| by admin | No comments

Australian politicians plea for deportation of Sukumaran, Chan


<strong style="font-size: 13.


0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;”>Read the full letter and the complete list of signatories below.

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have spent more than 10 years in Kerobokan prison, where they are facing execution for the crime of drug trafficking.

Australian politicians have written to the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema to appeal for Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan to be deported.

The 111 politicians from a range of parties said that they believe the pair should be punished, but noted that Australia had abolished the death penalty.

“We request that their death sentences be commuted to an appropriate term of imprisonment or that they be deported back to Australia on condition they face the criminal justice system here,” they said.

The correspondence – led by Philip Ruddock, Chris Hayes, Craig Laundy, Melissa Parke, Brett Mason and Warren Snowdon – emphasised the relationship between the two countries, including the ties between Indonesian and Australian Federal Police.

‘We request that their death sentences be commuted to an appropriate term of imprisonment or that they be deported back to Australia’

They further pressed the Ambassador on the “genuine remorse” and rehabilitation shown by Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan.

“By reason of their good behaviour, demonstrated rehabilitation and education of other prisoners, both Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran come within the Constitutional Court’s recommendation,” they said.

“Also, we believe it is significant that both Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran were only apprehended as a result of the Australian Federal Police providing information to Indonesian Police. Their crime, serious as it was, was intended to impact on Australians in Australia, not Indonesia.”

Their correspondence, dated February 6, coincides with a push from the Australians’ lawyers to challenge the presidential decree that denied clemency.

Lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, said it was “unfair, unjust and unacceptable” that individual cases weren’t judged on their merits.

“This is probably the only legal recourse left for us at the moment,” he said.

The challenge would be filed this week and a letter sent to inform the attorney-general, who is planning the next executions.

Read More
| by admin | No comments

No more tinkering, says out-of-sorts Scott

Former world No.



Scott lines up at the $US10 million Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass finally settled on the equipment in his bag after working with a variety of iron shafts, a new driver and, of course, experimenting with the short putter in 2015.

Starting late in the year thanks to the birth of daughter Bo Vera, Scott came out with a T4 at the WGC Cadillac Championship in Doral but has since failed to be a factor.

The current world No.9 missed his first cut in three years at the Valspar Championship, finished T35 at the Arnold Palmer invitational, T38 at the Masters before going 0-3 in group play at the WGC Match Play last week.

“Everything is now in good shape which is nice especially coming into a place I like, I am looking for a good week because it is time for getting runs on the board,” the 2004 Players champion said.

“There is some frustration from not getting a result but you have to weigh that up with everything I have been working on through the bag.

“There has been a lot of equipment changing back and forth this year and I think we are at a point where we’ve now also made a conscious decision to leave the stuff where it is and get some consistency going.”

Plenty has been made of the Queenslander’s decline in putting stats this year but Scott says his chopping and changing from a short to long putter is not a concern.

He was ranked 55th in strokes gained putting last season but has ballooned to 189th.

“Everything is good with the putter. I feel I hit good putts last week they just didn’t go in,” Scott countered.

“I putted good at Augusta and I am not giving two thoughts about my putting to be honest.

“I have been changing iron shafts and we are hitting the ball different distances which has caused a few surprises so I need to get some consistency there more than anything.

“I am playing all right and not making much out if it and you have those runs but if this is my bad golf, the upside is good.”

Eight other Australians are in the field including world No.7 Jason Day, Marc Leishman, John Senden, Matt Jones, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby and Steven Bowditch.

Read More
| by admin | No comments

McIlroy plays down rivalry with Masters champion Spieth

While Masters champion Spieth rates the PGA Tour’s flagship event as the most prestigious behind the four majors, McIlroy’s late arrival, at lunchtime on tournament eve, might suggest he does not place the Players on much of a pedestal.


Not that McIlroy has contempt for the event. It is one the Northern Irishman is keen to add to his glowing resume, but given his hectic schedule in winning the WGC-Cadillac Match Play last week, he decided less was more in the lead-up.

McIlroy played seven competitive rounds in San Francisco on the way to his 10th PGA tour win, with 69 holes needed on a mammoth weekend.

Consequently he figured that 18 holes in preparation for the Players Championship, or perhaps even less, on the famed TPC Sawgrass layout would be enough as he tries to improve on his career-best tie for sixth at the event last year.

