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"Stain On Our Soul" - Australia Parliament OKs Historic Bill On Aboriginals



CANBERRA – Australia’s lower house of Parliament unanimously passed a historic bill on Wednesday recognizing Aboriginals as the first inhabitants of Australia.

Parliament voted in favor of an act of recognition which commits Australia to changing its Constitution to acknowledge indigenous Australians, reports the Australian. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott put their differences aside, joining together in what the Australian called a “momentous symbolic gesture.”

Both leaders committed themselves to address what Julia Gillard called ""the unhealed wound that even now lies open at the heart of our national story"" and Tony Abbott called ""this stain on our soul,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The bill has a two-year clause forcing Parliament to introduce a referendum to change the Constitution to acknowledge Australia's indigenous people.

Prime Minister Gillard said, "We must never feel guilt for the things already done in this nation's history. But we can and must feel responsibility for the things that remain undone.”

"No gesture speaks more deeply to the healing of our nation's fabric than amending our nation's founding charter," Gillard told Parliament.

Read her full speech here.

Australia is on the path to a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution. TeamJG

— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) February 13, 2013

The legislation passed with unanimous support, and was greeted with applause from the public gallery, writes ABC news.

Aboriginal rights activist Patrick Dodson welcomed the passage of the bill but said there was a lot more to be done: “"The passing of the Act of Recognition today is one hill we have climbed but it does not mean we have conquered the mountain," he said.

— National Congress(@congressmob) February 13, 2013

Singer-songwriter Mandawuy Yunupingu calls on all Australians to support the recognition of Aboriginals in the constitution:

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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