Schoolgirl’s story about fleeing Islamic State wins Australian writing competition

Sarah Sona was only eleven when her family fled Iraq.

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Islamic State militants invaded her small village of Qaraqosh in 2014 vowing to kill all Christians.

“I was very scared and nervous because we could hear people screaming. My neighbours were telling us [her family] to run away because there was no where we could stay, they would just kill us”, the Year 6 student from St Dominic’s Primary School Broadmeadows told SBS World News.

Sarah has now been awarded the Young Journalist award by the Australian Catholics magazine for her entry detailing her harrowing journey from her small village in Iraq to Melbourne’s northwestern suburb of Broadmeadows.

The theme for this year’s competition was Justice Heroes with students asked to write about a hero from their own community.

Sarah’s family first escaped to Erbil and travelled to Jordan. Here, members of the humanitarian charity, Caritas, took Sarah and her family into their care. 

Sarah based her story around this organisation that she says made her family’s life in Australia possible.

“They [Caritas Jordan] are the real justice heroes and I will never forget them”, Sarah’s entry reads. 

Caritas Jordan have been working with refugees since the escalation of violence in 2010.

There are 165 Caritas agencies globally working to end poverty and promoting justice. Caritas Jordan has been in partnership with Caritas Australia working on programs for refugees fleeing attrocitieis in Syria and Iraq.

Sarah Sona says her Justice Heroes are the Caritas Jordan volunteers.Caritas Australia

Humanitarian program coordinator at Caritas Australia, Suzy McIntyre, said Sarah’s piece highlighted the significance of work by organisations like Caritas to protect refugees. 

“Sarahs piece is very significant for Australians to understand the work being done like Caritas for refugees”, Ms McIntyre told SBS World News.

Ms McIntyre said she was so uplifted by Sarah’s piece that she contacted Caritas Jordan to notify them straight away.

“I sent them an email to share the story. I think they were touched that Sarah was able to express personal gratitude to them”, McIntyre said. 

The life I’v nw wd’t have been possible without @CaritasJordan #justice #heroes #Sara #Iraqi_refugees @CaritasAust 南京桑拿,南京SPA,/Hi1Tu9ebIK

— Caritas Jordan (@CaritasJordan) September 9, 2017

 Sarah spoke only a few words of English when she arrived to Australia last year. She says Caritas introduced her to English.

“When I was in Jordan, some teachers from Caritas came and they started teaching me writing”, Sarah told SBS World News.

“I knew the letters but I didn’t know how to read. They started showing me easy words, like apple and banana and I started learning quickly.

“I always thought English was really hard and impossible to learn but here I am”, Sarah says.

Sarah with Caritas Australia staff member, Megan Bourke, at the Awards Ceremony.Caritas Australia  

Sarah, an aspiring author, says writing is an integral part of her life. 

“I think I can make my imagination work pretty well and I can be free. When I’m angry, I write – and it just makes me feel better”, Sarah says.

This is the first time Sarah has openly penned her journey from Iraq to Australia and says her winning entry has given her a taste of what it would be like to accomplish her dream.  

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Apps help treat mild depression: study

Smartphone apps can be an effective treatment option for people with mild to moderate depression, according to a new international research review.

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With mental health services struggling to meet the demand for treatment, researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), Harvard Medical School, The University of Manchester and the Black Dog Institute examined the efficacy of smartphone-based treatments for depression.

Researchers systematically reviewed 18 randomised controlled trials which examined a total of 22 different smartphone-delivered mental health interventions.

The meta-analysis involved more than 3400 male and female participants between the ages of 18-59 with a range of mental health symptoms and conditions including major depression, mild to moderate depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and insomnia.

Overall, the smartphone apps “significantly”reduced people’s depressive symptoms, according to the findings published in journal World Psychiatry.

“The main analysis found that smartphone interventions had a moderate positive effect on depressive symptoms, with no indication of publication bias affecting these findings,” the authors wrote.

