World News

WWF’s Living Planet Report shines a spotlight on the alarming decline of wildlife populations


Worldwide wildlife populations have declined an average of 69 per cent in the years between 1970 and 2018 the World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s latest Living Planet Report reveals in an alarming and devastating publication. The report, based on WWF’s Living Planet Index (LPI) of wildlife species, in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), includes 32,000 populations of more than 5,000 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, with more than 1,100 of these populations in Australia.  WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman regards the report as a “health check on our planet”, with this latest health check reporting…

Police use of facial recognition technology requires vigilant supervision


NEW best practice principles for the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement have been released by the World Economic Forum. The proposed governance framework will be piloted in the Netherlands to see if it can mitigate the risks inherent in facial recognition surveillance. The white paper represents the first global multistakeholder effort to manage risks to citizens of facial recognition technology, with a partnership of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and the Netherlands police. Netherlands head of special police…

Monash University helped eleven young Afghan academics escape the Taliban


INTERNATIONAL rescue plans to protect and evacuate endangered citizens are not usually on a university’s curriculum. However, Monash University’s director of Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre, Professor Jacqui True, realised she had to do something about the Afghan scholars and teachers involved in the debate program created by the University and its International Affairs Society in Kabul, Afghanistan. “On 14 August, when Kabul fell, I knew we had to do what we could to help them,” Professor True said. “We felt a responsibility to do everything we could to protect them at a time of geopolitical instability, especially as…

Iraqi villagers banished over government minister’s ISIS-linked family feud


NINETY-ONE Iraqi families have been illegally expelled from al-Aetha village north of Baghdad over an alleged ‘familial feud’ involving Defence Minister Juma Inad. Minister Inad has reportedly punished his brother, Abdulrazaq Inad, for marrying the widow of a member allegedly linked to the Islamic State, by confiscating government issued vehicles and forcibly removing families from al-Aetha. Iraqi armed forces transported villagers to one of the camps assembled to house internally displaced persons (IDP) in Nineveh Governate, close to the final battleground of ISIS’s failed push to form a regional caliphate. Human rights groups criticised the Kadhimi administration’s closure of IDP…

Adelaide stands shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan


HUNDREDS of Adelaideans have demanded the federal government show compassion for Afghanistan. Members of Adelaide’s sizeable Afghan community – who fear for their families and country in the wake of the Taliban takeover – organised a candlelight vigil Saturday night in Victoria Square. Among the attendees were Premier Steven Marshall and Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas, who heard speakers urge the commonwealth to evacuate more people from fallen Kabul and to resettle more refugees in Australia. SA Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission member Hussain Razaiat warned the federal government not to disappoint Afghans and the Australians who stand with them. “As proud…

Australia’s Afghan community fear for women and Hazara’s now under Taliban control


THE US-led war in Afghanistan came to a swift close this week as Taliban fighters seized power in Kabul. Following the American withdrawal from Afghanistan after twenty years of occupation, cities fell to the Taliban in rapid succession and the country was plunged into turmoil. The western occupation of Afghanistan cost over one trillion US dollars since 2002 and is America’s longest war. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended Australia’s participation in the war in Afghanistan. “It’s always Australia’s cause to fight for freedom, and whatever the result, whatever the outcomes of that, Australians have always stood up for that,”…

Australia has a responsibility to Afghan refugees


THE Australian government’s response to the escalating refugee crisis in Afghanistan has been grossly inadequate, argues the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Thousands of Afghans are currently at risk following the Taliban’s takeover of the capital and last remaining stronghold, Kabul. Women, journalists, human rights activists, and ethnic and religious minorities are among those fearing for their lives as the Taliban take control of the country. In a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded that the Australian government would not be able to help all those who had assisted Australian troops. “I know that support won’t reach all…

Ethiopian children will starve and die as violent carnage continues


MASS child starvation is expected to rise tenfold in Ethiopia’s conflict-ridden Tigray region as warfare continues to shatter emergency supply lines. In 2019, Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed claimed to distance the country from tense and longstanding ethnic nationalism by condensing regional parties into a nationally representative Prosperity Party. Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the previous ruling party of Ethiopia, refused to join the ruling Prosperity Party until violent tensions erupted in November 2019 as insurgencies to control Mekelle, the capital of Tigray region, made rape and extrajudicial killings a daily occurrence. UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado now estimates that over 100,000 children…

Australia must stand with Belarusian protesters, older people, women and children: Amnesty International


The ongoing detention, torture, and ill treatment of peaceful protestors in Belarus is a gross violation of human rights that cannot stand unopposed on the global stage. In a series of reports and briefings, Amnesty International has documented gross human rights violations against Belarusian protesters, older people, women and children. Since Belarus’ controversial presidential election in August 2020, tens of thousands of peaceful protestors have been detained, tortured, and some even killed. This surge in police violence, torture and other forms of ill treatment in custody has amassed victims of regime violence on an unprecedented scale across the country. The…

MSF International President appeals to the Australian government


Australia must stop blocking landmark proposal that would improve access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is urging the Australian government to support a proposal which would waive certain intellectual property on COVID-19 medical tools and technologies until global herd immunity is reached. The proposal made to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by India and South Africa, is being supported by more than 100 countries. However, Australia remains one of ten countries in opposition. “Even after one year of this pandemic, and 2.5 million deaths, we still see certain governments denying that removing monopolies on COVID-19 medical…

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