Category Archives: Australia

Egyptian man returns to Australia after being imprisoned in Egypt over a Facebook post | Instant News


An Egyptian man jailed in Egypt for liking a former presidential candidate’s Facebook post returns to Australia after a ten-month ordeal.

Earlier this year, Waled Youssef, an Australian-Egyptian national, was imprisoned at the notorious Tora prison in Cairo while on vacation with his family.

His lawyers say Youssef is being held in a cramped cell with more than a dozen inmates and unable to distance himself socially because of the coronavirus sweeping Egypt’s prison system.

Youssef was arrested in January 2020 while on an outing with his family in Cairo. Egyptian police searched his belongings and opened his personal Facebook page.

Local police accused the 45-year-old man of belonging to a politically outlawed group because he liked a Facebook post about a former presidential candidate who has since been jailed by Egypt.

His lawyers dispute all claims made against Youssef and say he has never been a member of a political party or belonged to a banned political group.

During his arrest, Youssef’s lawyers lobbied the United Nations and the Australian government to intervene on behalf of the dual national after he was prevented from appealing the allegations or visiting guests.

An Egyptian court later ordered his release on October 14 and dropped the charges against him. She was released 12 days later and forced to wait weeks for her flight back to Australia.

Commenting on his return, Youssef said he was “relieved to finally be home.”

“I didn’t expect that a trip to visit my family would see me thrown in Tora prison,” Youssef said in a statement issued by his lawyer.

“Those were the 10 most terrible months of my life. I just wanted to heal and recover from this unbelievable and horrendous experience.”

Human Rights Watch called on the Egyptian government to improve medical care in Egypt’s overcrowded prison system. At least 116,000 Egyptians have contracted Covid-19 with 6,636 people dying from the virus.

Youssef’s return came as Egypt continued imprisonment rights activist who met with European diplomats.

Three members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) were arrested this week on charges including “joining a terror group” and “spreading fake news”.

Administrative manager Mohamed Basheer, director of criminal justice Karim Ennarah and the organization’s executive director, Gasser Abdel-Razek, were detained following a meeting the EIPR organized at his office in Cairo on November 3 to discuss human rights in the country.

Diplomats from Britain, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland attended the meeting.

According to the advocacy group, Basheer was asked by the Supreme Prosecutor for State Security (SSSP) about the work of the EIPR, including a meeting in the Egyptian capital.



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Australian bushfires penetrate heritage-listed islands | Instant News


Australian firefighters are struggling to control the massive wildfires that destroyed 40% of the UNESCO world heritage-listed Fraser Island before the heat wave hit Monday.

Fires on the world’s largest sand island, off Australia’s east coast, have been raging for more than six weeks and consuming much of the island’s unique forest.

Temperatures are expected to peak at 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday as a heat wave sweeps across the region, raising fears that warmer conditions will further ignite the flames.

“The vegetation on Fraser Island is very dry and because it is so dry it is very easy to burn,” incident supervisor James Haig told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Firefighters were not only fighting “extremely challenging weather conditions,” he said, but were hindered by limited access to the fires in the remote northern part of the island.

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said the fires burned in two areas on 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) – or 42% of the island – but did not threaten property.

However, as the fires have approached settlement in recent days, authorities have banned new visitors from traveling to popular holiday destinations and restricted ferry services until further notice.

Haig said as many as 10 water bombers had been deployed to extinguish the fires, including some tasked with protecting culturally important Aboriginal sites.

The plane dropped about 250,000 liters (66,043 gallons) of water on Saturday alone, but Haig said these efforts “will not stop the fire” but only slow its progress.

“We really need rain and unfortunately we will not receive it for some time,” he said.

About two-thirds of the state of Queensland, including Fraser Island, is currently experiencing drought.

Fraser Island – known for its large dingo population, or native wild dog – is registered as a world heritage site for its rainforests, freshwater mound lakes and a complex system of dunes that are still developing.

It is also called K’gari, or paradise, in the language of the local Butchulla people, and its spectacular setting attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

Smaller wildfires broke out elsewhere in Queensland as temperatures there soared after a weekend heatwave set a record crash in southeastern Australia, including in Sydney, where the city’s residents were inundated for two days above 40 C.

More than 50 wildfires broke out across the state of New South Wales on Monday, with heatwave conditions expected to return on Tuesday.

Australia is still reeling from the intense 2019-2020 fires, which scorched an area the size of Britain and killed 33 people as tens of thousands fled their homes.

The climate change-fueled fire season also kills or displaces nearly 3 billion animals and costs the Australian economy an estimated $ 7 billion.

The country is one of the world’s leading exporters of fossil fuels, and conservative governments have been on the edge on tackling carbon emissions, although recent polls show that Australians are increasingly concerned about climate change.

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Australian leader called China’s graphic tweets “disgusting” | National news | Instant News


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said a tweet by a Chinese official showing a fake image of an Australian soldier slit the throat of a child was “absolutely disgusting”.

Morrison said he asked for an apology from the Chinese government. The incident further escalated tensions between the two countries in an already tense relationship.

The graphic image was posted Monday by Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. It shows a grinning soldier holding a knife covered in blood to the throat of a hooded child, who is carrying a sheep.

Zhao wrote a caption with a tweet that read: “Shocked by the killing of civilians & Afghan prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such actions, & hold them accountable. “

Zhao was referring to a disturbing report by the Australian military earlier this month that found evidence that elite Australian forces illegally killed 39 Afghan prisoners, farmers and civilians during the conflict in Afghanistan.

