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The Arkive
 
|| Year Gamma: London: Tuesday: July 03: 2018 ||
First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion

 

 

Australasia Arkive Year Alpha and Year Beta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australasia is made of countries: American Samoa, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australia, Baker Island, Cook Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Midway Atoll, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Palmyra Atoll, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wake Island and Wallis and Futuna

Small Projects Could Be the Saviour for the State Economy

 

|| July 04: 2017: University of Adelaide News || ά. University of Adelaide economists are predicting minimal jobs growth in South Australia over the next two years, as the full impact of the Holden closure is felt and with few major projects on the immediate horizon. In their first Economic Briefing Report for 2017, the University's South Australian Centre for Economic Studies:SACES predicts jobs to grow by only 0.75% in the 2017:18 financial year and again by just 0.75% in 2018/19, sufficient to keep up with population growth but not strong enough to make any impact on the unemployment rate.

"While business investment in South Australia has improved over the past year, outcomes vary across asset categories and industries." says Associate Professor Michael O'Neil, Executive Director of SACES. "Investment in machinery and equipment, intellectual property products such as research and development and mineral exploration and agricultural resources has risen, while investment has fallen for non-dwelling buildings and engineering construction. There are signs that economic conditions in South Australia’s main trading partners are improving and spending in South Australia has accelerated.

But job losses at GM-Holden and associated suppliers are holding back statewide employment. In addition, the timing of transitions between large defence contracts is, also, unfavourable for the near-term employment outlook. For these reasons we expect weaker economic growth next year." The report says that employment conditions in South Australia are worse than might be hoped, despite modest growth in household spending and public sector investment.

"South Australia's employment growth has come to a halt in 2017, and the unemployment rate has risen. Unfortunately, forward indicators don't hold out much prospect of improvement through the rest of 2017." Associate Professor O'Neil says. "So while there are some encouraging developments in the State's economy, there are not enough of them to overturn this rather downbeat view."

Associate Professor O'Neil says that the State's economy has been further undermined by a surge in imports. Population growth has also now fallen to its lowest levels in more than a decade, which takes away growth momentum. "In this context, it's important that government policy is attuned to take advantage of the innate advantages that South Australia has. These include an educated and capable workforce, valuable natural resources in the form of agricultural, fishery and extractable resources, a relatively clean environment,and a high quality of living.

The State’s traditional heavy manufacturing industries are much depleted and our overseas exports now come mainly from agriculture, resources and education. Our exports to other States are driven especially by agriculture, tourism, parts of manufacturing and our interaction with supply chains for the services sector.

"A return to stronger economic growth in South Australia is unlikely to come from one or two large projects but instead will need many successes at the smaller scale. The businesses that can deliver this growth are in an open economy and now have a relatively low reliance on protective trade policies. This means they will need to compete directly with overseas suppliers for markets and for investment.

"In that competition, the South Australian cost structure is an important influence on the decisions that ultimately are taken, and policy makers need to avoid undue impositions on those costs." he says. "A robust level of agricultural exports, including sustained increases in exports of meat and vegetables over recent years, demonstrates South Australia’s ability to compete globally. Renewed growth in wine exports after a prolonged period of stagnation is a further positive development in this respect."
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Citizen Lifesavers Survey Invites Participation to Help Save Lives in Australian Water

 

 

 

|| June 23: 2017: University of New South Wales News || ά. The University of New South Wales:UNSW scientists are encouraging people, who have been rescued from the water by a bystander or who have helped save the life of someone else in trouble, to take part in a citizen lifesaver survey. About five per cent of the people, who drowned last year in Australian coastal waters were bystanders attempting to rescue others, according to the 2016 Surf Life Saving Australia annual Coastal Drowning Report. Lifeguards or lifesavers patrol only four per cent of Australian beaches and the vast majority of drowning deaths occur in locations, where there are no lifesavers or emergency services available.

“Quite often, a bystander, a friend or relative or a stranger, goes to the aid of the person in distress.” says research student Ms Nicky Warton. “Bystanders are not necessarily trained or experienced in water-based rescue and often selflessly place themselves at risk. And sadly, it is not uncommon for these bystanders to drown while attempting a rescue. We want to learn more about the circumstance of these bystander rescues by surveying people, who have been involved in one.” she says. Surf Life Saving Australia has funded the Citizen Lifesaver research project in a partnership with the University and James Cook University.

“Having more information on incidents that a bystander has attended will be valuable for identifying the common factors that could help develop future services that will prevent avoidable loss of life.” says Mr Shane Daw, National Coastal Risk and Safety Manager with Surf Life Saving Australia. “The loss of any life is tragic, but even more so, when someone has lost their life attempting to save someone else.”

Last summer saw a significant increase in the number of fatal drownings occurring in Australia. “During the two-month period between December 2016 and January 2017, the Royal Life Saving Society Australia reported 69 drowning deaths in Australian waterways.” says Associate Professor Rob Brander, who is Ms Warton’s supervisor.

“That figure is more than double the number of deaths in previous summers. And it included bystander deaths.” Team member Associate Professor Richard Franklin of James Cook University says that they would like to find answers to many questions. How common are bystander rescues? What should bystanders do or not do when they encounter a rescue situation? What works best?

The online survey for people, who have performed a rescue or required the assistance of a bystander has been developed to establish the who, when, where, why and how of these rescues in coastal waters, inland lakes and rivers and pools. The goal of the project is to reduce deaths by developing evidence-based interventions and providing future rescuers with the skills, knowledge and awareness to make the best decisions during a bystander rescue.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Australasia Outotec to Deliver Grinding Equipment for the Gruyere Gold Project in Australia

 



|| May 12: 2017 || ά. Outotec to deliver grinding equipment for the Gruyere Gold Project in Australia. The company has been awarded a contract by the Amec Foster Wheeler Civmec Joint Venture:ACJV for the delivery of process equipment to the greenfield Gruyere Gold project in Western Australia.

The approximately 14 million Euros order has been booked in Outotec's 2017 second quarter order intake.  Outotec's scope of work includes the design and delivery of a 15 MW semi-autogenous:SAG grinding mill. The equipment will be delivered during the first quarter of 2018.

"Outotec's high-performance SAG mills are renowned for their reliability and maintainability.

Our deep process knowledge and advanced mill technology will provide the foundation for this large and efficient plant.", says Mr Kimmo Kontola, the Head of Outotec's Minerals Processing business unit.

For further information please contact: OUTOTEC: Kimmo Kontola, President: Minerals Processing business unit: tel. +358 40 822 7100
Eila Paatela, Vice President:  Corporate Communications: tel. +358 20 529 2004, +358 400 817198
e-mails: firstname.lastname at outotec.com

About Outotec: Outotec provides leading technologies and services for the Sustainable use of Earth’s natural resources. As the global leader in minerals and metals processing technology, we have developed many breakthrough technologies over the decades for our customers in metals and mining industry. We also provide innovative solutions for industrial water treatment, the utilisation of alternative energy sources and the chemical industry. Outotec shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Christchurch Medical Students Left Their School and Books and Went to Check up the Pulse of the the Local Festival

Some of the Christchurch campus Medical students,who volunteered at Christchurch's
recent Polyfest event, Brogan Maoate, Kyla Matenga, Damaris Dekker,
Charlotte Fakahau, Mosana Evagelia and Priya Deo. Image: University of Otago
 

|| April 09: 2017: University of Otago New Zealand News || ά. Pacific Island Medical students from the University’s Christchurch campus recently volunteered their time, giving free medical checks to people attending the Polyfest event. A group of 10 students took people’s blood pressure, measured their weight, percentage of fat, body mass index and muscle mass and handed out health promotion pamphlets at the annual celebration of Polynesian music, dance, costume and culture.

Brogan Maoate is a Fifth-Year Medical student and a member of the Christchurch branch of the Pacific Island Health Professional Students Association:PIHPSA. Miss Maoate says that PIHPSA members in Christchurch met every fortnight. The group decided to volunteer at Polyfest as part of its efforts to become more involved in the local Christchurch Pacific community.

