FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Monday:  July 28, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Entries in Christmas Island (4)

Monday
Sep102012

Australia asylum seekers pour in as others sent to Nauru (REPORT) 

(Video: Al Jazeera English)

(September 11, 2012) - Australia's ruling Labor party still hopes its asylum seeker people-swap deal with Malaysia will succeed, with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen confirming the government would continue to ‘‘vigorously prosecute’’ the  arrangement.

As the government prepares to send the first handful of asylum seekers to Nauru, and boats continue to pour into Australian waters at record levels, Mr. Bowen said the Malaysia deal was still part of his calculations.

"We have been in contact with our Malaysia counterparts at various levels," he said.

(PHOTO: Aerial view of Nauru Island, South Pacific/Wikipedia)The final legislation designating Nauru as an offshore processing location was introduced yesterday as another four boats carrying a combined 265 people were intercepted. This made eight boats since Friday and 2150 asylum seekers on 36 boats arriving in Australia since August 13.

On that day the government announced it would reopen Nauru and Manus Island and warned anyone intercepted after that day risked being taken offshore.

Nauru will have a final capacity for 1500 people, including 500 by the end of this month, and Manus Island is being set up to accommodate 600, for a total offshore capacity of 2100 when both camps are set up.

It will be impossible to send to the camps all that have arrived since August 13, meaning people will be selected from among those who have already arrived. The government hopes it will deter others. The opposition called this a lottery, and said the government must undertake that everyone who arrives from now be sent to Nauru.

''If the government says they are now in a position to send people there for processing then send people there they must,'' the opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, said. "Any exceptions on those the government sends to Nauru will only dilute what is already a half-hearted message that this government is sending out to people smugglers.''

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, announced a military team was en route to Papua New Guinea to begin setting up the Manus Island camp. He said there were enough temporary facilities on Nauru to send people there by the end of the week.

(PHOTO: More asylum seekers arrive at Christmas Island, South Pacific/Sharon Tisdale)They will be flown there and they will have no idea how long they will stay. The government has yet to finalize the ''no advantage'' period, which will require asylum seekers, even those who are found to be refugees, to spend as long on Nauru and Manus Island as they would if they had stayed in a refugee camp. This period will be several years.

The legislative instrument tabled by Mr. Bowen says it is estimated 704 asylum seekers have died at sea since October 2009, and the cost to the budget over the next four years due to the surge in arrivals is not more than $5 billion.

The imminent transfer of asylum seekers offshore is also not deterring asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Pakistan arriving in Indonesia en route to Australia.

An Afghan refugee in Cisarua, south of Jakarta, told the Herald that only days ago a new group of refugees arrived after flying from Quetta, Pakistan.

"They are coming little by little. Four days ago, 20 people came to Jakarta Airport," said refugee Alemzadeh, who is in Cisarua waiting for a boat to Christmas Island. "They know [about the new policy], but they don't stop. They say it's too dangerous to stay in Pakistan."

Alemzadeh said that for perhaps 15 days after the government's policy was announced, the influx from the war-torn regions had stopped, but it had now resumed. The recent drowning of more than 100 Hazara asylum seekers had also not deterred them.

- This article first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald by Phillip Coorey and Michael Bachelard and Jessica Wright.

Wednesday
Jan042012

THE HUM - WORLD HEADLINES - JANUARY 5, 2012

Afghanistan 

UN Helps Uzbekistan to Equip Border with Afghanistan

Argentina 

(PHOTO: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Mt Holyoke)Argentine president fine after thyroid cancer surgery

Saudia Arabia's buy 30,000 acres of prime land in Argentina

Australia 

The Melbourne filmmaker, the topless Ukrainian feminists and a brush with the KGB

Bahamas

Standing out from her peers

Bangladesh 

2 Bangladeshi workers die in UAE after falling from hotel  

Botswana 

Botswana nurses eye Namibian jobs

Bulgaria 

Bulgarian Nationalist Party Stops Newspaper, TV Station May Follow Suit

Cambodia 

Thailand, Cambodia agree to implement World Court border order

Chile

(PHOTO: Torres Del Paine, Patagonia. RANDOM FACT)Patagonian wilderness devastated as fire sweeps through Chile’s Torres del Paine

China 

In Chinese trading town, disputes and strains fuel mistrust of India

(PHOTO: China's Vertu `Year of the Dragon' edition phone. VERTU) Vertu's Year of the Dragon phone has roaring price

