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War and peace

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on War and peace)

REPORTER: JACKIE LONG

The eleventh hour has passed, these protesters say – time is running out.

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They`re fighting for people like Italian Mario Bertorelli. He survived the slave labour programs of the Nazi years. But he may not survive the wait for compensation in the new, modern Germany.

MARIO BERTORELLI, SLAVE LABOUR SURVIVOR: At the end of the war, the West gave a lot of help to Germany to rebuild it. Rightly so – I have no objection. And yet now, Germany, a wealthy country, cannot pay us compensation for the suffering. Where`s the democracy? Where? I am asking the Chancellor. I would like him to be here tonight. I would like him to have a little taste of what the Gestapo did to us, of what we suffered. But I`m not pleading for poverty – I`m pleading for justice.

There are an estimated 1.5 million people like Mr Bertorelli. They`re what`s left of the 10-12 million men and women, mainly non-Jews, rounded up from their homes in eastern Europe, forced to work either in the concentration camps or the now-renowned companies which shored up Hitler`s war effort.

It`s past midnight in Berlin and these protesters have a pointed message for Chancellor Schroeder and the heads of German industry – it`s time Germany fulfilled its promise to compensate the victims of the slave labour programs. But this is only a tiny part of an extraordinary battle which is now being played out by governments and lawyers from two of the world`s greatest powers. But while the political and legal wrangling continues, every day the victims are dying without a resolution.

Zbigniew Ogrodzinski has kept a painstaking record of his life. Among the more mundane school reports and exam certificates sit the documents charting his years under the Nazis. Dragged from his home in Poland, the 19-year-old, who had planned a career in the merchant navy, was now reclassified by the Nazis as a slave labourer and sent to the quarries in a concentration camp.

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: The work was, ah… I wouldn`t say it was a work. Actually, they wanted to finish us by heavy work, to liquidate all the people who was working.

REPORTER: They wanted to kill you?

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: Of course.

REPORTER: By work?

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: By work, yes. They wanted to kill us by work. Everything must be done in running steps – not walking, but running, with stones. It exhausted us terribly.

One of around 2,000 slave labour survivors living in Britain, Zbigniew has been trying for years to win compensation. For him and many others, it`s the need for closure – recognition that the companies who profited from their misery are sorry. 56 years on, few can understand why German industry has yet to make amends.

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: German industry is one of the strongest industries in Europe. I can`t believe that these firms are not making… not having any money now.

Back in 1999, the election of Chancellor Schroeder held out the first real promise of success for the survivors.

GERHARD SCHROEDER, GERMAN CHANCELLOR, DECEMBER 1999: We are now at the end of a bloody century in which Germany has caused much suffering. The Holocaust can never be erased from our conscience – we can`t heal those wounds. But at least we`re doing something to alleviate the pain.

Schroeder`s new government marked a more open chapter in the history of reunited Germany. It announced an astonishing initiative – astonishing not least because it appeared to have the backing of German industry. A foundation would pay 10 billion marks to the slave labourers, half raised by government, the rest by German business.

But the companies had one huge condition – they`d only agree if they could be protected from being sued in the American courts, where dozens of writs had already been laid against them by survivors. The Clinton Administration agreed to issue a statement of interest discouraging the courts from pursuing the class actions. The foundation was finally set up in July last year. But eight months on, with victims dying at a rate of 200 a day, no money has yet been paid.

WOLFGANG GIBOWSKI, GERMAN COMPANIES` SPOKESMAN: The payments are not delayed. We already have the money and so far, the payments are not delayed. We have it and we could pass it to the foundation.

REPORTER: But you`re not passing it to the foundations, so the payments are delayed.

WOLFGANG GIBOWSKI: We are not allowed to pass it to the foundation. Because we promised that we would only pass the money to the foundation when the necessary preconditions are fulfilled. And that is not the case. We don`t have legal peace.

It`s very sad. It`s a tragedy that these old victims are passing away every day. But at least this will not diminish the money which has to be paid to the foundation, because the heirs of those people who are diminishing away will receive the money.

REPORTER: But the point of this whole initiative is to pay the very people who suffered through slave labour. There is no satisfaction, or very little satisfaction, in the money going to their heirs.

WOLFGANG GIBOWSKI: And to achieve legal peace for German companies.

Campaigner Deidre Berger provoked a storm a year ago when she publicly named for the first time the companies which operated during the war. Showing me the site for Berlin`s new Holocaust Memorial, she insisted industry is out of step with Germany`s desire to openly acknowledge the past.

DEIDRE BERGER, AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS: The strongest step that could be taken was to file a statement of interest in courts – it was signed by President Clinton – and that`s really the most that can be done. The German industry doesn`t accept that that`s the strongest step that can be taken, and they have the idea that there can be 100% protection from all future lawsuits. But today, with corporations being so international and with issues becoming much more international, there is simply no 100% security and there will be no 100% legal peace.

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: At the end, they should pay all the compensation that the money is supposed to be there, and the legal part is so complicated it`s not moral. I think that all the people who are now, like myself, in the 80s, they are dying.

Signs of hope are few, though parliament meets daily to try to resolve the crisis. It may move to pay its half of the compensation. Meanwhile, industry`s opportunity to offer moral redress has almost passed.

Vanuatu

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Vanuatu)

REPORTER: Mark Davis

3-It’s a year of celebrations in Vanuatu as the country marks its 25th anniversary of independence.

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But today is an annual highlight of the social calendar in Port Vila, the Queen’s birthday at the British High Com.

MAN: I’ve been here since 1969 and I’ve been to most of the parties since 1969 with the exception of the last three years when I’ve been rather ill.

Sick or not, few would miss this year’s party. It will be the last one – the British are leaving Vanuatu.

WOMAN: I cried already and I’m going to cry when the flag goes down. You see, I got my MBE from the Queen.

MAN 2: And this is probably the saddest day of my life.

You wouldn’t believe the day would come when the British flag would come down?

WOMAN: No, I wouldn’t and I blame bloody Tony Blair.

MAN 3: As for Elizabeth and me, we’re exchanging an island in the Pacific for an island in the Atlantic as we move on from here to the Escutcheon Islands.

For such an aid-reliant country, the closure of the British High Com is a reflective moment for Prime Minister Ham Lini but there are still other suitors out there. Over the last few years, Australia has tried to take on the role of the biggest brother with mixed results.

The French ambassador is staying put, intent on retaining influence in the Pacific. The Chinese ambassador is a keen observer, back in force after Vanuatu briefly flirted with Taiwan last year. And a new player, Indonesia, is now entering the game.

MAN: China’s moving in, Australia, the Indonesians. But they’re not the same, not the same.

Other countries have an interest here and are moving in – China, Australia. Other big countries are showing an interest in Vanuatu, do you welcome them in the same way as you would have welcomed Britain?

MAN: I’ll be very frank, no, I don’t, I don’t.

As the afternoon wears on, some of the diplomatic niceties wear off. Foreign affairs are taken very seriously here and a controversy has recently erupted around the issue of West Papua.

For 25 years Vanuatu had supported independence for the West Papuans and loudly condemned Indonesia as occupiers and killers. More recently, the welcome mat has been put out for Jakarta, an act which is dividing the nation and the government.

