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September 30, 2011

Australian columnist \’offended, insulted, humiliated\’ fair-skinned Aborigines

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Australian columnist ‘offended, insulted, humiliated’ fair-skinned Aborigines

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Australia
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Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt has been found in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act, following a pair of newspaper articles in 2009 where Bolt criticised fair-skinned people identifying as Aborigines.

Australia’s Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg said “I am satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely … to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles,” Justice Bromberg said. “People should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying.”

The articles, titled “It’s so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black”, were published by the Herald Sun and Weekly Times in 2009, in addition to two blog posts published on the Herald Sun‘s website.

The nine plaintiffs were jubilant following delivery of the verdict. Taking legal action against Mr Bolt were former ATSIC member Geoff Clark, academic Larissa Behrendt, native title expert Graham Atkinson, academic Wayne Atkinson, lawyer Mark McMillan, activist Pat Eatock and artist Bindi Cole. They argued Bolt’s articles offended, upset and demeaned them while implying they identified as Aboriginal Australians for personal gain.

Bolt’s lawyer, Neil Young, argued in court that the articles were a genuine reflection of his client’s beliefs and were published in the public interest. “Everything that’s said, even if it’s expressed colourfully, is rationally related to a thesis that’s a matter of public interest,” Mr Young had said.

Bolt said his writings were fair and within the provisions of free speech laws. Ron Merkel, QC, for the complainants, said his clients did not target free speech, stating that while Bolt is free to express his views, he should not have attacked the nine individuals named in the articles.

Justice Bromberg told the court Bolt’s articles would have offended a reasonable member of the Aboriginal community, adding that the articles were factually incorrect and not written with good faith. “I am satisfied that each of Mr Bolt and the Herald & Weekly Times engaged in conduct which contravened section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.”

Bolt described the verdict as “a terrible day for free speech in this country,” adding “It is particularly a restriction on the freedom of all Australians to discuss multiculturalism and how people identify themselves,”

Ms Eatock, a prominent activist and the chief plaintiff, said she was not confident of receiving an apology from Mr Bolt. “I will never get an apology from Mr Bolt. He made that clear giving his evidence earlier in the year,” she said. “But we will, I hope, get some sort of acknowledgment through the press that what he wrote was just unacceptable, totally unacceptable. He set out to offend from the word go and in fact he acknowledged that in his evidence.”



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Unauthorised autobiography of Julian Assange sells less than 700 copies

Unauthorised autobiography of Julian Assange sells less than 700 copies

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Friday, September 30, 2011

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Despite copious publicity, the unauthorised autobiography of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, published Thursday, September 22, sold fewer than 700 copies that week, according to Nielsen BookScan.

Assange’s autobiography, published by Canongate publishers despite his lack of consent, was subject to much media coverage. Yet Nielsen BookScan, the sales figures monitor, showed readers that week only bought 644 copies of the book.

The Bookseller magazine reported that Assange’s autobiography ranked only 50th best-selling for the week among hardback non-fiction books, 537th among books overall.

The Edinburgh-based publishers, Canongate, defied Assange’s wishes about the publication of his personal memoirs, even though he had broken off all involvement with the project and withdrawn from the million-pound contract prior to the book’s release. According to a Guardian source, Canongate used tight security measures to ensure Assange could not prevent its release.

In March, after reading the first draft, Assange informed the publishers he no longer wished to release the book, and on June 7 formally withdrew from the project.

Reportedly, the book describes his childhood in Australia; how he came to love computers and became obsessed with hacking; the founding of Wikileaks; and events leading to sexual assault charges against him in Sweden. Assange told Canongate that the book might be used by US authorities seeking to extradite him on possible Wikileaks-related espionage charges.

Canongate claim that because Assange settled legal bills with an advance they paid on the book, the contract is still in place.



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Afghan employee kills U.S. citizen at Kabul CIA base

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Afghan employee kills U.S. citizen at Kabul CIA base

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Afghanistan
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A U.S. citizen working for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was killed by an Afghan also working there. The incident took place in the CIA Annex of the U.S. Embassy at Ariana Hotel in Kabul. The victim was not named.

A second person injured in the incident was sent to a military hospital. The lone attacker was also killed. A senior Taliban commander stated that the attacker had secretly joined the insurgents after a group of Taliban approached him to remind him “of his moral and religious duty as an Afghan.”

U.S. officials have stated that an investigation on the incident has started.



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September 28, 2011

Journalist forbidden to leave Belarus

Filed under: Archived,Belarus — admin @ 5:00 am

Journalist forbidden to leave Belarus – Wikinews, the free news source

Journalist forbidden to leave Belarus

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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A Polish-Belarusian journalist accused of defaming Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been banned from leaving Belarus due to a suspended court sentence given to him earlier this year.

The Polish activist and journalist Andrzej Poczobut was convicted in July for alleged defamation in the Polish Press, and sentenced to three years, suspended.

Informed of the travel ban by the Belarusian Interior Ministry, he said he intends to continue reporting from within Belarus.

Police told the Gazeta Wyborcza journalist to report to police three times each month and not to travel, after inspecting and registering him. After three violations of the conditions, he would be jailed.

He had recently travelled to and from Warsaw just before the order came, because he anticipated some travel restrictions.



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September 27, 2011

Study: Birds learn nest building

Study: Birds learn nest building – Wikinews, the free news source

Study: Birds learn nest building

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Science and technology
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According to a recent study, birds learn the skill of building nests during their lifetimes, as opposed to instinctively knowing how to build them. The findings were made by researchers from various universities within Scotland — Edinburgh, St Andrews, and Glasgow.

The researchers examined footage of the Southern Masked Weaver recorded by scientists in Botswana, Africa. The species was picked due to its tendency to build numerous grass nests during the breeding season.

