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April 20, 2016

Charges against Sally Faulkner and 60 Minutes news crew dropped in Lebanon abduction case

Charges against Sally Faulkner and 60 Minutes news crew dropped in Lebanon abduction case

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner and the crew of Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes are free to leave Lebanon after kidnapping charges against them were today dropped.

Faulkner reportedly made a deal to secure her release, accepting her estranged husband Ali el-Amine’s custody of her two children. This comes after she allegedly hired professionals to abduct the children in Beirut on April 7 while in the care of their Lebanese grandmother.

While personal charges against Australian journalist Tara Brown, her three crew members and Faulkner have been dropped, they still face criminal charges in Lebanon of kidnapping and being members of a criminal gang. If the state chooses to pursue these charges, it could require the accused to return to answer them.

Channel Nine Middle East correspondent Tom Steinfort said that Nine’s lawyers have confirmed bail has been paid for the TV crew, and that they will fly to Australia from Beirut tonight.

The deal between El-Amine and Channel Nine resulted in a significant financial settlement, Fairfax Media reports.

El-Amine is still pursuing charges carrying a maximum 20-year sentence against the crew of Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) who allegedly conducted the operation.

Adam Whittington of CARI, along with several others involved in the alleged kidnapping, remained in custody. Their lawyers claimed positive developments in the case, saying “everyone will take advantage of the deal.”

In remarks on Monday to News Corp Australia, Whittington said he has receipts for A$115,000 paid directly by the Nine Network to fund the operation.

According to Steinfort, in dropping charges against the 60 Minutes crew, El-Amine told Judge Rami Abdullah the reporters were ‘just doing their job’, and later joked to Steinfort about his relationship with Channel Nine.



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April 16, 2016

Lebanon child abduction charges against mother may be dropped in exchange for custody

Lebanon child abduction charges against mother may be dropped in exchange for custody

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crime and law
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Sally Faulkner, who allegedly hired professionals to snatch her children from Beirut last week, was offered kidnapping charges to be dropped if she relinquishes custody of her children, according to reports yesterday. This is on the condition she will have full access rights, but must never take the children back to Australia.

The children’s father and Faulkner’s estranged husband, Ali el-Amien, took the children to Lebanon on holiday in 2014 and never returned them to their Brisbane home. Faulkner was granted sole custody of the children, Lahela and Noah, by the Family Court of Australia in December of last year. Faulkner’s lawyer, Ghassan Moghabghab, said Lebanese religious authorities had granted the father full custody.

In remarks to Australian news service ABC News, Moghabghab said money supplied by the Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes was paid to Child Abduction Recovery International, who conducted the abduction last week.

Mr Moghabghab has declined to make further statements, saying it may influence legal negotiations. The Nine Network has also refused to comment on allegations of giving A$115,000 to Faulkner either as payment for rights to the story or to fund the abduction.

The 60 Minutes news crew was remanded in custody beside Faulkner on Wednesday. They face potential jail time of up to 20 years. The crew’s charges include kidnapping, physical assault, withholding information and forming an association to commit a crime against a person. The case has been adjourned until Monday. Judge Rami Abdullah says there is “no chance” of the charges being dropped against the 60 Minutes crew.

According to Child Recovery Australia, less than half of Australian children abducted by a parent are returned through legal means. Lebanon isn’t party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia is making every effort to support the crew and Faulkner, but the legal jurisdiction of Lebanon has to be respected.



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April 14, 2016

Australian Television Crew under Arrest in Lebanon

Filed under: Australia,Crime and law,Disputed,Lebanon,Middle East,Oceania — admin @ 5:00 am

Australian television crew under arrest in Lebanon

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

A team from the Australian television current affairs programme, 60 minutes, are currently imprisoned in Lebanon facing charges of kidnapping, hiding information, assault and forming an association to commit a crime. If found guilty they could face a lengthy custodial sentence. The television crew had been in Lebanon to document an Australian mother’s attempt to recover her children aged six and four from her estranged husband. The husband had taken the children on a holiday to Lebanon and despite promising to return them, had not done so. In Australia there are 250 children each year who are abducted by a parent or other family members into or out of Australia. This equates to approximately two or three children a week. Less than fifty percent of these children are recovered by the authorities and returned. The Australian television crew comprises of reporter Tara Brown, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williams and sound recordist David Ballmeet. They are among a group of nine people, including the children’s mother Sally Faulkner, being investigated. The group has been questioned by Judge Rami Abdullah as part of the investigative stage and the case has been adjourned until Monday.