Christmas Island 

Detainees tell of Christmas Island punishment

Aussie PM Julia Gillard denies tough asylum seeker punishment move

Colombia 

Colombia receives $3.78B in remittances

Comoros

Comoros jails Muslim leader over booze bribe bid

Congo (DRC)

In DRC, Tshisekedi Asks for Protection, UN Tells Him Kabila Is In Change

In DRC, France’s RFI suspended over elections coverage

Congolese Plea for Conflict-Minerals-Free iPhone

Giving Congo's child soldiers a second chance

NBA Players Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Fan’s Look

Cook Islands 

Cook Islands fishing company fears Taiwan deal

(PHOTO: The Korgan Hotel in Yiwu in southern China, where two Indian traders were held in detention for two days. THE HINDU)Costa Rica 

100,000,000 Text Messages Sent During Holiday Season

British backpacker accused of murder in Costa Rica

Croatia 

Croatia prepares to join the world wine battle

Cuba

Cuban chess players well positioned in the global ranking

Nordic Brigade of Solidarity Visits Cuban Town

Cyprus

Turkey demands KKTC involvement in Cyprus talks

El Salvador

(PHOTO: Protestors arrest in El Salvador. PRENSA LATINA) Dozens of Demonstrators Arrested in El Salvador 

Ethiopia

The Film Oblivion: How Abduction for Marriage Ended in Ethiopia

New Ethiopian AIDS plan needs men (Perspective)

Falkland Islands

Argentina Ratifies Sovereignty Over Malvinas Islands

(PHOTO: Sappers Hill Corral, the large stone-walled corral, a Falklands’ landmark, remains behind minefield fences. MERCOPRESS)Falklands’ “land release” demining phase begins next week with 18 Zimbabweans

Fiji

UK calls for public dialogue on a new constitution for Fiji

France

French Foreign Minister to Visit Tunisia on January 5th

Gay Tunisian man fears being deported from France

Gaza and West Bank

Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh Visits Tunisia

Germany

IDB, Germany to continue to offer development aid to Yemen

Oxfam criticises production of bananas and German Supermarkets 

Guam

GTA TeleGuam Airs Top Asian Networks

Guatemala

Iran’s president adds Guatemala to his tour of four Latin American countries

Guyana

Rural Guyana should get top priority in the planning corridors of Georgetown (Perspective)

Haiti

(PHOTO: Haiti Ambassador Duly Brutus, today assumed the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council for the next 3 months (right), taking over from the Permanent Representative of Guyana, Ambassador Bayney Karran. OAS) Haiti Assumes Chair of OAS Permanent Council

Haiti: From Displacement Camps to Community (Perspective)

Honduras

Unusual heavy rains hit Honduras

Hungary

Hungary’s New Constitution Lacks Rights For Gays, Bans Gay Marriage

India

4-day meet in city to focus on Persian culture

India, Tunisia to take forward MSME co-operation

Hotels Beware of Mixed Olive Oil

Indian businessmen manual to be published in the UAE

“Security wise, we are dependent on Sri Lanka” – Indian External Affairs Minister

Indonesia

Indonesia enjoys relations with almost all UN member states: FM

Iran

Turkey's FM in Iran for talks on nukes, Syria

(PHOTO: A new report says all Italian olive oil, isn't. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH) Iran: Tractor exports up 154%

Ahmadinejad will travel to Tajikistan in Noruz (Persian New Year)

Iranian photographer wins top prize at Slovenian contest

Ireland

Fall in asylum seekers linked to recession and tougher controls

Italy

'Four out of five' bottles of Italian olive oil debased - report

Ivory Coast

Cote d'Ivoire president meets Chinese FM on bilateral ties

Jamaica

Jamaica's first female PM set for office

Japan

Japan and China still at odds over islands (Video)

Japan Fights Virus With Virus

Jordan

(PHOTO: In the UAE, Iran sanctions are impacting traders in marketplaces and souks. THE NATIONAL) Gov't to hold conference on online media regulation 

Kyrgyzstan

Ethnic Kyrgyz Have Trouble Gaining Citizenship In Kyrgyzstan

Laos

PTT increasing investment in green business

Lithuania

Lithuanian office suppliers shun crisis, spur eco-product sales

Macau

Home for Autistic want tertiary college

Malaysia

(PHOTO: Ukraine holidaymakers Sergei (right) extending his gratitude to a Fire & Rescue Services Department officer for the assistance provided as Tanya and Igor look on. THE BORNEO POST) Ukraine holidaymakers safe on shore after ‘little adventure’

