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A 3-Year Study Finds 16 Child Sex Abuse Networks In Victorian Catholic Church

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A research project conducted for three years in Victoria looked into the paedophile Catholic clerics and was able to identify 16 child abuse rings which have worked for over six decades involving around 99 priests and Christian Brothers. The research further revealed how the reinforcement by church hierarchy facilitated the series of abuse. This included five successive archbishops of Melbourne from Daniel Mannix who was appointed in 1917 to George Pell in 2001.

Sally Muytjens who was the researcher spent more than three years in Victorian dioceses investigating the dark networks of paedophile clergy and her research was published last year after which she received a doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology. Her research uncovered the largest, as well as the most active dark networks, were at schools and orphanages like St Alipius in Ballarat and Salesian College in Rupertswood, St Vincent de Paul’s in South Melbourne and St. Augustine’s in Geelong.

Muytjens used a research method called social network analysis is her thesis which helped reveal hidden patterns and ties between members of groups and provide insights into how these rings operate. SNA was used in the research to identify connections between clergy perpetrators and specific locations in Victoria from 1939 to 2000 which revealed a pervasive “sexual underworld” as she mentioned could destroy Victorian dioceses.

The findings of the study further revealed the former Christian Brother Edward “Ted” Dowlan as the worst convicted offenders and Paedophile who was active in five out of 16 dark networks she identified. Along with that her study also uncovered a Christian Brother named Rex Francis Elmer who was found to be a member of two paedophile networks. Last week, the Sunday Age revealed that Elmer taught at Catholic schools in Victoria and Africa for several decades after his order knew about his allegations of abuse f children at a Melbourne orphanage.

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Australia

Red Cross Under Scanner For Withholding Two-Thirds Of Bushfire Donations

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According to the statement by Australian Red Cross representative to the Australian Broadcasting Company(ABC), the Australian Red Cross has been accused by few Australian politicians of holding back funds that were meant to be used for bushfires. Only AUD 30 million was donated to their Disaster Relief and Recovery fund for Australian bushfires out of the AUD 115 million that was allocated for immediate distribution to victims, as of January 22. Plus it might take another 3 years for few victims to receive funds.

The spokesperson also alleged that the funds might have been used elsewhere for other disasters. Politicians also accused St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army for drip-feeding donations to bushfire victims. By January 22nd, St. Vincent de Paul reported to ABC that they established the fund in November for bushfires and were able to raise around AUD 12.5 million. Further, they distributed AUD 1.1 million as financial packages sent to qualifying households, $43 million donated and $11 million distributed.

New South Wales’ Transport Minister Andrew Constance who is also a victim of bushfires and lost his home in the fire was angry when the Red Cross publicly mentioned that only a third of the total donations would be spent. He claims that the money is needed now and not after three years when they sit in Red Cross bank accounts and earn interest for Red Cross marketing. He even challenged the heads of all the three charities to meet him on Saturday so that he can drive them to Batemans Bay which is a scene of the disaster.

Till now, St. Vincent de Paul’s CEOs in New South Wales and Canberra have accepted Constance’s challenge. The director of Red Cross Australia Noel Clement said in an interview with 2GB Radio say that the Rec Cross had tried to reach Constance but were unable to.

On the other hand, the Australian Red Cross had denied all such accusation in their tweets on Tuesday saying that the workers have been working in 110 relief centres with around 61k registered people and also paid 700 emergency grants were paid. They also said that everyday funds worth AUD 1 million are been given to people who are in need.

Clement further breaks down the Red Cross’ spending than AUD 30 million would be distributed for immediate assistance plus another AUD 18 million would be distributed to affected communities in the next three years. There will be another AUD 5 million extra spending on-ground support teams and AUD 1 million would be distributed to grieving family members as bereavement payments. Anything left or added would be sent to immediate or long term support. Only 10 per cent of the total would be spent on administrative costs.

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Australian Bushfires Revealed Ancient Aquatic System

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After the bushfires have burned away thick vegetation in the state of Victoria revealed extensive water channels built by indigenous Australians thousands of years ago to trap and harvest eels for food. These channels are considered to be older than pyramids.

According to UNESCO, the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape that includes channels, weirs and dams built from volcanic rocks is currently the most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems. Though archaeologists knew about the existence of this aquatic system it was added to UNESCO World Heritage List last July as newer sections were exposed as the fires ripped through the state in December.

According to CNN reports, Denis Rose the representative of Gunditjmara and the project manager at Gunditj Mirroring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, which is a non-profit group, said that it was bigger than what was recorded in previous reports. When they returned to the areas they found the channel hidden in the grass and other vegetation. It was around 25 metres(82 feet) long which was fairly large. He further said that surprisingly the fire revealed new structures were visible in the burnt landscape that resembled channels and ponds.