“However, our subgroup analyses found that the effects of smartphone interventions were substantially larger when compared to inactive than active control conditions.”

After accounting for population type, the significant benefits of smartphone apps were only found for those with self-reported mild-to-moderate depression.

“Nonetheless, the nature of smartphone interventions does appear to position them as an ideal self-management tool for those with less severe levels of depression. The observed effects indicate that these interventions are well-placed for delivering low-intensity treatment within a stepped-care approach, or even prevention of mild-to-moderate depression among the millions of people affected by subclinical symptoms,” the authors concluded.

Despite the promising early results, there is currently no evidence to suggest that using apps alone can outperform standard psychological therapies, or reduce the need for antidepressant medications, the authors cautioned.

Earlier this year, consumers were urged to be cautious about the plethora of ‘mindfulness’ apps now available in the booming digital health market.

Dr Quinn Grundy, a postdoctoral research fellow in the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Pharmacy based at the Charles Perkins Centre, said while apps have the potential to deliver tailored, accessible and cost-effective mental health services, greater regulation was needed.

Dr John Torous at Harvard Medical School agrees patients and doctors are faced with a vast array of mental health apps, and says for this reason it’s “imperative” more research is done.

“This research provides much-needed information on the effectiveness of apps for depression, and offers important clues into the types of apps which can help patients manage their condition,” Dr Torous said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

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Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from 南京桑拿,bettertoknow南京楼凤,南京夜网,/AMS

Bird in hand means future bright: Bennett

The addition of Jack Bird and another year of finals experience means Brisbane are a step closer to another elusive NRL premiership, according to coach Wayne Bennett.

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The Broncos fell short in their quest to break an 11-year drought when they were over-run by Melbourne, who put on 22 unanswered second half points for a 30-0 victory in Friday’s preliminary final at AAMI Park.

Brisbane’s kicking game let them down while they failed to build any pressure on the Storm in the second half with some poor attacking choices.

But Bennett said Cronulla utility Bird, who signed a four-year deal in May worth about $4 million, would be a strong addition.

“The bridge is not long, it’s pretty short,” Bennett said of their journey to a title.

“We’ve got Jack Bird coming next year, we’ve got quality players there – we’re on this journey to get ourselves in a situation where we can’t get exposed like we did (against the Storm).

“Next year we’ll be older and smarter, we need to play in these games, these guys need to get the experience.”

Bennett lamented the injury toll at his club and said the side rarely played the same spine throughout the season, losing hooker Andrew McCullough for the year with a knee injury while others were in and out of the line-up.

“I’ve been in a lot of finals series and a lot of seasons and I’m going to tell you the best thing is constant players – the same team every week, you crave for that,” Bennett said

“To put the same 17 on every week and that gives you confidence and belief and we haven’t managed that.

“It’s the best thing you can have going into the finals.”

Skipper Darius Boyd missed their last two games after suffering a hamstring injury in round 26. The gamble of playing him underdone on Friday backfired and he was forced off early in the second half.

Bennett likened it to his club’s 2002 finals campaign, when Allan Langer broke his thumb late in the season and returned but couldn’t stop the Broncos crashing out in the preliminary finals.

“When Alf came back in for the play-offs like Darius did he wasn’t the same player he was before,” Bennett said.

“We needed what Darius brings and what Alf brought in that era so it does have an impact.”

Crows aim to capitalise on AFL lessons

Staring down the barrel of a major upset AFL loss two months ago could pay massive dividends for Adelaide in their preliminary final against Geelong.

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Crows coach Don Pyke said they learned invaluable lessons in round 19, rebounding from a 50-point deficit early in the third term against Collingwood at the MCG.

The clash ended in a draw thanks to a goal after the siren to Crows forward Mitch McGovern, who will miss the preliminary final because of hamstring soreness.

Adelaide came off a nine-day break for the Collingwood match and Pyke said it influenced how they had handled the 15-day gap between their qualifying final win over GWS and Friday night’s clash at Adelaide Oval.

