TIME indonesia

Indonesian Media Says 8 Foreign Drug Smugglers Executed

PHILIPPINES-INDONESIA-CRIME-DRUGS-EXECUTION
Ted Aljibe—AFP/Getty Images Activists hold candles and placards with portraits of Mary Jane Veloso in front of the Indonesian embassy in Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2015.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rejected clemency appeals

Eight drug convicts, all foreigners, were reportedly executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Wednesday, after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rejected pleas from foreign governments and thousands of his own citizens to halt the executions.

The inmates, four Nigerians, two Australians, one Brazilian and one Indonesian, were killed on the Nusakambangan prison island early Wednesday, the Jakarta Post reports. But another condemned prisoner, Filipina domestic helper Mary Jane Veloso, was spared at least temporarily after new evidence came to light confirming her claim she was tricked into smuggling drugs.

The executed inmates included Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Australians who were part of the Bali Nine drug-smuggling group. Their former lawyer, Mohammad Irfan, has alleged to the Sydney Morning Herald that judges asked for more than $77,000 in bribes to give the pair a lighter sentence, and he also accuses Jakarta of political interference — once again putting a spotlight on Indonesia’s judicial system, which is largely seen as corrupt.

A Frenchman, Serge Atlaoui, was earlier given a temporary reprieve pending a legal appeal, which was granted after French President François Hollande warned: “If he is executed, there will be consequences with France and Europe.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (and former East Timorese President) José Ramos-Horta, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, British tycoon and adventurer Richard Branson and iconic hard-rock guitarist Tony Iommi were among the chorus of foreign leaders, fellow celebrities, local and overseas activists and ordinary people asking that the convicts’ lives be spared.

Families of the condemned came to Nusakambangan to spend the last hours with their loved ones, as police and military stepped up security there and in Cilacap. Chan, who was ordained as minister in the decade he spent at a Bali prison, asked to go to church with his family during his last days, said his brother Michael. As his last wish, Sukumaran, who began painting while incarcerated in Bali, has asked “to paint as long and as much as possible,” his brother Chinthu said. One of his latest self-portraits shown to journalists depicts a harrowing image of the artist shot through the heart.

Read next: Inside Indonesia’s Islamic Boarding School for Transgender People

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME indonesia

The Execution of Several Foreigners in Indonesia Appears Imminent

President Joko Widodo has said he will not interfere

Correction appended, April 24

In a sign that it may be preparing to put 10 mostly foreign drug offenders to death, Indonesia has asked foreign diplomats to travel Saturday to visit the maximum-security prison on the island of Nusakambangan where the inmates are being held.

According to Reuters, the legally required 72-hour notice has not been announced but a diplomat the news agency spoke with on condition of anonymity said, “We still don’t know when the actual date of the execution will happen but we expect that it will be in days.”

On Tuesday, through the state-owned news agency Antara, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the executions were “only awaiting the conclusion of all procedures and the legal process, which I will not interfere in. It is only a matter of time.”

The condemned include Australian, Brazilian, French and Nigerian nationals, as well as a Filipina maid named Mary Jane Veloso who has sparked a social-media campaign for clemency.

Also set to be executed are the two Australian ringleaders of the Bali Nine drug-smuggling group, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Repeated appeals to spare their lives have been made by the Australian government and the case has created tensions between the two countries. France also blasted the Indonesian legal system on Thursday.

According to David McRae, a senior research fellow at the Asia Institute in the University of Melbourne, who wrote an analysis paper on the subject in 2012, Jakarta is torn between domestic and international considerations. “One [stream of thought] relishes the opportunity for the government to present itself as firm in the face of international pressure,” he tells TIME. “But I think there are others who are concerned at the prospect of Indonesia’s relations with various of its important international partners becoming mired in needless rancor.”

Indonesia has severe punishments for drug offenses and has once again started implementing the death penalty after a five-year stoppage.

[Reuters]

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described the drug offenders. Nine are foreigners and one is Indonesian.

TIME Australia

Australia’s Immigration Minister Has Been Accused of ‘Torturing’ a Refugee Girl

Keeping the child in detention is tantamount to torture, legislator argues

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been accused of mentally torturing a 5-year-old girl by keeping her in a detention center for asylum seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru.

The child has been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of her experiences in detention and has reportedly begun showing sexualized behavior, according to a Save the Children report cited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Currently, the girl is being held with her parents in Darwin, where her father is receiving medical treatment, but she will be moved back to Nauru once her father recovers.

“The minister is torturing this little child and I don’t use those words lightly,” Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, a lawmaker for the Green Party, wrote to the minister. “We know that the detention has caused these issues for her. Her mental health has deteriorated.”

