[Protesta ciudadana en Australia para forzar al gobierno conservador a traer David Hicks del campo de concentración de Guantánamo Bay, USA base en Cuba. (10 diciembre 2006)]

noticias : Asia -PACÍFICO :: AUSTRALIA


'Orange and Sunshine'
The lost generation of the Empire

... more in the BBC - CBS News - THE CHILD MIGRANTS TRUST


'Disaster of biblical proportions'
As torrential floods have hit Australia's northeast coast, who is to blame for the disaster?

It is a grim start of the year for the residents in northeast Australia. Battling the worst floods in decades, water levels continue to rise, and the forecast for the next few days is no better.
Over 20 towns and at least 200,000 people in the state of Queensland have been affected.
Days of pounding rain last week left much of the area swamped by a sea of muddy water, in an area larger than France and Germany combined.
One official called it a disaster of biblical proportions. But what is behind this devastating heavy rain? Is man to blame or is it just heaven sent? And how will the distaster impact Queensland's economy?
Inside Story, with presenter David Foster, discusses with Faizal Parish, the director of the Global Environment Centre, Nuzet Dalfes, the director of EURASIA institute of earth sciences at Istanbul Technical University, and Steff Gaulter, Al Jazeera's senior weather presenter.

...more in Al Jazeera


A zone as big as France and Germany combined swamped by flooding

Queensland's biggest town, Rockhampton, has been marooned by rising floodwaters.
The nearest airport is three hours north of the disaster zone and only one road remains open. Even that last link is likely to be cut off by Tuesday.
Streets and houses in the town are already submerged, but the flooding is only predicted to get worse.
Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports.

Australia's military has begun airlifting essential food and supplies to parts of the northeastern state of Queensland where forecasters say floodwaters may not peak for two more days.
Warren Snowdon, acting defence minister, said a C-130 carrying food, medical supplies and other items landed in the city of Mackay on Monday with supplies to be ferried by road south to Rockhampton, local media reported.
Waters from the still-swelling Fitzroy river have closed the airport in the coastal city of about 75,000 people.
The floods have also cut the main highway leading to the state capital of Brisbane and forced scores of families to abandon their homes for relief centres set up on higher ground.
Authorities cautioned that the Fitzroy would continue rising until late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday local time.
...more in Al Jazeera - The Guardian - BBC

Political limbo. Horse-trading set to begin as ruling party and opposition fail to win outright majority.

Australians are waiting to find out who will be their next prime minister, with election results set to produce a hung parliament.
Officials were counting the last ballots on Sunday, but it was already clear that neither the ruling Australian Labor Party nor the opposition coalition would win the 76 seats needed for an outright majority.
Labor is predicted to win 70 seats in the 150-seat parliament, while the Liberal-National coalition is predicted to win 72, according to ABC,the Australian public broadcaster.
"The people have spoken, but it's going to take a little while to determine exactly what they have said," Julia Gillard, the incumbent prime minister, said in Melbourne.
"We will continue to fight to form government in this country."
Gillard warned of "anxious days ahead" as both parties woo the independents and Greens, now expected to hold the balance of power.

...more in Al Jazeera

Time in Canberra -

Australia is properly speaking an island, but it is so much larger than every other island on the face of the globe, that it is classed as a continent in order to convey to the mind a just idea of its magnitude.
Charles Sturt

noticias : Asia - PACIFIC :: AUSTRALIA


'Huge damage' in Australia spill

The international conservation group, WWF, says a spill from a damaged oil rig in the Timor Sea off Australia has caused massive contamination.
The WWF, which made a three-day survey of the area off Australia's north-west coast, said the spill was having a significant impact on marine life.
A spokeswoman said she had seen dolphins swimming in water that was covered with oil.
Engineers are mounting a fourth attempt to plug the leak on the West Atlas rig.
It has been spilling oil for almost nine weeks.
The WWF spokeswoman, Dr Gilly Llewellyn, said that if the spill was closer to shore there would be global outrage.
She said there were areas where the slick extended in every direction for as far as the eye could see.
Officials from Australia's Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism said on Thursday the damaged rig could be leaking as much as as 2,000 barrels of oil a day.
Described as a vast wilderness area, the area affected by the spill is home to many humpback whales, endangered turtles, dolphins and other marine life.
Conservationists have said this is Australia's most damaging oil spill in 25 years.
The West Atlas drilling platform lies about 200km (125 miles) off Australia's west coast.
The rig's operators have said that plugging the leak is an extremely complex task.