Maldives

Government lifts week-long ban on resort spas, massage parlors

Malta

Malta signs bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia

Mauritania

Man of the Year 2011 in Mauritania

Emir of Qatar expected Thursday in Nouakchott  

Morocco

PJD leads new Moroccan government

Mozambique

Argentine institute to work with Mozambique’s agricultural sector

Myanmar

Burma Celebrates Independence Amid Criticism

Myanmar celebrates 65th independence day

Billionaire George Soros visits Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon

Namibia

Internet Fraud Cons the Country Out of N$3,5 Million

New Caledonia

New Caledonia government okays new air fares

(PHOTO: Ukraine asks for $9 bln gas discount from Russia to form joint transit consortium. RIA NOVOSTII)New Zealand

North Avocado growers face disaster (Perspective) 

Nicaragua

Nicaragua pursues loan with Venezuela to prevent higher electricity rates

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Archbishop of Abuja Dismisses Civil War Reports

Social Media Ginger Subsidy Protests

Norfolk Island

Air New Zealand to operate Norfolk Island flights

Norway

(PHOTO: The Black Sea © Flickr.com/Hans Dekker)Norway’s Statoil discovers one more oil field in North Sea

Pakistan

Pakistan-Tajikistan Discuss Electricity Exports

Papua New Guinea

Copper Drives Papua New Guinea Island’s Independence Movement

Paraguay

Paraguay Returns Land to Indigenous Peoples of Northern Chaco

Peru

Peru deemed better-positioned in LatAm to face global crisis

Barclays: Peru Needs Systematic Solution to Social Conflicts

(PHOTO: The Dakar Road Rally makes its way through South America.) Dakar Rally places Peru in the spotlight

Philippines

Philippines senator wants more disaster preparedness

Royal Dutch Shell donates $1M for Sendong relief, rehab operations

Poland

Poland orders more Kongsberg missiles from Norway

Qatar

Qatari PM, Ban Ki-Moon discuss US-Iran rhetoric about Gulf, Syria crisis 

Qatar- Drastic cut in carbon emission

Russia

Russian fuel tanker under way for ice-encrusted Nome, Alaska

Tons of scrap to be transported from Russian Arctic in 2012

Saint Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts-Nevis Moves Closer to Green Energy Goals

(PHOTO: In Korea, robots are now being used to control prisons. YONHAP)Saudi Arabia

Renewed Protests Defy Ban

Saudi poets slam ‘plague’ of extremism and poverty in Million’s Poet show

Seychelles

Chinese Troops In Seychelles (Analysis)

Sierra Leone

Youth Ambassador, entreprenuer Anthony Navo elected as Chairman of AWOL in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Communities Divided Over Mining in Rainforest (Perspective)

Singapore

Singapore Poly transforms classrooms into work spaces

Slovenia

Slovenian court: referendum challenging same-sex ‘marriage,’ adoption law can proceed

(PHOTO: In Singapore, Singapore Poly is using technology to turn classrooms into schools. Singapore POLY) Somalia

Parliamentarians elect new speaker after fist-fight session

Crisis in Somalia: PM Mohamed Ali & his wife speak out

How a Somali rapper became the 'Face of Africa' 

South Africa

SA assumes UN Security Council presidency for second time

Unclear if Mandela will be at ANC party

South Korea

S. Korea adds cyber-security to defense plan

Robots Patrol South Korean Prisons at Night

South Korea’s SK Energy to buy more Iran oil in 2012

Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea – Episode 1 (By Cisco)

South Sudan

South Sudan's President Pledges Commitment to Resolve Conflict in Jonglei State

WFP Concerned By Violence In South Sudan

One Year Anniversary of South Sudan Referendum (Perspective)

(PHOTO: Aerial view of Kalma refugee camp in Darfur, Western Sudan. RADIO DABANGA)Spain

How Spain’s version of SOPA is setting the web on fire

Spain Launches Some of the Strongest Anti-Piracy Laws

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka expresses concern over France’s postal service publishing 4 stamps featuring Tamil Tigers