Some 900 asylum seekers live in squalid conditions in detention on the island nation of Nauru, where they wait for their claims of asylum to be processed. Reports of physical and sexual abuse are common among the women and children housed there.

In a reply, Dutton called Hanson-Young’s remarks “repugnant” and claimed that “1,200 people died at sea while the Greens were in government with Labor.”

Lawyer John Lawrence is planning action in the Federal Court on behalf of the family to prevent them from being sent back to Nauru.

[ABC]

TIME Australia

Cruise Passengers Stranded at Sea for a Day Amid Storms

AUSTRALIA-WEATHER
Peter Parks—AFP/Getty Images The cruise ship Carnival Spirit is seen docked in Sydney Harbour after monster seas abated enough for the ship that had been stuck on the open ocean outside Sydney Harbour for two days to finally dock to the huge relief of the 2,500 passengers on board on April 22, 2015.

The Carnival Spirit finally made it back to shore in Australia early Wednesday

Thousands of weary passengers stranded at sea for more than 24-hours as 30-foot waves blocked their cruise ship from docking finally made it back to shore early Wednesday in Australia.

The Carnival Spirit — with 2,500 passengers and 1,500 crew aboard — was forced to remain out at sea as a massive storm pummeled Australia’s coastline and shut down Sydney Harbor.

“Upstairs on the main deck a lot of the glass had actually been pushed out and smashed all over the place, chairs just turned like lollipops, it was just crazy,” passenger Ernie Pittana said.

“It was horrific,” passenger Rachel Browne told…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME trends

Here’s a Fascinating Breakdown of Emoji Use by Country

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: beer, costumes and, somewhere, a result
Stringer—AP Fans wearing emoji masks watch a rugby match of the Hong Kong Seven in Hong Kong on March 28, 2015

Did somebody say "national stereotypes"?

The French are serious and romantic while Australians are all about partying according to a survey on emoji use worldwide.

In a new report published on Tuesday, British app developer SwiftKey drew some conclusions after analyzing over 1 billion pieces of emoji data taken from communications made in 16 different languages.

According to their findings, Canadians scored highest in categories associated with violence and money, loving the gun and cash emoji more than other nationalities.

Down under, Australians surprised few by embracing icons suggestive of alcohol and drugs, using those symbols are least twice as frequently as the global average.

France was the only country the smiley-faced icon was not the most used emoji. However, French speakers did use the heart emoji with greater frequency than anybody else.

No clear traits emerged for the U.S., but the report said Americans “lead for a random assortment of emoji … including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat and female-oriented emoji.”

Check out the full report here.

Read next: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s New Emoji Feature

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TIME Australia

3 People Have Died in a Powerful Storm Battering Eastern Australia

Cyclone-force winds and flash floods have left 215,000 homes without power

Three people have died in the Australian state of New South Wales as a storm with wind speeds of up to 85 m.p.h. continues to batter the country’s east coast.

Police are investigating how the two men and one woman perished, but reports suggest they were trapped in their house in the town of Dungog, north of Sydney, by a flash flood, reports the BBC.

Footage from YouTube user benmillington18 appears to show entire houses in Dungog, which experienced 312 mm of rain in just 24 hours, being swept away by the floodwater.

Some 215,000 homes in Sydney and across New South Wales have been left without power, and there are reports of damage to lines throughout the network. State-owned electricity supplier Ausgrid say it could take “several days” to repair.

The State Emergency Service said it has received more than 4,500 calls for help and teams have completed 47 flood rescues since the storm hit Monday morning.

An elderly woman in the town of Stroud is in critical condition after being rescued from the floodwaters. People have also been reportedly trapped in cars and stuck on rooftops.

A severe-weather warning remains in place for destructive winds, heavy rain and dangerous surf in Metropolitan, Hunter and Illawarra districts especially.

[BBC]

TIME Australia

5 Australian Teens Arrested in ISIS-Inspired Anzac Day Plot

Five arrested over ANZAC Day terrorism plot in Australia
Karen Sweeney—EPA Australian Federal Police acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Guaghan (L) and Victoria Police acting Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton during a press conference on the arrest of five teenagers during counter terrorism raids in Melbourne, 18 April 2015.

"There was reference to an attack on police"

(SYDNEY)—Five Australian teenagers were arrested Saturday on suspicion of plotting an Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria-inspired terrorist attack at a Veterans’ Day ceremony that included targeting police officers, officials said.

The suspects included two 18-year-olds who are alleged to have been preparing an attack at the ANZAC Day ceremony in Melbourne later this month, Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters.

Another 18-year-old was arrested on weapons charges, and two other men, aged 18 and 19, were in custody and assisting police. All the arrests took place in Melbourne.