She says that Christchurch campus researcher Allamanda Faatoese has great connections with community and helped them organise the Polyfest stall. Dr Faatoese is running the Pasifika Heart Study, which will for the first time measure the heart health profile of Pasifika people, living in the South Island.

Maoate says that the Polyfest event was a success with many people getting free health checks. She and other Christchurch PIHPSA members hope to make it an annual event.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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A National Indigenous Strategy for Increased Aboriginal Participation in Higher Education

Image: University of Adelaide

|| March 18: 2017: University of Sydney News || ά. A landmark scheme to lift enrolment and completion rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students has been hailed as crucial to achieve real progress in the sector. Universities across Australia, including the University of Sydney, have committed to working together to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolment by 50 percent above the growth rate of non-Indigenous students. Welcoming the ambitious goal, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services, Professor Shane Houston, cited the University of Sydney’s Wingara Mura-Bunga Burabugu strategy to build opportunity, capability and rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“A genuine strategic commitment is essential to achieve real results.” Professor Houston said. “Since we launched our WMBB strategy five years ago, we’ve seen a 36 percent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying with us. We’re, also, incredibly proud of our retention and completion rates, which reveal a bigger picture in terms of positive student outcomes.” The Universities Australia’s Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020, has been launched recently, sets a target of equal success and completion rates for Indigenous students to non-Indigenous students in the same fields of study over the next decade.

" At Sydney, we don’t just want to get students in the door; we want to ensure they have the capability and support to be able to complete their degree." said Professor Shane Houston. "We know Aboriginal students can face additional challenges, including financial, cultural and geographical. That’s why this year we introduced guaranteed and subsidised accommodation for all commencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, as well as the opportunity to take part in a peer mentoring program - to help offset some of those pressures." Professor Houston said.

As part of the WMBB Strategy, the University has launched a number of initiatives including a campus-wide commitment to cultural competence, service learning opportunities for students to work with communities on real-world problems and exploring ways to further support Aboriginal staff. Cultural competence has been embedded in the University’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and is one of six core graduate qualities to be developed in every graduate of the University of Sydney under the new undergraduate curriculum announced earlier this week.

Through Widening Participation and Outreach, and supported by government funding, the University also implements an extensive school outreach program culminating in the WMBB Summer Programme each January, in which hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from across the country spend a week on campus taking part in academic and cultural activities.

“Far too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students aren’t completing year 12. Many that do aren’t leaving with an ATAR, or a high enough ATAR, in order to pursue higher education. Real change will require the efforts of the full sector. We look forward to collaborating with other Australian universities to determine how we can further ensure equity, particularly among students.”

Universities Australia said that achieving the targets would rely on strong partnerships among universities, Aboriginal communities and government at all levels, with everyone contributing to and working towards the shared goal. Continued funding for the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program will also be crucial, Universities Australia added.

The strategy was developed in close consultation with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium:NATSIHEC. The strategy will be launched at the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference dinner at the Great Hall in Parliament House tonight.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Northern Communities Lecture: Professor Michael Nauck: New Treatments for Type Two Diabetes to Decrease the Risk of Heart Disease and Prolong Life: March 21



 

|| March 10: 2017: University of Adelaide, Australia News || ά. Northern Communities Lecture, given by Professor Michael Nauck on the new treatments for type two diabetes to decrease the risk of heart disease and prolong life, taking place on Tuesday, March 21, 17:30-18:30, at the Florey Lecture Theatre, the Medical School North, of the University of Adelaide.

In this public lecture, Professor Michael Nauck will talk about the type two diabetes research he has developed over the last 25 years. The first researcher to recognise the potential of the hormone GLP-one for treating patients with type two diabetes, Professor Nauck has been able to help millions of people world-wide with type two diabetes by reducing their risk of heart disease and other metabolic conditions. He is currently the Head of Clinical Research at the Diabetes Division, Medical Department I, St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum in Bochum, Germany.

Professor Nauck was the first researcher who recognised the potential of the hormone GLP-one for treating patients with type two diabetes. The hormone was discovered by Professor Jens Juul Holst in 1987 and in 1993, Professor Nauck showed the potential of the new hormone for treating type two diabetes, which led to the development of incretin-based treatment. Through collaborating with Carolyn Deacon and Professor Jens Juul Holst, the proteolytic degradation of GLP-one with the DPP-four enzyme was demonstrated for the first time in humans, which led to the development of DPP four-inhibitors, which are now used all over the world.

Professor Nauck has been honoured with several awards for his research, including the Ferdinand-Bertram Award 1993, the Werner-Creutzfeldt Award, 2007 and the Paul Langerhans Medal, 2012 of the Deutsche Diabetes-Gesellschaft, German Diabetes Association and is member of a number of professional societies, including the German, European and American Diabetes Associations, and the International Diabetes Federation.

An area of particular interest for Professor Nauck has been the incretin effect. The incretin effect describes the phenomenon whereby oral glucose elicits higher insulin secretory responses than does intravenous glucose, despite inducing similar levels of glycaemia, in healthy individuals. This effect, which is uniformly defective in patients with type two diabetes, is mediated by the gut-derived incretin hormones glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide:GIP and glucagon-like peptide-one:GLP-one. ω.

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The Entire World and All the Nations of the World Must Face and Deal with This Existing Deficit Between What is Scientifically, Factually and Evidentially True and What People Might Think About It: The New Zealand Public Perception Environment Survey Shows This Gap: Active and Engaged Public Participation Must Be the Highest Public Policy Priority for Environmental and Ecological Issues

Image: Lincoln University New Zealand


|| February 20: 2017: Lincoln University New Zealand News || ά. New Zealanders perceive the state of the natural environment to be adequate or good and people consider themselves well informed about environmental issues, according to Lincoln University’s 8th Public Perceptions of New Zealand’s Environment survey. The 2016 survey, which remains the only long-running type of its kind in the world, assesses public perceptions of environmental pressures, the state of the environment and the adequacy of resource management responses.

The authors of the 82-page survey report, Professors Ken Hughey, Geoff Kerr, and Ross Cullen, questioned the public about many aspects of the environment, such as air, native plants and animals, water, biodiversity, soils, beaches and marine reserves. New Zealanders thought air, native bush and forests were in the best condition, while rivers and lakes, wetlands and marine fisheries were in the worst state. This continues a long-held pattern of similar responses. While the management of the environment was considered to be adequate to good, and better than in other developed countries, national parks rated most highly.

The worst managed environments were perceived to be rivers, lakes and groundwater, largely on account of very negative perceptions concerning the management of farm effluent and runoff. In fact, nearly 60 per cent of respondents deemed farming to be one of the three main causes of damage to freshwater, with the other two being sewage and stormwater and industrial activities.

With this in mind, water-related issues were seen as the most important environmental problem, with respondents indicating an overall belief that growth in production and consumption, as well as an intensification of activities such as farming, urban development and forestry were putting increasing pressure on the environment. Worryingly, given the recent focus on tourism growth, tourism was rated second behind pests and weeds as a major cause of damage to national parks.

According to Professor Hughey, one big surprise was the continued disparity between the respondents’ perceptions of the state of New Zealand’s biodiversity and reality. “Most respondents considered the condition of New Zealand’s native plants and animals to be adequate or good, yet past reports from organisations such as DOC and the Ministry for the Environment suggest otherwise and significantly so.” says Professor Hughey.

“Also of interest within the survey were results suggesting that, while some environment-enhancing activities are widely adopted, such as recycling household waste, relatively few respondents appear to involve themselves with activities outside the home, such as restoration or replanting of the natural environment or participation in environmental organisations, hearings or consent processes.” he said.

With government recognition that conservation gains are critically affected by community participation and partnerships, it will be interesting to see whether they can create change in participation outside the home, which will be detectable in future surveys. Activities that might be linked to initiatives such as the Predator Free NZ 2050 goal might be a test of such changes.

