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Indigenous Australia

Uluru decision highlight’s what is wrong with indigenous policy
On 12 April, environment minister Greg Hunt said he would not ban the Uluru climb. Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles later supported this decision. In 2009, Hunt argued that closing the climb would “end one of the great tourism experiences in Australia”. The Northern Territory government and the tourist industry raised similar concerns during the negotiations that led to the return of Uluru and Kata Tjuta to the Anangu people in 1985, writes Harry Hobbs for the Guardian. 
See also

Locking up indigenous kids costs $236m a year
Jailing Aboriginal children costs Australia almost a quarter of a billion dollars a year, according to new figures compiled by Save the Children and released on the eve of Close the Gap Day. On an average day last June, there were 480 Indigenous young people behind bars, with each young person costing authorities $1355 a day. 

Environment

What to do about my sinking Island home
Ursula Rakova is Executive Director of Tulele Peisa ("Sailing the Waves On Our Own"). She comes from the Carteret Islands, a small Pacific group whose population of about 2500 are among the world's first climate refugees. 

Great Barrier Reef’s new battle
Warmer seas are causing unprecedented levels of bleaching at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef while, inland, plans are being made for a vast new Queensland coalmining development. Conservationists are now launching a legal battle against the development on the grounds not just of the environmental footprint of the mine itself, but of the impact on the reef of the burning of all the coal subsequently produced. The Guardian Weekly reports on what could be a landmark court case for the environment taking precedence over industrial affairs. 

The political community

How the Seychelles saved Syria
Panama Papers revealed how a seemingly insular regime has harnessed the tools of globalisation to ensure its survival. 

Pilger: Why Clinton is more dangerous than Trump
An edited version of John Pilger’s address at the University of Sydney, entitled ‘A World War Has Begun’. 

Human Rights

Education in Timor-Leste
Following the progress of two education projects by the Jesuits in Timor-Leste, the Colegio de Santo Inacio de Loiola — a secondary school which opened in 2013 — and the Instituto Sao Joao de Brito, a teacher education institute. The video shows the change and growth in children who had enrolled the year the school opened, as they graduated junior high school this year and moved into senior high years. 

Boat tragedy highlights Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingyas
The deaths of more than 20 Rohingyas in a boating accident have again put the focus on Myanmar's ill treatment of the Muslim minority. Nine children were among the 21 confirmed dead from the accident that occurred in rough seas off the coast of Rakhine state April 19.  

Ethical fashion companies in New Zealand and Australia revealed
Three years have passed since the Rana Plaza building collapse which killed 1136 garment workers. The event sparked the collective conscience of retailers and consumers alike about unsafe working conditions within fashion supply chains. So have companies improved their practices since? Baptist World Aid assessed 87 Australian and Kiwi fashion brands to find out. 
See also

Sudan’s midwives take on female genital mutilation
How a school for midwives in Eastern Sudan is empowering and educating women and girls about FMG 

Poverty

The human cost of the housing crisis
Soaring property prices which have locked many New Zealanders out of home ownership are part of an even bigger housing problem, writes Simon Collins for New Zealand Herald. West Auckland grandmother Lee Hickey is moving out of her house to make room for her daughter, son-in-law and their two children. "I live in the house, but I'm down to one room, and I'm about to move into a sleepout that I'm having built because there is just nothing out there that they can afford," she says. 

The bleeding obvious about homelessness
We're staring down the barrel of a social crisis, a completely avoidable human tragedy writ large, writes John Falzon for Eureka Street. 

Refugees and Migrants

Palestinian Syrians twice refugees
As refugees continue to flee civil war in Syria, the road to asylum remains difficult for some Syrian-born Palestinians, writes Kait Bolongaro for Al Jazeera. 

Refugees struggling to send money home under new banking laws
Tighter banking laws aimed at preventing terrorist financing and money laundering are making it harder for refugees who have been living in New Zealand for years to send money back to their families, writes Laura Bootham for Radio New Zealand. 

Crossing boundaries with the wire-cutter pope
Lesbos is famous for crossing boundaries. It was the home of the poet Sappho and the tender, delicate lyrics dedicated to the woman who was her lover. More recently it has been the home of refugees who have crossed from the murderous conflict in Asia. Pope Francis is also as famous for crossing boundaries as we Australians are for patrolling them, Andrew Hamilton writes for Eureka Street. 

Use It

40 maps that explain the Middle East
Maps can be a powerful tool for understanding the world, particularly the Middle East, a place in many ways shaped by changing political borders and demographics. Here are 40 maps crucial for understanding the Middle East — its history, its present, and some of the most important stories in the region today, compiled by Max Fisher. 

Powerful images of peace in conflict
Ridiculed and denounced during the events, protesters around the world are seen in hindsight to have achieved a change in history while making some serious sacrifices for liberty and future.
See the images here 

Alola Australia fundraiser for Timor-Leste mobile library
April 29 in Melbourne. There will be special guest speakers, live and silent auctions and beautiful food, wine and conversation to be shared. For more information, email friends@alola.org.au or phone 0437 983 070.

From the editor

There is a story of a Chinese gardener who settled in New Zealand in the late 19th century and worked for 10 years to save enough money to bring his wife from China. But, just as he reached his goal, the government put up the poll tax from £10 ($1640 in 2015 money) to £100 ($18,500). In 1881 anti-Chinese sentiment in New Zealand, which was also rife in Australia and in Canada, was fuelled by this poll tax which levied each Chinese person landing in the country. As well, ships arriving in New Zealand could land just one Chinese person for each 10 tons of cargo. This was reduced 15 years later to one Chinese passenger for every 200 tons of cargo along with the tenfold boost in the poll tax. As work on the goldfields dwindled, calls for further restrictions on Chinese immigration became shrill. 

Cecily McNeill
Editor

Quote of the month

"Many people ask me, 'Father, why do you speak so much about the needy, about people in need, excluded people, those left by the wayside?' It is simply because this reality, and the response to this reality, is at the heart of the Gospel."

Pope Francis

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