arms Bazaar: Growing Market For China and US Recent data shows that Asia is now the world’s biggest arms market; moreover, the...

Asia’s Arms Bazaar: Growing Market For China and US

Asia’s Arms Bazaar: Growing Market For China and US

Recent data shows that Asia is now the world’s biggest arms market; moreover, the region is increasingly demanding more sophisticated types of weapons. This is good news for Chinese and US defence firms, who are the largest suppliers of arms to Asia.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently released its data on the global arms trade for 2017, and it is big news for Asia as a whole, and for China and the United States in particular.

In the first place, SIPRI confirms that Asia (including the Indian subcontinent and Oceania) has remained the world’s single largest arms market for the past decade. According to the Institute, Asia accounted for a plurality (42 percent) of all international arms transfers for the period 2013-2017, easily outpacing the Middle East (the world’s other large arms market) at 32 percent. While its market share was down slightly from 2008-2012 (when it took 46 percent), Asian arms transfers were actually up during the more recent period, as globally arms exports have increased.

Asian Arms Buys: Boosting the US

Some of the world’s largest arms buyers are in Asia. According to SIPRI, during the period 2013-2017, five of the ten biggest arms importers were in the region: India, China, Indonesia, Australia, and Pakistan. Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan were among the top 15 largest arms importers. India, in fact, alone accounted for 12 percent of all arms transfers during this period, maintaining its position as the world’s largest arms buyer for the past several years (just ahead of Saudi Arabia). Indian arms imports increased by 24 percent between the periods 2008-2012 and 2013-2017.

All these arms purchases have been enabled by a continuing upward trend in military spending in the region. According to SIPRI, defence expenditures in Asia and Oceania in 2017 was up 3.6 percent over 2016 and 59 percent higher than a decade earlier. So there is plenty of money available for new weaponry.

Two of the biggest beneficiaries of this rise in Asian arms imports are the United States and China. According to SIPRI data, the US captured 34 percent of the global arms market for the period 2013-2017, easily beating Russia, the world’s second largest arms exporter (which took only a 22 percent share). US arms transfers in 2017 were the highest in nearly 20 years. Moreover, US exports of arms grew by one-quarter between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, further widening the gap between it and all other arms exporters.

Asia accounted for one-third of all US arms exports during the period 2013-2017. Its biggest customers in the region were Australia and Taiwan. While Russia still leads the US in overall arms sales to Asia (accounting for 34 percent of all transfers to the region), the US has stolen business from Russia’s traditional customers.

In India, for example, which accounted for 35 percent of all Russian arms exports during 2013-2017, the US has become New Delhi’s second largest weapons supplier. In fact, between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, Indian arms purchases from the US increased by 557 percent! Indonesia, which bought fighter jets from Moscow, is also diversifying its arms suppliers, to the benefit of Washington.

China: The New Big Supplier

China is also benefiting from the uptick in Asian arms transfers. China’s exports of major arms grew by 38 percent between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, and it captured 5.7 percent of the global arms market during the latter period (although this was only good enough for fifth place, behind the US, Russia, France, and Germany).

Most of Beijing’s biggest weapons buyers are in Asia, and during the period 2013-2017, the region accounted for 72 percent of all Chinese arms transfers. The two biggest buyers were Pakistan and Bangladesh, which together bought over half of all Chinese arms exports. Pakistan, in fact, now buys around 70 percent of its arms from China.

Beijing has chalked up some impressive overseas sales, including deals to export eight Yuan-class submarines to Pakistan and three to Thailand. China has also sold tanks to Myanmar and antiship cruise missiles to Indonesia, as well as armed drones to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and Egypt.

At the same, China is starting to scale back its imports of arms, as its domestic defence industries continue to improve and develop and produce globally competitive military systems. This is particularly bad news, in the long run, for Russia, which presently accounts for the bulk of all Chinese arms purchases.

What Will the Next Five Years Hold?

Of course, sales are always about the future, not the past. For the Asian arms market, however, the next five years will likely resemble the past five. Regional tensions in the Indian subcontinent, in the South China Sea and across the Taiwan Strait, and particularly in and around the Korean peninsula will continue to drive increases in defence spending, which will in turn will continue to impact regional arms acquisitions.

Asia, therefore, will continue to crave the newest and most advanced armaments of all types. In particular, we should see steady purchases of modern fighter jets, air defence systems, and navy ships. We should in particular see an uptick in sales of weapons systems that were hitherto rarely found in Asian militaries, such as advanced submarines and precision-guided air-to-ground munitions.

These trends in arms purchases make Asia a continuing “must have” market for the world’s leading – and aspiring – arms exporters. That in turn will require that the world’s leading arms manufacturers – many of whom depend heavily upon overseas sales for their survival – will have to continue to come up with products that will meet the increasingly stringent demands of their Asian customers.

*Richard A. Bitzinger is a Visiting Senior Fellow with the Military Transformations Programme in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Thursday, September 27, 2018