Friday, June 22, 2018
Get Adobe Flash player

(CNN) — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meet in Jakarta Monday amid escalating tensions over asylum seekers arriving by boat from Indonesia.

The leaders meet in the wake of the deaths of at least 22 people on Saturday off the coast of West Java, Indonesia. The victims — some of whom were from as far away as Iraq and Lebanon, officials said — were heading to Australia’s Christmas Island, according to local media.

OPINION: Why Australia’s asylum plan won’t work

Abbott — whose visit to Indonesia is the first foreign trip since winning national elections this month — last week moved to defuse the issue, dismissing it as “a passing irritant.”

“The last thing I would ever want to do is anything that doesn’t show the fullest possible respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty,” Abbott toldFairfax Radio. “This is a broad and deep relationship which is going to get broader and deeper over time.

“The last thing anyone should want is to have Australia’s relationship with Indonesia defined by this boats issue, which I am sure will be but a passing irritant.”

OPINION: Australian parties in ‘race to bottom’ on asylum seeker policy

Abbott has ordered a military-led border protection plan in response to an increased number of illegal arrivals by boat — many of whom use Indonesia as a staging post in onward voyages into Australian waters — and has told the Royal Australian Navy to turn back vessels when it is safe to do so.

Australia’s new Liberal-Coalition government argues that the tow-back policy would show criminal syndicates in Indonesia that it was serious about smashing people-smuggling operations.

Indonesia, however, has been cool towards the tow-back scheme which it sees as a violation of its sovereignty.

At a meeting in New York with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last week, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa warned that Indonesia would not accept violations of its borders, cautioning the Abbott government against taking any “unilateral steps” that would put the “cooperation and trust” between the two countries.

Ignoring a plea from Bishop to deal with the problem “behind the scenes,” Indonesia took the step of publishing details of the private conversation, a move seen by commentators as a blunt warning from Indonesia.

”Asian diplomacy in particular is marked by understatement … this is what makes it such an extraordinary development,” Acting opposition leader Chris Bowen told ABC TV. ”It’s an unprecedented step by an Indonesian foreign minister, I can’t recall an Indonesian foreign minister taking a step like this in relation to Australia ever before.”

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry and the Ambassador to Australia both issued statements last week saying the meeting transcript was not intended to be issued.

Former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer weighed into the debate on Friday, saying Indonesia needed to accept responsibility for the problem.

”They do have to understand that it’s their boats with their crews, their flagged boats, which are breaking our sovereignty and are breaking our law by transgressing our national borders, our maritime borders,” Downer told Fairfax Radio. ”There’s no point in allowing ourselves to be bullied by the Indonesians in this way. I mean, we have to stand up for ourselves and stand up for our national interest and be prepared to call it as it is.”

Indonesian researcher with Human Rights Watch Andreas Harsono told CNN that refugees were caught between harsher policies emanating from Australia and harsh conditions in Indonesia, which is not a signatory to international conventions on refugees.

“The problem in Indonesia is that there is a lack of a protection mechanism within the Indonesia legal system to protect these asylum seekers,” Harsono said, adding that refugees — including unaccompanied minors — were often placed in detention for a year and had no right to work or go to school on their release.

He described Australia’s tow-back policy, meanwhile, as “dangerous.”

“Most of these boats are not seaworthy, many of them do not have GPS or other navigational equipment — to tow them back into international waters is dangerous,” he said. “What Tony Abbott can do is to urge Indonesia to ratify the refugee conventions.”

According to the latest data from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship there were 17,698 asylum seekers as of March, 2013. The figures show a marked increase in the number of people seeking asylum in Australia, with the first three-quarters of 2012-13 already ahead of the total for the entire 2011-2012 period.

The figures also show that for the first time “irregular maritime arrivals” (IMA), or boat people, for the first time outnumber arrivals by air (non-IMA).

Despite the recent increases in the number of asylum seekers, Australia takes just 3% of the world’s refugees, according to figures from the United Nations High Commission of Refugees.

The majority of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat were from Afghanistan in 2011-12, with Iran, Sri Lanka and Pakistan the next largest groups.

‘Don Jon’ Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a girlfriend

Posted by Nuttapon_S On September - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(CNN) — After seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon” this weekend, it wouldn’t be surprising if the already lusted-after actor won new admirers.

But sorry, interested parties: It turns out the 32-year-old is taken.

