Australia’s grubby little secret is secret no more.
The truth of the offshore detention regime financed, controlled and run by Australian government on the remote Pacific island of Nauru has been brutally exposed by the revelation by the Guardian of the Nauru files.
For all of the extreme measures to which the Australian government has gone to keep its offshore detention regime from public eye – moving detention centres to remote foreign islands where compliant local governments keep journalists away; an extreme and unapologetic secrecy about the “on-water matters” of boat turnbacks; legislation to jail doctors and detention centre workers who speak out on behalf of those held; and restricting access for international agencies such as the United Nations – the truth about its remote camps has continued to leak out over the four years of offshore detention. Now, it is laid bare.
Australia’s grubby little secret is secret no more.
Rebels in Aleppo say they have broken the siege of the city, but have yet to establish a secure route for civilians. Government forces under President Bashar al-Assad deny they have been pushed out of the city. The battle for Aleppo may mark a military turning point, but for Aleppo’s remaining residents, it marks only an intensification of a misery that seems to go unheeded by the international community.
Libyan officials were cautious on Thursday about declaring complete victory over the Islamic State in the coastal city of Surt, saying unknown numbers of the militant organization’s extremists remained ensconced in three neighborhoods.
While the Islamic State’s headquarters in the heavily fortified Ouagadougou Center, as well as an adjacent hospital and other important buildings, were taken on Wednesday by pro-government militiamen backed by American airstrikes, the fight was clearly far from over.
The chances that, in a few years’ time, people will be able to receive basic healthcare without interacting with a technology company became considerably smaller after recent announcements of two intriguing but not entirely unpredictable partnerships.
One is between Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline. The two have agreed to form a $715m company to focus on the new field of bioelectronics, which involves developing miniature electrical implants capable of treating a number of chronic diseases.
Sur le sujet polémique des abattoirs, une pratique s’avère particulièrement sensible : celle de l’abattage rituel. La loi française, depuis 1964, prévoit que les animaux doivent être étourdis au moment de la saignée afin d’éviter au maximum la douleur. Mais des dérogations sont prévues dans le cadre du libre exercice des cultes : elles autorisent des sacrificateurs à égorger les bêtes en pleine conscience, pour que la viande soit considérée comme halal ou casher. Une technique qui soulève la question du bien-être animal.
Les lois stupides n’ont d’autre effet que d’ajouter aux malheurs de la cité. Et de déboucher, inéluctablement, sur des situations scandaleuses. Ainsi dans un pays de liberté, des policiers venus en nombre ont chassé d’une plage une jeune femme qui n’avait commis d’autre crime que de marcher sur le sable avec un foulard et un pantalon. Outre l’opprobre public infligé par des pandores à moitié convaincus et qui avaient à coup sûr mieux à faire, elle a dû subir une bordée d’insultes racistes proférées par une poignée d’estivants. Sans que ceux-ci en soient d’ailleurs le moins du monde inquiétés…
A hospital associated with Doctors Without Borders. A school. A potato chip factory. Under international law, those facilities in Yemen are not legitimate military targets. Yet all were bombed in recent days by warplanes belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killing more than 40 civilians.
The United States is complicit in this carnage. It has enabled the coalition in many ways, including selling arms to the Saudis to mollify them after the nuclear deal with Iran. Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace.
The front line south of this bleak and dusty town looks much as it did two years ago, when the Islamic State was the enemy and controlled a village less than a mile away.
Now, however, the Kurdish peshmerga fighters holed up behind sandbags and barbed wire are peering across the line at Shiite militias, ostensibly their allies in the fight against the Islamic State.
Whether their alliance will outlast the Islamic State is in question. The militants’ defenses have been crumbling fast across Iraq. An offensive for the city of Mosul, the Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq, is likely by the end of the year, U.S. commanders and Iraqi officials say.
If the battle goes well, the defeat of the Islamic State’s self-
proclaimed caliphate in Iraq, at least in terms of the territory it controls, is on the horizon.
Each Saturday a long line of women dressed in black snakes around the cracked concrete facade of the decrepit Basra police station where the city’s anti-narcotics force has its home. Two police officers are posted to maintain order, but the women – who shelter from the stifling sun in the walls’ narrow shade – are silent and subdued. They patiently wait to visit their sons, husbands and brothers jailed inside.
The inmates range from petty dealers to gang members pushing drugs in bulk. Three hundred people are crammed into three cells where metal bunks overflow and the floor is strewn with half-naked bodies lined head to toe like sardines. The stench from an adjacent sewage lagoon mixes with sweat and hangs heavy in the air.