[Protesta ciudadana en Australia para forzar al gobierno conservador a traer David Hicks del campo de concentración de Guantánamo Bay, USA base en Cuba. (10 diciembre 2006)]

news : OCEANIA



No survivors. All 29 trapped in a coal mine are believed to have died following a "horrific" second explosion.

All 29 miners trapped in a coal mine in New Zealand have been presumed dead after a "horrific" second blast tore through the colliery, plunging the country into mourning.
Police said there was now no chance of finding anyone alive, confirming the country's worst mining accident in nearly a century and prompting anguished scenes as distraught relatives wept, shouted and collapsed to the floor.
"There was another explosion at the [Pike River Coal] mine. It was extremely severe," Gary Knowles, the police official co-ordinating the rescue attempt, told reporters.
"Based on expert evidence I have been given ... it is our belief that no one has survived and everyone has perished."
Knowles said the explosion, whose cause was unknown, ripped through the Pike River coal mine at 2:37pm local time, (0137 GMT), on Wednesday, five days after the initial blast trapped the 29 men including 24 New Zealanders, two Australians, two Britons and a South African.
The victims of the blasts ranged from a 17-year-old on his first shift to a 62-year-old veteran.

...more in Al Jazeera - BBC - NZ Herald - TVNZ

Hora en Auckland -

Australia is properly speaking an island, but it is so much larger than every other island on the face of the globe, that it is classed as a continent in order to convey to the mind a just idea of its magnitude.
Charles Sturt


Polynésie française

Muere un alemán devorado por caníbales en la Polinesia
Stefan Ramin, que desde 2008 estaba recorriendo el mundo junto a su novia, desapareció tras hacer una expedición junto a un guía local

El reciente hallazgo de restos calcinados en una isla de la Polinesia Francesa hacen temer que un turista alemán, que desapareció el mes pasado en esta zona, fue víctima de canibalismo. Stefan Ramin, de 40 años de edad, desapareció el mes pasado tras llegar a la remota isla tropical de Nuku Hiva, escenario de la novela 'Taipi, un edén caníbal', del estadounidense Herman Melville, autor de 'Moby Dick'.
Tras semanas de búsqueda, se han hallado restos humanos como huesos, dientes y amalgamas derretidos, así como de ropa, entre las cenizas de una fogata que había sido prendida en una zona inhóspita de este territorio situado en las Islas Marquesas. Las autoridades han enviado los restos a París para determinar si pertenecen a Ramin, pero los resultados de los exámenes no se conocerán hasta dentro de algunas semanas.
Actualmente, la Policía y el Ejército de la isla está tras el paradero de Henri Haiti, un guía local que llevó a Ramin a una cacería de cabras en la zona montañosa de Nuku Hiva y que al parecer fue la última persona que vio al turista alemán con vida. Tras la excursión, se cree que Haiti buscó a Heike Dorsch, la compañera sentimental del turista alemán, para informarle de que Ramin había sufrido un accidente. Cuando Dorsch intentó acudir en busca de ayuda, Haiti aparentemente la ató a un árbol y escapó, ha informado TVNZ al citar a medios de las Islas Marquesas.
Ramin y su novia, de 40 y 37 años, respectivamente, partieron de Alemania en 2008 para realizar el viaje de sus sueños. La pareja llegó el 16 de septiembre pasado a Nuku Hiva a bordo de un catamarán con el fin de pasar varios meses en la Polinesia Francesa.
Nuku Hiva, la más importante de las islas Marquesas y con una población de 2.000 personas, tiene antecedentes históricos de canibalismo, actividad que hasta el momento se creía erradicada.
...más en El Correo
Read also:
'Typee' by Herman Melville (clicking on the Title)

East Timor


Tears of joy as world weeps: With the rest of the world bathed in gloom, East Timor's economy is surging. The International Monetary Fund registered its growth rate as 10.5 per cent in 2008 and predicts around 7.8 per cent this year. Dili, the once-sleepy capital, is barely recognisable to returning visitors. Old and new cars dodge shoppers that fill the streets, more than 20 freighters are waiting to unload, and shops are stacked with rice and other imports. It is now a boom town. Finance Minister Emilia Pires said that in the global economic crisis, everybody else's misfortune had been "a good opportunity" for East Timor. Parliament has just approved her $1.05 billion budget for 2009, designed to exploit oil revenues and competitive import prices to accelerate major projects. East Timor is still among the world's 10 poorest countries, but, as Ms Pires sees it, it is being offered a big chance. "I believe that the world is not going to stay in this recession for long — some economists believe it may be six or nine months. But whatever period it is, we should be strategic enough and visionary enough, to take advantage of it," she said. As a country that imports almost everything and lacks basic infrastructure, slumping global prices are a godsend. In presenting the budget to parliament, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao listed development of ports, airports, roads, schools and health centres as priorities, offering around 26,000 jobs. It hasn't all been plain sailing. Ms Pires is seething over uncorroborated Australian media claims of corruption in her ministry, coming from a single opposition source. In the middle of last year, the Supreme Court had declared as illegal the Government's use of extra funds from the national petroleum fund, designed as a nest egg for the next generation. In defence of using the money, Prime Minister Gusmao pointed out that 2008 oil revenues were a billion dollars over estimates, with the fund's assets almost trebling. ...more in The Age

