Family’s travel ban remains in place over FGM fears

There were concerns the parents wanted to take their young daughter abroad for the practice, which is illegal in all states and territories of Australia.

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The family, not named, was denied permission to leave Australia with their young daughter after New South Wales police reportedly covertly recorded a conversation in the family.

In it, family members appeared to suggest the girl was about to be taken abroad for female genital mutilation, or FGM.

The parents, both born overseas, reportedly arrived in Australia 10 years ago.

They had been disputing a travel ban placed on them since 2014, after the birth of their second child.

They returned to court on the last day of July seeking permission to travel abroad for a family wedding.

The husband and wife reportedly have denied the claims from the translated transcript of the recorded conversation, saying they were talking about a friend’s daughter.

And the Department of Family and Community Services, or FACS, has told SBS in a statement it actually approved of the family making the trip.

“The Department sought a Family Law Watch List order (travel ban) in relation to this family in November 2014 to protect the child from the risk of being taken overseas and being subject to female genital mutilation. Since that time, FACS have been working with the family in an attempt to address this risk. In July 2017, FACS conducted a further risk assessment and concluded that the risk of the parents subjecting their daughter to female genital mutilation was now low and there was no danger of this occurring.”

The statement further outlines FACS’ views on the travel ban.

“In deciding to support the family’s request for the court to lift the travel ban, FACS also considered the decision of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute the parents in relation to female genital mutilation. Ultimately, however, the court refused the application to have the Family Law Watch List order discharged. So the travel ban remains in place.”

In March last year, Australia’s courts recorded their first criminal prosecution for female genital mutilation.

Three people — a retired nurse, a mother of two girls and a Dawoodi Bohra community leader — were each sentenced to a maximum 15 months in prison.

Associate Professor Yvonne Zurynski, is director of research at the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit at the University of Sydney and the Childrens’ Hospital in suburban Westmead.

She says FGM is recognised as a form of child abuse under the law and it is also illegal to take children outside Australia to have it done.

She cites a national survey of paediatricians this year showing 59 girls between ages five months and 18 years underwent female genital mutilation in the four years to 2014.

But Dr Zurynski says more data collection is needed.

“We surveyed paediatricians across Australia. But, of course, not every child with FGM is going to present to a paediatrician, so there may be other cases where children are seen by general practitioners or other medical professionals. And we simply don’t know how many children in Australia have undergone FGM.”

New South Wales police have issued a statement saying any offenders could face more than 20 years in prison.

“Female circumcision, more commonly known as female genital mutilation, is a crime in New South Wales. The State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad has detectives specially trained in the cultural and religious sensitivities of the issue to investigate reports of female genital mutilation. A person can also be charged if they aid, abet, counsel, or procure a person to perform any of those acts on another person. This includes arranging to travel overseas for the procedure. The maximum penalty for this offence is 21 years imprisonment.”

 

If you are concerned someone you know is at risk of FGM, report it immediately to the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.

 

 

 

North Korea defiant over latest UN sanctions

The international fallout continues following North Korea’s two long-range, ballistic-missile tests last month.

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(july)

Over the weekend, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions on the country.

North Korean exports of coal, iron and even seafood will be banned, potentially cutting its $3 billion annual export revenue by one-third.

The United Nations agreed to the sanctions in a bid to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear program.

But speaking on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, North Korean spokesman Bang Kwang Hyuk was emphatic that will not happen.

“We affirmed that we’ll never place our nuclear and ballistic-missiles program on the negotiating table and won’t budge an inch on strengthening nuclear armament.”

Bang Kwang Hyuk then took aim at the United States, blaming it for the current state of affairs.

“Is our nuclear possession a threat to the world, or is it just a threat to the United States? We want to make it clear that the worsening situation on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the nuclear issues, were caused by the United States.”

In a statement, North Korea’s foreign minister added the United States would, as he put it, “pay dearly” for the sanctions.

He also insisted his country has no intention of using nuclear weapons against any other country except the United States.

South Korea says the North has also rejected an offer to restart talks, dismissing the offer as “insincere.”

The United States is now moving to break the stand-off.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson says he believes the United States and North Korea can have dialogue when conditions are right.

“Well, the best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches. You know, we’ve not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action by launching ballistic missiles. So, I think that would be the first and strongest signal they could send us is just stop … stop these missile launches. Obviously, we have other means of communication open to them to, certainly, hear from them if they have a desire to want to talk.”

China has expressed hope North and South Korea could resume contact soon.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi says he personally gave his North Korean counterpart a message to stop the ballistic-missile launches.