The survey found continued differences in perceptions and behaviours relative to ethnicity. Of note, Māori people have more negative perceptions of the state of the New Zealand environment and are far more likely to report participation in pro-environment behaviour than are NZ Europeans or those of other ethnicities.

Historically, the Public Perceptions of New Zealand’s Environment survey has gone some way to guide policymakers. The 2016 survey concludes by emphasising the need to ensure that facts and perceptions are aligned to ensure sound policies are employed, environmental management actions are effective and have strong payoff.

The report, Public Perceptions of New Zealand’s Environment: 2016, can be accessed here. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Professor Grant McArthur Appointed as Executive Director to Lead Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Image: University of Melbourne


|| February 14: 2017: University of Melbourne News || ά.  Following an international search, eminent Australian clinician scientist Professor Grant McArthur has been appointed to lead the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre as Executive Director. One of Australia’s most respected and dynamic cancer experts, Professor McArthur brings a wealth of experience and a personal and professional determination to see Victoria’s world-class cancer research accelerated into better outcomes for patients.

Chair of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Professor Linda Kristjanson says that Professor McArthur joins the organisation at a critical juncture. “The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre is poised to make significant strides in cancer prevention, treatment and care. Professor McArthur brings an elite level of knowledge and expertise and a passion for cancer research and treatment, combined with an international perspective that will be catalytic for the VCCC.” said Professor Kristjanson.

“The VCCC building is established; key education, leadership, research and clinical programmes are in place and a major strategic research plan is in development. Now the true potential of this unique and powerful alliance can be harnessed to accelerate knowledge from the laboratory to better outcomes for patients in Victoria and beyond.”

Professor McArthur said that he was incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead the VCCC to enhance the international standing of Victoria in cancer research, education and patient care.

“I am particularly excited about the prospects of taking a team-oriented approach to the challenges of cancer with the world-leading partners in the VCCC. It is an absolute privilege to be given the opportunity to lead and work with the talented cancer community that we have here in Victoria.” said Professor McArthur.

“Being a cancer survivor gives me personal insight into the worries and fears of cancer patients and their families. Together with other cancer survivors I can share my passion and that of the families of all cancer patients for taking the fear out of a cancer diagnosis. The VCCC will mean that a Victorian with cancer will get world’s best care.”

Professor McArthur will commence as Executive Director of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre on April 03. He is currently the inaugural Lorenzo Galli Chair of Melanoma and Skin Cancers at the University of Melbourne and Associate Director of Research Translation and Head of the Cancer Therapeutics Programme at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Remote Pacific Islands Need Trade to Survive: How Automated Customs System Help Them


|| December 21: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. Meeting with other customs officials in a UN meeting room on a frosty European winter's day, Ben Malas is a long way from his home in Vanuatu, a tropical archipelago of 83 Pacific Ocean islands strung out across an area the size of France. He and his colleagues, from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands, have come far in another sense, too. Fifteen years ago, they introduced UNCTAD's automated customs system, ASYCUDA, shifting customs procedures from paper to computer.

The computer software simplified customs clearance from an average 35 steps to less than 10. It also standardised procedures and eased trade within the Pacific Ocean region, including with Australia and New Zealand. "ASYCUDA has actually facilitated trade; it has helped us in the region to connect." says Mr. Malas, Director of Vanuatu's Customs and Inland Revenue Service, noting that tax collection has risen, too. "When we shifted from manual to automated, the revenue increased and it has continued to increase since then." he adds, saying that the extra revenue has helped the island states to finance ASYCUDA themselves.

Receiving ASYCUDA as foreign aid, the Pacific nations took charge of the programme in 2001, keen to make it more sustainable. Building knowledge and experience since then, they are open to help smaller islands join the programme, too. One of the larger Pacific island nations with a population of 250,000 people, Vanuatu's main exports are copra, a coconut product for making coconut oil, cocoa beans, and beef. And for Mr. Malas, trade is central to his country's survival.

"We are remote, isolated islands, so we must import all the items we need to survive." he says. Survival may include humanitarian items too. Sitting on the so-called rim of fire, a 40,000 kilometre chain of volcanoes, Vanuatu and the other Pacific islands are vulnerable to volcanic activity, earthquakes, and tsunamis, as well as the occasional seasonal cyclone.

Designed with the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a separate module, ASYREC, will ease imports of humanitarian aid, in case of need, while keeping unwanted objects out. For all this, though, Mr. Malas seems most impressed by the impact on corruption. "It is a system, an automatic system, and you can't corrupt the system." he says.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Wärtsilä Secures Power Supply for Remote Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea

Image: Wärtsilä


|| October 30: 2016 || ά. Wärtsilä has signed a two-year maintenance and advisory agreement with Simberi Gold Company Limited. The agreement covers, in addition to scheduled maintenance, expert advisory services to ensure continuous and sufficient power supply for Simberi’s gold mine operations on Simberi Island. The 10 MW Simberi power plant operates in isolation from the national electricity distribution network and is located approximately 900 kilometres northeast of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Simberi Gold Company Limited is a subsidiary of St Barbara, an Australian ASX-listed gold producer and explorer. St Barbara's assets include the Leonora operations in Western Australia and the Simberi operations in Papua New Guinea. The Simberi mine started production in 2008 and produced 110,000 ounces of gold in the last financial year. “We chose Wärtsilä as our partner because of their proven technical expertise and track record with our on-site power plant. A key consideration in selecting Wärtsilä was their ability to maintain their service level on-site here in Papua New Guinea. Being able to rely on Wärtsilä’s advice and support in running the mine’s power plant helps us maintain our own focus on the mining operation.” says Tim Richards, General Manager of Simberi Operations.

Wärtsilä’s technical advisory services supports customers’ onsite personnel. Advice and recommendations are provided for planning of plant operations, engine maintenance and daily running of the power plant’s equipment. Wärtsilä’s experienced service personnel is also available to assist in troubleshooting and provide training of power plant personnel.

“Our first priority is to keep our customers’ operations running as smoothly as possible. With these agreements, we can help Simberi Gold Company Limited keep the power plant supporting the gold mine in good working condition and prevent unexpected disruptions. Should any issues surface, our service experts are always ready to assist and advise. We look forward to working together with Simberi.” says John Sydney, Director SUAA & Managing Director, Wärtsilä Services, Australia.

For further information, contact:

John Sydney: Director SUAA & Managing Director: Wärtsilä Services, Australia: john.sydney at wartsila.com: Tel: +61418645060

Hanna Viita: Director, Marketing: Wärtsilä Services: hanna.viita at wartsila.com: Tel: +358 40 1671755

Wärtsilä Services: Wärtsilä Services creates lifecycle services for its customers, enhancing their business – whenever, wherever. We provide industry’s broadest range of services for both shipping and power generation. Our solutions range from spare parts and basic support to ensuring maximised lifetime, increased efficiency and guaranteed performance of customer’s equipment or installation – in a safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable way.

Wärtsilä: Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2015, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5 billion with approximately 18,800 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
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The Australian Government is Subjecting Refugees and Asylum Seekers to an Elaborate and Cruel System of Abuse: Amnesty International


|| October 18: 2016 || ά. The Australian government is subjecting refugees and asylum seekers to an elaborate and cruel system of abuse, brazenly flouting international law, just to keep them away from its shores, a new Amnesty International report published yesterday, says. Based on months of research, including interviews with more than 100 people in Nauru and Australia, Amnesty International’s report Island of Despair: Australia's 'processing of refugees'  exposes the government of Australia’s policy of “processing” refugees and asylum-seekers on Nauru for what it is: a deliberate and systematic regime of neglect and cruelty.

“On Nauru, the Australian government runs an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, one of the few people who managed to enter the remote and secretive island to investigate human rights abuses. “The government of Australia has isolated vulnerable women, men and children in a remote place which they cannot leave, with the specific intention that these people should suffer.

