Monday, October 23, 2017

Asylum seekers separated from children

Australian immigration authorities are refusing to let asylum seekers held in offshore detention be present at the birth of their children. Iranian Kurd Mohammad Farahi said the Australian Border Force and officials on Nauru were refusing to let him travel to Brisbane to be with his heavily pregnant wife, who was flown to Australia for treatment after being diagnosed with dengue fever. Another four men on Nauru have never seen their infant children because of the same restriction, including one man who was encouraged to relinquish custody of his daughter in order to be resettled in the United States. Speaking to the Guardian, Farahi said his wife “is crying every day, ‘I can’t stay here, take me back, I need my husband’ ”.

A Fairfax investigation into the Exclusive Brethren has alleged the church bribed a former member to keep quiet about a pattern of child sex abuse. Journalist Michael Bachelard claims the Brethren agreed to pay whistleblower Tony McCorkell $920,000 over ten years, in exchange for gagging him from speaking to journalists or giving evidence in court. Bachelard also claims the Brethren prayed for his death and that of McCorkell, who died this year aged 37, and that the Brethren considered bribing Bachelard to stop the reporting on them. Last year Bachelard published McCorkell’s admissions that he personally “dealt with” allegations of sexual abuse for the church.

Victoria’s Legislative Assembly has passed laws legalising euthanasia after a marathon debate. MPs voted on the bill after more than 24 hours of debate, with opponents proposing 141 unsuccessful amendments in a bid to postpone its passage. Health minister Jill Hennessy took exception to the efforts of deputy premier James Merlino to neuter the bill, calling him a “cunt” in a text message inadvertently sent to Merlino. Premier Daniel Andrews embraced Hennessy after the vote, calling her efforts “extraordinary”. The bill will be voted on by Victoria’s Legislative Council in two weeks.

And national broadband network chief executive Bill Morrow has warned the NBN may never make a profit and may need government intervention to remain viable. Speaking to Fairfax ahead of a Four Corners report tonight detailing the NBN’s myriad delays and problems, Morrow said the NBN was only collecting “about $43 per month” from each home installation, while it needed to collect $52 “in order to recover costs”. Morrow said the NBN board was “betting” that households would use more bandwidth requiring higher data plans in the future, conceding that “if it doesn't come together, we've got a problem”. The NBN is legally required to turn a profit, but increased competition from private sector mobile data networks is making it increasingly unlikely the NBN will meet that condition.

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I thought ‘oh the poor thing, clearly the operator’s just put him straight through’.

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The race to save coffee

“Climate change could spell disaster for coffee, a crop that requires specific temperatures to flourish and that is highly sensitive to a range of pests. So scientists are racing to develop more tenacious strains of one of the world’s most beloved beverages ... Climate scientists say few coffee-growing regions will be spared the effects of climate change. Most of the world’s crop is cultivated around the equator, with the bulk coming from Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.” the washington post

Can a thrash metal band help save the Māori language?

“Alien Weaponry’s celebration of Māori language, which is also known as te reo, comes at a critical time in New Zealand, as the rate of proficiency continues to decline. The latest census data shows only 21 percent of Māori could speak the language in 2013 compared with 25 percent in 2001. Across the total population, less than 4 percent can hold a conversation in Māori. The problem is not isolated to New Zealand. It’s estimated that of the roughly 6,000 languages in the world, at least 43 percent are endangered.” the atlantic

Seven days on the Oprah cruise: At sea with a ship full of superfans, including my mom

“I am now drunk, back in our room, wearing a two-piece Chico set and my new Oprah hat. I just bought those things. I also got some foot cream, a plush blanket, and the gummy candies Oprah swears by. Eventually everything but the gummies will be at the bottom of my closet, but in this moment I am certain I need it all. My mom bought a necklace. Shopping, to her, was very pleasant. That night our room attendants leave us a journal and a pen. Tomorrow, says a little pamphlet on the bed, is the first day of the rest of your lives!” the cut



Which side of the postal vote campaign has more momentum?

“As the marriage equality postal vote campaign enters its last weeks, thousands of ‘yes’ voters took to the streets of Sydney on Saturday afternoon in a final push for votes. Up to 15,000 ‘yes’ campaigners met in Belmore Park and marched towards Victoria Park with bright colours and music, in a bid to encourage remaining voters to mail in their postal forms this week.”  fairfax


Impossible to tell. Too close to call.

“A crowd of about 500 people gathered outside St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday afternoon, preparing to march through the CBD, where they chanted ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, No No No’ ... ‘no’ rally organiser Phillipa Bruce said she was expecting a bigger crowd but had some problems when advertising the event. ‘Unfortunately, we had radio advertising ready to go out and that was delayed for whatever reason’, she said.” abc


and finally:

Following Dril, the Twitter account at the end of the world

“Whenever something big happens, everyone tries to find the corresponding Dril tweet that captures it. Miraculously, it never fails. Over the course of 10 years and some 7,500 tweets, Dril has rendered a tightly written comedic exaggeration of every daily outrage and conflict from the news cycle in which we find ourselves trapped. As the real world warps itself around Trump’s angry rhetoric, the subjective hallucinations of Dril have become more and more relatable. Now, we are all Dril.” the av club