“The international community has told North Korea to abandon its development of nuclear warheads and to maintain the international-proliferation regime. This is a security issue. The North Korean side believes it has been threatened and pressured militarily, which is also a security issue. So, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is not an economic issue but a security issue.”

US president Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, have also addressed North Korea in a telephone call.

The pair agreed to apply maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea.

 

 

Ibrahim family members among 17 arrested after raids in three countries

Police say the arrests deal a major blow to two crime syndicates allegedly transporting millions of dollars’ worth of drugs between Australia, Dubai and the Netherlands.

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Police executed 30 search warrants across Sydney, seizing drugs, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and five firearms, including a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle.

Two of Mr Ibrahim’s brothers, Michael Ibrahim and Fadi Ibrahim, were arrested in Dubai.

John Ibrahim’s son, Daniel Ibrahim, was among those arrested in raids across Sydney.

The raids are part of Operation Vader, which has been investigating the alleged importation of drugs into Australia.

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan says police made arrests in Dubai, Sydney and The Netherlands.

“We have made a total of 17 arrests across three countries, including nine men and one woman here in Sydney, five arrests in Dubai and two arrests in The Hague. We have stopped in excess of 1.8 tonnes of MDMA, 136 kilograms of cocaine and 15 kilograms of methamphetamine which was destined for Australia, we’ve stopped that from reaching our shores. We have seized in excess of $5.45 million which will be alleging is the proceeds of crime.”

Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon, from New South Wales police, says the arrests are significant.

“I think it’s an outstanding success for law enforcement in general. The level of criminality exhibited by some of the people, and certainly some of the figures that have been arrested today, are of great significance to New South Wales Police and obviously of great significant to law enforcement generally. It’s a great thing for law enforcement today that we’ve been able to bring these people to justice.”

 

 

Melbourne boy with bloody feet heads home

A teenager has left hospital in a wheelchair three days after tiny sea crustaceans made a meal of his legs during a dip at a Melbourne beach.

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Shocking images of Sam Kanizay’s lower legs and feet have been beamed around the world after the 16-year-old went for a dip at Brighton’s Dendy Street Beach on Saturday night to cool his aching muscles following a tough game of footy.

He walked out of the water covered with “hundreds of little pin holes” that wouldn’t stop bleeding thanks to sea crustaceans which feed on flesh, Sam’s father Jarrod Kanizay told AAP.

After three days bedridden at Dandenong Hospital, Sam on Tuesday needed the help of a wheelchair to get home, his feet still bandaged.

“They were so small but they’ve made such an impact on Sam. There must have been thousands around his legs,” Mr Kanizay told AAP.

“He’s got some soft spots at the back of his leg where they must have eaten a little bit more.”

Doctors were initially at a loss to explain what had caused the excessive bleeding but the tiny creatures turned out to be scavenging crustaceans known as lysianassid amphipods.

“It’s not a burrowing animal, it’s not a toxic animal, and it just loves eating our flesh,” Mr Kanizay said.

Museums Victoria marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith, who examined a sample of the bugs collected by Mr Kanizay, said it was possible they contained an anti-coagulant similar to that produced by leeches, which explained the inability to stem the flow of blood.

The family knew of four other cases where people walked out of the water with unexplained bloody bites but Mr Kanizay said Sam’s experience wouldn’t deter them from going for a dip.

“We all need to go into the water and celebrate the bay and use it,” he said.

“Sam will be back in the water within no time, he can’t wait.”

The story of the boy with the bloody feet made global headlines, with the Kanizays hearing from relatives who watched news reports in Slovenia.

The story also made news in Norway, Sweden and Tanzania.

“It’s great that people are being educated along the way – educated and I guess entertained,” Mr Kanizay said.

Australia, Japan, US criticise China in sea dispute

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono and United States secretary of state Rex Tillerson say they are against increasing tensions in the South China Sea.

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The trio met to discuss the matter in Manila, on the sidelines of Asia’s largest security forum.

China’s activity in the volatile region was a key issue among leaders at the meeting of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

In a joint statement, Australia, Japan and the United States urged all claimants to territories in the sea to resolve their disputes peacefully.

“The ministers voiced their strong opposition to coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions. In this regard, the ministers urged South China Sea claimants to refrain from land reclamation, construction of outposts, militarisation of disputed features and undertaking unilateral actions that cause permanent physical change to the marine environment. The ministers called on all claimants to make and clarify their maritime claims in accordance with the international law of the sea.”

The statement came in stark contrast to what was considered a weak response by the 10-member ASEAN.

ASEAN leaders and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct, a move they hailed as progress.

But critics described it as a tactic by China to gain time to consolidate its maritime power.

