Tag: AFP


AFP learned about the mobilization of 9.5 thousand soldiers in France due to the Russian operation


AFP: France will put more than 9.5 thousand troops on alert because of the fighting in Ukraine According to AFP, France will mobilize 9.5 thousand troops because of the military operation in Ukraine. More than 1.5 thousand people will be engaged in strengthening the positions of NATO in Eastern Europe ” alt=”AFP learned about the mobilization of 9.5 thousand soldiers in France because of the Russian operation” />

In France, more than 9,500 troops will be mobilized or put on alert by the end of next week due to the Russian military operation in Ukraine, a source in the country's General Staff told AFP, Le Parisien reports.

« We will have more than 1,500 French soldiers who will be directly involved in missions to strengthen NATO's position on the eastern flank, — said the source of the agency. 8,000 military “are on alert as part of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force.”

France will send 500 troops to Romania, and another 100 people will escort the upcoming arrival of four Mirage 2000-5 fighters, which should “strengthen the air defense of the Baltic countries” in Estonia, said a source in the General Staff.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on the night of February 24, President Vladimir Putin justified it by the need to protect the civilian population from “genocide”; by the authorities of the country. He called the decision a forced step and assured that Russia would not occupy the territory of a neighboring state. The Ministry of Defense claims that the shooting is carried out only on the military infrastructure of Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 198 people died during the hostilities, more than 1.1 were affected.

France urged Russia “immediately” stop the military operation. French President Emmanuel Macron also noted that Paris is in solidarity with Kiev and is cooperating with partners to end the armed conflict as soon as possible.

Источник rbc.ru


Save the Children staff killed in Myanmar junta massacre


Aid organisation Save the Children has confirmed that two of its staff were killed in a Christmas Eve massacre blamed on junta troops that left the charred remains of more than 30 people on a highway in eastern Myanmar.

Key points:

  • Anti-junta fighters said they found more than 30 burnt bodies on a highway in Kayah state
  • Save the Children said it had suspended operations in Kayah state and several other regions
  • The United Nations has demanded Myanmar's government conduct an investigation

Anti-junta fighters said they found more than 30 burnt bodies, including women and children, on a highway in Kayah state where pro-democracy rebels had been fighting the military, and Save the Children said two of its staff members had been caught up in the incident and were missing.

The organisation later confirmed in a statement that the two men were "among at least 35 people, including women and children, who were killed".

"The military forced people from their cars, arrested some, killed many and burnt the bodies," it said, adding the two men were both new fathers.

The UN has called for an investigation into the killings.(AP: KNDF)

"This news is absolutely horrifying," said chief executive Inger Ashing.

"We are shaken by the violence carried out against civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar."

Myanmar has been in chaos since the February coup, with more than 1,300 people killed in a crackdown by security forces, according to a local monitoring group.

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Self-proclaimed "People's Defence Forces" have sprung up across the country to fight the junta, and have drawn the military into a bloody stalemate of clashes and reprisals.

Operations suspended in several regions

Myanmar's junta previously said its troops had been attacked in Hpruso township on Friday after they attempted to stop seven cars driving in a "suspicious way".

Troops killed a number of people in the following clash, spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP, without giving details.

The Myanmar Witness monitor said it had confirmed local media reports and witness accounts from local fighters "that 35 people including children and women were burnt and killed by the military in the attack".

Save the Children said it had suspended operations in Kayah state.(AP: KNDF)

Satellite data also showed a fire occurred about 1:00pm (local time) on Friday in Hpruso, it added.

United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths said he was "horrified" by the reports and demanded the government conduct an investigation.

Save the Children, which has a staff of about 900 working in Myanmar, later said it had suspended operations in Kayah state and several other regions.

In October, the group said its office in the western town of Thantlang was destroyed in a junta shelling that also razed dozens of homes following clashes with a local anti-junta group.

AFP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Women in Afghanistan require male chaperone for travel says Taliban


Afghanistan's Taliban authorities say women seeking to travel anything other than short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.

Key points:

  • Authorities also say only women wearing Islamic hijabs can seek transport
  • Afghanistan's TV channels have recently been banned from airing programs featuring women actors
  • Since the Taliban takeover, women's rights have been increasingly curtailed despite promises to protect them

The guidance, issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also called on all vehicle owners to offer rides only to those women wearing Islamic hijabs.

