Australia grapples with policy on asylum seekers

(CNN) -- Abdul Farid Sufizada knew he was in trouble when a Russian-built jeep pulled up to his grocery shop one afternoon in northern Afghanistan. An unknown man jumped out and blindfolded him. He was shoved into the backseat and taken to an underground location where the Taliban had gathered a group of local young men. "The Taliban have no heart," Sufizada said. "They killed young boys in front of me." He was held for five days until his father managed to pay a foreman to release him. But af

Will the Great Barrier Reef die by 2050?

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef seems indestructible from afar: its 2,600-kilometer-long clusters of corals are even visible from outer space. But on closer examination, the story loses some of its beauty. The reef -- along with the multi-billion dollar tourist industry it supports -- could be extinct by 2050. That is what some scientists are warning will happen if nothing is done to halt the impact of human-induced climate change. Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing

Unsealed: Shoah archives unlocked

In June 1944, 12-year-old Ivan Devai watched as his father walked out the door of their Budapest home to run an errand to the post office just a few houses down. It was the last time he ever saw his father. For more than 64 years, Devai wondered about his father’s fate, but did not have much to go on – just his father’s name, date of birth, and a frayed black-and-white photo of him taken around 1943 in the family’s front yard. But thanks to the newly opened Bad Arolsen archives – one of the world’s largest collections of Nazi German documents – the mystery is over.

Lost at Fromelles: The search for missing WWI Jewish diggers

IN a frayed, 1915 promotional “Season’s Greetings” postcard distributed by the Australian Army, World War I Jewish digger Lionel Levy is pictured standing at atten- tion in full army regalia. The 28-year-old is looking straight ahead, his rifle slung over his left shoulder, fresh-faced and eager, with a hint of a grin creeping across his face. “Off to the Front!” reads the mes- sage on the postcard. “Don’t forget they’re fighting for us!” But Private Levy, of the 53rd Battalion, never returned. Just a few short months after his family received the post, the former taxidriver from Redfern, who had volunteered to join the Western Front just a year earlier, was killed in the infamous Battle of Fromelles in 1916.

Bouncing back from a massive brain injury

LAYA Chaya Manasseh doesn’t remember anything from that fateful early rainy morning in July 1994 when she was a passenger in a car barrelling down an inner-city back- street at 120 kilometres an hour. She can’t recall the impact when the car ploughed into a telegraph pole after losing control, crushing her in the front seat, or when the emergency crews arrived on the scene, taking two hours to cut her out from the mangled wreck.

When love conquers all

Like other couples who have lived together for years, newlyweds Ben and Debbie Katz have got their routine. Ben makes his wife her favorite honey tea when she’s not feeling well. She worries about his waistline and nags him about eating too many chips and doughnuts. They take turns cooking dinner, call each other “cutie” and “honey”, and enjoy socialising with friends at the Maroubra Surf Club every Saturday night. But they’re also unique. Both Debbie and Ben have Down syn- drome, a chromosomal abnormality that causes lifelong developmental delays and other problems.

Seeing is believing?

Mark O’Neill* can’t stand the sight of his face. “The skin on one half of my face has three times as much skin as the other. Everyone says they can’t see it, but I don’t believe it. I’m deformed,” he says. “When I look in the mirror, I automatically sense that I’m worthless.” O’Neill, 24, a massage therapist from Melbourne, started to obsess over his face at age 16. At first, he took to wearing make-up to hide his “flaws”. Later, he became addicted to plucking his eyebrows, often spending six hours a day in front of the mirror...

Delray Considers Its Future

Delray Beach resident Dean Nold, 73, lives in the same house his father bought in the 1950s when the city was no more than a sleepy beach town and an average one-family home sold for about $50,000. But as growth grips the area with developments cropping up at unprecedented rates, Delray Beach is more the bustling city these days. "People say we have to have progress and build. If we don't grow, we're dead. I don't buy it," said Nold, a one-time engineering professor who moved here to retire.

Emile Sherman: From 'The King's Speech' to and Voiceless Animal Rights Organization

“I don’t think people want to have their nose shoved into the world of gruesome images,” says Emile Sherman, fresh from his Oscar-winning production, "The King’s Speech." Want it or not, the gruesome images to which Sherman refers -- brutal depictions of cattle-industry animal cruelty and mistreatment -- have sent shockwaves through Australia over the last two weeks. ABC's "Four Corners" program's exposé of the Australian cattle industry has led to a federal export ban to Indonesia.