The controversial pre-finals bye, which many want scrapped, means Adelaide have played only two games this month.

The bye was introduced last season and the two winning qualifying finals teams, Geelong and GWS, failed to make the grand final.

But Pyke says they are confident their preparations, including a brief trip last week to the Gold Coast, will bear fruit against Geelong.

“We sort of backed the group off (before Collingwood) and, to be honest, we didn’t come out and play anywhere near the level we had played the previous week,” Pyke said.

“So we’re mindful of that but, again, these are things we learn.

“As you go throughout the year, you don’t pull every right rein. You find at times you might have got something wrong.

“And again, we don’t know until tomorrow night but we’re very confident that the way we have trained in the following two weeks after the qualifying final put us in a good spot for tomorrow night.”

Pyke also said on Thursday that if the Crows won, McGovern would push for a grand-final recall.

The Crows regain vice-captain Rory Sloane (appendix) and lose defender Brodie Smith (knee reconstruction), with Andy Otten coming in for McGovern.

“It was a bridge too far for tomorrow night, but we remain hopeful,” Pyke said of McGovern.

“Should we progress, we’ll give him every chance.”

The Cats sprang a selection surprise, naming Nakia Cockatoo, and Tom Lonergan returns from last week’s illness.

They dropped James Parsons and Zach Guthrie.

A huge focus at the first bounce will be where Geelong start Patrick Dangerfield, given his best-afield performance at full-forward in last week’s semi-final win over Sydney.

Given Adelaide play a team defence, as opposed to Sydney’s man-on-man strategy, Dangerfield is much more likely to switch regularly between the midfield and attack.

The two teams will take poor recent preliminary final records into Friday night’s clash.

Since their last premiership in 1998, the Crows have lost four prelims, most recently in 2012.

Geelong won four out of five preliminary finals as they claimed three premierships between 2007-11.

But since then, they have fallen just short twice of the grand final.

Last year, Sydney bounced them with seven goals to nil in the first quarter of their preliminary final at the MCG

Australia’s first space centre launches in Adelaide

Australia’s first dedicated space centre has launched in Adelaide with Premier Jay Weatherill hoping to cash in on the nearly $4 billion-a-year national industry.

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The South Australian Space Industry Centre will create jobs by allowing manufacturers to transition to the high-tech growth sector, Mr Weatherill says.

“Many people think space is about astronauts and rockets. It’s so much more than that. It has become part of our everyday lives from our daily weather forecasts to using our mobile phones,” he said.

The premier said the centre was a continuation of the state’s push towards technologically based industries, including billionaire Elon Musk’s lithium-ion battery farm north of Adelaide.

“As an industry, space is growing at more than three times the world annual GDP. The potential is enormous and opportunities abundant,” Mr Weatherill said.

Setting up a national space agency would more than double the 11,500 jobs already created by the industry within eight years, the premier said.

Last month, SA and the Australian Capital Territory joined forces to push for a dedicated space site.

The Northern Territory has since also joined.

Australia is one of a few developed countries without a national space agency, with New Zealand creating its own last year.

Federal Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos announced in July a review of Australia’s space industry capabilities and said a national agency would be under consideration.

Adelaide will host an international space congress next week, when tech entrepreneur Mr Musk is expected to update his plans for a mission to Mars.

Why is energy policy dividing the Coalition?

Mr Turnbull’s plans could be derailed – not by Labor or the Greens, but from his own backbench and in particular by former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

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Energy policy remains a thorny issue for the Coalition, and for this PM as he navigates the politics of his own party.

Sitting with like-minded panellists on Sky News, Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott sent a warning signal.

“It would be unconscionable – I underline that word, unconscionable – for a government that was originally elected promising to abolish the carbon tax and to end Labor’s climate obsessions to go further down this renewable path. I think the important thing is that the partyroom, if necessary, saves the government from itself.”

To the nods and agreements of his former Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, and conservative commentator Alan Jones, Mr Abbott outlined his opposition to subsidising new wind and solar products, and insisted that the Clean Energy Target – a key recommendation of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel – should be dropped.

