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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Court rules ‘Allah’ exclusive to Muslims

An appeals panel has ruled that a Malaysian Catholic newspaper cannot use “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in a case that sparked attacks on places of worship three years ago.


The publishers of the Herald, who had argued that a 2009 government ban on the use of `Allah’ in its Malay-language edition was unconstitutional, said after the ruling they planned to appeal higher to the Federal Court.

“It is our judgment that there is no infringement of any of the constitutional rights,” said Apandi Ali, head of the three-judge panel.

“It is our common finding that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.”

The dispute erupted in early 2009 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald’s publishing permit for using the word.

The Catholic Church sued, claiming violation of its constitutional rights. A court upheld the church’s argument later that year and lifted the ban pending judicial review.

The ban’s removal triggered a series of attacks in early 2010 on places of worship, mostly churches, using Molotov cocktails, rocks and paint, and sparking fears of wider religious conflict in the multi-faith country.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said Monday’s ruling was flawed, noting that “Allah” has been used extensively in Malay-language versions of the Bible for decades without trouble.

“It is also a retrograde step in the development of the law relating to the fundamental liberties of religious minorities in this country,” he told reporters.

Andrew insisted the Church remained unbowed and would appeal.

Some observers have expressed fear that a ruling in the Malay-dominated government’s favour could potentially be used as precedent to have “Allah” also stricken from Bibles.

Muslims make up 60 per cent of the country’s 28 million people, while Christians account for about nine per cent.

Following the initial government ban, Muslim groups seized on the issue, claiming that the Arabic word “Allah” is exclusive to Islam.

Malaysia has largely avoided overt religious conflict in recent decades, but tensions have slowly risen along with what many perceive as an increasing Islamisation of the Southeast Asian country.

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2019年5月17日 上海性息

Abbott lays out carbon tax draft laws

A second round of Labor personal income tax breaks will be scrapped but power and gas prices should fall, under new federal coalition legislation to repeal the carbon tax.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott has released a consultation paper and draft bills to fulfil his election promise to abolish the carbon pricing regime that began on July 1 last year.

The bills, due to be introduced when the new parliament sits for the first time in the second week of November, aim to end the scheme from mid-2014.

“The people of Australia understandably want lower costs of living and they want more secure jobs. This bill gives them both,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

When the laws are passed, the coalition forecasts households to be around $550 a year better off as power prices fall by nine per cent and gas prices by seven per cent.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be given tougher powers to oversee prices and ensure companies pass the benefit of scrapping the tax on to consumers.

The government confirmed it would not go ahead with annual tax breaks worth at least $380 a year for persons earning up to $80,000 per annum from mid-2015.

But it will continue to pay out other compensation, including family payments, pensions and allowances linked to the tax.

Until the repeal laws go through parliament, the 371 companies directly affected by the tax must maintain compliance for this 2013/14 financial year.

While the coalition has a comfortable majority in the lower house to pass the legislation, Labor and the Australian Greens could combine to oppose it in the Senate and thwart Mr Abbott’s plans.

The prime minister continued to pressure Labor, saying new opposition leader Bill Shorten must not deny “the mandate of the Australian people”.

“We are giving the Labor party the chance to repent of its support for the carbon tax,” he said.

If the legislation isn’t passed before July 1 next year, the government won’t extend the carbon tax into the new financial year.

This can be done through an administrative order not to collect the tax, or by refunding the tax to businesses, experts say.

It would allow Mr Abbott to secure the support of anti-tax crossbenchers in the new Senate, when the upper house changes over in July 1 next year.

Opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler said Labor remained committed to its pre-election promise to move from a fixed carbon price to a floating price emissions trading scheme (ETS).

“The coalition instead will throw the baby out with the bathwater, and leave Australia with no credible policy on climate change,” he said.

Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt described Mr Abbott as a “climate-change criminal”.

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the government must show how it can meet a target to cut emissions by five per cent by 2020 without an ETS.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the coalition’s Direct Action plan would achieve a five per cent cut in emissions by 2020, with separate consultation on the design of the plan expected in the future.

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New casinos to lure Asian tourists to Queensland

Premier Campbell Newman has called for expressions of interest for a second Brisbane casino as part of a redevelopment of the government precinct.


He says Macau’s gambling houses and Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands casino wowed him on a recent tour of Asia.

Mr Newman is convinced that building a mega resort style-casino, and potentially another two in other parts of the state, is the best way to compete with other Asian destinations.

“Our offering has been rundown and eroded,” Mr Newman said on Monday.

“We’re not just looking for a hotel and some shops. It’s a world class iconic precinct”.

Mr Newman said the casino would include a new six star hotel, retail, restaurant and entertainment zones, theatre and convention facilities and new open spaces.

He said there could be another two new casinos built in other areas of the state, adding to the existing four.

“So you could see seven (casinos) in total in Queensland, up to seven,” he said.

But Salvation Army problem gambling spokesman Gerrard Byrne warned there were already too many casinos in Queensland.

He said it seemed that the government had run out of ideas to make money and attract tourists.

“We think it’s too much,” Mr Byrne told AAP.

