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Today show star and veteran doctor dies at age 69

<p>A veteran doctor and regular guest on the <em>Today</em> show Dr Ric Gordon has passed away at the age of 69 from pancreatic cancer. </p> <p>Known for sharing his expertise as an obstetrician and fertility specialist, Dr Gordon became a household name after he delivered the first baby on Australian television. </p> <p>Upon hearing of his death, veteran radio host and beloved Australian author Wendy Harmer revealed Dr Gordon delivered both her babies even after she and her partner dropped out of IVF.</p> <p>In a post on X, she wrote, “He was a pioneer in IVF in Australia and gave hope to so many... and was kind and caring professional. Vale.”</p> <p>Nine News confirmed the “sad news” of Dr Gordon’s passing from pancreatic cancer on Saturday, as presenter Georgie Gardner said “he will be deeply missed”.</p> <p>Professionally known as Dr Ric Porter, he had previously hosted Nine’s long-running lifestyle hit <em>Good Medicine</em>, which ran for nine years in the 1990s. </p> <p>Dr Gordon was a part of the team of doctors who delivered the first IVF birth in NSW in 1983, and during his career, he delivered more than 5000 babies, including in 2003 when he safely delivered a baby live on the <em>Today</em> show.</p> <p>Reflecting on the moment in 2022, Dr Gordon told <em>Today</em> viewers it was an extraordinary moment in television.</p> <p>“It went so well, it was a great morning and a good outcome,” he said. “The baby cried when it was meant to cry, mum and dad were happy."</p> <p>The well-known doctor also drew some controversy over his career, including an offensive analogy where he used the Holocaust to explain weight loss on the same breakfast TV program in 2015. </p> <p>Despite apologising for saying “there were no overweight people in the concentration camps”, his apology was dismissed by many for being “insufficient” and “unsatisfactory”.</p> <p>Dr Gordon said at the time, “I’m very sorry it upset those people. It was never my intention.”</p> <p>He added that he had “done a lot of study” on the Holocaust and his comments were merely “used as a medical example”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Caring

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Veteran Channel 7 news presenter announces shock departure

<p>Longtime presenter of Channel 7 news Jodie Speers has announced her departure from the program after 15 years. </p> <p>Jodie has long been the face of the early morning <em>7News</em> bulletin, but has decided to step back after a decade and a half behind the desk. </p> <p>Taking to Instagram on Friday, she announced it would be her final day on the job. </p> <p>Jodie shared a series of photos documenting her highlights from her many years in the role, while candidly sharing why she was calling it quits. </p> <p>“The end of an era! I didn’t expect to feel so emotional today! 💓” she said.</p> <p>“This job has given me so much over the past 15 years. From a stint in federal parliament, another one in the courts, and everything from crime scenes to red carpets, bushfires to brain surgeries, every day was different."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C4yhod8yjcd/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C4yhod8yjcd/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jodie Speers (@jodiespeers)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Sometimes sad, often stressful, at times hilarious or completely bizarre 🤪”</p> <p>Speers then spoke of how the job impacted her family life, admitting it had been difficult balancing the unusual hours and being a mother to three kids, who she shared with husband Ben Fordham. </p> <p>“I’ve since spent years reading the early news ... juggling babies and toddlers, getting up at an ungodly hour ... but getting home in time to see my babies wake up."</p> <p>“I’ve been chipping away at a law degree for the last year and now looking forward to a new season ... getting back to court in a different capacity!"</p> <p>“As always, the people make the place — I’ve worked with so many over the years — and can’t think of a single bad egg. It’s these guys I will definitely miss the most ❤️🙏.”</p> <p>Friends and colleagues flocked to the comment section to send their well wishes to Jodie on her next venture, while congratulating her 15-year stint with Channel 7. </p> <p><em>Sunrise</em> weather presenter Sam Mac said, “Going to miss starting our day with you 🙌 But your new profession may come in handy for me one day 🤷🏽‍♂️ congratulations & well done 👏.”</p> <p>“You are incredible! I always loved seeing you if i was ever in Sydney. You are so warm, genuine and kind! Cannot believe you’ve been working, studying law and juggling 3 kids! Amazing! Big love and best wishes for the next chapter x,” former <em>7News </em>presenter Kendall Gilding said.</p> <p>“One of the best in TV! Absolute class act,” <em>Sunrise</em> presenter Shaun White said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

TV

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Legendary Star Wars and James Bond actor passes away

<p>The galaxy far, far away has dimmed a little with the passing of Michael Culver, a distinguished British actor whose name became etched in the annals of cinematic history, particularly for his role in the iconic 1980 film <em>Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back</em>.</p> <p>Culver, who portrayed Captain Needa, the unfortunate Imperial officer, met his demise in one of the franchise's most memorable scenes at the hands of Darth Vader. However, his legacy extends far beyond the realms of science fiction, encompassing a career spanning over five decades of stage, screen and political activism.</p> <p>Born in 1938 in Hempstead, North London, to esteemed parents within the theatre industry, Culver was destined for a life under the spotlight. His father, Roland Culver, was a notable West End stage actor, while his mother, Daphne Rye, served as a casting director in London-based theatre. Following in their footsteps, Culver honed his craft at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, laying the foundation for a prolific acting career.</p> <p>Culver's journey in the performing arts began in the late 1950s, with appearances on Broadway in Shakespearean classics such as <em>King Henry V</em>, <em>Hamlet</em>, and <em>Twelfth Night</em>. His talent soon graced the West End stage in 1962, marking the start of a distinguished theatrical career. Transitioning to the small screen, Culver made his onscreen debut in 1961, captivating audiences with his versatile performances in British television series and movies.</p> <p>However, it was Culver's portrayal of Captain Needa in <em>The Empire Strikes Back</em> that solidified his status as a cultural icon. Despite his character's brief appearance, Culver left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide, immortalised in one of cinema's most unforgettable moments. His confrontation with Vader, culminating in a chilling demise, remains etched in the memories of countless fans, a testament to Culver's ability to captivate audiences with his presence.</p> <p>Beyond his intergalactic exploits, Culver's talents graced a multitude of productions, including notable roles in <em>Sherlock Holmes, A Passage to India</em>, <em>Secret Army, </em>and even appearing in two James Bond movies – <em>From Russia With Love </em>and <em>Thunderball</em> – in uncredited roles. His versatility and dedication to his craft earned him admiration and respect from peers and audiences alike. Yet, Culver's contributions extended beyond the realms of entertainment; in the early 2000s, he shifted his focus to political activism, leveraging his platform to advocate for causes close to his heart.</p> <p>Despite bidding farewell to the limelight, Culver's legacy endures through the countless lives he touched and the memories he forged on stage and screen.</p> <p>An extended message on the Alliance Agents Facebook page, who represented Culver, read as follows:</p> <p>"We are very sad to confirm the passing of our friend and client Michael Culver. A career spanning over 50 years with notable roles in Sherlock Holmes, A Passage to India, Secret Army and of course one of the most memorable death scenes in the Star Wars franchise. Michael largely gave up acting in the early 2000's to concentrate his efforts into his political activism. It's been an honor to have represented Michael for for the last decade and to have taken him to some of the best Star Wars events in the UK and Europe.  A real highlight was taking Michael to Celebration in Chicago in 2019.  He was lost for words when he saw his queue line with nearly 200 people waiting to see him. We worked with Michael just 3 weeks ago at his last home signing with our friends at Elite Signatures. Michel died on Tuesday 27th February at the age of 85."  </p> <p>"We miss him."</p> <p>His passing leaves a void in the hearts of fans and colleagues, a reminder of the fleeting nature of life's curtain call. As we reflect on his remarkable journey, let us celebrate the life and legacy of Michael Culver, an actor whose talents transcended galaxies and whose spirit will continue to inspire generations to come.</p> <p>In his memory, let us heed the timeless words of Captain Needa himself: "We shall double our efforts."</p> <p>Rest in peace, Michael Culver. The force will always be with you.</p> <p><em>Images: IMDB / Wookiepedia</em></p>

Caring

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War in Ukraine affected wellbeing worldwide, but people’s speed of recovery depended on their personality

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/luke-smillie-7502">Luke Smillie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>The war in Ukraine has had impacts around the world. <a href="https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/ripple-effects-russia-ukraine-war-test-global-economies">Supply chains</a> have been disrupted, the <a href="https://news.un.org/pages/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/GCRG_2nd-Brief_Jun8_2022_FINAL.pdf?utm_source=United+Nations&amp;utm_medium=Brief&amp;utm_campaign=Global+Crisis+Response">cost of living</a> has soared and we’ve seen the <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/hk/en/73141-ukraine-fastest-growing-refugee-crisis-in-europe-since-wwii.html">fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II</a>. All of these are in addition to the devastating humanitarian and economic impacts within Ukraine.</p> <p>Our international team was conducting a global study on wellbeing in the lead up to and after the Russian invasion. This provided a unique opportunity to examine the psychological impact of the outbreak of war.</p> <p>As we explain in a new study published in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-44693-6">Nature Communications</a>, we learned the toll on people’s wellbeing was evident across nations, not just <a href="https://ijmhs.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13033-023-00598-3">in Ukraine</a>. These effects appear to have been temporary – at least for the average person.</p> <p>But people with certain psychological vulnerabilities struggled to recover from the shock of the war.</p> <h2>Tracking wellbeing during the outbreak of war</h2> <p>People who took part in our study completed a rigorous “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2773515/">experience-sampling</a>” protocol. Specifically, we asked them to report their momentary wellbeing four times per day for a whole month.</p> <p>Data collection began in October 2021 and continued throughout 2022. So we had been tracking wellbeing around the world during the weeks surrounding the outbreak of war in February 2022.</p> <p>We also collected measures of personality, along with various sociodemographic variables (including age, gender, political views). This enabled us to assess whether different people responded differently to the crisis. We could also compare these effects across countries.</p> <p>Our analyses focused primarily on 1,341 participants living in 17 European countries, excluding Ukraine itself (44,894 experience-sampling reports in total). We also expanded these analyses to capture the experiences of 1,735 people living in 43 countries around the world (54,851 experience-sampling reports) – including in Australia.</p> <h2>A global dip in wellbeing</h2> <p>On February 24 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, there was a sharp decline in wellbeing around the world. There was no decline in the month leading up to the outbreak of war, suggesting the change in wellbeing was not already occurring for some other reason.</p> <p>However, there was a gradual increase in wellbeing during the month <em>after</em> the Russian invasion, suggestive of a “return to baseline” effect. Such effects are commonly reported in psychological research: situations and events that impact our wellbeing often (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237535630_Adaptation_and_the_Set-Point_Model_of_Subjective_Well-BeingDoes_Happiness_Change_After_Major_Life_Events">though not always</a>) do so <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7062343_Beyond_the_Hedonic_Treadmill_Revising_the_Adaptation_Theory_of_Well-Being">temporarily</a>.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, people in Europe experienced a sharper dip in wellbeing compared to people living elsewhere around the world. Presumably the war was much more salient for those closest to the conflict, compared to those living on an entirely different continent.</p> <p>Interestingly, day-to-day fluctuations in wellbeing mirrored the salience of the war on social media as events unfolded. Specifically, wellbeing was lower on days when there were more tweets mentioning Ukraine on Twitter/X.</p> <p>Our results indicate that, on average, it took around two months for people to return to their baseline levels of wellbeing after the invasion.</p> <h2>Different people, different recoveries</h2> <p>There are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31944795/">strong links</a> between our wellbeing and our individual personalities.</p> <p>However, the dip in wellbeing following the Russian invasion was fairly uniform across individuals. None of the individual factors assessed in our study, including personality and sociodemographic factors, predicted people’s response to the outbreak of war.</p> <p>On the other hand, personality did play a role in how quickly people recovered. Individual differences in people’s recovery were linked to a personality trait called “stability”. Stability is a broad dimension of personality that combines low neuroticism with high agreeableness and conscientiousness (three traits from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/big-five">Big Five</a> personality framework).</p> <p>Stability is so named because it reflects the stability of one’s overall psychological functioning. This can be illustrated by breaking stability down into its three components:</p> <ol> <li> <p>low neuroticism describes <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2212154120">emotional stability</a>. People low in this trait experience less intense negative emotions such as anxiety, fear or anger, in response to negative events</p> </li> <li> <p>high agreeableness describes <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-63285-010">social stability</a>. People high in this trait are generally more cooperative, kind, and motivated to maintain social harmony</p> </li> <li> <p>high conscientiousness describes <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2023.112331">motivational stability</a>. People high in this trait show more effective patterns of goal-directed self-regulation.</p> </li> </ol> <p>So, our data show that people with less stable personalities fared worse in terms of recovering from the impact the war in Ukraine had on wellbeing.</p> <p>In a supplementary analysis, we found the effect of stability was driven specifically by neuroticism and agreeableness. The fact that people higher in neuroticism recovered more slowly accords with a wealth of research linking this trait with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10573882/">coping difficulties</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5428182/">poor mental health</a>.</p> <p>These effects of personality on recovery were stronger than those of sociodemographic factors, such as age, gender or political views, which were not statistically significant.</p> <p>Overall, our findings suggest that people with certain psychological vulnerabilities will often struggle to recover from the shock of global events such as the outbreak of war in Ukraine.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/224147/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/luke-smillie-7502">Luke Smillie</a>, Professor in Personality Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/war-in-ukraine-affected-wellbeing-worldwide-but-peoples-speed-of-recovery-depended-on-their-personality-224147">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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War veteran loses $18,000 to Netflix scam