Sri Lanka to conduct population census in March

Private company to develop the Sri Lanka's renewable energy industry

Sri Lanka 4th Best Economy in the World in 3rd quarter 2011, says report

Sri Lankan Hospitals to Go Paperless

Sri Lankan bank connects its 500th ATM (Press Release)

Sudan

Sudan, South Sudan to Resume Talks on Abyei in Addis Ababa

UN Seeks Access to War-Torn Sudanese States

Kalma refugee camp: no food aid for three months, 15 days

(PHOTO: Sudan shuts a third newspaper, The CItizen. AFRICA REVIEW) Sudan shuts third newspaper in media crackdown

Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Website created for polar bear attack inquiry

Swaziland

Coca-Cola urged to abandon Swaziland’s King Mswati III

Government Makes Small Loans for Young Entrepreneurs to Help Fight Crisis

Poorly performing schools to be under scrutiny

Most nabbed drunk drivers unmarried

Sweden

(PHOTO: Troubled Swedish carmaker Saab may have suitors in India, Turkey)Investors from India, Turkey could still save Saab

Filesharing Now a Religious Practice in Sweden

Gun laws may be tightened: minister

Switzerland

Switzerland's central bank chief accused of insider trading

Madonna Takes Family And Brahim Zaibat Skiing In Switzerland [PHOTOS]

Syria

Syria accuses US of interfering in Arab affairs

Syria, Iran to boost Agricultural Cooperation

Syrian National Council launched its official website

Taiwan

(PHOTO: A mass cycling event, “One Bike One,” in honor of the Taiwanese Republic's anniversary took place on Dec. 31. CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY) Taiwanese Set New Guinness Record for Their Anniversary

Taipei city government to expand Wi-Fi network of free access to Internet

Taiwan sparks up electric bike promotion efforts

Taiwan media regulator wants less Korean content on TV

A First Look at Conde Nast’s WIRED Taiwan

Taiwan's IT wizards turn to the movies

Taiwanese Engineers Arrested For Selling Intel Chips On eBay

Taiwan Mobile expects higher smartphone purchases in 2012

Taiwan's machinery exports likely to hit record high in 2011, surpass Italy

(PHOTO: WIRED Magazine gets ready to launch in Taiwan) Freedom differentiates Taiwan, mainland China: says MAC head

Tajikistan

Uzbekistan cuts gas supply to Tajikistan without notification – Tajik Foreign Ministry

Tanzania

20 Somali Migrants Found Dead in Tanzania

Mobile broadband modernisation underway for Tanzanian operator

Vodacom Tanzania says firm injects $100bn for facelift

Communities empowered to probe extractive investors

Govt, donors urged to fund alternative energy

Aid Agenda:  We Need to go Back to the Basics (Perspective)

Thailand

New Year Road Mishaps Kill 314 in Thailand

Flood situation in southern Thailand still critical

Thailand Gets New Banking Policies

Wanted: About half a million more labourers

Transgender airline staff make inaugural flight in Thailand

(PHOTO: The Ravana Robot, an interactive 10-faced robot that can say greetings via QR Code technology in 4 languages - Thai, English, Chinese, Japanese - is an attraction at the Thailand Pavilion. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD)Robots ready to take centre stage at BoI Fair 2011

'Greater Phuket' Chosen for First Jewish Pesach Festival in Thailand

The Arctic

Russian river water affecting the Arctic – AO shift blamed

The Netherlands

Dutch military on board ship with emergency aid for Somalia

Dutch to fund $36.4m Kilimanjaro Airport facelift

Dutch teen sailor nears end of round-the-world voyage

Togo

15 biofuel plants worth N414bn to come afloat

Tunisia

Tunisia Granted Membership to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

McDonald’s Announces to Set Up New Franchises Soon in Tunisia

(PHOTO: At Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Dutch investment will upgrade the airport. INSIGHT MAGAZINE) International Day of Internet Freedom – A Tunisian Initiative

Turkey

India’s Aditya Birla to invest US$500m in viscose plant in Turkey

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan's 'Protector' Registers For Presidential Election

Ashgabat Residents Turn Up Noses At Smelly Artificial River

Tuvalu

Sun risk for albino Islanders

Uganda

Uganda launches investigation into "nodding disease"

Kumi Siamese Twins Pass Away

Hearts star David Obua causes fury in poverty-stricken Uganda by building £500k mansion

(PHOTO: In Turkmenistan residents are dealing with an old, smelly river. RFL) Cancer Institute seeks funds for upcountry units

