Monthly Archives: October 2019

The move has raised hopes of progress after years of stalemate.



Mr Rowhani used his first news conference since his weekend inauguration to say he would not surrender Iran’s rights but he wanted to allay Western concerns.


Western countries and Israel say they believe Iran is trying to achieve nuclear-weapons capability.


But Iran says it needs atomic power for energy and medical needs.


The last high-level talks in April between Iran and world powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – failed to break the deadlock.


But Hassan Rowhani is seen in the West as a relatively moderate leader, and his victory over conservative rivals in June has raised hopes of a breakthrough in negotiations.


Now, he is indicating a desire to change the tone of negotiations.


“I, as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, announce that the Islamic Republic has the serious determination for solving this issue, the nuclear issue, while maintaining the rights of the Iranian people. And at the same time, we take into consideration that the worries of the other side have to be eliminated.”


President Rowhani says Iran will not abandon its nuclear program, which he says it would uphold on the basis of international law.


But the sanctions imposed on Iran since 2006, after it refused United Nations demands to suspend its enrichment program, are hurting its economy.


Mr Rowhani has criticised the embargoes, which have had a deepening impact since Europe and the United States recently cut oil imports, the country’s main source of income.


He says international calls for tougher sanctions show a lack of understanding.


“Unfortunately, in the US, there is a pressure group which is a war-seeking group, and it is opposed to constructive dialogue, and it seeks to protect the interest of a foreign country, and it takes orders from it in the US.”

Both the United States and Israel have, in the past, refused to rule out military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability.


And Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the Iranian leader’s latest signals on resolving the dispute, calling for increased pressure on Iran instead.


“Iran’s president said that pressures do not work. Not true. The only thing that has worked in the last two decades is pressure. And the only thing that will work now is increased pressure. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again, because that’s important to understand. You relent on the pressure, they will go all the way. You should sustain the pressure.”


But an Australian-based analyst of Iranian politics says Mr Rowhani should get credit for shifting the debate from the hardline rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.


Dr Shahram Akbarzadeh a professor of Middle East and Central Asian politics at the University of Melbourne, sees encouraging signs.


He says the signals the new president is sending out signify a real willingness for a rapprochement with the West.


“That’s quite a novel approach to negotiations, because, in the past, Iran has gone to negotiation tables to state its position and has not moved an inch. So, he is prepared to look for common ground in negotiations, and he is hoping that that will generate some goodwill at international fora and, ideally, remove the sanctions on Iran. That’s a big ask, and that has raised a lot of expectations in the population who voted for him.”


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Voters have just five weeks to decide which party will be best to govern the nation for the next three years.


Kicking off the campaign, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the economy will be a key issue.

Sonja Heydeman reports.

Mr Rudd says slogans won’t solve problems and he says the Australian people will now decide who’s best to navigate the big issues.

“So this election will be about who the Australian people best judge to get the balance right, by keeping our economy strong while at the same time protecting jobs, ensuring we have fair wages and fair conditions, continuing to invest in health and education and above all ensuring there’s a fair go for all. Managing the big economic transition that lies ahead will be difficult but it is definitely do-able. Charting a course through the choppy economic waters that lie ahead will require a steady hand and a clear cut plan for the future.”   

Mr Rudd says his economic strategy is clear.

“By responsibly returning the budget to surplus over the economic cycle. Supported by moderate budget savings which don’t hit jobs, health or education. That’s our economic plan for the future.  Mr Abbott’s plan by contrast is a 70 billion dollar slash and burn austerity drive which will cut jobs and cut deeply into basic services in health and education.”      

As the fight begins to secure crucial votes, Mr Rudd says

it’s time for positivity to return to politics.

“One thing I know for certain is that the old politics of the past just won’t work for the future. Wall to wall negativity doesn’t create a single job, negative personal politics doesn’t build a single school. The old politics of division doesn’t build a single hospital. Clinging to the past is not going to help build a national broadband network of the future.”       

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Tony Abbott is promising real change as he heads toward the poll.

Mr Abbott says the coalition is ready to lead but has warned that he will not do a deal to lead a minority government if the election results in another hung parliament.

He says the decision on who’ll govern the country will now move away from the faceless men and to the will of the Australian people.

