Pride march takes aim at Trump

Thousands of people chanting “love trumps hate” have marched through the streets of Washington in a celebration of LGBTQ pride that also carried a message aimed at the US president.


The Equality March on Washington was one of several events scheduled to take place across the country as part of gay pride month in June.

After setting off from a park near the White House, many marchers paused to wave at secret service agents who looked on as the procession passed President Donald Trump’s residence.

He was not home, but if he had been, he would have looked out to see people carrying rainbow flags and signs demanding equality for the LGBTQ community.

The protest also marked the one-year anniversary of the deaths of 49 people in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Lindsay Bohan, 27, from Dayton, Ohio arrived in Washington after driving all night – nearly eight hours – to take part in the march.

“I think that we have to show up on a national level in regards to affecting change and holding our leaders responsible for all the bad policies that they’re putting forward,” Bohan said.

LGBTQ community leaders and members of the movement delivered speeches at the venue where the march ended, and a concert took place nearby.

The LGBTQ community has rallied against a number of actions taken by the federal government since Trump took office.

One of them was the Trump administration’s decision in February to roll back federal guidelines issued under the Obama administration allowing public schools to let transgender students use toilets matching their chosen gender identity.

More than 20 national advocacy groups working on behalf of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans endorsed the Washington march, according to the march’s website.

Elder honoured for Aboriginal legal work

Since Ruth Abdullah became part of the Stolen Generation aged just seven, her focus has been preventing further injustices by helping Aboriginal people know their legal rights.


Her dedication to this cause has on Monday led to her being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for service to the indigenous community of Western Australia.

Born in Derby to a Djaru/Gidja mother and Gurindji father, the 69-year-old told AAP she’s now “part of the furniture” at Kimberley Community Legal Services, where she has been an Aboriginal liaison coordinator since 2000.

With a positive, sunny, happy go-lucky disposition, Ms Adbullah is a proud role model for younger generations, saying “they see how hard I had to work. It’s about respect and looking after yourself”.

The former Anglicare counsellor educates non-indigenous staff on Aboriginal cultures and custom, saying her previous work at the Department of Child Protection was often with staff who judged families before visiting and listening to them.

“It doesn’t work at all. Aboriginal staff pave the way,” she said.

Government services to indigenous communities need to be more streamlined, she says, and the customs and rules of individual groups should be respected.

Ms Abdullah said her personal experience drove her to prevent any more children being taken away like she was, urging instead for “family looking after family” through mediation and counselling.

Taken from her parents in Alice Springs, she was separated from three sisters and sent to St Mary’s Hostel with her brother, where they weren’t allowed to approach their parents if they saw them.

She said it was “heartbreaking” and the school would cut their pocket money if they broke that rule.

She left St Mary’s aged 17 and reconnected with her parents in WA, studying her culture to re-find her identity, which she now urges younger generations to hold onto.

New film explores rise of Islamic State

Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested, as two of the world’s most acclaimed war documentary filmmakers, have witnessed the horrors of mankind.


Their films include Restrepo, the 2011 Oscar-nominated documentary depicting the year Junger and the late British photojournalist Tim Hetherington were embedded with a US Army platoon in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, considered one of the most dangerous postings in the US military.

American Junger and UK-born Quested, in what could be their last war film, have turned their attention to the terror group Islamic State and the Syrian civil war with Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS.

Junger and Quested recently spoke to AAP about the documentary, which airs in Australia on National Geographic on Tuesday (June 13) at 7.30pm AEST.

Q: What was the main motivation for making this documentary?

SJ: We both felt it was possible to make a 90-minute survey of the Syrian civil war to explain how it started, why it got so bad and why ISIS came out of this situation.

Q: Looking into your crystal balls, what will Syria be like in five or 10 years time?

NQ: I’d hope for some type of relative peace and potentially some type of federally partitioned republic.

SJ: I think you would have to bring the Russians in on that. You would have to crush ISIS. Bring the Russians in and figure out a partition like they did with Bosnia which requires Russian co-operation.

