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Italian navy chief rejects Aust boat policy
An Italian navy chief has
poured cold water on suggestions
Europe should adopt Australia’s
policy of turning back migrant
boats to end the current crisis in
A surge in both the numbers
of migrants reaching Europe
from north Africa and deaths
at sea have led to calls for the
European Union to consider
a similar approach, with the
aim of deterring people from
contemplating the journey in the
But Admiral Donato Marzano,
who will host a seminar of navy
supremos from 26 European
countries in Naples on Friday
night, suggested it would not be
feasible, morally or practically, to
start escorting barely seaworthy
migrant boats back to conflict-
wracked Libya when they were
crammed full of people, including
minors, pregnant women and
others who could be seriously ill.
“There are several countries
that apply a policy of expulsion,
even by force of arms, others
apply the international right to
rescue,” the admiral said when
asked if Italy could learn from
“I am a sailor who has spent 20
years on boats. If I find a boat
adrift, I’m sorry but I don’t turn
“I inter vene to help people at
sea. I don’t know if this reflects
my Italian culture but I do know
it is international law.
“A vessel in difficulty, whether
it is a boat full of migrants or a
merchant ship, has to be assisted.”
Australia has advised the EU
to follow its lead and Prime
Minister Tony Abbott said
this week that his officials were
in touch with their European
counterparts on the issue.
EU officials in Brussels
have denied any such contact,
suggesting there is little appetite
for a move that would inevitably
cause an outcry from rights
including France’s Marine Le
Pen have backed the Australian
model as a solution to migratory
pressures which have resulted in
around 5000 people drowning in
waters between Libya and Italy
since the start of 2014.
Marzano said navy chiefs
would do what their political
masters asked them, but said he
did not detect any enthusiasm
for moving away from search
and rescue operations aimed to
minimising the loss of life while
trying to find other ways of
stemming the migrant flows.
“Australia is not involved in
these discussions but obviously it
is involved in other international
and the Australian
experience is one that can
be discussed and compared,”
“ But the problem of clandestine
immigration is so incredibly
complex, I don’t think any magic
formula exists other wise we
would already have found it.
“There are so many people
fleeing war, so many people
fleeing not only in search of work
but also to save their lives. There
are so many different aspects to
the problem I don’t think anyone
has a magic solution, be they
Australian, Italian, European or
French.” — AFP
Police on alert
Northern Irish police set up road
blocks and boosted patrols across the
British province overnight in a security
operation aimed at countering a “severe”
threat from pro-Irish militants before
tomorrow ’s general election.
Elections have in the past been targeted
by “dissident ” militants opposed to a 1998
peace deal. That deal largely ended three
decades of sectarian violence between
mainly Protestant pro-British unionists
and Catholic Irish Republicans.
“The dissident Republican threat
Constable Stephen Martin told
journalists overnight. “ The PSNI (Police
Ser vice of Northern Ireland) will have an
enhanced profile in local communities
to provide safety and reassurance to
Several attacks have occurred in recent
weeks, though no one has been seriously
injured. Two bombs, which police said
were designed to kill or maim, partly
exploded outside an army base on
Earlier in the weekend, the home
of Northern Ireland’s Deputy First
Minister, Irish nationalist Martin
McGuinness, was vandalised with
paint bombs. Threats have been made
by dissidents against the lives of other
members of his Sinn Fein party.
Northern Ireland’s 18 seats could prove
crucial in the formation of the next
British government, with the province’s
largest party, the Democratic Unionist
Party, hoping to hold the balance of
power with up to 10 seats. — Reuters
A row has broken out between Nepal and
some international agencies over the handling
of aid that poured into the country after last
month’s devastating earthquake, with each side
blaming the other for confusion and delays in
getting help to victims.
Relief efforts have been slow to reach many
people affected by Nepal’s worst disaster in more
than 80 years, leaving an unknown number of
people stranded, injured and hungry for days.