...more in the BBC - Al Jazeera -

El fuego devora el sur del continente australiano: 'Estamos ante una matanza' afirma el Primer Ministro de Australia. El número de víctimas mortales en los incendios que están devastando el sur de Australia no para de aumentar. Según el último balance de la Policía, 171 personas han muerto aunque las autoridades temen que la cifra aumente en las próximas horas, a medida que los bomberos accedan a las zonas arrasadas por el fuego. "No hay palabras para describir esto excepto que estamos ante una matanza", dijo el primer ministro australiano, Kevin Rudd, a la televisión local. "La cifra (de fallecidos) es abrumadora y temo que aumente todavía más", añadió. Y es que la policía cree que algunos de los incendios, que han asolado localidades rurales cercanas a Melbourne, la segunda ciudad del país, fueron provocados. El primer ministro, emocionado, afirmó que una de las ciudades devastadas ha sido "escena de un crimen". "Todo el mundo se ha ido. Todo el mundo. Sus casas han desaparecido. Están todos muertos en las casas. Todo el mundo ha muerto", lloraba Christopher Harvey, un superviviente de Kinglake, donde la mayoría de habitantes falleció, mientras avanzaba por el pueblo. Los incendios son el peor desastre natural del país en más de un siglo, y serán un elemento de presión sobre Rudd para que ponga en marcha una nueva política medioambiental. Un inmenso fuego arrasó varias poblaciones el sábado por la noche en el sureño estado de Victoria, destruyendo todo lo que encontró a su paso. Muchas personas murieron en sus automóviles cuando trataban de huir y otros fallecieron acurrucados en sus casas. Algunos consiguieron escapar refugiándose en piscinas o reservas agrícolas. Las llamas eran tan altas en algunos puntos como un edificio de cuatro plantas y los fuertes vientos diseminaron los incendios por un área de unos 40 kilómetros. "Esto va a parecer como Hiroshima. Va a parecer una bomba nuclear. Hay animales muertos en toda la carretera", dijo Harvey a los medios locales. ...más en The Guardian - The Times - El Mundo - El País - The Telegraph - The Independent - France 24 - Le Figaro - The Australian - The Age


Australia hopes Nicole Kidman epic will revive tourism:

Australia's most expensive film, called Australia and starring Nicole Kidman, has opened to huge fanfare in Sydney, with tourism chiefs praying the country itself will emerge as the star of the show. Australia, the Baz Lurhmann-directed £86 million epic, is under immense pressure to deliver badly-needed tourism dollars to the country, which has been suffering from falling visitor numbers for months. Overseas tourism fell 7.6 per cent in September alone. In the rollicking drama, Kidman plays uptight English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley who journeys to northern Australia during the Second World War to locate her errant husband on a remote outback station. There she encounters a young Aboriginal boy who needs her help, a corrupt cattle baron intent on stealing her cows and a rough-hewn drover, played by Hugh Jackman, who refuses to play by her rules. To keep the property, she must drive 2,000 cattle across the country's beautiful but unforgiving interior. She enlists the help of the drover and the pair fall in love during the journey to Darwin. Nicole Kidman flew into Sydney from Nashville for just 24 hours to tread the red carpet at the world premiere. She was joined by co-stars Hugh Jackman and newcomer 12-year-old Brandon Walters, whose first performance on camera has been widely praised. Speaking before the premiere, Kidman said it was "the film of a lifetime". Tourism Australia will certainly hope so. The organisation has spent $40m (£17m) on a global advertising campaign featuring two television adverts and managing director Geoff Buckley has said he expects the film to "put the country in the spotlight around the globe". The adverts, also directed by Luhrmann, depict Walters visiting stressed city workers and urging them to "go walkabout" before they are transported to a moonlit baobab tree or refreshing billabong. It is not the first time films have been used to promote the country - Crocodile Dundee, the hit film from the 1980s, spawned the famous "Shrimp on the barbie" adverts starring Paul Hogan. The film itself is also a glowing advert for Australia's remote interior. Luhrmann's cameras linger over rich desert sunsets, sweep over ancient rock formations, soar above gushing waterfalls and pan slowly out across pancake-flat salt plains. Most of the film was shot in and around the small town of Kununurra in the California-sized Kimberley wilderness region of rugged Western Australia. Tour operators have been quick to capitalise on its starring role, offering tours of the Kimberley region. ...more in The Telegraph - Australia Movie Official Site