<p>Shane Arnold, 71, was left with nothing after he fell for an elaborate Netflix scam, allegedly run by a teenager. </p> <p>The war veteran was robbed of $18,000 when he thought he was entitled to a refund after receiving a fake Netflix email.</p> <p>After he entered his personal banking details, the accused scammer allegedly used this information to call Arnold the following day claiming to be a security officer from Commonwealth Bank.</p> <p>"(It was) extremely convincing," Arnold told <em>9News</em>. </p> <p>"He spoke in a posh English accent."</p> <p>Arnold was allegedly told by a 19-year-old, whose voice had been disguised with AI, that his account had been compromised and ordered to put his bank cards in a bag, to be collected by a driver.</p> <p>Hours later, the accused teen who is from Braybrook, Melbourne allegedly withdrew thousands of dollars from ATMs in Braybrook and West Footscray, and purchased dozens of gift cards from Kmart.</p> <p>He also allegedly filled up on fuel, bought a new iPhone, and some strawberry milk and ice cream. </p> <p>The teen has since been charged over the incident, but Arnold is still fighting hard to get his money back. </p> <p>"I've worked for 50-odd years to get that money," he told the publication, adding that he felt "like my heart had been ripped out".</p> <p>The senior also claimed that the bank was partly to blame, and has lodged a report to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) who are currently managing his case. </p> <p>Arnold added that Commonwealth Bank had only offered to reimburse him $1000, and said that everyone who'd been scammed deserved to have their money returned to them.</p> <p>"I hope all those people get their money back," he said.</p> <p>"None of them deserved to be scammed and none of them did anything wrong."</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

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Aussie love story from WWII immortalised in the war memorial

<p>An Australian couple's love story that defied the odds of time and distance has been immortalised in the war memorial.</p> <p>The Australian War Memorial is calling for volunteers to help transcribe thousands of love letters sent from soldiers in the war, to their loved ones back at home. </p> <p>Launching on Valentine's Day, the project will see the digital release of hundreds of thousands of personal letters, diaries and other handwritten documents kept safe for decades. </p> <p>Among those stories is the tale of Mac and Dot, two lovebirds separated by World War II. </p> <p>Their love story began in 1939, when Mac was 17 and Dorothy was 14. </p> <p>Dorothy - or as Mac referred to her, his Darling Dot - was forbidden to go on a date with Mac after her father refused to give his blessing. </p> <p>"He kept on asking me to go out but my father wouldn't let me," Dorothy laughed as she told Ally Langdon on <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by A Current Affair (@acurrentaffair9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mac was soon off to war, but his plan was always to return home to Dot. </p> <p>"He said to me, 'When I come back home...Will you come out with me then?'" Dorothy reminisced.</p> <p>"I said, 'Of course I will, Mac!' And then he gave me a kiss and went to war."</p> <p>The young couple then continued to write each other letters every week for five long years, until Mac was captured by the German army and held as a prisoner of war. </p> <p>Despite his capture, Mac held onto every letter Dot had ever written him, as he remained determined to get home to his beloved. </p> <p>"I hated him being away, and when the letters came back oh gee they were wonderful," Dorothy said.</p> <p>"A letter meant he was still alive, you see, so it was so exciting."</p> <p>In April 1945, Dot received the best letter of all: Mac had escaped and was coming home. </p> <p>"Hello my darling. What does one say in a moment such as this?" Dot wrote on April 30th 1945.</p> <p>"I have butterflies in my stomach, love in my heart and few words that make sense in my mind. Well Mac, it's really coming at last. You're almost home". </p> <p>And Mac wrote back to that, "Hello darling. I miss you more now than ever."</p> <p>"Unfortunately I can't find a boat to take me back to you. If they don't hurry I guess I'll just have to pinch a rowing boat and see what I can do!" </p> <p>When Mac returned home, he brought with him half a decade's worth of those love letters from Dot, as well as a portrait of himself painted by another prisoner of war. </p> <p>It hangs proudly at the end of Dorothy's bed and is the first thing she sees when she wakes.</p> <p>Now Robyn Van Dyke and Terrie-Anne Simmonds from the Australian War Memorial are sifting through thousands of donated love letters, including Mac's and Dorothy's.</p> <p>"He not only managed to escape, but he managed to take all her letters with him and that blows me away because it's not a small amount of letters," Robyn said.</p> <p>The team is looking for <a href="https://transcribe.awm.gov.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">volunteers</a> to help ensure those stories, and all that love, live forever.</p> <p>Dorothy, who is now 101 years old, had more than 70 wonderful years with Mac before he died in 2014. </p> <p>"He was nearly 90, you know. And me I just kept on going and going and going!" she said.</p> <p>"He'd be up there watching every minute I bet. We had such fun. Oh dear we did have fun. We laughed a lot and we cried a lot."</p> <p>"But we lived - and that was the main thing."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 24px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 18px; line-height: 1.333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333; letter-spacing: 0.25px;"> </p>

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"Anzac Day is not for sale": Veterans slam Anzac Day rock festival

<p>Military veteran organisations in New South Wales have expressed their fury after a controversial rock concert booked at the Domain on Anzac Day was approved. </p> <p>The Pandemonium 2024 rock music festival which includes performers like Placebo, Alice Cooper and Blondie is scheduled around around 11.30am on the 25th of April, just 900 metres from where the traditional march by veterans will be. </p> <p>The veteran groups are concerned that the first performances will clash with the memorial march that is set to end at 12:30pm. </p> <p>RSL NSW president Mick Bainbridge has called out the event organisers for the inappropriate timing of the festival. </p> <p>"We all love to have fun and live music is fantastic for Sydney, but Anzac Day is not the day for a music festival," he said.</p> <p>"Anzac Day is a day to think of the sacrifices made by the approximately 120,000 people from NSW who served overseas during World War I, as well as all who have served since.</p> <p>"It is a day for respect and quiet contemplation." </p> <p>Despite reports claiming that the organisers of Pandemonium 2024 have offered to direct a portion of ticket sales to veteran charities, the veteran groups have declared that Anzac Day is "not for sale".</p> <p>"Anzac Day is not for sale," Bainbridge said</p> <p>Although the RSL NSW president said that he understood the value of music for younger people, it shouldn't compromise the day of honour and respect. </p> <p>"If the organiser sincerely wants to support veterans' wellbeing, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how they can donate to organisations, including RSL NSW and RSL LifeCare Veteran Services to do so – without compromising a day of honour and respect."</p> <p>"I love live music and the community it builds. But it has to be at the right time," he added. </p> <p>"We've seen through the Royal Commission's hearings how important it is to protect and honour our community of veterans, and build opportunities to support each other, not tear them down."</p> <p><em>Image: Nine News/ Getty</em></p>

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Veteran slams Australia Day “dawn service”

<p dir="ltr">An Australian war veteran has slammed a Sydney council for their decision to hold a dawn reflection service on January 26th, saying it is “disrespectful” to those who fought and died for their country. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Anzac-day style service, held by Sydney’s Waverley council, will acknowledge the resilience and survival of First Nations people, recognising Australia Day as a “day of mourning” for many Indigenous Australians.</p> <p dir="ltr">Michael von Berg, a Military Cross recipient who served as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War, has denounced the council’s decision, saying dawn services should only be held on Anzac Day, as the events are synonymous with honouring past soldiers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For God's sake. It's a disservice not only to the veteran community but also to First Nations soldiers who fought and died for their country,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr von Berg, who claims to have served alongside Aboriginal soldiers on his first tour of Vietnam in the mid-1960s, questioned the purpose of the event, describing it as “cheap symbolism”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Personally, a dawn service of this nature flies in the face of what they traditionally stand for, which is honouring soldiers,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This stuff doesn't help anyone. I have nothing but respect for First Nations people but there's got to be another way.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr von Berg urged Waverley Council to “seriously reconsider” the event, suggesting they “Hold it on another date.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Mayor of Waverley Council Paula Masselos hit back at criticism of the dawn service, given Australia Day was a day of mourning for many First Nations people.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As a Council that is committed to social justice, we understand that January 26 can be a difficult day for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that many in our community are still coming to terms with the result of the Voice to Parliament referendum,” Mayor Masselos said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Australia Day, observed each year on January 26th, marks the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 when the first governor of the British colony of New South Wales, Arthur Philip, hoisted the Union Jack at Sydney Cove. </p> <p dir="ltr">But for many First Nations people, it is regarded as 'Invasion Day' or the 'Day of Mourning' because it marks the beginning of Australia's colonisation. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-1ab8c0e8-7fff-8bde-2daf-7f474ce062b4"></span></p>

