Germany 1-1 Republic of Ireland

78:43

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland).

78:20

Attempt saved. Jerome Boateng (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Karim Bellarabi.

77:45

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

77:43

Attempt blocked. Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) right footed shot from long range on the right is blocked. Assisted by Mario Götze.

77:03

Offside, Republic of Ireland. David Forde tries a through ball, but Jonathan Walters is caught offside.

75:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Wes Hoolahan replaces Stephen Quinn.

75:31

Offside, Germany. Manuel Neuer tries a through ball, but Karim Bellarabi is caught offside.

71:25

Attempt blocked. Karim Bellarabi (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jerome Boateng.

70:14 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Germany 1, Republic of Ireland 0. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Max Kruse.

69:29 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Germany. Max Kruse replaces Julian Draxler.

66:53 Booking

Booking Marc Wilson (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

66:47

Mario Götze (Germany) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

66:47

Foul by Marc Wilson (Republic of Ireland).

66:11

Foul by Thomas Müller (Germany).

66:11

John O’Shea (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:21 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Darron Gibson replaces Robbie Keane.

61:40

Julian Draxler (Germany) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61:40

Foul by Marc Wilson (Republic of Ireland).

60:48

Attempt blocked. Jerome Boateng (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

57:07

Lukas Podolski (Germany) has gone down, but that’s a dive.

55:32

Attempt blocked. Thomas Müller (Germany) right footed shot from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Mats Hummels.

55:29

Attempt missed. Mats Hummels (Germany) header from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mario Götze with a cross following a corner.

54:54

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

54:15

Corner, Germany. Conceded by David Forde.

54:13

Attempt saved. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Mario Götze.

53:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Jeff Hendrick replaces Glenn Whelan because of an injury.

52:44

Corner, Germany. Conceded by David Forde.

52:41

Attempt saved. Karim Bellarabi (Germany) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Toni Kroos.

51:36

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

50:43

Delay in match Glenn Whelan (Republic of Ireland) because of an injury.

48:38

Corner, Germany. Conceded by David Forde.

48:35

Attempt saved. Lukas Podolski (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Toni Kroos.

48:13

Attempt blocked. Aiden McGeady (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Robbie Keane.

47:45

Offside, Republic of Ireland. David Forde tries a through ball, but Jonathan Walters is caught offside.

45:41

Mats Hummels (Germany) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:41

Foul by Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland).

45:18

Erik Durm (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:18

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland).

45:00

Second Half begins Germany 0, Republic of Ireland 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Germany. Lukas Podolski replaces Matthias Ginter.

45:00 +1:01 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Germany 0, Republic of Ireland 0.

45:00 +0:50

Attempt saved. Julian Draxler (Germany) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Thomas Müller.

44:51

Offside, Germany. Jerome Boateng tries a through ball, but Mario Götze is caught offside.

42:48

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

41:50

Delay in match Erik Durm (Germany) because of an injury.

41:41

Foul by Erik Durm (Germany).

41:41

Aiden McGeady (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:06 Booking

Booking Glenn Whelan (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

40:04

Toni Kroos (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:04

Foul by Glenn Whelan (Republic of Ireland).

39:26

Attempt missed. Matthias Ginter (Germany) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Toni Kroos with a cross following a set piece situation.

38:46

Toni Kroos (Germany) wins a free kick on the right wing.

38:46

Foul by James McClean (Republic of Ireland).

38:08

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

38:05

Attempt blocked. Thomas Müller (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Toni Kroos.

31:54

Attempt saved. Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Erik Durm.

31:23

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

25:13

Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Matthias Ginter.

23:56

Offside, Republic of Ireland. David Forde tries a through ball, but Robbie Keane is caught offside.

22:12

Foul by Thomas Müller (Germany).

22:12

Stephen Quinn (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:15

Attempt blocked. Matthias Ginter (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

17:42

Foul by Mats Hummels (Germany).

17:42

Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

15:04

Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Julian Draxler.

13:35

Attempt missed. Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Thomas Müller with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

12:28

Mario Götze (Germany) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

12:28

Foul by John O’Shea (Republic of Ireland).

8:53

Foul by Antonio Rüdiger (Germany).

8:53

Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

8:23

Foul by Karim Bellarabi (Germany).

8:23

James McClean (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:51

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

4:47

Erik Durm (Germany) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box.

3:50

Attempt missed. Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

3:26

Julian Draxler (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:26

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland).

2:55

Foul by Karim Bellarabi (Germany).

