Srebrenica massacre: Dutch government partially liable, court finds

“The court finds that the Dutch state acted unlawfully,” judge Gepke Dulek said in an hour-long ruling, which largely upheld a 2014 ruling by a lower court.

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“The conclusion is that the Dutchbat (Dutch peacekeepers) knew that during the evacuations by the Bosnian Serbs to separate the Muslim men and boys there was a real risk they could face inhumane treatment or execution,” she said.

The Dutch soldiers had also facilitated the separation of the men and the boys among the refugees, she added.

Almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the 1995 genocide, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.

It occurred on July 13, 1995 when lightly armed Dutch UN peacekeepers were overrun by Bosnian Serb forces as they sought to protect tens of thousands of refugees who had flooded to their base in what was meant to be a UN safe haven.

Both the Dutch state and the relatives of victims had appealed the 2014 Dutch lower court ruling that the state was liable for the deaths of some 350 men who were sent off the base along with other refugees.

Tuesday’s ruling also found that the Dutch state is liable for some 30 percent of any damages awarded, as it was uncertain whether the men would have survived had they stayed inside the compound. 

The Srebrenica killings have been denounced as an act of genocide by the UN court set up in The Hague to try those behind the atrocities of the Balkans wars.

And in the Netherlands the events still stir controversy, with questions remaining over the Dutch blue helmets’ role.

Late Monday, a lawyer for 206 former Dutch peacekeepers said they were suing the government for damages for sending them to defend Srebrenica, after the defence minister last year admitted it had been a “mission impossible.”

“As from tomorrow (Tuesday), 206 of my clients are claiming compensation of 22,000 euros each,” their lawyer told Dutch late night talk show Jinek on Monday.

Total damages would amount to around 4.5 million euros.

The Dutch troops, entrenched in their base, had taken in thousands of refugees from the enclave.

But overwhelmed they first shut the gates to new arrivals, and then allowed the Bosnian Serbs to evacuate the refugees. The men and boys were separated and taken in buses to their deaths.

Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert last year admitted the battalion had been sent to Bosnia “without adequate preparation… without the proper means, with little information, to protect a peace that no longer existed.”

“It was an unrealistic mission, in impossible circumstances,” she said.

One Nation campaign T-shirts ‘made in Bangladesh’

The loud orange supporter T-shirts of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party are made in Bangladesh, according to The New Daily.

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It’s a key policy of the party to support local workers.

“We should not force industry and employment to go offshore,” One Nation’s website reads. 

“We desire a return to Australian ownership of land, resources, public utilities and businesses. The assets and resources of Australia must be the property of the Australian people.” 

Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union’s Michele O’Neil told the publication the T-shirts, which sell for $25 each, were “an extraordinarily bad call”.

“There are skilled workers making quality political T-shirts in Australia. And as a party that claims to be based on ordinary working people’s lives, it shows the hypocrisy of that claim,” she said.

“All it says is you can trust Pauline Hanson to not support local workers and to promote her party on the backs of exploited workers in a third-world country.”

Bangladesh’s garment industry is one of the biggest exporters in the world, the International Labour Organization says.

Yet the organisation records show the minimum wage for an entry-level garment worker is about 34 cents per hour or US $52 per month.

Only about 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories have registered unions, and the country’s labor laws require 30 per cent of workers in a factory to agree to forming a union before one can be founded, according to Human Rights Watch. 

SBS World News has contacted One Nation for comment. 

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Census 2016: ‘No religion’ submissions rise as Christianity slides

More Australians are losing their religion, and for many home ownership is just a dream.

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But that’s only part of the picture from last year’s census.

The first batch of data, published on Tuesday, showed Australians are getting older, more are living alone and there’s a growing number of same-sex couples.

The country’s population has doubled to an estimated 24.4 million in 50 years, with nearly two million people added since the last census in 2011.

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The changing face of migration shifts from Europe to Asia

Australia now has a higher proportion of migrants than the United States and Britain and, for the first time, more are moving here from Asia than Europe.

The figures showed nearly half of the population were either born overseas or their parents were.

And of the more than six million born elsewhere, almost 20 per cent have arrived since 2012.

