The growing importance of Germany to Africa and the world


Recent years has seen ample discussion of the growing trade and economic relationship of China with numerous African nations. Accordingly, this has led to debate surrounding the USA’s ongoing status as a trade leader on the African continent; and how this may change with China’s rise. Yet, thus far there has been little in-depth coverage of the capacity for growth in trade and political links with African nations and Germany, and the EU more broadly. All signs show this will change fast.

Germany offers the African continent an array of advantages.  While ongoing challenges remain with Greece and the Euro, domestically Germany has enjoyed a long and sustained period of economic growth in recent years, and this has largely occurred alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s record ten-year tenure as Germany’s leader. Stability in a nation’s politics generally encourages confidence in its economics. Further, Eurozone crisis has shown Berlin’s leadership in maintaining a (relative) cohesion in the EU, and increasingly viewed as the de-facto leading nation of Europe.

Further, while much has rightfully been written of China’s growing presence across Africa, it is undoubted Beijing main priorities reside within Asia. This is evidenced by its territorial skirmishes in the South Click to continue reading

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Trans Pacific Partnership a powerful shift against China’s economic power in Asia

2.03 PM Saturday November 7 2015

by Ed Kennedy

For all the deeper and in-depth aspects of the Trans Pacific Partnership – with the full text released this week showing there are gains and losses dependent on where you reside – this is undoubtedly a deal that has signified a powerful victory for the United States of America in Asia.

Accordingly, so too has it done so for Washington’s allies – though granted amidst a far more complicated region faced by Canberra, Tokyo, Seoul and Manila than just a decade ago.

The full list of participating nations; the United States of America, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam certainly represent a diverse bunch of nations. Yet, within them can be seen either stalwart US Allies (such as Japan and Canada) or nations with a tradition of greater fluidity in the foreign policy – such a New Zealand and Vietnam – that share concerns over what China’s potential rise to the most powerful nation in Asia (and down the line, the entire world) could mean for them.

This is especially true of Vietnam – who while in decades prior could hardly been regarded Click to continue reading

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Bree and Sam’s reason for running the Melbourne Marathon

Bree and Sam Wollany's Run4aReason campaign. Image: Run4aReason

Bree and Sam Wollany’s Run4aReason campaign. Image: Run4aReason


7.40am Saturday November 16 2015

by Ed Kennedy

Bree and Sam mean business. Two young and dynamic girls who are having a go all across their work and wider life as they speed through their twenties. Nursing, working in airline cabin crew, serving in the Australian Defence Forces Reserves – and oh yeah a bit of running – colours their life and day-to-day. These girls are fun, good natured and normal. This is why the story of their past year is so compelling.

When their father Richard fell ill with PSP the family didn’t run from the diagnosis. For those yet to hear of it – and it’s indeed true this is a illness many have but many more are yet to have of – may the following bring you up to speed.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is a rare neurological condition affecting the parts of the brain that control walking, eye movements, balance, speech and swallowing.

Challenging‚ confronting and all at once overwhelming‚ the Wolany clan looked to come together and emerge stronger as a result. Many would feel tempted to run at such a difficult moment – Bree and Sam … Click to continue reading

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Chris Cincotta’s Camera and Community


A familar sight to any Baysider who’s walked a certain beach in Brighton. Image courtesy: Chris Cincotta photography.

A familar sight to any Baysider who’s walked a certain beach in Brighton. Image courtesy: Chris Cincotta Photography.

by Ed Kennedy

CC are Melbourne photographer Chris Cincotta’s initials. Yet, they may as well stand for the two pillars upon which he’s built his career: cameras and community. In the day-to-day trade of being a photographer in Melbourne, engagement and interaction with community is a must. However, the way in which Chris does it surely makes him a rare commodity.