And suffer they have, it has been devastating and in some cases, irreparable.” Just weeks after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull touted his government’s policy at the UN Refugees Summit as a model to be emulated, Amnesty International’s report shows how Australia’s deterrence-focused policy is directly responsible for a shocking catalogue of human rights abuses. “The Australian government’s policy is the exact opposite of what countries should be pursuing. It is a model that minimises protection and maximises harm. The only direction in which Australia is leading the world on refugees is in a dangerous plunge to the bottom.” said Anna Neistat.

“Six decades ago, the government of Australia’s signature brought the Refugee Convention into force. Now, in a terrible irony, a country that owes so much to refugees is flagrantly violating international law and encouraging other countries to do the same.” Australia has spent billions of dollars to create and maintain its inherently abusive offshore processing system. According to the Australian National Audit Office, offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea has cost more than AUS$ 573,000 per person, per year.

Much of this money has been spent on companies contracted to work on Nauru, many of whom have announced they will cease their operations on the island. Individual staff from some companies have become whistle-blowers, falling under the threat of criminal prosecution for exposing the desperate situation on Nauru. “The Australian authorities should come to the same conclusion, shut down the “processing” centre on the island, and make a better use of taxpayers’ money by recognising that every asylum-seeker and refugee on Nauru has the right to come to Australia immediately. These people cannot wait a moment longer for a humane solution.” said Anna Neistat.

Punishing the Victims

Refugees and asylum-seekers on Nauru have become the target of abuse by some of the local population, including by people in positions of authority. Despite credible accounts of dozens of physical attacks, including sexual assault, against refugees and asylum-seekers by local people, Amnesty International is unaware of any Nauruan citizen being held accountable. Asylum-seekers and refugees, by contrast, have been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned. As one service provider told Amnesty International: “Arbitrary arrests as a form of intimidation are common on Nauru.”

Hamid Reza Nadaf, an Iranian refugee with a young son, said he was arrested and jailed between June 03 and September 07, 2016, on the basis of evidence that was clearly fabricated. His detention may have been linked to his taking photos of the Refugee Processing Centre:RPC. His eight-year-old son, who is reportedly ill with tuberculosis, was left alone at the RPC during much of the time of Nadaf’s three-month imprisonment.

The Nauruan authorities have also arrested asylum-seekers and refugees for self-harm, including in cases where being indefinitely warehoused on Nauru is precisely what led to a sharp deterioration in the person’s mental health. “It’s a vicious trap. People in anguish attempt to end their own lives to escape it, but then find themselves behind bars, hurled into a prison within a prison.” said Anna Neistat.

Deteriorating Mental Health

Almost all of the people Amnesty International spoke to, including young children, suffered from poor mental health. It is undeniable that prolonged periods of indefinite detention have a direct and negative effect on people’s mental health, according to the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. People do not receive the care they need for mental health problems, or for many other ailments. “Laleh”, not her real name, is an Iranian woman who fled with her husband and her three-year-old daughter. Laleh told Amnesty International that she suffered depression but “they didn’t care,” she said.

Laleh’s daughter “Nahal”, not her real name, also developed health problems during the family’s 18-month stay in a tent on Nauru. After concluding that Nahal suffered from mental health problems, the doctor prescribed medication that was not suitable for children. When Laleh and her husband raised the issue with the doctor, he swept their concerns aside. “He said ’If you don’t like it, go back to your home country’, they told Amnesty International.

Allowing people’s mental health to deteriorate without any adequate treatment appears to be a deliberate part of the government of Australia’s deterrence policy. Dr. Peter Young, former mental health director at International Health and Medical Services:IHMS, told Amnesty International that in offshore processing environments, “everything became subservient to ‘stopping the boats’.”

Treatment of Refugees on Nauru Amounts to Torture

Amnesty International found that the system to which refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru are subjected amount to torture. The combination of refugees’ severe mental anguish, the intentionally harmful nature of the system, and the fact that the goal of offshore processing is intended to intimidate or coerce others to achieve a specific outcome, means that Australia’s offshore “processing” regime fits the definition of torture under international law.

The current Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has maintained that the government of Australia must ensure that its offshore “processing” regime is harsh. As Communications Minister, in May 2014, he stated: “We have harsh measures and some would say cruel measures … but the fact is if you want to stop the people-smuggling business you have to be very, very tough.” In September 2015, while admitting his concern over the conditions on Nauru, Malcolm Turnbull stated: “Now, I know that’s tough, we do have a tough border protection policy, you could say it’s a harsh policy, but it has worked.”

Although Australia does not want the full extent of the abuses on Nauru to be known, and has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide it, potential asylum-seekers must be made aware of that the consequences of trying to seek protection in Australia by sea are punitive. The “success” of border control depends on human suffering. “The policy that the Australian government is selling to the world as a success is one that it has acknowledged to the public is cruel. This policy legitimising systematic abuse is not only a dead end for refugees, it is also a dead end for Australia. It has earned Australia unique notoriety as a country that will do everything it can to make sure refugees don’t reach its shores and to punish people who dared to try.” said Anna Neistat.

Facts and Figures

Nauru has a population of 10,000 people, and with 1,159 asylum-seekers and refugees it is presently the country with the third highest proportion of refugees per capita in the world. The island’s total land area is just 21 km2.

The cost of maintaining deterrence policies such as turnbacks, offshore processing, and mandatory immigration detention have been estimated at AUD$09.6 billion, USD$07.3 billion, between 2013 and 2016. This figure excludes costs associated with litigation or with the multiple reviews and inquiries conducted by government appointees and agencies.

According to the Australian National Audit Office, offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island has cost over AUD$573,000, USD$419,425 per person, per year. Currently, there are 1,159 asylum-seekers and refugees on Nauru: 410 people reside in the Refugee Processing Centre and 749 refugees live outside of the centre.

The majority of asylum-seekers and refugees on Nauru are from Iran, while many are stateless, and others come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Of the entire refugee and asylum-seeker population on the island, 173 are children, 134 of whom are refugees and 39 of whom are seeking asylum. Nauru’s child protection framework is virtually non-existent. According to a father living in the Refugee Processing Centre, the majority of the approximately 40 children there have tuberculosis, including his eight-year old son.
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Long-Term Resettlement Solutions Needed for Refugees on Manus Island: UNICEF Australia

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre outside Sydney, Australia, which houses asylum-seekers. Image: IRIN

|| August 18: 2016 || ά. Amid news of an agreement to close the Australian immigration detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, the United Nations Children’s Fund:UNICEF today underscored the importance of finding permanent and sustainable resettlement solutions that address the needs of the refugees.

In a news release, the agency’s Australia office urged Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, to seriously consider resettlement options in credible third countries which are equipped to respond to the complex issues facing the refugees and their families. “The refugees became adults under the some of the harshest conditions imaginable,” said Nicole Breeze, Director of Policy and Advocacy, UNICEF Australia in the press release.

Many of the now grown men arrived on the island as boys, without their parents or families, and have grown up in an unsafe, institutionalised setting surrounded by highly distressed adults, she added. She further said that Australia’s offshore processing regime has created conditions in which already vulnerable people have been at risk of greater harm and that severe violence and self-harm have been frequently reported.

“It’s what happens next that matters for this group ... Pressuring them to move into the Papua New Guinea community or shifting them to Nauru would only relocate the crisis,” she added. The news release further noted that over the last three years, UNICEF Australia has expressed serious concerns regarding the safety of the unaccompanied children who were held in the Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island.

Noting that the agency has an appreciation of the challenges facing both refugees and the Governments seeking to assist them, Ms. Breeze said that it looks forward to a continued constructive partnership with the Australian Government that seeks to find the best possible outcome for children and families on Manus Island and Nauru.

