Syrian entrepreneurs thrive in refugee camp


Jordanians have mostly embraced their refugees, but their presence has put an enormous strain on budgets, services and precious resources like water.There are more than 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan: 20 per cent of the entire population. There is good opportunity to work here.”

The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is home to some 80,000 refugees. Farouk Sweets looks like a typical Middle Eastern bakery. Compared to other parts of the world affected by the refugee crisis, life in the camp appears surprisingly normal.In Zaatari there are 3,000 refugee-owned businesses of all kinds: pizza delivery, ice cream, a Safeway supermarket, bridal dress rentals, even a garden shop.Beyond filling daily needs, these businesses contribute to Jordan’s economy. They sell a sweet taste of home to nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees.”Our family’s been working in this business for eight years,” said Mr Abu Hesenih.”Everything here is Syrian sweets, specifically. Syria’s refugee entrepreneurs Amy Guttman meets Syrians bringing their business nous to Jordan. Photo:
Farouk Sweets’ pastries have proved popular with both Syrians and Jordanians. For weddings, they make orders and pick up their sweets from here,” he said. (Supplied: Amy Guttman)
Whatever the benefits and costs of their presence, most Syrians in Jordan simply want to return home.Abuelmena’em Abu Hesenih and his family intend to leave the business of baking Syrian sweets to others as soon as the war is over.”Right away we will go back,” he said. Many are owned 50-50 with Jordanians, and they generate an estimated $13 million each month.According to Mr Abu Hesenih, one-fifth of the customers at Farouk Sweets aren’t even Syrian.”Taxi drivers pick up sweets to take outside and all the Syrians that live outside the camp. “We will not stay here a minute longer.” these sectors don’t have Jordanians. The crisis costs one quarter of the country’s budget.Refugees do bring with them special skills that are benefiting Jordan.Syrians are good builders. Five bakers, all brothers, are busy rolling dough to fill large wedding orders.But this pastry shop is inside Zaatari, the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world: a miniature city set on five square kilometres of desert one hour north of Jordan’s capital, Amman.Abuelmena’em Abu Hesenih and his family abandoned their chain of bakeries in Syria when they came to Jordan, fleeing the war.The family of 25 has opened four branches inside Zaatari. We are relying on foreign labour.”

Despite his success, Abuelmena’em Abu Hesenih wants to return to Syria as soon as possible. But most refugees never thought their stay would last more than five years.Running these small businesses is as much about psychological survival as financial wellbeing.”We come here at six o’clock every morning to escape the situation we’re in,” said Mr Abu Hesenih. (Getty Images: Khalil Mazraawi)
Refugees live in corrugated metal containers called caravans. In a win-win for both sides, the Jordanian government plans to put refugees to work to develop these industries.”We have some Syrians who we can benefit from their experience,” said Mohammed Hussainy, the director of the Identity Centre, a Jordanian think tank reporting on the impacts of the refugee crisis.”Manufacturing, for example … They’re also good at manufacturing and agriculture. (Supplied: Amy Guttman)
Mr Abu Hesenih and his family, like most of the refugees living here, are from the northern Syrian province of Deraa.The border area between Syria and Jordan is tribal — Jordanians and Syrians here see themselves as family.
(Supplied: Amy Guttman) RN

By Amy Guttman for Earshot


November 22, 2016 11:39:25

There are five branches of Farouk Sweets in Zaatari, all powered by generator.
Government open to accepting more refugees from Syria
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Viral koala photo helps raise funds for Fauna Rescue

(891 ABC Adelaide: Tim Noonan)
She said the money raised by Mr Latter was greatly needed.”Raising money takes us away from our time caring for and rescuing animals and frankly we just don’t have that time.”Ms Brister said helping koalas was an expensive business because they required specialised equipment and enclosures.”The cost for doing the kind of volunteer work that we do is huge.”She said that once Mr Latter’s fundraising campaign was over, the team of dedicated Fauna Rescue volunteers would decide on how the balance would be best used.”Enclosures for koalas in care is one of our biggest expenses, so that would probably be one of the big-ticket items.” He became the sodden poster boy for Adelaide’s September floods, and now Jimmy the wet koala is helping raise money for an animal rescue organisation.Russell Latter snapped the photo of the male marsupial seeking refuge on a fence post after herding him off a bridge.Mr Latter then sent the photo to local newspaper The Advertiser and had the honour of being on the front page the next day.The image quickly went viral on social media.”I had people calling me from London and Poland and all sorts of places,” Mr Latter said.Alongside calls from media outlets interested in the story behind the shot, Mr Latter had several people get in contact to tell him about an organisation that helps care for koalas in need.Jimmy was not injured in the floods but other koalas aren’t always as lucky. “I thought with all of that interest I might as well do something constructive and set up a GoFundMe page to help Fauna Rescue,” he said.He has raised more than $13,000 for the not-for-profit group.Koalas require specialist careJane Brister from Fauna Rescue said they attended to more than 170 calls about koalas last month.”We’re busier a little earlier than normal — normally peak season is in summer.”

Koalas often cross main roads in search of water, food or a mate.
Adelaide 5000
891 ABC Adelaide


Brett Williamson


November 22, 2016 12:07:04

This image of Jimmy the wet koala went viral. (Supplied: Russell Latter)

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Crime-fighting dog walkers help keep neighbourhoods safe

Jindalee 4074
(Supplied: QPS)
“We run the program to educate dog walkers that if they see something like a crime in progress that they report it to us,” he said.”We [also] teach people how to stay safe while walking their dogs; for example, not having their headphones in and listening to loud music.”

Safety tips for dog walkersTry to stick to busy routes at busy times with other walkers aboutConsider meeting up with other dog walkersIf you’re walking around the streets, ensure you walk in the opposite direction to the trafficAvoid wearing headphones when you’re walkingInform someone where you’re going and what time you will be backAvoid using the same route and going at the same time every dayAim to look confident and in control of both your dog and any situation you are in.If your safety is threatened respond with assertive communication and take action to remove yourself from the situation
Senior Constable Harm said dog walkers needed to be aware of their surrounds while walking, especially at night.”It’s really about keeping an eye out for things,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane’s Rebecca Levingston.”Dog walkers are often in parklands or carparks and they might witness drug dealing or graffiti and police want information on this.”It helps us target our patrols and descriptions of offenders or cars; [it] can really help us solve crimes.”Those taking part in the program are issued with QPS dog tags for their pets.”It’s a way for local residents to also meet other walkers and to know their local area better,” Senior Constable Harm said.”The best thing for dog walkers to do is to report what doesn’t look right.”

Police dog Oakley sporting one of the Dogs on Patrol tags. Dog owners in the suburbs of Brisbane are being encouraged to keep an eye on their local communities as they walk around the block with their four-legged friends.Queensland Police Service (QPS) program Dogs on Patrol is an extension of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.Senior Constable Benjamin Harm said people who walked their dogs regularly could be very helpful to police due to their local knowledge. (Supplied: Queensland Police Service)
He said dog walkers were taught two ways of reporting crimes they might see.”If there’s a crime in process where they can see an offender committing a crime, walkers need to call 000 immediately,” Senior Constable Harm said.”If it’s something like a car out of place or something suspicious, then walkers are to call our Police Link service on 131 444 and report it.” Photo:
Dogs and their owners are being asked to keep an eye out for crime in Brisbane.
(Supplied: QPS) 612 ABC Brisbane


Jessica Hinchliffe


November 21, 2016 12:47:54

Police officers teach local dog walkers what to look out for in their neighbourhoods.

HIV vaccine might be a step closer

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By Tom Fedorowytsch


November 21, 2016 12:57:36
Progress toward vaccinating people against HIV infection has been announced by Adelaide researchers.A team from the University of Adelaide and the Basil Hetzel Institute at Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital used a combined vaccination approach, researcher Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk explained.She said a common-cold virus was employed to introduce the vaccine to the body, and a DNA-based vaccine injected to help the immune system work at the most common sites of HIV infection, the gut and body cavities.”You need to get protection where your body encounters the virus first and you need to stop that virus from either entering, or you need to stop it from replicating and stop it from spreading,” she said.Testing on laboratory mice achieved a “considerable reduction” in infection, the team said.”We’re hoping our discovery is definitely pointing us in the right direction,” Dr Grubor-Bauk said.”After a long four years of study, we were able to create this common cold virus that encoded proteins of HIV and we vaccinated mice and we were successful in creating immunity in mucosal surfaces.”That’s one of the most difficult things researchers can do in vaccine research for HIV.”She said it was now vital more research was done.”It’s a glimpse in the right direction and we’re hoping to get more funding to take this research further … before we can implement phase-1 clinical trials,” Dr Grubor-Bauk said.”We also have a DNA vaccine we administered intradermally, like the influenza vaccine, and we found by administering this vaccine we were able to get a systemic immunity throughout the whole body.”The findings have been outlined in Nature’s journal, Scientific Reports.
HIVSTERS support group heads outdoors to help those with HIV
Adelaide 5000

Storm Boy remake planned 40 years after original won best film

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Storm Boy pelican dies

By Jordan Curtis


November 18, 2016 16:01:28

Actor Greg Rowe and his pelican co-star Mr Percival in the Coorong. (Supplied: National Film and Sound Archive)
(Audience submitted: Jack Creevy)
Storm Boy older in planned remakeA Storm Boy remake is due to be filmed next year, in which an older Mike Kingsley recounts his pelican adventures to his wayward granddaughter.”If you’re on a good story then it’s worth having a go at and looking at it with a contemporary voice,” Ms Lake said.She said the original resonated with the public at the time of its release and remained popular today.Storm Boy was an early success story for the South Australian Film Corporation, which she said had been given a brief by then-premier Don Dunstan to focus on South Australian stories and Australian culture.”It certainly nailed that criteria,” Ms Lake said of the film.Other SA Film Corporation successes included Sunday Too Far Away and Breaker Morant, corporation chief executive Annabelle Sheehan said, while the latest efforts are being directed increasingly to audiences online.”In the last year we have had the production of five iView ABC series — three comedies and two documentaries — and there’s going to be an online series announced very soon,” she said. Photo:
Pelicans and the tranquil landscape of the Coorong made for some great Australian storytelling, first in a novel and then as a film. Four decades after the Australian movie Storm Boy premiered in Adelaide and led what was later considered by many to have been a renaissance for the nation’s film industry, a remake is in the planning.Adapted from Colin Thiele’s 1964 novel, it told the story of a young boy and a pelican living in the Coorong region at the Murray mouth.The film set a new standard for South Australian production and won best film at the Australian Film Industry Awards.”The success of the film comes from its innocence,” curator at the National Film and Sound Archive, Gayle Lake, said.”There was great identification there in terms of Australian culture — somewhat isolated from the rest of the world.”She praised the work of the actors and director.”Greg Rowe as Storm Boy, as Mike, it was such a lovely performance and he very definitely, with the support of director Henri Safran, really nailed that level of innocence and willingness to see the best, to experience the best of his environment,” she said.

Medical grad hopes to be community’s first Indigenous doctor

(ABC News: Courtney Bembridge)
“A lot of my father’s generation, that’s a significant aspect of their burden of disease, that alcoholism is quite significant and that played a large part into him being unwell for quite a long time when he was only in his 50s and 60s.”Living in that first hand and seeing what alcohol does and substance use does and the impact that it has on health, and then also being in a rural setting and the access that you have to health.”I think that it probably played — maybe on a sub-conscious level — quite a big part in me wanting to study medicine.”After her father’s death Ms Barunga spent the year at home with family in Derby, juggling university work and practical experience at the local hospital.”When you look back at it now the really tough times and the obstacles make you stronger and make you who you are,” she said.”I think that it definitely will shape me as a doctor and as a person and for the better I think, more than for the worst.”Ms Barunga will spend the next year at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital as an intern before she can eventually make her way back to the Kimberley.Broome-raised Bianca Howard, whose grandmother was part of the stolen generation, is also graduating from medicine this weekend.She is proud to be part of a record-breaking cohort but hopes it is just the beginning.”In previous years there’s only been one or two, maybe three Indigenous students graduating, and to now have six is amazing and lots more Indigenous role models out there in the community,” she said.”I definitely want to see more and more, six isn’t enough.”Marilyn Strother from the University’s School of Indigenous Studies said a record number of Aboriginal medical and law students would graduate this year, and the university was seeing increasing numbers in other areas as well, including commerce and engineering.”We have about about 25,000 students and we have 250 Indigenous students across all faculties so if we could increase that, that would be fantastic,” she said. A young Aboriginal medical graduate hopes to return to her home in a remote part of Western Australia to become the town’s first Indigenous doctor.In a record for the University of Western Australia, six Aboriginal medical students will graduate this weekend, including Vinka Barunga.The 27-year-old grew up on the outskirts of the Kimberley town of Derby, around 2,400 kilometres north of Perth, in the state’s Kimberley region.”The Kimberley is definitely where I feel like I belong,” she said.”I think my family and the people of the Kimberley, particularly the Aboriginal people is what’s really driven me to keep going for the seven years I’ve been studying medicine.”Around the country, there are less than 300 Aboriginal doctors.In Western Australia, there were less than 25 when the data was last collected in 2015.”I hope that one day it gets to a point where it’s not a significant thing that an Aboriginal person is studying medicine,” Ms Barunga said.”If I could inspire or support one person to break the cycle of poverty and go to university or TAFE, or whatever it is they want to do, then I feel like my job as a role model is complete.”Father’s alcohol abuse prompted desire to helpMs Barunga lost her father last year after years of illness which was exacerbated by alcohol abuse — something she is desperate to address.”I saw that and wanted to be a part of changing that,” she said. Photo:
Ms Barunga plans to spend a year interning at a Perth hospital before returning to the Kimberley.

Courtney Bembridge


November 18, 2016 12:15:21

Video: Vinka Barunga is one of six Aboriginal medical graduates in her year. (ABC News)

Sydney ambassadors: Meet the first port of call for tourists

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Of all the questions Jim Dickie is asked by cruise ship passengers newly arrived in Sydney, “where is a public telephone” is surprisingly one of the most frequent.Mr Dickie is a Sydney ambassador — a meet-and-greet host for the tens of thousands of people who disembark at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Terminal during peak cruise season from October to April.He is one of the longest serving volunteers, having answered a newspaper callout in the Sydney Morning Herald six years ago.”I originally came here from Scotland with a wife and two very young children.”Sydney has been very good to us and I just thought that when I retired I would give something back.”What to see in SydneyMr Dickie, who himself recently returned from Honolulu on his 10th cruise holiday, said he signed up as a way to learn more about Sydney and expand his local knowledge.He now knows the best tours, walkabout routes, hotels and where the international consulates are. Photo:
The cruise industry injects billions of dollars into Sydney’s economy each year. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
Each shipload of passengers injects around $2 million into the local economy, according to the City of Sydney, creating billions of dollars in revenue each year.In August the council along with Destination NSW and Sydney Ports called for new recruits who were put through a two-day induction course teaching them communication skills such as how to approach people.The 2016 ambassadors offer a diverse range of languages to help international tourists including German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
For passengers only in town for the day, his top tip is to hop on and off the red sightseeing bus before paying Sydney Tower a visit.”We try and find out what their interests are; somebody might be a cricket fan and wants to go see the cricket museum at the [Sydney] Cricket Ground,” Mr Dickie said.”I’ve sent Chinese people out to Cabramatta.”They’ve come off the ship and say, ‘where is Chinatown?’ and I say well it’s here, but there’s one out at Cabramatta that is far better and they can catch the train there.”Port of callMr Dickie is one of three ambassadors left in the City of Sydney’s first class of graduates from 2011.He said the State Government had since expanded the volunteer program, having seen the value of people like Mr Dickie who promoted the city to visitors as soon as they stepped off the ship. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
Melbourne-born Megan Nixon said she volunteered this year as she had “fallen in love with Sydney” and was looking to do something outdoors.”The most common question so far has been where can I get a coffee in a great cafe, and where can I drop my bag.”Some German tourists wanted to know whether they could go touch a koala.”I told them they could go take a photo with one but you can’t touch it.”Like Mr Dickie, Ms Nixon said the most unusual request was for a public pay phone.While it stumped Mr Dickie the first time he was asked, he can now direct people to one located a few minutes’ walk away.He said the ambassadors have campaigned to get a pay phone installed in the terminal. Photo:
Megan Nixon’s top tip for tourists is to walk across the Harbour Bridge to take photos from the pylon. Photo:
Jim Dickie has been a Sydney meet and greet ambassador since 2011.
702 ABC Sydney


Amanda Hoh


November 18, 2016 11:40:16

The Sydney ambassadors need local knowledge and offer travel tips to cruise passengers. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
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Year 12 students reminisce about schooling years

Karla Waterman

Learning about geography and languages in her senior years has helped Karla Waterman decide her future.The 17-year-old has applied to the University of Queensland to take on a Bachelor of International Studies in 2017.”I really enjoy Japanese at school, and I like geography and languages … I saw that degree and thought it had a lot of my interests in it,” she said.”I want to go into diplomacy if possible, so I thought it’d be a good pathway into that field.”As for her immediate future, Karla’s busy packing her bags for a cruise to the Pacific Islands with a group of her friends and a couple of parents.
you’re just surrounded by people I know that are always there for you and can help you.” Watch ABC’s education forum Learning Curve tonight from 7:30pm on ABC News 24 and ABC TV in Queensland. there’s not much market so it’s an easy pick-up,” he said.He said he was feeling nervous ahead of graduation, but hoped he could go into primary school education sometime in the new year.Jack said he would mostly miss the classes.”You’re surrounded by friends and even the teachers who I would consider friends … While most people take years to get their business ventures up and running, Jack Hansen is way ahead of them.The 17-year-old has his own business selling model aircraft parts.”My dad has a club and I try to sell parts …

There will be lots to miss when thousands of Year 12 students across Queensland walk out their school gates for the final time today.While taking the chance to say goodbye to teachers and fellow students, the Class of 2016 at Redcliffe State High School also took the opportunity to dress up as their childhood heroes.It was part of a final fundraising for Give A Kid A Chance, a charity that helps low-income families equip their children for each new school yearABC News tagged along for the day and asked seven students what they will miss most about school, what they will never forget, and what they are looking forward to next. The friends, the teachers, the classes, and even the campus.


Patrick Williams


November 18, 2016 11:53:53

Jack Hansen

Leon Karstens was lucky enough to get a taste of life after high school this year, and he cannot wait for more.The 17-year-old spent a week in the labs of Inner Health Plus.Next year he plans to go off to university to take up software engineering.”I had my first computer when I was five and I’ve always been interested in that line of work,” he said.”It seems like a good path for me and it’s really opening up in the world.”He said he was also looking forward to continuing all the great friendships he had made along the way.”I’ve had a great friendship group so I won’t forget any of the times I had with them,” he said.”High school kind of teaches you how to keep friends as well as make them.”
I’ve got butterflies in my stomach, I’m a bit nervous.
High school kind of teaches you how to keep friends as well as make them.
Leon Karstens
It’s something that really stuck with me the whole time,” she said.Jayd-Ann said she would greatly miss the teachers she has learned from.”No matter what even if you’re not in your class they’re always there to help and be your friend,” she said.”The students are there for you too, but it’s the teachers that stand out.” Jayd-Ann Lock was a bucket of nerves during her final week of school.”I’m really happy but also really nervous,” she said.”School’s been our life for 12 years so it’s really nerve-racking to think we’re going to leave and it’s over.”The 17-year-old has already been accepted to take on a Bachelor Of Nursing in 2017 at the Australian Catholic University in Nudgee.”I’ve wanted to do it since I was a kid.
Will O’Farrell will never forget the influence a teacher’s words and guidance can have.The 17-year-old said his geography teacher for the past three years helped him make those important decisions to pursue a double degree in creative industries starting in 2017.”Ms Columb, I’ve never had anyone who enjoyed her job so much,” he said.”Honestly she’s just a great teacher, she really helped me in my deciding, she loves her job and it’s amazing to think a teacher can have an affect on a student like that.”She definitely did make an impact on me.”Will said he had enjoyed all the experiences his schooling years provided him.”I’m going to use what I’ve learned here, going to take my experiences, good and bad, all of them, and go into the real world.”
It’s amazing to think a teacher can have an affect on a student like that.

Will O’Farrell

I’ll miss the classes … you’re just surrounded by people you know that are always there for you and can help you.

There’s so much responsibility leaning on us.
Grace Duroux

School’s been our life for 12 years so it’s really nerve-racking to think we’re going to leave and it’s over.

Jayd-Ann Lock
Eden Charlton-Huigens

it’s time to move on with the rest of my life. It’s so exciting to move onto the next level after so long being here …
We’re just not used to the outside world because we’ve always had the routine and schedule of going to school.”I don’t think it will feel real until everyone else goes back to school next year.”The 17-year-old is hoping to study paramedicine and nursing, but is also interested in going overseas and doing aid work. Wrapping up high school is a double-edged sword for Eden Charlton-Huigens.”I’m excited for what’s going to happen next, but also extremely nervous about what’s going to happen next year,” she said.”There’s so much responsibility leaning on us.

it’s time to move on with the rest of my life.”The 17-year-old plans to defer university studies in 2017 to relax, work in retail, and squeeze in some volunteer work.She said her final year, where she was school vice-captain, was one of her best experiences.”It’s been so good getting up close with the teachers and working with them to better the school.” Grace Duroux wrapped up her final days at Redcliffe with mixed feelings.”I brought some presents for some of my teachers, just little chocolates and things,” she said.”Giving that to them it was kind of sad but it’s so exciting, seeing what’s going to happen next year …
Redcliffe 4020

Schnauzers to sleigh it at Hobart’s Christmas parade

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Hayley Webb and her bearded dog Poppy. coming from all areas of Tasmania,” Ms Webb said.And with many members having more than one bearded dog, there could be 50 or so hairy-faced puppies prancing in the parade. External Link:

Schnauzers pulling a sleigh
“We did make up a sleigh,” Ms Webb said.”Last night we did a little trial run with two of the schnauzers.”They did it very, very well — no treats required.”The Bearded Buddies of Tasmania are group number 19 in the parade.The event starts at 10:30am on Saturday and runs from Argyle Street, along Liverpool Street to Harrington Street and back along Collins Street. Hobart’s annual Christmas parade will have more beards on show than just Santa’s as the Bearded Buddies of Tasmania get ready to strut their stuff through the CBD.The Bearded Buddies of Tasmania is a walking group for schnauzers, other bearded dog breeds and their owners.The group was started by Hayley Webb after she and her black miniature schnauzer Poppy made a connection at a local cafe. “This other couple turned up in the same place we were and they had their schnauzer and their schnoodle there,” she told Helen Shield on 936 ABC Hobart.”I couldn’t help it, I had to say hello.”Since then Ms Webb has used social media to find and meet other owners of bearded dogs across Tasmania.”It’s so great that likeminded people with a common interest and love can get together,” she said.The Bearded Buddies of Tasmania Facebook group has more than 400 members and to celebrate one year since its inception, members will march through Hobart in the city’s Christmas pageant.”We’ve got people and their beardies coming from Launceston, from Bicheno …
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936 ABC Hobart


Carol Rääbus


November 18, 2016 11:55:08

Poppy the schnauzer is saving her energy before pulling a sleigh in Hobart’s Christmas parade.

