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World in brief: February 13 2018

AUSTRALIA: The government admitted yesterday that it would miss a 10-year target to halve the gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal employment rates.

Trade union confederation Actu condemned the government for trying to “cook the books” by blaming its own Community Development Programme.

The programme forces mostly aboriginal people to perform 25 hours of usually manual labour a week for no pay, no benefits and with no workers’ rights.

It “is not about helping indigenous people … it is about punishment and compliance,” spokeswoman Kara Keys said.

PALESTINE: The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (Mada) said that Israeli forces violated reporters’ rights 117 times between December 2017 and the end of January 2018.

Most were in December, with 84 of the 89 incidents being assaults by Israeli troops and police against media workers.

Of the 28 reported in January, one was when an Israeli soldier beat a Reuters photographer with a truncheon, causing a huge wound and concussion.

FRANCE: Refugees have entered their third week of occupation at the Paris VIII university.

The group has occupied Building A of the institution in the Saint-Denis suburb of the French capital since January 30 in a bid to draw attention to destitute refugees and migrants forced to sleep rough throughout the country.

They have demanded shelter, an end to police violence and the scrapping of the EU’s “Dublin regulation” requiring that refugees seek asylum in the first EU country they set foot in.

BAHRAIN: The government has ordered that 17,000 school textbooks be pulped and reprinted as they referred to the “Persian Gulf.”

The Arab states sited around the Gulf refer to it in English as the Arabian Gulf. Persia is the historical name of Iran.

Bahrain’s Education Ministry said that the mistake — by an unnamed “overseas establishment” — was only spotted when the textbooks were about to be sent out to students.

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