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After 3 months of devastation in the Israel-Hamas war, is anyone ‘winning’?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-parmeter-932739"><em>Ian Parmeter</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>The 19th century German war strategist and field marshal Helmuth von Moltke famously <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/strategy-9780199325153?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">coined</a> the aphorism “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”. His observation might well be applied to the tragedy we are witnessing in Gaza.</p> <p>Three months after the current conflict began, civilians have borne the brunt of the violence on both sides, with the deaths of more than 22,000 Palestinians in Gaza and 1,200 Israelis. Some 85% of Gazans <a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-news-01-03-2024-3b77b0c36bf2cd9922b7a484234bef5f">have also been displaced</a> and a quarter of the population is facing a famine, according to the United Nations.</p> <p>The conflict still has a long way to run and may be headed towards stalemate. From a geopolitical perspective, here’s where the main players stand at the start of the new year.</p> <h2>Israel: limited success …</h2> <p>Israel has so far failed to achieve either of its primary war aims: the destruction of Hamas and freedom for the remainder of the 240 Israelis taken hostage on October 7.</p> <p>Hamas fighters continue to use their tunnel network to ambush Israeli soldiers and are firing rockets at Israel, albeit in much lower volumes: 27 were <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-stroke-of-midnight-hamas-attacks-israel-with-heavy-new-year-rocket-barrage/">fired</a> at the start of the new year, <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/idf-9500-rockets-fired-at-israel-since-oct-7-including-3000-in-1st-hours-of-onslaught/">compared</a> with 3,000 in the first hours of the conflict on October 7.</p> <p>There are still around <a href="https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2023/12/20/israel-isnt-sure-what-to-do-about-the-hostages-in-gaza">130 Israelis</a> being held hostage, and only <a href="https://www.rand.org/pubs/commentary/2023/12/five-potential-next-steps-for-the-hostage-situation.html">one hostage</a> has been freed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), as opposed to releases arranged through Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Israeli society is divided between those who want to prioritise negotiations to release the hostages and those who want to prioritise the elimination of Hamas.</p> <p>Israel achieved an important symbolic success with the apparent targeted killing of Hamas deputy leader <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-lebanon-hamas-saleh-al-arouri-fears-widening-regional-conflict/">Saleh al-Arouri</a> in Beirut on January 2. Though Israel has not formally claimed responsibility, there is little doubt it was <a href="https://www.axios.com/2024/01/02/hamas-saleh-arouri-killed-beirut-hezbollah-israel-gaza">behind</a> the killing.</p> <p>But the two Gaza–based Hamas leaders Israel most wants to eliminate, political leader Yahya Sinwar and military leader Mohammed Deif, are still at large.</p> <p>Israel still has US support in the UN Security Council, which has <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/22/politics/un-security-council-resolution-israel-gaza-resolution/index.html">managed to pass</a> only one toothless resolution since the war began. But the Biden administration is <a href="https://apnews.com/article/biden-israel-hamas-oct-7-44c4229d4c1270d9cfa484b664a22071">publicly pressuring</a> Israel to change its tactics to minimise Palestinian casualties.</p> <h2>…and facing a ‘day after’ conundrum</h2> <p>The Israeli government is also divided on how Gaza should be run when the fighting stops.</p> <p>Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has <a href="https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-777731">said</a> he won’t accept Gaza remaining “Hamastan” (Hamas-controlled) or becoming “Fatahstan” (ruled by the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the secular Fatah party). US President Joe Biden <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/biden-says-palestinian-authority-should-ultimately-govern-gaza-west-bank-2023-11-18/">prefers</a> a Gaza government led by a reformed Palestinian Authority, but Netanyahu has rejected this and has not articulated an alternative plan.</p> <p>Defence Minister Yoav Gallant this week <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallants-post-war-gaza-plan-palestinians-to-run-civil-affairs-with-global-task-force/">outlined</a> what seems to be his own plan for Gaza, involving governance by unspecified Palestinian authorities. His plan did not immediately have Israeli cabinet approval and has been <a href="https://thehill.com/opinion/international/4391112-dangerous-ideas-about-the-day-after-in-gaza/">slammed</a> by hard-right ministers.</p> <p>Two of these, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben–Gvir, have <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-minister-slams-smotrich-ben-gvirs-unrealistic-call-for-gazan-emigration/#:%7E:text=Ben%20Gvir%20hit%20back%20at,will%20protect%20the%20IDF%20soldiers.%E2%80%9D">called</a> for a solution that encourages the Palestinian population to emigrate and for Israeli settlers to return to the strip. That would be <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20240103-us-condemns-far-right-israeli-ministers-call-for-palestinians-to-emigrate-from-gaza">unacceptable</a> to the Biden administration.</p> <p>Israel’s massive bombing campaign has also slowly turned international opinion against it, as expressed in the UN General Assembly <a href="https://apnews.com/article/un-assembly-israel-palestinians-hamas-vote-resolution-bffc37b2ecc444d906492008cde0aaf6">vote</a> last month in which 153 of the 193 member states called for a ceasefire.</p> <p>Are Netanyahu’s days now numbered? The current issue of The Economist <a href="https://www.economist.com/leaders/2024/01/03/binyamin-netanyahu-is-botching-the-war-time-to-sack-him">features a headline</a> that reads “Binyamin Netanyahu is botching the war. Time to sack him”. Whether or not that’s a fair judgement, it’s clear that internal divisions and indecision within his government are hindering Israel’s prosecution of the war.</p> <h2>Hamas – still standing</h2> <p>The militant group has obviously been hurt. Israel claims to have <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/israel-gaza-latest-hamas-war-sky-news-blog-12978800?postid=6736630">killed or captured</a> between 8,000 and 9,000 of Hamas’ approximately 30,000–strong fighting force – though it has not explained how it calculates militant deaths.</p> <p>Hamas’ main achievement is that it is still standing. To win, the militant group does not have to defeat Israel – it needs merely to survive the IDF onslaught.</p> <p>Hamas can claim some positives. Its attack on October 7 has put the Palestinian issue at the top of the Middle East agenda.</p> <p>Citizens in the Arab states that have signed peace agreements with Israel are clearly angry. And an Israeli-Saudi agreement to normalise relations between the countries, which had been imminent before the conflict, is off the table for now.</p> <p>Opinion polling also <a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-palestinians-opinion-poll-wartime-views-a0baade915619cd070b5393844bc4514">shows support</a> for Hamas has risen from 12% to 44% in the West Bank and from 38% to 42% in Gaza in the past three months. If it were possible to hold fair Palestinian elections now, they could produce results Israel and the US would not like.</p> <h2>United States – weakness in dealing with Israel</h2> <p>Biden embraced Netanyahu immediately after the Hamas attack, but US efforts since then to influence Israel’s war plans have not yielded any results.</p> <p>Secretary of State Antony Blinken failed in his effort to persuade Israel to end the war by the start of the new year. His <a href="https://apnews.com/article/us-turkey-israel-greece-gaza-hamas-jordan-36e5e1be205d5200916fd447c8c8e455">current visit</a> to the region is unlikely to yield any major changes.</p> <p>Moreover, divisions in the US may hurt Biden in the lead–up to the presidential election in November. Young, college–educated progressives, who tend to vote Democratic, have taken part in demonstrations against Biden’s public support for Israel’s right to defend itself, if not its way of doing so.</p> <p>These progressives won’t vote for the almost–certain Republican candidate, Donald Trump. But they could stay home on election day, handing the election to Trump.</p> <p>US support for Ukraine has also become a casualty of the war. Republicans, taking their cue from Trump, are prioritising support for Israel and stopping the flow of migrants across the US-Mexico border. They are losing interest in Ukraine – which clearly benefits Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those benefits will be reinforced if Trump wins the presidency again.</p> <h2>United Nations – irrelevant</h2> <p>The UN has also failed in its mission of maintaining world peace. The only Security Council resolution on the war meant nothing, as Russia was pleased to <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2023/12/22/un-security-council-gaza-aid-00133112">point out</a>.</p> <p>The recent UN General Assembly resolution illustrated Israel’s growing isolation, but has done nothing to change the course of the war. UN Secretary–General Antonio Guterres has been powerless to influence either Israel or Hamas.</p> <h2>Iran – watching for opportunities</h2> <p>The Hezbollah militant group will do a lot of huffing and puffing over the killing of al-Arouri in a Hezbollah-controlled part of Beirut. But it takes its orders from Tehran, which still shows no sign of wanting to become directly involved in the war.</p> <p>That said, Iran appears to have no problem with its proxies – Hezbollah in Lebanon and the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-yemens-houthis-are-getting-involved-in-the-israel-hamas-war-and-how-it-could-disrupt-global-shipping-219220">Houthis in Yemen</a> – providing token support for Hamas through limited rocket, drone and artillery attacks.</p> <p>Iran is likely to be reinforced in this approach by the bombings at the tomb of former Quds Force commander <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-vows-revenge-for-soleimanis-killing-but-heres-why-it-wont-seek-direct-confrontation-with-the-us-129440">Qassem Soleimani</a> last week, which killed almost 100 Iranians. The bombings have been claimed by the Islamic State, which will likely make Iran more focused on its internal security than on assisting Hamas.