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Australia denies mass immigrant hunger strike

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SYDNEY: Australia has denied that hundreds of immigrants have gone on a mass hunger strike at a facility in Melbourne, while insisting conditions at the facility are not “inhumane or brutal.”

Days after detainees and activists declared a hunger strike in a protest against living conditions, the Australian Border Force said there was no “mass hunger strike” at Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation.

“While some detainees are refusing to attend regular meal times as part of a protest, they continue to eat and drink in other parts of the facility,” the border force said in a statement.

But activist Ian Rentoul of the Refugee Action Coalition said the “hunger strike protest” was now in its fourth day.

Detainees launched the protest over complaints of prison-like conditions and limited privacy.

Thirty-year-old New Zealander John Vaofusi, who lost automatic residency rights after being convicted for assault, earlier told media said he would continue the hunger strike “until we see some change.”

“I feel like I’m in jail again,” he said. “I’ve done my time for that crime.”

The border force defended conditions inside the centre, saying “the detention population has changed considerably in recent years.”

It added “a significant number” of the detained population had “their visa cancelled on character grounds, based on criminal convictions and links to criminal associations such as outlaw motorcycle gangs or organised crime.”

Successive conservative and Labor governments have upheld a decades-old policy of mandatory detention for “unlawful non-citizens” even for minor offences like visa overstays.

Hunger strikes are a frequent occurrence at Australia’s onshore detention facilities, which house people who have run afoul of immigration law.

 

 

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Pakistan

Pakistan believes in friendly terms with all

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Legislation against corruption will be PTI govt.'s priority

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Service Attaches from different countries on Wednesday called on Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and discussed matters related to important regional and international issues and Pakistan’s relations with different countries of the world.

The Speaker said that Pakistan is a peace loving country and believed in building friendly relations with all countries including its neighbors. He said that vast investment opportunities exist in Pakistan and foreign investors can take advantages from these opportunities. He said that the incumbent government in Pakistan has introduced investment-friendly policies in the country and taking steps to safeguard the investment of the foreign investors. Asad Qaiser said that Pakistan has an abundance of beautiful tourist resorts and the highest mountain ranges of the world due to which it has a lot of attractions for foreign tourists. \

He said that promotion of tourism was the prime concern of the present government. He said that people of Pakistan and its security forces have rendered matchless sacrifices in the war against terrorism and more than 70 thousand innocent citizens and personnel of security forces were martyred during this war.  He said that due to successful military operations by Pakistan, terrorism has been reduced to a great extent. He urged upon the Attaches to play their due role to portray the soft and positive image of Pakistan in their respective countries.

On this occasion, Secretary National Assembly Tahir Hussain briefed the participants about formation, functions and organizational structure of the National Assembly and its standing committees. The Foreign Attaches thanked the Speaker National Assembly for providing them the opportunity to visit the National Assembly of Pakistan. They said that they have learned a lot about legislative procedures and other functions of this supreme constitutional body during this visit.

 

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Cricket

PCB regrets Durban incident

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed regret over the remark made by Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and picked up by the stump mic during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban.
The PCB neither endorses nor supports any comments that have the potential to cause offense, and firmly reiterates their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made; in whatever context, said a spokesman of the PCB here on Wednesday night. “This incident has also highlighted the importance and significance of player education and training at all levels. The PCB endeavors to improve their player education programmes to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again,” he said.
“Sarfaraz is one of the most respected cricketers in the world. However, captaining Pakistan is a massive honor and any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, is not acceptable to the PCB,” he added. The spokesman said, “The PCB is confident that this incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both sides. The PCB is also hopeful that the crowds will continue to turn up in big numbers for the remaining matches to support cricket.”

 

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Education

SC order: Pct. schools to face action

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Chief Justice asks to reduce school fee

ISLAMABAD: Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) will take action against private schools functioning in the federal capital in case of violation of Supreme Court order with regard to reducing monthly tuition fee by 20 percent.
The authority has power to impose fine of Rs 5000 per day besides withdrawal of school registration and filing contempt petition against private schools if they fail to comply the court order, Chairman PEIRA Imtiaz Ali Qureshi said on Wednesday.
Talking to APP, he said that all private schools operating in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and offering education up to Intermediate or A-level or equivalent and charging accumulative monthly tuition fee beyond Rs 5000 to reduce their fees by 20 percent.
In pursuance of Court order, Chairman PEIRA said that annual increase in the fee will strictly be in the range of 5 to 8 percent in the manner that the schools may increase their school fee by 5 percent for the next academic year 2019-20.
Whereas, he said, in case of an increase of school fees between the ranges of 6 to 8 percent, the schools will be required to seek the permission of PEIRA which will determine the same accordingly in line with the provision of ICT PEIRA Registration and Regulation. 
He said that public order has been published in national daily to ask the private schools for implementation of orders of Supreme Court and to inform the parents about such orders. He added the authority will ensure implementation of the court order in true letter and spirit.
He said that the owners of all major private school chains have submitted undertaking on judicial stamp paper except to comply with the court order.
He said that around 1500 registered private schools have been operating in the federal capital while 400 schools are among those which are charging accumulative monthly tuition fee beyond Rs 5000.
Imtiaz Qureshi said, “Legal action will be taken against those schools which will fail to fulfill their assurance on orders of the Supreme Court.”
He said that all those private schools which have failed to register themselves with the authority so far, have been finally reminded to apply for registration, separately for each branch and campus till December 31, 2019, failing which Rs 5000 per day fine will be imposed for illegal operation.
He said that under court order, no school will under any circumstances be closed nor any student be expelled from such schools as well as no student will be placed under any disadvantageous position in term of the fee he or she was paying before the court order. Otherwise, the respective management will be held personally liable for disobeying and disregarding the order of the Supreme Court, he added.
Meanwhile, citizens of federal capital have asked the PEIRA to ensure proper implementation of the Supreme Court’s (SC) order for private schools to reduce their fees by 20 percent.
According to them, the private schools’ administrations have also ensured to adjust or refund summer vacations fees, which have received by them from their students by 12 February 2019, under Supreme Court Order.

 

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