Uganda fights phone fraudsters with registration of SIM cards

Ukraine

Ukraine starts pumping Azerbaijani oil

Ukraine asks for $9 bln gas discount from Russia to form joint transit consortium

Ukraine recognized one of leaders in global food market last year

Only 8% in Ukraine say foreign policy meets their interests

First power plant using gas from household waste launched in Ukraine

Ukraine's jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko kept under 24-hour camera surveillance with lights permanently ON

Daughter Not Allowed To Meet Jailed Ukraine’s Ex-Premier

United Arab Emirates

UAE business  growth slips

Sanctions put squeeze on UAE's Iran traders

(PHOTO: Mariam Al Safar, the 1st Emirati woman train attendant, at work on the Dubai Metro. GULF NEWS) Relatives of Mangalore air crash victims in the UAE hit out against compensation delay

UAE residential market set for growth

Emirates Airlines to launch Vietnam services in June

UAE University to host international conference on Time

Big Solar and Big Wind to Meet in Abu Dhabi for World Future Energy Summit

Emirati woman train attendant breaks the traditional mould

Auschwitz in gym advertisement, removed

Groupama claims the UAE dash in the Volvo Ocean Race

Dh387,988 club bill goes viral

(PHOTO: The Cavalli Club in UAE. Megan Hirons Mahon XPRESS) Young energy leaders prepare for summit

In the UAE, Shopping Bag Doubles as Grocery List in Promo for Tide

Fossil fuel subsidies making biofuels uncompetitive in UAE (Perspective)

United Kingdom

Archbishops commit to ‘listen to England’ in research to launch twin projects

Microsoft sues U.K. retail chain for pirating Windows

UK consumers gave 1.3m e-readers this Christmas

Call for gun law crackdown after cabbie shoots dead girlfriend and two others

UK youths join gangs to escape abuse at home

£400 Million Later, and All UK Eggs are Free-Range or From "Enriched" Cages

(PHOTO: In the UAE where plastic bags are a concern, product giant Tide tries something new. ADAGE) Offshore Wind Spurs UK Renewables Growth

Apple Interested In Bidding For Premier League UK TV Rights, Says Report

Sex, blood and the status quo (Perspective)

United States

Oil Companies Big Winners as U.S. Becomes Net Exporter of Fuel

US State Department sets up counter-terrorism bureau

US Hispanic Consumers  Holiday Shopped on Their Mobil Devices to The Tune of $5.15 Billion

U.S. Taxpayers Cover Nearly Half the Cost of U.N.’s Global Warming Panel - Report

U.S. Education Spending Compared To The Rest Of The Developed World

NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong Eun transition called 'important opening' for religious liberty focus by The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Twitter Founder Biz Stone Speaks about Technology and Empathy at Farm Sanctuary gathering

Sign of the Times – A Photo Shows Romney Backing Vietnam Draft

US cancer deaths continue to drop

Double bubble: U.S. twin birth rates soar since 1980

The President of the United States Joins the Instagram Phenomenon

Uruguay

Mark Zuckerberg’s Outrageous Week in Uruguay

Mark Zuckerberg eligió Punta del Este para continuar con sus vacaciones

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: Police Make Rare Admission of Prison Rapes

Web Use Spirals in Uzbekistan Despite Curbs

(PHOTO: Tajikistan says Uzbekistan will pocket $70M more with increase in transit rates. UZBEKISTAN NEWSWIRE)Uzbekistan spikes transit rates to Tajikistan, Tajik Railways says

Vanuatu

Vanuatu police name NZ businessman’s alleged killer

Fijians appear on rape charge

Venezuela

Inmates Keep 1,000 Family Members from Leaving Venezuela Jails

About 200 Venezuelan women to sue French breast implant company

Venezuela Calls on Senior Citizens to Enroll in Mission

Venezuela to Take Measures to Control Weapons  

Police: 1,150 kidnappings in Venezuela in 2011

Polluted water responsible for the Lake Valencia flooding

Telecoms agency closes 27 radio stations in 10 states in 2011

Vietnam

Vietnam urged to free anti-corruption journalist

Vietnam urged to call up private capital for airports and seaports

InternetQ wins Vietnam's mobile marketing contracts

First bird flu outbreak in Vietnam contained in Hau Giang

Vietnam wins first prize at Asia student film festival 

Vietnam chess ace Liem invited to join 2012 London Olympics Torch Relay

Vietnam’s Development Dilemma – Sustainability or exploitation? (Perspective)