2:55

James McClean (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

2:03

Antonio Rüdiger (Germany) wins a free kick on the right wing.

2:03

Foul by Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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Australia in court over asylum cases

Sri Lankan naval vessel the Samudra (L) is anchored after transferring 41 would-be asylum seekers whose boat was turned away by Australia at the southern port of Galle on 7 July 2014 Earlier this year, Australia returned a boat of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and detained another vessel

The Australian government is facing two challenges in court on Tuesday over its policies towards asylum seekers.

The High Court is hearing the case of 157 asylum seekers who set off from India by boat. Their lawyers will argue they were illegally detained aboard an Australian customs ship for a month.

A federal court will hear the case of a boy born in Brisbane to asylum seekers.

His lawyers argue that the boy should be given permanent protection – something the government has ruled out.

Australia takes a tough line on asylum seekers who arrive by boat. They are held in offshore processing camps and, if found to be refugees, will be resettled in Papua New Guinea or Cambodia.

In recent months Australian ships have also intercepted boats at sea.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference in Sydney on 25 July 2014The policies of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison are facing two court challenges

Some have been towed back to Indonesia – the closest jumping-off point for reaching Australia – while people on board others have been transferred into lifeboats and instructed to sail themselves back to where they started.

These policies have been criticised by rights groups and the UN, who say Australia may be failing to meet its obligations towards asylum seekers.

Intercepted

The first court case relates to a group of Sri Lankans, including Tamils, who set out from southern India. They were intercepted by Australian security personnel in July and held on a customs ship at sea for a month, initially in secret.

The case came to light after Australia detained a separate boat of Sri Lankan asylum seekers, screened their asylum claims at sea and returned them to Sri Lanka.

Grey line

map
Australia and asylum

  • Asylum seekers – mainly from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Iran – travel to Australia’s Christmas Island by boat from Indonesia
  • The number of boats rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. Scores of people have died making the journey
  • To stop the influx, the government has adopted hard-line measures intended as a deterrent
  • Everyone who arrives is detained. Under a new policy, they are processed in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG, Nauru or Cambodia
  • Tony Abbot’s government has also adopted a policy of tow-backs, or turning boats around
  • Rights groups and the UN have voiced serious concerns about the policies and conditions in the offshore camps, and accuse Australia of shirking international obligations

Australia asylum: Why is it controversial?

Grey line

Human rights activists filed a legal challenge aimed at preventing similar handling of the second group.

After a failed attempt by Australia to return them to India, they were briefly taken to the Australian mainland and then transferred to the offshore processing centre in Nauru.

Lawyers for the group will question whether the group, intercepted 16 miles from Christmas Island in Australia’s contiguous zone – therefore outside its territorial waters – were falsely imprisoned.

The Human Rights Law Centre, which is assisting, said the case would examine:

  • whether the asylum seekers’ personal circumstances were properly evaluated in any decision to detain and/or try to return them to India
  • the legality of their detention given the absence of any agreement with India to accept them back
  • whether Australia’s power to detain and return them was limited given its obligations under international law to not return people to places where they might be harmed.

Rights groups say Tamils can still face intimidation and violence in Sri Lanka, five years after the end of the civil war which pitted the majority Sinhalese Sri Lankan military against Tamil separatists.

The second case is being fought on behalf of an 11-month-old Rohingya boy who was born in a Brisbane hospital, after his mother was brought from detention in Nauru to give birth.

Under current law, those who arrived by boat after 19 July 2013 are denied protection in Australia, even if found to be genuine refugees. This includes any children they have.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority who live in western Burma. Many have fled bloody anti-Muslim violence there in recent months.

Lawyers for the baby say the case has implications for about 100 other babies born to asylum seekers on Australian soil.

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Australian chain pulls ‘racist’ top

File picture of a Woolworths store logoWoolworths said the singlet had gone on sale by mistake and apologised

A singlet bearing a slogan seen by many as racist has been removed from supermarket shelves in Australia after it was “inadvertently” stocked.

The vest with Australia’s flag and the slogan “If you don’t love it, leave” was on sale at two Woolworths stores in Queensland and New South Wales.

A spokesman said the company would review its processes to “ensure this sort of error cannot happen again”.

Racial tensions in the country have been high after recent terror raids.

Australia has also committed troops to the conflict in the Middle East.

Woolworths said the garment had been put on sale accidentally.