Q: What was something your investigation unearthed that surprised you?

NQ: Finding humanity in these dark places. People with sunny dispositions and generous natures.

Q: That was fascinating. You focus part of the documentary on a Syrian family living in hellish conditions and they still manage to smile and remain positive.

SJ: I wrote a book about this and it seems to me adverse conditions produce positive social behaviour in humans. Situations that are safe and comfortable allow for people to act selfishly. In times of hurricanes, civil wars, the blitz in London, people recall those times with enormous fondness because it brought out the best human behaviours.

Q: Have you kept in touch with the family in the documentary?

NQ: They are in Izmir, Turkey. They have opened a shop and selling small things to the Syrian community there, which is massive.

Q: During your investigation, did you come across any Australians in Syria or Iraq or any other Australian links?

NQ: We did come across a preacher in Melbourne that we found intriguing that has been given a travel ban in Australia. We were going to have a chat to him but it was hard to tie him into the overall narrative.

Q: It was interesting seeing your interview with Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser General Michael Flynn.

NQ: We interviewed him in March last year. It was a long and involved interview and we wanted that voice in the film that said, ‘You have to be aware of politicians using refugees for political gain’. We think it is even more poignant now that Michael Flynn subsequently changed his opinion. That’s why we kept the interview.

SJ: He also makes a case for nation building as a solution to the refugee crisis which of course is completely an anathema to Donald Trump’s world view. I found that fascinating.

Q: Did General Flynn take any calls from Vladimir Putin during your interview?

NQ: (Laughs) No, but we had a lot of conversations with Mr Lavrov’s (Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov) office about an interview which in the end he declined.

Q: What is next for you guys? Is it time for a romantic comedy?

NQ: (Laughs) Well, I’m going to a direct a thriller in New York called Cleaning House. It’s a little lighter. We like to balance things. If you were to just do this you would lose perspective on the world.

SJ: Absolutely. I don’t want to be involved in stuff like that again. I stopped war reporting a few years ago. I don’t think I want to go into another film that is violent and graphic like this one was. I feel like I understand war to the extent that I want to understand it and I just became a father for the first time. My wife and I just had a little girl.

Winner and losers in May’s reshuffle

Winners and losers in Theresa May’s post-election cabinet reshuffle:

*Michael Gove – winner

Returns to frontline politics almost a year after the Brexit campaigner was frozen out by May in her first Cabinet.


* David Gauke – winner

A second promotion in as many May Cabinets, having been picked to replace Damian Green at the Department for Work and Pensions.

*Damian Green – winner

Goes from Work and Pensions Secretary to First Secretary of State, effectively May’s number two as the title is generally associated with the role of deputy prime minister.

* David Lidington – winner

Steps into Liz Truss’s shoes as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary.

* Liz Truss – loser

The biggest loser in the reshuffle, going from justice secretary and a significant seat at the top table to being one of four people who “also attends Cabinet”.

Other notable cabinet members:

* Philip Hammond

Former foreign secretary, Hammond remains as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

* Amber Rudd

After suffering a nervous election night which saw her majority significantly reduced Rudd has been given some comfort, remaining home secretary.

*Boris Johnson

Despite rumours he was again manoeuvring for a potential leadership bid, Johnson has kept his brief as foreign minister amid strenuous denials he is eyeing Theresa May’s job.

* Michael Fallon

This loyal defender of the prime minister remains defence secretary.

* David Davis

David retains the role of secretary of state for Brexit created in July 2016 and will stay front and centre in the looming negotiations for Britain’s exit from the EU.

Netanyahu urges UN to dismantle its Palestinian aid agency

Netanyahu said he raised the issue during the visit in recent days of Washington’s UN envoy Nicky Haley, who has accused the United Nations of bias against Israel.


“I told her that the time had come for the United Nations to reconsider the continued existence of UNRWA,” his office quoted him as saying, referring to the UN Relief and Welfare Agency.