"Women travelling for more than 45 miles (72 kilometres) should not be offered a ride if they are not accompanied by a close family member," ministry spokesman Sadeq Akif Muhajir said on Sunday, specifying that it must be a close male relative.

The guidance, circulated on social media networks, comes weeks after the ministry asked Afghanistan's television channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring women actors.

The Taliban says the hijab would also be required for women seeking transport.(West Asia News Agency via Reuters)

The ministry had also called on women TV journalists to wear hijabs while presenting.

Mr Muhajir said that the hijab would also be required for women seeking transport.

The ministry's directive also asked people to stop playing music in their vehicles.

The Taliban's interpretation of the hijab — which can range from a hair covering to a face veil or full-body covering — is unclear, and the majority of Afghan women already wear headscarves.

Since taking power in August, the Taliban have imposed various restrictions on women and girls, despite pledging a softer rule compared with their first stint in power in the 1990s.

In several provinces, local Taliban authorities have been persuaded to reopen schools but many girls still remain cut off from secondary education.

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Human Rights Watch blasted the guidance.

"This new order essentially moves … further in the direction of making women prisoners," said Heather Barr, the group's associate director of women's rights. 

It "shuts off opportunities for them to be able to move about freely, to travel to another city, to do business, [or] to be able to flee if they are facing violence in the home", Ms Barr added. 

Early this month, the Islamist group issued a decree in the name of their supreme leader instructing the government to enforce women's rights.

The decree did not mention girls' access to education.

Activists hope that the Taliban's battle to gain international recognition and get aid flowing back into one of the poorest countries in the world will lead to them making concessions to women.

Respect for women's rights has repeatedly been cited by key global donors as a condition for restoring aid.

Women's rights were severely curtailed during the Taliban's previous stint in power.

They were then forced to wear the all-covering burqa, only allowed to leave home with a male chaperone and banned from work and education.

AFP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Tigrayan civilians being rounded up and killed by Ethiopian army-backed forces, Amnesty says


Security forces allied to Ethiopia's army are rounding up and killing Tigrayan civilians in a fresh wave of ethnic violence in the country's brutal war, two rights groups say.

Key points:

  • Rights groups say Amhara forces are systematically detaining, torturing and starving Tigrayan civilians
  • Those fleeing the crackdown in western Tigray were attacked with machetes and axes
  • The UN is considering whether to send international investigators to the region

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said armed groups from the Amhara region were responsible for a recent surge in horrific abuses in the long-contested western part of Tigray.

In November and December, Amnesty and HRW documented Amhara forces systematically detaining, torturing and starving Tigrayan civilians, including teenagers and the elderly, living in the disputed region.

Some of those trying to flee the crackdown in western Tigray were attacked with machetes and axes by Amhara militias and regional security forces, while others were taken away on trucks and remain unaccounted for.

"Without urgent international action to prevent further atrocities, Tigrayans, particularly those in detention, are at grave risk," Joanne Mariner, Amnesty's director of crisis response, said in a statement.

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The warnings come as the UN Human Rights Council prepares to hold a special session on Friday to consider whether to appoint international investigators to probe widespread violations during Ethiopia's 13-month war.

The rights watchdogs said this "new onslaught of abuses… should ring alarm bells" amid a conflict that has fanned historic grievances between Amharas and Tigrayans, two of Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups.

Both lay claim to western Tigray, and when war erupted more than a year ago, Amhara sided with Addis Ababa and sent its regional forces to retake the fertile lands.

The United Nations has expressed worry over reports of large-scale displacement from western Tigray, where the US has previously warned of ethnic cleansing.

A spokesman for Amhara's regional government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Atrocities on all sides

Amnesty and HRW said deliberate attacks on civilians and forced expulsions violated the laws of war, and those responsible should be identified and face accountability.

The conflict has killed thousands of people, displaced more than 2 million, and driven hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates.

The conflict has killed thousands of people, displaced more than 2 million and driven hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates.(AP: Christine Nesbitt/UNICEF)

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray in November 2020 after accusing the region's dissident ruling party of attacks on federal army camps.