ANZAC Day is the annual April 25 commemoration of the 1915 Gallipoli landings — the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I.

Police said they believe the plot was inspired by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and was to have involved “edged weapons.”

“At this stage, we have no information that it was a planned beheading. But there was reference to an attack on police,” Gaughan said. “Some evidence that we have collected at a couple of the scenes, and some other information we have, leads us to believe that this particular matter was ISIS-inspired.”

Australia’s government has raised the country’s terror warning level in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group. In September last year, the group’s spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani issued a message urging attacks abroad, specifically mentioning Australia.

Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said at a separate news conference that the teens had links to Numan Haider, an 18-year-old who stabbed two Melbourne police officers and was subsequently shot dead in September. Haider had caught authorities’ attention months earlier over what police considered troubling behavior, including waving what appeared to be an Islamic State group flag at a shopping mall.

Phelan said the teens arrested Saturday were on officials’ radar for months, but the investigation was ramped up when it appeared they were planning a specific attack.

“This is a new paradigm for police,” Phelan said. “These types of attacks that are planned are very rudimentary and simple. … All you need these days is a knife, a flag and a camera and one can commit a terrorist act.”

One of the teens, Sevdet Besim, appeared briefly in court Saturday on a charge of preparing for, or planning, a terrorist act. He did not apply for bail and was ordered to reappear in court next week.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned that the terrorism threat in Australia has escalated, with one-third of all terrorism-related arrests since 2001 occurring in the last six months. At least 110 Australians have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside extremists, and the nation’s security agency is juggling more than 400 high-priority counterterrorism investigations — more than double the number a year ago.

In February, two men were charged with planning to launch an imminent, Islamic State group-inspired terrorist attack after authorities said they appeared on a video threatening to stab the kidneys and necks of their victims. In September, a man arrested during a series of counterterrorism raids was charged with conspiring with an Islamic State group leader in Syria to behead a random person in Sydney.

In December, Man Monis, an Iranian-born, self-styled cleric with a long criminal history, took 18 people hostage inside a Sydney cafe, forced them to hold up a flag bearing the Islamic declaration of faith and demanded he be delivered a flag of the Islamic State group. Monis and two hostages were killed.

Abbott said the latest alleged plot was at an advanced stage of planning, prompting police to swoop in. Still, he urged the public to participate in ANZAC Day events as usual.

“The best sign of defiance we can give to those who would do us harm is to go about a normal, peaceful, free and fair Australian life,” he said. “And I say to everyone who is thinking of going to an ANZAC Day event, please don’t be deterred. Turn up in the largest possible numbers to support our country.”

TIME Aviation

Why We Should Stop Looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

A man walks past graffiti depicting flight MH370 on the one year anniversary of its disappearance in Kuala Lumpur
Olivia Harris—Reuters A man walks past graffiti depicting the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 on the one year anniversary of its disappearance in Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2015

One aviation expert tells TIME that resources would be better spent elsewhere

On Thursday, officials announced that the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 would be doubled to 120,000 sq km (46,000 sq. mi.) if the errant aircraft is not discovered in the southern Indian Ocean by May.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters that he was “committed to the search,” while his Australian counterpart Warren Truss said, “We are confident we are searching in the right area.” (Australia is coordinating efforts as the nearest nation to the presume crash site.)

However, it has been over 13 months since the Boeing 777 vanished on March 8 last year soon after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people on board. The subsequent search operation is by far the most expensive ever attempted, already costing Australia and Malaysia over $90 million, yet not a scrap of debris has been found.

Extending the search is thought to entail spending an additional $40 million.

Jason Middleton, an aviation professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, tells TIME that it is hard to justify expanded efforts.

“I’m not in the position of being one of the relatives, and I deeply sympathize with their situation,” he stressed. “However, once the areas of highest priority have been searched there are diminishing returns when increasing the area.

“This means there’s a huge amount of money being spent, and if you’re looking at saving lives through improving future safety outcomes, then the money is arguably much better spent in a whole variety of other areas rather than just ‘mowing the lawn’ in the ocean trying to find something.”

For families of passengers, two-thirds of whom were Chinese, finding out what happened to their loved ones is naturally of paramount importance. But there is also a feeling that their loss will not have been in vain if the safety of future flights can be improved.

“It’s necessary to find the plane, not only for the lives that have been lost, but also for the safety of future passengers and crews,” Jennifer Chong, whose husband Chong Ling Tan was on board MH370, tells TIME. “The money will not be wasted.”

Jennifer Chong says she hopes that officials will also consider going back to the drawing board and consider other theories that suggest the plane might have gone down somewhere other than the current search site.