As Gordon-Levitt revealed to Howard Stern this week on the media personality’s Sirius XM radio program, he’s been quietly seeing someone who’s not in the industry.

“I have a girlfriend, but I tend not to really like to talk about it in public. She is not in show business,” he said, adding that they met through “mutual friends.”

The reason why Gordon-Levitt hasn’t mentioned anything about his love life in the past is because he worries that the public’s knowledge of his relationship status would get in the way of his ability to disappear into a character.

“I get up in movies and I play other people. So when the audience is watching me in movies, I don’t want them thinking about me, and who I’m dating,” Gordon-Levitt said. Plus, the woman he’s currently with prefers not to be identified.

Review: ‘Don Jon’ a dirty-minded romantic comedy

This paramour was probably pleased, then, that Gordon-Levitt stuck to his guns about keeping their relationship quiet as Stern peppered the actor with questions. But we are curious what her thoughts were about his statements on commitment.

Stern was teasing Gordon-Levitt that “Don Jon,” a romantic comedy about a guy whose addiction to online porn becomes an issue when he finds the woman of his dreams, was somewhat autobiographical. After all, “Don Jon” is the first feature-length film Gordon-Levitt has both written and directed.

But, the star said, that doesn’t mean he drew from his own life to tell the story. “I wouldn’t say (that I have an addiction to porn). I’ve had some sex with women that wasn’t so good. I’ve also had lots of sex that was good,” Gordon-Levitt said with a laugh. “The whole story of ‘Don Jon’ is that he can’t connect with anybody.”

People can get used to “this one-way satisfaction given by whatever media they consume, be it pornography or television.”

When the conversation turned to marriage and long-term commitment, Gordon-Levitt was less definitive.

“I think that I could partner up with somebody — I don’t know who that somebody is — I could partner up with a woman and commit to, like, ‘OK, we’re going to raise a family, and that’s this project that we’re going to stick to for 20-something years.’ During that time, if (monogamy) was part of it, and it made sense, I could be sexually monogamous,” the actor said.

“After that, once the kids are out of the house, I … things go so fast, my life changes so much … who knows if it’s the better thing for me or the better thing for her,” he continued. “I like to not be too committed to any one future that’s really far away, unless there’s a reason.”

For now, the one commitment he appears to have in his sights is pursuing a career as a feature filmmaker, as well as a thespian.“Don Jon” is currently receiving positive reviews after a strong showing at Sundance earlier this year.

Interestingly enough, if Gordon-Levitt were to celebrate his success with his first film, it doesn’t sound like he’d reach for something in the alcohol cabinet.

“Drinking can be fun sometimes, but weed, I certainly do it more often,” he candidly told Stern. “I go through phases sometimes where it’s every day. It’s not every day these days. I pace around and have all sorts of good ideas. I was stoned when I first thought of ‘Don Jon’ as a comedy. I think it’s different for everybody, but certainly the way that I use it, I absolutely think it has a positive effect on my creative process.”

“Don Jon,” which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza, is now in theaters.

Coca-Cola’s 13-year tenure as “Best Global Brand” is over, however the new leader shouldn’t really surprise you. Apple knocked Penelope Cruz’s favorite soft drinkfrom the number one spot on Interbrands’ annual valuation report, but after posting massive profits time and again — including a company-record $54.5 billionin January — this isn’t too startling. Cook and friends started their ascent at the eighth spot in 2011, and climbed to second place in 2012 before stealing the top prize in the latest list. Interbrand pegs Cupertino’s brand valuation at $98.3 billion, which isn’t exactly pocket change. Don’t cry for the Sprite-maker though, it’s still on the podium according to The New York Times, but behind another tech-powerhouse: Google.

Asian markets fall as US shutdown nears

Posted by Nuttapon_S On September - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Asian markets have fallen on fears that the US may be heading for a shutdown of government services.

The US needs to agree a new spending bill before the financial year ends at midnight on Monday. But political divisions have resulted in a stalemate.

There are worries over the economic impact of a failure to do so, which may see non-essential federal services shut and staff placed on unpaid leave.

Stock indexes in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea all declined.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 2.2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Australia’s ASX dropped 1.3%, while South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.7%

“It is the fear of the unknown,” said David Kuo of financial website the Motley Fool. “No one knows what is really going to happen and markets don’t like uncertainty.”

“There is likely to be some reduction in US government spending, but we don’t know what areas are going to be affected.

“Until that is resolved, we are likely to see volatility in the markets,” he added.

TAG CLOUD