“I don’t think any tiredness is there. It’s nice to get a couple of nights in my own bed and get up here and I feel pretty fresh,” McIlroy told reporters after spending Monday and Tuesday nights at his South Florida home.

The Northern Irishman downplayed his rivalry with Spieth, with whom he will play the first two rounds in a high-profile threesome that also includes world number seven Jason Day of Australia.

“Not really, because it’s been … like last year it was Rickie (Fowler), this year it’s Jordan, it might be someone else, could have been Tiger,” McIlroy said.

“There’s been four or five rivalries over the past year so it doesn’t really do anything for me.

“I don’t think I need any extra incentive to get the juices flowing this week. It’s one of the most important tournaments of the year.”

Spieth made his Players Championship debut last year and finished tied for fourth after carrying the lead into the final round with eventual champion Martin Kaymer.

It was one of a number of failed chances the Texan had to win big events in 2014, including the Masters, but he admitted this one hurt most of all amongst his learning experiences.

The 21-year-old says he has a long way to go before being considered McIlroy’s main adversary.

“I could certainly appreciate if I could get to where he’s at, but right now I don’t see myself there,” he said.

“There’s a lot of hard work that needs to be had to get there, and once I am there it’s certainly a huge goal of mine to make it interesting with him and possibly take over number one.”

(Editing by Andrew Both)

Read More
| by admin | No comments

Maintaining foreign aid a ‘moral obligation’, NGOs say ahead of cuts


<strong style="font-size: 13.


0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;”>Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced $24 million aid package for PakistanRead our full coverage of Budget 2015-16

Aid organisations are calling on the Abbott Government to “stick to its moral obligation” to maintain foreign aid, which has seen more than $11 billion in cuts since the Coalition came to office.

Treasurer Joe Hockey cut $7.9 billion over four years in his first budget last year, followed by a further $3.7 billion in December’s mid-year budget review.

Researchers have said the cuts mark both the largest ever multi-year aid cuts and largest ever single year cuts, while Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures find that 2016 will see the Australian government’s foreign aid spending drop to its lowest levels since records began in 1960.

Thulsi Narayansamy, director of AID/WATCH, Australia’s independent watchdog on foreign aid, told SBS that Australia had an inherent responsibility to have an aid budget.

‘There needs to be an understanding between the poverty that people experience in other countries and our relative wealth’

“We have a moral imperative to support people who are living in disadvantage in other countries,” she said.

“In many ways, the system that we live in that perpetuates poverty is something that we benefit from… I think there needs to be an understanding between the poverty that people experience in other countries and our relative wealth.”

Ms Narayansamy said although wider cuts were expected, they shouldn’t impact on areas prioritised by Australia’s domestic policies, meaning Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Cambodia weren’t likely to see cuts.

Other countries and organisations aren’t expected to be as lucky, with Fairfax Media reporting that ambassadors from African countries including Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Angola and Ethiopia implored the government to maintain funding during a March meeting.

Meanwhile, groups working in growing need areas such as climate aid and disaster prevention are also expecting cuts.

Ms Narayansamy said the budget needed to be maintained and should involve shifting funding from areas such as aid for trade and private sector enticements to infrastructure, health and education.

“The one trend that we’ve seen since the Coalition stepped into government is there’s an overwhelming sense of unease, because there isn’t a continuation of policy priorities,” she said.

“Things are changing rapidly with very little accountability or transparency, which makes things very difficult.”

‘Things are changing rapidly with very little accountability or transparency’

Ms Narayansamy also criticised politicians such as Jacqui Lambie, labelling her calls for further cuts “disappointing”.

The Independent Senator caused controversy with her comments about aid, including a call to redirect aid from Indonesia to Nepal in the wake of the Bali Nine executions.

“I make no apology for putting poor Tasmanians and Australians first, before any other country’s people,” she said.

“Charity begins at home.”

Senator Lambie has called for “the truth” about the size of the foreign aid budget, which Care Australia has described as “sliding to unprecedented low levels”.

Head of Care Australia Julia Newton-Howes told SBS said a further $1 billion would be cut from the foreign aid budget in the coming year, representing one sixth of its former total.

‘We are going from being a relatively generous donor among developed countries to being one of the least’

“Although [$5 billion] sounds like a lot of money, and clearly it is a lot of money, it’s around one per cent of federal government expenditure,” she said.