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220644/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-parmeter-932739">Ian Parmeter</a>, Research Scholar, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-3-months-of-devastation-in-the-israel-hamas-war-is-anyone-winning-220644">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What exactly is a ceasefire, and why is it so difficult to agree on one in Gaza?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marika-sosnowski-1415833">Marika Sosnowski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Barely a week after Hamas’ attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians on October 7 and the subsequent airstrikes by the Israeli Defence Force on the Gaza Strip, talk of a ceasefire had already begun.</p> <p>More than five weeks into the war, calls for a ceasefire have only grown louder. Visiting the White House this week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/14/indonesian-president-joko-widodo-urges-biden-to-help-end-gaza-atrocities">said</a>, a “ceasefire is a must for the sake of humanity.”</p> <p>Israel has thus far <a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-news-11-11-2023-d4d272416107c02e63dabd9548395026">refused</a> to discuss a ceasefire without the release of the 240 hostages being held by Hamas.</p> <p>But what exactly is a ceasefire, and how do they work? And what sort of arrangement would be most effective in Gaza?</p> <h2>Different terms, different meanings</h2> <p>Virtually as old as conflict itself, a ceasefire is an ancient way of formalising a halt to armed violence between warring parties for a certain period of time. Historically, the terms truce and armistice were used as synonyms.</p> <p>Perhaps surprisingly, international humanitarian law has <a href="https://www.chathamhouse.org/2023/11/humanitarian-pauses-and-ceasefires-what-are-differences">no provisions</a> relating specifically to when ceasefires should be negotiated, what they need to contain or how they need to be applied.</p> <p>It is only in the last 50 years or so that a range of new terminology has become commonplace to describe the phenomenon of a “<a href="https://beyondintractability.org/essay/cease-fire">ceasefire</a>”. These include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://ru.usembassy.gov/joint-statement-russian-federation-united-states-syria/">cessation of hostilities</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2017/12/04/un-calls-humanitarian-pause-yemen-conditions-capital-deteriorate">humanitarian pauses</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.peaceagreements.org/viewmasterdocument/2093">de-escalation areas</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/un-call-days-tranquility-bears-fruit-more-five-million-children-have-been-vaccinated">days of tranquility</a> (pauses in fighting to allow for immunisation of children)</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Policy_brief_Creating_safe_zones_and_safe_corridors.pdf">safe zones</a> and safe corridors</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://osce.org/stories/osce-mirror-patrols-windows-of-hope-eastern-ukraine">windows of silence</a> (one name given to the 2014 ceasefire in Ukraine).</p> </li> </ul> <p>Many of these terms have been used in the Gaza conflict. For instance, in late October, the UN General Assembly <a href="https://press.un.org/en/2023/ga12548.doc.htm">adopted</a> a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to cessation of hostilities”.</p> <p>In the Security Council, the US has <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-67320520">called</a> for “humanitarian pauses”, but not a “ceasefire”. Russia, meanwhile, has <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142427">demanded</a> a “humanitarian ceasefire”, but is unhappy with a “truce” or “pauses”.</p> <p>This week, Hamas said it is willing to <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20231113-%F0%9F%94%B4-live-more-gaza-hospitals-halt-operations-as-israeli-assault-continues">release</a> 70 hostages in exchange for a five-day “truce”.</p> <p>Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/04/gaza-ceasefire-talks-ongoing-despite-israeli-pm-rejecting-pause-says-us">rejected</a> a “temporary truce”, but under pressure from the US, has agreed this week to <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/11/10/will-israels-humanitarian-pauses-mean-much-for-gaza-no-say-experts">implement</a> daily four-hour “humanitarian pauses”.</p> <p>While there have been <a href="https://ukraine.un.org/en/174777-glossary-humanitarian-terms-pauses-during-conflict">attempts</a> to differentiate between these terms, states continue to place different emphasis or apply different meanings to them in ad hoc ways. This makes finding common ground difficult.</p> <h2>What could be achieved in Gaza instead</h2> <p>So, if we have no common definitions as a starting point, how do parties come to any useful or enforceable agreement on a ceasefire?</p> <p>Thus far in Gaza, the answer has mostly been they don’t. It may be simplistic to say that words are what we use as humans to make sense of and order the world, but in this context, specifics matter.</p> <p>Arguably, in focusing so squarely on getting to a halt in fighting (whatever we want to call that), we lose sight of many other important factors and actions that may or may not fall under the broad and open-to-interpretation umbrella term of “ceasefire”.</p> <p>For example, Israel and Hamas might find agreement if negotiators focused on more specific details or issues, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>the amount of ordnance being used by both sides on a daily basis, and what kind of ordnance</p> </li> <li> <p>where or what is targeted by both sides</p> </li> <li> <p>the number of aid convoys allowed into Gaza, where they would come from, where they would go and what they would be carrying</p> </li> <li> <p>the number and/or nationality of hostages to be released and at what regularity.</p> </li> </ul> <p>I am not a negotiator and this is not an exhaustive list. What it hopes to illustrate is that efforts for a grand-bargain-type ceasefire should not be prioritised over more nuanced, and perhaps tangible, efforts for other types of lulls in fighting.</p> <h2>How ceasefires can be problematic</h2> <p>At the same time, it should not be forgotten that ceasefires can have unintended consequences. Often these consequences are far from beneficial, positive or humanitarian – the kinds of things we expect from a ceasefire.</p> <p>For example, in Syria, local <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/06/18/do-ceasefires-syria-work-we-checked-data/">ceasefires</a> and reconciliation agreements have been used during the civil war to allow for the evacuation of citizens from their homes in places like <a href="https://paxforpeace.nl/publications/no-return-to-homs/#:%7E:text=The%2520report%2520'No%2520Return%2520to,cities%2520and%2520neighbourhoods%2520in%2520Syria.">Old Homs</a> and <a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/besiege-bombard-retake-reconciliation-agreements-syria">Daraya</a>.</p> <p>Subsequently, a raft of presidential decrees were enacted that enabled the Syrian regime to permanently reappropriate their properties. State-backed <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/articles/beyond-fragility-syria-and-the-challenges-of-reconstruction-in-fierce-states/">reconstruction</a> and development projects such as Basila City (which ironically means “Peace City” in old Aramaic), Marouta and Homs Dream were then built on the land acquired via the ceasefire agreements.</p> <p>Likewise, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/evacuation-route-offered-fleeing-ukrainians-mined-1685418">humanitarian corridors</a> were implemented that allowed people from the besieged city of Mariupol to evacuate. Shortly afterwards, however, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky <a href="https://www.novinite.com/articles/214156/Zelensky+accused+Russia+of+Mining+Humanitarian+Corridors">accused</a> Russia of laying landmines within the corridors to thwart civilians’ ability to flee.</p> <p>In another example, humanitarian corridors that Russia <a href="https://www.reuters.com/markets/asia/top-wrap-1-ukrainians-trapped-besieged-city-fighting-blocks-evacuation-efforts-2022-03-07/">proposed</a> setting up would not lead civilians to safety, but rather into Russia or its close ally Belarus.</p> <p>Israel has similarly announced “<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-10-16/israel-announces-another-safe-passage-for-gazans-to-move-south">safe corridors</a>” enabling <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/11/10/will-israels-humanitarian-pauses-mean-much-for-gaza-no-say-experts">mass displacement</a> of civilians from the north to the south of the country. The relocation is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/13/israel-hamas-war-latest-gaza-residents-told-move-ground-assault">supposedly</a> for civilians’ own safety, despite the fact airstrikes are killing civilians there, too. Many also <a href="https://www.newarab.com/news/egypt-israeli-safe-zones-gaza-prelude-displacement">fear</a> the supposed “safe corridors” could lead to a permanent displacement of Gazans.</p> <p>Israel has reportedly also canvassed support for a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/05/world/middleeast/israel-egypt-gaza.html#:%7E:text=Israeli%2520leaders%2520and%2520diplomats%2520have,the%2520border%2520in%2520neighboring%2520Egypt.">humanitarian corridor</a> that would direct Palestinians towards the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, in effect making them an Egyptian problem with little possibility of return. The idea has unsurprisingly been rejected by both the Palestinians and Egypt.</p> <h2>A ceasefire is only the beginning</h2> <p>Despite all this, ceasefires are perhaps the best-formalised tools humans have so far devised to halt the violence of armed conflict for a time.</p> <p>Therefore, given the suffering of civilians on both sides in the Israel-Hamas conflict, it is imperative some form of ceasefire happens. However, we should not be blinded by calls for a ceasefire (whatever terms are used), but stay alert to the hazards that ceasefires can themselves create.</p> <p>In any case, a ceasefire that stops violence for four hours, four days or four months will only be the beginning of the more challenging work that needs to be done to bring meaningful and long-term security and stablity to both Palestinians and Israelis.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217683/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marika-sosnowski-1415833"><em>Marika Sosnowski</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-exactly-is-a-ceasefire-and-why-is-it-so-difficult-to-agree-on-one-in-gaza-217683">original article</a>.</em></p>