“The Australian Government has an opportunity to fully consider sustainable options that properly prioritise the well-being of this group,” she added.
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Australia: Guantanamo-style Abuse of Child Prisoners Shows Current Detention System Has Failed: Amnesty International


 


|| July 28: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά. Chilling footage showing detained Indigenous children being tear gassed and a child being hooded and strapped to a restraint chair in Australia’s Northern Territory must serve as a wakeup call for the government on the need to urgently change its policies on juvenile detention, Amnesty International said today.

The organisation is calling on Australia’s authorities to immediately ratify the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture:OPCAT as a way of ensuring that detention facilities are thoroughly and independently monitored. “Hooding and the use of restraint chairs are notorious tactics that recall the horrors of Guantanamo Bay, they constitute a shocking violation of both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture.

We are calling for an immediate prohibition on the use of restraint chairs and hooding for law enforcement and in the prison system, as part of a complete overhaul of Australia’s juvenile detention system,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific.

The image of a distressed child being forcibly stripped by three men, and the sound of guards laughing while children choke on teargas, should be ingrained on the minds of Australia’s leaders, who for years have ignored calls for better protection of children’s human rights in detention facilities in Northern Territory and across the country.”

On Monday July 26 ABC’s Four Corners Program screened footage of the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin, Northern Territory which showed prison officials abusing detained teenage boys from 2010 to 2015.  ω.

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Suspension of Indigenous MP in Fiji Underlines Government's Stranglehold on Freedom of Expression: Amnesty International

Image: Amnesty International



|| June 05: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά. The Fijian parliament must overturn the suspension of an opposition MP for merely exercising her right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today. “Parliaments can only be worthy of their name when all members can speak freely on all issues,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

“Unless this suspension is immediately reversed, the Fijian authorities are proving they are intent on silencing critical voices.” Tupou Draunidalo, an indigenous Fijian parliamentarian and member of the National Federation Party, was suspended following a parliamentary motion on June 03, 2016 for calling a government minister “a fool” while responding to comments deriding opposition members of parliament.

Draunidalo asked the government minister if he was suggesting herself and other indigenous members of the opposition were “dumb natives”. Under the terms of the suspension, Draunidalo will not be able to sit in parliament for the remainder of its term. She was elected to parliament in September 2014, in Fiji’s first election in eight years.

The suspension underlines the Fijian authorities’ ongoing hostility to criticism, including persistent and wide-ranging restrictions on what journalists can report. Since 2010, Fiji’s media has been subject to undue restrictions laid out in ‘The Media Industry Development Decree,’ which includes potential imprisonment for news editors who do not uphold “the national interest.”

“If Fiji is serious about its bid for the UN Human Rights Council, they must demonstrate they are serious about upholding human rights at home,” said Rafendi Djamin. ''Letting Draunidalo take up her rightful place in parliament, with all due protections for her right to freedom of expression, will be an important first step.”
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Fiji: Humanitarian Work ‘Far from Over’ Two Months After Storm: UN Reports

Category five Tropical Cyclone Winston caused widespread destruction in Tamavua, Suva, Fiji. Photo: UNICEF:Alice Clements

||April 20: 2016|| Marking two months since Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, the United Nations senior humanitarian official in the South Pacific has said that “work is far from over” and that there are significant needs for continued relief efforts.

“As planning begins for longer-term recovery and reconstruction, it is important to emphasize that humanitarian efforts must continue, particularly in locations hit by both the cyclone and subsequent flooding,” said Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani.

Urgent needs include the distribution of agricultural supplies, construction of shelter and toilets, mosquito control and surveillance measures to stop the spread of disease, and the provision of psychosocial support, she said.

The recent flooding has eroded some of the gains made through early humanitarian action with many of the crops re-planted post-Winston now washed away.

“Our work is far from over,” Ms Lubrani said. “There is an acute need for the distribution of more seeds and seedlings to kick-start food production in areas hit by the cyclone and floods. This is vital to reducing the risk of food insecurity over the months ahead.”

Training to help people build back stronger, safer houses is also among the country’s most critical ongoing needs. In addition, there is continued demand for expert support to help the country cope with the psychosocial impacts of this traumatic event, especially among children, she said.

Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, noted that emergency food, shelter, water, and medical supplies reached thousands of people in their hour of need.

“It has been an enormous effort but there is still a long road ahead and we will continue to work with the support of our international partners to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.

The cyclone and a massive storm surge left a path of destruction across Fiji on 20 and 21 February, leaving more than 40 people dead, damaging or destroying more than 31,000 houses and wiping out life-sustaining food crops. Flooding over recent weeks has compounded the suffering of many who are still living without a permanent roof over their heads.

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South and North Islands, New Zealand: Seen from ISS
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: NASA/ESA


||April 09, 2016|| In this panorama taken from the International Space Station (ISS), the Sun’s glint point highlights the details of Cook Strait, between New Zealand’s North and South Islands. Astronauts looking west towards the setting Sun were able to see this high-contrast detail even though the center of the glint point was 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away from the ISS. For another example of a sunglint image click here.

The sunglint shows Wellington Bay—where the capital city is located—opening onto Cook Strait. Banks Peninsula, near the city of Christchurch, is the prominent cape whose characteristic shape is well known to ISS crews.

Clouds are approaching from the top left (west) in the image. New Zealand is seldom photographed from orbit because it is one of the cloudier parts of planet, and because crew sleep periods often occur when the ISS passes over the area.

Astronaut photograph ISS042-E-178671 was acquired on January 24, 2014, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 70 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 42 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, Jacobs Contract, at NASA-JSC.

Instrument(s): ISS - Digital Camera

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Fiji: UN Warns of Flooding as Cyclone-battered Country Braces for Another Storm

April 06, 2016: Less than two months after Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji, the country is bracing for the impact of another storm, the United Nations relief aid office said today.

Category 2 Tropical Cyclone Zena is predicted to bring 200 millimeters of rainfall in the next 24 hours, presenting a significant flood risk, particularly along rivers and the southern coast of Viti Levu, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Many rivers in Fiji's west and south are already flooded after heavy rainfall over recent days and this system will only compound the flood danger. Soil is saturated and any new rain will run off immediately, further adding to the existing inundation that has already closed roads and prompted warnings for the public to stay away from waterways.

Zena and associated rainfall will add to the distress being experienced by thousands of people across Fiji who remain in transitional shelter since Winston, a Category 5 storm, hit in February.

In response to the recent days' events, a total of 79 evacuation centres have been opened with 3,592 people taking shelter there. All schools have been closed for the day. The Fiji Met Service and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) are sending out regular updates and the ongoing State of Natural Disaster means the NDMO still has its coordination system activated. A Pacific Humanitarian Team Meeting was scheduled this afternoon by OCHA to discuss the situation.

As of this morning, Zena was located about 740 kilometers west of Nadi. Close to its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have average winds of 95 kilometers per hour and gusts to 130 kilometers per hour.

The cyclone was moving east-southeast at 34 kilometers per hour and was still intensifying. On this track, it is predicted to pass south of the main island of Viti Levu in the early hours of Thursday morning, passing directly over the island of Kadavu.

While the cyclone is not expected to pass directly over Suva, it is currently expected to bring sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour with squalls to 150 kilometers per hour from the early hours of Thursday morning onwards.

These winds may affect weak structures across the greater Suva urban area and may take down trees not already brought down by Winston.

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UN-chartered Jet Brings Life-saving Supplies to Fiji

Emergency supplies for some 350,000 Fijians, including 120,000 children, affected by Cyclone Winston, were flown in by UNICEF from its global supply hub in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: UNICEF

March 08, 2016: A large plane carrying life-saving supplies arrived in Fiji on Monday, in a big boost to the United Nations emergency response to Cyclone Winston, one of the strongest storms in history.

“These supplies will allow us to continue our work in partnership with the Government of Fiji and international donors to get assistance to those who need it most,” said Karen Allen, Pacific Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The Boeing 777, chartered by the agency, flew to Nadi International Airport from its global supply hub in Copenhagen, Denmark, carrying nearly 100 metric tonnes of emergency supplies for the 350,000 Fijians, including 120,000 children, affected by Winston.