He said that while millions of other refugees around the world were cared for by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only the Palestinians have their own body.

“In UNRWA’s institutions, there is a great deal of incitement against Israel,” Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting. 

He also said the agency’s very existence “perpetuates and does not solve the Palestinian refugee problem”.

“Therefore it is time to dismantle UNRWA and merge its parts into the UNHCR,” he added.

Related reading

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said the agency’s future could not be decided unilaterally.

“UNRWA receives its mandate from the UN General Assembly and only the UN General Assembly, by a majority vote, can change our mandate,” he told AFP, adding that in December the assembly extended the mandate for a further three years.

UNRWA runs hundreds of schools for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

It also distributes aid and provides teacher training centres, health clinics and social services.

Israel views the agency as biased against it and its Palestinian staff as frequently hostile.

In February, the Jewish state complained the head of the UNRWA staff union in Gaza was politically active in the militant Islamist group Hamas, which rules the coastal strip.

On June 1, UNRWA discovered a section of a Hamas tunnel running under two of its schools in the strip’s Maghazi refugee camp, the agency has said.

Hamas has denied building the Maghazi tunnel, whose discovery drew condemnation from both UNRWA and Israel.

On Friday, Israel sent a letter of protest to the UN Security Council over the matter.

Over the years, Hamas has built a labyrinth of tunnels, some passing under the border into Israel in order to launch attacks.

Response to media summaries of issues around @UNRWA’s mandate RT pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/iI5PfBjMTf

— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) June 11, 2017

SBS chief Michael Ebeid awarded Queen’s Birthday honour

Mr Ebeid, who was appointed to lead the nation’s multicultural broadcaster in 2011, was one of more than a dozen honourees who have been recognised for their service to multicultural Australia.


He was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia (AO).

Moving to Australia with his family when he was still a toddler, the Egyptian-born Australian went on to study business, working for several high-profile companies.

He spent nine years with IBM in Australia and Asia, a decade with telecommunications giant Optus, and three years with the ABC before his appointment to lead SBS.

Mr Ebeid was honoured “for significant service to the broadcast media and multicultural affairs as an executive, innovator and business leader.”

The network boss said he was “incredibly honoured” and “very humbled” to have been among so many other outstanding Australians.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work closely with Australia’s multicultural communities and across multiple business sectors, to promote and celebrate Australia’s diversity,” he said.

With a background in data and technology, Mr Ebeid has overseen significant investment in the broadcaster’s streaming service, SBS On Demand, and has backed internal innovation programs and experimental digital projects.

During Mr Ebeid’s tenure at SBS, Australia has also become a regular participant in Eurovision, one of the network’s most high-profile broadcast events.

He has also overseen the network’s acquisition of National Indigenous Television, which was relaunched as a national free-to-air channel in 2012.

Michael Ebeid (right) at the relaunch of National Indigenous Television in Uluru, Wednesday, 12 December, 2012.Wayne Quilliam/AAP

Other prominent multicultural leaders recognised included Lebanese community leader Dr Jamal Rifi, Italian community leader Giuseppe Migliorino and Jewish community leader Graham Slade.

Indigenous art dealer and local government veteran Claude Ullin and Palace Cinema founder Antonio Zeccola were also made Members of the Order of Australia for their service to multicultural Australia.


Algeria, Ghana win in Nations Cup qualifying, Egypt lose

Ghana, who have reached the semi-final stage at the last six tournaments, began in emphatic fashion with a 5-0 home victory over Ethiopia in Group F.


Captain Asamoah Gyan put them ahead after 10 minutes before John Boye and Ebenezer Ofori made it 3-0 at half-time in Kumasi. Debutant Raphael Dwamena then scored two more after the break.

Algeria looked tentative in their first competitive outing under new Spanish coach Lucas Alcaraz but edged Togo 1-0 at home thanks to Sofiane Hanni, who lobbed home in the 24th minute after being set clear by Islam Slimani.