Mr Abbott went further, suggesting he would vote against Coalition government legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if incentives are given to renewable or clean energy sources, threatening the Coalition’s slim one-seat majority in the Lower House.

It piles pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, work on developing their policy, and deciding whether the Clean Energy Target would be set below the Finkel review’s recommendation, or dropped entirely.

“It’s not an ideological issue. It’s not coal versus renewables or gas versus coal or wind versus solar. It’s all of the above. What we need is leadership on energy, which I am providing and my government is providing, which is based on engineering and economics. The days of ideology and idiocy, which is what we had from Labor, have left Australians paying far too much for their power and power system that is not as reliable as it ought to be.”

But such leadership as Malcolm Turnbull is hoping to provide on energy, has long been fraught with division within his own party room, despite his adamant denials.

“Everyone in the coalition, of which Mr Abbott is a member, are united on ensuring that Australians have affordable and reliable energy. We are all absolutely of one mind.”

Coalition frontbenchers, including Alan Tudge, appeared to back the Prime Minister but his remarks to the ABc revealed it may be semantics under debate.

“I’m very confident Minister Frydenberg will be able to negotiate sensible policy where all of us can agree upon it. But again, I re-emphasise, all of us are at one in ensuring energy must be affordable, and having some extraordinarily high and arbitrary rate in relation to clean energy will not achieve that outcome.”

But the difficulty for Mr Turnbull is that his fondness for renewable energy is well known.

Back in 2009, as Opposition leader, his support for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s proposed Emissions Trading Scheme contributed to his downfall.

The beneficiary at the time was none other than Mr Abbott, who in a party room leadership ballot toppled Mr Turnbull by one vote.

Coal-generated electricity then became a victorious battleground for Mr Abbott who centred his attacks on Labor’s carbon pricing mechanism, legislated by subsequent PM Julia Gillard.

Now Mr Abbott’s hoping this will again work in his favour.

Energy policy researcher, Dr Hugh Saddler from the Australian National University, outlines why this might be problematic for the energy sector.

“Some members of the governing parties are obsessively attached to hanging on to old superseded technologies, that is mainly technologies that make electricity by burning coal to make steam to drive steam turbines. That has two major defects: firstly it is much more emission-intensive than any other way of making electricity, and secondly it’s higher-cost than modern, lower-emission technology that is being taken up all around the world.”

But statewide power blackouts in South Australia last year, and the overall cost on households, have created great scepticism about shifting to a more prominent mix of solar and wind in Australia’s electricity generation.

Dr Saddler again:

“In many parts of Australia, they are somewhat complementary. Because of course solar has the best output towards the middle of the day, but there are many parts of Australia where it’s much windier at night than in the day, so to a significant degree they can be complementary. And there are some numerous new renewable electricity generation projects now being constructed, such as locations in North Queensland – none at present, but there’s an enormous quantity now being built and there are sites up there where the two are very complementary.”

While Mr Abbott has also found friends in the National party willing to follow his lead, Labor leader Bill Shorten is happy to highlight the division.

“He’s got to toughen up to Tony Abbott, stop standing in the way of good investment policy which will deliver reliable energy. And we need to start getting agreement on a clean energy target, and that is what the chief scientist has said. You know, if I have to pick in a beauty parade between Tony Abbott and the right wing of the Liberal party, or the chief scientist, my vote goes to the chief scientist and his fact-based efforts to ensure that we’ve got proper pricing for energy and sustainable energy into the future.”

 

 

 

NZ eases fuel rationing amid shortage

New Zealand is partially easing fuel rationing, a spokesman for the country’s oil industry says, a sign the five-day long fuel shortage that has caused air travel disruptions is subsiding.

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More than 120 flights have been cancelled this week in Auckland after the single privately owned pipeline that carries jet fuel from a refinery to the city’s airport was damaged.

National carrier Air New Zealand said it expected flights to run as usual on Friday, with no cancellations for the first time since Sunday.

