Australia’s new prime minister announces his Cabinet

Incoming Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is sworn in at Government House, Canberra, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2018. (AP)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Australia’s new prime minister announces his Cabinet

  • Morrison won a ballot of government lawmakers for the leadership on Friday against rival Peter Dutton
  • The fractured conservative coalition government needs to present a united front to voters ahead of elections due by May

CANBERRA: Australia’s new prime minister announced a peace-making Cabinet on Sunday that does not punish his rivals in a bruising power struggle that ousted his predecessor days ago and divided a government that lags in opinion polls.
The fractured conservative coalition government needs to present a united front to voters ahead of elections due by May.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison won a ballot of government lawmakers for the leadership on Friday against rival Peter Dutton.
Morrison had been loyal to his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, whom Dutton had demanded prove he had the support of ruling Liberal Party lawmakers in a ballot. Turnbull resigned.
Morrison, who last week was the treasurer, returned Dutton to the home affairs ministry he had held under Turnbull.
Mathias Cormann, a party power broker who backed Dutton, retained his finance portfolio.
Australia’s first female foreign minister, Julie Bishop, announced earlier Sunday that she had quit the Cabinet.
The 62-year-old Bishop had had been deputy leader of the ruling party since 2007 and failed to become prime minister in Friday’s leadership ballot.
Opposition lawmaker Penny Wong paid tribute to Bishop for her trailblazing role in foreign affairs.
Bishop will be replaced as foreign minister by Marise Payne, Australia’s first female defense minister.


Finns held in Muslim Malaysia over ‘Christian pamphlets’

Updated 21 November 2018
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Finns held in Muslim Malaysia over ‘Christian pamphlets’

  • hey are accused of breaking laws that forbid people from disturbing religious harmony, and could be jailed for up to five years
  • Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Finns have been arrested on a holiday island in Muslim-majority Malaysia for allegedly distributing pamphlets about Christianity, police said Wednesday, and may face up to five years in jail.
Religion is a deeply sensitive issue in Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the populaton is Muslim, and critics say rising conservatism has chipped away at a traditionally tolerant brand of Islam in recent years.
Authorities detained the two men and two women on Tuesday after receiving complaints from members of the public that they were handing out Christian materials on the popular resort island of Langkawi, said local police chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim.
“Police have arrested four Finnish nationals in Langkawi for allegedly distributing religious material in a public place,” he told AFP.
“They were distributing pamphlets related to Christianity.”
The Finns, aged between 27 and 60, were arrested at a hotel and police seized pens, notebooks and a bag.
They are accused of breaking laws that forbid people from disturbing religious harmony. If found guilty, they could be jailed for between two and five years.
The suspects have been remanded in custody while police investigate.
Langkawi, a jungle-clad island in northwest Malaysia, attracts millions of tourists to its palm-fringed beaches every year.
Malaysia, home to about 32 million people, has sizeable ethnic Chinese and Indian communities who have long complained about rising Islamization.
In 2010, three churches were attacked with firebombs, causing major damage to one, as Muslims sought to prevent Christians from using the word “Allah.”
Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia, which witnessed deadly riots between members of the majority Malay community and ethnic Chinese in 1969.