Aus­tralia re­quires nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion cer­e­monies

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments will be forced to in­duct cit­i­zens on na­tional hol­i­day

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

SYD­NEY — Aus­tralia’s fed­eral gov­ern­ment has or­dered lo­cal gov­ern­ments to hold nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion cer­e­monies for new cit­i­zens on Aus­tralia Day amid con­tro­versy over the hol­i­day, which some claim is of­fen­sive to its indige­nous peo­ple.

The gov­ern­ment is propos­ing that all lo­cal gov­ern­ment bod­ies in Aus­tralia, typ­i­cally re­ferred to as coun­cils, must hold in­duc­tion cer­e­monies for new cit­i­zens on the Aus­tralia Day hol­i­day on Jan­uary 26 and the Aus­tralian Cit­i­zen­ship Day hol­i­day on Septem­ber 17 or have their au­tho­ri­sa­tion re­voked, Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter David Cole­man said in an emailed state­ment yes­ter­day.

Aus­tralia Day marks the an­niver­sary of the 1788 ar­rival of the first British fleet to Syd­ney Cove where the British flag was raised on the con­ti­nent mark­ing the start of coloni­sa­tion.

Abo­rig­ines trace their lin­eage on the is­land con­ti­nent back 50,000 years and for them, the date marks the start of the loss of their cul­tural her­itage and suf­fer­ing un­der dis­crim­i­na­tory poli­cies.

The hol­i­day has be­come con­tro­ver­sial with pres­sure by ac­tivists to change the date from what they call “In­va­sion Day”.

The coun­try’s 700,000 or so indige­nous peo­ple track near the bot­tom of its 25 mil­lion cit­i­zens in al­most ev­ery eco­nomic and so­cial in­di­ca­tor.

Sev­eral lo­cal coun­cils have stopped hold­ing cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­monies on Aus­tralia Day be­cause of con­cerns the date is in­sult­ing to Abo­rig­ines.

At a press con­fer­ence tele­vised by the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion yes­ter­day, Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Cole­man said more than 100 of the coun­try’s 537 coun­cils do not hold cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­monies on the Aus­tralia Day hol­i­day.

How­ever, Aus­tralian Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent David O’Loughlin said coun­cils hold mul­ti­ple cit­i­zen­ship cer- emonies through­out the year and the ma­jor­ity of those who skip Aus­tralia Day do so for prac­ti­cal rea­sons.

“It’s a very ex­pen­sive un­der­tak­ing to do a pub­lic event on a pub­lic hol­i­day,” he told Reuters yes­ter­day. “About two or three only moved the day for ide­o­log­i­cal rea­sons.”

The pro­posed changes to the Aus­tralian Cit­i­zen­ship Cer­e­monies Code are planned for in­tro­duc­tion by the first half of 2019, the min­is­ter’s state­ment said. Cole­man plans to write to the coun­cils and re­ceive feed­back on the changes, the state­ment said. — REUTERS YAN­GON — Myan­mar’s Man­dalay re­gion au­thor­i­ties have de­stroyed 280 mil­lion ky­ats (US$186,666) worth of ex­pired drugs, food­stuffs and cos­met­ics, the of­fi­cial Global New Light of Myan­mar re­ported yes­ter­day.

The burned items in Pathe­ingyi town­ship on Fri­day in­cluded ex­pired drugs pro­vided by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, un­safe food prod­ucts and con­sumer goods seized from the mar­ket along with il­le­gally im­ported drugs and cos­met­ics.

The Man­dalay City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee and the re­gion’s Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion are also mak­ing ef­forts to con­fis­cate more drugs, food and cos­met­ics that are un­fit for con­sump­tion.

115 quakes de­tected on Korean Penin­sula last year

SEOUL — More than 100 quakes were de­tected on the Korean Penin­sula and its sur­round­ing wa­ters in 2018, the third most for a year, the state weather agency said yes­ter­day.

The out­breaks of seismic ac­tiv­i­ties to­taled 115 in 2018, ac­cord­ing to the data by the Ko­rea Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tion (KMA). It is the third high­est num­ber of oc­cur­rences since the gov­ern­ment be­gan to track re­lated data in 1978.

The high­est on record was 252 tal­lied in 2016, fol­lowed by 232 in 2017, the data showed.

A 5.8 mag­ni­tude earth­quake struck the south­east­ern prov­ince of Gyeongju on Septem­ber 12, 2016, the strong­est by record. The sec­ond­strongest 5.4 mag­ni­tude quake hit the nearby port city of Po­hang on Novem­ber 15, 2017.

The weather agency largely cited the Po­hang earth­quake as the pri­mary rea­son for last year’s fre­quent out­breaks, defin­ing them as af­ter­shocks.

The weather agency said it is not rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other ma­jor quake this year, adding that it is keep­ing close tabs on seismic move­ments so as to promptly no­tify the pub­lic in case of an out­break.

Aus­tralia po­lice call off search for miss­ing tourist

SYD­NEY — An ex­ten­sive ae­rial search for a Ger­man tourist miss­ing in the vast Aus­tralian out­back for al­most two weeks has been called off, po­lice said.

Monika Billen, 62, was re­ported miss­ing last week after leav­ing her re­sort in Al­ice Springs, a re­mote town near the geo­graph­i­cal cen­tre of Aus­tralia.

She is be­lieved to have hitched and walked her way to the Emily Gap, a site pop­u­lar with tourists in a re­mote na­ture park famed for its rocky ravines and gorges.

Po­lice had launched land and ae­rial searches for Billen, in­clud­ing the use of drones.

They be­lieve a mo­torist may have seen her look­ing de­hy­drated and a dis­ori­en­tated as early as Jan­uary 2.

Tem­per­a­tures have soared above 40 de­grees Cel­sius dur­ing the south­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer in the cen­tral desert re­gion. Po­lice said Billen had only a yel­low cash­mere scarf to pro­tect against the scorch­ing sun.

Vi­cary urged any wit­nesses to come for­ward and re­port any sight­ings or en­coun­ters with Billen. — Agen­cies

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