The supplies include 8,000 water containers, 7,480 tarpaulins, 3,250 mosquito nets, educational supplies sufficient for 20,000 students, oral rehydration salts for the treatment of diarrhoea and dehydration, micronutrient powders to supplement the feeding of underweight children and other essential medical supplies. They will be urgently distributed by the Government to most-affected communities.

“This unprecedented disaster for Fiji has affected 40 per cent of Fiji’s population,” Ms. Allen said, noting that it has uprooted children’s lives, taking away homes, schools, water supplies, health facilities, food crops and family livelihoods. Within 36 hours of the cyclone’s landing, affected communities had begun to receive UNICEF emergency supplies.

She said that the supplies will be a big boost to the agency’s relief effort, as they complement pre-positioned emergency kits already received from UNICEF’s office in Vanuatu. More are scheduled to arrive from the Solomon Islands in the coming days.

While thanking partners and donors, including the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom, for their significant contributions to the relief efforts, Ms. Allen stressed that more funds are urgently needed for additional supplies.

UNICEF had already assisted more than 26,000 people whose homes and communities were ripped apart by Winston’s destructive winds. “But it soon became apparent that we would also need more supplies – the scale of this disaster is truly nationwide, there are far too many children and families who don’t have a roof over their heads or even the most basic of essential services such as clean, safe drinking water,” Ms. Allen said.

UNICEF has appealed for $7.1 million for the needs of Fiji’s affected children and communities, with special attention to especially vulnerable groups and those in hardest-to-reach parts of the country.

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Why Saying ‘Aborigine’ Isn’t OK: 8 Facts About Indigenous People in Australia

By Tammy Solonec, Amnesty Australia’s Indigenous Rights Manager

Tammy Solonec (above, left) from Amnesty Australia talks to a young woman in Bourke, New South Wales, May 2015. A new project for young Indigenous people, which redirects money spent on prisons to community initiatives, is being piloted in Bourke. © Lisa Hogben/Amnesty International


Is it OK to call someone an 'Aboriginal person'? And why are so many Indigenous kids in Australia – some as young as 10 – being locked up? Here is your chance to find out.

1. Who are the world’s Indigenous Peoples?

More than 370 million people across 70 countries worldwide identify as Indigenous. They belong to more than 5,000 different groups, and speak more than 4,000 languages. 'Indigenous Peoples' is the accepted way of referring to them all as a collective group - the equivalent of saying 'the British', or 'Australians'.

In international law, 'Indigenous' acknowledges that a person’s ancestors lived on particular lands, before new people arrived and became dominant. Indigenous Peoples have their own unique customs and cultures, and often face difficult realities such as having their land taken away, and being treated as second-class citizens.

2. Who are the Indigenous Peoples of Australia?

They are the proud keepers of arguably the oldest continuous culture on the planet. Their heritage spans many different communities, each with its own unique mixture of cultures, customs and languages. Before the European invasion in 1788 there were more than 250 Indigenous nations, each with several clans.

Torres Strait Islanders, from the islands between north-eastern Queensland and Papua New Guinea, originate from Melanesia in the western Pacific, and have their own distinct culture.

3. Is it OK to call Indigenous Australians 'Aborigines'?

'Aborigine' is generally perceived as insensitive, because it has racist connotations from Australia’s colonial past, and lumps people with diverse backgrounds into a single group. You’re more likely to make friends by saying 'Aboriginal person', 'Aboriginal' or 'Torres Strait Islander'.

If you can, try using the person’s clan or tribe name. And if you are talking about both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s best to say either 'Indigenous Australians' or 'Indigenous people'.

Without a capital "a", "aboriginal" can refer to an Indigenous person from anywhere in the world. The word means “original inhabitant” in Latin.

4. How did Indigenous Australians live before Europeans arrived?

They were great storytellers, passing on their culture through songlines – an animist belief system expressed through songs, stories, paintings and dance. They were also expert hunters and gatherers and had sophisticated ways of taking care of the land. As semi-nomadic people, they moved around with the seasons, returning every season to permanent homes where they grew crops.

5. What happened when the Europeans came?

When European colonization started in 1788, it was devastating for Australia’s Indigenous communities. Their numbers fell from around 750,000 to just 93,000 by 1900.

Thousands died as British settlers drove people off their lands, and brought killer diseases such as measles, smallpox and tuberculosis. Indigenous Australians were segregated from the rest of society, forced to adopt British customs and abandon their own culture. Many even had their children taken away.

The population began to recover in the early 1900s and by 2011 there were an estimated 669,900 Indigenous people in Australia – making up around three per cent of the country’s total inhabitants.

6. What’s the situation like now?

Racial discrimination became illegal in Australia in 1976, but that hasn't protected Indigenous people from still being much worse off, including in terms of health, education and unemployment. Many end up trapped by poverty and crime. Today, Australia’s Indigenous kids are 24 times more likely to be locked up than their non-Indigenous classmates.

New generations have inherited their relatives' deep trauma and anger from losing their lands, cultures and families. To make things worse, the Australian Government has trotted out policies that effectively take away Indigenous Peoples' basic rights – such as the Northern Territory Intervention – and forced Indigenous people to abandon their homes and communities.

7. How do Indigenous Australians respond to this discrimination?

Indigenous people in Australia continue to protest relentlessly and pushing for things to change – including on every Australia Day, 26 January. In 1938, while most other Australians were celebrating, they declared it a Day of Mourning to mark 150 years since colonization.

On the same day in 1972, they set up the Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Australia’s Parliament House, using slogans like "We want land rights, not handouts". It attracted unprecedented national support and still stands today. In 2000, more than 300,000 people – from all kinds of backgrounds – walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge calling for national reconciliation. And in 2015, huge rallies were held all across Australia to support remote Aboriginal communities’ right to live on their traditional lands.

8. What can I do?

Amnesty continues to campaign for Indigenous Peoples' rights in Australia. Right now, we want to stop disproportionate numbers of Indigenous kids being locked up in Australia’s detention system, through our 'Community is Everything' campaign.

We want to make sure these children – some as young as 10 – can grow up in environments that nurture their potential. Indigenous Australians know what’s best for their own communities and kids; now they need our support to make it happen.

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Fiji and UN Appeal for $38 Million to Relieve 'Catastrophic Loss' After Cyclone Winston

March 04, 2016: The Government of Fiji and the United Nations today launched an appeal for $38.6 million in critical emergency relief to 350,000 people in need after Cyclone Winston's fury left the island nation “a loss of catastrophic proportions.”

“In light of the enormous and long process to recovery and rehabilitation ahead of us, and in the name of the Fijian people, I am calling on the international community's assistance,” Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said.

He said that relief efforts are in full swing and Fiji is prioritizing the restoration of such essential services as education, health, infrastructure and agriculture.

Winston, the most devastating tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere, struck the Pacific island nation on 20 February, taking more than 40 lives and affecting 350,000 people, 40 per cent of the total population. Some 54,000 people remain sheltered in 960 evacuation centres.

While comprehensive data on the damage is still being collected, initial estimates indicate varying levels of destruction, with up to 100 per cent of buildings destroyed on some islands. Hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed, health facilities have been severely damaged and the agricultural sector faces a total loss of some $56 million.

 “Almost no part of our nation has been left unscarred, and many of our rural and maritime areas bore the brunt of Winston's fury,” said Nazhat Shameem Khan, Fiji's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

On Koro Island alone, more than 3,000 people were left homeless, with 21 per cent of livestock dead and any crop yield made impossible.

“This is a loss of catastrophic proportions for Fiji, and the immediate loss will be followed by a longer term loss to Fiji's economic and social growth,” Mr. Khan said. “We have suffered a terrible blow to infrastructure, health, education, and agriculture. It is a blow which will take us years to recover from. The moment is now, for our friends to stand by the people of Fiji.”

