Chief Correspondent, Sydney
Michael's Feed
Nov 24, 2011

“Pokies” roll the political dice for Australian PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – They are a silent army, formed in ranks inside clubs and hotels around Australia, desperately battling slot machines in the hope of winning an elusive jackpot.

Australia has 197,000 slot machines, called “pokies,” the highest number of machines per head in the world. Slot machines feed 62 percent of the A$19 billion-plus annual gaming sector.

Nov 17, 2011

Obama says Myanmar needs to do more on human rights

CANBERRA (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday Myanmar had opened a dialogue on reform but needed to do more to improve human rights, in his first remarks about the authoritarian regime after the Southeast Asian nation released political prisoners.

A senior Myanmar Home Ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday that the new civilian government was ready to release more political prisoners, a further sign that genuine reform could be underway after five decades of harsh military rule.

Oct 29, 2011

Commonwealth leaders fail to support rights commissioner

PERTH, Australia, Oct 29 (Reuters) – A Commonwealth leaders
summit on Saturday failed to agree to appoint a human rights
commissioner, despite Australia, Britain and Canada backing the
move seen by rights advocates as vital for the 54-nation group
to remain credible.

Leaders of the mostly former British colonies are meeting in
the remote Australian city of Perth under pressure to reform and
toughen measures against human rights abuses in member states.

Oct 29, 2011

Commonwealth leaders told summit risks being a failure

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Commonwealth leaders were told on Saturday that their summit risked being labeled a failure if they ignored proposals to adopt “meaningful” reforms, including taking a much tougher stand on human rights abuses.

Leaders of the 54 mostly former British colonies are meeting in the remote Australian city of Perth, under pressure to reform the body to avoid it sliding into irrelevance.

Oct 28, 2011

Commonwealth leaders agree to be more proactive on human rights

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Leaders of the Commonwealth group of mostly former British colonies Friday took tentative steps to tighten up on human rights abuses by members, but have still to address tougher measures some warn the group must take to remain relevant.

Britain’s 85-year-old Queen Elizabeth opened the meeting of leaders of the 54 states of the Commonwealth, home to a third of the world’s population and five of the G20 leading economies but struggling to make much impact on global policies.

Oct 28, 2011

Commonwealth summit starts, dogged by questions over its relevance

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Leaders of the Commonwealth group of mostly former British colonies met on Friday for a three-day summit under pressure to get tougher on human rights abuses by members or risk losing its purpose as a group.

Britain’s 85-year-old Queen Elizabeth opened the meeting of leaders of the 54 states of the Commonwealth, home to 30 percent of the world’s population and five of the G20 leading economies but struggling to make an impact on global policies.

Oct 28, 2011

Commonwealth summit dogged by questions over its relevance

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Leaders of the Commonwealth group of mostly former British colonies met on Friday for a three-day summit under pressure to get tougher on human rights abuses by members or risk losing its purpose as a group.

The 85-year-old Queen Elizabeth opened the meeting of leaders of the 54 states of the Commonwealth, home to 30 percent of the world’s population and five of the G20 leading economies but struggling to make an impact on global policies.

Oct 27, 2011

Commonwealth ministers stumble over human rights

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Commonwealth foreign ministers meeting on Thursday were split over how tough to get on human rights abuses in member countries, an issue which one official said their leaders were unlikely to resolve at a summit later in the week.

A confidential report ahead of Friday’s summit on the west Australian city of Perth has already warned leaders of the 54-member group of mostly former British colonies that unless they deal with the issue, the Commonwealth could become irrelevant.

Oct 26, 2011

Commonwealth seeks to avoid slide into irrelevance

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – A proposal to appoint a Commonwealth human rights commissioner to steer a more proactive rights agenda looks set to test a summit this week as the 54 member nations try to make more of a mark in world affairs.

Sri Lanka, at war with Tamil Tiger rebels for a quarter of a century, rejects outside interference in its human rights affairs, which are set to divide the summit starting on Friday.

Oct 26, 2011

Human rights to test Commonwealth leaders

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – A proposal to appoint a Commonwealth human rights commissioner to steer a more proactive rights agenda looks set to test a leaders’ summit this week, with host Australia backing the plan but India and South Africa reported to oppose it.

Sri Lanka also rejects outside interference in its human rights issues, which are set to divide the summit starting on Friday. U.N. and human rights groups call for an independent inquiry into allegations of war crimes during its war with Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in 2009.