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These are the top mistakes first-time cruise travellers should avoid, according to a cruise ship veteran

<p><strong>Cruise tips for the perfect trip</strong></p> <p>For more than a decade, I have worked on some of the best cruise lines, and for the last six years, I’ve been a cruise director. It’s a dream job: I am the face and voice of a 3,600-person-capacity ship, organising entertainment around the clock for guests, creating the master schedules, coordinating excursions, hosting special events and so much more. I’ve been on hundreds of cruises and live on a ship for most of the year, so it’s safe to say that I know a few cruise tips you’ll find useful.</p> <p>I also know a thing or two about the mistakes people make when it comes to cruises, whether they’re first-time cruisers or regulars. From creating a smart cruise packing list to finding the best deals at sea, these insider cruise tips will ensure that you have the best trip possible.</p> <p><strong>Booking too late </strong></p> <p>It is true that if you’re very flexible with your travel plans and/or you live near a popular port-of-call, you can get some great bargains on cruises by booking at the last minute. But those opportunities are harder to come by these days, thanks to sophisticated computer algorithms that do a great job of adjusting prices to fill bookings earlier.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If you’re sure you want to book a particular cruise or your travel plans aren’t flexible, book as early as possible – as in, the date bookings open. Prices will be at their lowest then, but if for some reason they do drop, you can ask customer service to match the new lower price. Just be aware that price adjustments need to be made before the “final booking window,” when all rates are locked in, usually one to three months before departure.</p> <p><strong>Not asking for an upgrade</strong></p> <p>Post-pandemic, a lot of ships are sailing at low capacity, so there are often plenty of open rooms. People are often nervous to ask for an upgrade, but those rooms will just be left empty if they’re not filled by departure time. We love making guests happy, and as long as you’re polite and phrase it as a question, not a demand, we’ll do our best!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> When you arrive, talk to any of the employees greeting guests about rooms available for upgrades. Different cruise lines have different policies, and the employees will know how to help you. And in case you were wondering, you can ask for an upgrade regardless of how you purchased your tickets. If you’re there for a special event, like a milestone anniversary or a honeymoon, definitely mention it – even if you can’t get an upgrade, they will find other ways to make your cruise special.</p> <p>Some cruises also allow you to “bid” for an upgrade, meaning that you can offer an extra amount of money for that nicer cabin. This is still a good deal, since even with the extra fee, it’s still cheaper than if you had paid the original rate for that room.</p> <p><strong>Not packing a carry-on bag</strong></p> <p>This is one of those cruise tips you’ll really be glad you know before your next trip. Many people overpack their main luggage and don’t give enough thought to what they’re toting in their carry-ons. Remember: It takes several hours minimum to get your luggage to you. Luggage times can range from a couple of hours to half a day, depending on staffing levels and your cabin location. This is why it’s essential to have a day pack with anything you’ll need right away – and don’t forget the fun stuff!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Pack a roomy carry-on with medication, contact solution, a change of clothing, a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, sandals or other items you’ll want to have immediate access to.</p> <p><strong>Being rude or cold to the crew</strong></p> <p>We’re here to help you, but we’re not slaves. I’ve seen passengers have full meltdowns over everything from not being able to get prescription medication from the first-aid station, to the buffet not having a dish they ate on a different cruise line, to their towels being folded instead of shaped, like they saw on Instagram. Regardless of your demeanour with us, we’ll always do our best to help you, but we won’t be motivated to go above and beyond for you. Keep in mind that some events, such as dinner with the captain, are by invitation only or are not advertised, and having a crew member to help you get your name on the golden ticket could make your cruise experience something out of this world.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Be polite and kind to the crew. To be clear: You’re allowed to complain, and we definitely want to know if something isn’t right or if it could be better, but just remember that we’re people too – often operating on very little sleep.</p> <p><strong>Not taking advantage of flash deals </strong></p> <p>During booking or before boarding, many cruises offer limited amounts of “flash deals” for things like entertainment shows or drink packages. Many people wait, thinking they can just decide once they’re on board, but you won’t find those same deals on the ship. And these deals are worth it: Purchasing a flash deal ahead of time could get you half-off discounts for food and alcoholic beverages, a VIP excursion or priority seating at shows. Talk about an easy way to get perks and save some serious money!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If they’re offering something you know you’ll use, it’s almost always cheaper to purchase it through a flash deal. Flash deals are publicised through a cruise’s site and via email, but the fastest way to be alerted is by installing the app for your cruise line and registering your trip. And be sure to purchase quickly, since many deals are available only for a short time and/or in limited quantities.</p> <p><strong>Using the internet a lot</strong></p> <p>Internet on cruise ships can be overpriced and unreliable. This is because ocean-going ships have to use satellite systems for internet, and they are slower and tend to lose service more easily. And expect to pay for the privilege of slower service – older ships still sell internet by the minute (50 to 75 cents), while state-of-the-art ships offer day passes. Day passes average about $US25 per device, per day. This can add up faster than you realise. So while it’s technologically possible to stream a Netflix movie to your cabin, it may not be the best use of your time or money.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> See it as a gift! My advice would be to switch off completely while at sea and save your money. Cruise ships are equipped for maximum entertainment, and you should take advantage of all the fun we have on board. (Plus, in a cruise tip that doubles as a life tip, it’s good for you to do a mini digital detox and take a break from social media every once in a while.) If you do need to use the internet – say, to check your work emails or contact family – it will be cheapest and fastest to wait until you’re at port and find a Wi-Fi hot spot. Otherwise, just plan to use the ship’s internet strategically; have a plan before logging on rather than just surfing.</p> <p><strong>Not signing up for the free loyalty program </strong></p> <p>All major cruise lines have loyalty programs that offer real perks, including discounts on tickets, free meals, free internet, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and even free cruises. If you don’t sign up, you’re missing out. While the perks will depend on what “tier” of the loyalty program you sign up for, top-tier loyalty programs are the best deal for serious cruisers. That’s where you’ll be treated like royalty, with upgrades, special events, free or heavily discounted tickets, priority booking and lots of other extras.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> The base programs are free to sign up, and you’ll want to register for them as soon as possible because you can start earning points immediately. Higher-tier programs are fee-based, but they can be a great deal depending on what amenities you want and how often you plan to cruise. You will be offered the chance to sign up or upgrade during the booking process, but if you miss it, you can sign up at check-in or at any point during the cruise – even when disembarking.</p> <p>Depending on the package and loyalty tier, some of your points will be available immediately for use on your current cruise. Some major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, have partnerships with major credit cards that allow you to use your card to rack up loyalty points throughout the year.</p> <p><strong>Sticking to the buffets </strong></p> <p>Yes, buffets are fantastic because they offer a wide variety of popular foods, and it’s all-you-can-eat around the clock. But if you’re only eating at the buffets, you’re missing some of the best food on the cruise! The restaurants are designed to give you a full dining experience and offer regional or specialty cuisines that can’t be found on the buffet. Plus, you can order according to your taste and special-order dishes if you have particular dietary concerns. Many restaurants offer extras like dining with the chef, watching the food be prepared or special entertainment events.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about special dining events, like the chef’s table, or to help you get reservations for a specialty meal – for instance, a Brazilian steakhouse meal or a five-course tasting with wine pairings. These dining experiences usually cost extra, but they’re totally worth it. Try to book two or three if you can.</p> <p><strong>Not using room service enough </strong></p> <p>When you’re staying at a hotel, you might forgo room service because it can get pricey – or because you can’t order whatever you want, whenever you want it. That’s not necessarily the case on a cruise. Post-pandemic, you can order anything off the menu through room service, 24/7… But not all the food is free. You may have to pay extra for that cheeseburger at 3am.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> While what’s included in room service varies from cruise line to cruise line, as well as what package you’ve booked, breakfast will likely be free – no matter what. Make the most of this cruise ship secret, and you never have to leave your room for breakfast again if you don’t want to! One etiquette-based cruise tip, though: While tipping isn’t necessary, if you do order room service in the middle of the night, consider tipping the staff a few dollars when they bring it.</p> <p><strong>Not reading the ship's insurance policy </strong></p> <p>If you enjoy doing adventurous activities like ziplining and surfing, make sure you know the risks and what you are covered for in case of an emergency. The ship’s insurance policy covers only the very basic things – those that are directly the cruise line’s responsibility, like cancelled cruises or lost luggage. But anything related to your health or other travel issues won’t be covered, so you’ll need to rely on personal policies.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Make sure to read through the insurance policy and ask your cruise host or travel agent if you have questions. Check with your personal insurance provider to see exactly what they cover for cruises and/or out-of-country trips. And it’s never a bad idea to purchase separate travel insurance.</p> <p><strong>Going to Medical for seasickness</strong></p> <p>Cruises are required to have a certified doctor on the ship, but it costs money to get medical care onboard. Doctors bill an hourly rate – often around $US100 per hour – plus fees for any services or extra supplies. Cruise-ship medical bills can range from $US50 to thousands of dollars if you end up needing to be helicoptered out. However, many medical items are available for free through the customer concierge, so save those medical trips for illnesses or injuries that really require a doctor’s attention.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Seasickness pills and other over-the-counter meds, such as ibuprofen and Tylenol, are free through guest services, as well as things like adhesive bandages, heating pads and wraps. Stop by the host station, ask any staff member or call directly from your cabin. Pro tip: If you’re prone to seasickness, ask for a cabin on a low deck and mid-ship, since they pitch the least in relation to the rest of the ship.</p> <p><strong>Taking sketchy DIY excursions </strong></p> <p>This really depends on the location, but in lesser-known areas, it is generally wise to stick to the ship-sponsored excursions as opposed to relying on sales pitches from locals, taking internet advice or just winging it. After all, you want to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, you’re safe and the ship doesn’t leave without you if the excursion runs late!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stick to reputable excursions. Your cruise director will have a list of ship-sponsored excursions and will also be able to advise you on local companies that the cruise line has worked with. It also never hurts to do research before setting sail, looking up your particular ports-of-call and seeing what excursions you might want to ask about.</p> <p><strong>Going too far from the ship</strong></p> <p>It’s fine to go ashore independently and find your own adventures, but I’ve seen too many guests end up losing track of time or distance, and then end up waving the ship goodbye from shore. If this happens, you’ll have to find your own travel to the cruise ship’s next port of call.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Instead of driving yourself, find a local taxi driver who knows the area well. Just be sure to negotiate the price and time before hopping in. If you do decide to go it alone, stay fairly close to port, watch the clock and build in extra time for things like traffic jams. Make sure to get back to the boat at least 30 minutes before boarding time.</p> <p><strong>Underestimating how windy it gets at sea</strong></p> <p>Anytime you’re outside on the ship, make sure to secure all your belongings. Hold on tightly if you’re walking around, and if you’re putting your items down, place them in a zippered bag attached to a chair or table, or tether larger items (like blankets) to furniture. It doesn’t take much wind to launch your mobile phone, hat or glasses into the ocean. This happens far more often than you might think!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> I recommend that guests always bring towel clips for securing towels, clothing, thongs and other flighty items. Your ship may come equipped with some anti-wind protections like special shelters by the pool, lockers or wind breaks.</p> <p><strong>Not honouring cruise traditions </strong></p> <p>Ships, cruise lines and even cruising culture in general have their own traditions. The most popular one on all cruise lines is the “Cruising Duck.” Never heard of it? Guests bring a rubber duck and hide it around the ship to be discovered by others. But there are many more traditions based on individual cruise lines, travel routes or themes (say, a Disney cruise), and part of the fun is getting to discover them. You can read up about them on online forums or just wait to be surprised.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Participating in these little traditions will make it more fun for you on your trip, and it’s a great way to integrate yourself into the cruising community. It’s especially fun if you’re doing a themed cruise.</p> <p><strong>Not following current health protocols</strong></p> <p>Health protocols change often, especially post-pandemic. For instance, most cruise ships now require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Some are still doing rapid tests before boarding. Most prefer (but don’t require) you to wear a mask if you develop any symptoms of illness while aboard. If you test positive for an infectious illness, you’ll be quarantined. And remember, it’s not just COVID they’re concerned about: Outbreaks of norovirus and influenza are common in the close quarters of cruise ships.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stay up to date on the current rules, and do your best to follow them. This information should be given to you the week before your cruise, via email or your online portal. You can also check the website, call customer service or talk to a host during the boarding process. But please don’t argue with us – we don’t make the rules. If you need clarification or an exception, speak to the ship’s doctor.</p> <p><strong>Not booking your next cruise while you're still on the ship</strong></p> <p>This may sound crazy, but it’s one of the smartest cruise tips. Booking your next cruise while on your current cruise is a terrific way to make the most of free onboard credit and loyalty points. Once you leave the ship, the deals they’re offering will be gone.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about what deals they are offering before you disembark. This is the best time to get a great deal on your favourite cruises – and ones that won’t be available at a later date. Cruise lines really want you to book your next cruise while you’re still there and excited, so they may offer you a cheaper upgrade to a higher tier of the loyalty program and/or nicer perks on your next cruise. If you can book at this time, you definitely should.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/ive-worked-on-cruise-ships-for-10-years-these-are-the-mistakes-every-traveller-should-avoid?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

