Australian aid agencies have begun the first wave of cuts to their overseas projects, as they start to feel the effects of the Abbott Government's foreign aid budget decreases.
The projects being axed are only but the first instalment of a $1 billion slice out of the foreign aid budget which affects four continents.
Plan Australia's program director Dave Husy said, his agency is winding-up or reducing projects in Ethiopia and Cambodia.
World Vision is cutting even deeper by identifying $5.57 million in aid that will cease before the financial year end with more cuts to come, as well as an estimated 1.31 million people losing services.
The Queensland Government is taking steps to right wrongs against gay community by ensuring ’The Gay Panic Defence’ is no longer considered provocation for murder,
as well as expunging historical consensual adult homosexual sex convictions which have stood for decades.
Currently, ‘The Gay Panic Defence’ allows defendants to claim they were provoked into killing because of an ‘alleged homosexual advance’, by claiming it drove them into temporary insanity, reducing a murder conviction to just manslaughter.
The defence was last used in 2010 by Jason Andrew Pearce, charged with murdering Wayne Robert Ruks in a Maryborough and found guilty of manslaughter; he was released on parole after only serving four years of a nine year sentence.
However, the Queensland government could not give a timeline on when the changes would be implemented.
Over 18,000 Palestinian civilians are still trapped inside a refugee camp as intense fighting between Daesh (or Islamic State) militants and local militia continues.
Syrian local defense units, Palestinian militia and Free Syrian fighters are engaging Daesh militants in the streets of Yarmouk who attacked the camp late last week.
The United Nations and PLO says hundred have escaped the fighting over the previous few day from a city now starved of food and clean water.
Yarmouk, a purpose-built city to house Palestinian refugees in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, had been seen as the unofficial capital of the Palestine Exodus and had been home to 150,000 people before the Syrian Civil War began.
The Palestinians have formally joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), a key step towards being able to pursue Israelis for alleged war crimes. becoming the 123rd member of the ICC, 90 days after they lodged their application.
After a ceremony at The Hague, Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Palestinians seek "justice not vengeance".
However, Israel denounced the move as "political, cynical and hypocritical".
Although Israel has not ratified the Rome Statute, its military and civilian leaders could face charges, if they are believed to have committed crimes on Palestinian territory.
The international community has pledged nearly $4 billion dollars to aid response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis. However UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has indicated the sum only represents half of the required amount.
The secretary general has described the Syrian situation as the “worst humanitarian crisis of our time” and that while donations pledged are generous, is continuing to seek international financial aid. Oxfam on Monday was openly critical of the international response stating the raised funds were "grossly inadequate".
According to UN estimates, the war has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced 11 million. Nearly 4 million Syrians have fled to five neighbouring countries, where their presence is straining resources and host communities.
India’s supreme court has reversed a law that sees offensive comments made on social media punishable by jail.
The court found that an amendment to India’s Information Technology Act known as section 66A was unconstitutional and a restriction on freedom of speech.
The decision is the result of a two year campaign lead by Indian free speech advocates who have claimed the law, which can see people jailed up to three years, was in constant abuse by police. They also found that police were more likely to arrest posts that were politically defamatory than others.
Most political parties have welcomed the court’s decision.