Airline fuel allocations would rise to 50 per cent, from 30 per cent, at midnight (0000 on Friday, or 2200 AEST), said Andrew McNaught, manager for Mobil New Zealand and a spokesman for the customers of the country’s only oil refinery operator, Refining NZ.

New Zealand’s government and oil industry have taken measures to try to contain the crisis, from fuel rationing to calling on the military to help truck in supplies of fuel, and have set up an industry-government group to handle the fallout.

A New Zealand navy vessel will ferry diesel fuel around the country as the government rushes to alleviate the shortage in the run-up to Saturday’s national election.

The ship would transport up to 4.8 million litres of diesel – equivalent to 150 tankers – to enable the oil industry to focus on providing jet fuel to Auckland airport, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said on Thursday.

The measures were simply a stopgap until the pipe was repaired, which would take place by September 26, McNaught said.

The ordeal has become a headache for the ruling National Party, which is battling it out with the newly invigorated Labour Party to form the next government.

New campaign to rid sports broadcasts of alcohol ads

On the field of a sporting match, it’s always a fight.

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But some fear watching alcohol commercials is stoking another battle: between young viewers and the bottle.

Michael Thorn, the chief executive of the Foundation for Alchohol Research and Education says exposing children in particular to alcohol commercials, will lead to issues in adulthood.

“It will increase the likelihood they will commence drinking earlier. and if they do commence drinking earlier they are more likely to suffer problems later in life.

The booze free sport campaign follows recent changes to the rules around gambling ads, which have seen restrictions placed around timing and content of gambling advertisements during sports broadcasts.

Campaigners believe the public has also had enough of alchohol commercials in cricket, N-R-L and A-F-L televised games.

Some residents of LaKemba in Sydney’s west say they have.

“I don’t think it should be publically advertised on TV”

“the kid is watching the adult trying and they are curious, they want to try anything.”

“they are really keen, like what is alcohol? what is that?”

Research by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education reveals that each year in Australia, 1 million kids are affected by carers who drink heavily,100,000 are severely impacted, and 10 000 kids with carers who drink are taken by child protection services.

Former Saint Kilda president Rod Butterss’ own struggle with alcoholism is one he says too many sports players share.

“Those problems often started at a very early age when they were just associating alcohol with their sporting heroes and then they come back into the system, and it’s not just the system it’s endemic across society.”

Millions of Australians are expected to tune in to the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, the latter here at Sydney’s Olympic Park. These broadcasts represent some of the most expensive advertising space in Australia, and they generate many millions of dollars.

Mr Thorn says the lost revenue from alcohol advertisers could be subsidised, with replacement sponsors sourced to generate revenue.

“We propose the establishment of a sponsorship replacement fund to relieve the immediate financial burden of winding back the sponsorship. This is something that was done when tobacco advertising was phased out in the 1990’s.”

Federal ministers are being lobbied to change laws.

In a statement, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told SBS Alcohol advertising on TV and radio is regulated through Codes of Practice enforced by ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

ACMA undertakes public consultation whenever these Codes are amended and ensures they reflect community standards.

 

Monarchists support citizenship changes but raise some concerns

A Senate inquiry into the government’s proposed changes to Australia’s citizenship requirements has attracted about 13,000 submissions.

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The overwhelming majority advises against the changes. But a submission by Philip Benwell, the national chair of the Australian Monarchist League, said it agreed with the “proposed strengthening of the bar” for citizenship approval.

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“The issue of multiculturalism, which is important, is being put above the Australian identity,” he said.

“It’s important that when people come here, they become Australians, assimilate into the Australian community, and not form individual communities.”

Mr Benwell said the League was not convinced all potential citizens were doing everything they can to fully integrate.

The League’s members have backed the government’s push for applicants to prove their integration, whether it’s joining clubs or enrolling their kids in school.

But Mr Benwell was more cautious about other measures, including the English proficiency test.

