SYDNEY: Australia moved Sunday to bar any refugee or asylum-seeker who arrives in the country illegally by boat from ever being able to apply for a visa, even as tourists or for business.
The lifetime ban will be put to parliament this week, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying it was necessary to send an “absolutely, unflinching, unequivocal message” that boatpeople will never be allowed in Australia.
“This is a battle of will between the Australian people, represented by its government, and the criminal gangs of people-smugglers,” he said.
“You should not underestimate the scale of the threat. These people-smugglers are the worst criminals imaginable. They have a multibillion-dollar business.
“We have to be very determined to say no to their criminal plans.”
Amendments to the migration act would be backdated to mid-2013, when former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd declared: “As of today, asylum-seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.”
Canberra currently sends all boatpeople to offshore processing camps on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus.
They are already blocked from being resettled in Australia even if found to be genuine refugees. They can either return home, be resettled on Manus or Nauru, or go to a third country.
The new legislation would affect those sent to Nauru and Manus from July 19, 2013, including those who have returned home, and anyone who arrives in the future.
But children will be exempt and the immigration minister would have the power to make exceptions. The Nauru facility holds just over 400 men, women and children.
Some 800 men are detained on Manus, which Australia in August agreed to close after a Papua New Guinea court ruling that holding people there was unconstitutional and illegal.
Rights group have alleged there is widespread abuse and self-harm in the camps.
Turnbull said the move would reinforce to refugee advocates still hoping Australia will accept some of those on Nauru or Manus that it will never happen.
“We have one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world,” he said.
“But the only reason we can do it, the only reason it has the public acceptance that it does, is because we are in command of our borders. ”
Australia has boosted its annual humanitarian refugee intake in recent years from 13,750 to 18,750, and has also agreed to take 12,000 displaced in Syria and Iraq.
Since the start of “Operation Sovereign Borders” in September 2013, the government has managed to halt the flood of boat arrivals, and drownings, that characterized previous Labor administrations. Laborhad yet to decide whether to back the visa ban.
Twenty-four countries and the European Union agreed on Friday to create the world’s largest marine park in the Antarctic Ocean, covering a massive 1.55 million square km (600,000 square miles) of ocean.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, meeting in Hobart, Australia, said the Ross Sea marine park would be protected from commercial fishing for 35 years.
The Ross Sea is seen as one of the world’s most ecologically important oceans.
The sanctuary will cover more than 12 percent of the Southern Ocean, which is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world’s penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and Antarctic tooth fish.
Fishing will be banned completely in 1.1 million square km (425,000 square miles) of the Ross Sea, while areas designated as research zones will allow for some fishing for krill and sawfish.
Scientists and activists described the agreement as a historic milestone in global efforts to protect marine diversity.
“The Ross Sea Region MPA will safeguard one of the last unspoiled ocean wilderness areas on the planet – home to unparalleled marine biodiversity and thriving communities of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds, and fish,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, referring to the marine park authority.
Scientists said the marine park would also allow a greater understanding of the impact of climate change.
Russia agreed to the proposal, after blocking conservation proposals on five previous occasions.
The 25-member commission, which includes Russia, China, the United States and the European Union, requires unanimous support for decisions.
“They all have diverse economic, political interests and to get them all to align – especially in the context of there are divergent economic interests – is quite a challenge,” Evan Bloom, director at the US Department of State and leader of the US delegation, told Reuters.
IPOH,Perak, Malaysia — Barely a day after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak praised Nasi Vanggey in his Budget 2017 speech for its affordable prices, the outlet was swamped with people.
The restaurant is not only famous for its affordable nasi kandar, but also because of its uniqueness as it is an Indian-Muslim shop operating in a Chinese restaurant in Jalan Yang Kalsom, here.
Hankering customers can be seen queuing up along the corridor to the family-owned restaurant as early as 10am yesterday.
The outlet was packed with customers who were seen standing beside tables in order to reserve a spot.
One of the restaurant’s owners, Mohamed Nihmathullah Syed Mustafa, 53, said he was thrilled that Najib mentioned his restaurant and pointed out that this was the second time the prime minister had spoken of it.