During the study, which had Leverhume Trust funding, it was noted that each individual bird has a tendency to vary their technique in nest building, and that some birds built nests from right to left and some vice versa. The researchers also discovered that as birds gain more experience, they drop fewer blades of grass. This indicates that birds learn how to build nests over time, as opposed to the theory of them being aware of how to perform such a task immediately.

Dr. Patrick Walsh of the University of Edinburgh has explained: “If birds built their nests according to a genetic template, you would expect all birds to build their nests the same way each time. However this was not the case. Southern Masked Weaver birds displayed strong variations in their approach, revealing a clear role for experience. Even for birds, practice makes perfect.”

The study was published in the journal Behavioural Processes.



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September 26, 2011

Delhi earns UN carbon credits

Delhi earns UN carbon credits – Wikinews, the free news source

Delhi earns UN carbon credits

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Monday, September 26, 2011

India
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One of the new technologically advanced, Bombardier-made trains.
Image: Le Rétroviseur.

The UN has certified that the Delhi Metro has aided in the reduction of greenhouse gases, earning ‘carbon credits’. This makes the Delhi Metro the first of its kind in the world to do so.

This comes under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UN under the Kyoto Protocol. The UN said the rail based system has helped to save 630,000 tonnes of pollution a year. The credits to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) are worth $9.5 million for each of the next seven years. More credits would be given for more passengers on the system.

The credits are designed as a financial incentive for developing countries to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The Delhi Metro was started in 2002. According to the DMRC, it has reduced road traffic by more than 91,000 vehicles per day.

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September 25, 2011

Saudi Arabian women gain right to vote, run in elections

Saudi Arabian women gain right to vote, run in elections

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saudi Arabia
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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has announced women will be allowed to vote in the country and run for municipal elections there. The modifications will apply from 2012.

Abdullah made this announcement at the start of a new Shura Council term. In a speech, the king said “we refuse to marginalise women in society in all roles that comply with sharia” and so made the decision “to involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from next term”. Abdullah clarified that female adults “will be able to run as candidates in the municipal election and will even have a right to vote.” Such changes are to be put in place “according to Islamic principles,” he said. Muslim women, he continued, “must not be marginalised in opinion or advice”.

Activists have sought women’s right to vote in Saudi Arabia for years. As it stands, women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive, nor travel without male permission, based on Sunni Islam principles.



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Nepal plane crash kills 19

Nepal plane crash kills 19 – Wikinews, the free news source

Nepal plane crash kills 19

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

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An aeroplane crash in the Asian country of Nepal has resulted in the death of all nineteen of the vehicle’s occupants. The aircraft was travelling around the region of Mount Everest, carrying sightseers.

The crash occurred shortly after contact with the aircraft was lost, which was around 0730 NPT today. Bimlesh Lal Karna, Tribhuvan International Airport rescue section leader, informed Agence France-Presse: “All 19 people have died. The Buddha Air-103 was returning from a mountain flight when it crashed into Kotdada Hill”.

On person onboard the plane, police said, survived the crash on a hill near Kathmandu, but died later in a hospital. Among the victims were ten Indian, two US, and one Japanese passenger; the other three passengers and the three crew were Nepali.

According to police, an investigation of the cause of the crash has been started. A black box recorder was found at the scene in the hours after the accident. When the crash occurred, weather conditions in the region were poor, with fog and heavy rain.

The plane had been on of the country’s ‘mountain flights’, which transport tourists over the Everest region, allowing them to observe various peaks from the airplane windows.



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September 24, 2011

Australian TV networks reprimanded for breaching code of practice

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Journalism,Media,Oceania — admin @ 5:00 am

Australian TV networks reprimanded for breaching code of practice

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Australia
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Australian networks Seven and Ten have been reprimanded by broadcast regulators the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for inaccurate and unfair reporting.

The networks were found to have breached the Australian Commercial Television Code of Practice on two counts, following a scuffle outside a court in Melbourne in April 2010, when a cameraman for Channel Nine, Simon Fuller, called Gad Amr, the father of an accused rioter, a terrorist.

The Australian Human Rights Commission claimed the networks gave the impression Mr Amr suddenly lost his temper with Fuller about filming his son Omar. The ACMA found them in breach of the commercial television code of practice, not reporting accurately and fairly, by showing the confrontation without disclosing the provoking “terrorist” comment made by Fuller.

The networks also did not disclose Mr Amr had asked Fuller repeatedly to stop filming — 25 times, as counted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation‘s Media Watch.

The ACMA ruled they were not in breach of the code in portrayal of race, ethnicity, or religion.

Last week the ACMA ruled Seven had broken regulations by showing a McDonald’s advertisement during children’s programming.



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  • “Australia’s Channel Seven breaches children TV standards regulations by broadcasting McDonald’s advertisement” — Wikinews, September 15, 2011

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September 23, 2011

US hikers freed after two years of custody in Iran

US hikers freed after two years of custody in Iran

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Evin Prison, where the hikers were held.
Image: Ehsan Iran.

Two US hikers, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, have been freed from Tehran‘s Evin prison in Iran after $1 million bail was paid.

Accused of spying, the men were arrested when they apparently strayed along the unmarked Iran–Iraq border in July 2009, and were recently sentenced to eight years in prison. Arrested with them was a third US hiker, Sarah Shourd, released in 2010 on medical grounds. All three have denied the charges.

The two hikers were bailed and their sentences commuted. Their Iranian attorney, Masoud Shafiei, stated Oman provided the bail.

The two arrived in Muscat, Oman late Wednesday, where they were met by waiting family members as well as fellow hiker Sarah Shourd.



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