Michael Perry

Embattled Australian leader casts his vote

Australian Prime Minister John Howard cast his ballot in national elections on Saturday, hoping voters would reject a younger opposition leader offering generational change and return him for a fifth straight term. ''I hope we will win. I believe we will win. It is in the hands of my fellow Australians,'' Howard told reporters.

Howard in YouTube call for calm at Apec summit

Australian Prime Minister John Howard used YouTube on Monday to sell an Asia-Pacific leaders summit in Sydney this week, ahead of expected protests against global warming and the Iraq war. Organisers anticipate violent demonstrations at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit, which will be attended by 21 leaders including United States President George Bush.

Aids conference calls for child HIV drugs

The world's biggest Aids conference closed on Wednesday with a call for the development of child-specific drugs to ensure millions of HIV-infected children not only survive to adulthood, but also live without damaging side effects from their treatment.

Silent victims of the Aids pandemic

HIV-infected babies have a greater chance of survival if they receive treatment before they show signs of illness or a weakened immune system, the International Aids Society was told on Tuesday. A study in Cape Town and Soweto found that 96% of infants given immediate drug treatment were still alive two years later.

Medical ‘brain drain’ hindering Aids battle

The biggest challenge in the global fight against HIV/Aids is no longer money for drug research and treatment but the lack of local health services in nations worst-hit by the disease, the World Bank said on Monday. While about two million people were now receiving treatment for HIV/Aids, the lack of health services in many African and Asian nations was adversely affecting treatment programmes.

Tree planting, worm farming on World Environment Day

Australian protesters held a ''picnic rally'' against the logging of native forests while hundreds of Indian policemen swapped guns for spades on Tuesday to highlight World Environment Day. Across Asia, people learned about worm farming and listened to lectures about renewable energy.

Aborigines recall when Australia called them wildlife

Aborigine Jackie Huggins remembers when she was regarded as part of Australia's native wildlife. As a young girl, Huggins was not counted as part of the Australian population. Back then Aborigines existed only under the country's flora and fauna laws. On Sunday, Aborigines will celebrate the 40th anniversary of a 1967 vote that extended Australian citizenship to Aborigines.

Australian outlaw Kelly still eludes authorities

Australia's most notorious outlaw Ned Kelly, dead for 126 years, is again eluding authorities. Kelly, who became a folk hero of Australia's colonial past with his gangs' daring bank robberies and police shoot-outs, was hanged for his crimes in 1880 and buried in a mass prison grave.

Australia’s Howard decries US ‘gun culture’

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday decried the negative ''gun culture'' in the United States after the deadly shooting spree at a US university, holding up tough gun laws in his own country as the answer. Howard introduced strict gun ownership laws after the shooting massacre of 35 people in the southern island state of Tasmania in 1996.

Protesters clash with police at G20 meeting

Protests against a summit of the world's financial leaders in Melbourne turned violent on Saturday when activists overturned barricades, pelted police with bottles and smashed a police riot truck. Police locked down several blocks of Australia's second biggest city to stop protesters reaching the meeting of the group of 20 (G20) economic powers.

Drought-hit Australia battles climate change

Australia is already feeling the heat from climate change with a five-year drought devastating rural life, severe early season wildfires and record unseasonal temperatures. Every four days, a farmer commits suicide under the stress of failing crops, dying livestock and debt as the worst drought in 100 years bites deep into the nation's psyche and erodes economic growth.

Australian farmers commit suicide as hope evaporates

One Australian farmer commits suicide every four days, defeated by the country's worst drought in 100 years which has left them with dust-bowl paddocks and a mountain of debt, says a national mental health body. As drought rolls into a sixth year, stoic farmers are reduced to tears under the stress of trying to produce a crop and hold on to land.

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