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27 Aug, 2016

Iranian refugee wins cartooning award

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Irani_CartoonAn Iranian refugee held at an Australia’s Manus camp in Papua New Guinea wins a political cartooning award from CRNI for his work depicting life inside the camp.
Ali, whose pen name is Eaten Fish, has chronicled his three-year detention on Manus Island as he struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and debilitating panic attacks. CRNI:

Eaten Fish has been able to keep up a stream of cartoons documenting the unspeakable abuses and excesses of the guards and administrators of the camp. For this he has been the subject of beatings, deprivation of food, and even worse degrading treatment by the guards.

The Australian government denies that the refugee has been mistreated.

17 Aug, 2016

Refugee detention center to close

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The Papua New Guinea government says Australia will close the Manus Island detention center. The announcement comes less than a day after more than a hundred former and current staff members at Australia’s offshore detention camps have called for all refugees to be moved immediately, saying children’s lives are being “destroyed.” Papua New Guinea Prime Minister O’Neill:

Papua New Guinea and Australia are in agreement that the center is to be closed.

27 Sep, 2015

Refused Australian visa

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Australia’s immigration department issues a “notice of intention to consider refusal” which means that Brown cannot enter the country. Tickets for his December tour in the country are due to go on sale Sept 28. He has 28 days to appeal. Australia’s Minister for Women:

People need to understand, if you are going to commit domestic violence and you want to travel around the world, there are going to be countries that say to you, ‘You cannot come in because you are not of the character that we expect in Australia’.

14 Aug, 2015

Adds extra seats

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Qantas adds extra seats to its Boeing 737-800s, increasing the number from 168 to 174. The extra rows are added by making the lavatories smaller and reconfiguring the rear galley. The seat pitch is unchanged. The interiors and seat covers are also being changed. CEO Joyce, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad are present at the launch of the reconfigured airplanes in Brisbane. Joyce:

The 737 is the backbone of our domestic fleet and this refresh is part of our strategy to deliver the best experience for our customers, whether they’re in the air or on the ground.

3 Aug, 2015

One dead in Perth shooting

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One woman in her thirties dies after a shooting incident in Perth. Police are called to Mayfair Street after gunshots are heard at 2 AM. They arrest two men. The street is cordoned off and forensic experts are also present to investigate. A neighbour:

I opened my window to tell the people to be quiet and I noticed there was a group of police trying to gain entry to the unit,

1 Aug, 2015

Queensland quake

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An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the richter scale strikes off the coast of Queensland about 110km east of Fraser Island at 1.38pm. Following this, there is another quake of 5.2 magnitude at 2.46pm in the same area as the first earthquake and then finally an aftershock measuring 3 at 4.30pm. There is no tsunami alert and there is no damage to property or life. The tremor is felt from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast. It is the strongest quake to hit Queensland since 1918.

31 Jul, 2015

Reduces flights to Perth

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Qantas reduces flights to Perth. It removes one Airbus A330 flight per day from Melbourne to Perth. A return flight from Perth to Melbourne is discontinued. Most of the flights from Sydney to Perth will now use smaller Boeing 737 instead of the present Airbus A330.

These small changes to our east-west flying allow us to add wide body domestic services between Sydney and Brisbane and form part of our twice yearly schedule update. We are able to move our aircraft around to match market conditions and demand.

30 Jul, 2015

New flights to Japan

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Qantas announces two new flights to Japan. Flights will depart from Sydney to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport followed by the departure of a flight from Brisbane to Tokyo’s other airport, Narita, over the weekend.  Launch celebrations will happen over the weekend with Japanese-themed activity throughout the terminal and a water cannon salute to mark the departure of QF61 from Brisbane. Traditional Japanese ceremonies will also take place at both Narita and Haneda Airports.

This significant capacity expansion has been extremely well-received by Qantas customers and especially by corporate travellers heading directly to downtown Tokyo, who can now save up to one-and-a-half hours on their airport commute by flying into or out of Haneda

26 Jul, 2015

Passengers survive plane crash

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A single-engine Piper Cherokee 6 crashes into a lake in Queensland. All six people including the pilot are alive. One woman has a back injury. The plane hit a downdraft and rapidly lost altitude before crashing on to the lake. Local Resident:

I drove out and I saw a plane in the middle of the lake. It was sitting on the surface. I saw the doors being pushed open. I saw people falling out of the plane into the water. Then within five minutes the plane started to sink nose first.