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Can Israel and Hamas be held to account for alleged crimes against civilians?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-maguire-129609">Amy Maguire</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.redcross.org.au/ihl/">International humanitarian law</a> – the law of armed conflict – aims to constrain how wars are fought. It is designed to protect noncombatants and limit the means of warfare.</p> <p>As each hour brings news of further horror in the Israel-Hamas conflict, what role should international law be playing? And does it actually have any capacity to constrain the behaviour of the combatants?</p> <h2>A humanitarian nightmare is unfolding</h2> <p>On <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2023/10/16/middleeast/israel-hamas-gaza-war-explained-week-2-mime-intl/index.html">October 7</a>, the Hamas militant group launched thousands of rockets against Israel in advance of a ground attack. Militants <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/israel-gaza-hamas/?id=103804516#:%7E:text=ABC%20News%20Chief%20Global%20Affairs,war%20in%20Israel%20and%20Gaza.&amp;text=At%20least%201%2C400%20people%20have,7%2C%20Israeli%20authorities%20said.">killed</a> more than 1,400 people and wounded 3,400 others in towns and kibbutzim across southern Israel. It was the <a href="https://theconversation.com/deadliest-day-for-jews-since-the-holocaust-spurs-a-crisis-of-confidence-in-the-idea-of-israel-and-its-possible-renewal-215507">deadliest day</a> for Jewish people since the Holocaust.</p> <p>Most of those killed were civilians, including many <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/horror-israeli-authorities-show-footage-hamas-atrocities-reporters-notebook/story?id=104015431#:%7E:text=It%20was%20part%20of%20the,injured%20in%20Israel%2C%20authorities%20said.">children</a> who were shot, blown up or burned to death. Hundreds of young people were also <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/08/israel-festival-attack-gaza-militants/">massacred</a> at a music festival, and Hamas took around 200 <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/former-hamas-chief-meshaal-says-israeli-captives-include-high-ranking-officers-2023-10-16/">hostages</a> back to Gaza.</p> <p>Israel is responding to this attack with <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/israel-gaza-hamas/?id=103804516#:%7E:text=ABC%20News%20Chief%20Global%20Affairs,war%20in%20Israel%20and%20Gaza.&amp;text=At%20least%201%2C400%20people%20have,7%2C%20Israeli%20authorities%20said.">airstrikes</a>, which have to date <a href="https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/israel-hamas-war-gaza-palestinians/card/latest-death-tolls-in-gaza-and-israel-xJRhBt04VQMocRuYUtsA">killed</a> at least 4,000 people in Gaza and injured thousands more. The vast majority of these casualties are Palestinian civilians.</p> <p>Israel has also rapidly mobilised around <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/10/israel-military-draft-reservists/">360,000 reservists</a> in preparation for an anticipated ground offensive on Gaza.</p> <p>In recent days, a blast at a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/17/world/middleeast/gaza-hospital-explosion-israel.html">Gaza hospital</a> killed hundreds, including patients and displaced people seeking sanctuary. Hamas and several Arab states have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/18/israel-faces-blame-from-regional-allies-over-gaza-hospital-deaths">blamed</a> Israel for the explosion, while Israel has <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/17/world/middleeast/islamic-jihad-gaza-hospital-israel.html">blamed</a> Palestinian Islamic Jihad.</p> <p>The situation in Gaza is dire for people with urgent needs, including <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-18/israel-gaza-war-live-updates-october-18/102989182?utm_campaign=abc_news_web&amp;utm_content=link&amp;utm_medium=content_shared&amp;utm_source=abc_news_web#live-blog-post-55243">5,000 women</a> due to give birth this month and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/16/world/middleeast/gaza-evacuation-twin-babies-hospital.html#:%7E:text=The%20babies%2C%20Nuha%20and%20Fatin,of%20an%20Israeli%20ground%20invasion.">newborn babies</a> whose families cannot find drinking water to prepare formula.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Israel has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/12/no-power-water-or-fuel-to-gaza-until-hostages-freed-says-israeli-minister">cut off</a> water, electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza and ordered a <a href="https://theconversation.com/gaza-is-being-strangled-why-israels-evacuation-order-violates-international-law-215787">total siege</a> of the territory. Israel has also ordered residents of northern Gaza to <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/10/16/why-israels-gaza-evacuation-order-so-alarming">evacuate</a> to the south. Aid agencies have been unable to provide desperately needed <a href="https://time.com/6324539/israel-gaza-humanitarian-aid-egypt-border/">humanitarian assistance</a> to civilians through the border crossing with Egypt.</p> <p>Prior to this latest horrific escalation, Gaza was already entrenched in a <a href="https://theconversation.com/gaza-has-been-blockaded-for-16-years-heres-what-a-complete-siege-and-invasion-could-mean-for-vital-supplies-215359">humanitarian crisis</a>. The situation now is beyond comprehension.</p> <p><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/radionational-breakfast/gaza-610/102983118">Léo Cans</a>, the head of mission for Doctors Without Borders in Palestine, said hospitals are being overwhelmed and hundreds will die without electricity being restored: "This is something that is known and could be prevented just by letting fuel and supplies inside Gaza. What is ahead of us is beyond words […] at the end of the road it’s a big wall, and this big wall is full of dead people."</p> <h2>Principles governing the conduct of war</h2> <p>International humanitarian law is a pragmatic body of law. Its existence acknowledges the inevitability of armed conflict and it aims to mitigate war’s impact on people.</p> <p>International humanitarian law is not, in itself, concerned with the justifications for why combatants engage in war. It applies even in situations where a state is entitled to act in self-defence under broader international law.</p> <p>We are witnessing gross violations of fundamental humanitarian law principles in the conflict. Here are some examples:</p> <p><strong>Distinction between civilians and combatants</strong></p> <p>Attacks are considered <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/api-1977/article-51">unlawful</a> if they are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>directed specifically against civilians</p> </li> <li> <p>launched indiscriminately without distinction between civilians and combatants</p> </li> <li> <p>or directed at military targets but anticipated to cause harm to civilians disproportionate to the military advantage being sought.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Methods of warfare</strong></p> <p>It is <a href="https://casebook.icrc.org/law/conduct-hostilities#iii_1">unlawful</a> to conduct war in a manner that causes unnecessary suffering. Attacks targeting civilians are fundamentally unnecessary and, therefore, illegal.</p> <p><strong>Collective punishment</strong></p> <p>The fourth Geneva Convention prohibits <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/gciv-1949/article-33">collective punishment</a>: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."</p> <p>This prohibition reflects the idea of <a href="https://guide-humanitarian-law.org/content/article/3/collective-punishment/">individual criminal responsibility</a> under international criminal law. Prosecutions for breaches of humanitarian law are directed towards individuals who can be proven responsible, rather than against states or populations.</p> <p><strong>Humanitarian protection</strong></p> <p>Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions requires <a href="https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/war-and-law/treaties-customary-law/geneva-conventions/overview-geneva-conventions.htm">humane protection</a> for all people in enemy hands. It prohibits murder and hostage-taking. It also requires the provision of humanitarian assistance to all people without distinction.</p> <p><strong>Obligations of occupying powers</strong></p> <p>It is arguable Israel is a de facto occupying power of the Gaza Strip because it has such a <a href="https://theconversation.com/gaza-is-being-strangled-why-israels-evacuation-order-violates-international-law-215787">high level of control</a> over people’s lives. For example, it has the ability to shut off supplies of essential life services. The argument Israel is occupying Gaza will be strengthened should Israel launch a ground invasion.</p> <p>As such, the rules of international humanitarian law on occupiers are also relevant. These include an obligation to <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/hague-conv-iv-1907/regulations-art-43#:%7E:text=Regulations%3A%20Art.-,43,in%20force%20in%20the%20country.">protect</a> civilians from attacks and <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/commission-general/international-covenant-civil-and-political-rights-human-rights-your#:%7E:text=opinions%20without%20interference.-,2.,other%20media%20of%20his%20choice.">respect their human rights</a>.</p> <h2>Hamas and humanitarian law</h2> <p>International humanitarian law applies to all combatants, whether they are state or non-state actors. UN independent experts say Hamas has clearly committed <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/10/israeloccupied-palestinian-territory-un-experts-deplore-attacks-civilians">war crimes</a>, including the murders and hostage-taking of Israeli civilians.</p> <p>Hamas also put Palestinian civilians in harm’s way by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/hamas-tells-gaza-residents-stay-home-israel-ground-offensive-looms-2023-10-13/#:%7E:text=Eyad%20Al%2DBozom%2C%20spokesman%20for,your%20homes%2C%20and%20your%20places.">telling them</a> not to evacuate to southern Gaza, as ordered by Israel. The group has a history of using civilians as <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-laws-of-war-apply-to-the-conflict-between-israel-and-hamas-215493">human shields</a> as a <a href="https://stratcomcoe.org/cuploads/pfiles/hamas_human_shields.pdf">strategic tool</a> in conflicts with Israel.</p> <p>However, holding Hamas accountable for violating international humanitarian law is very challenging. As a non-state actor, Hamas is not a member of forums like the United Nations, where pressure may be brought to bear on member states.</p> <p>If individual Hamas militants are apprehended, they could be charged with <a href="https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/interview/2023/10/17/how-have-israel-and-hamas-broken-laws-war">war crimes</a> and tried in Israeli courts or the International Criminal Court. Even though Hamas is a non-state actor, <a href="https://www.icc-cpi.int/victims/state-palestine">Palestine</a> has accepted the court’s jurisdiction.</p> <p>In fact, the International Criminal Court opened an <a href="https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/where-does-the-icc-palestine-investigation-stand">investigation</a> into alleged war crimes in Palestine in 2021. The current Gaza conflict would fall within the court’s mandate and could lead it to direct greater energy to that ongoing investigation.</p> <p>The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, said on October 13: "We have jurisdiction for any Rome Statute crimes […] committed by Palestinians in Israel and also we have clear jurisdiction for any crimes committed by the forces of Israel in Palestine."</p> <h2>Israel and humanitarian law</h2> <p>Israel and its allies also have a complex relationship with international humanitarian law.</p> <p>One key issue is Israel’s right to self-defence in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas. International law confirms a state may use force to <a href="https://casebook.icrc.org/a_to_z/glossary/self-defence#:%7E:text=Self%2Ddefense%20in%20international%20law,Charter%20and%20customary%20international%20law.">defend</a> itself in response to an armed attack. Israel, the United States and other allies <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/10/10/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-terrorist-attacks-in-israel-2/">contend</a> the Hamas attack triggered Israel’s <a href="https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/penny-wong/speech/speech-senate-hamas-attacks-israel-senate-motion-parliament-house">right to self-defence</a>.</p> <p>But there is a distinction to be drawn between a state’s right to self-defence and what that right permits, in the sense of how war is conducted.</p> <p>For example, UN independent experts have <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/10/israeloccupied-palestinian-territory-un-experts-deplore-attacks-civilians">condemned</a> Israel’s “indiscriminate military attacks” against Palestinian civilians: "This amounts to collective punishment. There is no justification for violence that indiscriminately targets innocent civilians, whether by Hamas or Israeli forces. This is absolutely prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime."</p> <p>Neither <a href="https://arabcenterdc.org/resource/the-international-criminal-courts-failure-to-hold-israel-accountable/">Israel</a> nor the <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/02/qa-international-criminal-court-and-united-states">United States</a> is a party to the International Criminal Court. Neither state would accept the court’s jurisdiction over its nationals. Indeed, the United States has <a href="https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-opposes-the-icc-investigation-into-the-palestinian-situation/">condemned</a> the court’s decision to open its investigation into alleged war crimes in Palestine.</p> <p>In time, the court may seek to hold Israeli nationals accountable for war crimes, but its capacity to do so seems very limited.</p> <h2>What about the United Nations?</h2> <p>UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has <a href="https://www.voanews.com/a/un-s-guterres-denounces-collective-punishment-of-palestinians/7315616.html">called</a> for an immediate ceasefire.</p> <p>He said the grievances of the Palestinian people after more than 50 years of occupation do not “justify the acts of terror committed by Hamas”. And he said the Hamas attack on October 7 does not “justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.</p> <p>UN human rights chief Volker Türk has also <a href="https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/un-human-rights-lead-warns-of-consequences-for-breaching-humanitarian-law-amid-israel-hamas-war-1.6605453">warned</a> all parties that violations of humanitarian law will have consequences, and those who commit war crimes will be held accountable.</p> <p>But the <a href="https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/#:%7E:text=The%20Security%20Council%20has%20primary,to%20comply%20with%20Council%20decisions.">UN Security Council</a>, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, has yet to agree on a <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142467">statement</a> on the conflict.</p> <p>The <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/4-members-favour-5-against-security-council-rejects-russian-federations-resolution-calling-immediate-humanitarian-ceasefire-israel-palestine-crisis">debate</a> in the council since the latest escalation in this perpetual conflict demonstrates the deep diplomatic fault lines between the key global players and the warring parties.</p> <p>At this point, a sad reality is that international law and global institutions can do little to constrain the actions of the combatants on both sides or provide assistance to the millions at grave risk of harm.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215705/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-maguire-129609"><em>Amy Maguire</em></a><em>, Associate Professor in Human Rights and International Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-israel-and-hamas-be-held-to-account-for-alleged-crimes-against-civilians-215705">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Boomer calls out young Aussie's "war on oldies"

<p>A baby boomer has called out Australia's "war on oldies", as millennials have a "growing resentment" to the older generation. </p> <p>Former political reporter David Jones wrote that millennials are making boomers “feel they’re a looming burden” on the country in an opinion piece for <em>The Daily Telegraph</em>, saying they have "drawn the battle lines" in an intergenerational war.</p> <p>Jones, the self-proclaimed boomer, wrote, “Make no mistake, there is a ‘war on oldies’ happening in Australia, with growing resentment directed at the nation’s ageing baby boomer population.”</p> <p>“It is happening in subtle and not-so-subtle ways but the underlying message is the same."</p> <p>“Baby boomers, you’ve had it too good for too long and now that you’ve reached your dotage, it is time to pay for your’ sins’ of affluence – and hard work.”</p> <p>Jones went on to argue that millennials' anger at the older generations is misplaced, especially when they had “actually contributed a lot” to building modern Australia.</p> <p>“Are baby boomers really as bad as people think? No we’re not,” he continued.</p> <p>He wrote that boomers were Australia's "finest generation", and had grown up appreciating the struggles of their childhoods as their parents endured the Great Depression and two world wars. </p> <p>Jones admits his generation was “born into the halcyon days of full employment and a seemingly endless economic boom” when recruitment was easy.</p> <p>Employers “recruited us on the quadrangles of Sydney’s high schools”, Jones said.</p> <p>“The lingering insinuation is that the ‘boomers’ are too self-satisfied and electorally powerful for their own good."</p> <p>“They own too many properties, they’ve occupied too many rungs on the career ladder, they don’t have mortgages and looking after them in their old age will be a burden on the state and the generation to come.”</p> <p>Jones concedes that millennials have “good reason to be resentful about a number of things” – from the cost of living and housing crisis, sky-high interest rates, even stagnant career opportunities – “but the blame doesn’t rest at the feet of baby boomers”, he said.</p> <p>Instead, he said the anger belongs on the shoulders of politicians for making “dumb decisions” in government.</p> <p>“In defence of baby boomers, we shouldn’t be held responsible for the catastrophic failure of all levels of government to allow home housing in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand for purchase and for rent."</p> <p>“We didn’t … feel comfortable about the orgy of government spending and borrowing during Covid that put Australia on the road to high inflation and economy crippling interest rate hikes."</p> <p>“Nor did we have a choice about getting older.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Life

