Obama, Australia PM Turnbull to meet Tuesday at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is welcoming his first foreign leader of the new year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, for talks that will cover the Islamic State militant group and a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade agreement that includes their countries.

Other global, regional and bilateral issues are also on Tuesday's agenda for meetings the White House says will cover the "extraordinary breadth" of the U.S.-Australian alliance.

Turnbull is on his first visit to the U.S. since taking office last September. Obama will welcome him to the Oval Office before continuing their talks over a working lunch.

Australia OKs expansion of coal port near Great Barrier Reef

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's federal government formally approved a plan on Tuesday to dredge vast swathes of seabed sediment from an area near the Great Barrier Reef as part of a major coal port expansion, after rejecting arguments by environmentalists that it will hurt the area's fragile ecosystem.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt initially approved the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port in northern Queensland in 2013, but the process has been repeatedly delayed and the plan repeatedly revised amid protests by conservation groups.

Australia: Backers hope big solar farm gives the sector a push


Broken Hill, once a key part of Australia’s mining boom, is now home to a huge solar farm run by AGL Energy Ltd. and First Solar Inc., a project they hope will galvanize growth in the industry, Bloomberg reports.

Emissions reduction and economic growth not mutually exclusive, study finds

Ars Technica

Australian models show it’s possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while still maintaining economic growth, according to an analysis recently published in the journal Nature, Ars Technica reports.

Australia, Korea seeking to scupper deal to restrict coal plant subsidies


An agreement reached between the U.S. and Japan that would discourage financing for coal-fired power plants in developing countries has run into opposition from Australia and Korea ahead of a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development next week, E&E reports.

Glencore puts copper mines in Australia, Chile on sale

BERLIN (AP) — Commodities group Glencore is putting two copper mines, in Australia and Chile, on sale.

The company said Monday it is initiating the sale process for the Cobar mine in Australia and the Lomas Bayas mine in Chile in response to "a number of unsolicited expressions of interest for these mines from various potential buyers."

Australia's new prime minister fends off sell-out accusation

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The honeymoon did not last long for Malcolm Turnbull. Just days after he took over as prime minister of Australia the attacks have started, with opponents accusing him of selling his ideological soul on issues from climate change to gay marriage in order to snatch the nation's top job.

So far, opinion polls suggest the new leader is popular but there are questions about how his public image might evolve in office. There are also doubts that this self-made multimillionaire — who was once dumped as party leader — will become a unifying figure who can lead his Liberal Party to victory in next year's elections.

Greens hope new Australian government will bring change on climate

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was sworn into power on Tuesday and took charge of a bitterly divided government. He will carry the weight of expectations that he can lift public opinion, reform a flagging economy and steer the nation on a more moderate course on issues from climate change to gay marriage.

But charting a more centrist course is proving difficult to balance with holding together his riven administration and its wary right wing.

New Australian PM says no change in climate policy

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's ruling conservatives ousted beleaguered Prime Minister Tony Abbott as party leader Monday evening in a change that could signal a different Australian response to climate change and allow for a more moderate agenda that could include recognition of gay marriage.

Liberal Party members voted 54 to 44 to replace Abbott with former party leader and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who had called for the leadership ballot just hours earlier amid flagging opinion polls for the 2-year-old conservative coalition government.

American Energy strikes deals to develop Australian shale


American Energy Partners, run by Aubrey McClendon, has struck deals to purchase 55 million acres in Australia to search for oil and natural gas, FuelFix reports.


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