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Australia to take 12000 Syrians, expand bombing on IS

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By NewsGram News Desk

Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is the latest head of state joining the international chorus of ‘taking refugees’ and ‘attacking IS’. Abbott said on Wednesday that Australia will permanently take 12,000 refugees from war-torn Syria and will expand its bombing mission against IS into Syria “within days”.

This refugee intake would be on the top of Australia’s annual commitment of taking in 13,750 refugees from around the world, Xinhua news agency reported.

29-Tony-Abbott-AFP“Australia will re-settle an additional 12,000 refugees from the Syria/Iraq conflict,” Abbott announced at a media conference.

“These will be permanent resettlement places over and above Australia’s existing humanitarian program of 13,750 this year, which rises to 18,750 in 2018-19, the prime minister said.

Abbott said “Our focus for these new, 12,000 resettlement places will be those most in need of permanent protection… women, children and families from persecuted minorities who have sought temporary refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey… the most vulnerable of all.”

Abbott said while he would like the resettlement to occur “as quickly as possible”, background checks would be taking place.

Earlier, however, he had stated that the nation would include the Syrian number in its annual commitment itself. The latest statement means that the PM has listened to the international cry on helping the Syrian refugees.

At the same press conference, the government also said it would allocate $30.1 million to aid agencies working in the Middle East just a day after the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) slammed Australia for its lack of contributions in 2015.

“We will directly pay for the support of 240,000 displaced people in countries neighboring Syria and Iraq through the UNHCR and other agencies,” Abbott said.

Meanwhile, Australia has also signed off on expanding air force operations into Syria.

Abbot said Australia’s national security committee had rubber-stamped the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) expansion into Syria, saying operation could begin “within days”.

Australia already runs bombing mission against IS forces in Iraq, but Abbott said it was time to defeat IS at its source in Syria.

“We cannot defeat Daesh in Iraq unless we defeat Daesh in Syria,” Abbot said.

“I emphasize that our aircraft will be targeting IS, not the Assad regime, evil though it is,” the prime minister said.

With inputs from IANS

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Australia: Campaign Launches for Citizenship to be Granted to the Great Barrier Reef

The health of the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, has deteriorated in recent decades

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Australia, Campaign, Citizenship
The Change.org petition, addressed to the Ministers of Environment, Citizenship and Home Affairs as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Pixabay

A campaign was launched in Australia on Wednesday to push for citizenship to be granted to the Great Barrier Reef in order to strengthen protection of the world’s largest living organism.

The Change.org petition, addressed to the Ministers of Environment, Citizenship and Home Affairs as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison, highlighted that the Great Barrier Reef protects the country’s coastline and contributes about 6.4 billion Australian dollars ($4.5 billion) annually to its economy, as well as supporting 64,000 jobs.

“But despite her massive contribution to Australia, she’s still denied the one basic right of every Australian citizen – the right to live,” said the petition started by social media and entertainment publisher, LADbible.

The health of the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, has deteriorated in recent decades due to climate change, which also caused two deadly mass coral-bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.

Australia, Campaign, Citizenship
A campaign was launched in Australia on Wednesday to push for citizenship to be granted. Pixabay

The petition said that the ecosystem is being threatened by coal mining, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change inaction and proposed that it should be given citizenship to grant it rights including the right to health, freedom from torture or inhuman treatment or punishment, the right to maintain own means of subsistence and the right to life, Efe news reported.

In a 2017 world-first, the New Zealand government granted the Whanganui River legal personhood, giving it the same legal rights as a human being.

Also Read- Australian Scientists Determines Precise Location of Cosmic Radio Waves

The Great Barrier Reef, home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of mollusks, began to deteriorate in the 1990s due to the double impact of water warming and increased acidity due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (IANS)