Court backs Aussie refugee policy
SYDNEY • Australia's highest court yesterday opened the way for hundreds of asylum seekers to be transferred to a remote Pacific outpost, including women allegedly sexually assaulted there, when it dismissed a challenge to a hardline immigration policy.
The High Court case was brought by a Bangladeshi woman who arrived on an unauthorised boat and was dispatched to the tiny island republic of Nauru before being brought to Australia for urgent medical treatment during a pregnancy.
She had sought a declaration that Australia's conduct in sending her to Nauru was unlawful in a legal challenge seen as a test case for more than 260 asylum seekers, including 37 babies born in Australia and 54 other children, lawyers said.
But the court ruled that the arrangements for offshore detention on Nauru did not breach the law. Under Canberra's immigration policy, asylum seekers arriving by boat are sent to Nauru or Papua New Guinea.
Explosion rips hole in aircraft
MOGADISHU • A blast on a passenger aircraft punched a hole in the side of the fuselage soon after take-off from the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police said yesterday.
The plane, operated by Daalo Airlines and flying from Mogadishu to Djibouti with about 60 passengers, landed safely. Two passengers were slightly injured, police said.
"The passenger plane made an emergency landing soon after it took off, and there was damage on one side of the aircraft over the right wing," Somali police officer Mohamed Ise said.
He said that it was unclear what had caused the explosion and fire and that investigations were under way.
"Passengers were terrified," said Mr Abdiwahab Hassan, an airport official.
Photographs show a hole about a metre in diameter in the side of the plane just above the engines on the right wing, with streaks of soot on the plane.
Ukraine economy minister quits
KIEV • Ukraine's economy minister resigned abruptly yesterday, saying that overwhelming corruption had stifled his efforts to push through measures essential to getting growth back on track in the cash-strapped country.
Mr Aivaras Abromavicius' shock departure laid bare divisions within the pro-Western government of President Petro Poroshenko and highlighted the uphill battle that the former Soviet nation faces in enacting the necessary changes to join the European Union.
"Today, I made the decision to submit my resignation from the post of minister of Ukraine's economic development and trade," the minister told reporters in Kiev. "The reason is the sharp escalation in efforts to block systemic and important reforms."
Mr Abromavicius was appointed in December 2014 as part of Mr Poroshenko's efforts to inject new impetus into the country's attempts to return to growth.