The 7.8 magnitude quake, which struck 10
days ago, has killed more than 7,500 people and
left hundreds of thousands homeless.
Relief material initially piled up at the airport
as Nepalese customs officials checked each crate
that came in so commercial goods did not slip
Senior government officials said customs
checks were necessary, because they did not
know what was coming into the country.
Supplies included goods that Nepal did not
need and many relief workers arrived without
proper documents to enter the country,
complicating efforts to move the aid effort
along, officials said.
“Many donors are sending relief materials
without even consulting us about what we
need,” Home Ministry official Laxmi Prasad
Some rescue workers, for their part, said they
were frustrated by what they saw as bureaucratic
delays and lack of co-ordination by the
For example, Huijbrechts Marcel, from
the urban search and rescue team from the
Netherlands, showed up along with teams from
four other nations, including the Nepalese army,
at one house to search for sur vivors.
“ When we arrived here there was absolutely
no co-ordination,” Marcel said.
Frustrated by delays and a lack of coordination,
some donors are circumventing the government
and sending aid directly through non-
governmental organisations for distribution,
adding to disagreements, an aide to Prime
Minister Sushil Koirala said.
“There are differences between the government
and some donors over this,” the aide said.
The confusion came despite years of
preparation by the government and international
aid agencies for such a disaster; Nepal sits atop
one of the world’s most seismically active zones.
Meetings about earthquake preparedness have
been a regular feature in Kathmandu in recent
years, and global donors have invested millions
of dollars to help Nepal be better prepared for a
major seismic event.
Chaos after a disaster of this magnitude is
inevitable, experts said, and given that aid groups
had estimated a major quake near Kathmandu
could kill 100,000 people, they said things could
have been worse.
“The challenge here is that you have a
factor that you didn’t have in the Philippines
(typhoon) or Haiti (earthquake): eight of the
14 highest peaks in the world are in Nepal,”
Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the
United Nations World Food Programme, said.
“As a result, even though we are operationally
ahead, we may not have reached as much of the
remote population as we have in other disasters
at this point because of geography,” Cousin said
United Nations resident co-ordinator Jamie
McGoldrick said the situation at the airport
had improved, although there had been delays
when the aid started to flow in.
“ We’re seeing a more permissive environment
developing where we are getting goods out,” he
Nepal’s foreign minister, Mahendra Bahadur
Pandey, who addressed an international
conference in Japan just weeks ago on a possible
earthquake in Nepal, said the help from donors
was welcome, though not always smooth.
For example, he said, the government had
made an error by urgently requesting tents for
Nepalese who had lost their homes.
“ When donors sent them, they were huge and
heavy. What we really want are tarpaulins,” he
said. — Reuters
The Queen meets
The Q ueen has finally been introduced to her
great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte.
The 89-year-old monarch travelled to
Kensington Palace to meet with the newborn
royal, where she stayed for just half an hour.
The Queen was spotted arriving in a green
Range Rover at a side entrance to the palace
about 2.35pm. She then left just before 3pm
through the main entrance on Kensington
High Street, in a convoy of two cars and and
four police motorcycles. Charlotte Elizabeth
Diana, who was born three days ago, is the
Queen’s fifth great-grandchild and also shares
She was not accompanied by her husband,
Prince Philip, who was pictured earlier today
at the Queen’s estate in Norfolk, where he had
spent the weekend.
Just after his mother left the palace, Prince
Charles was also seen arriving for his second
cuddle with the newborn royal. The doting
grandfather, who has openly spoken of his hope
that his son and daughter-in-law would have a
girl, had already been to visit Princess Charlotte
with Camilla on Sunday.
It is likely he was taking the chance to see as
much as he can of his granddaughter before
Prince William and Kate leave London for
their Norfolk county home, Anmer Hall on
the Sandringham Estate. The couple are due to
leave later today.
