"Baby Asha" to be released into community detention

  • 08/19/2019

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says an asylum-seeker baby being treated in a Queensland hospital will be released into community detention and not immediately transferred to Nauru.



Doctors at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital have refused to release one-year-old baby Asha until an acceptable home is identified.


The stand-off prompted a week of rallies outside the hospital by asylum-seeker advocates.

The Australian Medical Association has issued the government with a set of demands, calling for the immediate removal of all children from detention.


Baby Asha has been receiving treatment at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital after suffering burns from boiling water while in detention on Nauru.


Doctors at the hospital had refused to release the one-year-old until an acceptable home had been identified.


Her plight sparked a vigil and protests that have run outside the hospital since last week.


Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says the doctors have now agreed to release the child.


Mr Dutton says the government has proposed to move baby Asha and her family into community detention here in Australia from where she will continue to be processed.


“So we are proposing that baby Asha will come from Lady Cilento and will go into community detention as have 83 others who are living in the community who are in Australia for medical assistance and their family members who are here to support those for medical assistance. It will be a continuation of that policy.”


Mr Dutton says the baby and her parents will be returned to Nauru once their medical and legal matters are finalised.


“The Government’s position is perfectly clear. That is, at some point, if people don’t have a protection claim, they will be returned to the country of origin or back to Nauru. We are not going to reneg on that position. We have a very important policy to continue. That’s stopping the boats, making sure we deal with cases compassionately but if people are suggesting to you that somehow there has been a change in the policy or that we’re going to allow special treatment in baby Asha’s case, then that is not the case.”


The President of the Australian Medical Association, Professor Brian Owler, has called for the immediate release of all children in detention and a moratorium on any child being sent back to detention centres.


Professor Owler says keeping children in detention has significant health impacts.


“We know from the Human Rights Commission that there is no doubt that having children in detention is harmful. It causes physical, psychological, emotional and developmental harms. The only way to countenance there is to have children out of detention.”


The A-M-A has also called for the establishment of a transparent, national statutory body of independent clinical experts, with the power to investigate and report to the parliament on the health and welfare of asylum seekers and refugees.

Speaking at a rally in Sydney, Professor Owler warned the forced removal of baby Asha would represent a point of no return in the asylum-seeker debate.


He says doctors at the Queensland hospital who earlier refused to release the baby acted appropriately.

“We unequivocally support the doctors and nurses working in Lady Cilento. It is an absolute ethical obligation, not to mention moral obligation, of those doctors and nurses to not release baby Asha into a situation where they believe there is likely to be harm.”


Protesters pledged to maintain a 24-hour vigil outside the Brisbane hospital where baby Asha is being treated until they received further information about the family’s situation.


The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Kon Karapanagiotidis has thanked the crowd for their support.


“Thank you again so much for sending a clear message that we are not going to stand by and allow children to be abused, we are not going to stand by and allow women and men or children to be sent to harm. We are Australians, we’re not going to stand for this, we’re not going to put up with this ever again.”



Caste protests cut water to Indian capital

  • 08/19/2019

The rioting in Haryana by the Jats, a rural caste, is symptomatic of increasingly fierce competition for government jobs and educational openings in India, whose growing population is set to overtake China’s within a decade.


Rapid urbanisation is putting pressure on water supplies after two years of drought, with the capital relying on Haryana to meet much of its needs.

“No water available now. Still no hope to get it,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said in a tweet on Sunday morning.

The city government ordered schools to shut on Monday and rationed provision to residents to ensure that hospitals and emergency services have enough.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was expected later on Sunday to meet leaders of the Jat community – which makes up a quarter of the population in Haryana and numbers more than 80 million in northern Indian – in a bid to defuse the crisis.

The central government also sent the army and paramilitary forces to sensitive areas, where mobile Internet services were jammed, a curfew imposed in several districts and roads blocked.

“The situation is much more in control than before,” spokesman Amit Arya, a spokesman for the chief minister of Haryana, said by telephone. He said the death toll from the protests now stood at seven, with 70 more injured.

Water stations attacked

Protesters have attacked the homes of regional ministers, torched railway stations and staged sit-ins on tracks, blocking hundreds of trains. They sabotaged pumping equipment at a water treatment plant that provides most of Delhi’s water.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, India’s biggest carmaker by sales, suspended operations at its plants in the state after the protests disrupted the supply of some components.

The unrest poses a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of jobs and growth for the aspirational Indians who elected him in 2014 with the largest majority in three decades.

Modi wants to attract foreign investment to back his ‘Make in India’ drive to create 100 million manufacturing jobs by 2022. At the current rate India may only create 8 million jobs in that period, by one independent estimate.

The Jat protests echo a similar movement last year in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where the Patel community demanded a greater share of scarce government jobs and college places that are now reserved for people from lower castes.

Hardik Patel, the 22-year-old leader of the Gujarat unrest, became a national sensation after drawing half a million people to one rally. The authorities cracked down on Patel, who was charged with sedition in October.

Last survivor of Nazi camp Treblinka dies

  • 08/19/2019

Samuel Willenberg, the last survivor of Treblinka, the Nazi death camp where 875,000 people were systematically murdered, has died in Israel at the age of 93.


Only 67 people are known to have survived the camp, fleeing in a revolt shortly before it was destroyed.

On August 2, 1943, a group of Jews stole some weapons, set fire to the camp and headed to the woods. Hundreds fled, but most were shot and killed by Nazi troops in the surrounding mine fields or captured by Polish villagers who returned them to Treblinka.

“The world cannot forget Treblinka,” Willenberg told The Associated Press news agency in a 2010 interview.

He described how he was shot in the leg as he climbed over bodies piled at the barbed wire fence and catapulted over.