“We believe the proficiency test should be stronger. Of course, not to University level, that’s a bit absurd,” he said.

He also raised concerns about the immigration minister being given powers to overrule tribunal decisions he disagrees with.

“Something needs to be done to strengthen the requirements for citizenship without being overruled by another body,” he said.

“But on the other hand, too much power being placed in the hands of one person is never a good thing. Peter Dutton may be a very competent minister, but in a few years time we may have a totally incompetent minister.”

Dick Smith calls citizenship debate a “non-issue”

Entrepreneur Dick Smith said he was sceptical of all the measures, in the shadow of his million-dollar campaign encouraging Australia to slash its annual migration intake by more than half.

“I think this is a complete non-issue,” he said.

“I don’t agree on making the English test harder. I think modern Australia’s made from immigration and many of those immigrants came here, coudn’t speak English at all.

“Trying these different small changes are because our politicians are not game to say that we have to have a population policy.”

Mr Smith’s campaign is pushing to bring down Australia’s annual migration intake to 70,000.

But in a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the migration program “remains at a ceiling of 190,000 places”.

It added that Australia’s citizenship program is demand driven and without caps.

“There is nothing in the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill currently before parliament that will change this,” the statement read.

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Mexico earthquake: Rescuers race to save trapped girl after family of 11 killed at baptism

Rescuers are racing against time to save a trapped 12-year-old girl as they labour for a second night amid the rubble of a school that collapsed after a powerful earthquake rocked Mexico.

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At least 237 people were killed by the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck about 150km southeast of Mexico City on Tuesday afternoon, 32 years after a 1985 quake killed thousands.

It comes as news emerges of the deaths of 11 family members, including a two-month-old girl who was being christened, when a baptism turned to tragedy after the roof caved in at a church.

The only survivors were the girl’s father, the priest and the priest’s assistant, the Archdiocese of Puebla said.

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0:00 Dramatic moment as side of building collapses during Mexico quake Share Dramatic moment as side of building collapses during Mexico quake

At least four minors were among the dead.

“It was a scene of horror, sadness with most of the people inside the church dying,” priest’s assistant Lorenzo Sanchez told The Associated Press.

Sanchez said those who survived moved to the edges of the church when the swaying started while those who died didn’t have time to do so.

“One of the things they taught us is to stick to the firm walls of our church, which is old and its structure a bit deteriorated,” he said.

Authorities search the building rubble for survivors as the death toll rises to 230.AFP

 

When the ground stopped shaking, people called for help using loudspeakers and residents of nearby communities quickly arrived in Atzala with shovels, pickaxes and chains to haul away rubble.

They dug for hours through the crumbling remains of the Santiago Apostol church but found the 11 relatives had died.

Covered in dust and exhausted, the rescuers laid the bodies out on the same street where a party was meant to be held after the baptism.

Family members of the dead travelled overnight from other states to attend Wednesday’s wake in Puebla.

Each coffin had a name attached: Florencio, Fidela, Aurelia, Manuela, Maria de Jesus, Carmen, Samuel, Azucena, Feliciana, Susana and Elideth – the girl who was to be baptised.

0:00 Mexico City: Two children rescued from rubble of a collapsed school Share Mexico City: Two children rescued from rubble of a collapsed school

Search for school survivors continue

Rescuers are working frantically to dig a young girl out from under the rubble of a partially collapsed school amid devastation.

They were able to communicate with the girl, identified only as Frida Sofia, who responded there were two other students nearby but could not tell if they were alive, according to broadcaster Televisa.

The dramatic rescue attempt was aired live on Wednesday after crews at the school in southern Mexico City reported finding the girl, seeing her move her hand and threading a hose through debris to get her water.

The girl’s full name was not made public but her family waited in anguish nearby, knowing the bodies of 21 school children and four adults were already recovered from the Enrique Rebsamen School.

0:00 Mexico earthquake: Twenty-one children dead in school collapse as toll hits nearly 250 Share Mexico earthquake: Twenty-one children dead in school collapse as toll hits nearly 250

They and other parents clung to hope after rescue teams reported a teacher and two students had sent text messages from within the rubble.