“I don’t think ever the Australian aid budget has received such a massive cut. We are going from being a relatively generous donor among developed countries to being one of the least.”

Dr Newton-Howes said while the exact cuts are not yet known, her own agency was looking at having to cut funding to programs such as those targeting maternal health in Papua New Guinea.

She said the program helped address the mortality rates among expecting mothers, which, at 250 per 100,000 mothers, is around 50 times the rate among Australian women.

“These areas have some of the highest maternal fatality rates in the world,” she said.

“That’s the sort of program we’re really concerned we may not be able to continue.”

Dr Newton-Howes said the government had to not only address its revenue issues, but examine the funding allocated to programs which have no proof of successful outcomes.

‘These aid budget cuts are unfair because they hit the poorest people the hardest’

“Some of the aid cuts have been made to increase spending to ASIO on surveillance,” she said.

“It would be good to have an evidence-based discussion on the likely impact of that sort of expenditure.”

The Australian Council for International Development has also criticised the cuts, which Executive director Marc Purcell described as “ungenerous, unfair and unthinking”.

“These aid budget cuts are unfair because they hit the poorest people the hardest,” he said.

Dr Purcell’s comment reflect sentiments reported by the most recent Lowy Institute poll, which found that 75 per cent of Australians believed that helping reduce poverty in poor countries was the most important objective of Australia’s foreign aid program. 

Foreign Aid funding (as a percentage of gross national income)

1. Sweden – 1.1 per cent2. Luxembourg – 1.07 per cent3. Norway – 0.99 per cent4. Denmark – 0.85 per cent5. UK – 0.7 per cent14. Australia – 0.27 per cent (will fall to 0.22 per cent)

Read More
| by admin | No comments

Budget deficit figures ‘like a Stephen King novel’: Deloitte


Read our full coverage of Budget 2015-16

A pre-budget report issued by Deloitte Access Economics on Monday outlined the growing problems for the Abbott Government, in both an economic and political sense.


Its annual budget monitor – this year titled “The Wheels Come Off” – stated that revenue writedowns from falling iron ore prices and the senate’s refusal to approve policy has left little room for new government spending.

“This has meant that new policy proposals amount to little in additional funding,” it stated.

“Even the likely centrepiece of the coming budget, a family and childcare package, is expected to be financed from the savings realised from scrapping the paid parental leave scheme.”

Deloitte economists projected an underlying cash deficit of $45.9 billion in 2014-15, $5.5 billion worse than what was projected at budget time.

Their report stated that the coming financial year would be even worse, “like it has been written by Stephen King and painted by Edvard Munch”.

“Dull it ain’t,” it stated.

Mining boom ‘threatening to become a budget bust’

Economists have stated that the poster child for Treasurer Joe Hockey’s woes is the falling iron ore price, a sentiment shared by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Addressing the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry last month, Mr Abbott listed the falling price as one of the government’s main challenges.

“Iron ore prices have fallen from record highs of $180 a tonne three years ago and $120 a tonne at the election time to below $50 a tonne today,” he said.

“Since last year’s budget, collapsing iron ore prices have already driven a cut in government revenue of more than $30 billion over four years.”

Deloitte economists are similarly pessimistic, stating tin their report hat the mining boom was “threatening to become a budget bust”.

“Even if you extended the GST to cover fresh food, you wouldn’t fill the ongoing budget hole left by the iron ore price falls of the last six months,” it stated, “We estimate revenues will fall shy of the latest officials estimates by $5.2 billion in 2014-15, and by an ugly $10.8 billion in 2015-16.”

Hockey ‘damaged by perception of unfairness and inability to negotiate’

Iron ore prices aside, economists stated that the politics of negotiating the federal budget were also falling below expectations.

Deloitte economists estimated that senate delays cost the government $1 billion in 2014-15, after the crossbench and opposition pushed against changes to the carbon tax and higher education.

The delays were expected to cost a further $2.3 billion in the coming financial year, but the Australian National University’s John Warhurst said the stalled budget had implications outside the economic sense.

Professor Warhurst told SBS that Treasurer Joe Hockey was damaged not so much by the toughness of his first budget, but rather the perception of unfairness and inability to negotiate.

“I think it reflected poorly on the ability of the Treasurer and the government to negotiate with the crossbench,” he said.