“It has come to our attention that two Woolworths stores were inadvertently stocking a singlet that we consider totally unacceptable,” the spokesman told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“The singlet was not one we ordered. It was delivered to us in error and should never [have] been allowed on our shelves.

“The sentiment expressed on the singlet does not reflect the views of Woolworths.”

A customer posted a photo of the garment on a social media account and several dozen customers complained after the image went viral.

In January German discount supermarket chain Aldi also removed a controversial t-shirt from its Australian shelves after customers complained.

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VIDEO: Australian woman emerges from bush

An Australian woman has emerged from the bush 17 days after she got lost in northern Queensland.

Shannon Leah Fraser, 30, had gone to the Golden Hole swimming spot when she disappeared on 21 September.

Here’s a 40-second update on the story.

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Australian lost in bush for 17 days



Found Australian woman Shannon Fraser

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Shannon Leah Fraser’s boyfriend, Heath Cassady, said he could feel it in his heart that she was alive

An Australian woman has been found 17 days after she got lost in the bush in northern Queensland with no food.

Shannon Leah Fraser stumbled out of the bush on Wednesday morning, reported local media.

The 30-year-old had gone to the Golden Hole swimming spot with two men, including her partner, when she disappeared on 21 September.

She is now recovering in a hospital and is being treated for infected cuts and severe sunburn.

Ms Fraser’s companions first raised the alarm after she got separated from them and failed to return to their vehicle, said Queensland Police.

The mother-of-three’s disappearance sparked a search operation involving 25 officers from the police and state emergency services.

Divers combed the pond while officers searched the area on foot and quad bikes. Helicopter searches were conducted as well, with search teams dropping coloured markers.

Family members said Ms Fraser followed these markers out of the bush.

Picture of Queensland police searching for Shannon Fraser.About 25 officers from Queensland Police and state emergency services looked for Ms Fraser

Police said she was eventually found just 30m from where she disappeared. Asked by reporters why teams did not find her, country patrol group Inspector Rhys Newton said her movements had “gone out of what we could reasonably expect a person who is lost in those circumstances”.

A banana farmer who was having his breakfast spotted her when she came out of the bush at 08:00 on Wednesday, and immediately sent her to a nearby hospital, said the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Family members told media that Ms Fraser had survived on creek water, small fish and insects. At one point, she sat in a creek for three days to soothe her cuts and burns.

They also said she had to fend off wild animals such as a cassowary and a freshwater crocodile.

Ms Fraser, who weighed 90kg previously, reportedly lost about 16kg during her ordeal.

Her partner, Heath Cassady, told the Courier Mail that they had been on a “bender” prior to her disappearance and had gone to Golden Hole to “chill out”.

“Her whole body is scarred and peeling, she’s been through a lot,” Mr Cassady said. “It is amazing she’s still alive.”

Police are still investigating how she disappeared, but a spokesman told reporters on Thursday that they do not believe that there were any suspicious circumstances.

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South Africa 27-25 New Zealand

South Africa ended world champions New Zealand’s 22-match unbeaten run with a thrilling victory in Johannesburg.

Patrick Lambie landed a 55m penalty with two minutes remaining to clinch a gripping Rugby Championship Test match.

The Springboks led by 11 points just after half-time but Dane Coles’ 71st-minute try put the visitors ahead, only for Lambie to snatch the win.

The defeat was the first for the All Blacks in 23 matches since they

lost to England at Twickenham

in December 2012.

New Zealand have lost just twice in 38 matches

since winning the World Cup in 2011,

while South Africa went into the match at Ellis Park with only one win in their last 10 meetings with the All Blacks.

Handre Pollard scored 19 points for the hosts, converting both of his two first-half tries as well as Francois Hougaard’s opener.

Malaki Fekitoa went over for the first All Blacks try, but the home side led 21-13 at the break.

Pollard kicked a penalty after half-time to put South Africa 24-13 ahead, but this served as a prelude to a stirring comeback from New Zealand.

A try from winger Ben Smith was converted by Beauden Barrett to reduce the gap to four points, and this year’s Rugby Championship winners were ahead when Coles crashed over in the corner.

But Barrett missed the conversion, which meant that Lambie had a chance to retake the lead when Liam Messam’s challenge on Schalke Burger resulted in a penalty on 78 minutes.

The substitute fly-half nervelessly slotted the kick over from just inside his own half, giving his side a lead they held to deny All Black captain Richie McCaw a win on his record-breaking 134th international appearance for his country.