The emu war and a frypan fight: Australia’s hilarious history

Disarming the troopers, the gang proceeded to strip them naked and tie them to trees, whereupon Hall delivered a stirring lecture on the pressing problem of police misbehaviour, before riding off into what I presume was a beautiful sunset, leaving the long arm of the law to await assistance in its highly embarrassed state. Meredith’s official report noted, optimistically, that his men had suffered no casualties. The question of why, blessed as we are with a native animal that is essentially a cross between an armoured car and a velociraptor, our military has not taken advantage by training emus for combat duty in the ADF, remains unanswered to this day.2. Photo:
Australian bushranger Ben Hall (Creative Commons: Mattholmes77)
Hall never killed anyone and gained a reputation as “the gentleman bushranger”. Menzies’s Kisch-OffThe Egon Kisch affair was one of the jolliest bits of tomfoolery in Australian political history, hilarious mainly for the fact that it involved government policy so mind-blowingly and transparently moronic that one has to admire the sheer audacity of the federal government in being so unafraid of looking like idiots in public that they actually implemented it.Egon Kisch was a communist and anti-war activist who had gained notoriety in Europe for opposing Hitler, a stance that though soon to gain widespread popularity, was in 1934 a prime example of the dangerous extremism that the Lyons government wished to keep out of Australia. The act stated that anyone who failed a dictation test in any European language could be excluded. Infographic:
Explorers Hamilton Hume (left) and William Hovell. If they’d had time, they probably would have drawn a line down the middle of the Great Dividing Range and ordered each other to stay on their own side.Later on, Hovell rejoined Hume when, in a rare interlude of self-awareness, he realised he’d stuffed up, but history had already been illuminated by the glorious petulance of two of Australia’s most irritatingly half-witted explorers.3. Photo:
Ned Kelly on the day before his execution, November 10, 1880. Kisch failed, and Menzies and Lyons high-fived.The High Court rained on their parade by ruling Scottish Gaelic was not covered by the Act, and Kisch was allowed in: but history’s annals had gained another sparkling chapter. Allen / State Library of New South Wales.)
An argument over the best way to proceed when they ran up against a mountain – Hume most likely thinking they should walk around it and Hovell probably wanting to bang his head against it ’til it fell over — became heated, and the explorers decided the only way to move forward was to split up.Understandably, they divided up their provisions. Also, when the guns worked, and when an emu stood still long enough to shoot at, they proved resistant to bullets to an unsettling degree. the language Australians spoke — the government could prove their unsuitability to enter the country by proving their lack of fluency in, say, Portuguese or Romansch, or any of the other languages that were totally irrelevant. On two separate occasions, Hall’s gang bailed up the NSW town of Canowindra, locked the police in their own cells, and threw a huge party for the rest of the population in the town’s pub. He has written for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, New Matilda, The Roar, and Crikey, among others. Ned Kelly’s Pen PalNed Kelly is one of our most iconic murderers, cutting a swathe through 19th-century colonial Australia with style, bravado and most importantly, a funny hat. Kisch was a particularly difficult case, though, because he happened to be able to speak many European languages, being a widely-travelled and well-educated Jewish German Czech. To be clear, Australia’s government attempted to deny entry to an anti-Nazi activist by use of a law which blocked foreigners from visiting the country if they were unable to speak a language chosen by the government that was not the official, or even a commonly-spoken, language in Australia. Good on him.Ben Pobjie is a writer, comedian and poet with no journalistic qualifications whatsoever. Less understandably, the resolved to cut their tent in half. Their exploits included many highly comic moments, including the time Hume threatened to throw Hovell into the Murray River, and the time they went to Corio Bay, which Hovell told everyone was Western Port Bay because of his poor sense of direction — an excellent quality for an explorer to have.But the incident which was not only revelatory of the pressures and challenges of the exploring lifestyle, but also seems to have been heavily inspired by an episode of I Love Lucy, was the famous frying pan fight. These days, nobody even writes letters anymore, let alone takes the time to package up a bundle of bovine gonads to hammer home the message to an enemy, and in a way that’s a shame. One day we will look back on this moment and laugh. Photo:
Australian prime minister Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, date unknown. What the one who got the handle thought he was going to do with a frying pan handle with no frying pan attached, historians can only speculate on, but I suppose it was a kind of moral trophy. His latest book, Error Australis, is out now. But the real brawl was over the expedition’s frying pan, which was apparently of great sentimental value to these two pioneering cretins. To get a taste of what I mean, peruse these: the five funniest moments in Australian history.1. (Flickr: The b@t)
Almost immediately the expedition ran into trouble. Hume and Hovell’s Frypan FightHamilton Hume and William Hovell are two of Australia’s most accomplished and amusing explorers. The author of new book Error Australis, Ben Pobjie, reflects on the most comical characters and cock-ups of Australia’s past. And so Major GPW Meredith of the Royal Australian Artillery was sent, along with two soldiers, two Lewis guns, and 10,000 bullets, into the scrubland to show the emus just who was the more highly-evolved species. In any case, it was a shining testament to the legacy of Ben Hall, a man who defied the law not for personal gain or the satisfaction of base desires, but for the innocent and noble purpose of having a bit of a laugh at others’ expense. Ben Hall, Clown Prince of BushrangersA lot of people think Ned Kelly was the funniest bushranger, but any fool can put a bucket on his head and swan about writing letters. The soldiers attempted to herd the emus into a suitable place in which to mow them down en masse, but the birds, well-trained in guerrilla tactics, continually split into small groups and ran off in different directions, making it damnably difficult for the guns to draw a bead on them. In the end, the pan fell into two pieces, and one man took the pan itself, the other taking the