“And the choice couldn’t be clearer.  The choice is between the positive plans of the Coalition and more of the same under the Australian Labor party and Mr Rudd. I am determined, my team is determined to build a better with specific improvements that we will deliver. We will build a stronger economy, so that everyone can get ahead , we will scrap the carbon tax, we will get the budget  back under control, we will build the infrastructure of the future and we will stop the boats.”

Mr Abbott is asking voters who they feel is more genuine, the people who stopped the boats in the past or the person who started them up again.

He says his party and its policies will be open to proper scrutiny.

“They will know exactly how it will be funded because what I want to do is to re-establish the bonds of trust that should exist  between a government and a people … between a prime minister and citizens and sadly those bonds of trust have been repeatedly broken by the current government.”         

The Australian Greens are asking the Australian people to look past the two main parties on election day.

Greens Leader Christine Milne says this is the time to choose between compassion or cruelty.

“Rather than the growing gap between the rich and the poor .. the cowardice in standing up to the old vested interests and seeing the future compromised as the old parties push out more coal mining, more fast track coalseam gas. This is the election where people can choose to protect the Tarkine rainforest and vote for the Greens or not. They can choose to protect the Leadbeater possum, they can choose to look after the Great Barrier Reef.”

Ms Milne says while she support vigorous debate all parties should be able to have a voice.

“How ridiculous would it be in a debate to have only Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd trying to out-do each other on how cruel they can be to refugees. One upmanship in terms of how many people we are prepared to send to Manus Island, how many people they’re prepared to send to Nauru. Why they both think it’s okay to resettle people in those countries why they both think that breaking international law is okay.”

Asylum seeker advocates say the election can’t come soon enough and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre spokeswoman Pamela Carr says she’s relieved.

Ms Carr says Australia is currently on a knife edge.

“This country is a country of migration. We are many who have come together and have lived in harmony. What the politicians are doing is destroying the social fabric of our nation and it is a shocking thing. We would hope that after this election that we can start to repair the trust and the cohesion of this country.”

The Australian Electoral Commission says it’s well prepared to handle the 14.5 million people who’ll turn out to vote on September 7th.

More than seven thousand polling places will be set up and more than 500 mobile polling teams will be sent to rural and remote Australia to manage the numbers.

Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn has told the ABC people need to promptly enrol to vote, with the rolls closing on the 12th of August.

“We think that it’s important to for them to get on the roll. One of the best things we’ve done most recently is to allow people to get on the roll through an application. they can go on their mobile phone or a tablet and they can not only update their address through that facility but also to enrol for the first time because it allows the person to digitally render their signature which is then transmitted to the AEC.”

The September 7 election means the planned referendum on the constitutional status of local governments will not go ahead.



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Lance Franklin and his camp continue to raise Hawthorn hopes that the dual Coleman Medallist will end his AFL career as a one-club player.


But the Hawks will have to continue to wait until the end of the season to learn whether Franklin will turn down a `Godfather’ offer from Greater Western Sydney.

“I want to stay at Hawthorn – I love the footy club, they’ve been a great football club for me for nearly nine years,” Franklin said on Wednesday.

“As I said at the start of the season, I will make my decision at the end of the season.

“My management is in talks with the football club at the moment and that’s where it stays.

“There are a few things we’ll weigh up at the end of the season and that’s between me and my management and the football club.”

Franklin said in February that he wanted to stay put, but speculation then intensified that the Giants would prise him away from the Hawks’ nest.

His manager Liam Pickering said last month that he was “very confident” Franklin would not head to the Giants.

On Wednesday, Pickering repeated his optimism about Franklin staying.

“I would have thought if you’re a betting man, you’d still be pretty confident he’s staying at Hawthorn,” Pickering said.

GWS declined to comment about Wednesday’s development.

Franklin becomes a restricted free agent once this season ends and ensured his future would become one of the biggest AFL stories of the year when he postponed a decision.

The Giants are said to have an offer ready that is worth close to $10 million.

Hawthorn revealed last month they had made a revised offer that would be the biggest player contract in the club’s history, but still short of the Giants offer.

Franklin and Hawthorn have enjoyed strong seasons, but the two-time Coleman Medallist admitted the contract negotiations were playing on his mind.