Several ASEAN nations want the code to be legally binding and enforceable and to have a dispute-resolution mechanism.

Australia, Japan and the United States agree, opposing what they call “coercive unilateral actions.”

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi argues some countries remain, as he puts it, “in the past with their knowledge of the issue.”

“Is it that some countries do not want to see greater stability in the South China Sea? Is it that greater stability in the South China Sea does not serve their own interests? I think everyone can think about this issue.”

China has refused to abide by a tribunal that, last year, rejected its claims to almost all of the strategically important and resource-rich waterways.

Mr Kono says ASEAN ministers all agreed on the need to protect freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

“With regard to the South China Sea issue, I expressed my grave concern over the situation and opposed any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force. The rule of law is at stake. In this regard, I emphasised the importance of the 2016 arbitral award, as well as non-militarisation of disputed features. I am pleased to find a number of my counterparts who share similar views.”

China has refused to recognise either the tribunal sitting at The Hague or the ruling.

Mr Wang insists the United States and its allies should stay out of what China maintains are purely bilateral disputes with its neighbours.

“On the part regarding the South China Sea, all the 10 ASEAN countries fully recognise the progress made in the cooperation with China in the past year and the positive trend toward creating stability in the South China Sea.

Minister Kono has expressed his willingness to strengthen the relationship with China. That’s the sincere intention. We hope that can be turned into real policy actions.”

But ahead of arriving in Manila for the ASEAN meetings, Ms Bishop issued this warning from Bangkok:

“Rising tensions in the South China Sea are a challenge to regional stability. The pursuit of national interests is testing the norms and rules which have served our region for so long and which are the basis of our security and prosperity. North Korea continues to defy the United Nations Security Council with its illegal missile and nuclear-weapons programs. There is a compelling need to defend the rules-based order in the region.”

The code framework is an outline for what China and ASEAN call “consultations” on a formal agreement, which could start later this year.

 

 

Melbourne boy with bloody feet heads home

A teenager has left hospital in a wheelchair three days after tiny sea crustaceans made a meal of his legs during a dip at a Melbourne beach.

长沙夜网

Shocking images of Sam Kanizay’s lower legs and feet have been beamed around the world after the 16-year-old went for a dip at Brighton’s Dendy Street Beach on Saturday night to cool his aching muscles following a tough game of footy.

He walked out of the water covered with “hundreds of little pin holes” that wouldn’t stop bleeding thanks to sea crustaceans which feed on flesh, Sam’s father Jarrod Kanizay told AAP.

After three days bedridden at Dandenong Hospital, Sam on Tuesday needed the help of a wheelchair to get home, his feet still bandaged.

“They were so small but they’ve made such an impact on Sam. There must have been thousands around his legs,” Mr Kanizay told AAP.

“He’s got some soft spots at the back of his leg where they must have eaten a little bit more.”

Doctors were initially at a loss to explain what had caused the excessive bleeding but the tiny creatures turned out to be scavenging crustaceans known as lysianassid amphipods.

“It’s not a burrowing animal, it’s not a toxic animal, and it just loves eating our flesh,” Mr Kanizay said.

Museums Victoria marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith, who examined a sample of the bugs collected by Mr Kanizay, said it was possible they contained an anti-coagulant similar to that produced by leeches, which explained the inability to stem the flow of blood.

The family knew of four other cases where people walked out of the water with unexplained bloody bites but Mr Kanizay said Sam’s experience wouldn’t deter them from going for a dip.

“We all need to go into the water and celebrate the bay and use it,” he said.

“Sam will be back in the water within no time, he can’t wait.”

The story of the boy with the bloody feet made global headlines, with the Kanizays hearing from relatives who watched news reports in Slovenia.

The story also made news in Norway, Sweden and Tanzania.

“It’s great that people are being educated along the way – educated and I guess entertained,” Mr Kanizay said.

Same-sex marriage vote may go postal

Australians look set to be heading to the postbox rather than the ballot box to decide the issue of same-sex marriage.

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At a special meeting on Monday, party members voted to back the Coalition’s long-standing policy to hold a plebsicite on the issue, to be held on November 25.

A proposal will be resubmitted to parliament this week.

If, as predicted, it again fails, a voluntary postal vote will be held.

If the result of this ballot is “yes”, a private member’s bill will go to parliament, followed by a free vote.

This will not happen if most respondents vote “no”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says voters will get the chance to have their opinion heard.

“The important thing is that every Australian gets their say. Every Australian, as Mathias (Cormann) said, on the electoral roll will get a ballot paper and they will be able to fill that in and express their say and their vote..hang on…their vote will be counted.”

Mr Turnbull says the Australian Bureau of Statistics would be tasked with running the ballot, at a cost of $122 million.