England and New Zealand are still the most common countries of birth after Australia but a growing number are born in China and India.

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Growth in Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism 

The number of Australians speaking only English at home fell from almost 77 per cent to nearly 73 per cent in five years, although more than 300 different languages are spoken in households.

Meanwhile, about one-third of Australians said they don’t have a religion – more than two million more than in 2011.

More are turning away from Christianity but there’s been a growth in Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism.

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An ageing population: 1 in 6 aged over 65

Overall, Australia’s population is getting older.

While your average Aussie is 38, one in six are over 65.

More than two-thirds live in capital cities – which are growing nearly twice as fast as the rest of the country, mostly thanks to migrants.

Sydney is still the largest city, boasting 4.8 million residents – up nearly 10 per cent in five years.

It comes as little surprise, then, that the number of people who have paid off their mortgage has dropped as house prices surge.

Just 31 per cent of Australians own their home outright, down from 32.1 per cent in 2011 and from 40 per cent a quarter of a century ago.

But the proportion of people who are paying off a mortgage is relatively steady at 34 per cent.

The data shows a shift towards renting, with nearly 31 per cent now paying a landlord, up from just under 30 per cent five years ago and 27 per cent in 1991.

Median rents have increased 17.5 per cent since 2011, but those with a mortgage have seen their repayments fall by an average $45 a month.

ABS insists data can be trusted 

Despite the census’ website crash, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ chief statistician, David Kalisch insists the data is high quality.

However, privacy concerns did take a toll, with some people giving fake names and withholding their date of birth.

There was also a sharp drop in the number of respondents allowing authorities to keep their data archived for 99 years.

The census had a response rate of 95 per cent, 1.5 per cent lower than in 2011, and 63 per cent completed it online.

Mr Kalisch said an independent panel concluded that the data could be used with confidence.

“Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years,” he said.

Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo’s cancer beyond surgery: wife

Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms.

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In December 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism in promoting human rights in China, which responded by freezing diplomatic ties with Norway. They normalized ties in December last year.

Liu is being treated in a hospital in the northern city of Shenyang for late-stage liver cancer, having been granted medical parole, his lawyer told Reuters on Monday.

A video of Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, who has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize, crying and talking about her husband’s condition was shared online late on Monday.

“(They) cannot perform surgery, cannot perform radiotherapy, cannot perform chemotherapy,” Liu Xia said in the video. She did not elaborate. It was not clear when the video was filmed.

A source close to the family confirmed the authenticity of the video and said Liu was being treated using targeted therapy.

“They say his cancer has already spread too far for other treatments, but because we cannot meet the doctors treating him, we have no way to tell if this is true,” he said.

Liu and his wife wanted to return to Beijing for treatment but the authorities rejected their request, the source said.

The prison bureau of Liaoning province said on Monday that Liu was being treated by eight “well-known tumor experts”, but Western politicians and rights activists have voiced concern about the quality of treatment.

The United States called for his release.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to not only release Mr. Liu, but also to allow his wife, Ms Liu Xia, out of house arrest,” said Mary Beth Polley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said.

China should “provide them the protections and freedoms, such as freedom of movement and access to medical care of his choosing, to which they are entitled under China’s constitution and legal system, and international commitments”, Polley said.

‘No country has right to gesticulate’

Liu was in serious condition but his life was not in immediate danger, said researcher at Amnesty International Patrick Poon, citing several sources.

His wife was taking care of him in hospital, he added, but it is unclear when she learned about his disease, which was diagnosed in late May, or how long she had been by his side.

“While Liu Xiaobo is on medical parole, it doesn’t mean he is entirely free and he is still subject to various restrictions,” Poon said.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, called in a statement on Monday for President Donald Trump to seek Liu’s “immediate humanitarian transfer to the United States”.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, responding to a question about Liu, said the issue was an internal affair.

“We have said many times that no country has the right to gesticulate about China’s internal affairs,” Lu told a regular briefing.