MAN: He is the one accepting these people. Moana.

You blame Moana?

MAN: Yeah, I blame Moana.

The finance minister, Moana Carcasses, is keen to strengthen ties with Indonesia and water down Vanuatu’s long support for the West Papuans. It could be a dangerous path for PM Ham Lini. Governments often fall here on foreign policy issues, and on a more personal level, families divide.

Across is room is his niece, Laura Lini. She isn’t speaking to him and moved out of his house a fortnight ago after he invited an Indonesian delegation to visit Vanuatu.

LAURA LINI: He knows about what I believe in and it is something that my family has always believed in.

Laura Lini has become the most vocal opponent of her uncle’s new affection for Indonesia and a founder of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association.

LAURA LINI: I don’t believe that Vanuatu should ever compromise for its sovereignty to such nations as Indonesia.

Oddly enough, the Indonesian ambassador to Australia, Imron Cotan, is at the centre of the controversy. In the absence of any formal relationships, he has become Indonesia’s key negotiator in the wooing of the Vanuatu Government.

In May, demonstrations broke out on the streets of Port Vila when Cotan led a delegation to meet with the government. His car was stopped and surrounded in the main street with Laura Lini leading the pack.

LAURA LINI: There was a chief that was there who stopped the car. I took the West Papuan flag, put it around the car of the ambassador. I opened the flag and I said that, “Vanuatu does not need you here, go back to where you come from, Vanuatu people support the cause for independence for the West Papuan people.”

Laura and five others were charged with causing a civil disturbance, charges which were later dismissed.

LAURA LINI: And I said to the magistrate, “This is who I am – my name is Laura Lini.”

And my address is the Prime Minister’s residence?

LAURA LINI: Yes. Yes. And I also told him who my father was and what he believed in and I also believe in the same thing.

It’s no coincidence that emotions are running high on the West Papua issue in Vanuatu’s 25th anniversary year. In the 1970s both West Papua and Vanuatu were struggling for their independence. Vanuatu got there first and pledged not to leave West Papua behind.

On July 30, 1980, a new and feisty nation entered the world stage led by Father Walter Lini. Under Father Walter, this tiny country made a big splash. It virtually led the nuclear free Pacific movement and championed the liberation of New Caledonia and West Papua in particular.

Walter Lini, now dead, was the current prime minister’s brother and Laura Lini’s father.

LAURA LINI: I think I’m only taking up what my father has left off and I believe strongly on these issues and I do want to make people know that these issues are important and they’re important for Vanuatu.

No other country has taken up the West Papuan cause like Vanuatu has. Events like this one have long infuriated Indonesia.

Last December chiefs from every corner of the country gathered to raise the West Papuan flag and condemn the 1969 annexation of West Papua. But Vanuatu has caused more grief for Indonesia by being the only country that has consistently raised the West Papua issue at the UN and other forums. But that may be about to end.

REPORTER: So West Papuan issue is now a negotiable one with Indonesia?

HAM LINI, PRIME MINISTER: Actually, yes, we can – we believe strongly that maybe by a good dialogue we can get agreement.

It’s an uncomfortable issue for the PM, but his support for West Papua is now on the bargaining table.

REPORTER: So you are signalling a change in Vanuatu’s policy on West Papua?

HAM LINI: Actually we’re still will support about West Papua, but how to handle that maybe can be looked towards a change.

REPORTER: Is there a political risk for the PM and for other members of their cabinet?

BARAK SOPE,INDEPENDENCE LEADER: Yes, yes, that’s an issue that they have to face in the January election.

Not all members of Ham Lini’s government agree with the recent policy switch. Veteran politician and independence leader Barak Sope is one minister who believes the West Papua issue is hot enough to bring down the government.

REPORTER: And this is probably the only country on earth where West Papua is actually… A domestic issue.

BARAK SOPE: A domestic issue. Yes, it is, it is.

Governments sort of – people get elected.

BARAK SOPE: Because of that, yes.

Which is extraordinary.

BARAK SOPE: Yes, because, I mean, when you go around – when you go out to the rural areas and people ask us “What is your foreign policy?” And then when you explain it even if you don’t mention it, someone in the audience will say, “What about the your position on West Papua?” Because it’s part of the election campaign.

If you look at all the platforms of all the parties, I’m sure – West Papua turns up somewhere. Yes, yeah, it’s written black and white.

Independence can be a relative concept. 25 years on from the heady days of Father Walter Lini, the government relies on foreign aid more than ever, and Indonesian money is as good as anyone’s.

The finance minister, Moanna Carcasses has a practical view on what Vanuatu can offer donors in return.

MOANNA CARASSES, FINANCE MINISTER: First thing we can offer them is, you know, we have a voice, important voice in the United Nations, and that’s one thing that we can offer to them and I think Vanuatu has been good using that weapon, if I may say that, wisely.

Ham Lini doesn’t have the firebrand nationalism of his brother, he doesn’t need it. The key skill of any prime minister today is attracting largesse from international friends. Vanuatu has mastered the art of playing upon the obsessions and interests of other countries.

The Chinese – fixated on defeating Taiwan in any forum and gaining a foothold in the Pacific.

The French – fretting about the loss of their language and the possible loss of more Pacific colonies. Australia – in a panic about failed states in the Pacific and the possibility of terrorists lurking within them.

The British – still chipping in a little for auld lang syne. The price asked of Vanuatu is generally fairly painless. But the latest international suitor, Indonesia, is asking for a much higher price… the abandonment of a fellow Melanesian people.

MOANNA CARASSES: We have to think about Vanuatu, that’s one thing, and I think the wall are changing, the attitude are changing. In 1980s the attitude was the colonisation are strong, strong, strong. Now I think they are changing, the rule is changing at the moment. But we are caring about our brothers over there.

Until recently Dr John Ondawame has never had any trouble making connections here. There’s no answer. A West Papuan, he moved here two years ago to lobby Vanuatu full-time to help win back his country’s freedom. But today’s task is far less ambitious. He just wants his flag back, taken by the police when the Indonesian ambassador was in town.

DR. JOHN ONDAWAME: Maybe I go there to the police office to pick up my flag, Morning Star, but I’m not sure that the officer in charge is gonna be there.

A member of the outlawed OPM movement in West Papua, he was imprisoned then exiled in Sweden and 10 years in Australia before coming here.

DR. JOHN ONDAWAME: Many days they have been keeping my flag. Clearly very mad.

Until recent times the West Papuans have had more success in Vanuatu than any other place on Earth. But now things have turned frosty. He’s a bit shocked today that he can’t even get his flag back. But a tug-of-war over a flag is a minor part of a much bigger game that’s being played.

It seems that Vanuatu is doing more than just playing the West Papuan card to draw in Indonesian aid. Talks are progressing for Vanuatu to sponsor Indonesian’s entry into two regional associations which have proved most troublesome to Jakarta in the past.

Discussions between Ambassador Cotan and Moana Carcasses have revolved around Indonesia becoming a member of the MSG – the association of the Melanesian nations and the Pacific Islands Forum.