East Timor on brink of anarchy admits UN: East Timor remains on the brink of anarchy and could easily slide back into the violence that fractured the country in 2006 according to a UN report. The country's dysfunctional police force, divided political leadership and weak economy has left it vulnerable to rapid political collapse said the report by the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Warning that a "precipitous fall" in oil revenue threatened to bring more social unrest to Asia's youngest nation, which has been independent from Indonesia for only six years, the report said urgent international intervention was needed to ensure the country's stability. In 2006, the capital Dili exploded into violence when a mutiny in the armed forces pitted East against West, resulting in dozens of deaths and leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. In February this year, rebel soldiers carried out an unsuccessful attempt to kill President Jose Ramos Horta, who was wounded and flown to Australia for surgery. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao escaped injury in the attack. The report, prepared as part of the UN's evaluations on the future of its peacekeeping operations in the country and leaked to The Australian newspaper, recommended UN forces stay in the country, despite growing pressure from East Timor for them to depart. In an apparent admission that it has failed to create a strong police force and credible judicial system, it said local police were struggling to cope with no operational budget and admitted "troubling" tensions were rising with UN police due to unrealistic Timorese demands for a stronger role. More than 2,500 foreign troops and police remain in East Timor to help local security forces maintain stability, the bulk from Australia, New Zealand and former colonial ruler Portugal. East Timor's senior political leadership was bitterly divided and depended on the "personal chemistry" of the four political leaders - Prime Minister Gusmao, President Horta, Mari Alkatiri the Fretilin opposition leader and Tuar Matan Ruak, the army chief, the report added.. .more in The Times


Stand-off in East Timor after 'coup plotters' shoot President: Democracy in East Timor was under siege last night after coordinated assassination attempts on the President and Prime Minister. Fears of further bloodshed in Asia’s newest nation prompted the dispatch of Australian peacekeepers to the tiny country. José Ramos-Horta, the President and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was shot three times outside his house in the capital, Dili, and was in a coma after emergency surgery in Australia. Xanana Gusmão, the Prime Minister and former rebel commander who fought against Indonesian occupation for 20 years, survived unhurt after his car was attacked by gunmen. Dr Ramos-Horta’s condition was described as “very serious but stable” after he arrived in Darwin, Australia, on an emergency flight to be treated for wounds to the abdomen and chest. Australia announced that it was sending about 190 army and police reinforcements to East Timor at the request of Mr Gusmão amid fears of reprisal attacks after the President’s guards killed the rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado, during the attack. The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Perth, with 170 crew, was also diverted to support the peacekeeping mission. Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, called for calm in the aftermath of the “brutal and unspeakable attack”. President Bush echoed his condemnation but insisted that the attack would not “derail democracy” in the fledgeling state.
...There was also alarm that the attack on Mr Gusmão was apparently led by Gastão Salsinha, the commander of soldiers who were discharged in 2006, prompting the violent upheaval. Salsinha and two carloads of his men escaped and are believed to have fled into the mountains. The Age newspaper in Melbourne reported that Dr Ramos-Horta and Reinado held a meeting near the capital on Sunday night that ended acrimoniously. The encounter came after several recent meetings during which Dr Ramos-Horta had been trying to persuade the fugitive rebel leader to give himself up. ...more in The Times - The Telegraph