Also in Group D, Stephane Sessegnon scored an early goal for Benin, who held on for a 1-0 win over the Gambia in Cotonou.

In Group J, Egypt went down 1-0 in Tunisia where Taha Yassine Khenissi scored the only goal just after half-time of a match that kicked off at 11 P.M. because of the Ramadan fast.

Newly appointed Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona grabbed a hat-trick as they beat Liberia 3-0 in front of a boisterous crowd in their Group G match in Harare where the attendance was swelled by a decision to cut ticket prices to only $3.

Godfrey Sserunkuma scored seven minutes from time to hand Uganda a 1-0 win away in the Cape Verde Islands in a Group L game postponed by 24 hours when their scheduled flight from Dakar was delayed for eight hours by technical problems.

The Central African Republic led Rwanda 1-0 through Junior Gourrier’s goal just after half-time and after conceding the equaliser in added time grabbed the winner through Salif Keita just before the final whistle in Group H.

The next round of qualifiers for the finals in Cameroon will be played in March. There are 12 groups from which the winner qualifies along with the three best runners-up.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Norway mass killer Breivik changes his name, says lawyer

“I can confirm that he has changed his name, it’s official,” Oystein Storrvik told AFP, confirming reports by the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG).


Asked why Breivik had decided on the name change, Storrvik said: “I do not want to disclose the content of our discussions.”

In July 2011 Breivik, disguised as a police officer, tracked and gunned down 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya, shortly after killing eight people in a bombing outside a government building in Oslo.

He has never expressed any remorse for committing the worst atrocity in Norway’s post-war history. He said he killed his victims because they embraced multiculturalism.

Anders Behring Breivik March 16, 2016. AAP

Before proceeding with the attacks, he circulated an ideological “manifesto” signed under the name Andrew Berwick.

A search in the Norwegian business register confirms that Breivik Geofarm, an agricultural firm created by Breivik to obtain fertilisers used to make a bomb, is now registered in the name of Fjotolf Hansen.

While Hansen is a very common surname in Norway, Fjotolf is rarely used, if ever. 


The now 38-year-old inmate is serving a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended indefinitely.

Breivik has complained about his isolation from other inmates for safety reasons since his arrest in 2011, and sued the Norwegian state over his prison conditions. 

His lawyer said on Thursday that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting all legal options in Norway where the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

Tunisians protest for right not to fast during Ramadan

There is no law against eating or drinking in public during Ramadan, but every year the issue comes to the fore in the North African country.


Tunisia’s constitution guarantees “freedom of belief and conscience”, but the state is also the “guardian of religion”.

Following a call by the “Mouch Bessif” (Arabic for “Not against our will”) group, protesters in central Tunis shouted that “Individual freedom is guaranteed by the constitution!”

One man openly smoking a cigarette – this is also deemed unacceptable during Ramadan daylight hours – held a placard in French that asked: “Why does it bother you if you fast and I eat?”

Demonstrators also protested against the arrest of people who were not fasting.

At the beginning of June, four men were sentenced to a month in jail for “public indecency” after eating outside during daylight.

“We’re protesting about lawsuits against non-fasters… Whoever wants to fast can fast, but whoever doesn’t want to shouldn’t have to,” demonstrator Karim Chair told AFP.

Tunisie : manifestation pour la liberté de manger en public durant le ramadan 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/I19yAkrMo8 #AFP pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/pGv8ubyapW

— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) June 11, 2017

Since the 2011 revolution there have been calls for the right not to fast, but this was the first time such a demonstration has taken place in Tunisia.

“I fast but I came to join this protest and call with these people for respect for the freedom of belief and conscience,” said another demonstrator, Kamel Jalouli.

Most cafes and restaurants in Tunisia close during the day in Ramadan, and those that open do so discreetly.

As this year’s fasting month began, a media-oriented preacher went round cafes open during the day to record footage of clients and shame them in a move that was heavily criticised on social networks.

