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Archive for Australia

Newsline: China says Australia spying on embassy

The Australian government has been spying on China’s embassy in the country and “harassing” Chinese people to provide intelligence, an influential state-run newspaper said on Thursday, citing a security source. China and Australia have close business and economic ties, but Beijing is deeply suspicious of Canberra’s defense relationship with Washington. Quoting an unidentified official with “China’s national security department”, the Global Times tabloid said the Australian government was spying on China and monitoring Chinese people in Australia. “The national security department staffer said Australia’s agents in disguise would get close to Chinese people working or living overseas to collect information or even encourage them to subvert China,” the report said. “Meanwhile, in the name of avoiding ‘Chinese spy threats’, Australian intelligence operatives are closely monitoring Chinese people and the Chinese Embassy in Australia,” it said. The report said “many” Chinese people had been interviewed or harassed and were being required to give information about Chinese communities and the Chinese embassy. “Some of the Chinese people were even sent back to China to gather information,” it said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-australia-idUSKBN19K05B?il=0

Newsline: Australian husband of diplomat kept Ethiopian girl as sex slave

Four maids were abused by Russell Howard, the Australian husband of US diplomat Linda Howard, who kept an Ethiopian girl as a virtual prisoner and sex slave. The Australian has exclusively revealed that as well as keeping the girl as his sex slave while living with his wife on a diplomatic posting in Tokyo, he also abused three further maids. Russell Howard, who died in 2012 following a US Department of Justice investigation into the Ethiopian maid, abused other women in Yemen. New evidence uncovered by the a US State Department investigation claims this happened while Linda Howard was on a posting in the Middle Eastern country. Linda Howard has since moved to Victoria, where she lives in the Melbourne suburb of Docklands.

http://www.news.com.au/national/australian-husband-of-diplomat-kept-ethiopian-girl-as-sex-slave-and-abused-four-maids/news-story/ddc186d888b1ced16d7469f97fe16590

Newsline: US, UK, Australia Embassy warn citizens after Philippines attack

The US, UK and Australian governments issued separate travel advisories on Friday, June 2, urging their citizens to exercise caution following the attack that left 37 people dead at Resorts World Manila. A gunman stormed the Resorts World Manila and torched gambling tables in the crowded area on Friday before dawn, June 2. Aside from 37 fatalities, dozens were injured. The resort hotel is located in Newport City, opposite the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City. In a statement posted on its website, the US Embassy advised American citizens to “exercise caution and review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates.” The United Kingdom, meanwhile, advised its citizens to “avoid the area and follow the advice of local authorities.” British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said in his tweet that there were no Britons harmed in the incident.

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2017/06/02/us-uk-australia-warn-citizens-after-resorts-world-attack-545284

Newsline: Former workers accuse Spain’s embassy in Australia of “betrayal”

A former Canberra embassy worker has spoken of her “betrayal” by her former employers, the Spanish government, which is accused of refusing to hand over years worth of superannuation payments. Another former worker for the Spanish government in Australia says she has been left disabled by cancer but without vital disability cover because of the consulate’s failure to pay her super. The two women are now taking legal action against their former employer, looking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid super, interest and penalties. But the Spanish government has defended itself, claiming its two former employees were covered by their home country’s social welfare system during the periods in question and their current claim was an attempt to “double-dip”. Canberra grandmother Esperanza Poveda had two stints as a secretary at the embassy of Spain in Canberra between 1986 and 1998, and from 2004 until 2014. In 2012, she secured an order from the ATO for the embassy to pay her unpaid super for the second period she worked there, but she says her former bosses refused to pay her for her first stint. Ms Poveda is claiming damages of $68,000, which includes $32,000 in unpaid superannuation for 1992-1998 and penalty interest. Melbourne woman Miren Itziar Urbieta worked at Spain’s consulate in the Victorian capital for 18 years until 2011 and says she was not any paid any superannuation at all. According to her lawyers, the consulate’s failure to pay her superannuation, left her ineligible for total and permanent disability cover through her VicSuper fund and she is battling tonsil cancer which has left her permanently disabled since 2015. Ms Urbieta is seeking damages of $131,000 including $54,000 in unpaid superannuation, $62,000 in penalty interest, and $15,000 for the TPD benefit that she would have been entitled to if super payments had been made into her VicSuper account. But a spokesman for the Spanish embassy indicated it would be defending the claims, saying the women were covered by the Spanish social security system during the period in question and were therefore not entitled to payments under the Australian system.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/spanish-embassy-workers-allege-betrayal-over-unpaid-superannuation-20170404-gvda1q.html

Newsline: Australian embassy site in Thailand up for sale

The site of the Australian embassy in Sathorn area, almost eight rai of land, is being offered for sale by expression of interest, according to the appointed sole agent JLL. The compound covers 12,728 square metres of freehold land on South Sathorn Road, one of Bangkok’s prime commercial and residential addresses. The closing date for offers is early June.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1219933/australian-embassy-site-on-sathorn-road-up-for-sale

Newsline: Australian embassy in Washington deals with US ban

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says officials are in talks with US counterparts to get clarity on how the order may affect Australians. “The Australian embassy in Washington is engaging with US officials on the potential implications of the suspension for Australian travellers, including dual nationals,” a spokeswoman told AAP in a statement. All travellers are being warned that rules could change at short notice. “Travellers should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the United States for the most current information,” the spokeswoman added. Australians who hold passports from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may potentially be turned away from the US. The government’s Smarttraveller website has updated its notifications warning travellers to the US about the controversial new rules. Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria will no longer be allowed to apply for the standard electronic travel authorisation – ETSA – which travellers must complete before heading to the US. The ETSA is an online application that determines entry eligibility based on security or police risks. All those affected will have to apply for a non-immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate.

http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/australian-travellers-impacted-by-us-ban/news-story/210a2747e046787de9c3438fe1a95f41

Newsline: Russian diplomat slams Australian PM’s intention ‘to shirtfront’ Putin

A Russian diplomat in Australia called the remark of Australian PM Tony Abbott about his intention to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin “immature.” He reminded the Aussie politician that he might be “very fit” but Putin is “a professional judo wrestler.” Abbot’s scandalous remark came on Monday after he told journalists that he is going to “shirtfront” the Russian president on the sidelines of G20 summit over the tragedy of the Malaysian airliner crash in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine in July. “I am going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet I am – I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered, they were murdered by Russian backed rebels,” Abbott said. Shirtfront is a football technique for a front-on chest bump or rough handling aimed at knocking your rival backward to the ground. It’s “a reportable offence and considered illegal,” says the Australian Football Rules website. The Russian Embassy in Australia, however, didn’t let Abbot’s remark go unnoticed. Third secretary of the Russian Embassy in Canberra, Aleksandr Odoevsky, told the Australian Associated Press that the remarks of the Australian PM were “immature.”

http://rt.com/news/195820-abbott-putin-shirtfront-judo/