He kept running, ignoring dead friends in his path.

He said his blue eyes and “non-Jewish” look allowed him to survive in the countryside before arriving in Warsaw and joining the Polish underground.

After the war Willenberg moved to Israel and became a surveyor for the Housing Ministry.

Later in life, he took up sculpting to describe his experiences.

His bronze statues depicted Jews standing on a train platform, a father removing his son’s shoes before entering the gas chambers, a young girl having her head shaved, and prisoners removing bodies.

“I live two lives, one is here and now and the other is what happened there,” Willenberg said.

“It never leaves me. It stays in my head. It goes with me always.”

His two sisters were killed at Treblinka. He described his survival as “chance, sheer chance.”

The Nazis and their collaborators killed about 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.

The death toll at Treblinka was second only to Auschwitz – a prison camp where more than a million people died in gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labour.

Hawks win, take NBL semi series to game 3

  • 08/19/2019

The New Zealand Breakers have one NBL grand final berth sewn up, but the defending champions have to wait five days before finding out who they face on the big stage.


Illawarra shrugged off the absence of MVP Kevin Lisch (ankle injury) to beat the Perth Wildcats 104-87 on Sunday at WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, forcing the best-of-three semi-final series to a deciding third game on Friday in Perth.

Lisch, who captured NBL MVP honours and the defensive player of the year award last week, rolled his ankle in the opening quarter of Illawarra’s 80-68 game one loss to Perth last Friday, and is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the playoffs.

Illawarra’s triumph over the Wildcats was their first in six meetings this season.

The winner of game three will host the Breakers in game one of the grand final series on March 2.

New Zealand’s 91-78 home win on Saturday completed a 2-0 sweep of their semi-final series with minor premiers Melbourne United.

The Breakers have won their past seven games and are shooting for their fifth title in six years.

Perth have won an NBL-best six championships and haven’t missed the playoffs for an incredible 30 consecutive seasons.

The Wildcats head into the decider knowing they haven’t lost at home to the Hawks in the past 23 meetings.

“It’s a one-game series now, and we’ve got the added advantage being at home, but we have to be a lot more aggressive than we did tonight,” Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said.

“We played tentative and brittle and it was disappointing. They were playing desperately and we weren’t. They played at a different level and we didn’t raise the bar at all.”

Hawks captain Oscar Forman celebrated his 450th NBL game in style, scoring a team-high 21 points in an unaccustomed role off the bench.

AJ Ogilvy tallied 20 points, while Kirk Penney and Tim Coenraad combined for 35.

American duo Casey Prather (21) and Jermaine Beal (20) led the Wildcats.

After trailing by two at quarter-time, the Hawks were up 52-50 at half-time and took a 16-point lead into the final period.

Lisch was on crutches and remains a long shot to be fit for Friday night’s decider.

“His foot is black and blue and big as a basketball,” Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge said.

“He’ll want to play but it’s a pretty bad sprain.”

Gleeson won’t be surprised if Lisch suits up on Friday.

“You never count Kevin out,” Gleeson said.

Forman believes the pressure is all on the Cats to advance to the grand final.

“When you get to the playoffs, you don’t want it to end because if you lose you don’t know what to do the next day, and we don’t want that feeling,” the 34-year-old forward said.

Suns down Lions in scrappy AFL win

  • 08/19/2019

The plumbing in the change rooms failed but that wasn’t the only thing on the nose as Gold Coast claimed a scrappy 25-point AFL pre-season win over Brisbane.


But Suns coach Rodney Eade still reckons the error-riddled display at Burpengary was enough to give midfielders Jesse Lonergan and Aaron Hall a round one sniff.

Not much went right on Sunday, starting with the toilet malfunction in the sheds.

The closest the Suns got to greatness was when injured skipper Gary Ablett appeared on the sidelines in full kit preparing for a promotional photo.

Sadly for the 3807-strong crowd, Ablett then joined fellow star Suns midfielders David Swallow, Dion Prestia and Jaeger O’Meara on the sidelines.

Ablett is not expected to be sighted until the March 11 pre-season clash against Adelaide due to a foot complaint.

Forward Tom Lynch took up the reins in Ablett’s absence and led by example in the 0.9.14 (68) to 0.6.7 (43), kicking three goals.

And Eade reckoned Lonergan (23 touches, 16 contested) and Hall did enough to stake a claim along with veteran Michael Rischitelli to join his missing midfield stars for the AFL season opener.

But Touk Miller (16 touches) also looks set to give Eade a welcome headache when he determines his midfield for the March 26 opener against Essendon.

“Jesse played really well. Hally was down a bit but he’s had a good pre-season so we know he’s in our mix, and Rischa was solid and did well again – that gives you seven (round one midfielders),” Eade said.

“With the way the game is played now with 90 rotations, you are going to need a lot of mids so hopefully we can fit them all in.”

Lynch impressed but Peter Wright looks set to pressure Sam Day for the second key forward berth this season after kicking one goal and four marks against Brisbane.

Rookie Darcy MacPherson also turned heads with a goal and 10 tackles.

Eade said he would welcome back Prestia and Jack Martin in their next clash against West Coast in Joondalup on March 3.

Brisbane had nine players making their debut for the Lions including No.2 draft pick Josh Schache, former Blue Tom Bell and ex-Cats Josh Walker and Jarrad Jansen.

Stand-in skipper Mitch Robinson and Bell impressed, as did busy draftee Rhys Mathieson, while Schache showed flashes of brilliance up forward in a first-half cameo.

Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said their best available would run out against St Kilda on March 6 in Mackay, including skipper Tom Rockliff, Pearce Hanley, Dayne Zorko, Daniel Rich and North Melbourne recruit Ryan Bastinac.