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Former Israeli minister starts jail sentence for fraud

By Afp

Published: 04:55 EST, 17 December 2017 | Updated: 04:55 EST, 17 December 2017

Israelis pro..

By Afp

Published: 04:55 EST, 17 December 2017 | Updated: 04:55 EST, 17 December 2017

Israelis protest against government corruption on December 9, 2017 in Tel Aviv

Israelis protest against government corruption on December 9, 2017 in Tel Aviv

A former Israeli minister on Sunday started serving a 15-month jail sentence for fraud and breach of trust, judicial sources said.

Stas Misezhnikov, who was tourism minister from 2009 to 2013, was sentenced to prison in October for handing one million shekels ($280,000) in financial support to a student festival while securing a job at the event for a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship.

Misezhnikov starts serving time as public pressure increases to demand legal action against "corrupt" officials and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself faces two separate graft probes.

Misezhnikov is a member of Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman's ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

In August, Yisrael Beitenu secretary general Faina Kirshenbaum, who was deputy interior minister from 2013 to 2015, was charged with corruption, breach of trust, fraud and money laundering.

On Saturday, thousands of Israelis protested for a third week running in Tel Aviv to demand legal action against "corrupt" people in the government and their resignation.

The demonstration came a day after Netanyahu was questioned for the seventh time since January 2 in a corruption probe.

In one investigation, the prime minister is suspected of illegally receiving gifts from wealthy personalities including Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

In a second case, police suspect Netanyahu sought a secret pact for favourable coverage with the publisher of the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

The alleged scheme, not believed to have been finalised, would have seen him receive favourable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Israel Hayom.

The 68-year-old premier has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and says he is the target of a smear campaign by political opponents.

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Australia

New Species Discovered Online By Botanists

In Australia, researchers discover several unknown carnivorous plants – not in the open air, but on the Internet. Research in front of the screen is now part of everyday life for botanists. Many creatures would otherwise remain undiscovered before they became extinct, they explain.

Social media has become a treasure trove for species researchers: a German-Australian team of scientists did not discover four out of six new carnivorous plants during field research in Western Australia, but identified them on Facebook, Instagram & Co. They were posted there by nature photographers, according to a statement on the study.

Such data, often published accidentally, sometimes intentionally, by hobby photographers and citizen scientists have become a valuable source for biodiversity researchers. And thus of great importance for the protection of many animal and plant species, emphasized Andreas Fleischmann from the Munich State Botanical Collection and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. “In particular, it would not have been possible for us to determine the distribution areas of very rare species without this additional wealth of data.”

“Race Against Time”

He and his team had described six previously unknown carnivorous sundew species found in Western Australia and published the results of the investigations in the journal Biology. So far, only three species from the so-called Drosera microphylla species complex were known. Although many species are becoming extinct worldwide in the 21st century, new animal and plant species are still being discovered. “A race against time,” emphasized the scientists. Without the intensive work of species researchers, “many creatures would become extinct without ever having been known before”.

In the meantime, there is far more observation data from lay scientists in social media and even in scientific biodiversity databases than data from research collections, especially for the visually conspicuous carnivorous plants, according to a statement from the state collection on the study. For example, a sundew species from South Africa was known from three historical herbarium specimens and seven photos on a Citizen Science website in 2018.

Today there are already 307 observations from 131 amateur researchers interested in nature on the internet platform. “Meanwhile, the number of known herbarium specimens of sundew from South Africa in the scientific collections has remained the same.”

This article is originally published on n-tv.de/wissen

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Australia

Australian Open Ban On Russian, Belarusian Flags Sparks Debate

The Australian Open tennis organization today banned the display of Russian and Belarusian flags at the tournament venue, after a man hung the Russian flag in the stands during Sunday’s opening match between Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia and Ukraine. Kateryna Kozlova.

“The flags of Russia and Belarus are prohibited within the Australian Open,” the Australian Tennis Federation said in a statement.

“Our initial policy was that fans could bring them, but they couldn’t use them to disturb. Yesterday we had an incident where a Russian flag was placed next to the track,” the entity said.