Western Sahara

Pan-African Parliament plans to send delegation to occupied Western Sahara

Ahead of Arab Spring ‘Curve’ in Morocco – US takes ‘Giant Leap’ approving use of aid in Western Sahara (Perspective)

Yemen

The International Federation of Journalists urges Yemeni VP to end harassment against newspaper staff

US aid for Yemeni media institutions discussed

Report: Yemeni prime minister plans Gulf tour

Yemen president not US-bound

(PHOTO: In Yemen, Qat is coming under fire. BIKYA MASR)Yemen’s battle against Qat

Zubair volcano (Jemen, Red Sea): New dramatic video shows volcanic eruption forming new island (VIDEO)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen author Paul Torday: 'The Yemenis said, what’s all this about fish?'

Zambia

India gives Zambia $50 m loan to build health centers

First Quantum suspends production at its copper/gold mine in Zambia due to strike

The Shield of Presidential Immunity

Prisoners suffer eye infections

47 year old Zambian says he has 95 children

Zambia’s C.R.I.$.I.$.rapper invited to attend US Grammy awards

Zambia: Cervical Cancer – ‘A Battle We Can Win’ (Perspective)

Zimbabwe

(PHOTO: Air Zimbabwe airliner. FILE) Again, Air Zimbabwe gets grounded

Serial Rapist Gets 40 Years in Jail

Mystery surrounds diamond ore theft in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Constitution - Drafters Back At Work

Wage Disputes Tense As Firms Reopen

Jobless Nurses - 'Govt Flouting Labour Laws'

'Boeing' Set to Keep You Laughing

WORLD:

BRIC Economic Slowdown Boosts CIVETS Profile

Donors await improved accountability from `Least Developing Countries’ (LDC’s)

Revenue from MENA IPOs down sharply

China and 21 Other Countries to Get iPhone 4S

Asian Social Media Users Create; Western Users Consume [STUDY]

Cussing For Charity – New Twitter App Benefits UNICEF

Climate Change, Migration and Conflict

Friday
Dec232011

THE HUM - HEADLINES FROM THE GEOGRAPHIC GAP - 12/23/2011

Algeria 

Algeria Eyes 2.5 Million Tourists Per Year By 2015

(PHOTO: Marriott, 198 room hotel expected to open in 2014 in Setif) Courtyard by Marriott Announces Its Second Hotel in Algeria

Bhutan 

Health referral cost escalates

Cambodia 

Challenges Ahead as Cambodia Preps for Asean Presidency

Cambodian PM Pays Last Tribute to DPRK's Leader Kim Jong Il

MSF Steps Up Tuberculosis Support in Cambodia

Finding profit potential in the rich soil of Pailin

Digital content key to growth for Kingdom’s telecom firms (Perspective)

Central African Republic

CAR: UNSC extends mandate of UN office

Chile

Pinera Says Chile Will Be First Developed Latin America Nation

Christmas Island

(PHOTO: Kirimati, Christmas Island, NASA) Seen from Space: Christmas Island

Congo (DRC)

Congo Opposition Leader Ready To Take Oath Office, Says Adviser

Egypt

Meeting condones peaceful use of nuclear power for generating electricity

India

Much anticipated short film fest in Gauhati today

Kenya

Ebola fear strikes Kenya

Morocco

Snake Charmers, Old Markets and Friendly People

Myanmar

Myanmar to allow private mining in noted ruby area

Samoa

Samoa considers decriminalising female impersonations

Slovenia

Stay at a former military prison turned art hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Suriname