For its part, the UN, together with its humanitarian partners, is supporting Fiji in their response to the catastrophe.

“It is vital that the international community provides the necessary resources so we can help all the affected people with shelter, health services, water and sanitation, and support students to restart their education,” said Marcy Vigoda, Chief of Partnerships and Resource Mobilization in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.

Meanwhile, Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is releasing some $8 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to immediate response projects in the appeal. International donors have already made in-kind donations and provided technical assistance worth nearly $22 million, and provided $9 million in cash.

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Fiji: UNICEF Steps up Response as 'Full Picture' of Cyclone Winston's Impact Becomes Clearer

February 26, 2016: As the full picture of the worst cyclone ever to hit Fiji becomes more apparent, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that up to 120,000 children across the county may be badly affected.

UNICEF officials say that the trauma of the event itself must not be underestimated, and many children have been affected by varying degrees of loss, including the devastation of losing family or community members, the sadness of losing homes or belongings, and the danger of losing places of critical importance to their development, such as schools and health centres. In addition, there are many dangers at play in a post-emergency situation, such as increasing levels of stagnant water that are a breeding ground for diseases like diarrhoea.

“Children are often the most vulnerable during emergencies and UNICEF continues to support the Government of Fiji's efforts in addressing the needs of children,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative Karen Allen.

UNICEF Pacific's Joseph Hing, who travelled with the first shipment of emergency supplies to Koro Island, one of the areas worst affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston, said that “the damage to Koro Island is extensive and the scale of the destruction is overwhelming,” he said. “I spoke to countless people who have lost everything. Their lives have been turned utterly upside down.”

A grandmother, whose young grandson was nearly swept away by the storm surge, told him that “you can lose all your material belongings, but what's more important is our lives,” he said.

The geographic make-up of Fiji and the logistical challenges involved in completing assessments of the outer islands pose many barriers, but each day brings more progress, the officials said.

The UN agency is continuing to work in close partnership with Fiji's Government and other partners to ensure a coordinated and strategic emergency response.

Within the first 24 hours of the request of the Government for assistance, UNICEF provided 3,000 people in the worst affected areas with water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to ensure safe drinking water and delivered education supplies to 995 students of eight schools in the Lau and Lomaiviti groups.

Emergency health kits, to service a population of 1,000 people for 3 months, as well as tents and education supplies, funded by the New Zealand Government, are being distributed to worst-affected outer islands. On Wednesday night, health supplies which included vitamin A capsules, oral rehydration salts, zinc tablets and six basic health kits were loaded onto boats departing for Gau Island and Batiki Island.

The Australian Government has donated to UNICEF hygiene kits for 7,920 people and water purification tabs for 1,066 household.

However, funding is needed to sustain and scale up this response, the officials say.

“More heartening though are the stories we are hearing of heroism and the very best of humanity,” Ms Allen said, noting that “Fijians are renowned for the kindness and generosity and we are seeing nothing but solidarity and shared commitment to recover together.”

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At Least 21 Dead, Fiji Faces the Devastations Left by Tropical Cyclone Winston with UN on Its Side

Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston caused widespread destruction in Tamavua, Suva, Fiji. Photo: UNICEF/Alice Clements

February 22,  2016: The United Nations has begun its assessment of the needs for international assistance to the islands of Fiji, hit by a powerful tropical cyclone that left at least 21 people dead and more than 8,000 people sheltering in evacuation centres over the weekend.

Responding to the Government of Fiji’s official request for international aid, the UN and its Pacific Humanitarian Team are reaching out to the authorities to determine what expertise and support they need, including in coordination of humanitarian assistance, said Osnat Lubrani, UN Resident Coordinator in Fiji.

“The images emerging from early aerial assessments of affected areas are truly heartbreaking, leaving little doubt about the ferocity of this cyclone,” Ms. Lubrani said in a press release.

“It is clear from these catastrophic impacts that Fiji is facing a long road to recovery and the United Nations and the entire Pacific Humanitarian Team stands should-to-shoulder with the Government as they begin this enormous task,” she stressed.

On 20 and 21 February, Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a path of destruction across Fiji’s islands, blowing off roofs, bringing down trees and powerlines, and flooding rivers.

More than 8,100 people are currently sheltering in evacuation centres, and 4 people are still missing. Schools are closed for a week to allow for clean-up and their use as evacuation centres. Whole villages have been destroyed on the island of Koro where a relief and assessment ship is being deployed, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Government is leading the response, and a 30-day state of natural disaster has been declared.

“Government assessments have begun and these will give a clearer picture of where people are most in need. Help is already on its way to the Lomaiviti Group which was in the eye of the cyclone and suffered catastrophic impacts,” Ms. Lubrani said.

The Pacific Humanitarian Team, based in the Fijian capital, Suva, coordinates expert human resources and relief supplies regionally and globally, should the impacts of a disaster exceed a government’s capacity to respond.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said yesterday that it is on stand-by to provide emergency supplies and additional personnel to support the Government as it works to determine critical needs.

At its peak, the Cyclone was forecast by the Fiji Met Service to have sustained winds of 230 kmph, gusting to 325 kmph making it one of the most severe cyclones ever to hit the South Pacific.

Meanwhile, the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, today extended his condolences to Fiji on the loss of life from the cyclone while commending the Government for its efforts to reduce mortality and the numbers of people affected by cyclone.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones,” Mr. Glasser said, adding that the death toll could have been significantly higher if the Government, the National Disaster Management Centre and the Meteorological Service had not united in their efforts to disseminate warnings and urge the population to use the 735 evacuation centres opened in advance of the cyclone’s arrival.

A key target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted in March last year as a global blueprint for reducing disaster risk and disaster losses is to ensure that fewer people lose their lives or get injured in these types of events which are becoming more intense as a result of climate change, he said.

According to the Office, there were 90 major storms recorded last year with a reported death toll of 996, significantly down on the ten year average of 17,778.

Also extending heartfelt condolences, President of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, praised the people and Government of Fiji for their fortitude and resilience and assured them of the support of the international community, as they begin the process of recovering from this devastating storm.

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Australia Violated Rights of David Hicks By Jailing Him After Transfer From Guantanamo – UN Experts

Image: IRIN

17 February 2016 – Australia violated the rights of David Hicks by keeping him in jail, as evidence shows that he was forced to accept a plea bargain with United States authorities as a condition for his return, United Nations human rights experts have said.

Mr. Hicks, an Australian national, was convicted in March 2007 under the US Military Commission Act 2006 on charges of “providing material support for terrorism” and given a seven-year sentence. A few months later, he was transferred from the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba to Australia where he served the remaining seven months of his sentence in prison.

Although transfer agreements are important, because they allow prisoners convicted abroad to serve their sentences in their own country, “States should not carry out a sentence if there is ample evidence that the trial clearly violated the defendant’s rights, as was the case with Mr. Hicks,” Fabian Salvioli, Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, said in a press release.

The findings by the Commitee, which is composed of 18 independent experts who monitor compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), came after considering a complaint brought by Mr. Hicks specifically regarding his treatment by Australia.

The Committee found that the decision to continue to jail Mr. Hicks as a result of the transfer deal “constituted a disproportionate restriction of the right to liberty” in violation of the Covenant, said Mr. Savioli.

By the time Mr. Hicks was transferred, there was a lot of information available that raised serious concerns about the fairness of the procedures by the US Military Commission, he said.

“That should have been enough to cast doubt among the Australian authorities as to the legality and legitimacy of the sentence imposed on him,” said Mr. Salvioli. “Australian officials had also visited Mr. Hicks at Guantánamo and were therefore in a good position to understand the conditions under which he was held and tried.”

In its findings, the Human Rights Committee wrote that, Mr. Hicks, in order to escape the violations to which he was subjected in Guantanamo, “had no other choice than to accept the terms of the Plea Agreement that was put to him. It was therefore incumbent on (Australia) to show that it did everything possible to ensure that the terms of the transfer arrangement that had been negotiated with the United States did not cause it to violate the Covenant.”