About 14 hours after the effort began, rescue workers in hard hats made an urgent plea on camera for beams and chains to support parts of the school ruins that were collapsing.

“We have a lot of hope that some will still be rescued,” volunteer David Porras said.

“But we’re slow, like turtles.”

0:00 The moment a dog is rescued after Mexico City earthquake Share The moment a dog is rescued after Mexico City earthquake

Rescuers periodically demanded “total silence” bystanders to better hear calls for help.

As rescue efforts continued at the school, emergency crews, volunteers and bystanders toiled elsewhere using dogs, cameras and heat-seeking equipment to detect survivors.

Hundreds of neighbours and emergency workers spent the night pulling rubble from the ruins of the school with their bare hands under the glare of floodlights. Three survivors were found at around midnight as volunteer rescue teams known as “moles” crawled deep under the rubble.

Rescue teams work at the Rbsamen school in Mexico City (Getty Images)Getty Images

By Wednesday morning, the workers said a teacher and two students had sent text messages from within the rubble. Parents clung to hope that their children were alive.

“They keep pulling kids out, but we know nothing of my daughter,” said 32-year-old Adriana D‘Fargo, her eyes red, who had been waiting for hours for news of her seven-year-old.

Overnight, volunteers with bullhorns shouted the names of rescued kids so that tense family members could be reunited with them.

“The priority continues to be rescuing people from collapsed buildings and taking care of the injured,” said President Enrique Pena Nieto. “Every minute counts.”

The earthquake toppled dozens of buildings, tore gas mains and sparked fires across the city and other towns in central Mexico. Falling rubble and billboards crushed cars.

Even wealthier parts of the capital, including the Condesa and Roma neighbourhoods, were badly damaged as older buildings buckled.

RT @ElGuardiaCholo: #Mexico City #earthquake #CiudaddeMexico #temblor #AlertaSismica #SimulacroCDMX #sismodel85 pic南京夜生活,/5j7qtKS8b8

— • V ä ł Å ñ g ł ę • (@0vangle0) 19 September 2017Another building exploded after the earthquake in Mexico Citypic南京夜生活,/GjYBKFfHp5

— Jemisha Johnson (@jemisha_johnson) 19 September 2017

Parts of colonial-era churches crumbled in the adjacent state of Puebla, where the US Geological Survey put the quake’s epicentre about 158km southwest of the capital.

Around the same time that the earth shook, Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano, visible from the capital on a clear day, had a small eruption. On its slopes, a church in Atzitzihuacan collapsed during Mass, killing 15 people, Puebla governor Jose Antonio Gali said.

US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.” Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke at length on Wednesday, according to the White House.

God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 19 September 2017

Residents of Mexico City, home to about 20 million people, slept in the streets while authorities and volunteers distributed food and water at tented collection centres.

Other volunteers, soldiers and firefighters formed human chains and dug with hammers and picks to find dust-covered survivors and bodies in the remains of apartment buildings, schools and a factory.

With power out in much of the city overnight, the work was carried out with flashlights and generators.

0:00 Devastating scenes during Mexican earthquake Share Devastating scenes during Mexican earthquake

The Australian newspaper launches Chinese language website

The website will include translations of national, regional and international news and analysis, selected by the newspaper’s editors.

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The website will sit outside of the Australian’s paywall, and it’s expected that about ten stories will sit on the site. 

“There’s a big demand for Australian based content, translated into Chinese,” The Australian’s CEO Nicholas Gray told SBS World News.

“It’s not a plan at this stage to deliver a separate service, it’s purely a translation of Australian content which is relevant to a Chinese reading audience.

“It’s the largest language other than English, spoken and read in Australian homes.

“And it’s the language in which there’s the most content overlap.”

Hello! Pleased to launch Chinese language version of The Australian. Enjoy!