The report recommends that 19 soldiers be referred to the federal police for criminal investigations.

Morrison said the tweet was “absolutely outrageous” and a terrible insult to the Australian military.

It’s “totally disgusting. It really offends every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform, “he told reporters in Canberra.” The Chinese government should really be ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the eyes of the world. “

Morrison said he had contacted Twitter asking them to remove the post. The post has a warning tag on Monday afternoon but is still viewable. Zhao’s account comes with a Twitter label stating that it is a Chinese government account.

Although China blocks Twitter and other US social media platforms in the region, Chinese diplomats and state media have strengthened their presence.

Zhao was criticized by the US in March after tweeting a conspiracy theory that US soldiers may have brought the coronavirus to China. He is considered the leading representative of China’s new high-pitched assertive foreign relations.

Morrison acknowledged there were tensions between China and Australia.

“But this is not how you handle them,” he said. “Australia has patiently sought to address the tensions that exist in our relationship in a mature, responsible manner, seeking engagement at both leadership and ministerial levels. . “

The rift between the two countries has grown this year after the Australian government called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. China has since imposed tariffs on a number of Australian exports.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Australia demanded an apology after Chinese officials tweeted ‘fake pictures’ of soldiers threatening children | Instant News


The image, against the backdrop of the Australian and Afghan flags, was shared Monday morning Beijing time from a Twitter account verified by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian with the caption: “Shocked by the killing of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers.”

The row is the latest example of deteriorating relations between the two countries, with tensions rising even though China belongs to Australia largest trading partner.

Morrison said Australia wanted an apology from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had also contacted Twitter asking the social media giant to remove the post.

“This is absolutely outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis,” she says in Monday’s press conference. “The Chinese government should be really ashamed of these posts. It makes them diminish in the eyes of the world.

“It is a false image and a terrible humiliation for our large defense force and the men and women who have served in that uniform for over 100 years.”

CNN has reached out to Twitter for comment.

The tweet appears after the long-awaited official report released on 19 November alleges that elite Australian forces killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners unlawfully in an environment where “blood lust” and “competition kills” are suspected as the norm.

The Australian Defense Force (ADF) has taken steps to dismiss 13 soldiers following the report and recommended that federal police investigate 36 suspected war crimes.

ADF chief General Angus Campbell said there had been a “fighting culture” among some members of Australian special forces serving in Afghanistan.

The ADF fired 13 soldiers following the report and recommended that federal police conduct an investigation into 36 suspected war crimes.

When asked about the tweet at a press conference Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying accused Australia of serious crimes in Afghanistan.

“The Australian side reacted very violently to my colleague’s personal tweets, does that mean showing that it makes sense for some Australian soldiers to coldly kill innocent people in Afghanistan and it makes no sense for anyone to condemn this cold crime?” she says.

“What the Australian government has to do is think through it, bring the perpetrators to justice, apologize formally to the Afghan people, and earnestly promise the international community that they will never commit this terrible crime again.”

Worsening relationship

Relations between China and Australia have been frozen for years, but the two are linked got worse further this year after Morrison in April called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese government has dubbed Morrison’s proposal “political manipulation”.

Since May, Australia’s lucrative exports to China – including wine, barley and beef – have faced obstacles from Beijing, including high tariffs, anti-subsidy investigations and lengthy delays from clearing customs.

In September, the last two reporters from an Australian news organization in China were evacuated after they were aggressively questioned by the authorities over a national security case involving Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist working for Chinese state media. Earlier this month, Zhao said that the Chinese government was not responsible for the breakdown – on the contrary, Australia’s “wrong move” was the root cause of the relationship’s “sharp decline.”

In a press conference Monday, Morrison acknowledged “tensions” in the relationship between Australia and China, but he said the way to resolve it was through dialogue.

“I hope that this rather dire event will hopefully lead to the kind of resetting in which this dialogue can restart,” he said. “This is not how you handle them.”

CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed reporting.

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The ‘keyhole’ wasp threatens aircraft safety in Australia | Instant News


Stepping over gulls, flight poses a new threat – keyhole wasps.

Keyhole wasps like to build their nests in tiny holes, including opening tools used to measure aircraft speed, according to new findings made over a three year period by Eco Logical Australia.

The research was sparked by several safety incidents involving wasps, including where the plane had to land again immediately after departing from Brisbane Airport because the pilot recognized the difference in airspeed in November 2013.

After studying the behavior of the keyhole wasp (Pachodynerus nasidens) at Brisbane Airport, the team found a total of 26 wasp-related problems reported at the airport between November 2013 and April 2019, in connection with a series of serious security incidents involving the “pitot probe.”

Wasps easily build nests in these python probes – which are tube-like instruments often installed under the cockpit on the outside of aircraft.

“It’s not a Mayday emergency but it’s the next level, and it’s closing the runway,” said biologist Alan House. A blocked pitot probe was found to be the cause in that case.

As a result of the research, risk mitigation strategies have been introduced, such as including a pitot probe upon arrival at Brisbane Airport.

In South and Central America, where the keyhole wasp is a native species, it is known to build its nests in cavities including keyholes and electrical sockets. “It’s quite well known for its nesting behavior,” said House.

“We hope this research will address the few known but serious problems for air travel in the tropics and subtropics,” said the biologist.

“Having found its way across the Pacific Ocean, there is no reason to doubt that it could spread to other parts of Australia. The consequences of not managing this smart but dangerous pest could be enormous, ”he concluded.

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