As a party to the ICCPR, Australia is obliged to make full reparations to individuals whose rights have been violated. In Mr. Hicks’ case, Australia’s actions regarding the transfer arrangement were intended to help him and did in fact mitigate the harm he would have suffered had he remained in US custody, and so the finding of a violation was sufficient reparation, the Committee noted.

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Adele Island, Northwest Australia

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took this detailed image of a tiny island on June 11, 2015, with many concentric zones around it. Adele Island, off Australia’s north coast, is only 2.9 km (2 mi) long, but the entire tidal zone with all the concentric zones is 24.5 km (15.2 mi) long, surrounded by extensive sandbanks in the tidally exposed area. The modern island is the dark central area, made up of a series of beach ridges built by sands from the surrounding sandbank during storms. The highest point is little more than 12 feet above sea level on this grassy but treeless island. A solar-powered lighthouse appears as a tiny white dot in the high-resolution image at the north tip of the island (arrowed). The island has been classified as an Important Bird Area because it is a breeding site of world importance for Lesser Frigatebirds and three other species. Efforts are under way to clear the island of Polynesian rats that are a constant threat to the seabirds.

Shallow water surrounding the island is light blue, compared with the deeper open ocean (upper left, lower right). During times of low sea level (repeatedly during the glacial stages of the past 1.7 million years), the entire platform and surrounding zones would have been dry ground—so that astronauts would have seen a much larger island occupying all of the image.

Lines on the wide platform around the island, at right angles to the shoreline, are the probably produced by the high tides (~20 feet, 6.3 m at nearby Browse Island), as water floods towards the island, and then ebbs back out to sea — a “radial” pattern common on islands in this part of the world. Wave and tide movements give different sand patterns on opposite sides of Adele Island probably because of very different slopes. The steeper eastern shore shows tightly packed parallel lines of white sand (bottom of the image), perhaps as a result of wave action concentrated in a narrow zone on this steep slope. The same sandy material displays a V-shaped pattern on the west side (image top left) possibly due to greater in-out tidal movements on this gentler slope.

( Editor: Gary Daines: NASA)
 

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Posted: December 20, 2015

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Australia's Red Centre


Released 17/09/2010 12:12 pm: Copyright ESA
 

This Envisat image highlights the Lake Eyre Basin, one of the world’s largest internally draining systems, in the heart of Australia. White cloud streaks stand in contrast to the Red Centre’s vast amounts of crimson soil and sparse greenery.
The basin covers about 1.2 million sq km (about the size of France, Germany and Italy combined), including large portions of South Australia (bottom), the Northern Territory (upper left) and Queensland (upper right) and a part of western New South Wales (bottom right). This image was acquired by Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on 3 July 2010 at a resolution of 300 m.

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Posted: December 7, 2015

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ESA to Track New Missions From Australia

Title NNO-2. Copyright ESA - CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
A new 4.5 m-diameter ‘acquisition aid’ dish antenna is being added to ESA’s existing New Norcia, Western Australia, tracking station, ready to catch the first signals from newly launched missions.


The new antenna will allow acquisition and tracking during the critical initial orbits of new missions (see Liftoff: ESOC assumes control), up to roughly 100 000 km range. It can also ‘slave’ the much larger 35m dish, which can then be used to retrieve ranging data and telemetry signals – on-board status information – from the newly launched spacecraft.

For beachgoers, Australia’s pristine west coast is an ideal location to catch some rays. It is also ideal for catching signals from newly launched rockets and satellites, which is one reason why ESA is redeveloping its tracking capabilities down under.

When rockets and their satellites leap into the sky from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, they typically head east across the Atlantic, rising higher and faster with every second.

Some 50 minutes after launch, the new mission can be seen from Western Australia, rising up from the Indian Ocean horizon and then arcing high in the sky, already in space.

By the time the satellite, travelling at some 28 000 km/h, separates to start its life in orbit, it will already be in radio range of the land down under.
The ESA tracking station in Western Australia is located about 8 kilometres south of New Norcia, which is about 150 kilometres north of Perth
New Norcia in Western Australia

By early next year, a new radio dish will be working at ESA’s existing New Norcia, Western Australia, tracking station, tracking station, ready to catch the first signals from new missions.

New Norcia currently has a large, 35 m-diameter dish for tracking deep-space missions such as Rosetta, Mars Express and Gaia, typically voyaging in the Solar System several hundred million km away.

Its size and technology are not ideal, however, for initial signalling to new satellites in low-Earth orbit.

In contrast, the new dish, just 4.5 m across, will lock onto and track new satellites during the critical initial orbits (see Liftoff: ESOC assumes control), up to roughly 100 000 km out.

It can also ‘slave’ the much larger dish, which can then receive ranging data and telemetry – onboard status information – from the new spacecraft.
Mission control team watch liftoff from the Main Control Room at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, 15 July 2015
About to be tracked

“For satellite signals, the new dish has a wider field of view than the 35 m antenna,” says Gunther Sessler, ESA’s project manager, “and can grab the signal even when the new satellite’s position is not precisely known.

“It also offers rapid sky searches in case the satellite’s position after separation is completely unknown, which can happen if the rocket over- or under-performs.”

In addition to satellites, the new antenna can also track rockets, including Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz.

The upgrade was prompted by the need to move the capability that, so far, has been provided by the ESA tracking station at Perth, 140 km southeast of New Norcia.
Perth station

That station’s location has become increasingly untenable through urban sprawl and radio interference from TV broadcast vans.

The upgrade ensures that ESA’s Estrack tracking network can continue providing crucial satellite services along the most-used trajectories.

“With the closing of Perth station, ESA would have lost its capability in Western Australia, which is a critical location for most European missions,” says Manfred Lugert, ground facilities manager at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The antenna was designed for low maintenance and operating costs and can go into hibernation when it is not needed between launches.

Perth station will remain in operation until the end of 2015, when it will be dismantled and many of its components reused at other ESA stations.

Once testing is completed, the dish will enter service in early 2016 in time for Galileo navsat launches and the first ExoMars mission, in March.

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Posted on : November 25, 2015

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Meet Kelikaaru

And this The Humanion's Take: Now, see what this looks like! We are calling this little animal: Kelikaaru (after Scott Kelly)

Kelikaaru : October 20, 2015

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Kumbunbur Creek, Australia a KARI/ESA Image

Released 21/02/2014 10:00 am. Copyright KARI/ESA

This false-colour satellite image shows the Kumbunbur Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory, about 260 km southwest of the city of Darwin.

The green ‘branches’ of what looks like a tree are the waterways of runoff that flow into the Timor Sea (not pictured).

The false-colour makes vegetation appear bright red, and we can clearly see how vegetation grows mainly along the waterways. Vegetation is more evenly dispersed across the plain to the north.

The image was captured by the Kompsat-2 satellite on 20 September 2011, near the end of the dry season. The dry areas with a somewhat dull colour in this image become flooded mudflats during the rainy season.

The rainy season occurs during a tropical area’s summer months because of increased heat from the Sun’s more direct impact angle. Higher temperatures lead to an increase in evaporation and rising, warm air masses. This air expands and cools, leading to the formation of cumulus clouds, and almost daily rainfall and thunderstorms.

As seasons change, the location of these rainfalls travels to areas with the highest Sun impact angles, resulting in wet and dry seasons in different zones of the tropics.

The tropics are the region of Earth north and south of the equator. Some areas of northern Australia are part of the tropical climate zone.

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Posted on : November 23, 2015

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Meet Kelikaaru: The Humanion: October 20, 2015

On Oct. 12-13, 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took a series of seventeen photographs from the International Space Station during a single flyover of Australia. This first photo of the series was posted with the caption, "#EarthArt in one pass over the Australasian continent. Image Credit: NASA
Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2015: Editor: Sarah Loff (NASA)

Posted on : October 20,2015

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