handle. Kelly and Gould resolved to teach McCormack a lesson and, to that end, sent McCormack’s wife a rude letter, accompanied by a box of calves’ testicles.While it’s not exactly “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes”, you’ve got to admit that getting a couple of cow balls in the mail would shake a person up, and it showed that even then, at the tender age of 15, Ned displayed a keen instinct for psychological warfare and a taste for the nauseating that would serve him well in his future career. And unlike the fifty other “gentleman bushrangers”, he actually deserved it. Pearce, a man who knew the value of a show of strength, decided that what the emus needed was a hefty dose of good old-fashioned military might. He is legendary for his bushranging exploits, but less well-known are his tangles with the law before he took to the bush. This happened when relations between the intrepid pair reached an all-time low, with Hovell sick of Hume constantly making him cross rivers and Hume tired of Hovell stumbling around aimlessly bumping into trees and so forth. If that doesn’t give you a good belly laugh, I don’t know what will.5. Infographic:
Error Australis by Ben Pobjie is out now. This meant that even if one of those disreputable foreigners were so underhanded as to learn English — i.e. The surrealist humour of the government denying entry to a foreign intellectual for being too vehemently anti-Hitler was droll enough, but it got even better when the government, prevented from banning Kisch by the High Court, tried to exclude him via the Immigration Restriction Act, one of the most amusingly lunatic laws any country has ever passed. They refused him entry, but Kisch circumvented the ban by the cunning tactic of leaping off his ship onto Station Pier and breaking his leg. Unlike most bushrangers, Hall was not all that interested in shooting people. They fought over it — and I don’t mean they argued, I mean they stood in the wide Australian outback, each having hold of one side of the pan, pulling furiously. Also, the guns jammed. (AFP)
However, his belief that broken legs were grounds for entry was ill-founded, and he was returned to his ship. Meredith wrote:”If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world. (Samuel Calvert, c.1873 / State Library of Victoria and Oswald H. Kisch was ordered to write the Lord’s Prayer in Scottish Gaelic, a language noted for being spoken by almost nobody, including Scottish people such as the Scottish-raised immigration officer who tested him. Say what you like about the days of colonial Australia, but back then men were men, women were women, and calves’ testicles were hand-delivered, and that’s a piece of traditional Aussie culture we’ve lost.4. But the beauty of history as a comedic resource is that it all happened ages ago, so you don’t have to pretend to feel sorry for the people it happened to.Many people believe that Australian history is a boring and colourless saga and that our nation lacks historical periods or events with the rich humorous potential of, say, the English Civil War, or the Spanish Inquisition.Yet a closer examination of the figures of our past will show that, to the contrary, Australia’s history is the funniest thing that ever happened to this country. The Emu WarAustralia cannot lay claim to any great empires or epic conquests, but we do have one distinction that no other nation on Earth can boast: we are the only country in history to lose a war to birds.In 1932, the farmers of Western Australia, fed up with the 20,000 emus that kept dropping in to their farms to eat all their crops, went to defence minister Sir George Pearce to demand he take action to safeguard the precious wheat of the Campion region. He passed the test in tongue after tongue, and the government was at its wit’s end when the solution was found. On leaving, they paid the landlord for all goods consumed and the townspeople for their time, just to really rub it in that they were not only smarter than the cops, but more generous.However, Hall’s bushranging career hit a peak when he was being pursued by the local police, near Bathurst. To this end, he conducted a criminal career that was less a reign of terror than an extended live episode of Candid Camera. It’s hilarious for the same reason life itself is hilarious: it’s filled with weirdos and idiots screwing everything up in the worst ways possible. Photo:
The emu: a native animal that is essentially a cross between an armoured car and a velociraptor. The House of Representatives debated the matter and questions were asked of the minister regarding whether medals were to be awarded for survivors of the campaign. Even robbery under arms took a secondary place in his priorities to the all-important goal of publicly humiliating the police. Kisch supporters took his case to the High Court, and attorney-general Robert Menzies, the future prime minister and eyebrow model, stated that we would determine who came to this country and the circumstances in which they come (a sentiment that would later inspire John Howard, and then every Liberal and Labor MP in the country). It was the ultimate example of Ben Hall’s raison d’etre as a bushranger — on that day, one of Australia’s greatest bushrangers proved that you could make as powerful a statement by taking the piss out of the coppers as by shooting them.If Hall’s educational address was not particularly well-received by its captive audience, it was certainly well-timed, and one might think a warmer embrace of the Hall method in the corridors of power might be beneficial when dealing with disciplinary matters. They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks.”The soldiers retreated, weary and sick of the sight of feathers. Kisch planned to visit Australia to speak of his experiences under the Nazi regime, which gave the government the screaming irrits. The emus’ report noted that humans were slow-moving and stupid. (National Archives of Australia)
These include the occasion on which young Ned, on being accosted by a police constable who had noticed him riding a stolen horse, beat up the copper and rode around on his back — quite a social faux pas in those days.The pre-bushranging Ned Kelly committed numerous crimes of varying seriousness and strangeness, but one of the most strange — if not most serious — was his defence of a friend, Ben Gould, who had been accused of horse stealing by one Jeremiah McCormack (horse stealing was common in those days as there was no internet and youths were starved for entertainment). (Simon & Schuster)
History, let’s be blunt, is hilarious. For bushranging comedy with some real originality and intelligence behind it, you need to look to the conceptual art of Bold Ben Hall, the tragic hero who turned to a life of crime after his wife left him and the police burnt down his house.