Sources[]

http://www.smh.com.au/world/60-minutes-tara-brown-and-crew-formally-charged-in-lebanon-20160412-go4qru.html |Charges filed against 60 minutes reporter Tara Brown and crew in Lebanon |Rory Callinan, Suzan Haldamous and Kate Aubusson |The Sydney Morning Herald |13 April 2016 }}

|Parental Child Abduction Research Info |author= |Child Recovery Australia |2014 }}

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January 11, 2014

Nauru raises media visa application fee from AU$200 to $8,000

Nauru raises media visa application fee from AU$200 to $8,000

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

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Nauru offshore processing facility in 2012.
Image: Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Nauru offshore processing facility in 2012.
Image: DIAC.

The cabinet of the island nation of Nauru endorsed rise of the cost of an application for single-entry three-month media visa from AU$200 to $8,000 last Thursday.

The rise followed a scandal last weekend involving 60 Lebanese asylum seekers voluntarily deciding to return home from the Nauru offshore processing facility, an Australian immigration detention facility, after facing harsh physical conditions and disorientation.

Nauru’s Government Information Office Director Joanna Olsson appeared to be unaware that the new visa fee had yet to take effect, writing an email to a visa applicant about the new fee last Tuesday: “Sorry for the late response but yes we are granting media visas. The fee is $8000 per visa, single entry valid for 3 months. The visa fee is not refundable if the application is not successful.” She also claimed the new fee had been implemented “a couple [of] months ago”, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

On the contrary, on Thursday during a meeting, Nauru’s Principal Immigration Officer Ernest Stephen said the price change was “not official” and the price rise had not yet passed into law through the Parliament. Stephen said only three or four Nauru media visas were granted last year.

A member of Nauru Opposition Group, Mathew Batsiua, claimed the move was an oppression of journalistic freedom. “They [the Nauru authorities] certainly bully our local media in terms of what they can show, who they can interview, and this is another illustration of that kind of behaviour in terms of bullying media and avoiding accountability. … This hiking up of fees for journalists coming in to Nauru is a step in that direction, and we think that it’s the wrong move and we’re certainly opposing it.”

The rise of the visa fee followed a recent scandal involving the majority of 60 Lebanese asylum seekers, targeted by people smugglers, deciding to return home from the Nauru and neighbouring Manus Island detention centres after a discussion with Australian government adviser Jamal Rifi on the weekend of January 4.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reviewed the detention centre in December 2012, reporting poor physical conditions:

The conditions at the closed and congested detention centre [are] harsh, with little natural shelter from the heat during the day. These conditions are aggravated by noise and dust from the construction of the permanent facility.

– UNHCR, 2012

The UNHCR has also cited delays processing the refugee applications, lack of legal counseling, health issues including trauma and mental health cases, and responsibility of both Australia and Nauru for the treatment. In another review in November last year, UHCR reported improved physical conditions while criticizing progress on reception conditions and refugee applications processing.

Yesterday Australian officials told a Pakistani refugee living in Australia that a refugee application could take up to ten years to process, while he was applying for refuge for his brothers following death of his parents and wife in Pakistan.



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August 24, 2013

Lebanon car bombings kill dozens outside mosques

Lebanon car bombings kill dozens outside mosques

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lebanon
Other stories from Lebanon
  • 11 January 2014: Nauru raises media visa application fee from AU$200 to $8,000
  • 3 September 2013: Airlines plan reroutes around Syria as potential for US military intervention increases
  • 24 August 2013: Lebanon car bombings kill dozens outside mosques
  • 7 August 2013: Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott
  • 26 May 2013: Two rockets hit southern Beirut
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42 or more people have died, the Lebanese health ministry says, and over 500 wounded, from two car bomb explosions yesterday in the largely Sunni Muslim Lebanese city of Tripoli. The blasts occurred outside of the Taqwa and al-Salam mosques while hundreds of worshipers were gathered for Friday noon prayer. There has been reportedly no claim for responsibility as yet.

The first explosion, near the Taqwa mosque, reportedly occurred at 1:50pm local time (1050 UTC) killing 14 or more. The second, in which further deaths were reported, was caused by 100 kilograms of explosives according to the Interior Ministry. The imams of both mosques, Salafists Sheikh Salem al-Rafei and Bilal Baroudi, were unharmed in the attacks.

There have also been reports of unidentified gunmen firing into the air, hurling rocks at soldiers, and blocking roads near the blast sites.

A week earlier, a car bomb in Beirut killed 24 or more and left several hundred wounded.

Hezbollah condemned both the Tripoli explosions which they said they believed were part of “an effort to plunge Lebanon into chaos and destruction”. Lebanese Defence Minister Fayez Ghosn said “We are calling for calm and vigilance, because the aim of [these blasts] is to stoke strife between sects”.