The result was the first defeat for McCaw’s side in 18 matches since the start of the four-team Rugby Championship in 2012.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer:

“All credit to Pat, it was an unbelievable kick under huge pressure.

“I have been involved in rugby for 30 years and always wondered what it felt like to beat the All Blacks.”

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen:

“I have no problem with (referee Wayne) Barnes giving the penalty, I don’t think there was intention to hit him high, but he did.

“It was a great game of rugby and could have gone either way, but my heart tells me the Boks deserved it today.”

South Africa:

Le Roux, Hendricks, Serfontein, De Villiers (capt), Habana, Pollard, Hougaard; J du Plessis, B du Plessis, Mtawarira, Matfield, Etzebeth, Vermeulen, Mohoje, Coetzee.

Replacements:

Burger for Mohoje (49), Strauss for B Du Plessis (52), Pietersen for Hendricks (57), Lambie for Pollard (62), Botha for Etzebeth (62), Van der Merwe for J Du Plessis (62), Reinach for Hougaard (66), Nyakane for Mtawarira (72).

New Zealand:

Dagg; B Smith, C Smith, Fekitoa, Savea; Barrett, A Smith; O Franks, Mealamu, Moody, Whitelock, Thrush, Reid, McCaw (capt), Kaino.

Replacements:

Messam for Thrush (48), Coles for Mealamu (48), Franks for Moody (h-t), Faumina for O Franks (57), Luatua for Kaino (60), Kerr-Barlow for A Smith (65), Crotty for C Smith (73), Slade for Kerr-Barlow (74).

New Zealand's Dane Coles scores against South Africa

Dane Coles scored his first try for his country in his 23rd Test

Patrick Lambie of South Africa kicks the match-winning penalty

Patrick Lambie of South Africa held his nerve to kick the match-winning penalty

New Zealand's Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw, pictured with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, broke Colin Meads’ international appearance record for his country

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Australia approves strikes on IS



Tony Abbott

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Tony Abbott explains why Australia is joining the mission against the “murderous rage of the ISIL death cult”

The Australian cabinet has given its approval for fighter jets to join the US-led military action against Islamic State targets in Iraq.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said IS was a “death cult” that had “declared war on the world” and must be stopped.

IS controls a broad swathe of territory, spanning a borderless stretch of Syria and Iraq.

The US-led coalition has been bombing IS targets in Iraq and Syria for the past two weeks.

Australian air force crew depart for UAE  (21 Sept 2014)Australia has sent six war planes and 600 military personnel to the Middle East

On Thursday, the Turkish parliament backed a motion that could allow its military to enter Iraq and Syria to join the campaign.

IS militants have recently advanced close to the border with Turkey, prompting thousands of Kurdish refugees to cross the border. Turkey is already hosting more than a million Syrian refugees.

The UN says the militant Islamists have committed a “staggering array” of human rights abuses.

‘Death cult’

In a widely anticipated statement, Mr Abbott said approving military force was “not a decision the government has taken lightly” but that “Iraq should not be alone” in its fight against the militants.

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Members of Jihadist group Hamza Abdualmuttalib (in silhouette) train near Aleppo on 19 July 2012. At least 60 Australians are said to be fighting with extremist groups in Syria and northern Iraq

Who are Australia’s radicalised Muslims?

Australia’s home-grown terror threat

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He said the cabinet had also authorised the deployment of special forces to assist and advise the Iraqi military, with the action expected to continue for “months rather than weeks”.

“Yes, it is a combat deployment, but it is an essentially humanitarian mission to protect the people of Iraq and ultimately the people of Australia from the murderous rage of the Isil (IS) death cult,” he told reporters.

Mr Abbot said there were no immediate plans for Australian involvement to extend to Syria, nor for troops to be involved in combat on the ground.

Canberra has already sent 400 Air Force personnel, 200 special forces members and six warplanes to a US base in the United Arab Emirates.

The decision to join the military action – which did not need parliamentary approval – comes amid growing domestic concern about the number of Australians involved with IS.

The government believes at least 60 Australians are fighting with terror groups in the Middle East and at least 100 are actively supporting them from home.

Last month, police carried out raids on several addresses in Sydney sparked by intelligence reports that Islamist extremists were planning random killings in Australia. The raids, with at least 800 heavily armed officers, led to 15 arrests.