“We do hope that they will explore other areas,” says Chong.

Middleton is of the opinion that “this was most probably some kind of suicide [similar to Germanwings].” He explains that “it’s very unlikely it was a totally mechanical set of failures. We’ll never know what’s behind the brain of the person who caused the crash, so in terms of ongoing safety ramifications, the search seems likely to yield very little.”

The sudden decision to increase the search also seems curious, given that officials had earlier dropped hints about scaling back efforts. Despite Truss’s “confidence” on Thursday, only last month he conceded, “We clearly cannot keep searching forever,” amid rumors that the operation was to be called off within weeks.

“It’s been highly politicized from the start, as seen by the dribbling of information from the Malaysian government,” says Middleton. “Had the correct information been released earlier, it might well have resulted in a much smaller search area, as the question of whether the aircraft flew low or high early on has an impact on fuel consumption, hence how far the airplane may have been able to fly into the southern [Indian] Ocean.”

Compounding matters, the current search area is based almost entirely on satellite-data analysis from British telecommunications firm Inmarsat. This tracked a series of maintenance pings using groundbreaking analysis techniques as MH370’s own secondary radar was disabled in the cockpit. However, corroborating the Inmarsat data is impossible, meaning the search could be taking place in entirely the wrong place.

“The total lack of debris is a puzzle,” says Middleton. “And the Inmarsat information cannot be tested by intelligent and capable people because they do not have access to the proprietary information from Inmarsat.”

He adds: “The Inmarsat stuff is untestable. And although I’m not suggesting they’ve done anything improper, the search area relies very much on their calculations, and if they have made errors, we are not able to replicate their calculations. And there’s a chance they’ve stuffed up and the plane is not there at all.”

With reporting by David Stout / Hong Kong

TIME Australia

Aussie Supermarket Chain Tries to Brand War Memories, Upsets Everyone

Maybe leave death and suffering out of future marketing plans

Australian supermarket giant Woolworths pulled a controversial Anzac Day campaign Tuesday evening after it drew sharp criticism and ended up being hijacked by social-media satirists.

Woolworths created a website that allowed people to upload images of people affected by war and attach the phrase “Lest We Forget, Anzac 1915–2015.” This was accompanied by the slogan “Fresh in Our Memories” and the Woolworths logo.

The use of the word fresh was none-too-subtle branding. Woolworths brands itself the Fresh Food People, and its regular consumer magazine is called Fresh.

For Australians, the ham-fisted marketing was too much, and Woolworths became the target of public backlash, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“We regret that our branding on the picture generator has caused offense, this was clearly never our intention. Like many heritage Australian companies, we were marking our respect for Anzac and our veterans,” a Woolworths spokesperson tells TIME.

The slogan was predictably hijacked by social media with the hashtag #FreshInOurMemories going viral and netizens contributing mocking posts.

Anzac Day is celebrated on April 25 in Australia and New Zealand and honors soldiers who died serving in the military. The remembrance day was created to recognize the sacrifices made during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I, which began on April 25, 1915. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the infamous battle.

TIME Australia

Australia to Deploy 300 Additional Troops to Iraq

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the mission would be operational in May for two years, subject to reviews

(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — Australia’s government said Tuesday it had completed preparations to send about 300 additional troops to Iraq and would deploy them over the coming weeks.

The troops will work alongside about 100 New Zealand troops at the Taji base north of Baghdad. Australia’s government said the combined force isn’t being deployed in a combat role but rather to train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The troops are part of an international coalition effort to defeat the group, which is also known as ISIS and Daesh.

Australia already has 170 special forces troops in Baghdad advising and assisting Iraqi security forces. Another 400 Australian air force personnel are supporting air strikes against ISIS targets from a base outside Dubai.

New Zealand’s deployment will represent its first in the current conflict.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said in a statement the mission would be operational in May and was committed to two years with regular reviews.

“The mission of the Australian and New Zealand trainers will be to help the Iraqi government to prepare sufficient forces to maintain the momentum of the counter-attack against ISIS, or Daesh, and regain control of its territory,” Abbott and Andrews said.

The New Zealand Defence Force last week said about 120 of its troops had left for a three-day training camp in Australia prior to being deployed to Iraq.

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said Tuesday that the mission was on track to be operational toward the end of May but he wouldn’t be providing further details of when troops would travel to Iraq for security reasons.

Brownlee said a total of 143 New Zealand military personnel would be deployed, including some who would be based at the coalition headquarters or other facilities in the region.

Australia said it would also be deploying an additional 20 military personnel to roles at the coalition headquarters.

“This marks the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the international coalition effort to assist the Iraqi government to disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat the Daesh death cult,” said Abbott and Andrews.

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