25 Jul, 2015

Daughter sees shark kill father

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A great white shark kills a man as his daughter watches, while they are diving for scallops off the coast of Tasmania. After returning to the boat with some of the catch, the daughter looks back for her father, and sees a large shark attacking him. The woman sets off a flare and makes an emergency phone call, prompting other boaters to respond. The type of shark is not identified. This is only the fifth fatal shark attack “since convict times”. Police:

[The man] did not return to the surface [and] his daughter became worried and went down and checked on her father. She saw a very large shark and she saw her father being attacked by the shark…They pulled up the [man] using the air hose that he was attached to, but unfortunately he was fatally injured

22 Jul, 2015

Launches extra Gold Coast flights

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Qantas announces extra flights to the Gold Coast from late October. The fares are discounted fares and can be purchased online from today. Melbourne to Gold Coast tickets start at $99 one way. Domestic CEO, David:

We will introduce a daily Boeing 737 service between Melbourne and the Gold Coast starting on October 25

16 Jul, 2015

Illegal pet import charges

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Heard is charged with two counts of charges of illegally importing her pet dogs, Pistol and Boo, into Australia, and one count of producing a false document according to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions. Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of 102,000 Australian dollars ($75,000). The false document charge carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of AU$10,200 ($7500). Agriculture Minister Joyce:

If we start letting movie stars — even though they’ve been the sexiest man alive twice — to come into our nation (with pets), then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody? It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States…The law is the same for everybody. There is no preferential treatment here. You come into our nation, you have to abide biosecurity protocols

Heard is due to appear in court September 7.

28 Oct, 2014

Australia shuts borders


Australia places a ban on visas for citizens of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The UN, Liberia, and others say this will do little to control the virus’s spread. Sirleaf:

Anytime there’s stigmatization, there’s quarantine, there’s exclusion of people, many of whom are just normal, then those of us who are fighting this epidemic, when we face that, we get very sad,

23 Oct, 2014

Minister seeks mandatory detention


Sources say Morrison is suggesting implementing mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving in Australia from Ebola-affected west Africa. He has said that a hard-line quarantine approach could be best run by being absorbed under his immigration portfolio and handled by the Operation Sovereign Borders team, which is in place to stop people smuggling into the country. A minister tells ABC radio:

[Morrison is] annoying everyone on the National Security Committee because he’s not across all the facts on Ebola. He doesn’t have access to what the chief medical officer is advising the Health Minister.

18 Sep, 2014

A$9 million funds investigated


Australian Federal Police investigate the Bisotel Rieh money-remittance provider after financial intelligence and compliance agency AUSTRAC suspends the company for failing to declare A$9 million (US$8.08 million) that it sent overseas between January and August. A company director, Damour Sharrouf, is understood to be Khaled Sharrouf’s sister while the other company director is Ahmed Alwash, believed to be Damour Sharrouf’s husband. The investigation concerns transfers of funds to individuals in Malaysia. Staff are said to admit that it ‘actively smuggles’ money from Turkey into Lebanon. AUSTRAC chief executive John Schmidt:

The figures don’t appear to match. It’s a fairly big difference in a short space of time. We are satisfied that the continued registration … may involve a significant financing-of-terrorism risk.

‘Not just suspicion’

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Abbott says the participants in the alleged ISIS plot to kidnap and kill Australian members of the public showed clear intent to commit ‘demonstration’ beheadings in Sydney:

The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. So this is not just suspicion, this is intent, and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.

Top ISIS member connected to plot

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Court documents connect the man believed to be Australia’s most senior ISIS member to the alleged plot to kidnap and execute members of the public in Sydney and Brisbane. Court documents show that 22-year-old Omarjan Azari of Guildford, Sydney, the first person to be charged in connection with the plot, is alleged to have conspired with Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who has been identified in an arrest warrant as the top recruiter for ISIS of Australians fighting for the group in Iraq and Syria.

Woman threatened with arrest in iPhone 6 queue


A 24-year-old international student from China, identified as Anna, breaks into tears as she leaves the queue for the iPhone 6 at Apple’s flagship Sydney store around 10 a.m. Friday local time (8 p.m. Thursday EDT) after police say that she may be arrested if she does not remove herself from the George Street area for six hours. She has been queuing for over 24 hours to buy two 4.7-inch handsets, but became worried that she may not reach the front of the line as the number of customers in front of her rose to 180 from about 80 overnight after people joined their friends in the queue. She stepped out of line several times to see if someone would sell her a handset at an affordable price, after people in the queue offered to sell her the phones at inflated rates including more than twice the price. She says it is unfair that ‘true’ Apple fans like her miss out, implying others are trying to profit from the high demand for the product:

I just feel so excited by the iPhone but the shop did nothing [to stop people pushing in]. It’s a waste of my heart, waste of my love.

She says Apple could have allocated number cards to ensure people could not jump in front of those who had been waiting longer.

Sydney man charged with terror conspiracy

Terror Incident0 Comments

22-year-old Omarjan Azari is accused in Sydney’s Central Local Court of conspiring to act in preparation or plan a terrorist act or acts. He is one of 15 mostly Afghan Australians arrested earlier Thursday in an alleged plot to carry out executions in Sydney and Brisbane. The court is told the charges against Azari stem from a single phone call intercepted earlier in the week. Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Allnutt:

It’s been an immediate reaction to a clear, imperative danger

He does not apply for bail, and the case is adjourned until November 13.

15 arrests in beheading plot

Terror Incident0 Comments

Australian counterterror officials arrest 15 people alleged to be involved in a plot to carry out beheadings of random people kidnapped off the streets in Sydney and Brisbane. The raids of more than a dozen properties across 12 Sydney suburbs by around 800 federal and state police officers are Australia’s biggest ever operation.