The Nobel Peace laureate declared victory over the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) but rebel fighters staged a shock comeback, recapturing most of Tigray and pushing into neighbouring Afar and Amhara.

The rebels reportedly reached around 200 kilometres of Addis Ababa by road but in recent weeks the battle lines have shifted, as pro-government forces have reclaimed strategic towns.

Fighters on all sides have been accused of atrocities including sexual violence, extrajudicial murder and ethnically-motivated crimes.

This month, HRW accused TPLF rebels of summarily executing dozens of civilians in two Amhara towns they briefly controlled between August and September.

AFP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Father time: Pakistan’s lonely clock collector


The tick-tock of hundreds of antique clocks fills a small hall in the south-west Pakistan city of Quetta, where collector Gul Kakar swears he will spend all the time he has left caring for them.

Delicate wristwatches, weighty pocket pieces and battered table models clutter every surface, while the pendulums of wall-mounted and standalone grandfather clocks sway as their deep bongs mark each new hour.

"I know their language," says Mr Kakar, a 44-year-old police officer.

"They tell me their problems, and I understand."

The antique clocks are housed inside a police headquarters compound in Quetta.(AFP: Banaras Khan)

Mr Kakar's collection, some of which dates back to 1850, is housed inside the city's police headquarters compound.

That means they are behind heavy gates and high concrete blast walls in a province that for years has been rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist violence.

The tight security may contribute to the lack of traffic, though Kakar admits he has found few other aficionados to admire his museum and there are hardly any visitors.

"People in Quetta don't show much interest," he confesses.

Mr Kakar's obsession began decades ago when two family clocks fell out of order and were sent for repairs.

"I started taking an interest … then I got the idea that I should get more clocks."

Soon he began collecting in earnest and his museum today is the result of more than 18 years of scouring the internet for antiques — even persuading friends overseas to buy second-hand pieces and ship them to him.

Gul Kakar says he does not know how many clocks he has in his collection.(AFP: Banaras Khan)

He has also lost count of how many he has — or how much he spends on his collection — but income from a family-run landholding means a "major portion" of his police salary goes to clocks.

"For as long as I am alive, I will take care of them," Mr Kakar says.

However, he admits nobody in his family shares the passion and after his death the collection may simply be sold.

He is ready to donate everything if an official or the private sector steps in to fund a museum in his name.

"I have not so far received any such offer," he admitted.

Mr Kakar says he hopes his collection can be turned into a museum.(AFP: Banaras Khan)

Despite all the pieces, he still yearns for one last item — a grandfather clock similar to a famed 19th-century timepiece kept in Jacobabad, in Sindh province.

That clock — said by some to be the oldest in what is present-day Pakistan — was handmade in 1847 by John Jacob, the East India Company colonial administrator who gave the town its name.

Mr Kakar has never seen it but is keen to one day.

"I would give up my entire collection for that one."

AFP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Father manufactures medicine for sick son in China after COVID-19 limits treatment


Two-year-old Haoyang has likely just months to live — but the only medicine that can help his rare genetic condition is not found anywhere in China and closed borders due to the pandemic mean he cannot travel for treatment.

Key points:

  • Two-year-old Haoyang suffers from a rare genetic condition called Menkes Syndrome 
  • Treatment is not available for him in China 
  • The boy's father researched a medicine online and used translation services to manufacture it 

Instead, his desperate father, Xu Wei, has created a home laboratory to create a remedy for the boy himself.

"I didn't really have time to think about whether to do it or not. It had to be done," the 30-year-old told AFP from his DIY lab in a high-rise apartment building in south-western Kunming.

Haoyang has Menkes Syndrome, a genetic disorder that impacts how copper — which is crucial for brain and nervous system development — is processed in the body.

Sufferers rarely survive beyond the age of three.

However, Xu — who has only high school education and ran a small online business before his son became ill — is determined to give him a fighting chance.

"Even though he cannot move or speak, he has a soul and feels emotions," he said, holding Haoyang in his lap to give him honey mixed in water.

After being told the disease was incurable and the only medication that could help ease his symptoms was not available in China, he began researching and teaching himself pharmaceuticals.