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"You've been bumped": Vietnam vet slams Qantas for booting him from business class

<p dir="ltr">Qantas has come under fire for booting a Vietnam war veteran from his paid seat in business class so that a young Qantas "tech" – later revealed to be a pilot – could travel in the luxury seat in his place.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephen Jones, 78, and his wife were travelling home to Adelaide after a holiday in Christchurch. Their flight was passing through Melbourne on its way to their home in Adelaide, and the pair were enjoying coffee in the Melbourne airport lounge – just 30 minutes before they were set to continue their journey – when they were given the bad news by Qantas staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I went up to the desk and the Qantas employee there said, 'I've got some bad news for you, you've been bumped'," Mr Jones told Melbourne’s <em><a href="https://www.3aw.com.au/vietnam-war-veteran-booted-from-business-class-for-younger-qantas-employee/">3AW</a></em> radio program with Ross & Russ. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It didn't register at first," continued Mr Jones. "I wasn't quite sure what 'bumped' meant... I said, 'What?', and she said, 'Yes, I'll have to re-issue your ticket for economy class. We have a tech who's flying to Adelaide and his contract states that he must fly Business Class."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones then explained that while he retreated to his economy seat, the Qantas employee was seated next to his wife up in business class, and that "he wouldn't even look at her".</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones went on to explain that, after filing a letter of complaint, he was offered 5000 Frequent Flyer points in return for the downgrade and an apology.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones, who served in Vietnam in a combat unit in the 1960s, claimed he turned down the offer of 5000 points, saying, “I don’t think anything is going to change until there’s ramifications for Qantas, or costs for Qantas when they upset their customers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin Lawrence, Partner at Henderson Ball Lawyers, later told the 3AW radio show hosts that there’s little customers can do about such a move by the airline and said it was “standard operating procedure”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately, their terms of carriage allow them to do this sort of thing – this happens so often they’ve actually got a term for it, buckle up, they call this 'involuntary downgrading,'” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’ll overprescribe business class or first class, they will need to bump someone out, and they’ll do it almost immediately prior to the flight – not just Qantas, they all do it."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any time you go to a travel agent or online to Qantas to buy a seat, and we think we’re buying a seat in a particular class, there are no guarantees that when that plane takes off, you’ll be sitting in that class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones said he understood that Qantas pilots were entitled to rest comfortably on their way to another flight, but the ordeal was “unsettling and made me a little irritable”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Radio veteran steps down after 34 years on the air

<p>Radio veteran Neil Mitchell has announced he will be stepping back from hosting his 3AW Mornings show after 34 years on the air.</p> <p>Mitchell shared the news to his dedicated listeners on Friday morning in an emotional statement. </p> <p>“Apart from my family, radio has been my life and my love. I will miss enormously the energy, excitement, and occasional whack that the audience dishes out to me daily,” he said. </p> <p>“But it is time, after 34 years of 4am starts, peddling flat out is getting a little hard.”</p> <p>In his statement, Mitchell said he will stay on with 3AW and Nine in a new role, including hosting his successful new podcast, Neil Mitchell Asks Why. </p> <p>“I will still appear on 3AW as an analyst, will do a weekly podcast, and hope to continue writing and TV work as well,” he continued. </p> <p>“And, don’t celebrate yet Daniel Andrews, I am here until December. Thanks to all for the superb support over the years."</p> <p>In a follow-up statement, Mitchell assured listeners he will stay true to himself and his beliefs in his new roles. </p> <p>“I have been acutely conscious of that privilege of the microphone every day I have been on air for over 36 years,” he wrote. </p> <p>“It is a tough decision to step away from the daily program. It is the best job I have ever had. But I promise I will continue my philosophy and attitude through this new role. It is one I have crafted carefully with the approval of 3AW and Nine management because I want to continue to have an impact and continue to work for the audience as the media landscape changes.”</p> <p>Mitchell has been a key player at 3AW since beginning his radio career with the station in 1987, where he started working part-time on weekends and as a morning fill-in host for former broadcaster Derryn Hinch.</p> <p>From there, he got his big break hosting the Drive show before moving to the Mornings slot, where he has been ever since. </p> <p>Mitchell has won several awards during his time as a radio journalist, while also devoting his time to helping those less fortunate, and helping to raise over $10 million for charities and causes close to his heart. </p> <p>Tom Malone, Managing Director of Nine Radio, thanked Mitchell for his service in his career.</p> <p>“Thirty four years hosting Mornings on 3AW is a record that’s likely never to be beaten. Neil has been at the top of his game and the top of ratings for nearly all of that time. It’s an incredible run. We’d have loved him to stay on, but Neil is adamant it’s time.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: 3AW</em></p>

News

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"We cannot judge": Nat Barr's frank question on war crimes for Army veteran

<p>Sunrise host Natalie Barr surprised viewers when she confronted a war veteran after he referred senior Australian Defence Force leaders to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Glenn Kolomeitz, a military lawyer and army veteran, signed the referral alongside Senator Jacqui Lambie.</p> <p>The referral to The Hague had the criminal court examine the country’s high commanders “through the lens of command responsibility”.</p> <p>Kolomeitz and Lambie claimed senior commanders have avoided investigation over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.</p> <p>“I've got to ask you. This is a question I get asked every time we discuss this general issue,” she said.</p> <p>“We trained these people to kill, and we trained them to operate in a war setting. None of us as civilians have any idea what that's like and we cannot judge them for when they go over there to war. What do you say to that?”</p> <p>Kolomeitz insisted that defence force personnel, regardless of rank, must be investigated if they’ve committed or covered up a criminal act.</p> <p>“I worked with these guys on a couple of rotations, and quite frankly, they are amazing advocates for our country, but if they've done the wrong thing, they must be properly investigated, and they must be vigorously prosecuted. That's the reality,” he said.</p> <p>“You can't ignore the commanders. You vigorously investigate and prosecute those who have done the wrong thing, including those with command responsibility.”</p> <p>The TV presenter then asked if an investigation was necessary for the chief of the defence force, Angus Campbell.</p> <p>Kolomeitz replied, “Every joint task force 633 commanders in that job during the period of the enquiry.”</p> <p>The army veteran drafted the letter that would be sent to the International Criminal Court.</p> <p>“If Australia does nothing about it, the ICC can potentially assume jurisdiction over the higher command and excise the higher command investigation from the ongoing investigation of junior soldiers,” he said.</p> <p>The 2020 Brereton report found “credible” evidence that 25 current or former Australian SAS soldiers unlawfully killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2005 and 2016.</p> <p>The report strongly recommended administrative action be taken against ADF personnel where there is credible evidence of misconduct, but not enough for a criminal conviction.</p> <p>It ruled that senior commanders were not criminally to blame for the alleged crimes.</p> <p>Senator Lambie noted leadership had not been held to account for their actions.</p> <p>“The government is no doubt hoping this will all just go away,” she told the Senate.</p> <p>“They're hoping Australians will forget that when alleged war crimes in Afghanistan were investigated, our senior commanders got a free pass while our diggers were thrown under the bus.</p> <p>"Well, we don't forget. I won't forget. Lest we forget.</p> <p>“There is a culture of cover-up at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force. It is the ultimate boys' club.”</p> <p>Image credit: Instagram/LinkedIn</p>

TV

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No apologies: Ben Roberts-Smith breaks silence

<p>Former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has returned to Australia for the first time since losing his defamation case against Nine newspapers.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith touched down in Perth on June 14 and said he was shattered by the outcome of his defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>This is the first time he has spoken out publicly since the landmark ruling.</p> <p>"It was a terrible result and obviously the incorrect result. We will look at it and consider whether or not we need to file an appeal," Roberts-Smith said after landing in Perth.</p> <p>"There is not much more I can say about it ... we just have to work through it and I'll take the advice as it comes.”</p> <p>He was spotted checking into business class with his girlfriend in Queenstown, New Zealand prior to touching down in Perth.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith rules out apologising to families of the victims impacted by his actions in Afghanistan.</p> <p>"We haven't done anything wrong, so we won't be making any apologies," he said.</p> <p>As he was collecting his luggage at Perth airport, he was approached by a man who voiced his support for the former soldier.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith's return comes on the same day as reports that an Australian Federal Police investigation into his alleged war crimes had collapsed.</p> <p>The decision by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute Roberts-Smith based on evidence collected by the AFP has led to a new joint task force being assembled to investigate alleged executions.</p> <p>The task force is comprised of detectives from the specialist war crimes agency, the Office of the Special Investigator and a new team of federal police investigators not related to the abandoned AFP probe.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith did not appear in the Federal Court when a judge found allegations he murdered or was complicit in the killing of four unarmed Afghans while deployed overseas were "substantially true” in a bombshell defamation ruling.</p> <p>The former soldier insists there was never any foul play.</p> <p><em>Image credit: A Current Affair</em></p>

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Controversial call on Ben Roberts-Smith

<p>Following the dismissal of Ben Roberts-Smith's defamation trial, politicians and defence experts argue that his belongings should remain in the Australian War Memorial until he is criminally proven guilty.</p> <p>The civil case saw Australia’s most decorated living soldier lose out to <em>Nine</em> newspapers due to claims he had committed war crimes, including a murder while deployed in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Amid the findings, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many have urged</a> Roberts-Smith should be stripped of his medals, including the Victoria Cross, and to have any mention of him removed from the Australian War Memorial.</p> <p>However, Liberal MP and former soldier Keith Wolahan argued that Roberts-Smith should still be featured in the memorial’s commemorations of the war in Afghanistan.</p> <p>He told <em>ACB TVs Q+A</em> program, “It’s a part of our history, but I think it should acknowledge the Brereton report and perhaps this defamation trial,”</p> <p>The Brereton report is the official inquiry by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force that found a culture of unlawful killings, horrid initiation rituals as well as cover-ups within the Australian military during his time in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Wolahan said it may not be necessary to include references to the defamation trial until criminal investigations are finalised, saying that politicians should “stay out of criminal proceedings”.</p> <p>“Ben Roberts-Smith still has a right to appeal and there’s a question about whether there’s a criminal charge,” Wolahan said.</p> <p>“He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process, but I think the Brereton report belongs in the War Memorial.”</p> <p>Wolahan is a three-tour veteran of Afghanistan and served as an operations officer, platoon commander and deputy chief of operations.</p> <p>The former captain added that the Australian Army “have to hold ourselves to a higher standard”.</p> <p>“When you look at the Brereton report, you cannot ignore it. Yes, it’s not at the criminal standard and that defamation trial was not at the criminal standard, but you cannot ignore the findings,” he said.</p> <p>The <em>Q+A</em> panel discussed the culture within the armed forces of the West, with war correspondent Michael Ware noting that soldiers must go to a “very dark place” to face war.</p> <p>“It says we’ve all participated in small war crimes, I know I’ve certainly seen my share of them,” he said.</p> <p>“And according to the laws of war, and I have to tell you, this is a harsh reality – we in the West – we kill children.</p> <p>“If an eight-year-old is placing a roadside bomb, a sniper can legally shoot that child.”</p> <p>He then argued that despite that, there is an even worse cultural issue within the Australian Army.</p> <p>“All that said, there is a line you don’t cross, you've got to have a moral compass ... it does appear to me that there was a culture that developed over a period of years within the regiment where this just became a part of the way they operated and Ben Roberts-Smith is not alone.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Instagram</em></p>