Asked whether China would consider allowing Liu to go abroad for treatment, Lu said: “All other countries should respect China’s judicial independence and sovereignty and should not use any so-called individual case to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

Wang Qiaoling, the activist wife of rights lawyers Li Heping, likened Liu’s case to that of her husband and dozens of other lawyers detained in Beijing’s most recent clampdown on dissent, who say they suffer illnesses due to mistreatment.

Wang said some of those detained in the crackdown, which began on July 9, 2015, had “met with high blood pressure”.

“We suspect Mr Liu Xiaobo ‘met with liver cancer’, and call for an independent third-party medical organization to be involved,” she said on Twitter.

China has in the past acknowledged problems of mistreatment in the criminal justice system and has repeatedly vowed to crack down to address them.

In Hong Kong, about 70 supporters of Liu took to the streets to demand his immediate release, chanting slogans denouncing the Chinese government as a “murderer”.

The protesters, including prominent democracy activists Martin Lee and Joshua Wong, gathered outside Beijing’s main representative office in Hong Kong, the Central Liaison Office, and plastered pictures of Liu on its gates and held up banners.

“We should not be indifferent toward such blatant unfairness,” Wong said of Liu’s plight.

Australia’s ‘staggering’ education divide

EDUCATION INEQUALITY IN AUSTRALIA:

COMPARING THE MOST AND LEAST ADVANTAGED AREAS

* Children in most advantaged areas achieve on average double the score in reading, writing and numeracy tests

* Compared to the most advantaged areas, children in the 50 areas at greatest educational disadvantage are, on average:

– Half as likely to be enrolled in preschool at age four;

– Half as likely to attend preschool for 15 hours or more;

– Seven times more likely to be vulnerable on two or more developmental domains in first year of schooling

* Non-attendance rates are nearly five times a high, at 22 per cent

* Nearly half of young people in areas of greatest need are neither learning nor earning

WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF MOST DISADVANTAGE?

* All in very remote regions, spanning the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia

* Very low rates of preschool participation and attendance levels reaching prescribed 15 hours each week

* Very high rates of developmental vulnerability and school non-attendance

* Low achievement in NAPLAN testing

* Areas have a very dominant indigenous population

* Also pockets of disadvantage on fringes of state capital cities

WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF MOST ADVANTAGE?

* Majority in affluent Sydney suburbs, plus some in Melbourne

* Much lower levels of disadvantage across education spectrum:

– Higher engagement in preschool

– Very low proportions of children in first year of schooling showing signs of developmental vulnerabilities

– High achievement in NAPLAN testing

– Very high school attendance rates

– High youth engagement and low overall unemployment

* Number of the areas also house Australia’s elite independent schools and boarding houses

OTHER KEY FINDINGS:

* Child from low socio-economic background up to three times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable by the time starts primary school.

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* Indigenous child 40 per cent less likely to finish high school and 60 per cent less likely to go to university compared with a non-indigenous child.

* Child born in remote Australia only a third as likely to go to university as child born in a major city.

* Division particularly noticeable in the NT, Queensland and WA, where gap between children living in the least and most disadvantaged areas is the widest.

* Schools in areas of greatest educational disadvantage receive income of $24,100 per student, compared to an average of $16,400 for top 50 areas.

* Huge gulf in access to internet away from school between lowest and highest ranked areas.

Source: Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report on education inequality in Australia.

U.S. top court to consider reviving New Jersey sports betting law

The justices will review a federal appeals court’s ruling last year that the 2014 New Jersey statute permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks violated a 1992 federal law that prohibits such gambling in all states except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

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New Jersey had asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of an August 2016 ruling by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that its law violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. New Jersey argues that the federal law infringes upon state sovereignty as laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

Courts have voided two New Jersey laws, also including one in 2012, designed to raise revenue for state coffers through sports betting. The law now at issue would ban wagers on state college teams and limit bets to people age 21 and older at casinos and racetracks.

In January, the Supreme Court had asked the incoming Trump administration to offer its views on whether the justices should take up New Jersey’s appeal, and the administration advised against it.

Christie, a Republican, served as an advisor to President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race but was removed as the head of Trump’s transition team after the election.

Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association all oppose New Jersey’s law.

Oral arguments and a decision are due in the court’s next term, which starts in October.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Will Dunham)