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FILE - Protestors against asylum seekers being deported, gather for a rally in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 4, 2016. VOA

November 5, 2016: Hundreds of people rallied in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday after a proposal to house refugees locally drew people both for and against the measure.

Protesters belonging to anti-Islam groups said they were against a plan to settle 120 refugees from Syria and Iraq at a senior housing facility in the Eltham neighbourhood.

Anti-immigration demonstrators carried Australian flags and marched near the Eltham’s Andrew Park. Police presence kept groups separated to avoid clashes.

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Pro-refugee supporters, part of the group “Welcome to Eltham,” carried colourful signs that read “Eltham says yes to refugees.”

“Most people sort of, keep to themselves. A lot of them are in their eighties and nineties and yes, they just keep to themselves. They are a bit concerned about it but they will just wait and see,” John Conroy, resident of Saint Vincent’s Care Services, said.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that locals were discussing the idea to settle refugees in the St. Vincent’s facility, but mostly they were not happy that people from other areas were flooding to Eltham to demonstrate.

Australia has a tough immigration policy and asylum-seekers trying to reach the continent are sent to camps on Nauru or Papua New Guinea, where their status as refugees are either accepted or rejected.

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Protesters react as they hold placards and listen to speakers during a rally in support of refugees in central Sydney, Australia, Oct. 19, 2015. VOA

In 2015, the Australian government announced a one-time proposal to accept 12,000 refugees who were running away from areas of conflict such as Iraq and Syria.

But last week, officials announced a plan to permanently ban asylum seekers who try to reach the continent by boat from entering under any visa category.

Meanwhile in Sydney others decided to rally for the closing of detention centers—places that have been heavily criticized by human rights groups.

“The detention centers are no suitable environments for the health of all detainees, but the effects on children are far worse,” Brian Owler, president of the Australian Medical Association, said in a statement.

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According to immigration figures as of August 31, there are close to 1,589 asylum-seekers among them 1,382 men, 114 women and 93 children being held on Manus Island and Nauru.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government is maintaining a dialogue with other countries, such as the Philippines, to settle refugees. (VOA)


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Japan launched its new satellite, QZS-1R.

Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.

The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.

The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.

"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.

The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, reported.

The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.

It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.

Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).

The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)

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Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

Fireworks light up the night sky

Everyone loves firecrackers, even the most environment-friendly advocates cannot hide their joy when they see these delightful lights colour the skies. India celebrates Diwali in the true spirit of her culture and heritage by spraying the navy-blue skies with sparkling hues of gold, silver, red, and green. Firecrackers are not just a tradition in this country, they are a legacy.

The original connotation one makes with fireworks in China. The elaborate Chinese celebrations with dragons and zapping firecrackers have left their mark in human memory, but the use of fireworks is not limited to heralding the Chinese New Year. All over the world, fireworks have come to symbolise the ultimate celebration. During Diwali in India, this spirit is re-ignited every year.

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A visitor looks at statues of the 'Royal treasures of Abomey kingdom' on display at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris on Sept. 10, 2021, part of 26 artworks set to be restituted to Benin later in the year.

PARIS — In a decision with potential ramifications across European museums, France is displaying 26 looted colonial-era artifacts for one last time before returning them home to Benin.

The wooden anthropomorphic statues, royal thrones and sacred altars were pilfered by the French army in the 19th century from Western Africa.

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