MOANNA CARASSES: So strong that Indonesia should be part of the forum because it’s a part of the Pacific. I don’t see why Indonesia shouldn’t be part of it. And because Indonesia is part of Melanesian, because there is Melanesian there, should be part of MSG.

AMBASSADOR COTAN: The inclusion of West Papua into Indonesia has been sanctioned by the UN resolution.

Both the Melanesian group and the Pacific Islands Forum is meeting in the next couple of months and the Vanuatu Government is in the middle of making its decision on whether it will sponsor Indonesia inside.

Barak Sope is outraged that his government is even talking to Indonesia, let alone sponsoring them into regional forums and he believes the majority of cabinet shares his view.

BARAK SOPE: My view of West Papua is for them to get total independence.

REPORTER: This has been the view of Vanuatu for 25 years? You and Father Walter were always strong on this.

BARAK SOPE: Yes, yes, that’s where I won’t change now, just because I’m in a coalition.

Over many years Sope has raised the West Papuan issue at the UN and was a friend of murdered West Papuan leader Chief Theys Eluay.

BARAK SOPE: Theys came here during 2000 with the delegation and he also was part of the Vanuatu delegation of the United Nations, the year 2000 and then when he went back he got killed, was killed. So this is why we’re saying how can Indonesia say that they’re looking after the West Papuans while they’re killing them?

MOANNA CARASSES: I think Indonesia want first to show that they are not the beasts that they used to be, there is a change of approach and attitude. And they come to Vanuatu saying that “We have something to offer you, we have trade to offer you, commerce, and we can do business together.”

BARAK SOPE: Whatever is coming to Vanuatu from Indonesia is almost nothing. A few cars, some tractors or something like this.

Are you disappointed then? Are you disappointed?

BARAK SOPE: Yeah, I’m totally disappointed in not receiving – just because receiving a couple of cars and 200,000 people have – Melanesian people have been killed for their freedom.

A church function provides a little light relief for Prime Minister Ham Lini. For the PM and his family, politics, although unspoken today, are never far away. Laura Lini sits on the other side of the field, away from the family and resolutely in opposition ever since she confronted Ambassador Cotan.

HAM LINI: Actually since she took part in that action that was made, she didn’t come back to my house to say anything. I only met her on Saturday when we were there but we haven’t talked about that. But that may be she’s doing what… her father was had a very strong belief on that.

REPORTER: How do you feel about this? Of course Father Lini was your brother and he was very strong on West Papua, do you feel a family commitment to this or you think it’s time to move on?

HAM LINI: As I said, I think maybe it depends on situation but now maybe it’s time to look differently.

Although she’s now lost access to her uncle’s dinner table, Laura Lini has been working overtime with the traditional chiefs of Vanuatu. The chiefs still exert enormous power here and they have a strong attachment to West Papua, regarded by many as the home of Vanuatu’s ancestors.

LAURA LINI: If he comes out to say publicly that he’s going to have dialogue with Indonesia, and that will be a problem with the chiefs because the chiefs have come out publicly to say that we don’t want to have anything to do with Indonesia. And politics, when it involves chiefs, it can become very – quite messy.

There are many West Papuan support groups around the world, but few have this much clout. Having the daughter of the most revered political leader in the country’s history helps, and not many groups would have the leader of the opposition dash over from parliament when he hears they’re meeting.

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, (Translation): For me, the Indonesians in West Papua are tourists. They’re not from West Papua. So why would the Vanuatu government support a tourist who has come for a holiday, who comes to take money and then go?

But the most important person here today is not a politician, it’s a representative from the council of chiefs.

REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COUNCIL OF CHIEFS, (Translation): We can’t stand by and watch such suffering. This is not just me, but all the chiefs of Vanuatu. And I must say, when the chiefs are backing something, there’s no corner their influence does not penetrate.

On sacred ground on the outskirts of Port Vila, the traditional chiefs of Vanuatu are gathering. It’s an extraordinary moment for West Papua but John Ondawame is still fuming about his flag.

DR. JOHN ONDAWAME: They’re keeping my flag. I don’t like it very much and there’s already people died for – because of this flag so I won’t tolerate anymore. I will lose patience for that. I’ve had enough.

You’ve had enough?

LAURA LINI: You can see in the background we have some chiefs that are here and they’re at the moment waiting for the Prime Minister to arrive.

If the chiefs call a meeting, the Prime Minister will come?

LAURA LINI: Yes. Always? Always. They’re going to tell the Prime Minister today that the West Papua issue is now on the hands of the chiefs of Vanuatu. We will hear what the Prime Minister will have to say but I’m sure that he will be able to tell us this afternoon. Hopefully after today I will be able to go back to the house.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: Honourable Prime Minister, you have come, and we believe your understand custom. You follow our traditions. You heard the chiefs say they needed you and you came.

With the courtesies out of the way, chief Vera Venglat gets into his stride. As one of the wise men, Vera Venglat invokes the memory of the PM’s dead brother, Walter Lini, the father of Vanuatu, and in an anniversary year, the memory of what Vanuatu once stood for.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: What we are now discussing is based on what the father of Vanuatu talked about a long time ago. It’s about the issue of West Papua.

The PM looks increasingly chastened as the chief picks up steam.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: We can’t sit by and watch our brother countries suffer.

For 20 minutes the chief spells out his concerns about dealing with Indonesia. The ancestors came from West Papua, the blood that is spilt there is the blood of the chiefs of Vanuatu.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: And now our chiefs are standing up. Our chiefs have wisdom and feel their pain. Now they have sat down at the sacred fire.

Vera Venglat wraps up with a payment to the PM, an offering more valuable than the gifts of any foreign emissaries – sacred mats and kava to seal the deal.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: My talk will finish here and now we have bought this kava root here. We want the words of the father of independence to be brought up again. We need to open these discussions again so that our brothers can be free the West Papua. Thank you.

An extraordinary transformation seems to take place with Ham Lini as he commits himself to the freedom of the West Papuans.

HAM LINI: So I want the assure everyone here, although it might be a hard time and a long time, West Papua will be free according to God’s plan. And we in our small ways need to look for ways to help.

Lini is a man of custom, but he’s also a politician. He knows the chiefs have influence in every village in Vanuatu in a way that local members could only dream of.

REPORTER: He talks straight about West Papua?

MAN: He answered what we asked him. And he was all right. He talked straight.

The Prime Minister accepts the chief’s gifts and in doing so, accepts their speech and their commands.

MAN: We told him to come to the talk and he came.

REPORTER: And he must listen to you?

MAN: He must listen, because he’s a man who knows custom.

REPORTER: Can he disagree, does he have to obey or is he his own man?

MAN: He will agree.

REPORTER: Would there be trouble if he did not agree?

MAN: There’d be no trouble if he didn’t agree but there would be an enquiry to find out why.

With the Melanesian nations meeting this month and the Pacific Islands Forum soon after, the coming weeks will tell whether old friends or new will prevail upon Ham Lini.

GEORGE NEGUS: And Mark tells us it seems the chiefs have had a victory. A member of the Free Papua Movement will join Vanuatu’s official delegation to the Melanesian nations meeting in a few days time.

