Refugee deal hits the skids

THE Australian government, looking to cater to the wishes of the redneck element of the population, drafted a refugee swap deal some months ago, whereby it would send 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia to be processed.

In return, the government would accept 4000 refugees – people who had been processed through the system – from Malaysia.

The High Court has now struck down this deal after a challenge was launched by a lawyer.
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Australia’s tactics for World Cup rugby fraught with danger

AUSTRALIA enters next month’s World Cup rugby union tournament as one of the teams in with a chance — at least, based on the personnel and the strengths of the other teams involved.

But the Australian coach, New Zealander Robbie Deans, is resorting to a gameplan that has been tried before — when he was the understudy to John Mitchell, the coach for the All Blacks at the 2003 Cup. And Mitchell’s tactics failed that time.

In 2003, the Auckland Blues won the super rugby title. Mitchell based his national team for the cup on four players from the Blues – mercurial stand-off Carlos Spencer, wingers Doug Howlett and Josevata Rokocoko, and full-back Malili Muliaina.
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Sri Lanka is losing the propaganda battle over war crimes

WHEN a sovereign nation has to respond to charges made in a TV documentary that screens in just a few countries, no matter how serious those charges are, then it has well and truly lost the battle to convince people that it is in the right.

Sri Lanka finds itself in this position after having, rather foolishly, decided to respond to a documentary made by Britain’s Channel 4 about alleged war crimes committed during the war against the Tamil Tiger separatist movement that ended in May 2009. (The programme is also available on YouTube; just search for “Sri Lanka killing fields”.)

The Lankan bid to refute the claims came a few days after Channel 4 broadcast even more evidence of Colombo’s complicity in war crimes – evidence given by two unnamed soldiers who went to the extent of claiming that the orders to kill Tamils en masse in order to get the war over with came from the country’s defence secretary, Gotabaya Rakapakse.
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Why the ABC has been forced to cut programs

THE Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced cuts to a number of programs which will result in staff in some centres losing their jobs. Surprisingly, the corporation, a government-funded entity, has cited “falling audiences for some programmes” as one reason why it had to make these cuts.

It tells the tale of the corporation in just those few words. Exactly why a government-funded organisation should be chasing behind ratings is not clear.

But the ABC has become like any other commercial network and wants to ape them. It wants to be in the limelight, not to provide services for the diverse range of people who live in Australia.
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