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August 7, 2013

Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott

Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Russian vodka
Image: Anthony Knuppel Appleton.

As of Monday, over 200 New York City area bars and restaurants had committed to boycotting Russian vodka in response to anti-homosexuality related laws passed by the country’s government. The boycott follows another event that took place on Monday where bottles of vodka were poured onto the streets of the city, as part of a protest by the President of United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association, Paul Hurley.

New York One quotes Hurley as saying the reason for the boycott as , “We’re not stupid, we’re reading papers, we’re reading what’s going on over there, they’ve got to stop what’s happened.”

The press conference announcing the New York City boycott took place at Desmonds Steakhouse located on the 38th Street and 7th Avenue. LGBT activists and models attended the event. Johnny Donovan, manager of J Donovan Productions, is quoted by the New York Daily Times as saying, “Shame on Russia! […] When I go out to a night club this weekend, I’m not drinking any Russian vodka!”

Activists in other cities are also boycotting Russian vodka. A protest at the San Francisco City Hall took place on Tuesday, where vodka was dumped into the sewers. On social media, the hashtag #dumpstoli is being used to draw attention to the boycott and protests.

These boycotts are not without criticism. Dodds of Time Magazine points out, “At first glance, Stoli seems a logical target for those hoping to promote greater awareness of the plight of gays in Russia. Not only is it widely associated with the country, vodka is also one of Russia’s most profitable consumer exports to the U.S. […] But while Stoli’s ingredients — wheat, rye and raw alcohol — are Russian, the vodka itself is distilled in Latvia and distributed in the U.S. by William Grant & Sons USA, an American subsidiary of a Scottish corporation.” The international popularity of the brand have resulted in the company being continually threatened with nationalization by the Russian government.

A 2013 world map showing areas same-sex couple adoption rules
Image: Titanicophile.

Last month, gay and lesbian couples were barred by law from adopting Russian children. The country also banned “homosexual propaganda.” The legislation means gays and lesbians, if found guilty of breaking these laws, could be jailed. According to Russia Today, most Russians support the legislation “against promoting homosexuality to minors.” Russia Today goes on to say these laws are, “intend[ed] to keep minors from being influenced by non-traditional sexual relationship propaganda and it will be enforced with fines, but not criminal punishment.”

A Pew Research Center study published in June suggests that attitudes towards homosexuality in Russia found the population to be the least accepting of homosexuals of nine other European countries also surveyed. Countries with less acceptance than Russia included in the survey include Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria. Negative Russian attitudes towards homosexuality are also supported by research conducted by Russian Levada Center.

The homosexuality issue as it pertains to Russian law comes against the backdrop of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics scheduled to be hosted in the Russian city of Sochi early next year. Last week, Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko reaffirmed the country will enforce these laws during the Games and foreign athletes, journalists and spectators will be subject to them.



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October 21, 2012

Car bomb hits centre of Beirut

Car bomb hits centre of Beirut – Wikinews, the free news source

Car bomb hits centre of Beirut

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lebanon
Other stories from Lebanon
  • 11 January 2014: Nauru raises media visa application fee from AU$200 to $8,000
  • 3 September 2013: Airlines plan reroutes around Syria as potential for US military intervention increases
  • 24 August 2013: Lebanon car bombings kill dozens outside mosques
  • 7 August 2013: Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott
  • 26 May 2013: Two rockets hit southern Beirut
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Location of Lebanon

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View of Sassine Square
Image: Sassinemichel.

On Friday, an explosion in Sassine Square, in the mainly Christian part of Ashrafiya, killed three and injured more than eighty in a car bomb attack in the Lebanese capital Beirut, including senior Lebanese intelligence official Wissam al-Hassan.

The bomb also destroyed several cars and badly damaged a multistory building. Witnesses said it could be heard several kilometers away. The area is home to the headquarters of the Maronite Christian group Kataeb.

Cquote1.svg We have been warning for a year. Enough. Cquote2.svg

—Sami al-Gemayel

Although the target of the attack is unclear, it comes at a time of heightened tensions in Lebanon because of the Syrian civil war. The leader of Kataeb, which is also known as the Phalange, Sami al-Gemayel is a strong opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said: “Let the state protect the citizens. We will not accept any procrastination in this matter, we cannot continue like that. We have been warning for a year. Enough.”