New Orleans a 'ghost town' as thousands flee

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on New Orleans a 'ghost town' as thousands flee)

New Orleans has become a “ghost town” with only 10,000 residents left after thousands fled to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Gustav, which is bearing down on the city, Mayor Ray Nagin said today.

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“We think at a maximum we may have 10,000 people left in the city. It is a true ghost town,” said Mr Nagin, who said police estimate that as many as 327,000 have evacuated New Orleans.

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“If there's any area where people did not evacuate, it's probably people who have means, people who live uptown(and were) never really flooded” by Hurricane Katrina three years ago, he said, speaking on local television.

“They were out walking their dogs this morning and had no intention of leaving. God bless them,” said Mr Nagin.

The mayor said he spoke by telephone with President George W Bush today and that both “felt good” about preparations for Gustav thus far, after the bungled response to killer Katrina three years ago.

'Storm of the century'

More than 1,800 people died along the US Gulf Coast in 2005, most of them in New Orleans, where thousands were stranded for days without food or sanitation.

“It is just nice to see a plan come together,” Mr Nagin said. “The difference between now and Katrina is that we knew what we had to do in Katrina, we just didn't have the resources. This time we do.”

New Orleans residents fled the city by car, bus, train and airplane as the storm bore down the US Gulf coast, with landfall expected at midday on Monday, local time.

Mr Nagin yesterday ordered the city emptied in the face of what he warned would be “the storm of the century”, and advised that those who stay behind would have to fend for themselves.

Gustav is on course to crash ashore near New Orleans, in what Mr Nagin said would be the first major test of the city's newly fortified infrastructure and rebuilt levees after Hurricane Katrina levelled part of the city three years ago.

Test of rebuilt levees

“It's the first time it's going to be tested since Katrina,” he said, adding that it was likely that some flooding would result when the category three storm arrived.

“I don't want to jinx us in any way,” he said, “but looking at this storm, I think we'll have flooding on the west bank. Don't think we can get away from that unless the storm goes to a category two or one.

He added: “I think the levees are going to hold on the east bank for the most part… Everywhere else, I'm betting, is going to hold.”

Mr Nagin said Hurricane Gustav would provide proof of just how far the city has come in its post-Katrina reconstruction and may even convince some former New Orleans residents that it is safe to return.

“People are waiting to see if these levees are for real,” he said. “I think that's going to send a tremendous signal to everybody that the levee work that was done, even though it's not complete, is in good shape.

“We're protected. And I think the rebuilding is going to take off one more time.”

Geoff Hoon Interview

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Geoff Hoon Interview)

MARK DAVIS: Geoff Hoon, a few days ago German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer very publicly declared to Donald Rumsfeld, “I’m sorry but I’m not convinced.

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” That would probably be a fair summary of the international reaction to American and the British case for war and probably a fair summary of your own people’s response. They’re not convinced. Why not?

GEOFF HOON, BRITISH DEFENCE SECRETARY: Because the United Nations process still has to run its course. In resolution 1441 unanimously agreed by the Security Council in November of last year, it was recognised that there would be a series of reports by the United Nations weapons inspector – an important one of those will take place on Friday, 14 February when Hans Blix and his colleagues will report back to the Security Council about the level of cooperation. As we know already from their previous report, they’re far from satisfied that Iraq is cooperating in the way that the resolution requires.

MARK DAVIS: But it would seem that your own people aren’t with you in your actions to date. Does this level of public disquiet concern you?

GEOFF HOON: I don’t accept that. Again, if you look at the opinion polling in the United Kingdom, it certainly demonstrates that people are concerned about the prospect of war and I would expect them to be concerned – not least because the Government are not saying that there will necessarily with be a war.

MARK DAVIS: Some polls suggest, though, that more than 80% of people are against the war without the backing of the Security Council. Almost half of them are against the war under any circumstances. This is hardly a secure platform for you and it is dividing your nation already.

GEOFF HOON: Obviously we want to see that second United Nations Security Council resolution and we are working for that in the context of the Security Council. We do want to make sure that there is as broad a possible international coalition in support of the United Nations process as well as, obviously as well, within the United Kingdom.

MARK DAVIS: Well, great hopes were placed on Colin Powell’s intelligence revelations last week, but many found that case wanting. Your own Government’s release of supposed secret intelligence was undermined when it was revealed that the report was lifted from a student’s thesis and other parts taken from a defence magazine. Given that, can you blame people for not supporting you so far, indeed not trusting you or your government?

GEOFF HOON: Let me deal first of all with what I thought was an excellent presentation by Secretary of State Powell in New York. He set out examples, which no-one has contradicted, of where the Iraqi regime is simply not cooperating.

MARK DAVIS: This message has not sunk in. I mean clearly large parts of Europe are not accepting your argument. It’s the most serious charge you can make about another nation. You need more than just rather loose allegations.

GEOFF HOON: Well, these allegations were accepted by every member of the Security Council in November when there was a unanimous vote for 1441. Even last week, all, all European nations supported 1441 and the process that it set down in a meeting of the general affairs council of the European Union. So there is not any great disunity.

MARK DAVIS: It seems to be an overly sunny outlook to this issue to say there is no disunity. I mean there is disunity within your own party – some people suggest the party is splitting. There’s disunity amongst your own people, you’re about to have a massive demonstration, I assume, this weekend. Isn’t it a rather nice spin to say there’s no disunity on this very, very important question?

GEOFF HOON: Certainly there will always be people who oppose the use of force in any circumstances. But in my judgment, in fact they are a minority of public opinion in the United Kingdom.

MARK DAVIS: But in this instance, it’s not the normal suspects, if you like, of peace activists. You must be getting some sense that this is really dividing across certainly classes, across the political spectrum. Or is that not the case?

GEOFF HOON: I accept that there is great concern, but there should be great concern about the prospect of military action. There is great concern inside the government that we should ensure that we take every step we can to try and avoid the use of force. But Iraq has had more than 12 years in which to cooperate with the will of the international community and even now it is clear that that cooperation is not forthcoming.

MARK DAVIS: We don’t know even now that’s clear. Hans Blix is in Baghdad reportedly making considerable progress. I note that amongst the British public more than 80% of them trust Hans Blix’s judgment more than they trust – almost twice as much as they trust Tony Blair’s.

GEOFF HOON: It obviously is important to see what Hans Blix finds in Baghdad. I would simply be slightly cautious about placing my trust in the Iraqi regime.

MARK DAVIS: Well, the French and the Germans are now lobbying for an independent UN force to be deployed to Iraq to assist the UN inspectors, to enforce the destruction of weapons but not necessarily to topple Saddam. The scheme seems to be gathering support. What’s been your response to it?

GEOFF HOON: If the scheme guarantees that Iraq will cooperate with a larger force of inspectors, if it guarantees that we will know precisely the full extent of Iraq’s holdings of weapons of mass destruction and that no efforts will be made to frustrate their efforts, then clearly that is what we have been looking for all along.

MARK DAVIS: Why have the Americans rejected this proposal outright before it had barely seen the light of day?

GEOFF HOON: Simply because it says nothing about cooperation. All along the international community has required Iraq to cooperate. Iraq has said that it would cooperate, yet we’ve not seen much evidence of that other than, as I say, clear evidence of a deliberate effort to frustrate the work of the UN weapons inspectors – something that is consistent with Iraq’s track record on this issue over a very long time. So I anticipate that the United States is pretty sceptical about any scheme that does not actually have cooperation at its heart.