The Aboriginal Corporation’s website says that this aquaculture system in Budj Bim National Park was built by the indigenous population. They used freely available volcanic rocks from a volcano in the area that is now dormant. According to UNESCO people who lived in Gundijmara used this system to modify and redirect waterways that would help them maximize aquaculture yields. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is an exceptional proof of knowledge, traditions, ingenuity and practices of the Guditjmara.

Mark Mellington the district manager of Forest Fire Management Victoria said that in late December, the fire near the national park was caused by a lightning strike which then spread to some 7.90 square kilometres (790 hectares) in size. The firefighters took extra precautions with local groups to identify world heritage sites and use low impact techniques rather than heavy machinery to put out the fires.

According to the Victorian State government before European settlement, Gunditjmara was one of the several indigenous groups that resided in the southern parts of Victoria. Their population was high in the 1800s but decreased after Europeans arrived.

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$11,000 Fine If Australian Drivers Caught Tossing Lit Cigarettes

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In wake of bushfires, a penalty that comes as officials try to handle bushfires said that Australian drivers can now be fined up to $11,000 if they are caught tossing lit cigarettes out of their automobiles.

On Friday, this penalty for throwing lit cigarettes out of vehicles took effect in New South Wales which is a southeastern Australian state that faced severe impacts due to the bushfires. The fines up to $11,000 will be exercised when the officials in the state declare a complete ban on fire which happens in cases of extreme weather and bans people from lighting fire in public by suspending fire permits.

Penalized drivers will also face up 10 demerit points for committing this offence. This is the first time this type of infraction has a demerit point penalty being enforced. This penalty is not only for drivers but also for car passengers. Passengers who throw a lit cigarette out of the vehicle during this ban would face fined up to $1,320. In fact, during times the fire ban is not in place, both drivers and passengers could also receive certain lesser penalties for throwing lit cigarettes out of their cars.

In a press release by the government of The New South Wales said that last year, more than 200 people were caught throwing lit cigarettes out of their vehicles. According to President of New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association, Brian McDonough, this reckless behaviour of people has put the life and safety of firefighting volunteers at risk. He even hopes that this move would further make people think carefully about the future consequences of their actions next time they think of going to discard a lit cigarette.

At the beginning of this month, officials declared a new state emergency in states like New South Wales and Victoria as the bushfires raged in the states. Around 15 million acres of land was destroyed throughout the country. According to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s tweet, there are still 69 fires burning in New South Wales as of Saturday out of which 19 of those fires are yet to be contained. According to CNN, more than 3,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in New South Wales and amid the spike in fires around 28 people have perished nationwide.

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Australian teenager smashes egg on senator who blamed muslim immigrants for New Zealand mosque attacks

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Australian teenager smashes egg on senator who blamed muslim immigrants for New Zealand mosque attacks

An anti-immigration senator, Fraser Anning, who has been criticized for his comments on New-Zealand shooting was smashed with an egg by 17-year old teenager in Australian city of Melbourne on Saturday.

Facebook footage of the incident shows Mr Anning talking to reporters while teenager smashes the egg from behind, the furious senator swiftly turns punching the boy twice in the face. Supporters present at the event held the boy down until police intervened. He was only left when mediapersons tried to interfere. The supporters are heard saying clearing out the media in wake of the situation.

Later police said it took 17-year old boy, identified as William Connolly, in custody but left him without filing a case. Politicians and social media continued with criticizing senator for his outrageous comments and accused him of supporting white-supremacy.
In a statement Mr. Anning clearly blamed muslims saying, “only this time they’re the victims, most of the time they’re the perpetrators” In the immediate wake of attck his Twitter he blamed immigration policies allowing muslim fanatics to enter New Zealand was the cause for the attack.

Leaders including Australian and New Zealand prime ministers criticized Australian far-right leader calling out his remarks on attacks. “These comments are appalling and they’re ugly and they have no place in Australia” said Scott Morrison according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). “They were a disgrace” said Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand.

The Australian senator was in controversy last summer when he invoked Nazi euphemism for genocide and termed it as final solution to immigration problem and to stop all muslims entering Australia.
A GoFundMe page was started online for ‘egg boy’ which immediately crossed $40k funding for paying off his legal fees and also to buy “more eggs”. The teenager’s Twitter account appeared to be suspended multiple times for unclear reasons. In a tweet William advised his followers to not egg politicians as he learnt the hard way by physically being held down by bunch of supporters.

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