“There’s really quite a proliferation of casinos and it’s not just about the venues, it’s about the concentration of poker machines, which are used by vulnerable members of the community.

“There are other, better ways of attracting tourists and getting them to spend their dollars.

“Queensland is great state with many different natural and man made attracts, there are better ways to make money.”

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the government would release a new draft casino policy when the EOI for the government precinct was released.

The policy would consider issues such as a market capacity, implications of additional licences on existing and future operations, financial implications for the state, community interests and social implications.

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McIlroy tight-lipped over Wozniacki

Former world No.


1 Rory McIlroy was tight-lipped on Tuesday about reports he has split from long-term partner Caroline Wozniacki and said he was looking forward to getting back on the golf course.

McIlroy is the star attraction at the OneAsia Tour’s $US1 million Kolon Korea Open which begins on Thursday, the Northern Irishman’s first taste of competitive golf after a month-long break.

But speculation is swirling over his private life, with several media reports in Britain saying his high-profile relationship with Danish tennis star Wozniacki is over.

“My private life is private, I’d like to keep it that way,” the 24-year-old said at a press conference at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, just outside Seoul.

McIlroy will travel on from South Korea next week to play the big-money BMW Masters and WGC-HSBC tournaments in Shanghai with a lucrative exhibition match against Tiger Woods, at Mission Hills in Hainan, China, squeezed in between.

He lies down in 60th in the European Tour standings and cannot afford to drop even one place lower if he is to qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Tour Championship, where he is defending champion.

“I’ve had four weeks off and it’s nice to get back into some tournament play. It’d be good to start this week with a good performance. Obviously, it’d be great to win,” said McIlroy, who won the 2012 money lists on both sides of the Atlantic but has seen his form dive in 2013.

His struggles this year have been well documented and McIlroy admits that given a chance to wind back the clock he might have done things differently.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot this year. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably have played more at the start of this year, just to play my way into the season a little better,” said the double major winner, who has dropped to sixth in the world rankings.

“This is the first year that I struggled as a pro. It’s the first year I didn’t live up to my expectations. Coming off the back of such a good year 2012, it’s always tough to emulate that.”

McIlroy admitted that his main focus now was on trying to build some confidence and form for next year.

But he was quick to dismiss the widely held view that switching his clubs to Nike had been the root of his on-course problems.

“Golf is a game of confidence,” McIlroy said.

“It definitely had nothing to do with equipment. It had more to do with how I swing.”

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Virus concerns cause drop in Hajj numbers

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

Concerns about a virus that’s been spreading through parts of the Middle East led to a big decline in the number of Muslims taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage this year.


Known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS, the virus affects the respiratory system and can be fatal.

With at least 130 confirmed cases and almost 60 deaths, Saudi Arabia decided to impose visa restrictions this year which saw the number of pilgrims making the journey to Mecca down by about one million.

As Greg Dyett reports, some Australian Muslims were left disappointed when they couldn’t get a visas.

 (Click on audio tab above to listen to this item)

It’s a journey all able-bodied Muslims are expected to do at least once in their lifetime, the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

But this year Saudi Arabia reduced the number of visas for Hajj by 20 per cent due to concerns about the MERS virus which has killed more than 50 people in the kingdom over the past year.

Muslims around the world were left disappointed when they discovered they couldn’t get a visa.

Travel agents who specialise in packages to Hajj have had to deal with clients forced to cancel.

“Quite a few have called and said that hey I want to go but they found that because of the quota, they cannot go because of the reduced numbers (Reporter) And how disappointed were they? Well they sure are and they’re hoping for the next year and they probably will want to register early next year, come next year.”

Mr Bin from Mahsuri Travel in Perth says the MERS virus didn’t seem to deter people wanting to make the pilgrimage.

“No, I don’t think they really have expressed, there’s any expression of fear, they’re still going ahead, yeah.”

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome operates in a similar way to the SARS virus of a decade ago.

Professor Robert Booy from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance has co-authored a new report on MERS.

“The MERS virus is a coronavirus so it’s similar to Sars which caused many hundreds of cases and a lot of deaths ten years ago. MERS, we think, is being transmitted from animals to humans, it could be by camels or bats or by another intermediary source which we have not yet identified.”

Professor Booy says pilgrims were advised to wear face masks as a precaution because the virus is sometimes fatal.

He says the health threat to Australia from Muslims returning from Hajj is very small partly because Australia has mechanisms in place to deal with sick travellers.

“There’s screening already in place so that people who develop a respiratory illness and arrive home from the Middle East are unwell will be referred for assessment and samples will be taken for tests for the MERS virus.”

In preparation for future Hajj pilgrimages, tens of billions of dollars is being spent on new hotels and building re-designs in Mecca, including the city’s Grand Mosque which is being expanded to provide additional space.

With the holy sites ringed by cranes, this pilgrim told Al Jazeera he’s worried the city is in danger of losing its authenticity as it tries to modernise.

“The whole terrain is being changed, the mountains have actually been levelled and that’s sad. One of the, these are the same mountains that the Prophet Mohammed used to herd goats on and which was his training for prophethood.”


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