MARK DAVIS: On the face of it, the scheme does have some merit. If you’re publicly stated objectives are met, then your position is you would accept it?

GEOFF HOON: If there was comprehensive, total cooperation with the international community, something that we have been looking for all along from Iraq, then clearly that would satisfy our requirements. But, as I said earlier, we must be sceptical about whether in fact Iraq is being entirely open and honest at this stage having sought to avoid its responsibilities so far.

MARK DAVIS: Geoff Hoon, thanks for joining us.

US, Iraq to sign new security pact

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on US, Iraq to sign new security pact)

US President George W.

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Bush and Mr Maliki will next year agree on the terms for what could be an open-ended US military presence in the war-torn country.

During a secure videoconference, the two leaders signed a non-binding statement of principles for the negotiations, setting a July 31, 2008 target date to formalise US-Iraq economic, political, and security relations.

Mr Maliki announced in Baghdad that the accord sets 2008 as the final year for US-led forces to operate in Iraq under a UN mandate, which the new bilateral arrangement would replace. The current one-year UN mandate expires December 31.

Under the document signed and made public on Monday, the new security pact would trigger the end of UN sanctions imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and return full sovereignty to the government in Baghdad.

“All the justification created by the former regime is now over,” Mr Maliki said, a reference to Saddam Hussein, the dictator ousted by the March 2003 US-led invasion and later executed.

At the White House, US “war czar” Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said that next year's talks would cover issues at the heart of the bitter US debate over the war — including whether Washington would have permanent bases in Iraq, how many US troops would be stationed there, and for how long.

“The basic message here should be clear: Iraq is increasingly able to stand on its own; that's very good news, but it won't have to stand alone,” Lieutenant General Lute told reporters in a briefing on the tentative accord.

“The shape and size of any long-term, or longer than 2008, US presence in Iraq will be a key matter for negotiation between the two parties, Iraq and the United States,” he said.

Lt Gen Lute's remarks were notable in that top US officials, starting with Mr Bush, have repeatedly denied seeking permanent bases in Iraq or that the US deployment — currently at roughly 162,000 troops — is open-ended.

The Bush-Maliki agreement was also expected to raise eyebrows with one provision that cited the need to promote the flow of international capital to Iraq but “especially American investments.”

Monday's announcement means that the Bush administration and Iraq will work out the future of US forces in Iraq in the shadow of the November 2008 US presidential election and despite sky-high US public opposition to the war.

Congress backing not required

Any resulting agreement could limit the ability of Mr Bush's successor to break with the current US strategy, as Democratic candidates have promised to do amid increasingly vocal calls for a US withdrawal.

While Mr Maliki said any final deal would require the Iraqi parliament's approval, Lt Gen Lute said the accord would not need backing from the US Congress, which is in the hands of Mr Bush's Democratic foes.

“It's a mutual statement of intent that will be used to frame our formal negotiations in the course of the upcoming year. It's not a treaty, but it's rather a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations,” he said.

The hoped-for accord “will be something like a 'state of forces agreement,' which would then replace the existing Security Council mandate as the authority by which we operate alongside our Iraqi partners inside Iraq,” he said.

“So what US troops are doing, how many troops are required to do that, are bases required, which partners will join them — all these things are on the negotiating table,” Lt Gen Lute said.

A status of forces agreement is usually a key part of any agreement to base US forces in another country, and often cover difficult issues like entry and exit rights and legal jurisdiction over US military personnel.

Full list of Walkley winners

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Full list of Walkley winners)

Journalists from television, radio and online, as well as photographers and cartoonists, have been honoured in the 52nd Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

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SBS won three separate awards. Dateline's Ginny Stein won two Walkleys, and World News Australia journalist Brian Thomson also won an award.

The top award – the Gold Walkley – went to The Australian's Hedley Thomas for his report on the Dr Haneef case. The Walkley was Thomas's fourth award in his nineteen-year career.

A full list of award winners is given below.

TOP AWARD WINNERS

Gold Walkley: Hedley Thomas, The Australian

Journalistic Leadership: Eric Beecher

Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism: Gerard Noonan

Nikon Walkley Press Photographer of the Year: Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald

Non-Fiction book: Chris Masters, Jonestown

PRINT AWARD WINNERS

Three Headings: Hall Greenland

Magazine Feature Writing: Malcolm Knox, The Monthly

Newspaper Feature Writing: James Button, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald

ARTWORK WINNERS

Cartoon: Cathy Wilcox, The Sydney Morning Herald

Artwork: Sturt Krygsman, The Australian

PHOTOGRAPHY WINNERS

News Photography: Eddie Safarik, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Daily Life Photography: Lisa Wiltse, The Sydney Morning Herald

Sport Photography: Craig Golding, The Sydney Morning Herald

Photographic Essay: Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald

RADIO WINNERS

Radio News Reporting: Rafael Epstein, ABC Radio

Radio Current Affairs Reporting: Anne Barker, ABC Radio

Radio Feature, Documentary or Broadcast Special: Eurydice Aroney and Sharon Davis, ABC Radio

TELEVISION WINNERS

Television News Reporting: Brian Thomson, SBS TV

Television Current Affairs Reporting (Less than 20 mins): Frank McGuire and Adam Shand, Nine Network

Television News and Current Affairs Camera: Andrew Taylor, ABC TV

Television Current Affairs, Feature, Documentary or Special (More than 20 mins): Matthew Brown and Wayne Harley, ABC TV

ALL MEDIA WINNERS

Best Use of the Medium: ABC Radio and online

Coverage of Suburban or Regional Affairs: Greg McFarland, Central Western Daily

International Journalism: Ginny Stein, SBS TV

Coverage of the Asia-Pacific Region: Rowan Callick, The Australian

Business Journalism: Anthony Klan, The Australian

Investigative Journalism: Ginny Stein, SBS TV

Coverage of Indigenous Affairs: Tony Koch, The Australian

Sports Feature Coverage: Wendy Page, ABC TV

Sport News Reporting: Craig Hutchinson, Nine Network

Social Equity Journalism: Frank Moorhouse, Griffith Review

Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique: Tony Walker, The Australian Financial Review

Broadcast Interviewing: Tony Jones, ABC TV

The Death of the American Dream?

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Dateline investigates whether or not the American dream is still alive.

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Video journalist Aaron Lewis is in Santa Barbara, California, surrounded by some of the most valuable real estate in America, yet his story unfolds in a car park.

VIDEO: Life In Cars

YOUR SAY: What are your thoughts on America's housing crisis?

Such is the magnitude of the US’s economic crisis that a new breed of homeless person is emerging: middle class Americans who’ve lost their homes and are forced to live in their cars. To keep them safe at night, the New Beginnings Foundation has arranged for security guards to watch over the sleepers at 12 different parking lots.

Aaron meets Craig Miller, whose life coach business dried up as the economy plummeted. Now he, his wife and two children live in a borrowed recreational vehicle.

One real estate broker tells Lewis the phenomenon is the new downside to keeping up with the Jones’s: people buying trophy homes in an economic climate that required no down payment and involved little bank scrutiny.

