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Australia’s aborigines forced off land by government

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Australia’s Aborigines are being forced off their traditional land because of government policy, despite the fact they would live longer if they stayed put, Amnesty International claimed Tuesday.

The human rights organisation studied small groups in the central desert region and found those choosing to live on their ancestral lands were effectively denied services such as public housing due to a government emphasis on bigger towns.

“There’s a grave risk that these policies will mean that one-third of the Aboriginal population in the Northern Territory will be abandoned,” said Amnesty International Australia director Claire Mallinson.

“The report highlights the really unique and special relationship that Aboriginal people have with the land and then how government policies are putting that relationship at risk, and as a result, people and culture at risk.”

Mallinson said that research showed Aborigines lived healthier and longer lives in the small, homeland communities and that these tended to have fewer social problems such as domestic violence and substance abuse.

“The stripping away of essential services will effectively force families to abandon their traditional lands and move into larger towns and cities,” she told AFP.

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Australia has committed to improving the lives of its indigenous people but is directing the majority of resources in the Northern Territory to so-called growth towns, Amnesty argues.

It said this means that outside these towns, many Aborigines live in overcrowded and dilapidated housing, often without electricity, running water or sanitation.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said Tuesday the government was providing more new and refurbished houses for Aborigines in remote areas.

“In the 2010-2011 financial year, 490 new houses and 2,288 refurbishments were completed in remote Indigenous communities across Australia, exceeding the ambitious target of 463 new houses and 2,012 refurbishments,” she said.

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The Amnesty report follows a highly critical government review which found that funding Aboriginal projects had “yielded dismally poor returns to date”.

Elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, whose Alyawarr/Anmatyerr people worked with Amnesty on the report, described the move away from homelands as a “tragedy”.

“Let me assure anybody who cares for the Aboriginal people of Australia that once we are moved from our place of origin, we will not only lose our identity, we will die a traumatised, tragic end,” she said.

“We cannot have identity if we are put into these reservations that are now called growth towns. We will become third-class, non-existent human beings.”

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Australia’s indigenous people are the nation’s most disadvantaged, with a significantly lower lifespan and higher incarceration rates than the general population.

There are currently 470,000 Aborigines in Australia out of a population of some 22 million.

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GOP leaders in open warfare with Trump’s White House as another government shutdown looms

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According to a report in the Washington Post, GOP leaders are at an impasse with the White House on future budget concerns as President Donald Trump's chief of staff -- which is leading to fears of another government shutdown.

The report states, "GOP leaders have spent months cajoling President Trump in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that would fund the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing this fall, but their efforts have yet to produce a deal."

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Trump Twitter-snarls at ‘Impeachment Day’ protesters as the product of ‘Radical Left Democrats’

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President Donald Trump lashed out at Impeachment Day protesters on Twitter on Sunday morning, downplaying their efforts after seeing a report on Fox News.

Taking to Twitter the president wrote, "Yesterday was the Radical Left Democrats big Impeachment day. They worked so hard to make it something really big and special but had one problem - almost nobody showed up. “The Media admits low turnout for anti-Trump rallies ...saying enough. Democrat voters want to hear the politicians talking about issues. This is a huge distraction and will only help Donald Trump get elected. 'Greatest President since Ronald Reagan' said a counter-protester. LehighValleyLive."

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Trump’s first term: hits and misses

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"Promises made, promises kept," goes one of President Donald Trump's main 2020 reelection slogans. Is that true?

Here are some of the key policy hits and misses -- comparing his accomplishments to his promises -- from a tumultuous first term.

- HITS -

Economy:

The economy will be Trump's major selling point.

GDP grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and the last recession was a decade ago. Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.

Trump's frequent claim that the economy is probably "the best" in US history is an exaggeration, though.

Economists see growing dangers, including exploding government debt and growing backlash from Trump's aggressive trade policies, especially with China.

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