Australian volunteers save 5 of over 150 stranded whales

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This handout from the Western Australia Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions taken and released on March 23, 2018 shows short-finned pilot whales beached en masse in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia. (AFP)
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Supplied image of more than 150 short-finned pilot whales who became beached at Hamelin Bay, in Western Australia's south, on Friday, March 23, 2018. (AP)
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Updated 25 March 2018
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Australian volunteers save 5 of over 150 stranded whales

PERTH, Australia: Volunteers in western Australia have managed to rescue only five of 150 short-finned pilot whales that became stranded on a beach.
The surviving whales, up to 5 1/2 meters (16.4 feet) long, have been moved to deeper waters, but Parks and Wildlife Service Incident Controller Jeremy Chick warned Saturday that whales often return to dry land after mass stranding events.
He’s asking the public at Hamelin Bay, south of Perth, to keep an eye in case they spot a stranded whale.
A sixth whale was freed into shallow waters overnight but it beached again and had to be euthanized.
Authorities said they will continue to sweep the surrounding beaches by air and sea on Saturday. Rescue efforts were hampered by dead whales in the water, rocky terrain and rough seas.
The carcasses were removed from the beach and authorities took DNA samples in an attempt to collect clues about why whales strand.
In 2009, more than 80 whales and dolphins died on a beach in Hamelin Bay.
The biggest mass stranding of whales in Western Australia happened in 1996 in Dunsborough. That year, 320 long-finned pilot whales beached themselves.


Indian minister steps up calls to deport illegal immigrants

Updated 20 min 44 sec ago
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Indian minister steps up calls to deport illegal immigrants

  • National Register of Citizenship will be extended across country, says Amit Shah

NEW DELHI: New Delhi will deport all illegal immigrants found in the country, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament on Wednesday.

The warning signaled a heightening of a campaign that some critics say is “aimed at alienating the Muslim minority.”

The minister’s statement comes as the state of Assam is set to release its final list of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), an exercise to identify illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. The Supreme Court demanded that the NRC should submit its report at the end of this month.

Of the state’s 31 million residents, almost 4 million were missing from the NRC’s report last year. Most were poor Muslims. Illegal immigration was a core election issue for the ruling right-wing party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)

“The government will identify illegal immigrants living in every inch of the country’s soil and will deport them in line with international law,” said Shah.

He added that the NRC would be extended across the country. 

Shah, a Hindu hard-liner and the second most powerful figure in the Narendra Modi government, has been belligerently opposed to illegal Muslim immigrants, who he recently described as “termites.”

Critics have questioned the need for the NRC throughout the country.

The BJP does not want to clarify what it truly means because that is part of their politics, but the opposition leaders are also silent.

Hilal Ahmad, Academic

“This is a witch hunt of the minority under the false concern of illegal immigration,” said SubHajjit Naskar of Jadavpur University.

“The way the NRC is being implemented in Assam is damaging for our secular and democratic values.”

Naskar told Arab News: “The register is part of the broader majoritarian agenda to make India a Hindu state where minority Muslims will be treated as second class citizens.” 

Dr. Hilal Ahmad, associate professor at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, said: “The substantial part of Shah’s statement is that NRC is not entirely about Muslims. It also claims that it’s an institutional process with legal support and it’s not at all concerned with Muslims.”

Ahmad added: “The BJP does not want to clarify what it truly means because that is part of their politics, but the opposition leaders are also silent. They are also trying to consolidate the impression that the NRC is anti-Muslim.”

Suhas Chakma, director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group, said that “Shah’s plans are not practical.”

“How you are going to identify illegal migrants? Have you spoken to Bangladesh about the deportation? What the BJP government is trying to do is not implementable. It is a recipe for chaos,” said Chakma.

Sabber Ahmad, from the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative, a New Delhi-based group serving the persecuted minority community from Myanmar, said the “Indian government’s stance on illegal migrants creates panic among the small Rohingya community living here.”

“I fled Myanmar in 2012 and India gave me a new lease of life. New Dehli should show some humanity in dealing with people like us,” Ahmad told Arab News.

“India has a history of sheltering persecuted minorities from around the world. They must continue this proud tradition,” Ahmad added.