Yet among those living in the parking lots, Aaron finds surprising optimism. Barbara Harvey has spent months sleeping in her car but has accepted an offer to stay in a friend’s house. The 60-year-old is leaving Santa Barbara, her home for 26 years, to start her life over.

More stories from Aaron Lewis

* Jungle Warfare

* Brazil's Underground Art

* Obama's Village

TRANSCRIPT

Capitalism on the skids or the complete failure of the free market – who would have predicted the last two weeks of global financial mayhem, and it ain't over yet, folks. With the multibillion-dollar bailout package rejected by a strange political marriage of ideologically driven Republicans and bemused Democrats – politics gone mad – a bit like the markets themselves. Meanwhile, with the rescue package going to the US Senate on Capitol Hill tomorrow our time for another crack at getting it through, the Wall Street contagion continues around the globe. But Dateline's Aaron Lewis discovered that any solution will come too late for Main Street Americans, some of whom have already lost everything. Here's Aaron in California.

REPORTER: Aaron Lewis

This parking lot in Santa Barbara, California, is more than what it seems. It's become a refuge for people who have lost their homes in America's mortgage crisis and now have no choice but to use their cars as a place to sleep at night.

BONNIE: This is basically what I have to sleep in.

Bonnie is 1 of nearly 100 people

BONNIE: Put my legs over there and just sleep right here.

She used to be a successful real estate broker until the mortgage crisis took her job and her two homes worth more than $1 million each.

BONNIE: My home in Topenga had a servants' entrance and a private driveway.

REPORTER: This little 2-bedroom place – two acres?

BONNIE: We had four dogs, sheep, chickens, roosters. That was the house that wouldn't sell and I bought this one without it selling and both houses together were $10,000 a month. I handled the payment for a while.

REPORTER: $1.2 million?

BONNIE: We got an offer, it was a short offer. The bank turned it down. It was 900 and something. That month after they took my house, they accepted a foreclosure offer for almost the same price they turned me down for. They took my home. They didn't have to give me a foreclosure.

Bonnie tries to keep her situation a secret and has asked us not to broadcast her full name. But it's not always possible to hide the truth of where she lives, like the time her car broke down and the mechanic asked to keep it overnight.

BONNIE: I had to tell the man at the place, “You can't keep my car overnight because I sleep in it.” That was hard.

REPORTER: That must have been awful. What did he say?

BONNIE: He looked very sad.

Barbara Harvey also lost her job and was evicted from her rented apartment. She moved here, to a beach parking lot, where she's spent the past few months sleeping in her car next to her dogs to keep warm.

BARBARA HARVEY: Ranger would probably sit right here. He would just lie down there. And then Phoebe, she might just lie there, if I'm lucky. But sometimes I didn't get lucky and they had more room back here than I did.

These lots are run by the New Beginnings Foundation. They're a safe place to spend the night for people who have lost everything in the current crisis.

BARBARA HARVEY: I was working as a notary public, notarising signatures on loan documents for people who were refinancing. And that came to a screeching halt really in December of 2007. I think I may have signed one or two loan packages but that was it. And so there wasn't an income.

Entire neighbourhoods in California are becoming ghost towns as families lose their homes, leaving them to face life on the street, often totally unprepared.

BARBARA HARVEY: I had to stay warm. I was shivering so badly that first night that I thought, “Well, now, what I have to do tonight is to be sure that I'm going to be warm.” So I retrieved some jackets from storage. I put on an extra sweater and I made sure I was going to be so wrapped up that I wouldn't get cold, and I didn't, I didn't get cold. So we figured that one out.

REPORTER: And the dogs helped?

BARBARA HARVEY: And the dogs helped a lot, yeah, helped tremendously.

REPORTER: You just curled up with them like a blanket?

BARBARA HARVEY: Yeah. I had blankets on me and they were curled up. That was the first night that we were comfortable, well, relatively.

Down the road from where Barbara sleeps, I find Craig Miller living with his wife and two children in a borrowed recreational vehicle. He tells me he was running his own business as a life coach and, when the economy went down, his business went down with it.

CRAIG MILLER: I think what brought me here is once a snowball starts to roll it starts rolling really fast and sometimes the momentum is faster than you expected it to be and then all of a sudden you have this huge catastrophe that you are trying to deal with. Sometimes, if you're not in a hole, you look at the people in the hole and you think, “Why don't they just climb out of it?” But you don't realise that there's a whole other set of issues in the hole. Sometimes it takes a lot of time just to survive.

Miller doesn't blame the banks or the government for where he's ended up. He simply calls this the flipside of American life.

CRAIG MILLER: In America, no-one looks out for you. That's part of our kind of capitalistic thing. Nobody also tells you what to do. So you can go as far as you want to go. But that also means that nobody's got your back, no-one is looking out for you, and so you can go into oblivion and nobody will know.

Nancy Kapp helps to run the safe parking lot program for the New Beginnings Foundation, a homeless outreach organisation.

NANCY KAPP I have women who are living in their vehicle who… One lady is 79 years old. She should be retired and relaxing in a nice place. But she's living in her vehicle and going to the bathroom in a jar at night. This is not the way it's supposed to be. There's something really wrong here.

TOM MATHESON: I love this whole area. I sold the land here.

Real estate broker Tom Matheson does business in Santa Barbara. He knows just how much money there is to be made, and lost, here.

TOM MATHESON: We can go from $800,000 to Montecito, which would be $47 million. That's the price range we have within a 20-minute drive. So you have $800,000 – this is regular residential home, not a condominium – up to $47 million on the beach.

The financial crisis that's rattling America is hitting top-end real estate as well – millions in property value lost overnight.

TOM MATHESON: There's been properties that have been offered at $28 million sold for $16 million. There's been properties at $23 million sold at $14 million.

Matheson says that families who couldn't afford to buy in Santa Barbara were still given loans with no down payment, and high interest rates, now to devastating effect.

TOM MATHESON: It makes me want to cry. It's hard. It shouldn't happen. I think as a responsible father and parent you don't want to see that happen. But society works on you a little bit where you want to have something better and you see that happening and it's just really hard.

NANCY KAPP The death of the American dream is here. People who had houses, they're looking at them and it's like looking at smoke and ashes. And no-one is there to help them pick up the pieces. It's like these people… The thing we need to be preventative in this country – don't let people become homeless, because once they hit the streets, that's going to be the death of us.

BONNIE I feel alone. I feel abandoned. I just feel bad about myself. It's like, “Who are you? Where are your personal things?” Nothing.

For some, the parking lot is just a stop on the road. And a few days after we first met, Barbara Harvey has received good news. An old friend heard that she was sleeping in a parking lot and has offered her a place to stay.

BARBARA HARVEY: Hello. Good to see you. Come on in.

Barbara greets me at the door of her new home, along with the Labradors who kept her warm on so many cold nights on the street.

BARBARA HARVEY: This is my bedroom and obviously the doggies' bedroom. Ranger sleeps here. Phoebe likes to sleep either on my bed in the corner here or else she'll sleep in the cupboard. I put a pillow in there for her in the cupboard.