Prime Minister Rudd pays East Timor solidarity visit:

The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, paid a lightning visit to East Timor today to show solidarity with Asia's embattled newest nation after the double assassination attempt on its leaders.
In his second visit to East Timor in two months, Rudd pledged that the Australian peacekeeping troops, whose numbers were bolstered by 200 soldiers hours after the attacks, would stay as long as necessary.
During his three-hour visit to Dili, Rudd met his East Timorese counterpart, Xanana Gusmao, 61, who narrowly escaped injury when his convoy was attacked by renegade troops loyal to the rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado.
Just an hour earlier, Reinado was killed by bodyguards of the president, Jose Ramos-Horta, who remains in a critical condition in a Darwin hospital aftert sustaining two gunshots wounds. He is likely to undergo further surgery over the weekend to remove further bullet fragments from his lung.
Rudd made the short flight to Darwin to see the Nobel laureate Ramos-Horta, 58, after leaving Dili. The prime minister declined to describe his condition afterwards but said: "He's a fighter. I know old Jose. He's a fighter."
Australian troops continued comb the jungles outside Dili searching for the rebel soldiers, who fled after the attacks.
East Timor's prosecutor general issued 12 arrest warrants for soldiers believed to have been involved in the attacks.
Rudd had visited Australian military officials leading the 1,000 peacekeeping troops; he also met the acting president, Longuinhos Monteiro, after discussions with Gusmao about East Timor's long-term economic development. After his talks, Rudd described the attacks on the president and prime minister as a "deep assault" on the fledgling democracy, which shrugged off 25 years of Indonesian occupation to win statehood just six years ago. "The purpose of my visit today is to state in clear and loud terms that Australia will stand shoulder to shoulder with East Timor into the future in defence of its democratic system of government," he said. "Australia is here for the good times, the bad times and the difficult times." ...published in The Guardian - website of Australia Prime Minister

Australian PM Kevin Rudd says sorry to Aborigines' stolen generations:

Historic apology for years of racist social planning Statement prepared for opening of parliament. The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, yesterday issued the text of the long-awaited apology to the country's Aboriginal population citing the "profound suffering, grief and loss" inflicted on them by decades of abuse and mistreatment.
His words, contained in an Australian parliamentary motion, were directed to the "stolen generations" - the tens of thousands of mixed-race children taken from their families in a strategy of white assimilation only abandoned in 1970.
But he also said sorry to all of Australia's indigenous people who still live on the margins of society, saying that in the future he wanted them to have the same opportunities as other Australians.
Thousands of Aborigines and their supporters gathered outside parliament to watch the occasion on giant TV screens while others attended the opening ceremonies inside the building.
"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry," Rudd said in extracts released earlier in the day. "To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
"And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."
From 1910 to 1970 mixed-race children - mostly of Aboriginal mothers and European fathers - were taken to orphanages, church missions or foster homes to be raised separately from their families and their culture. The ultimate purpose, it has been claimed, was the extinction of Aborigines as a distinct race.
The policy was not fully recognised until a decade ago when it was exposed in a report entitled Bringing Them Home, which recommended that the government apologise and make financial reparation.
Former prime minister John Howard refused to offer the apology, saying the current generation should not be blamed for past misdeeds, and issued a statement of regret instead. Rudd, who won power last November, made an apology part of his election manifesto but has ruled out financial reparations.
Yesterday, as part of the new era, Aborigines danced and sang at the opening of the Australian parliament and Aboriginal elder Matilda House gave a traditional greeting to MPs and senators gathered for the new parliamentary session. Rudd conceded: "It's taken us 41 parliaments to get here. Sometimes we are a bit slow." ...published in The Guardian - website of Australia Prime Minister

The Stolen Generation

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, says sorry to the Aboriginal people on Feb 13th 2008

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