The monarch’s visit came as the Duke of
Cambridge formally registered the birth of his
baby daughter, in a near identical way to the
manner in which Prince George’s birth was
As with the royal birth in 2013, The Duke
of Cambridge signed the birth register at
Kensington Palace witnessed by a registrar from
Westminster Register Office. On the certificate,
he gave his wife’s occupation as “Princess of the
Kate, 33, has rarely described herself as a
princess, preferring to use the title D uchess
of Cambridge, which was conferred on her
by the Queen on her wedding day. But she
is also Princess William of Wales, entitling
her to be described as “Princess of the United
The 32-year-old duke gave his occupation as
“Prince of the United Kingdom” rather than a
Normally, parents have to attend a register
office within 42 days of a child being born. But
in the case of Princess Charlotte, the deputy
registrar of Westminster, Alison Cathcart,
travelled to Kensington Palace.
The same registrar also visited the palace after
George’s birth. She has presided over several
celebrity marriages including those of Sylvester
Stallone, Joan Collins, Paul McCartney, Barbara
Windsor and David Walliams.
After signing Prince George’s birth certificate,
she revealed how her big day ner ves led her to
botch the royal form-filling which triggered
death threats and calls for her to be sacked over
her messy handwriting.
She described how her royal assignment —
“probably the highlight of my career” — was
marred by an attack of ner ves, saying she had to
have “more than one attempt ”.
William was given a standard certificate to
register the birth of “Her Royal Highness
Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of
Cambridge”. Cathcart filled it in before it was
signed by the duke.
The certificate states the date and place of
Charlotte’s birth — May 2 and Paddington,
Westminster. William’s full name, His Royal
Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis
Duke of Cambridge, is given, and the certificate
includes Kate’s full name of Catherine
Elizabeth Her Royal Highness The Duchess of
Cambridge, her birthplace as Reading and her
maiden name of Middleton.
The couple’s “usual address” is described as
Kensington Palace, L ondon, and the duke
signed the certificate simply “William”.
Kensington Palace said in a brief statement:
“The D uke and D uchess of Cambridge have
formally registered the birth of Princess
“The Duke of Cambridge signed the birth
register at Kensington Palace this afternoon
witnessed by a registrar from Westminster
Princess Charlotte’s birth register document
will be kept, along with thousands of others, at
the Westminster Registration Office. — PA
A children’s hospital in Melbourne and
a major general hospital in Sydney are
subjects of a child sexual abuse inquiry
The Royal Commission into
Institutional Responses to Child Sexual
Abuse will examine how Sydney ’s Royal
North Shore Hospital responded when
an outpatient alleged sexual abuse by a
hospital psychologist in the late 1960s.
The same hearing will ask Melbourne’s
Royal Children’s Hospital how it dealt
with an allegation of child sexual abuse
made against a hospital volunteer.
The volunteer has since died.
The systems, policies and procedures
of the Northern Sydney Local Health
District, the New South Wales Ministry
of Health and the Melbourne hospital
in dealing with sex abuse claims will be
scrutinised by the commission. — A AP
The United States has authorised
commercial ferry ser vices to Cuba
for the first time in more than half a
century, another major step in improving
relations between the two countries.
In what was hailed by ferry operators
as “a historical event ”, the US Treasury
lifted a decades-old ban and at least one
Florida company confirmed it had been
licensed to launch boat ser vices to the
That adds to the charter air ser vices
that had been permitted up until now,
focused on enabling Cuban-Americans
to visit their families.
The ferries will also be allowed to carry
cargo to the communist island, 150km
off the southern tip of Florida.
Joseph Hinson, president of Miami-
based United Americas Shipping
Ser vices, confirmed his company had
received permission overnight from
the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets
Control to provide ferry travel.
“ Today ’s action was a great step
for ward,” he said, adding other approvals
were still needed from authorities in both
countries before launching the first trip.
Another company, Havana Ferry
Partners of Fort Lauderdale, F lorida,
said on its Facebook page that it too
had received a Treasury licence for ferry
ser vices from four Florida ports. — AFP
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