Ben Pobjie


August 07, 2016 10:04:12

Syrian refugee wins 100m butterfly heat in Rio debut

Olympic Refugee Team overcomes hardship to make Games debut
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It was what Yusra Mardini left unsaid, rather than the conventional words of excitement, that made the bigger impression after the teenager’s debut in the Olympic pool on Saturday.”I was only thinking about water and the last competitions and where I am now,” Mardini told reporters when asked what went through her mind ahead of her 100 metre butterfly heat.The Syrian 18-year-old is swimming for the world’s first refugee Olympic team.The first of the refugees in action, she had looked down briefly before stepping on the platform.”I left swimming for two years so now we are working to get back to my level,” said Mardini, who won her heat of five swimmers but finished 41st overall, when asked how her time compared to previous ones.There was no need to explain the two-year break in her career, or indeed what kind of water might have been on her mind.From fleeing Syria to Olympic honourRio is a life away from where Mardini started. External Link:

Facebook: In the opening ceremony with Yusra Mardini … Yohooo
“It was really amazing and an incredible feeling to compete here in the Olympics and I am happy and glad for that … I’m really happy to be here and to see all of the champions and other swimmers here.”She shrugged off a suggestion that all the attention around her might have prevented her from just enjoying the experience of the Games.”This is not difficult because all of those people want to show everyone what I’m doing … and that we didn’t stop our refugee trip and it continues,” she said.And then it was back to sport again.”I’m really excited for the 100 [metre] freestyle and I hope I’m going to swim better.”Reuters The first Refugee Team The team of 10 refugee athletes have no flag or national anthem, but now have a home in the Olympic Village. Just last year she was fleeing Syria, making a treacherous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece and arriving in Berlin with her sister.She swam part of that crossing over to the island of Lesbos, helping other refugees who were in the water and were unable to swim.”It was quite hard to think that you are a swimmer and you might end up dying in the water,” she said later.A competitive swimmer in Syria, she is now part of a refugee team backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).She has met the Pope and been feted in Rio.”It was really cool and everything was amazing and everyone welcomed us,” she said of the opening ceremony, speaking as reporters crowded around.

August 07, 2016 11:13:43

Mardini, 18, swam a 100 metre butterfly heat on day one of the Olympics. (AFP: Martin Bureau)
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Refugee who swam to Greece sets sights on Rio

Bundaberg builder calls out graffiti vandal to offer blank canvas

They all got stuck in and learned the rights and wrongs of where you should and shouldn’t use graffiti.”The mural itself depicts hands intertwining, a section which represents what the city went through during the 2013 Australia Day floods and the importance of standing together as a community.”That’s basically the big message: stand as one as a community and helping one another through tough times like the floods, which we all came out of stronger,” Mr Zeilke said.”It was really to push the community message — we can all work as one, especially for these kids.”Getting into the habit of an eight-hour dayThe jobseekers involved in creating the mural are part of a program called Xtreme Turnabout, where young people who may have stepped outside the law get a second chance.Now some of the jobseekers are doing regular work experience with Mr Zielke’s construction company. we got in touch with other graffiti artists.”Working together with a local employment organisation, Impact Community Services, as well as street artist Jamie Kirby, a giant mural was created.”We got a group together that have been charged previously with graffiti offences,” Mr Zielke said.”[We] set up a workshop to show these guys that there is another way to use a spray can which can be of benefit to the community.”We got them to do a street art mural on our upcoming display home. It doesn’t really worry me because in the end … External Link:

JRZ Homes Bundaberg facebook post
“I looked at it and thought, ‘well, there is no point in wasting police resources’; it’s not something that I think they need to waste their time on,” Mr Zielke said.”I thought there has got to be a way to try and have a better outcome.”A post on social media followed, calling out the tagger and offering them an opportunity, and the possibility of a job.”We looked for the culprit with a Facebook post that went a bit viral,” he said.”We never actually got the details of the artist. (ABC News: Gary Rivett)
He says the biggest surprise for him has been the reminder that not everyone is used to a full day of work.”The biggest hurdle we’ve found initially has been trying to get them to achieve an eight-hour day,” Mr Zielke said.”They’re quite good at chucking sickies but there has been a definite improvement,” he said.”It’s going to take while but anything worth having is not usually easy, so hopefully they will get there; they will get there — we’ll make sure they do.”I’ve got a business, a pretty successful business, so I’ve got the opportunity to help these guys.”I think it’s important, when given the opportunity, to try and help.”I really love this community [and] if you support it, it will support you and I just want to try and help where I can.” It is a fairly common sight on construction sites across the country — graffiti tags covering business signs, logos and temporary fencing.Meet the Bundaberg builder who, instead of calling the police, put the call out offering taggers an opportunity to design and develop, not deface.On a particular construction job in Millbank, a suburb of Bundaberg, builder Jesse Zielke noticed a graffiti tag or two on his company’s signs.He did some investigating and found the same tag sprayed on other walls and buildings in the area. Photo:
Young jobseekers are doing work experience with Mr Zielke’s company.
ABC Wide Bay


Ross Kay


Brad Marsellos


August 08, 2016 08:00:01

Bundaberg construction business owner Jesse Zielke with the completed mural. (ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos)
Bundaberg 4670

Unique recycling project using highway waste to protect riverbanks

ABC Mid North Coast

By Emma Siossian


August 08, 2016 11:00:15

Tree stumps and rocks from mid north coast recycling projects are being used to protect kilometres of riverbanks (Supplied: Office of Environment and Heritage)
Mr Schmidt said the project also had follow-on environmental benefits.”Bank protection structures are usually made entirely of rock, so this timber will deliver nearly 100 tonnes of additional carbon into the estuary food chain, as well as providing a habitat niche for an extra one hectare of mangroves and promote fish habitat,” he said.”With RMS support, highway partners Lend Lease, Pacifico, Thiess and OHL Construction have provided around 600 stumps, 1,600 timber pins and 120 tonnes of rock, most of which has been delivered onsite at the river restoration project.” “So I had to prepare a list of materials I would need and it was amazing the goodwill that was out there among the different highway partners.”This unique project is a good example of how landowner willingness and collaboration between many stakeholders can help bring about coordinated action to improve the health of estuaries on the north coast of New South Wales,” he said. An innovative recycling project is using leftover tree stumps and rocks from Mid North Coast highway projects, to protect local riverbanks.The project was started by John Schmidt, an Office of Environment and Heritage Senior Coast and Estuary Officer.Mr Schmidt said tree stumps, timber and rocks from highway clearing between Port Macquarie and Urunga were being supplied by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) at no cost.He said his initial aim was to install protection measures for up to four kilometres of river banks.”Since the idea two years ago, we have about two thirds of it complete or underway, so that’s about 3.5 kilometres committed to restoration with materials ready to go and funding to make it happen,” he said. “So it’s been a fantastic response, given that when we started it was just an idea with no funding.” Mr Schmidt said the project had taken a lot of careful planning and he had received strong support along the way.”I had to work out realistically how much one could achieve over a five-year period, so my objective was to get four kilometres of river fixed up in five years, so that was allowing one kilometre of river in each of the main river valleys,” he said.
Port Macquarie 2444

