Australian police find plans for elaborate IED in Sydney

Australian officials have arrested four men who were allegedly conspiring to bomb an airplane. The arrests took place in Sydney after raids were conducted on Saturday. Australian police forces raided five properties across Sydney after a home-made bomb was found on a terrace in the eastern suburb of Surry Hills. The police issued a statement regarding the intentions of the attackers, saying that the plot was inspired by Islamic radicalism.

While Australia has seen several attacks and foiled plots that were inspired by the Islamic State, this attempt deviated from the usual lone-wolf tactics that have characterised previous attacks. The group arrested on Saturday comprised of two middle-aged men and their adult sons, who were working on devising an elaborate Improvised Explosive Device(IED) with the aim of taking down a plane.

“The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat,” said Justice Minister Michael Keenan. The operations have caused the implementation of revised boarding procedures at Australian airports. The measures include extra screening time and additional checks of both hand and checked baggage.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Federal Police

Mithali Raj becomes all-time leading run scorer in women’s ODI cricket

Indian skipper Mithali Raj created history as she became the leading run-getter in women’s one-day internationals. She achieved this feat during the ICC Women’s World Cup against Australia at Bristol.
She overtook England cricketer Charlotte Edwards’ record of 5992 runs by scoring her 34th run while batting against the Aussies. Edwards scored these runs in 191 matches, whereas it took the 34-year-old 184 matches to reach this achievement.
This was not the only record she broke. Apart from overtaking the Englishwoman, she also became the first woman to reach the 6000-run landmark.
With a 50-plus batting average, Mithali boasts the most number of ODI half-centuries, 49. Recently she created a streak of scoring seven consecutive half-centuries before that ended with getting out on 46 runs against West Indies at the ongoing World Cup.
She also grabbed headlines a few days ago during the tournament, when she was seen reading a book before getting down to bat. At a pre-World Cup press conference, she confidently retaliated to a sexist question from a reporter, drawing praise from all corners. According to Times of India, she was asked about her favourite male cricketer to which she had replied, “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?”
Currently, Mithali has scored 6028 runs, including five centuries and 49 half-centuries.

Sources: NDTV

Image Source: AFP

Great Barrier Reef taken off ‘In danger’ list: UNESCO

Popular World Heritage Site of Queensland, Great Barrier Reef has been left off UNESCO’s ‘In danger’ list despite its recent dilapidated state, according to United Nations Cultural body UNESCO. The decision was taken at the annual meeting of its World Heritage Committee (WHC) in the Polish city of Krakow.

The decision was taken in a bid to rescue the conservative Australian government from facing political embarrassment and avoid potential blow to the nation’s tourism sector.

“We’re taking every action possible to ensure this great wonder of the world stays viable and healthy for future generations to come,” Australia’s Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio told Reuters.

However, the WHC still holds concerns regarding the land clearing laws and the water quality targets. Frydenberg has said that the government has heavily invested in the project and improvements will show over time. Queensland’s Environment Minister Steven Miles defies the government’s claim and asserts that the State did all the heavy-lifting.

In what is said to be the strongest El Nino effect in 20 years, the site which is worth $56 billion to the Oz tourism sector faced the biggest coral reef die-off. The government is lambasted for its inaction towards fighting climate change and excessive usage of fossil fuels by the opposition.

Sources: Reuters,

Image Source: CNN

India and Australia forge partnership in textile , fashion and clothing industries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which deals with cooperation in the textiles, clothing and fashion sectors, linking the Ministry of Textiles, India with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia.

Australian fashion designers, using Indian woven and textile have shown interest to work with the Indian stakeholders, includes cooperation with textiles, handloom sector. This, in turn, will provide state of art, designing of textiles and handloom products. These products would be introduced in Indian as well as international markets.

The move will likely connect the Australian and Indian textile and fashion industries. This would promote collaboration and international engagement between these industries and also provide economic opportunities and professional engagement. Other benefits include training, skill development and public exhibition of products derived from these industries in the two countries.