Suriname, Fiji ink comminique at UN

UAE group to set up mint house in Suriname

Swaziland

Over 600 armed officers hunt ‘scarface’ in Swaziland

High tech ticketing system comes to SD

Switzerland

Concern as asylum seekers forced onto street

Revised CO2 law reflects uneasy compromise

Syria

Syrian company owner  molests Pinay, 2 other workers in UAE

Violence, sectarianism stalk Homs

Taiwan

PFP VP candidate to visit Bhutan in search of happiness

Tajikistan

Tajiks need more private investment to spur economy, WB says

Tanzania

Kindle, eBooks and the future of Tanzania’s poor readership

In Tanzania, two journalists charged with incitement

Police fail to charge Tanzania media boss

Thailand

Shipbuilding seeks revival

Junie Browning Finally Surrenders to Thailand Police

China signs currency swap deal with Thailand

Turks and Caicos

Sandals Foundation brings Christmas joy to TCI kids

TCI draws more than 1 million tourists in 2011

Togo

Togo to Receive Assistance to Better Manage Flood and Land Degradation Risks

Tokelau

Tokelauan New Zealanders get help to maintain language

Tonga

Tonga speaker at risk of arrest over bail breach

Investor embarks on beef plan

Trinidad and Tobago

Chicken prices will eventually go up

Key and ministers off to Oz

Turkmenistan

Native of Turkmenistan Oleg Kononenko in second space flight

Tunisia

New Tunisian premier names coalition government dominated by Islamists

American Children Kidnapped and Taken to Tunisia By Father

Turkey

Turkey: Post-Earthquake, How Easy to Stop Substandard Construction?

Tuvalu

The Tuvalu Drought: A Microcosm of Things to Come

Uganda

Don't Break Your Nails. Hire a Chef

Lazy Ugandan men face arrest

Ukraine

Ukraine will start 2012 in precarious condition

United Arab Emirates

Citizenship law for Emirati women sets good example

Young people spend nearly 10 hours a day online

United Kingdom

Sony - Netflix's U.K. Plans Undermined By Amazon Deal

England riots: all-night courts praised, but were they a publicity stunt? (Perspective)

United States

U.S. Population Grows at Slowest Rate Since 1940s

The U.S. Isn’t Into Social Networking as Much as You’d Think, and Females are Into It More Than Males

Uruguay

Uruguay Set to Invest in Its Dairy Farmers to Make Them More Green

Vanuatu

Vanuatu minister accused of making threats

Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Calls Obama a 'Clown'

No more kumbaya

Malicious Spam Depicts Demise of Venezuela President

(PHOTO: Theresly Malavé, Venezuelan criminal defense lawyer & president of NGO Justicia y Proceso Venezuela (Venezuelan Justice & Process) & Jackeline Sandoval, the director of the Foundation for Due Process (Fundepro); Credit Gustavo Bandres)NGOs count 24 political prisoners in Venezuela

Vietnam

Vietnam fuel companies suspected of dodgy tax practices 

Wallis and Futuna Islands

Real Estate In Wallis And Futuna Islands Look Great

Western Sahara

Justice for Killing of Young Saharawi Boy Demanded

Yemen

Unrest puts child marriage issue on back burner

Yemen faces critical period to cement political settlement: UN envoy

Zambia

Zambia’s Free Education Policy to Benefit Poor

(PHOTO: Lusaka, Zambia; CREDIT: Jacqui Wintle; September 2011)Women farmers need funding in face of climate change says environment advocates

Zambia to host 200th David Livingstone celebrations

Zimbabwe

Women still marginalised in Zimbabwe

Blitz Triggers Transport Woes

Thursday
Apr072011

Why People-Smugglers Aren't All Bad (Opinion/Blog)

- by Andrew Thomas

Asylum seekers, Christmas Island/ CREDIT: Safecom.org(April 7, 2011) Last week was not a good one for Australian attempts to establish a pan-Asia framework for assessing asylum applications.

At a conference in Bali, prime minister Julia Gillard’s plan for a processing centre on Timor-Leste failed to gain traction.

A "regional co-operation framework" with a "centre or centres" was cited as an aspiration. Nothing, though, was fixed.

Promises of a centre somewhere, one day, do not convey the urgency the Australian government claims it has. Politically in Australia, the consensus is that quick action is needed.

Boats full of asylum seekers keep arriving. A fortnight ago, the detention centres on Christmas Island burned after riots over application delays and overcrowding; hundreds of detainees temporarily roamed loose.

Opposition parties used the images to claim policy towards asylum seekers was broken. When I saw the images, I was reminded of the five days I spent on Christmas Island in the wake of the sinking of a boat, just off it, which killed around 50 in December last year.

In fact, "sinking" is too bland a term to describe what happened to that vessel and its passengers. After the boat’s engines failed it was pushed towards razor-sharp cliffs then pummeled against them by five metre waves.

Once the boat was smashed, the passengers were hammered direct – some straight against the rocks, others caught between what remained of their boat and the cliffs.

They were pounded by waves and planks on one side, their bodies shredded by rocks on the other.