“He spoke about our restaurant in his Merdeka message. We were invited for the function. We met and chatted with him,” he said.
“We are overwhelmed with his continued support. We usually have lots of customers queuing up for our delicacy, but the line is even longer today.”
Mohamed also said the announcement made by the prime minister was a promotion for the stall as it would attract tourists who would be arriving for the Visit Perak 2017 year, adding the price of nasi kandar would be maintained at RM4.80 for a plate of rice, chicken and vegetable.
“Even though our food is cheap, it does not affect our business as we have lots of customers. That is the reason why we choose to maintain our price.
“We can’t earn much if we only manage to sell a few plates of nasi kandar, but we can make a profit by selling many with the same price. It’s simple logic,” he said.
Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte declared his “separation” from longstanding ally the United States in Beijing on Thursday, as he rebalances his country’s diplomacy towards China.
“I announce my separation from the United States,” he said to applause at a meeting in the Chinese capital.
His comments came after he met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square, with the two men pledging to enhance trust and friendship, while playing down a maritime dispute.
The two leaders — Duterte donning a suit and tie for the occasion — strode side-by-side down the red carpet inspecting an honour guard, with children cheering.
Xi called the two countries “neighbours across the sea” with “no reason for hostility or confrontation”, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Duterte is in China for a four-day trip seen as confirming his tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence — and its deep pockets.
Under Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino the two countries were at loggerheads over the South China Sea — where Beijing has built a series of artificial islands — but since taking office in June the new head of state has changed course.
The two leaders held “extensive” and “amicable” official talks and oversaw the signing of 13 bilateral cooperation documents on business, infrastructure, and agriculture, among other fields, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, without giving details.
In a statement, the foreign ministry cited Xi as telling Duterte their emotional foundation of friendly good neighbourliness was unchanged, and difficult topics of discussion “could be shelved temporarily”.
Duterte called the meeting “historic”, it added.
Duterte’s visit to Beijing capped a series of recent declarations blasting the US and President Barack Obama.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says no "foreign force" can stand in the way of progress in the long-neglected relationship between China and the Philippines.
Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Wang praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for working to improve ties and for returning to "the track of dialogue and cooperation."
"This reflects the wish of the Philippine people, and is in line with the Philippines' national interest. No foreign force can stand in the way of such process".
While Wang gave no details, he was likely referencing the United States as a foreign force that could upset the rapprochement between Manila and Beijing, given the 65-year-old mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told China's official news agency that China is his country's only hope for development.
Duterte said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency that his visit to China beginning Tuesday points toward a restoration of trust between the sides following recent tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
He said China is a potent source of capital for much-needed infrastructure development and that the Philippines should leverage its 2 million-strong ethnic Chinese minority as a bridge to encourage Chinese investment.
Duterte said in the interview that his own grandfather was Chinese, and that "It's only China (that) can help us." He said that unlike the U.S. and other Western nations, China has offered its support for his 3-month-old government without criticism.
Vatican City – Pope Francis was upset to hear that two former nuns had married in a civil ceremony in Italy, Vatican Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Angelo Becciu said Friday.
“How much sadness on the pope’s face when I read him the news of the two married ‘nuns’!” Becciu tweeted.
Federica and Isabel were joined in a civil union in northern Italy last month, taking advantage of a law passed this year that offers homosexual couples legal recognition — one of the last countries in the West to do so.
The pair, who did not give their surnames, told La Repubblica on Friday that they had fallen in love while serving as missionaries in the West African country Guinea-Bissau.
Federica, 44, comes from Italy and Isabel, 40, comes from South America. They said they could have done what other nuns did and live together in a convent while hiding their relationship, but said this would have been “false”.
“There are many such cases where priests or nuns hide their relationships with men or women,” the pair were quoted as saying, adding that they had received no help when they left their religious order.
“We felt alone, more than that, we felt abandoned.”
The Italian Bishops Conference came out firmly against the government’s Civil Union bill, arguing that it undermined the status of traditional families.
The Church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste. However, Pope Francis said in June that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from gay people for the way they had treated them.
“(Gay people) should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally,” he told reporters.