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg 2012 Beirut bombing

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October 19, 2012

Eight people killed in Beirut bomb attack

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Lebanon
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  • 4 April 2011: Female boxer shot before fight by stepfather in Berlin
  • 8 August 2010: Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran
  • 6 August 2010: Wikinews Shorts: August 5, 2010
  • 9 July 2010: CNN journalist fired for controversial Twitter message
  • 8 February 2010: “Black box” found near crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight
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Three people gave been killed and more than eighty injured in a car bomb attack in the Lebanese capital Beirut, including senior Lebanese intelligence official Wissam al-Hassan.

View of Sassine Square

The explosion happened in Sassine Square, a busy area in the mainly Christian area of Ashrafiya. The headquarters of the maronite Christian group kataeb are located in the area. The explosion destroyed several cars and badly damaged a multi-storey building. Witnesses said it could be heard several kilometres away.

Cquote1.svg We have been warning for a year. Enough. Cquote2.svg

—Sami al-Gemayel

Although the target of the attack is unclear, it comes at a time of heightened tensions in Lebanon because of the syrian civil war. The leader of kataeb, which is also known as the Phalange, Sami al-Gemayel is a strong opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said: “”Let the state protect the citizens. We will not accept any procrastination in this matter, we cannot continue like that. We have been warning for a year. Enough.”

Although the target of the attack is unclear, it comes at a time of heightened tensions in Lebanon because of the syrian civil war. Mr al-Hassan was responsible for the investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Mr Hariri’s son, current Lebanese Opposition leader Saad Hariri blamed the Syrian government for the attack although the attack has been condemned by the Syrian government.



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April 4, 2011

Female boxer shot before fight by stepfather in Berlin

Female boxer shot before fight by stepfather in Berlin

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Germany
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  • 7 July 2015: England defeats Germany 1-0 in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 third place playoff
  • 8 June 2015: F.C. Barcelona wins UEFA Champions League 2014/15
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  • 5 May 2015: German journalists detained in Qatar while investigating controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting win
  • 30 April 2015: Holocaust survivor publicly forgives 93-year-old Auschwitz guard during his trial
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Rola El-Halabi in 2008

A female boxer has been shot by her stepfather in her dressing room before a world championship title fight in Berlin, Germany. Lebanese born Rola El-Halabi was shot in the hands, knees, and feet while she was preparing for the fight. She survived the shooting but may never be able to return to the ring. Two security guards were also injured in the attack.

El-Halabi has spoke about the shooting to German media saying “I was with my coach and manager in the changing room when Dad rushed into the room, threatening us with a gun and shouted ‘All Out!’. Then he shot me in the hand from three feet away, I cried and cried, begging him to put the gun away. He threatened to shoot himself, but he was too cowardly. He took his time aiming and and shot me in the knee, then in my right foot.”

Malte Mueller-Michaelis, her promoter, commented on her condition saying “Her operation went smoothly, but the shots were intended to end her career and it seems almost certain that that will happen.” It is believed that the shooting was due to El-Halabi’s decision to stop working with her stepfather as her manager.

The 26 year-old had been due to fight Irma Adler of Bosnia for the WIBF world lightweight title. El-Halabi has an undefeated record with 11 wins and is the former holder of two world titles.



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August 8, 2010

Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran

Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran

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Middle East
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

A new poll by Zogby International and the University of Maryland has found that Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are discouraged by US policies, have little confidence in US president Barack Obama and for the first time, a majority of poll respondents support a nuclear-armed Iran.

The poll results are a “stark contrast” from last year’s results, according to USA Today. Last year 51% of respondents were “optimistic” about US policy in the Middle East; this year only 16% are optimistic and 64% are “discouraged”. Also, two-thirds of poll respondents disapproved of the job Barack Obama is doing. Last year, his approval ratings were high.

Though most poll respondents still say that they suspect that Iran is attempting to get weapons of mass destruction, for the first time a majority say that it would be a good thing for Iran to get them. University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami says that most Arabs think that Iran won’t use the weapons and the professor, who headed the poll, also said that “when [Arabs are] optimistic about American foreign policy, they are much tougher on Iran. So a year ago, in 2009, when you had a majority being optimistic about American policy in the Middle East, only 29 percent said Iran having nuclear weapons would be positive for the Middle East. This year, when you have two-thirds being pessimistic about American foreign policy, you have a larger percentage saying maybe it will be better if Iran has nuclear weapons.”

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The new poll also reveals that the United States and Israel are also viewed as bigger threats to the Middle East than Iran.

Telhami also said that “what this poll reveals is a backlash against the United States, reflecting the loss of hope that people had in what they thought were to be the policies of the new President Obama. It’s really people venting by supporting ‘the enemy of my enemy.'”

The poll also found that most watch Al Jazeera for their international news, and that over half of the respondents also watch American or European movies, shows or music videos daily.


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