"My friends and family were against it. They said it was impossible," he recalled.

Most online documents on Menkes Syndrome were in English. Undeterred, Xu used translation software to understand them, before setting up a home lab in his father's gym.

On discovering copper histadine could help, he set up the equipment to create it himself, mixing copper chloride dihydrate with histidine, sodium hydroxide and water.

Xu Wei created a home laboratory in his father's gym.(AFP: Jade Gao)Blocked by pandemic 

Xu now gives Haoyang a daily dose of homemade medicine, which gives the child some of the copper his body is missing.

The amateur chemist claims that a few of the blood tests returned to normal two weeks after beginning the treatment.

While the toddler can't talk, he gives a smile of recognition when his father runs a gentle hand over his head.

His wife, who didn't want to give her name, cares for their five-year-old daughter in another part of the city.

Menkes Syndrome 

Menkes Syndrome is more prevalent in boys than girls, and it is estimated one in 100,000 babies are born with the disease, globally, according to the organisation Rare Diseases.

There is little information or data available, but Xu said pharmaceutical companies have shown little interest as the treatment "does not have commercial value and its user group is small".

Under normal circumstances, he would have travelled abroad to bring back treatments for Haoyang from specialist centres overseas, but China has largely closed its borders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Xu felt he had no choice but to make it himself.

"At first, I thought it was a joke," said Haoyang's grandfather Xu Jianhong.

Xu Haoyang was diagnosed with Menkes syndrome, and has likely just got months to live.(AFP: Jade Gao )

"[I thought] it was an impossible mission for him."

However, six weeks after throwing himself into the project, Xu produced his first vial of copper histidine.

To test it, he first experimented with rabbits and then injected the treatment into his own body.

"The rabbits were fine, I was fine, so then I tried it on my son," he said.

Reassured, he then started gradually increasing the dosage.

But the medicine is not a cure.

Professor Annick Toutain — a specialist of rare diseases at the Tours University Hospital in France — said the copper treatment was "only efficient against certain genetic anomalies and, if it is administered very early on, in the first three weeks of life".

She said that, after that, the treatment would alleviate symptoms, "without leading to recovery".

Xu has accepted that it can "only slow down the disease".

Gene therapy 

His work has led to interest from VectorBuilder, an international biotech lab, who are now launching gene therapy research with Xu into Menkes syndrome.

The company's chief scientist, Bruce Lahn, described it as "a rare disease among rare diseases" and said they were inspired after learning about Xu's family.

Clinical trials and tests on animals are planned for the next few months.

Xu has even been contacted by other parents whose children have been diagnosed with Menkes, asking him to make treatment for their relatives too, something he has refused.

"I can only be responsible for my child," he told AFP, while health authorities have said they will not intervene as long as he only makes the treatment for home use.

Huang Yu of the Medical Genetics Department at Peking University told AFP that, as a doctor, he was "ashamed" to hear of Xu's case.

He said that he hoped that, "as a developing country, we can improve our medical system to better help such families".

With a full-time role as an amateur chemist, Xu has little income and relies mainly on his parents.

Friends tried to talk him out of his medical efforts but, undeterred, the young father is planning to study molecular biology at university and do everything he can to protect his son.

"I don't want him to wait desperately for death. Even if we fail, I want my son to have hope."

AFP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Ethiopian artefacts stolen by British soldiers returned after 150 years


Ethiopia has hailed the return of precious artefacts looted by British soldiers more than 150 years ago, after a long campaign for their restitution.

Key points:

  • Ethiopia says the transfer is the largest such repatriation of artefacts

  • The treasures were formally handed over at a ceremony in London in September, but were unwrapped in Ethiopia on Saturday

  • Calls have been mounting in Africa for the return of artefacts taken by colonial forces

The collection — recovered from Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands — includes a ceremonial crown, an imperial shield, a set of silver-embossed horn drinking cups, a handwritten prayer book, crosses and a necklace.

Most of the items were plundered by the British army after it defeated Emperor Tewodros II in the Battle of Magdala in 1868 in what was then Abyssinia.

The treasures were unwrapped before the media at Ethiopia's national museum on Saturday, more than two months after they were formally handed over at a ceremony in London in September.