你好!高兴地推出中文版的澳大利亚人。请享用!南京桑拿,南京SPA,/[email protected]

— Nicholas Gray (@NicholasGray) September 20, 2017

More than 2.5 per cent of Australian residents speak Chinese at home.

Senior journalism lecturer Dr Saba Bebawi from the University of Technology Sydney sees the move as a targeted approach.

“They would have strategic reasons as to why they would invest in producing in different languages and targeting different groups,” Dr Bebawi said.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it fits with what commercial media does.”

“I think the online platform is interesting because it’s not targeting only Chinese in Australia, but aiming to reach them outside Australia.”

But Dr Bebawi does have one criticism.

“What The Australian is doing is targeting these audiences with what interests them, be it business, international students, real estate, buyers.

“So they are including them, in that sense.

“But [it is] not including their voices.”

 

Multicultural cast brings Carole King musical to life

The new musical to hit Australia focuses on the early period of Carole King’s life when she wrote hit songs for groups, including The Shirelles and The Drifters.

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It is the first time Marcus Corowa has played a role that is not specifically for an Indigenous character.

“Sometimes as an Aboriginal person and a South Sea Islander person we kind of get pigeonholed in just telling our own story, but there’s more to us than that,” he said.

Corowa is one of 24 cast members in one of the most diverse ensembles to take the stage in Australia for the Carole King musical.

Akina Edmunds had considered being Maori something of a curse in musical theatre. Now she understands it as a blessing.

“Being part of a cast that has people from Tonga [and] Samoa, and being Maori, it’s really heartening to know that I still have a home here,” she said.

“I think it was more over time where I went that actually it’s kinda good that I don’t look like everyone else or sound like everyone else.

“It means I’ll miss out on a few but the special ones that I’ve found myself a part of are really amazing productions.”

King was reluctant to see the show when it opened on Broadway three years ago, but is now a fan and the legendary singer-songwriter personally approved the Australian actress who plays her.

The Shirelles and The Drifters had big hits with songs written by King and her first husband, Gerry Collins.

“They gave work to people who at that point in pop history were often relegated to R&B stations, they weren’t as much in the mainstream,” musical writer Douglas McGrath said. 

The show’s writer said the mix of ethnicities in the Australian version reflects the couple’s groundbreaking work.

“Carole and Gerry were two Jewish middle-class kids who had no prejudice about anything. They wanted the best people to sing and perform their songs,” McGrath said.

The cast is hoping more directors and casting agents follow the show’s lead on diversity.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opens in Sydney on Saturday.

 

Wozniacki keeps title defence alive, Strycova downs Konta

The former world number one trailed 3-0 in the decider before securing victory after toiling for more than two hours.

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Pulling off an upset seemed on Rogers’ mind as the American fended off three break points in the 10th game to clinch the first set.

Wozniacki wrestled back momentum in the second, converting two break points before firing back-to-back aces to force a decider.

Rogers raced to a 3-0 lead in the third set before Wozniacki staged a brilliant comeback, claiming six of the last seven games to advance to the next round.

“I knew she has powerful strokes and a big serve. it definitely was not easy,” Wozniacki said in a courtside interview. “I’m just happy to win this one.”

Earlier, Barbora Strycova registered her first win over a top 10 player this year when the Czech edged out Britain’s Johanna Konta 7-5 7-6(5).

Fourth seeded Konta dominated the early proceedings in her first meeting with Strycova and raced to a 3-0 lead before the Czech broke her back and went on to claim the first set.

Konta’s dominant backhand put her 5-4 ahead but the British number one could not serve out the second set, allowing Strycova to force a tiebreak and eventually seal the match.

“I’m very happy, because this match meant a lot to me,” Strycova said.

“I don’t have any words to say because I’m very emotional and very happy that I won against Johanna,” said the 31-year-old who meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-final.

Ninth seed Caroline Garcia beat local favourite Kurumi Nara 6-1 6-3 to set up a quarter-final clash with world number one Garbine Muguruza.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Pritha Sarkar)