Rabu, 8 Januari 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Nauru hikes journalist visa costs amid Australian secrecy on asylum policy

Posted: 08 Jan 2014 09:25 PM PST

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Nauru, the tiny Pacific island that hosts a controversial Australian immigration detention centre, is hiking visa costs for foreign journalists by 40 times, fuelling concerns over secrecy surrounding Australia's asylum seeker policy.

The steady flow of refugee boats is a hot political issue in Australia, polarising voters while stoking tension with neighbours such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka over border security policies criticised by the United Nations.

Nauru's decision to increase the cost of applying for a one-visit visa from A$200 ($180) to A$8,000 makes the rate one of the most expensive in the world.

"I understand the fee is for revenue purposes," government spokeswoman Joanna Olsson said in an email.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative Liberal-led coalition is under fire for what critics call secrecy regarding its policies to deter asylum seekers making the perilous boat journey.

The government has refused to confirm reports that Australia last month turned a boat carrying asylum-seekers back to Indonesia, in line with its policy of not commenting on "operational matters".

A report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) quoted boat passengers as saying they received only one meal a day during the five-day ordeal and Australian authorities used restraints and physical force against some passengers.

Opposition Labor Party lawmaker Anthony Albanese accused the government of running a "North Korean" style blackout over the issue.

Abbott defended the secrecy, telling Macquarie Radio on Thursday, "The point is not to provide sport for public discussion, the point is to stop the boats."

Rights Group Amnesty International has criticised conditions at the detention centres on Nauru and Manus island in Papua New Guinea, where access to adequate medical facilities and housing have been a major concern.

The majority of those held in Nauru and on Manus have fled from war-torn areas, including Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria.

"I don't see the logic of annoying the media," said James Jupp, an adjunct associate professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, adding that Abbott could be telling the public he was fulfilling his election promise of stopping the boats, but was refusing to do so. ($1=1.1198 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Matt Siegel,; Editing by Jane Wardell and Clarence Fernandez)

Rodman heads for North Korean leader's pet ski resort project

Posted: 08 Jan 2014 09:25 PM PST

SEOUL (Reuters) - Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman headed for a North Korean ski resort on Thursday after staging a match in Pyongyang for dictator Kim Jong Un's birthday that has drawn the ire of human rights activists and some of his fellow professionals.

A source with direct knowledge of Rodman's itinerary said the 52-year old was on a helicopter to the new multimillion dollar resort which is one of Kim's showcase projects.

It was not immediately clear if Kim, who is believed to have celebrated his 31st birthday on Wednesday, was with Rodman on the flight. The source declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

On Wednesday, Rodman led a chorus of North Koreans singing "Happy Birthday" to the leader of the isolated and heavily sanctioned country at a basketball match that Kim attended with his young wife.

Rodman's fourth trip to North Korea has drawn criticism from human rights activists and the family of imprisoned U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae after Rodman appeared to suggest in an interview peppered with obscenities that Bae, rather than the North Korean authorities, was responsible for his incarceration.

Bae's sister, Terri Chung, said her family was outraged by Rodman's comments and he should use his access to the North Korean leader to advocate on Bae's behalf, rather than "hurl outrageous accusations" at her brother.

"He is playing games with my brother's life," Chung said in a statement.

"He is clearly uninformed about Kenneth's case, and he is certainly not in any position to pass judgment," Chung said, adding that Bae never had hostile intentions against the state.


The fading basketball star's trips had been financed by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, although it has now withdrawn its funding and the colourful Rodman used his first visit in 2013 to promote his own vodka brand.

It is not known whether Rodman has the capacity to fund another trip. North Korea rarely pays for this kind of visit, according to experts on the country.

Rodman has described Kim, who has been in power for just over two years as his "friend".

Kim has presided over two long range rocket launches - banned under United Nations sanctions due to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and proliferation efforts - a nuclear test and last year threatened to attack South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Last month, his uncle Jang Song Thaek was executed in one of the biggest and most public purges undertaken in North Korea, which has been ruled by the same family for three generations.

Jang is just one of hundreds of thousands North Koreans who have faced death or imprisonment in the North. An estimated 150,000-200,000 people live in brutal conditions in the country's political prisons and forced labour camps, according to rights activists.

Defectors from the isolated state have testified to summary executions and rampant human rights abuses on North Korea. They say they were starved, beaten and abused in work camps where many die and that babies born in the camps were killed.

While North Koreans suffer from food shortages and malnutrition, according to United Nations assessments, Kim has pushed ahead with massive building projects such as the Masik Ski Resort that Rodman will visit.

South Korean officials estimate it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and North Korea aims to make $43.75 million in annual profit from the resort, according to documents prepared for potential foreign investors. It expects up to 5,000 skiers to visit per day.

Pictures released at the resort opening late last year showed just one ancient chair lift for the resort and an assortment of snow equipment that appeared to have been imported despite a United Nations ban on the export of "luxury" goods to the North.

(The story corrects para 5 to 4th from 3rd trip.)

(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Japan aims to register 280 remote islands as national assets

Posted: 08 Jan 2014 08:30 PM PST

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is set to clarify the ownership of 280 remote islands within its territorial waters and register them as national assets, a move that could rile China and South Korea, currently engaged in territorial disputes with Tokyo.

The move for the government to survey the islands and claim those with no apparent owners was announced this week and continues a plan first begun five years ago, an official at the Oceanic Policy and Territorial Issues secretariat said.

"Basically the idea is to register these islands as national assets," the official added.

He said the location of the islands remained unclear until the survey was completed, but they were all within Japanese territorial waters and the boundaries of the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would not change.

Since the plan kicked off, Japan has nationalised some 99 remote islands with no apparent owner. That figure is separate from the number now targeted for survey.

Ties between Japan and China have been strained due to a simmering row over ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, while Japan and South Korea are locked in a territorial row over a different set of islands.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's December 26 visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined along with war dead, infuriated China and South Korea and stoked concern from the United States, a key ally.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved