Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo dead at 61

The human rights activist had been serving an 11-year jail sentence and was recently moved to a hospital for treatment under heavy guard.

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He was 61 years old.

Liu Xiaobo was a prominent figure in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing.

He and other activists negotiated the safe exit of hundreds of demonstrators and have been credited with saving their lives.

He was subsequently placed in a detention centre and not released until 1991.

When not in prison, the university professor was subject to severe restrictions, while his wife, poet Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest.

In 2009, Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years for trying to overthrow the state after he helped write a petition known as Charter 08, calling for sweeping political reforms.

A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for what was termed his “long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

But he was not permitted to travel to Norway to accept it.

It was only late last month the Chinese government revealed Liu Xiaobo was suffering from late-stage liver cancer.

Chinese authorities denied him permission to travel abroad for treatment, and, instead, he died as he had lived, under the custody of the one-party state.

In a brief statement, Shenyang doctors said he had suffered multiple organ failure, that efforts to save him had failed.

“His family members accompanied him for the entire time of his passing. His spouse, his older and younger brothers and all of his family members accompanied him. And when Mr Liu Xiaobo died, he was not in any pain at that moment, he was very much at peace, because all of his relatives said their goodbyes beforehand.”

Reaction to Liu Xiaobo’s death was muted in his homeland due to strict censorship, but there has been an outpouring of sorrow from Western leaders and human-rights groups.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman tweeted on her behalf, writing, “I mourn Liu Xiaobo, the courageous fighter for human rights and freedom of expression.”

United States secretary of state Rex Tillerson has called on China to release his wife from house arrest and let her leave the country.

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who lives in Berlin, says the Chinese government contributed to Mr Liu’s death.

“China stopped him to have a chance to have medical care in the West, in the United States and, also, in Germany. I think, by doing that, China showed the world how brutal this kind of society can be. There’s no tolerance. There’s no space for negotiation.”

Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty says Liu Xiaobo has left a lasting legacy for the world.

“I think it’s outrageous. The Chinese government weaved the fiction that Liu Xiaobo was a criminal who was fairly tried under Chinese law and as if the entire country would collapse if he was able to speak freely. But as far as Amnesty International is concerned, he was a prisoner of conscience who campaigned for freedom of expression. Hundreds of thousands of Amnesty supporters across the world have campaigned for his release.”

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has expressed his condolences, as spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“The Secretary-General was deeply saddened to learn that Mr Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Prize laureate, had passed away. He extends his condolences to his family and to his friends.”

UN human-rights agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell has also hailed the work of Liu Xiaobo, saying he will remain an inspiration.

“The human rights movement in China, and across the world, has lost a principled champion. Liu Xiaobo devoted his life to defending and promoting human rights peacefully and consistently, and he was jailed for standing up for his beliefs.”

 

Three years after MH17 shot down and still waiting

Three years on and there are still many unanswered questions behind the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

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Relatives of victims are still waiting for someone to be held accountable.

The Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014, claiming the lives of all 298 people on board.

Most of the victims were from the Netherlands.

Thirty-nine Australians were also killed.

International investigators have concluded that the missile that shot down the plane was fired from Russia-backed rebel-controlled territory by a mobile launcher, brought in by truck from Russia and hastily returned there afterwards.

Moscow rejects the claim.

The Dutch foreign ministry says it will launch criminal proceedings against those responsible for shooting down the plane.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong said he is confident he will find the culprits of the plane tragedy.

“The investigation still ongoing, until hopefully end of the year or early next year, we can get a decision on who we can actually charge in court. And we are hoping that the person who actually shot or launched the Buk missile to come forward to tell us what was happening on that particular day.”

Around 90 family members of the 43 Malaysians killed in the crash attended a service on Thursday where they were briefed on the latest developments in the investigation.

Mohamad Salim bin Sarmo’s son died in the MH17 tragedy.

He hopes the Malaysian government is doing its best to ensure justice is served.

“We were told that we will know everything soon and that is just a matter of time before the culprits can be brought to justice. This is what we been waiting for.”

In the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will join Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the unveiling of a national monument for the victims of the flight.

The monument consists of 298 trees, one for each victim, planted in the shape of a ribbon and a memorial plaque.

 

Weekend sport preview

Arsenal marked its return to Australia after a 40-year absence with a workmanlike 2-0 against a battling Sydney FC on Thursday night in front of a sell-out 80,000 crowd.

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Tomorrow, the Gunners will play the Western Sydney Wanderers in front of another huge crowd in Sydney.

Iconic Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is now into his 21st year in charge and he says he’s expecting another tough game, if Sydney’s impressive performance is any guide.

“You could see that we had the physical superiority in pace in power and for them not to pay a heavy price for that means they were intelligent. I was surprised how well they defended in their final third we really had to push to create clear-cut chances.”

SBS Viceland has full coverage of that fixture against the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The coverage gets underway at 7.30 pm.

The Tour de France continues over the weekend with a new name in yellow after Sky rider Chris Froome’s assault on winning a fourth title suffered a hiccup during the week.

Froome relinquished the leaders’ jersey to Fabio Aru of Italy.

Elsewhere, third-placed French rider Romain Bardet is aiming to become the first local to win the famous race since 1985.

Former professional cyclist David McKenzie is covering the race for SBS and he says despite Bardet not being the best time triallist, he could re-write cycling history.

“Romain Bardet can win the Tour de France. With the French willing him across the line – and Bardet has got an attacking style himself, he’s already showed already he’s willing to take this race on – we could have the first French winner in 31 years, now wouldn’t that be something?”

And SBS’s comprehensive coverage of the great race continues on Radio, Online and Television.

Wimbledon looms front and centre for tennis fans this weekend.

The men’s semi-finals begin when America’s Sam Querrey lines up against Marin Cilic of Croatia.

That match gets underway tonight at 10 pm AEST and will be followed by Roger Federer’s semi against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Despite being the biggest name in the last four, the Swiss Federer says he’s wary of the remaining men in the race for the title.

“Being the favourite or not the favourite doesn’t matter, these other guys are all big hitters. I mean all three guys are taller and stronger than I am, so I’ve got to figure out a different way and carve my way through the draw somehow with my slice and my spins and my consistency maybe.”

The women’s tennis final takes place on Sunday evening and sees rising Spanish star Garbine Mugaruza against Venus Williams of the United States.

The 37 year-old five-time champion Williams is into her first final since 2009 and knows it will be tough against the 14th-seeded Spaniard.

If she does manage to win her 6th title, she’ll do it without her sister Serena who’s about to have her first child.

I’ve missed her so much before this match and I was like I just wish she was here. And I was like I wish she could do this for me I was like, no, this time if you do it you do it for yourself. So here we are.”

Wimbledon isn’t the only big event taking place in Britain this weekend.

The British Formula One Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel of Germany holding a 20-point advantage over British Mercedes pilot Lewis Hamilton.

If he manages to win on Sunday night, it will be Hamilton’s fourth consecutive win at his home Grand Prix.

But he made news for all the wrong reasons by snubbing team orders and missing a showpiece demonstration event in London.

The 32 year old Hamilton defended his decision to skip the event, and said it was more about getting his mental preparation right.

“I wanted to make sure that I was the best prepared this weekend, it is an intense season. I mean I love my fans, don’t get me wrong. But it’s really important to make sure I’m here to do the job the best way I can possibly do and be the best prepared I can be and that’s the decision I took.”

Australia takes on South Africa in its final group match of the women’s Cricket World Cup tomorrow night having already booked a semi-final spot.

India and New Zealand face off at the same time in a match that will decide which nation will progress to the last four.

In the AFL this weekend, the big match takes place in Sydney with the second placed Greater Western Sydney Giants looking to slow the Sydney Swans march into the top 8 when they meet on Saturday night.

And in the NRL, the second-placed Sharks have the chance to keep up the pressure on the league-leading Melbourne Storm which has the bye.

The Sharks travel north on Saturday night to tackle the struggling Gold Coast Titans.

US travel ban ruling goes to Supreme Court

A court decision on US President Donald Trump’s travel ban has reopened a window for tens of thousands of refugees to enter the US, and the government is looking to quickly close it.

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The administration late on Friday appealed directly to the US Supreme Court after a federal judge in Hawaii ordered it to allow in refugees formally working with a resettlement agency in the US.

US District Judge Derrick Watson vastly expanded the list of US family relationships that refugees and visitors from six Muslim-majority countries can use to get into the country, including grandparents and grandchildren.

In its appeal, the US Justice Department said Watson’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on what family relationships qualify for entry to the US “empties the court’s decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just ‘close’ family members, but virtually all family members. Treating all of these relationships as ‘close familial relationship(s)’ reads the term ‘close’ out of the Court’s decision.”

Only the Supreme Court can decide these issues surrounding the travel ban, the Justice Department said.

Watson’s ruling was the latest twist in a protracted legal fight that is due to be argued in the nation’s high court in October.

It could help more than 24,000 refugees who had already been vetted and approved by the US but would have been barred by the 120-day freeze on refugee admissions, said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, a resettlement agency.

“Many of them had already sold all of their belongings to start their new lives in safety,” she said. “This decision gives back hope to so many who would otherwise be stranded indefinitely.”

Citing a need to review its vetting process to ensure national security, the administration capped refugee admissions at 50,000 for the 12-month period ending September 30, a ceiling it hit this week.

The federal budget can accommodate up to 75,000 refugees, but admissions have slowed under Trump, and the government could hold them to a trickle, resettlement agencies say.

“Absolutely this is good news for refugees, but there’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Melanie Nezer, spokeswoman for HIAS, a resettlement agency. “It’s really going to depend on how the administration reacts to this.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration will ask the Supreme Court to weigh in, bypassing the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled against it in the case.

The Supreme Court allowed a scaled-back version of the travel ban to take effect last month.

Fears for minors as Saudi Arabia accused of ‘ramping up’ executions of protesters

The four were arrested as minors, aged between 13 and 17, after allegedly participating in pro-democracy protests during 2011 and 2012.

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They were sentenced to death after reportedly being tortured into ‘confessions’ and convicted in secret trials.

“We’ve now seen 11 executions in just two days which is an unprecedented rate of executions for Saudi Arabia and deeply troubling,” Maya Foa, Director of London-based human rights organisation Reprieve, told SBS World News.

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“It recalls the mass execution that we had over a year ago now where 47 people were executed in one day, and there are really troubling concerns that Saudi Arabia may be now ramping up its execution machinery to kill more people on its death row.”

While information on Ali Al-Nimr, Darwood al-Marhoon, Abdullah al-Zaher and Abdulkareem Al-Hawaj has been limited, human rights groups as well as the United Nations have repeatedly called on Saudi authorities to end the death penalty

Ali Al-Nimr

“Ali Al-Nimr was a young man, a juvenile, just 17-years-old who was arrested after he attended a protest,” Ms Foa said.

He was arrested in the eastern province of Qatif and has spent five years in prison, three of them on death row.

“He was tortured terribly and then convicted and sentenced to death – he was actually sentenced to death by crucifixtion. This is clearly an unawful death sentence and a really egregious crime the part of the Saudi authorities to have sentenced him in this way.”

didn’t receive phonecall from #Ali_alnimr

heard no phone calls received by families due to eid vacation, plz pray 4 their safety and freedom pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/cKgMd3WwR5

— ام باقر و #علي_النمر (@NasrahAlahmed) July 6, 2017

He is the nephew of Saudi Shiite cleric, Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution, together with 47 others in January 2016 sparked widespread international condemnation.

“On the charge sheet they have things like ‘inviting friends to the protest on their BlackBerry, administering first aid at the protest. These are not things that we would ever consider to be crimes let alone meriting execution.”

Zena Al-Esia, a research associate with the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, (ESOHR) based in Berlin, says it’s a very difficult situation for his mother, Nasrah Alahmed, who posts frequently on Twitter about her son.

Ali al-Nimr had recently been allowed to visit his father, in Awamiya where there’s currently a military operation.

Ali Al-Nimr with father Supplied

“His father was shot, so Ali al-Nimr was allowed out of prison to visit him. Some people have considered this maybe a positive sign – maybe he’s going to be released – it was just a temporary visit for a few hours,” Ms Al-Esia told SBS World News.

But judging by the recent executions, she said “it’s not a good sign”.

From left to right: Ali Al-Nimr, Darwood Al-Marhoun, Abdullah Al-Zahar, Abdulkareem Al-HawajSBS

Darwood Al-Marhoon

Arrested in 2012 after refusing to spy on protesters, human rights groups say 17-year-old Darwood al-Marhoon was tortured and forced to sign a blank piece of paper which would later become his confession.

Access to legal counsel was denied on many occassions and he remains in solitary confinement awaiting execution. He has exhausted all appeals.

Abdullah Al-Zaher

Abdullah al-Zaher was 15 when he was arrested in 2012 and charged with ‘harbouring’ protestors and participating in demonstrations. His father told the Guardian in 2015 that he was forced to sign a piece of paper that police had fabricated. He has exhausted all appeals.

Abdulkareen Al-Hawaj

This month, Abdulkareem Al-Hawaj had his death sentence upheld on appeal. He was found guilty of crimes committed when he was 16. He, too, has exhausted all appeals.

‘Youngest political prisoner’

In January 2017, the  UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reported on the case of a minor, identified by the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) as Murtaja Al-Qureyrees (pictured below), who was 13-years-old at the time of his arrest at the border while travelling to Bahrain with his family.

According to ESOHR, he is currently the youngest political prisoner in Saudi Arabia who was arrested without a warrant.

The UN found that his detention was arbitrary and ‘in contravention of articles 10, 11, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

There are also fears for a young, Saudi deaf man Munir Adam (pictured below) who faces imminent execution in Saudi Arabia.

Advocates say authorities have upheld the death sentence for 23-year-old who has impaired sight and hearing. 

He was 18 when he was arrested in the wake of political protests in 2012. He is said to have been badly tortured and forced to sign a false confession.

Murtaja al-Qureyees (left), Munir Adam (right)ESOHR

Claims of false confessions

Human Rights Watch reviewed more than a dozen convictions of Saudi Shia accused of violence and other crimes related to the Shia uprisings in 2011 and 2012, and in nearly all of the cases it found that Shia citizens were convicted almost solely based on confessions that they gave supposedly freely to Saudi police.

“All of the families that we’ve been able to interview say that in court these individuals recanted their confessions saying that they were tortured to give them, but the judges ignored those comments and went ahead and issued judgements anyway,” Adam Coogle, Middle East research at Human Rights Watch, told SBS World News.

0:00 Adam Coogle from Human Rights Watch says detainees, including minors, tortured into confessions Share Adam Coogle from Human Rights Watch says detainees, including minors, tortured into confessions

“Some of the Shia sentenced to death also include individuals who supposedly committed their crimes before they were 18, so they’re considered child offenders,” he said.

Maya Foa cites the case of yet another juvenile, executed during last year’s mass executions.

“Reprieve later found out that there were a number of juveniles among those executed – including Ali Al-Ribh, a young man pulled out of school, tortured, forced to sign a forced confession, sentenced to death and executed. His family only found out that he had been executed after it had happened by reading it in a newspaper.”

#Ali_AlNimr courageous mother tells the story of how her son sentenced to death 4protesting长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/q7a3r9GT6f pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/OEztmZ7KH0

— Zena (@Zena__E) December 6, 2015Four executed in criminal court for terrorism

There’s been condemnation of recent executions on July 11 and 12 in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, including four men convicted in a secret ‘terrorism’ court. 

They had been accused of protest-related crimes and acts of violence. At least six others had been executed the previous day, on smaller criminal charges. 

From the right of the photo: Zaher al-Basri, Mahdi al-Sayegh, Yussuf Ali al-Mushaikass, Amjad al-MoaibadESOHR

In 2011 and 2012, thousands took to the streets demanding reform across the Kingdom in Arab Spring protests. It was during these protests that many were detained.

Many were also tried in the Specialised Criminal Court which hears terrorism cases, but human rights groups say the Court has also been used to sentence alleged protestors, including several minors, to death.

The Saudi Embassy in Canberra has been contacted for comment.

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Terror victim Kirsty Boden farewelled

Friends of London Bridge terror victim Kirsty Boden have remembered her as someone who never gave up – whether she was chasing her dreams overseas, saving lives as a nurse or running to help others the night she was killed.

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The 28-year-old, dubbed the “Angel of London Bridge” for trying to help victims of the June attack before she herself was fatally stabbed, was on Saturday farewelled in an emotional memorial service in Sydney.

Friends paddled into the ocean off Tamarama Beach and threw sunflowers into the waves as one of Ms Boden’s favourite Ed Sheeran songs played and up to 100 mourners watched on.

The young nurse, originally from South Australia, had lived and worked in the UK since 2013 but before then spent a number of years in Sydney where she was a volunteer at the Tamarama surf life saving club.

One of her former Sydney housemates, Kate Williams, said on Saturday she didn’t know how to go on knowing her friend had “become the angel we all know she was”.

“I have never met anyone else like her and I know I never will,” she said.

“The only thing I am holding onto … is the strength and sheer bravery she had every day of her life.”

Another housemate, Sarah Misdom, remembered endless laughter in their Randwick share house, where there was “always an excuse for a drink and a night out – along with a good story for the next morning”.

“We often heard Boden coming in at odd times, whether it was after night shift, drinks, her morning swim or a random adventure,” she said.

“She made the most of every day.”

Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to “a beautiful young Australian with so much of her life ahead of her”, in a message read aloud by Waverley Mayor Sally Betts.

“On that awful night, when Kirsty Boden ran towards the injured and the dying to render aid, she showed the world the best of our Australian character,” the prime minister said.

Federal-state spat over cyclone funding

The future of Queensland government post-Cyclone Debbie infrastructure projects are in jeopardy after the Commonwealth committed to covering just a quarter of the recovery funds the state had asked for.

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Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on Saturday lashed a federal government decision to cough up just $29.3 million of the $110 million sought by Queensland, labelling it “mean-spirited” and a “slap in the face”.

Malcolm Turnbull said most of the money in Queensland’s proposed $220 million Debbie recovery program was for infrastructure projects that could not be considered disaster relief.

The prime minister accused the state of trying to use the assistance package as a slush fund.

“It (the disaster funding scheme) is not designed to fund new infrastructure. It is designed to fund recovery and repairs and reinstatement and so forth,” Mr Turnbull told reporters on the Gold Coast.

“The request from Queensland was carefully assessed in accordance with the rules and funding has been applied in accordance with the rules.”

The state had sought $60 million for a flood levee in Rockhampton to prevent a repeat of this year’s floods, and $40 million to upgrade the Whitsunday Coast airport.

But Ms Trad said previous federal governments had agreed to fund mitigation infrastructure as part of disaster relief funding, singling out money provided to upgrade Brisbane’s ferry terminals in the wake of the 2011 floods as an example.

“If that application had been put in now, it would have been rejected. This is the kind of mean-hearted federal government that we have under Malcolm Turnbull,” she told reporters in Brisbane.

Ms Trad said the state had covered half the cost of the $220 million package in its state budget last month, and would have to decide how best to spend that money.

“Our money is there, it’s in the budget, that won’t change … so we’re going to have to go back and re-look at this,” she said.

“We’re going to have to talk to the communities and the mayors of these councils and have a conversation about where we go to from here.”

Greens senator’s oversight remarkable: PM

Malcolm Turnbull won’t say whether Scott Ludlam will be asked to pay back nine years of salaries and allowances after ruling himself ineligible for office.

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The Greens senator on Friday resigned from federal parliament after discovering he still holds New Zealand citizenship.

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Under the constitution, a dual national cannot stand for election.

The matter will be referred to the High Court, which is likely to formally disqualify him and order a recount of ballot papers from the 2016 election.

The prime minister hoped it will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

“It’s obviously Senator Ludlam’s oversight,” told reporters on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

“It’s a pretty remarkable one when you think about it, that he’s been in the Senate for so long.”

The former deputy Greens leader was first elected in 2007 and retained his West Australian seat at the 2013 and 2016 elections.

0:00 Greens Senator Scott Ludlam resigns Share Greens Senator Scott Ludlam resigns

It’s unclear whether he will have to repay the money he earned during his tenure, a decision Mr Turnbull has left to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

“(That) is my recollection as the way it’s dealt with in the past,” he said.