An 18-year-old terror suspect was shot dead last week after he stabbed two police officers in Melbourne. Abdul Numan Haider, originally from Afghanistan, had been summoned to a police station for a counter-terror interview because of concerns over his recent behaviour.

Images have also been published online which appeared to show the young son of an Australian ex-terror convict holding a Syrian’s severed head.

Mr Abbott said at the time the image showed “just how barbaric” IS militants were.

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What is Islamic State (IS)?



Fighters belonging to Sunni-led militant group Isis

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In 60 seconds: What does Islamic State want?

  • Formed out of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2013, IS first captured Raqqa in eastern Syria
  • It captured parts of Iraq in June, including Mosul, and declared a “caliphate” in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq
  • Pursuing an extreme form of Sunni Islam, IS has persecuted non-Muslims such as Yazidis and Christians, as well as Shia Muslims, whom it regards as heretics
  • Known for its brutal tactics, including beheadings of soldiers, Western journalists and aid workers
  • The CIA says the group could have as many as 31,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria
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Ireland gave ‘state aid’ to Apple

Apple storeThe European Commission is not convinced Apple is paying a fair rate of tax on what it sells

The European Commission (EC) has told Ireland it believes it gave illegal state aid to Apple.

It has published a letter, originally sent to the country in June, accusing it of helping the computer giant through special tax arrangements.

The EC is looking at whether some countries, including Luxembourg and the Netherlands, unfairly favour multinationals.

Apple says it has received “no selective treatment”.

The company employs more than 4,000 people in the Republic of Ireland, mainly assembling computers and providing technical support.

Ireland’s corporate tax rate is set at 12.5%, but Apple enjoys an effective rate of tax of 2%, due to the way it channels overseas sales through its subsidiaries.

Repayment

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Apple… paid just £11.4 million in corporation tax in 2013 after declaring UK revenues of just £100m. Given the company has 37 UK stores, and the average Apple store took over £30 million last year, you can see how much of that revenue is being diverted through Ireland”

End Quote



In a statement, the company said: “Our success in Europe and around the world is the result of hard work and innovation by our employees, not any special arrangements with the government.

“Apple has received no selective treatment from Irish officials over the years. We’re subject to the same tax laws as the countless other companies who do business in Ireland.”

It goes on to say, though, that it believes “comprehensive corporate tax reform is badly needed”.

As well as Apple, Fiat and Starbucks are also in the EC’s sights.

The Commission told Fiat on Tuesday its preliminary view was that its tax arrangement with a subsidiary of Fiat also constituted state aid. Fiat has not yet commented.

The Commission said it appeared it had the effect of reducing the charges Fiat would normally pay “and that it must consequently be considered as operating aid”.

If either company is found to have benefitted from illegal state aid, it will have to repay any tax benefit it received.

There is a wide range of estimates as to the sum that Apple would have to repay – anything between a few tens of millions to billions of euros.

‘No breach’

In the letter, the European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told Ireland: “The Commission’s preliminary view is that the tax ruling of 1990 (effectively agreed in 1991) and of 2007 in favour of the Apple group constitute state aid.”

Ireland’s Department of Finance said in a statement earlier this week: “Ireland is confident that there is no breach of state aid rules in this case and has already issued a formal response to the Commission earlier this month, addressing in detail the concerns and some misunderstandings contained in the opening decision,”

Ireland’s flexible approach to tax is designed to attract investment and jobs to the country. But other European countries say their treasuries lose out, as corporations funnel profits through Irish registered companies that are not resident for tax anywhere.

The EU’s move comes as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development begins a broader crackdown on aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies.

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Should Australia’s refugees be sent to Cambodia?

A Cambodian rights activist (C) clashes with police officials at a protest next to the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh A small group of protestors gathered outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh

The handwritten sign said it all: “Australia pls kindly explain why you intend to transfer refugees from your country to Cambodia?”

That question was one of several scrawled on paper placards and shouted by dozens of noisy demonstrators gathered at the Australian Embassy in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, on Friday.

“If they are not good enough for Australia, why are they being dumped in Cambodia?” a protester with a loudhailer intoned.

The demonstration was organised by Buddhist monks who normally fight for the rights of those abused by the Cambodian government. They are incensed that Australia would foist refugees on a poor country which already struggles to provide even basic services to its own people.

At the protest Son Chhay, an opposition MP, said Cambodia had rarely accepted refugees in the past.

A financial incentive – Canberra will reportedly spend A$40 (£22m, $35m) million over four years – had likely swayed the deal. “Cambodia is famous in corruption… This deal cannot be a secret deal,” he said.