“There’s been a general feeling that while it’s a difficult task to negotiate with such a diverse senate cross bench, that essentially the budget was unfair and that the senate crossbench were not being unreasonable.”

What’s passed and what’s been scrapped from 2014-15


Cuts to public broadcasters, including the axing of Australia Network one year into the ABC’s 10-year contract, forcing more than 400 job losses.Repeal of the carbon tax and mining tax.Immigration overhaul, including $711 million to fund the establishment of the Australian Border Force and a college to train new staff.The establishment of a Green Army, to be funded by $525 million over four years.Cuts to foreign aid, totalling almost $8 billion with no growth in spending until next year.


Planned cuts to legal aid reversed, meaning $25.5 million will remain for frontline legal services.Paid Parental Leave levy axed.Cuts to defence wages reversed, with the government’s offer lifted to two per cent in a deal to cost $217 million over the forward estimates.GP co-payment scrapped after widespread public and political backlash.Cuts to the indexation rate of pensions, which has been blocked by the Senate before being dropped by the government over the weekend.

Controversial changes to higher education are still in limbo, while the government has since announced additional funding for homeless, drug and alcohol services. A $246 million program for nannies has also been outlined.

Read More
| by admin | No comments

Germanwings pilot rehearsed descent on previous flight, investigators say

Co-pilot rehearsed manoeuvre on outbound flight – BEAAutopilot briefly reset to take jet to 100 feetCaptain had left cabin, as on fatal return flightDoctors twice refused to renew medical certificate in 2009

 The Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a jet in the French Alps rehearsed the fatal manoeuvre on the morning of the disaster, and had twice been refused medical papers needed to fly, investigators said on Wednesday.


The French BEA accident investigation agency said the co-pilot had five times set the autopilot to take the Airbus down to just 100 feet while the captain was out of the cockpit on the outbound flight to Barcelona from Duesseldorf.

But the brief twists of an altitude dial, mimicking those which crashed the A320 on its way back to the German city 2-3 hours later, would not have been noticed by passengers or controllers because they were quickly reversed and were masked by the fact that the jet had already started an authorised descent, the BEA said.

A preliminary report on the return flight that crashed on March 24, killing all 150 people on board, confirmed a growing picture of painstaking preparations carried out by the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz.

“I can’t speculate on what was happening inside his head; all I can say is that he changed this button to the minimum setting of 100 feet and he did it several times,” said Remi Jouty, director of the French BEA accident investigation agency.

“These very brief actions on the previous flight were a sort of rehearsal of the manoeuvre,” he said.

Digging into data and cockpit recordings recovered from the jet’s “black boxes”, the BEA gave the most detailed picture so far on what happened in the cockpit of return flight 9525.

The 27-year-old co-pilot was in charge of flying the plane on the return leg, a routine practice that allows pilots to build up experience. 

Shortly after the A320 reached cruise height, the captain told Lubitz he was leaving the cockpit and asked him to take over the radio, the BEA said. No reason was given, but Jouty noted it is normal for pilots to leave the cockpit to go to the toilet, for example. 

Just over 30 seconds after the door closed, leaving Lubitz alone in the cockpit for the second time that day, he entered the instruction he had rehearsed.

By turning a dial, he ordered the plane’s autopilot to descend to 100 feet, the BEA said. This was the lowest setting possible and enough to crash into mountains ahead. He then altered another dial to speed the jet up.

The report listed numerous warnings that went unanswered as the jet sped lower. These included four attempts to reach him from outside the cockpit by interphone and a crescendo of calls and knocks that ended with “violent blows” on the door.

As the jet steadily lost height, Marseille air traffic controllers tried 11 times to contact the Germanwings jet. Just over two minutes before the crash the French military weighed in, trying three times to contact the crew on an emergency frequency, followed by a call from another plane.

Finally the aircraft’s ground-proximity warning system kicked into life, urging the co-pilot to “pull up”.

Medical rebuff 

Reviewing Lubitz’s training and career, the BEA said his professional level was judged to be “above standard”. However, it said the aeromedical centre of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, twice refused to renew his medical certificate in 2009 when he was undergoing treatment for depression.

Lubitz broke off his pilot training from November 2008 to August 2009 due to his illness.

After gaining a certificate in July 2009, Lubitz’s pilot’s licence, which is always valid for one year only, contained a note requiring aeromedical doctors to contact licensing authorities before the certificate could be extended or renewed.