“You can’t say it hasn’t been a distraction – it has been a little bit,” he said.

“But it is what it is.

“At the end of the day, I’ve made my decision to leave my contract until the end of the season and that’s the way it stands.

“For everyone, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

“But I’m sitting comfortably with it at the moment and I’m just looking forward to the end of the season and playing finals football – hopefully we can win it (the premiership).”

Franklin was asked how he felt when president Andrew Newbold indicated the revised offer would be the biggest player contract the club had proposed.

“It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable,” Franklin said.

“There’s not much I can do with that – the president has come out and said what he’s said and the club has too.

“They’ve put the offer to my management and myself and at the end of the day, it comes back to me and my decision.”

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Last week hundreds of people were killed after Egypt’s military-backed interim government sent forces in to disperse protest camps of Morsi supporters in Cairo.


Military forces used live ammunition, bulldozers, tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the two camps that had been in place for six weeks.

An Egyptian woman is seen standing between a military bulldozer and a wounded youth as government forces move in on protesters. (Getty)

The clashes come after the country’s first democratically elected and Islamist leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in what many have labelled a military coup.

A supporter of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party launches a water container into a fire. Several fires erupted during the violence, destroying makeshift campsites and in some cases, killing people inside. (Getty)

Women wearing masks to prevent exposure to tear gas collect rocks to throw during the clashes. (Getty)

A man is seen through the shoulders of security forces as they close in on crowds of demonstrators. (Getty)

One demonstrator shoots fireworks into approaching military forces. (Getty)

Another pro-Morsi protester gestures amid the remains of part of a pro-Morsi camp site. (Getty)

The interim-government’s decision to use force has been condemned by leaders around the world, with US Secretary of State John Kerry describing the events as deplorable.

The United Nations, the European Union, Britain, France, Iran, Qatar and Turkey have also denounced the move.

The number of people killed in the violence is disputed by both sides of the conflict. Egypt’s health ministry says 278 people have so far been killed. Pro-morsi groups say the figure is much higher.

Three journalists have also been killed in the clashes.

A man kneels among the bodies of dead pro-Morsi protesters on the floor of Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adaweya Medical Centre. (Getty)

A girl cries after identifying the body of a dead family member inside the Rabaa al-Adaweya Medical Centre. (Getty)

One man sits handcuffed on the ground as security forces fire tear gas into the giant camp of protestors at Cairo’s Al-Nahda square. (Getty)

Egyptian security forces stand amid the charred remains of the protest camp site near the city’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. (Getty)

A military vehicle sits in Al-Nahda square flanked by smoke and fire after entering the protest camp site. (Getty)

In response to the violence, a month-long state of emergency has now been declared with curfews imposed in Cairo and 13 other provinces.

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Beachgoers came forward Thursday with a plausible explanation for why a dead shark turned up in a New York subway train two days before.


The fishy-smelling three-foot (one-meter) critter caused an Internet stir after it was discovered — and duly photographed by commuters — on a Queens-bound N train.

“I have no idea how it got there or how long it had been there,” one rider, Isvett Verde, told local TV station WABC after tweeting her snapshot of what she called “that poor strap-hanging dead shark.”

One wag went so far as to pose the shark with a cigarette, a can of Red Bull energy drink and a yellow MetroCard transit pass.

On Thursday, Gothamis南宁夜生活,m said it got an email from a New Yorker who received text-messaged photos at work earlier Tuesday of his young daughter at Coney Island beach — holding what appeared to be the same shark.

It had apparently washed up on the sun-kissed beach, where it quickly became a prop for souvenir snaps.

“My neighbor, who took the photo, texted me to say how ‘boss’ my daughter was by holding the shark while the boys in the group were afraid to even get close,” said the man, identified only as Domenick.

“Our neighbor and my kids took some pictures with it and then a guy took the shark with him,” he told the blog.

The neighbor, Alicia Vicino, told Gothamis南宁夜生活,m that she was convinced it was the same shark — not least because she knew the Queens-bound N train begins its journey at Coney Island.

“We were cracking up when we saw it on the news. We said, ‘That’s our shark!’,” Vicino said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the New York subway system, said it threw the shark away in the garbage after the train reached its final destination of Astoria, home of New York’s seafood-loving Greek community.

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