‘No future’

mapThe deal could eventually involve people currently at an off-shore detention facility in Nauru

For months, officials have worked secretly on the agreement that will see refugees Australia does not want transferred to this country of 15 million people.

It is the physical manifestation of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s 2013 election campaign mantra, when he vowed to “stop the boats”, promising those travelling in rickety vessels that they would not receive a one-way ticket to a good life.

Referred to cynically by some as Australia’s “Cambodia solution,” the deal could eventually involve people held in Australian off-shore detention facilities on the tiny Pacific Island of Nauru.

Those sent to Cambodia will have anything but an easy life, says Mohammed, who has lived for four years as a refugee here.

A member of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, Mohammed fled in 2008 to escape discrimination against Muslims and bouts of forced manual labour on government projects.

Mohammed says he is barely surviving and he sees “no future” in Cambodia.

“Cambodia is a very poor country. To find a job is difficult. There are no opportunities,” says the 32-year-old, asking that only his first name be used.

After four years, he still has no official residency papers and wonders if he ever will. Jobs are scarce so he survives off earnings from a food cart. But the kickbacks demanded by local officials means his profits are meagre.

“Jobs available here are for Cambodians,” he says, adding: “lots of Cambodians are jobless”.

Protesters holding banners gather outside the Australian Embassy ahead of the signing of a refugee deal between Australia and CambodiaA group of protestors gathered at the Australian Embassy ahead of the signing of the refugee deal

‘Human rights abuses’

Mohammed is one of only some 70 people officially recognised as refugees by the Cambodian government.

That figure is certain to change following the agreement signed on Friday.

Ahead of the signing, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said resettlement in Cambodia would be strictly voluntary.

Those who chose to go would “be afforded all the same rights under Cambodian law and those that exist under the Refugee Convention,” he said.

It is such pronouncements that have many worried. Cambodia is not known for upholding either the rights of its citizens or those of refugees.

“Australia’s deal with Cambodia will send people to a country that has a terrible record for protecting refugees and is mired in serious human rights abuses,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch.

There is no shortage of examples.

Inappropriate and immoral

Cambodian minister of Interior Sar Kheng (R) signs documents next to Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison (L) during a signing ceremonyHuman rights groups have condemned the agreement citing Cambodia’s human right record

In one of the most flagrant contraventions of its responsibilities under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, Cambodian police in 2009 deported 20 ethnic Uighurs back to China despite the group having received letters of protection from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

The Uighurs faced secret trials on their return to China and several were reportedly sentenced to long prison terms.

Two members of the Falun Gong movement were forcibly deported to China in 2002, the same year that a dissident Vietnamese Buddhist monk was abducted, bundled into a car and dumped back in Vietnam. All three had been granted UN protection.

Much the same fate befell hundreds of ethnic minority Montagnards fleeing repression in Vietnam between 2001 and 2004.

UNHCR regional spokesperson Vivian Tan said countries should work together to solve refugee problems instead of asking others to deal with them.

Australia was setting an “adverse precedent” sending refugees to Cambodia, which was not on “an equal footing with Australia in terms of rights, opportunities and international standards of integration,” she said.

Unicef, Amnesty International, the Refugee Council of Australia and others joined forces this week to speak out, calling the deal inappropriate, immoral and likely illegal.

“It is inappropriate because Cambodia has no capacity within its social sector to take an influx of refugees. Immoral because these vulnerable people are Australia’s responsibility, and while we await the detail, it appears illegal in contravening Australia’s humanitarian and refugee obligations to vulnerable children and families,” said Alastair Nicholson, former Chief Justice of Australia’s Family Court, on behalf of the group.

‘Better than no place’

Protesters gather outside the Australian Embassy ahead of the signing of a refugee deal between Australia and CambodiaProtestors say Cambodia already struggles to provide basic services to its own people

Ladan Rahlan knows well the reality of being a vulnerable child refugee in Cambodia.

She was six when her parents, members of Vietnam’s Montagnard ethnic minorities, fled to northeast Cambodia in 2004. Food and drinking water were in short supply. Troops and soldiers were in pursuit.

Montagnards had protested in Vietnam’s Central Highlands for land rights and religious freedom. Authorities responded with a harsh backlash and mass arrests.

Ladan and her family were lucky. They avoided capture by Cambodian and Vietnamese forces and were eventually taken under UNHCR protection and resettled in the US.