Papers would be sent out in mid-September, and the result determined by November 15.

The Nick Xenophon Team is among those crossbenchers who have declared they will block attempts to hold a postal plebiscite.

MP Rebekha Sharkie has told Sky news should one go ahead, she will work to ensure everyone gets a say.

“What I’ll be campaigning for is for people to vote. I think it’s really important that people don’t boycott any sort of election or voting opportunity, and a lot of people do that. A lot of people feel disenfranchised and they don’t even vote in our general elections. I won’t be campaigning for yes or no, but I’ve made it very clear that I do support marriage equality.”

The path to a postal vote is uncertain, with one advocacy group calling it “unconstitutional” and announcing it will launch a High Court challenge.

Co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, has told the ABC he is concerned about reviving a very public and, at times, unpleasant debate.

“Well we’ve obviously seen the conduct of the opponents of marriage equality all along and it has indeed been disappointing. Obviously, they seem to have no plans to change their tack. So, I think that the Labor Party is absolutely right in that concern and that concern is shared by many people.”

Under pressure, Prime Minister Turnbull insists he is demonstrating his strength as a leader by sticking to his promises.

But Greens leader Richard Di Natale has accused Mr Turnbull of failing to stand up to the hardline conservative elements within his own party.

“If Malcolm Turnbull can’t lead the Liberal party, he can’t lead the nation. What we’re seeing is a Prime Minister who is a huge disappointment as the Prime Minister of this country. And the reason? Because he won’t stand up to Tony Abbott and the hard-right in the Liberal party, and if you can’t show leadership there, you can’t lead the nation.”

Also facing a difficult choice, the Opposition will have to decide whether to campaign for the “yes” vote or support a potential legal challenge to a postal plebiscite.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says the issue has snowballed out of control.

He says he believes his view echoes that of most Australians – just get it done.

“And for two good reasons we should have a vote in parliament: one, because it’s a good idea; and two, because this nation needs to do some other work, this parliament needs to do some other work. Electricity prices, housing affordability, climate change, low wages, more…dealing with inequality in this country, and yet the Liberal party and the Nationals turn themselves inside-out over marriage equality.”

 

 

NSW announces law change to move homeless from CBD in National Homelessness Week

Its announcement has been made during National Homelessness Week.

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The camp of homeless people mushroomed at the top of Sydney’s famous Martin Place in December last year.

Around 70 people remain at the camp, which was last cleared by Sydney City Council workers and police in June this year.

But people have since returned to the camp, resulting in tensions between the state government and Sydney mayor, Clover Moore, who the government accuses of not doing enough to move people on.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the government has no choice but to introduce legislation into Parliament to end the impasse in Martin Place.

“There was nothing in the existing laws we could do that would resolve this issue amicably over and above what the City of Sydney could do. That’s why today the Minister for Crown Lands will be introducing legislation to Parliament to give State Government the right over any Crown land within the City of Sydney to be able to move in and take property and also ask people to move on if it’s deemed to be a public safety issue. This is a course of action I wish I didn’t have to take, but it’s a course of action we have have to take because the City of Sydney has not done what it had within its power to do and what it should have done.”

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore has released a statement saying she wants a peaceful resolution, not a repeat of what happened in Melbourne with vulnerable homeless people being dragged away by police.

Ms Moore argues there’s been decades of inaction by successive governments on homelessness, and the council has no power to move people on.

The state government has also announced it has secured an after-hours service for rough sleepers in Sydney.

The Wayside Chapel will deliver the service which will run until 11pm with a possible extension to 24 hours pending development application approval.

A spokesman for the homeless camp, Lanz Priestley, says the group will move once a suitable 24-hour facility is available.

“If they get that right all the people will go there and there will be no need for this to exist. To be clear I don’t want this to exist any more than the Council do or the State Government do, but I do want it to cease to exist when the need ceases to exist.”

Homeslessness Australia chairwoman Jenny Smith says rough sleepers, such as those seen on the streets in major cities, are a minority, making up around six per cent of the homeless population.

She says the number of what she calls the “hidden homeless” has increased dramatically, with a huge jump in the number of people sleeping in cars and staying short-term with friends or family.

“And we’re seeing a particular increase in that group amongst older women, women over 50, with an 83 per cent increase in the last four years. We’re also seeing more people presenting to our services who are sleeping in the back of cars and a 60 per cent increase in the last four years in that group. 280,000 people approached our services last year looking for assistance – that’s 43,000 more people than the year before.”

Ms Smith says to mark Homelessness Week, her organisation is calling on the federal government to build 100,000 new public and community housing properties in the next five years.