“I’ll leave that to be dealt with by him.”

The Department of Finance sought to have Bob Day and Rod Culleton pay back their salaries and allowances after the High Court decided they were invalidly elected for constitutional reasons.

They ultimately waived Mr Day’s debts and gave Mr Culleton the option to have his waived too.

Senator Ludlam said he didn’t have the money to pay back his salaries and allowances.

“It’s going to be millions of dollars and my total assets amount to a fast computer and some nice shoes,” he told reporters in Perth on Friday.

Trump lets in Afghan girls robotics team

Twice rejected for US visas, an all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan has arrived in Washington after an extraordinary, last-minute intervention by US President Donald Trump.

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The six-girl team and their chaperone completed their journey just after midnight on Saturday from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, to enter their ball-sorting robot in the three-day high school competition starting on Sunday in the US capital.

Awaiting them at the gate at Washington Dulles International Airport were a US special envoy and Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, who described it as a rare moment of celebration for his beleaguered nation.

“Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all,” Mohib said in an interview.

“They represent our aspirations and resilience despite having been brought up in a perpetual conflict. These girls will be proving to the world and the nation that nothing will prevent us from being an equal and active member of the international community.”

The girls’ case has drawn global attention and become a flashpoint in the debate about Trump’s efforts to tighten entrance to the US, including from many majority-Muslim countries. Afghanistan isn’t included in Trump’s temporary travel ban, but critics have said the ban is emblematic of a broader effort to put a chill on Muslims entering the US.

It also renewed the focus on the longer-term US plans for aiding Afghanistan’s future, as Trump’s administration prepares a new military strategy that will include sending more troops to the country where the US has been fighting since 2001. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday the strategy was moving forward but “not finalised yet.”

Earlier in the week Trump used a rare “parole” mechanism to sidestep the visa system to end a dramatic saga in which the team twice travelled from their home in western Afghanistan through largely Taliban-controlled territory to Kabul, where their visa applications were denied twice.

The US won’t say why the girls were rejected for visas, citing confidentiality. But Mohib said that based on discussions with US officials, it appears the girls were rebuffed due to concerns they would not return to Afghanistan.

Cricket pay talks to resume on Monday

Australian cricket’s pay stoush will continue on Monday, with a marathon round of talks unable to break the revenue-sharing deadlock.

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Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) are attempting to thrash out a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The previous MoU expired at the end of the financial year on June 30, leaving 230 players unemployed and prompting the cancellation of this month’s Australia A tour to South Africa.

There has been progress this week, with CA chief executive James Sutherland injecting himself into negotiations in an attempt to end the saga.

Friday’s session wrapped up at approximately 7.30pm, and the discussion resumed on Saturday morning then ended shortly after lunch.

The governing body and players’ union are expected to meet again on Monday.

“The increased involvement of CA CEO James Sutherland has been pleasing,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.

“A better understanding has been established on both parties’ positions.”

There is more goodwill at the negotiation table, raising hopes of a compromise, but it’s understood CA and the ACA remain ideologically opposed regarding revenue sharing.

CA has declared the model that has shaped players’ salaries since the first MoU was agreed 20 years ago is no longer viable, with Sutherland opining it is responsible for a “chronic underfunding” of grassroots.

Dr Ross Booth, one of Australia’s eminent sports economists with no ties to CA or the ACA, described that argument as a “bit of a red herring”.

ACA player liaison manager Simon Katich noted players understood the need to modernise the revenue-sharing model.

“To not only include the female players for the first time but also to ensure the growth of the game,” former Test opener Katich told AAP.

“Cricket has not only survived by giving players a percentage of revenue but thrived in the process.

“The benefit of having a structure that rises and falls with the money available is it ensures the players never take more than the game can afford.”

Both CA and the ACA are starting to feel pressure from a range of stakeholders, with unemployed players having missed their first pay packet.

The ACA has set up a hardship fund for domestic players in need of financial assistance.

CA has declared it will not backpay players. It plans to instead direct that amount, approximately $1.2 million every fortnight the impasse drags on, to grassroots. The union is upbeat CA’s stance on this will change.