Investigators in Germany have found torn-up sick notes, including for the day of the crash, indicating that Lubitz was concealing an illness from his employers. They also uncovered Internet searches made by Lubitz in the week before the tragedy on suicide methods and cockpit door security. 

The German government plans to name a former diplomat, Steffen Rudolph, as an ombudsman for relatives of the victims, government sources told Reuters. 

The BEA will issue a final report in about a year that may include recommendations on cockpit doors and the handling of pilots’ medical records by the airline industry. The French agency declined to speculate on any recommendations but said it would examine the balance to be struck between medical confidentiality and air safety.

It promised also to look at where to draw the line between the need to prevent possible attacks by passengers and the need to prevent a repeat of incidents such as the Germanwings crash. 

Cockpit doors were specially strengthened to protect pilots after the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

The BEA said it had found six previous accidents since 1980 in which deliberate actions by crew may have played a part. 

These included a remarkably similar crash of an Embraer 190 jet in Namibia in 2013 in which 33 people died after the co-pilot left the captain alone in the cockpit. The jet was ordered to the ground by changing autopilot altitude settings.

On at least two other occasions, there were two pilots in the cockpit but one was not able to counter the other’s actions.

Many airlines have recently made it compulsory to have two people in the cockpit to help prevent accidents, but Jouty said accident records suggested this would not be an automatic cure.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan and Andreas Rinke in Berlin.; Editing by James Regan, Andrew Callus and David Stamp)


Read More
| by admin | No comments

Hiring by US businesses slows: survey

US companies hired in April at the slowest pace in nearly a year and a half, a private survey has found, as the strong US dollar dragged down overseas sales and energy companies cut back on spending in the face of lower oil prices.


Payroll processor ADP said on Wednesday that businesses added just 169,000 jobs in April, down from 175,000 in the previous month. That was the fewest since January 2014. March’s total was revised down from 189,000.

The weak showing could raise fears that the economy is slipping into a period of sluggish growth, after expanding at a healthy pace for most of last year. A big increase in the trade gap, reported Tuesday, means the economy probably shrank in the first quarter.

That could weigh on job gains. Employers added just 126,000 jobs in March, according to the government’s data, the fewest in 15 months.

April’s jobs report will be released Friday, and economists forecast hiring rebounded to 220,000 last month. But the disappointing ADP figures suggest that hiring could remain sluggish.

Many economists discounted the report, however, because the ADP survey has a spotty track record of forecasting the official figures.

It covers only private businesses and sometimes diverges from the government’s more comprehensive report.

Analysts note that other job market data, such as the low level of applications for unemployment benefits, indicate that Friday’s job gains should be healthy.

“The ADP is no fortune teller,” Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas, said in a note to clients.

Hiring in April fell sharply among large companies with more than 500 workers, according to ADP. They added just 5,000 jobs, the fewest in six months.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, blamed the shortfall mostly on the US dollar’s strength, which makes large companies’ exports more expensive overseas.

The US dollar has risen about 15 per cent in value against a basket of other currencies in the past year. Moody’s helps compile the ADP data.

The strong US dollar has also hit factories, which shed 10,000 jobs last month, the most in more than five years, according to ADP.

Falling oil prices have also slowed manufacturing, as energy companies cut orders for steel pipe and other machinery needed for drilling.

Read More
| by admin | No comments

Mesmeric Messi nets double as Barca romp past Bayern

After Barca had been frustrated by the brilliance of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for most of the match, Messi fired home after 77 minutes and then doubled the lead with a delightful chip from six metres three minutes later.


Neymar completed a resounding late burst from the hosts when he raced clear and slotted calmly home in stoppage time.

It was a disappointing evening for Bayern coach Pep Guardiola on his return to his former club.

He had warned before the game that it was impossible to stop his former prodigy Messi and it proved the case as the Argentine orchestrated Barcelona’s emphatic victory that gives them a clear advantage heading into next week’s second leg.

“When Messi is inspired he is unstoppable and tonight he showed his talent again,” Barcelona centre back Gerard Pique told Spanish television.

“We played a fantastic game. Defensively we were very good as they didn’t have shots on target and to achieve that against a team like Bayern is amazing.”

Barca have evolved this season under Luis Enrique into a team that is no longer obsessed with maintaining possession and instead is allowing the forwards to be more creative.