Tunisia Protest for Right NOT to fast during Ramadhan FOR #Freedom of Religion #Secular #Tunisia #Tunisie pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/oTgZ1PmdNb

— Bochra Tunisia (@sweetlovebo) June 11, 2017

France’s Macron headed for overwhelming parliamentary majority

Projections showed Macron widening his centrist revolution, with his Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) party and its ally MoDem tipped to win between 400 and 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly in next Sunday’s second round.


Such a share would give Macron one of the biggest parliamentary majorities for 60 years.

“France is back,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declared triumphantly.

“For the past month, the president has shown confidence, willingness and daring in France and on the international stage,” Philippe said, calling the result a vindication of Macron’s “winning strategy”.

But the vote was marked by record low turnout of 49 percent, possibly reflecting fatalism among Macron’s opponents in the face of his seemingly unstoppable advance, experts said.

The right-wing Republicans – who had hoped to rebound from their humiliation in the presidential vote – were shown trailing in second with a predicted 70-130 seats while Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front (FN) was forecast to garner between one and 10 seats.

The FN’s result showed the party is struggling to rebound from Le Pen’s bruising defeat by Macron in the presidential run-off.


France’s President Emmanuel Macron shakes hand with people.AAP

The FN’s deputy leader Florian Philippot admitted to “disappointment” and called on voters to “mobilise massively” for the second round.

The worst losses, however, were for the Socialists of Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande, who are predicted to lose a staggering 200 seats.

The party’s chief Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and its failed presidential candidate Benoit Hamon both lost their seats.

Conceding that the party was facing “unprecedented” losses, Cambadelis appealed to voters to rally behind Macron’s rivals to avoid the president monopolising power.

Parliament risked having “no real oversight powers and no democratic debate worth speaking of,” he warned.

Former Republicans party leader Jean-Francois Cope said the results were “a disaster”.

“It’s the continuation of the real disaster that the presidential election was… we need to rebuild everything,” he told BFMTV.

Official final results released early Monday showed Macron’s one-year-old REM and MoDem winning 32.32 percent in the first round, ahead of the Republicans on 21.56 percent and the FN on 13.20 percent.

Few MPs were elected outright on Sunday.

If no candidate wins over 50 percent, the two top-placed contenders go into the second round — along with any other candidate who garners at least 12.5 percent of registered voters in the district.

France’s youngest-ever president at 39, Macron has gained praise for appointing a balanced cabinet that straddles the left-right divide and taking a leading role in Europe’s fight-back against US President Donald Trump on climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Macron on a “great success” Sunday.

If the seat projections are confirmed next week, he will have a strong mandate to push through the ambitious labour, economic and social reforms he promised on the campaign trail.

Trudeau and Macron’s ‘G7 bromance

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New faces

Macron, who had never held elected office before becoming president, will also have succeeded in ushering in a younger and more diverse parliament with more women and ethnic minorities.

His party fielded political novices in around 200 constituencies.

They include Marie Sara, a retired bullfighter, who went through to a runoff against FN stalwart Gilbert Collard in southern France, and star mathematician Cedric Villani.

Macron is also trying to bring in an era of cleaner politics. His government’s first bill proposes to ban lawmakers from employing family members or performing consultancy work while in office.

The measures follow the scandal that destroyed the presidential bid of Republicans candidate Francois Fillon, who has been charged over payments to his wife and two of his children for suspected fake jobs as parliamentary assistants. Fillon denies the charges.

Macron’s party has largely avoided controversy but one of his ministers who is running for re-election in Brittany, Richard Ferrand, is being probed over a property deal involving his girlfriend.

FN falls short

Forecasts show Le Pen’s party will struggle to win the 15 seats it would need to form a parliamentary group and help shape the assembly’s agenda.

The radical-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party of Jean-Luc Melenchon who finished fourth in the presidential race also fell short of expectations. His camp was tipped to only take 10-23 seats. 

Macron has urged voters to back his reform proposals including an overhaul of the rigid rules governing the job market, blamed by many economists for holding back growth.