High-speed internet revolutionises medicine in remote Vanuatu village


Until recently, residents of the remote village of Naviso, in Vanuatu, had to hike an hour up a mountain just to get mobile phone reception.
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Remote Vanuatu village's new internet connection saves lives

(Pacific Beat)
Medical specialists too busy for regional patients
(Supplied: Alexis Cullen)
New frontiers in health and education, says PMVanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, launched the telemedicine system in the village this week, declaring that information and communication technologies (ICT) could open up new frontiers in health and education for people across the country.The villagers themselves raised the funds for the project, which has been described as the first community-led ICT initiative in Vanuatu, if not the Pacific.”It’s become an open Wi-Fi connection and the whole community can use it,” Ms Cullen said.”The school has connection to the internet as well and they’ve started to incorporate it.”Ms Cullen said locals and health workers would receive training and support in telemedicine for another six months.She said the new technology had already been eagerly embraced by villagers.”It’s been incredible. And patients needing emergency medical treatment had to be carried by stretcher up the 500-metre incline and across Maewo island to the nearest hospital.But the arrival of a high-speed internet connection — and the country’s first telemedicine system connecting remote nurses to physicians — means these challenges could soon be a thing of the past. It’s so amazing to watch someone for the first time use the internet, and especially the ability to video conference,” she said.”We had a 90-year-old man come out of his house and make his way over to the clinic, demanding he see the magic box that could make him see a face in another place.”

An elderly man in Naviso sees internet video conferencing for the first time. Photo:
The satellite dish providing internet is installed next to Naviso’s health clinic. (Supplied: Alexis Cullen)
Alexis Cullen, a US Peace Corps volunteer adviser for projects in telemedicine, told Pacific Beat the presence of high-speed internet in the village has already helped save the life of a pregnant woman, after a nurse connected with a doctor via Facebook.”Using his old informal network of his colleagues, he found someone to help him before we had even finished setting up our telemedicine link,” she said.”It was very helpful because he was alone in the clinic and he was very worried about what to do about this mother.”He immediately had the ability to speak with a trusted colleague who could help him and coach him through it, whereas before he had no one — it was only him to make these decisions.”

Maowo islanders connect to the internet via a smartphone. (Supplied: Alexis Cullen)
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Pacific Beat


August 08, 2016 12:33:16

A doctor in Santo provides medical advice to a nurse in Kerepei Village via Skype. (Supplied: Alexis Cullen)
Remote village in Vanuatu to get high-speed internet for telemedicine

(Pacific Beat)

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Kosovo wins first ever medal … and it’s gold

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August 08, 2016 14:02:15
Then came Mr Thomas Bach,” Kelmendi said.”A year ago, he came to Kosovo and said: ‘I’m here to support you and I want to see you win in Rio.'”Today he said: ‘You remember that you had a dream; now you’ve realised it.’ It made me very proud.”Kelmendi took control of the final from the start, pinning the 21-year-old Giuffrida quickly to score her single point yuko.Highlighting her reputation for nerves of steel, Kelmendi never gave up her slight advantage.”Everyone in Kosovo has watched my combats and expected to see me win. External Link:

Storify: Celebrating Kosovo's first ever Olympic medal
ABC/AFP The woman who won Kosovo’s first ever Olympic medal hopes the golden honour sends a message to young survivors of war that “they can do anything they want”.Rio is Kosovo’s maiden Games, and judo star Majlinda Kelmendi claimed the historic win, beating Italy’s Odette Giuffrida by yuko in the women’s 52kg final.Kelmendi, 25, sank to her knees in tears after the event, and then ran to hug a small group of supporters chanting “Kosovo, Kosovo!””I have always wanted to show the world that Kosovo is not just a country that has gone through war,” Kelmendi said, with her nation’s flag draped around her shoulders.Kelmendi said she hoped to inspire Kosovo’s younger generation, who she said “look to me as a hero”.”I just proved to them that even after we survived a war, if they want something they can have it,” she said.”If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be. Even if we come from a small country, a poor country.”I just want to say to the young generation of Kosovo that they can do anything they want.”In 2008 Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia — whose forces fought to stop breakaway rebels in 1998–99 — and has since had its own scrap for recognition.Every sign of statedom counts, and Kelmendi faced so much spotlight in the months before the Games that she went into hiding with her coach to train.She emerged to show her pride carrying the Kosovo flag at the Olympic opening ceremony.”This medal means a lot, not only for Kosovo’s sport, but for all Kosovo as a country,” she said after the win.”We have survived a war. There are still kids who don’t know if their parents are alive, don’t have anything to eat or books to go to school.”So the fact of becoming Olympic champion is just huge for all of us.”
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Rio 2016 tweets with photo: Majlinda Kelmendi wins first gold for Kosovo
About 100 countries have given their diplomatic stamp to Kosovo, which has been recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for less than two years.IOC president Thomas Bach presented Kelmendi with the gold.”I had so many things going on on my mind when I was on the podium. That is why I was so motivated,” she said.Japan’s Misato Nakamura and Russia’s Natalia Kuziutina won the bronze medals.Kelmendi fought for Albania at the 2012 London Games, before Kosovo had its IOC badge, and went out in the second round.She has won two world titles since, however — including one in Rio in 2013 — and that made her the favourite going into the final.
Vietnam wins first ever Olympic gold medal
Gold medalist Majlinda Kelmendi says the win means a lot for her nation. (Getty: Pascal Le Segretain)