Today Harvey looks like a different person but she doesn't feel different. Harvey believes that being homeless gave her a new perspective on middle-class aspirations, along with the ability to survive loss.

BARBARA HARVEY: The problem is that the people who feel broken by being homeless were dependent on their homes for their identity. They were dependent on all of their belongings and possessions as their identity. And that isn't who they are.

CRAIG MILLER: I'm a big believer in the American dream, but maybe not traditionally how we think of as the American dream being you know, two kids and a dog and whatever, a 3-bedroom house. I'm a big believer that people should have the freedom to follow the God-given design of their life and who they are and not try to fit into what everybody else thinks they should or shouldn't be or do, and that that ought to lead to abundance.

For Miller, life in a parking lot has redefined what abundance really means. He says that it has all woken him up to what's important.

REPORTER: Are you happier now than you were five years ago?

CRAIG MILLER: Oh, yeah, hands down.

REPORTER: Right now, in this parking lot?

CRAIG MILLER: Yeah. Even with the daily frustrations that may come. I'm less encumbered. And then I feel like when I was happy I was pretending to be happy so everyone around me was much happier, it seemed like, than me and they were pleased with my performance and who I was but I wasn't pleased, and I'm very pleased now and I become more pleased, obviously, with each new step.

For Barbara Harvey, finding a new beginning at her age will not be easy. But tomorrow morning, she'll see the sun rise through something other than her car window.

BARBARA HARVEY: I see actually a very positive future. I don't know what I'm going to be doing to earn a living, quite honestly, but it's OK because, whatever it is, that will be the right thing for me to do. That's the way I see it. If I get hired, then that's the right place to be. So that's an adventure too. If it's all an adventure, it makes it simpler.

Reporter/Camera

AARON LEWIS

Editor

WAYNE LOVE

Producer

PETER CHARLEY

Original Music composed by

VICKI HANSEN

McCain blasts Obama security credentials

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Republican presidential hopeful John McCain has played the fear card in a blistering attack on Barack Obama's security credentials.

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McCain warned voters that his Democratic rival would lead US troops to defeat in Iraq and was not qualified to protect America from terrorism.

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YOUR SAY: Is America ready for a black president?

In a strongly-worded salvo clearly designed to shift attention away from the economy and back to McCain's strongest suit just six days before the November 4 election, the former US navy pilot blasted Obama as unfit to be commander-in-chief in a dangerous world.

“With terrorists still plotting new strikes across the world, millions of innocent lives are still at stake, including American lives,” McCain said.

Speaking after a security roundtable meeting in Florida, McCain said while Americans had been preoccupied by the economic turmoil of the past month, grave threats still existed which Obama was unfit to handle.

“The question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and other grave threats in the world,” McCain said. “And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative.”

Anti-war stance mocked

McCain mocked Obama's 2002 opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq, saying his opponent was using the financial crisis to obscure the ongoing conflict.

“He cites as his most courageous moment in public life a speech he gave in 2002 – against a war resolution on which he had no vote, on a matter of national security for which he bore no responsibility,” he said.

“And now he hopes that in the cloud of crisis at home you will forget the stakes in Iraq – the disaster and tragedy that would follow if American forces leave in retreat.”

Obama has pledged to order a phased withdrawal of US forces from Iraq immediately after taking office, a move McCain claims will undo security gains made in the shattered nation since the 2007 surge of new troops.

McCain's assault on Obama came during campaign stops in Florida, a Republican-held state he almost certainly must win in order to have any hope of derailing his opponent in next week's election.

At an earlier stop in Miami, McCain attempted to reignite the question of Obama's relationship with 1960s radical Bill Ayers after barely mentioning the issue for days.

'Unrepentant terrorist'

In an interview with a Spanish-language radio station, McCain said Obama should provide a full account of his relationship with Ayers, part of the “Weathermen” movement which carried out a series of attacks to protest the Vietnam War, including on the Pentagon and US Capitol.

“I think this whole issue of the relationship with Bill Ayers needs to be known by the American people,” he told Radio Mambi. “Senator Obama said it was just a guy in the neighbourhood. We know much more than that.

“I don't care much about an old, washed-up unrepentant terrorist, and his wife who was on an FBI top 10 wanted list,” McCain said. “But we should know about their relationship.”

Whether McCain's decision to hone in on Obama's character and fitness to lead bear fruit remains to be seen. Fixing America's shattered economy remains the overwhelming concern for most voters, a Gallup poll showed on Wednesday.

The survey of 1,010 people found that 55 per cent of respondents rated the economy as “extremely important” of the top election issues.

Six issues were grouped in second place behind the economy: the federal budget deficit (44 per cent), terrorism (42), energy/gas prices (41), Iraq (41), healthcare (41) and taxes (40).

Think you know all there is to know about the race for the White House? Test yourself with our interactive quiz – updated daily.

Crackdown on Iraq holy city after suicide bombs

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Crackdown on Iraq holy city after suicide bombs)

Iraqi officials have drawn a massive security cordon around the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala after a wave of bombings in 24 hours killed at least 30 people, most of them pilgrims on their way to a festival to venerate an eighth century imam.

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VIDEO: Iraq suicide bombs kill 27

More than 40,000 soldiers and police have been mobilised, including 2,000 female security workers, to boost security in response to twin suicide bombings that killed 22 people on Friday.

Two women detonated their explosives-packed vests 50 metres apart and at a five-minute interval in Iskandariyah, 50 km south of Baghdad, said police lieutenant Kazem al-Khafaji in Babil province.

The blasts also wounded at least 73, most of them young men but also women and children, in the deadliest attack to hit the war-torn nation since last Friday, when 21 people were killed by a car bomb in Tal Afar.

General Fade Reza, police chief in Babil (Babylon) province, said he was unsure how many bombers had been involved, but there had definitely been two bombs.

Eyewitness reports also spoke of two explosions, contrasting with the US military account that said it believed only one woman was behind the attacks.

Iraqi aircraft could be seen overhead and US helicopters monitored the area around the holy city, including the desert west of Karbala from which Sunni insurgents tend to launch mortar and rockets attacks.

Iskandariyah was part of the infamous “triangle of death” and its minority Shi'ite population has long suffered attacks, including suicide bombings launched by al-Qaeda.

Iraqi security forces face a daunting task as tens of thousands of Shi'ites head on foot to Karbala to venerate Imam Mahdi, an eighth century imam who vanished as a boy and whom Shi'ites believe will return to bring justice to the world.

“We do not have enough women police to search the pilgrims,” said Reza, adding they were also short of funds to hire more people, especially women.

“During the day it is possible to identify them but at night it is more difficult. Because of the burqa (Islamic dress), sometimes you cannot even tell if they are men or women.”

Bloodshed routinely marks Shi'ite pilgrimages, the last of which was on July 28, when three female suicide bombers killed 25 Shi'ites near a Baghdad shrine.

Early on Friday, at least one Shi'ite pilgrim was killed in Baghdad and 10 more were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded as their bus was leaving for Sunday's festival, police said.

And despite the heavy security, a car-bomb attack killed another five people and wounded 20 later the same day in the Shi'ite town of Balad, 75 km north of the capital, medics said.