Bayern had plenty of the ball in the second half but it was Barca’s counter-attacks that proved decisive.

“We played okay for long periods of time but we were caught on the break three times. It’s bitter, we had our chances but we lost possession, they break and that should not happen,” Bayern’s Philipp Lahm told reporters.

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were among those sidelined in an injury crisis for Bayern, but a masked Robert Lewandowski started in attack despite fracturing his nose and jaw in his side’s recent defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup.

Barcelona’s first clear sight of goal came after 11 minutes when Luis Suarez scampered clear of the Bayern defence and was denied by a superb block from the feet of Neuer.

Minutes later a close range effort from Neymar was deflected wide by Rafinha.

The German champions slowly woke up and should have scored on the counter when Lewandowski slid a Thomas Mueller cross wide after 17 minutes.

Messi and Suarez were both showing delightful touches as they teased the Bayern backline while Neymar on the left side of their attacking trident found it more difficult to get into the game.

Barca continued to pass up opportunities in the second half before Messi made the breakthrough with a 20-metre drive that beat Neuer at his near post.

He then capped an excellent performance by lifting the ball expertly over Neuer for a record 77th Champions League goal and providing the pass for Neymar’s crucial late third.

(Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

Read More
| by admin | No comments

Savea, Perenara rested by Hurricanes

A Hurricanes backline already missing Beauden Barrett will also be without in-form All Blacks Julian Savea and TJ Perenara when they host the Sharks in Wellington on Saturday.


Coach of the Super Rugby leaders Chris Boyd has elected to hand winger Savea and halfback Perenara a break under the rest requirement for All Blacks players this season.

There are six changes in total from the side that beat the Crusaders 29-23 in last weekend to push the Hurricanes five points clear atop the standings.

Savea is replaced by Matt Proctor and Perenara by Chris Smylie while James Marshall is at inside centre in place of Barrett, who suffered a medial ligament tear which will rule him out for about a month.

Up front, Boyd welcomes back No.8 Victor Vito from a calf injury which sidelined him from their past three games.

He and Blade Thomson are recalled to the loose forward mix, replacing in-form pair Brad Shields and Callum Gibbins.

Prop Chris Eves makes a notable start in place of Reggie Goodes.

All of Eves’ 21 Hurricanes appearances have been off the bench but Boyd says the Manawatu loosehead is ready to prove himself against a powerful Sharks scrum.

Hooker Dane Coles, who came off the bench following a six-week injury break (elbow) last week, was unavailable for selection after suffering a calf strain against the Crusaders.

The Sharks have slumped to 11th place after losing their past four games, including a 48-15 drubbing from the Highlanders last week.

Hurricanes: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (capt), Ma’a Nonu, Matt Proctor, James Marshall, Chris Smylie, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Blade Thomson, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben Franks, Motu Matu’u, Chris Eves. Reserves: Brayden Mitchell, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Reggie Goodes, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Frae Wilson, Otere Black, Rey Lee-Lo.

Read More
| by admin | No comments

Yemen urges ground intervention to save country: letter to UN

Yemen urged the international community “to quickly intervene by land forces to save” the country, specifically in the cities of Aden and Taiz, according to a letter sent to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.


The letter from Yemen’s U.N. Ambassador Khaled Alyemany, seen by Reuters, could provide legal cover for such a move. 

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched air strikes against Houthi rebels a day after Yemen notified the 15-member Security Council in a March 24 letter that it had requested military help from Gulf Arab states.

The Houthi militia battled its way into Aden’s Tawahi district on Wednesday despite Saudi-led air strikes, strengthening its hold on the city whose fate is seen as crucial to determining the country’s civil war.

The letter sent to the Security Council also urged human rights groups to document “barbaric violations against a defenseless population.” It accused the Houthis of killing civilians and blocking medical teams. 

The fighting across Yemen killed 120 people on Wednesday, mostly civilians, including at least 40 who were trying to flee the southern port city of Aden by a boat that was struck by Houthi shells, rescue workers and witnesses said. 

The Houthis and ex-army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have besieged Aden for weeks in an effort to end resistance in the city where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi briefly based his government before fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

“Everyone that has committed a crime will not escape punishment and the government will employ all means to bring the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Saleh to international justice as war criminals,” Alyemany wrote in the letter to the Security Council.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chris Reese and Ted Botha)

Read More