An increase in the handloom fabric production by establishing market linkages, for the overall development of handloom sector and better access to domestic and export markets in order to provide with weavers, continuous employment and better living standards is on the cards.


News Sources- ANI, PIB

Australian man apprehended after developing missiles for ISIS

An Australian-born citizen was arrested by the Australian counter-terrorism police on Tuesday after a raid carried out on a countryside property in Young, New South Wales, located 170 miles from Sydney. The man, Haisem Zahab, was accused of attempting to aid ISIS by developing missile technology for the militant group. Several police officers raided the property with metal detectors and a dog squad after sufficient evidence was collected against Zahab in an 18-month long investigation.

The Australian Federal Police released issued a statement asserting that Haisem Zahab had been extensively researching and designing a laser warning system meant to detect incoming missiles. Zahab had also been attempting to design long-range guided missiles for ISIS. Zahab, who is an electrician by trade, is expected to appear before the court on Wednesday. Zahab is charged with two foreign incursion offenses, and with failing to comply with an order to assist in the acquisition of data.

Australia has been on alert for local terrorists since a café siege in 2014, and has sent troops to fight in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Australian security forces have thwarted several terrorist plots in recent years, many of which involved radicalized teenagers. The most recent of such events was when Australian authorities apprehended a group of six people that attempted to detonate IEDs in several areas across the city of Melbourne.

Sources: NDTVThe Independent

Image Source: Craig Thomson

Australia checkmates India within 3 days

40 wickets fell within three days in the first test match between India and Australia at Pune.  The Indian batting order imploded in both the innings as they were unable to score 200 runs in both the innings. The Indian team managed to score 105 runs in the first innings which consisted of 64 runs by KL Rahul. Though the Indian bowlers managed to get all the 20 wickets, the batsmen failed. The kangaroos were also not in very good touch however, they managed to surpass the 250 run mark in both the innings and thus created pressure upon the Indian batsmen.

Australian captain, Steve Smith scored his century in the second innings. Australian spinner, Steve O’Keefe took a total of 12 wickets making him the man of the match.

The Indian team coach Anil Kumble came out in defense of the team by stating that it was just a bad day in office. Captain Kohli did not mince words and stated that it is the worst performance by the team.

India’s  winning streak of 19 matches was destroyed by a mammoth defeat of 333 runs. The dusty cracked pitch of the Balewadi Stadium was too much for the Indian team. It will be tough for the Indian team to bounce back against a formidable opponent like Australia in the second test which is going to be held in Bengaluru from 4th March.

News sources- Hindustan Times, NDTV 

Sri Lanka opens door for its people’s return

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Rinal Wickremesesinghesaid that it is now safe for the Sri Lankan asylum seekers stranded on Pacific islands to return home without the fear of being prosecuted during his visit to Australia on Wednesday.

The PM along with his Australian counterpart Malcom Turnbull initiated talks on bilateral cooperation to check people smuggling. The primary reason of concern is that Sri Lankans, Afghans and Iranians constitute a large part of the refugee population of 2000 in the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Australia pays the countries to house them. No Sri Lankan asylum seeker has reached Australia by boat since 2013.

The comment from the Wickremesinghe came in the light of the Australian government’s decision to cease funds to house the asylum seekers any further. Although the United States has agreed to take in 1250 refugees, President Donald Trump said that they would undergo “extreme vetting”.

Officials from the U.S. State Department’s Resettlement Support Center began the interviews in the camps of Nauru and Manus last week.

The PM said that although the Sri Lankan asylum seekers had broken the Sri Lankan law by fleeing to Australia, they had nothing to fear back at home. “They are welcome to return to Sri Lanka and we won’t prosecute them,” Wickremesinghe told reporters in Australia’s capital Canberra, reported Reuters. “Come back” He also added, “It is quite safe in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka has been attempting to reconcile its population since a bloody 26-year civil war ended in 2009.


Sources: Reuters, New Indian Express,