The string of bombings began when a roadside bomb killed a Shi'ite pilgrim in Baghdad's commercial district of Karrada as they set off for Karbala, about 110 km south of the capital.

Another explosion killed a policeman near a checkpoint in the Zafraniya district of Baghdad set up to search pilgrims heading south.

Antonio Guterres

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Antonio Guterres)

GEORGE NEGUS: Mr Guterres, thank you very much for speaking to us and giving us your time.

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I’ve heard the situation in Iraq, where refugees are concerned, described as the hidden face of that war in Iraq. We hear of people leaving the country daily, we hear of people being displaced in their own country, we’ve just seen a report of people fleeing across the border to Jordan. How bad is the situation? How many people are leaving Iraq every day? Do we know?

ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: When you have 2 million people outside the country, and 1.9 million people inside the country that had been displaced, it is of course a very serious problem. The numbers change depending on situation. At the beginning of the year we had a 40-50,000 people displaced from their homes every month. I have no figures in relation to the last month but the only thing I can tell is that it is still a serious problem and it needs the expression of international solidarity, with the Iraqis themselves, but especially now with the countries that are making a huge effort in a very generous way to support them, namely Syria and Jordan, but also some other neighbours.

GEORGE NEGUS: It would appear that the situation is getting worse. You called a special meeting recently to see if you could raise the level of sensitivity to this issue among countries around the world. Did you get anywhere?

ANTONIO GUTERRES: I think that the conference we had in a Geneva was a very important moment of awareness for the international community in relation to this problem. Indeed, as you said, what we have is the attentions of the world focused on the military situation, on the casualties every day in Baghdad, or in other parts of the country, or the political developments. But very little information or concern about the dramatic humanitarian problems created and especially about the problems of people displaced. Now I believe that there is a clear conscience in the international community, both in the dimension of the problem and also of the need to fully engage in support to the countries that are hosting in such large numbers, Iraqi refugees, and paying a heavy price in their education and health systems, in their economy, in their society and even in their security concerns. This international solidarity is now more necessary than ever.

GEORGE NEGUS: You have said actually that the best solution is a political one and that these humanitarian crisis always have political solutions, but a political solution in Iraq, looks a long way away, so we are looking at a problem that is going to get a lot worse before it gets better

ANTONIO GUTERRES: Well it might get worse before it gets better but it is absolutely essential that it gets better and that a political solution is found. There is never a humanitarian solution for a humanitarian crisis. The solutions for the humanitarian crisis are always political ones. If one looks at Syria, for example, or Jordan, you see Shi’ia, Sunnis, Christians – all kinds of Iraqis living together in relative harmony. If they do that abroad, there is no reason for them not to be able to do that in Iraq. I think that a very determined policy of national reconciliation is now necessary and I hope that once implemented it will produce results.

GEORGE NEGUS: Our country, Australia, is in the coalition of the willing. Over the past three or four years of the conflict it would appear that we have been taking 1,500 refugees from Iraq a year. Do you think Australia is shouldering its responsibilities enough? Do you think we should be taking more than that number?

ANTONIO GUTERRES: Resettlement of course is important and it is important for very the vulnerable situations, For instance, people who have been tortured, and many members of the family have been killed, belong to groups that have been particularly targeted and that will never return, even in the future, as the good solution for them. Resettlement is only a limited answer. The crucial answer is to create this whole situation for voluntary return in safety and dignity to be possible and that is our main priority is to contribute, for that to finally become a reality. In between, of course the possibility to increase Resettlement of cultures in different countries of the world is relevant and I have to say that when you look at the global resettlement programme, Australia has been one of the most generous countries in relation to a settlement opportunities offered world wide.

GEORGE NEGUS: But should we be taking more?

ANTONIO GUTERRES: Well, if possible, it would be very much welcomed, whatever much effort would be made in that direction. But as I said, if you look at all the countries in the world, Australia is clearly the group that has always in a consistent way accepted more of the resettle refugees from around the world.

GEORGE NEGUS: Mr Guterres, if I could run a particular case past you, we have just heard of a story of one man, an Iraqi, who has been tortured to within an inch of his life and kidnapped and his family was forced to pay a ransom for his return and now the family is living on handouts in Jordan. He’s been refused access to this country, Australia, for the second time. What do you think these people who have to go through to be regarded as genuine refugees?

ANTONIO GUTERRES: Well, you know, we have been advocating, very clearly, for them to be recognised as refugees. The problem is the most of the Syrians and Jordanians consider them as guests all visitors in their countries, according to the Arab tradition of hospitality. What we have been insisting is very clearly is that independently of the name given to the people the rights of the refugees are respected in that context. And I believe that we have to recognise that, broadly, the protection of these people has been guaranteed. No people have been sent back against their will to Iraq and the effort made, namely by Syria and Jordan needs to be recognised as a very generous one and needs to be supported by the international community. I think the worst thing would be for the international community not to help these countries face this problem and then to blame them if anything does not go well.

GEORGE NEGUS: What about the situation with the Palestinians? You describe them as effectively trapped with nowhere to go? What will happen to the Palestinians left in the camps on the Syrian border? They are also in a particular situation.

ANTONIO GUTERRES: But the worse situation is for the Palestinians in Bagdad, we have about 15,000 there. 600 have been killed recently. They have been targeted. Some militias consider them to be linked to the previous regime and some men, women and children had been victimised in such a way that is totally unexceptable and creates an extremely, extremely insecure situation – a dramatic situation. And it is true, we have not been able to find any solution for them. Some of them are stranded on the borders, there we can assist them, there I think their security situation is better, but of course they live in very, very negative conditions in relation to their livelihoods and to their rights.

GEORGE NEGUS: Mr Guterres, we can’t have you there without asking you a question about something that is happening locally at the moment. As a former prime minister of Portugal and East Timor of course being a former Portuguese colony, as we speak, the East Timorese are voting for their new president. Do you give a passing thought to East Timor these days, do you think it matters who the president will be? Do you have a preference?

ANTONIO GUTERRES : As a matter of fact, in my present capacity I cannot have been any political involvement in any country of the world not even mine. The only thing that I can say is that one of the most important causes in my political life has been the cause of the East Timorese people and I strongly hope that whoever is elected, whatever happens, that democracy will be stringent and East Timor will find peace and stability and progress for its population.

GEORGE NEGUS: What do you think about Australia’s role in this, because you had to deal with Australia when you were prime minister of Portugal, do you think Australia is been the honest broker that likes to see itself as being in East Timor?

ANTONIO GUTERRES: I think Australia is an extremely relevant partner and a key instrument for the stability, the progress and the support of the East Timorese. I do believe that the international community cannot act based on a rivalries or things of that sort. We need to all work together to help this small country to be able to face such problems and to face its future with hope and with success.

GEORGE NEGUS: Thanks very much for your time and all the best with this immense problem of the world’s refugees. Thanks for giving us your time.

ANTONIO GUTERRES: Thanks very much.

GEORGE NEGUS: Antonio Guterres and these UNHCR figures show that while Australia has taken an average of 1,367 Iraqis over the four years since the invasion, in the same period, the US has taken 192 a year.

Credits

Researcher/Producer

JANE WORTHINGTON

Editors

STEVE HARROP