One Christmas Island local – long deep scratches down his legs where he’d been ripped while still on land – told me he was second man on a rope trying to haul up survivors: "The closest we got to saving anyone was seeing a man’s face come up just over the lip of the cliff. Then another massive wave came in and swept him away".

And yet, even with such tragedy I thought then, and still think now, that much of the rhetoric around asylum policy in Australia is misguided.

Disregard to human life

Take something that everyone seems to agree on - that those who organise such voyages are "evil".

This is what Julia Gillard said in the wake of the disaster: "The people smugglers who ply this evil trade, who seek to profit on human misery with callous disregard to human life ... are responsible" she said, "The government, of course, is responding to this evil trade".

But wait a moment. Like all industries that turn a profit – and people-smuggling by boat to Christmas Island is a growing one – business sustainability depends on a ready supply of customers.

Representatives from the department of immigration and from charities on Christmas Island were all quick to tell me how potential customers were misled: how the marketing for these voyages was false: passengers "cruise" to Australia on sophisticated vessels, goes the pitch, (not lurch across high seas in wooden buckets, liable to tip at any time).

Friendly Australian navy boats meet, then escort passengers to their new home (not line them up in rows and make them sit cross-legged on a barge), asylum applications are processed quickly – and always favourably – with customers ready to start their new lives Down Under in days (not wait months in cramped detention camps, in 30 degree heat, and 90 per cent humidity, deal with endless bureaucracy and agencies before facing the very real possibility of being flown, minus savings, from whence they’d come).

"Australia – a sophisticated land of dreams and we can get you there" ... for just $5,000, or $25,000, or $50,000. No one quite seems to agree on the going rate.

"Life savings" seems the established price. But who wouldn’t jump at that? If only customers knew the truth, is the mantra.

If only the evil smugglers were frank about their trade. But just consider for a moment if they were.

Here are some stats. For the financial year June 2009-June 2010, 118 boats made it to Christmas Island carrying a total of 5,592 people to shore alive. Two boats did sink killing 17.

Nevertheless, 99.7 per cent made it in one piece, just three in every thousand drowned.

For 2010 as a calendar year, including the December sinking, around 140 boats made it to shore carrying around 6,500. Even taking into account the 50 who died so horribly, around 99 per cent survived.

And what rewards for those who do. Over the last decade between 70 per cent and 97 per cent of those arriving by boat to Christmas Island have ultimately been assessed as valid refugees and been granted full protection visas – the first step to citizenship, and all the benefits of a new life in Australia that that brings.

Let's assume for a minute that people smugglers are unbelievably honest salesmen, and see whether their honest pitch would persuade: "Give us all your money and we will almost certainly deliver you safely – though perhaps not comfortably - to Australia.

Asylum politics

There, after what will be – we admit – a rough few months in a place akin to a prison, you'll very likely be given a pass to spend the rest of your lives living and working in one of the most pleasant countries on Earth.

No guarantees, and like all purchases it might not be for everyone ... but what do you say?"

Imagine you went to your (expensive) doctor with a major complaint and he said he could give you an operation.

It won't be pleasant, but it cures between 70 and 97 per cent of those that have it, and the worse your existing condition, the better your odds.

However, in a very small proportion of cases - less than 1 per cent - the operation kills. You'd probably take your chances.
If the condition was bad enough, you certainly would. And you wouldn’t label the doctor "evil" for trying.

It speaks volumes that it's thought many who've been granted asylum and now live and work in Australia are sending money back to relatives at home to pay for them to make the same voyage.

They know the deal: they've lived the honest pitch, yet still encourage others to do the same.

If an evil trade is one where the perpetrators negligently – willfully – put people in danger in pursuit of profit then perhaps people-smuggling is one.

But if an evil trade is one which promises one thing and then delivers something completely different, and where the "customers" would never sign up if they knew the evil truth, then I'm not sure people-smuggling counts.

A nasty trade, certainly, a risky one, no doubt. But evil? Most customers walk away having had the core service as promised.

In fact, what's arguably "evil" is getting asylum cases wrong and denying asylum to those that genuinely need it.

There is evidence that those who are ultimately refused asylum in Australia end up being murdered once they've been sent home.

In that sense, what matters far more than where claims are assessed is how they are: the rhetoric shouldn't concentrate on the place of the decision, but on the decision itself.

It never will of course. That, after all, is politics.

- by Andrew Thomas - originally published by Al-Jazeera April 3, 2011 under Creative Commons Licensing