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What should the Australian War Memorial do with its heroic portraits of Ben Roberts-Smith?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>On Friday, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">Federal Court dismissed</a> Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Justice Anthony Besanko ruled the newspapers had established, by the “balance of probabilities” (the standard of evidence in a civil lawsuit), that Roberts-Smith had committed war crimes.</p> <p>Following the ruling, much public debate has focused on what the Australian War Memorial should do with Robert-Smith’s uniform, helmet and other artefacts of his on display.</p> <p>Greens senator David Shoebridge <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidShoebridge/status/1664140665666826240">called for</a> the removal of these objects from public display to correct the official record and “to begin telling the entire truth of Australia’s involvement in that brutal war.”</p> <p>The topic of what to do with Roberts-Smith’s uniform and helmet was debated on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH1oVNVJP1k">ABC’s Insiders yesterday</a>: should the display be removed, effectively cancelled, or changed to tell the full story?</p> <h2>The case of the oil paintings</h2> <p>It is not just these artefacts on display. The memorial also has two heroic oil painting portraits of Roberts-Smith by one of Australia’s leading artists, <a href="http://www.michaelzavros.com/">Michael Zavros</a>.</p> <p>These paintings were commissioned by the memorial in 2014.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Pistol grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC), 2014, oil on canvas, 162 cm x 222 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">Pistol Grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC)</a> is a larger-than-life-sized depiction of Roberts-Smith, camouflage arms outstretched, mimicking the action of holding a pistol.</p> <p>The smaller <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">Ben Roberts-Smith VC</a> depicts him in ceremonial military uniform.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, 2014, oil on canvas, 30 x 42 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In an <a href="https://memoreview.net/reviews/the-anti-art-of-war-by-rex-butler-and-paris-lettau">article in arts criticism website Memo</a> yesterday, respected Monash University art historian Rex Butler and arts journalist Paris Lettau weighed into the debate.</p> <p>Butler and Lettau say Pistol Grip is:</p> <blockquote> <p>threatening, over-bearing, macho, hyper-masculine, celebratory, and enormous, like the man himself – some 220 centimetres wide and 160 centimetres high.</p> </blockquote> <p>When Zavros created his large portrait it was a depiction of a soldier doing what he was trained – and venerated – for doing.</p> <p>It is an aggressive pose that, given current developments, can be read in a much more sinister way. It touches on a far bigger question of how national institutions for the public memory of war address difficult and morally ambiguous moments in a national story.</p> <h2>Moral and ethical ambiguity</h2> <p>When the Canadian War Museum opened at its new site in Ottawa in 2005, its new displays included two paintings in their collection by Canadian artist <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-her-powerful-portraiture-military-artist-gertrude-kearns-pays/">Gertrude Kearns</a>.</p> <p>The paintings, Somalia without Conscience, 1996, and The Dilemma of Kyle Brown: Paradox in the Beyond, 1995, dealt with one of the most shameful episodes in Canada’s military history, known as the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia_affair">Somalia Affair</a>.</p> <p>In 1992, the Canadian Airborne Regiment was deployed as peacekeepers to Somalia. In 1993, 16-year-old Shidane Arone was found hiding in the Canadian base, believed to have been stealing supplies. He was tortured, and soldiers photographed themselves with the semi-conscious boy. Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and his subordinate Private Kyle Brown <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/7x75xg/remembering-the-somalia-affair-canadas-forgotten-abu-ghraib-moment">were charged</a> with his murder and torture.</p> <p>Somalia without Conscience depicts Matchee posing with the beaten Arone, while The Dilemma of Kyle Brown depicts Brown symbolically holding two potential fates in his hands: a lightly coloured cube in his right hand, and a darkened cube in his left. It addresses an ethical grey area many soldiers face during active service when the hierarchy of command comes into direct conflict with conscience.</p> <p>Following the opening of the new Canadian War Museum, the presence of Kearns’s paintings sparked <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nltxDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT519&lpg=PT519&dq=%E2%80%9Cwas+not+only+telling+the+stories+of+heroism+and+courage+that+most+of+them+expected+to+be+told+but+also+stories+about+failures,+disappointments,+and+human+frailty%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=sfQZw_2qXL&sig=ACfU3U18i4X0ERdbg0wfOKXbnOIe1-5-pA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXw6Sdk6v_AhXGVmwGHbRwDh0Q6AF6BAgJEAM#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cwas%20not%20only%20telling%20the%20stories%20of%20heroism%20and%20courage%20that%20most%20of%20them%20expected%20to%20be%20told%20but%20also%20stories%20about%20failures%2C%20disappointments%2C%20and%20human%20frailty%E2%80%9D&f=false">intense debate</a>. Curator Laura Brandon received abusive emails from members of the public.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The museum copped criticism from figures such as the head of the National Council of Veterans Associations, who <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/war-museum-s-paintings-anger-veterans-group-1.546113">called</a> the paintings a “trashy, insulting tribute” and urged a boycott of the opening of the new museum.</p> <p>Discussing this controversy in 2007, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354856507072860?journalCode=cona">Brandon said</a> what upset veteran communities was that “their” museum:</p> <blockquote> <p>was not only telling the stories of heroism and courage that most of them expected to be told but also stories about failures, disappointments, and human frailty.</p> </blockquote> <p>Brandon remained steadfast the museum needed to address the messy ambiguities of war and, despite pressure, kept Kearns’s paintings on display for the duration of the exhibition.</p> <h2>The complexity of contemporary art</h2> <p>Brandon’s curatorial decision to display Kearns’s Somalia paintings strike at the heart of what is special and important about contemporary war art in a national museum.</p> <p>Contemporary art presents ethical and moral complexity, grey zones and a range of perspectives. This is vital in a healthy liberal democracy.</p> <p>While Brandon’s choice to show Kearns’s Somalia paintings attracted criticism, the museum remained committed to telling a story that is difficult, ethically and morally complex, and uncomfortable for Canadians.</p> <p>To remove Zavros’ portraits from display would remove the now-untenable hero narrative that once surrounded Roberts-Smith. But doing so would also rewrite public memory by effectively erasing an important part of why and how Roberts-Smith was revered.</p> <p>These portraits now represent a morally complex story that needs to be addressed by our national war museum.</p> <p>To remove the portraits would miss a valuable opportunity to debate important questions about how we construct hero stories.</p> <p>So, how could these portraits still be shown in future?</p> <p>Zavros’ portraits were already complex works.</p> <p>Following Friday’s announcement, it is more important they are seen in all their additional multi-layered and problematic complexity.</p> <p>The portraits show us how we create the nation through the stories we tell ourselves, and how dynamic that narrative can be. The portraits present a valuable opportunity to show narratives of war – like the stories of our own lives – are never simple, consistent and coherent.</p> <p>The portraits should be displayed in ways that address this complexity, capturing the evolving story of Roberts-Smith in explanatory wall text. There is an opportunity here to not simply “correct” the official record, as Shoebridge suggests, but to have a deeper conversation about the role of hero narratives in diverting attention away from more important public debates about Australia’s involvements in conflicts.</p> <p>Maybe this could be addressed in the art the memorial commissions in future.</p> <p>The most compelling contemporary art works – and the most valuable museum displays in our national institutions – are those that consider our complex stories, raise important and self-reflective questions, and challenge simplistic narratives. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206934/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, Professor in Art, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-should-the-australian-war-memorial-do-with-its-heroic-portraits-of-ben-roberts-smith-206934">original article</a>.</p>

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Ben Roberts-Smith’s furious phone call to fellow soldier

<p>A livid Ben Roberts-Smith has berated a fellow soldier he believed had been speaking to the media about war allegations, demanding he “stick to the f**king code”, newly released audio has revealed.</p> <p>Nine’s 60 Minutes played a recording of the exchange between Roberts-Smith and a fellow SAS member known as “Soldier M” in 2018 amid a media frenzy.</p> <p>Soldier M is a relative of Australia’s most wealthy individual, billionaire Gina Rineheart, and prior to the phone call, Roberts-Smith had sent him a threatening legal letter, with the mining magnate CC’d in.</p> <p>“Yeah, it’s RS, mate,” Mr Roberts-Smith says in the audio.</p> <p>“Because I know you’ve talked s**t about me, right? I know that.</p> <p>“I’ve got no ill will towards anyone that has no ill will towards me, it’s real simple. So you know, like, I’m 100 per cent, I stick to the f**king code, mate, 100 per cent, and I have. So all the s**t that’s going on, I’m still probably the only c**t that hasn’t f**king spoken.</p> <p>“I don’t trust you, mate, I haven’t been able to trust you for a long time. You say we’re mates. We used to be actually, but for some f**king reason I’ve just become the centre of all evil for you and the group of people …</p> <p>“You’ve got a young child, I’ve got a f**king family, I want to move on, I’m so sick of f**king army, the unit and all the bulls**t. Just remember I was minding my own business, just trying to do my job, and I get attacked by all these f**king journalists. I haven’t spoken a word about it to anyone in the unit.”</p> <p>On June 1 Roberts-smith lost his lengthy defamation trial against Nine newspapers’ The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Following the verdict, The Australian War Memorial has faced calls to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">remove the decorated soldier’s uniform</a> from its display.</p> <p>The 22-week trial saw 32 current and former SAS members provide evidence.</p> <p>One of the 32, known as “Person Y”, who has never spoken to the media, appeared anonymously on 60 Minutes on June 4.</p> <p>“You don’t win insurgencies on body counts, yet here is a guy who thinks he’s going to win the war by killing as many people as possible,” he told the program.</p> <p>“We are not above the law, we are not above the rules of engagement, but I think for him he felt he was above all that, that the rules don’t apply. Many people are having a hard time reconciling the fact that someone they thought was a national hero is in fact the complete opposite, proven to be a bully, a liar and a murderer.</p> <p>“It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially for a country that’s believed the lies for so long.</p> <p>“I think they thought they were above the law, that they were not going to be caught, that it was a free-for-all.</p> <p>“I think I could say on behalf of every guy who took the witness stand that none of us wanted to be there, that’s just not who we are.”</p> <p>One day after the verdict was reached, Seven CEO James Warburton revealed Roberts-Smith had resigned from the network.</p> <p>“We thank Ben for his commitment to Seven and wish him all the best,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

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