Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Former Victorian Labor minister Theo Theophanous has met his long-time friend and factional ally, federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, to lobby on behalf of a Chinese firm, according to The Age. All NBN contracts go to tender and are decided by NBN Co without reference to the minister.Katharine Murphy reports Theophanous is advising Huawei Technologies, a Chinese communications firm with links to the military. Senator Conroy, who is responsible for the rollout of the $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN), told The Age he met Mr Theophanous once, but said he wasn’t responsible for contractual decisions. ”All NBN contracts go to tender and are decided by NBN Co without reference to the minister,” he said. Murphy reports Huawei is the second-largest telecommunications network provider in the world and employs about 300 Australian staff. A Huawei spokesman told The Age Mr Theophanous’s role ”as part of our ongoing localisation strategy” reflected the firm’s commitment to business in Victoria. In 2009, Senator Conroy publicly backed Mr Theophanous when a rape charge against him was dismissed.
For centuries, Caribbean anole lizards have been homebodies. Species have tended to stick to the islands where they evolved, because sailing across the vast distances of ocean separating them isn’t exactly easy for most land dwellers. As a result, geographically isolated islands tend to have fewer species overall, whereas less isolated islands usually boast more. But now scientists think this accepted ecological wisdom may need to be revised, and it’s all humans’ fault. When researchers studied the present-day distribution of anole lizard species across the Caribbean, they found that an island’s geographic isolation no longer necessarily corresponded to fewer species. Instead, it was all about its economic isolation within the global trade network. That’s because, like many species, anole lizards have started hitching rides on cargo ships, making it much easier for them to reach far-flung islands. The more trade an island participates in, the more species diversity it tends to have, no matter its geographic location, the team reports online today in Nature. The flip side is that economic isolation might protect native lizard species from newly imported competitors. Cuba, for example, would rapidly gain 1.65 lizard species if the United States lifted its trade embargo, the researchers predict.