Most of the items were plundered by the British army after it defeated Emperor Tewodros II in the Battle of Magdala in 1868, in what was then Abyssinia.(AFP: Amanuel Sileshi)

Ethiopia said it was the largest such repatriation of artefacts to the country, with its ambassador to Britain, Teferi Melesse, describing it as of "huge significance".

Calls have long been mounting in Africa for Western countries to return their colonial spoils, with many prized national treasures held abroad in museums or sometimes private collections.

Earlier this month, the West African state of Benin welcomed back nearly 30 royal treasures seized during France's rule more than 130 years ago.

The Ethiopian government is still fighting for Britain to return other stolen artefacts including sacred wooden and stone tabots or tablets, which represent the Ark of the Covenant.

The tabots are housed in the British Museum in London – which has a vast trove of foreign treasures – but have never been put on public display.

Ethiopia is also seeking the remains of Tewodros' son Prince Alemayehu who was taken to Britain after the emperor committed suicide following his battlefield defeat.

A crown, made in Ethiopia about 1740, features gold, gilded copper, glass beads, pigment and fabric.(AFP: Daniel Leal-Olivas/File photo)

"A variety of artefacts which are a legacy of our culture and values were looted during the battle and taken out of the country illegally," Tourism Minister Nasise Challi said.

"Countless of our artefacts are found in various museums, research centres and in the hands of private individuals," she said at Saturday's event, appealing for their return.

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Ethiopia, one of the world's oldest countries with a rich and ancient cultural and religious heritage, says it considers the ransacking of Magdala a "great injustice" that has been a thorn in relations with Britain.

Several of the returned items were due to be auctioned but were bought by the non-profit Scheherazade Foundation with the aim of repatriation.

Others were acquired from private dealers or investors.

Among them was a set of medieval manuscripts dating back to before the 18th century, which had been due to be auctioned in the Hague.

Ethiopia is also negotiating for the return of a bible and cross that were set for the auction block in the United States.

"These restitutions are taking place in a global context where the role of museums in portraying colonial histories and the legitimacy of displaying looted artefacts is being questioned," Ethiopia's National Heritage Restitution Committee said in a statement in September.

AFP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


‘Bad day for Australian journalism’: ABC loses court case over Afghan Files raids


Sydney 2000

A case over the validity of police warrants used to raid the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters last year has been dismissed by the Federal Court of Australia.

Key points:

  • The story at the centre of the raid was based on leaked Defence documents
  • ABC Managing Director David Anderson said the raid was “attempt to intimidate journalists”
  • The ABC was ordered to pay the costs of other parties

In June, Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers searched ABC computer systems for files linked to a series of 2017 reports known as “The Afghan Files”.

The reports covered allegations of unlawful killings by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

The ABC launched a challenge to the validity of the warrant, arguing it was “legally unreasonable” and included search terms which failed to create any meaningful limitation on the scope.

Federal Court Justice Wendy Abraham on Monday morning dismissed the case and ordered the ABC to pay the costs of the other parties.

The Afghan Files
The ABC’s Afghan Files stories in 2017 gave an unprecedented insight into the operations of Australia’s elite special forces, detailing incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children and concerns about a “warrior culture” among soldiers.

The Afghan Files, by investigative journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, were based on leaked Defence documents.

A whistleblower involved in the stories has, separately, faced legal proceedings.

In a statement, the ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, said the raid was “an attempt to intimidate journalists for doing their jobs”.

“This is at odds with our expectation that we live in an open and transparent society,” he said.

“We are not saying journalists should be above the law, we’re saying the public’s right to know should be a factor that is taken into account — and legitimate journalism should not be criminalised.”



Photo:

ABC Managing Director David Anderson said the accuracy of the reports had never been challenged. (ABC News: Taryn Southcombe)

The AFP case argued the terms of the warrant clearly indicated its investigation was focused on alleged offences concerning the provision and receipt of the leaked documents.

In a 117-page judgment, Justice Wendy Abraham ruled the warrant’s three conditions, when read in the context of the warrant as a whole, provided “sufficient particularity in the offence descriptions”.

