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Australia's controversial policy of diverting immigrants to tiny Pacific Islands dominated the Australian media Thursday, after country's highest court ruled it was legal for the government to fund and participate in offshore detention. The Sydney Morning Herald juxtaposed a photograph of an immigrant baby with the faces and votes of the High Court's seven justices in what the newspaper called a "historic" ruling.

The failed court challenge — brought by the Human Rights Law Center (HRLC) — focused on the legality of the Australian government to detain people on foreign soil. Australia has for years embarked on a controversial policy in the face of migrants and refugees trying to arrive on the island nation by boat. It intercepts the boats, and places the would-be immigrants in detention on small, relatively poor Pacific island nations.

The islands of Nauru and Manus have been the main destinations in the detention program, and more than 1,400 individuals, including some 70 children, are currently being held on the island while awaiting their claims to be processed, ABC News reports.

The HRLC brought the case on behalf of 260 people — mainly women and children — who had been transported to Australia for medical care. Wednesday's judgment legally entitles Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to send these individuals back to Nauru. According to UNICEF, the group includes women who have been sexually assaulted, 54 children and 37 babies born on Australian soil.

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Geopolitics

What Lula Needs Now To Win: Move To The Center And Mea Culpa

Despite the leftist candidate's first-place finish, the voter mood in Brazil's presidential campaign is clearly conservative. So Lula will have to move clearly to the political center to vanquish the divisive but still popular Jair Bolsonaro. He also needs to send a message of contrition to skeptical voters about past mistakes.

Brazilian votes show a polarized national opinion with two clear winners: former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and sitting president Jair Bolsonaro

Marcelo Cantelmi

-Analysis-

The first round of Brazil's presidential elections closed with two winners, a novelty but not necessarily a political surprise.

Leftist candidate and former president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, was clearly the winner. His victory came on the back of the successes of his two previous administrations (2003-2011), kept alive today by the harsh reality that large swathes of Brazilians see no real future for themselves.

Lula, the head of the Workers Party or PT, also moved a tad toward the political Center in a bid to seduce middle-class voters, with some success. Another factor in his first-round success was a decisive vote cast against the current government, though this was less considerable than anticipated.

The other big winner of the day was the sitting president, Jair Bolsonaro. For many voters, his defects turn out to be virtues. They were little concerned by his bombastic declarations, his authoritarian bent, contempt for modernity, his retrograde views on gender and his painful management of the pandemic. They do not believe in Lula, and envisage no other alternative.

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