Back then, due to close political ties with Hanoi, the Phnom Penh government didn’t offer the Montagnards a resettlement “solution” in Cambodia.

“At that time I was very frightened,” recounted Ladan, who is now 17, and lives in North Carolina.

Ask Ladan about Australia’s plan and her response is practical: “It’s better than having no place to go at all”.

Mohammed, the Rohingya refugee, believes that if a large number of refugees are sent to Cambodia, they likely won’t stay long, and will soon try to find somewhere better.

“If Australia sends 1,000 people to Cambodia, maybe one year later all will not be here,” he says, adding they will likely flee again – possibly to Thailand where living standards are higher.

Cambodia, Mohammed says, “is not the right solution for them”.

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Australia-Cambodia agree asylum deal

A protester holds up a placard at a rally in Sydney on 26 September 2014, opposing Australia's plan to start sending asylum-seekers to Cambodia by the end of the year.Australian activists held a lunchtime protest outside the immigration department offices in Sydney

Cambodia’s government has signed a deal with Australia to accept some of its rejected asylum seekers in exchange for money.

Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison signed the deal on Friday with Cambodia’s Interior Minister Sar Kheng.

Australia will pay A$40m (£22m, $35m) to the South East Asian nation over four years, and resettlement costs.

The deal has drawn stringent criticism from rights groups, who say Cambodia is ill-equipped to care for the refugees.

The deal has sparked small protests in Sydney and Phnom Penh.

Australia has in recent months introduced controversial policies aimed at ending the flow of asylum boats from Indonesia trying to reach its territories.

Mr Morrison had earlier said the deal “enables us to fulfil on the policy which says no-one will be resettled in Australia”.

‘Only genuine refugees’

In a joint statement, the two countries said they had agreed on an “initial trial arrangement with a small group of refugees”, followed by further resettlement according to Cambodia’s capacity.

Mr Morrison said only genuine refugees currently housed in a processing centre on the Pacific island of Nauru would be sent.

Under the deal, only those who chose to go to Cambodia would be resettled. Transfers were likely to begin later this year and there was no cap on numbers, he said.

Scott Morrison (left), Australian Immigration Minister, shakes hands with Sar Kheng (right), Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, during a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 26 September 2014Scott Morrison and Sar Kheng signed the deal on Friday afternoon

A protester kicks out at a police officer during a protest against Cambodia's plans to resettle intercepted refugees near the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh 26 September 2014.About 100 protesters outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh were fended off by riot police

Cambodia had said earlier it might take in between two and five people under the pilot phase, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

Mr Morrison said in the statement that Australia would pay for initial support to the refugees. It would also pay for Cambodia to develop resources to integrate the new arrivals.

Mr Morrison said the Cambodian government was “making countless efforts to develop the country” and was “demonstrating its ability and willingness to contribute positively to this humanitarian issue”.

He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the A$40m would go towards various “development aid projects”, and was on top of the A$79m that Australia already gave in aid to Cambodia.

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Australia and asylum

  • Asylum seekers – mainly from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Iran – travel to Australia’s Christmas Island by boat from Indonesia
  • The number of boats rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. Scores of people have died making the journey
  • To stop the influx, the government has adopted hard-line measures intended as a deterrent
  • Everyone who arrives is detained. Under a new policy, they are processed in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG, Nauru or Cambodia
  • Tony Abbot’s government has also adopted a policy of tow-backs, or turning boats around
  • Rights groups and the UN have voiced serious concerns about the policies and accuse Australia of shirking international obligations

Australia asylum: Why is it controversial?

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Rights group say Cambodia is an impoverished nation with a record of corruption. They have pointed out that it has in the past sent back refugees to countries where they have been persecuted.

Amnesty International has described the deal as a “new low in Australia’s deplorable and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers”.

It accused officials of “putting the short-term political interests of the Australian government ahead of the protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable people”.

Cambodians live along a railway line near the train station in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 25 September 2014Rights groups say that Cambodia is an impoverished nation ill-equipped to handle the refugees.

About 100 Cambodians protested against the deal in front of the Australian embassy, reported the Associated Press.

Activists in Australia also staged a demonstration outside the immigration department in Sydney.

Australia-based Refugee Action Coalition’s spokesman Ian Rintoul said: “Rather than give the Cambodia government A$40m to undermine human rights, that money could have been spent providing real aid and services that are needed in Cambodia and Australia.”

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