Chief Correspondent, Sydney
Michael's Feed
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.

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.

Oct 25, 2011

Commonwealth small island states call for climate action

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – African, Caribbean and South Pacific states on Tuesday said big greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States were dragging their feet on tackling climate change and urged a Commonwealth leaders summit this week to call for urgent action at global climate talks in November.

“The scientific evidence available to us says we ought to act now,” said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi after a meeting of 48 small island and developing nations in Perth.

Oct 25, 2011

Australia mounts pressure on Sri Lanka over war crimes

PERTH (Reuters) – Australia joined Canada on Tuesday calling for Sri Lanka to address allegations of human rights abuses during its war against Tamil Tiger separatists, adding pressure on President Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of a Commonwealth leaders summit.

A Sri Lankan-born Australian also filed court papers seeking war crime charges against Rajapaksa, who is due to arrive in Perth for the summit on Tuesday, although the government said it would not agree to the request, citing diplomatic immunity.

Oct 24, 2011

Sri Lankan Tamils press for justice

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Meena Krishnamurthy still remembers the coloured slippers littered in the dirt around a bombed-out orphanage in Sri Lanka and a legless teenage girl unable to leave her dirt bunker, begging for a drink of nearby contaminated water.

Then there were the bodies, too many to count, including her own stillborn baby which she was forced to bury in a bucket before hastily retreating as Sri Lankan troops advanced.

Oct 14, 2011

New iPhone on sale, fans buy in tribute to Jobs

SYDNEY/TOKYO, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Apple Inc’s new
iPhone went on sale in stores across the globe on Friday, with
fans snapping up the final gadget unveiled during Steve Jobs’
lifetime, many buying the phone as a tribute to the former Apple
boss.

Hundreds queued around city blocks in Sydney and Tokyo to
get their hands on the iPhone 4S, ahead of store sales in
Germany, France, Britain and North America.