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Deported Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers Speak of Mistreatment by Australian Authorities

Thirty seven Sinhalese and four Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka sailed in a boat towards Australia and were intercepted west of the Cocos Island late last month by Australian authorities. They were returned to Sri Lanka, their point of origin, and they appeared in a court in the country's southwest yesterday.

Journalist Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai reports that the Sri Lankan deportees claimed that they were mistreated. He also tweeted (@DushiYanthini) photos and news from the ground:

Citizen journalism site Groundviews also commented:

East Timorese Protect Land Rights Against Australian Cement Plant Deal

The announcement of a new cement plant project by an Australian company in Baucau, northeast of East Timor, has led local community groups to set up a non-governmental organization “to protect and preserve the communities’ rights to their culture, development and traditional land rights.”

According to the community organization, Kapeliwa, the government of East Timor gave the largest construction company in Western Australia, BGC, permission to construct [tet] a cement plant with the annual capacity of 1.5 million tons in Baucau, as well as a license to extract limestone for 100 years. The construction project was awarded to the South Korean company POSCO E&C, from East Timor’s TL Cement (“a special purpose corporation wholly owned by BGC”), in December 2013.

Kapeliwa was publicly launched on April 19, 2014, by a group of intellectuals from Kaisido, Parlamento, Lialailesu and Osowa - four villages located in the northeast coast of Timor-Leste, Baucau district. The four villages, situated near the airport of the country's second city, are part of the administrative area of Suco Tirilolo, where the minority ethno-lingusitic community Uaima'a live.

In the first public meeting with the community members and leaders of the four villages, the group's founders presented the ”potential positive and negative impact of the proposed cement factory in and on Uaima'a land known as Kaisido.” The group claims that there is lack of information about this project and that there hasn't been a proper viability study for the development.

Australia's #MarchInMarch Street Party Protests

Prolific tweeter @geeksrulz reports on the No Fibs citizen journalist website about Melbourne's part in the nationwide marches against the Australian government: Melbourne #MarchInMarch Street Party Protest

A grassroots movement that started on Twitter managed to get tens of thousands of people onto the streets away from their keyboards. That is an achievement in and of itself!

Australian Journalist Peter Greste Caught in Egypt's Media Crackdown

Writing in Working Life, Andrew Casey highlights the risks to media freedom in Egypt as international journalists and other media workers face terrorism charges. Among them is Australian Peter Greste, an Al Jazeera journalist.

A Papuan Woman's Love Letter to an Indonesian Soldier

Photo from Papuan Voices

Photo from Papuan Voices

EngageMedia has uploaded a video about a Papuan woman's love letter to an Indonesian soldier who was once stationed in the border patrol unit in a village near Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The video also highlighted the sexual assaults allegedly committed by some Indonesian soldiers in the border. The video is available with subtitles at Amara.

Protecting Journalists’ Sources: Don't Take Your Smart Phone

Mark Pearson of Journlaw.com interviews Cameron Stewart, National security reporter and associate editor at The Australian newspaper. They discuss the challenges facing investigative journalists in the era of technological surveillance. Among other gems of advice: leave your smartphones back at your office when you are meeting confidential sources. More at: Journalists revert to age-old methods to protect sources, says @camstewarttheoz

AC/DC Call It a Night After 41 Years

Daryl Mason pays tribute at The Ostrahyun blog to iconic rock band AC/DC following reports that they will retire after 41 years.

More than a month ago, founding member, rhythm guitarist, co-producer and co-songwriter Malcolm Young had a stroke, which left a blood clot on his brain.

Confirmation may come at a media conference on Wednesday 16 April 2014. Fans can follow developments at the #acdcretire hashtag on twitter.

Seeking Asylum in Australia Is ‘Getting Real Ugly’

Gary Sauer-Thompson pulls no punches in his assessment of the latest crisis at Papua New Guinea's Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre. It is part of the so-called Pacific Solution. In a post for his blog Public Opinion, it's getting real ugly, he calls it a

concentration camp… designed to be cruel and that asylum seekers are going to suffer. The Conservative base [in Australia] demands that the asylum seekers live a bare life–a life exposed to death.

Young Romanian Builds First Car Entirely Made of LEGO Blocks

20-year-old Raul Oaida from Romania has built what many dreamed of as children – the world’s first life-size LEGO car. The car, including the engine which actually runs, was built using 500,000 LEGO pieces. The vehicle can only achieve a speed of some 20 to 30 kilometers per hour, but – it runs on air!

The young Romanian, a self-taught tech genius, paired up online with Australian entrepreneur Steve Sammartino, who procured the funds for this project on Twitter and got twice as many investors as needed in just days. The car was built in Romania and then transported to Australia, where the two unlikely partners met for a test drive.

The engine of the car is also entirely made of LEGO. It has “four orbital engines and a total of 256 pistons.” According to the project website, the top speed isn’t very impressive, around 20 to 30 km. “We were scared of a Lego explosion so we drove it slowly,” the founders wrote. Steve and Oaida say that the project was possible only because of the internet. The two even met online, when Steve accepted Oaida’s Skype request. “I’m teaching him about business and he’s teaching me a bit about physics,” Steve told the press.

PHOTOS: Cyclone Ian Devastates Tonga

Impact of cyclone Ian in Tonga. Photo from Oxfam New Zealand.

Impact of cyclone Ian in Tonga. Photo from Oxfam New Zealand.

Online news site NZ Kaniva Pacific presents graphic images of the devastation caused by cyclone Ian in Tonga on 11 January 2014: In pictures: Cyclone Ian aftermath. Oxfam New Zealand has details and links for those wishing to make donations.

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