East Timor embraces its Nobel laureate as new president: Dr. Ramos Horta, the Nobel laureate who spent most of his adult life campaigning for a free East Timor appears to have won a landslide victory to become the country's second President. Provisional results showed that Jose Ramos Horta holds an unbeatable lead in the race to succeed Xanana Gusmao, the former guerrilla who was the country's first independent leader, with 73 per cent of the vote after 90 per cent of the ballots have been counted. Even by the dramatic standards of East Timor, Dr Ramos Horta has lived a life of heroic proportions. He fled the Indonesian invasion to become his country’s foreign minister-in-exile in his mid 20s. For a quarter of a century, he waged a lonely struggle in foreign capitals and the corridors of the United Nations, campaigning for an end to East Timor’s brutal occupation. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, and returned to his liberated country seven years ago to become first its foreign minister and then prime minister. Incomplete results from Wednesday’s second round of voting suggested that he had outpolled his opponent by as much as four votes to one in some areas. And yet, for all his sacrifice and success, he is a controversial figure who arouses spiteful contempt as well as admiration. “I am ready to be the President now and I will make good on my promises to resolve the crisis and the refugee problem,” he said in the capital, Dili, yesterday. “I will accelerate economic development, bring foreign investors and work to eradicate poverty in this nation.” But he will also have to win over enemies who regard him as insufferably arrogant, the toy of foreign governments who threatens to sell out East Timor’s interests to overseas businesses. He was born in 1949 to a Timorese mother and a Portuguese father, who had been exiled to the remote colony for opposition to the dictatorship in Lisbon. Dr Ramos Horta himself spent two years in exile in Mozambique for political activity, and when Portugal began to pull out of East Timor in 1975 he was one of the founders of the left wing Fretilin party. He left East Timor just two days before the massive Indonesian invasion which would claim an estimated 200,000 of his countrymen’s lives over the next 24 years. Stranded in exile, as resistance fighters fought an ill-matched jungle war with the well equipped Indonesian army, he became the youngest person ever to address the UN General Assembly. But the countries that mattered in south-east Asia – above the United States and Australia, as well as Japan and Britain – tacitly acquiesced in the invasion, and Dr Ramos Horta became something close to a one-man government in exile.
...In this atmosphere of suspicion, both Dr Ramos Horta and Xanana Gusmao, left Fretilin to found a new party which will compete in next month’s parliamentary elections – at which President Gusmao hopes to become prime minister, completing a neat swap with his ally. They face a country stricken by high unemployment, poverty, crime, social and regional divisions and unrest in the armed forces and police which boiled over last year in deadly riots. “The winner of this election will win a wooden cross,” Dr Ramos Horta said before the election in a remark characteristic of his wit and cockiness. “Not as heavy as the cross carried by Jesus Christ, but almost as heavy.” ...more in The Times



July / Julio

Tonga tiene nuevo rey, pero la gente quiere democracia y justicia: El pequeño estado feudal del Sur del Pacífico, formado por 171 islas y habitado por poco más de 100.000 personas, ha coronado a George Tupou V. El pequeño archipiélago de Tonga, en el Pacífico Sur, tiene desde hoy nuevo rey. George Topou V ha sido monarca del último Estado feudal del Pacífico en un acto al que han asistido unos 1.400 dignatarios de todo el mundo, entre los que se encontraban el príncipe japonés, Naruhito, la princesa tailandesa, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, y los duques británicos de Gloucester. La ceremonia de coronación y la celebración han sido objeto de duras críticas ya que han costado 2,5 millones de dólares (1,6 millones de euros), es decir, una cifra superior al presupuesto anual de la nación. La ceremonia de hoy es la culminación de 15 días de festejos tradicionales, durante los que Topou V ha sido investido Gran Jefe Tribal. El nuevo monarca tendría que haber sido coronado en 2007, un año después de la muerte de su padre, Taufa'Ahau Tupou IV, según marca la tradición tongaza. Sin embargo, los disturbios acaecidos a finales de 2006 en la capital del país, en los que 8 personas perdieron la vida y varios edificios fueron pasto de las llamas (incendiados supuestamente por jóvenes pertenecientes al movimiento democrático), obligaron a posponer la ceremonia. Tonga es uno de los países más pequeños y pobres del mundo, con apenas 178 kilómetros cuadrados y 119.000 habitantes repartidos entre más de cien islas. Se trata de un estado feudal donde 29 familias nobles eligen a la mitad de los diputados de la cámara baja, mientras que la otra mitad es elegida por 67.000 tonganos plebeyos. La tarea de designar a todos los ministros corre a cargo del rey.

Sin embargo, el pequeño Estado va a iniciar una etapa de cambios, ya que los súbditos se han rebelado en espontáneas manifestaciones contra los abusos de poder y discriminación contra la mayoría "plebeya", forzando al Ejecutivo ha anunciar el inicio este año de un proceso de reforma de la estructura política del país. El objetivo de estos cambios es que en 2010 se puedan celebrar elecciones democráticas, con lo que se pondría punto final a un sistema que ha estado vigente durante 133 años. ...para más información pulse las pantallas y lea Pacific Magazine - Planet Tonga - El País - The Guardian - The Dominion - New Zealand Herald - The Times - The Washington Post - And watch the documental in Journeyman Pictures

The Stolen Generation

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, says sorry to the Aboriginal people on Feb 13th 2008

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English version from Babelfish.