“The ban is effective immediately. We will continue to work with the players and fans to ensure the best possible environment to enjoy tennis,” the text added, quoted by the AFP news agency.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, dozens of Russian athletes, teams and federations have been removed from major competitions or forced to participate without a flag.

This new sanction comes in response to a complaint from the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Vasil Miroshnichenko, who last night called on Tennis Australia to take action against the display of these flags.

“We strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Kozlova’s match at the Australian Open,” he tweeted.

“I call on Tennis Australia to immediately implement its ‘neutral flag’ policy,” he added.

Ukrainian Won The Match

The Ukrainian won the match 7-5, 6-7 (8/10), 6-1 and will face American Caty McNally in the second round.

Ambassador Miroshnichenko had requested last week that the tournament completely ban players from Russia and Belarus from participating.

Wimbledon opted for this measure last year and banned players from these two countries in the tournament, which as a result did not count for the rankings by decision of the ATP and WTA.

The Russian embassy in Australia criticized “another example of the unacceptable politicization of the sport” and regretted that, in addition to carrying a neutral flag, its players “cannot be visibly supported by the fans.”

For her part, the Belarusian and world number five Aryna Sabalenka said that she was not opposed to the ban on flags “if everyone felt better like this”, but pointed out that sport “has nothing to do with politics”. .

“It’s not fair. People are dying there,” said Ukrainian tennis player Oleksii Krutykh, who assured that his country’s players were “shocked” by the appearance of Russian flags in the stands.

A Russian banner also appeared on Melbourne’s center court, Rod Laver Arena, during Russian Daniil Medvedev’s match against American Marcos Giron.

“It’s not fair what they’re doing,” said the 22-year-old Krutykh after his first-round loss to Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

“I think the guys who did it (display flags during the Koslova match) were Russians who live here, so they don’t care about what happens in my country,” said the young man, who was out of town when the war broke out. country and settled in Berlin.

“It may be ugly to say it, but if I want to go back to Ukraine, I can go back, but then I can’t leave because I’m 22 years old,” Krutykh explained, referring to the fact that he is of fighting age.

On the other hand, yesterday it became known that Russia and Belarus are off the list of countries that will broadcast the Olympic Games during the period between 2026 and 2032.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it awarded all audiovisual rights in Europe until 2032 to the European Broadcasting Union and Warner Bros Discovery, which will broadcast in 49 countries and exclude Russia and Belarus, the Sputnik news agency reported.

This article is originally published on ambito.com

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Australia

Saudi women in Sydney: Sisters’ bodies lay undiscovered for a month

Australian police are baffled after the bodies of two Saudi women, believed to have lain undiscovered for a month, were found in a Sydney apartment.

Sisters Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were found dead on 7 June in separate beds at home in the suburb of Canterbury.

Police, who were called to the property for a welfare check, said the women are believed to have died in early May.

But despite “extensive inquiries”, they still do not know how or why.

The sisters moved to Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2017 and may have sought asylum, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Police refused to confirm this, saying they do not comment on residential status.

A human rights organisation said it should be established whether the women fled Saudi Arabia because of domestic violence or harsh laws governing women. However, there is no evidence this is the case.

Police said they had been in contact with the women’s family, which is assisting them with inquiries.

Lina al-Hathloul, head of monitoring and communications at Saudi human rights organisation ALQST, said it “would not be the first case” of Saudi women who were killed abroad after fleeing domestic violence.

“There are no protections for women who are victims of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, so they flee abroad,” she told the BBC.

She added: “I’m not saying that is the case here, just that we need a thorough investigation. It is frustrating not to have any information.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there had been signs that something was wrong.

Last year, the women told their building manager they thought someone was tampering with their food deliveries, the paper reported.

A plumber who visited the apartment also said he believed there was “something mysterious” going on, and that police had been called in the past over concerns for the women.

New South Wales Police issued a renewed plea to the public on Wednesday, saying “any piece of information” could be the key to solving this case.

The local community is close-knit, police said in a statement, asking anyone who may have known or seen the women to come forward.

A report from Australian current affairs programme Four Corners in 2019 found 80 Saudi women had tried to seek asylum in Australia in recent years. Many of them were fleeing male guardianship laws.

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62331116

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