This Melbourne photographer, who has spent many afternoons and evenings along the coastal trails and among the Melbourne CBD – including having shot some of Bayside’s most famed and picturesque spots – is now in a sense very much anchored down. After a most interesting couple of years around Australia and across the world, Chris is now a Melbourne-based photographer, regularly selling his photos day-by-day in the CBD, and who also a very proud Melburnian. It sounds so straightforward, but just like an Ansel Adams landscape or a Leibovitz portrait; the detail is so very often everything. Chris’ story need be given some further colour and scope then.


…for rare would it appear Chris’ photos struggle for colour: Bayside’s Brighton

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Billboard on Nepean Highway looms large over TPP debate

A prominent sign to the sight of any Baysider commuting along the Nepean Highway recently between South Road and Cummings Road.
A prominent sign to the sight of any Baysider commuting along the Nepean Highway recently between South Road and Cummings Road.


7.00pm Tuesday May 26 2015

by Ed Kennedy

Plans for a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the Abbott government may seem at first something of a far off concern for Baysiders in their day-to-day lives in our seaside suburbs. Yet, any Baysider commuting along the Nepean Highway recently would have seen the following sign over North Avenue between South Road and Cummings Road.

The poster by civic activist group Get Up implores Andrew Robb, local MP and Member for Goldstein, to alter his policy direction on the planned TPP that would involve 14 nations including the United States and New Zealand alongside Australia.

A view of the sign from a distance across the Nepean Highway
A view of the sign from a distance across the Nepean Highway

Mr Robb, the Minister for Trade in the Abbott government has been a key player in Australia’s negotiations on the proposed TPP. Though the proposed trade agreement between the United States and a number of participating Asian and Latin American nations has not yet been enacted – nor finalised therefore – by participating nations, it has garnered an inordinate amount of controversy and

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A new debate about the old: Vintage and replica furniture


Gary and Rachel Lewarne. Nook. SKN. May 2015.

Gary and Rachel inside Nook St Kilda

by Ed Kennedy

What Gary and Rachel have cannot be manufactured. You’ll never find the British-expats who have come to Melbourne via Perth selling goods of which they cannot detail in-depth. The history, the significance and quality of craftsmanship that underpins an item in the vintage goods store can routinely be listed off-the-cuff by this couple.

Gary and Rachel represent one side of the coin in a furniture and goods industry that is facing a growing challenge to the ‘ways of old’ by replica furniture salespeople.

The existence of ‘new’ enthusiasts for old goods is becoming more common in modern commerce, as evidenced by the current debate surrounding replica furniture in Australia and the wider international market.

With copyright laws difficult to enforce internationally – combined with the rise of globalisation and online shopping – the idea of furniture pieces being unique, distinct and one-off is being challenged.

For Rachel, the issues within the industry are clear.

“Replicas are everywhere and it’s an insult to the second hand industry”, she said.

Having opened Nook’s first store at 258 Johnston St in January 2010 – and established a warehouse in North Fitzroy during … Click to continue reading

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Bayside City Council announces SSAGD social group

11.07am Friday April 20 2015 

By Ed Kennedy

Bayside City Council has announced the establishment of a Same Sex and Gender Diverse (SSAGD) social/support group, with the first meeting to be held next week.

The group will provide social interaction and support services to young people aged 14-24, who identify as same sex attracted, sex gender diverse or who are questioning their sexuality.

Emily Buttriss, a Youth Worker with Bayside City Council indicated the group shall be easy going and inviting to those who wish to attend.

“There is no pressure for a young person to say or do anything they are not comfortable with when they attend meetings”, Ms Buttriss said.

“This is a group for people with similar interests and experiences and a great place to meet like-minded people.”

In particular, while participation is voluntary, Emily feels the conversational nature of the group shall be a core benefit to those who come along.

SSAGD shall “provide young people with the opportunity to come together to learn about the discuss topics that are of interest to them”, Ms Buttriss said.

Such conversations could be “about ‘coming out’, the transgender community, SSAGD affiliated youth organisations and so on.”

Emily also

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