Pulp Friction: Proposal to build one of world's largest pulp mills divides community

A proposal to build one of the world’s largest pulp mills has divided the community in Tasmania. On one side are those for the project and its promise of jobs, on the other are locals and environmentalists against the construction. Timber company Gunns Limited says its $2.2 billion Bell Bay project in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley is “greenhouse positive”, will create thousands of jobs and inject millions into the local economy.

Opera House's bats get moved along

Often found roosting together, hanging upside down by one foot from outstretched tree branches, the furry, gray-headed flying foxes are a popular attraction at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden. But soon the endangered species -- also known as fruit bats -- will no longer be able to call the Opera House’s 30-hectare back garden home. Despite a last-ditch legal bid from animal welfare groups to allow the flying foxes to roost in peace, the Federal Court recently upheld the federal government’s appr

After the apology for stolen generations

Stolen Generations member Patrick Tilmouth listened with satisfaction last February when newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered his landmark apology over the pain and suffering caused to him and other Aboriginals forcibly removed from their homes. But a year on, Tilmouth says the Government has failed to turn the gesture into a commitment for change by resisting calls for compensation. “I feel cheated again,” says Tilmouth, 53, from Alice Springs, who was taken from his family when he was just eight months old. “We’ve lost everything; we don’t fit back where we come from. I’d like the Government to take some sort of notice.”

Historical haunts in Sydney

Sydney comes with a storied past. In the hidden alleys and dens of the city’s inner streets, an assortment of artists, criminals, strippers, activists and hookers have all led their varied lives. This is a town that lived by its own notorious anarchy and rum-induced monopoly during colonization, which later evolved into a place of street gangs, brothels and unsolved murders. But Sydney's history also involves beatniks, underground writers, artists and secret societies. Taking a look back, let

Avalon Beach: The secret life of Sydney's insular peninsula

Some 27 kilometers north of Sydney city, only one road connects Avalon to the rest of the world. A well-kept secret, its surf has long attracted board riders. Its beauty once gained the attention of TV series "Baywatch", but when the glitzy production tried to set up permanently, the locals successfully protested. They would not lose their oasis. Since the 1940s, artistic types have flocked to the area to find inspiration and respite from city life. It’s the hidden beach of stars: Yahoo Seriou

Uluru: The debate over climbing Australia's sacred monolith

Famed for its ever-changing red hues against the backdrop of Australia's central desert, the towering sandstone monolith, Uluru, is a popular draw card for tourists. Otherwise known by its colonial name of Ayers Rock, the UNESCO World Heritage site -- located 450 kilometers west of Alice Springs -- is climbed by more than 100,000 people every year. But the pastime is becoming less popular due to cultural and safety concerns. It has long enraged local Aboriginals, the Anangu people.

Are Kangaroo Island's koalas under threat?

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island takes its name from the mobs of kangaroos that graze its dense bush. Koalas were introduced in the 1920s, and flourished so spectacularly that at one point it looked like they might overrun the 4,405-square-kilometer island. But now the koala colony could be under threat. An AIDS-like retrovirus has made its way from the mainland and been detected on the island. Some expert warnings are dire: it could eventually wipe out the population. The Koala Research Ne

10 of the best Sydney day trips for children

Sure, Sydney may be a cosmopolitan place known for its smart eateries, pubs and colorful nightlife, but don’t be totally fooled. By day, this family-friendly city also offers loads to do to keep its most-demanding residents happy too. Here’s our pick of the top 10 things to do with the kids. And even if you don’t have children, many are still worth a visit. On CNN: 5 things not do on an airplane Set in the heart of Sydney on Darling Harbour, Sydney Aquarium showcases more than 12,000 marine a

World's 10 craziest party hostels

Early-to-bed crew, stay away. These hostels aren’t for the easily perturbed. But if you’re after a few nights of hedonism and late-night drinking sessions, then you’re in luck. Here’s a list of some of the world’s most-popular party hostels, famed on the traveling circuit for their raunchy displays of excess and debauchery. Fiddling while Rome -- or is it Greece? -- burns at The Pink Palace. Forget about Greece’s economic woes for a moment. No one seems to be crying about it into their ouzo

Saving the secret life of bees

John Strickland became a beekeeper as a simple favor for his neighbor. “[My neighbor] had a hive of bees and was getting up in age,” he recalls. “He told me one day in the late 1970s that if he ever had to leave and couldn’t come back, he wanted me to take his bees.” Two weeks later, the man went to a nursing home. “I went over and got his bees and brought them here, and that’s how I got started.” Now, nearly four decades later, the lanky, 74-year-old with a head full of snow-white hair and shaggy beard is known around town as the “Bee Man.” On most days, he can be found in a white T-shirt and jeans, tending to his hives at his Busy Bee Farm, just off Dewitt Smith Road in rural Pittsboro.
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