“The applicant’s primary submission is based on a consideration of words and phrases in the conditions in isolation, devoid of their context,” she wrote in the judgment.

“It is of no assistance to consider the breadth of individual words and phrases in the warrant in isolation, as material must satisfy all three conditions before it can be seized pursuant to the warrant.”


Video: John Lyons was disappointed with the ruling

(ABC News)

The ABC argued the case on several grounds, but named the registrar who issued the warrant as the first respondent.

It argued the decision to approve the warrant was not authorised under the Crimes Act, having regard to the implied freedom of political communication.

Further, the ABC argued the warrant itself was too broad and included terms which failed to provide any meaningful limitation on its scope.

The ABC sought a declaration that the warrant was invalid.

In a statement, the AFP said it “respects the decision of the Federal Court”.

“As the investigation remains ongoing it is not appropriate to comment further.”



Photo:

AFP officers sit with ABC lawyers and IT specialists during the raid. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito )

In October, ABC solicitor Michael Rippon told the court the warrant’s terms included very general words such as “secret”.

The court heard the AFP’s executing officer told Mr Rippon, in the lead up to the raids, that he wanted them carried out in a fashion “amenable” to all parties.

Mr Rippon also recalled words to the effect of “we don’t want any sensationalist headlines like AFP raids the ABC”.

The material seized included 124 files on two USB sticks, some which were duplicates.

The AFP has previously given the court an undertaking that the material will remain sealed until the legal proceedings have been resolved.

The ABC had also sought an immediate injunction to return the seized material and prevent any part from accessing or copying it.

I live-tweeted the raids on the ABC — and it was a first for the AFP
John Lyons spent nine hours in a room with six AFP officers — who were unfailingly polite and respectful — but who were doing something he believed attacked the very essence of journalism.

ABC head of investigative journalism John Lyons said the decision was disappointing.

“It is a bad day for Australian journalism,” he said.

“After 18 months, we still have two journalists that face possible criminal charges.

“I contrast this to Angus Taylor and what the AFP’s treatment of him was, that case was over within weeks.”

ABC news director Gaven Morris described the ruling as “a blow to the way Australians have access to information in their society and their democracy”.

“Urgent law reform is clearly required and all the way through this process, it’s clear that the way that journalists go about doing their role, the way public interest journalism is able to be undertaken in this country is a mess.”

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


NSW Police refers Angus Taylor investigation to AFP


Australia

New South Wales Police has confirmed it referred the investigation relating to Energy Minister Angus Taylor to the Australian Federal Police.

Key points:

  • The NSW Police Financial Crimes Squad was investigating the use of a doctored document in a political attack by Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor on Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore
  • The matter has been referred to the Federal Police, which has jurisdiction over the Australian Capital Territory
  • Mr Taylor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing

Authorities have been looking into a document containing inflated figures that Mr Taylor’s office used to attack the travel record of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Mr Taylor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

A NSW Police spokesperson said: “Following an investigation by the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad, the matter has been referred to the Australian Federal Police.”

The AFP confirmed it received the referral from New South Wales Police on December 20, 2019, “in relation to the alleged doctoring of a document”.

A spokesperson for Mr Taylor said the minister welcomed the conclusion of the NSW Police investigation.

“This supports his repeated previous statements that neither he, nor any member of his office, altered the document in question,” the spokesperson said.

“Of course [Mr] Taylor will cooperate with the AFP and any enquiries they wish to make, although he fully expects they will conclude that this matter is baseless.”

In October, the Prime Minister’s office told the ABC that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had no intention of referring the case to police following calls from Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to have the matter investigated.

That prompted Mr Dreyfus to write to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.

NSW Police confirmed it was investigating the matter in November, but at the time, Mr Morrison backed his minister and decided Mr Taylor had not breached ministerial standards.

“I have since spoken with the New South Wales Police Commissioner about the investigation and the nature and substance of their inquiries which he advised me were based only on the allegations referred to by the Shadow Attorney-General,” he said at the time.

In a statement, Mr Taylor’s office said he would co-operate with the AFP but said he “fully” expected the matter would be found to be “baseless”.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said “it is obviously a serious issue”.

“You look at what was said and what are clearly the facts around this document, its creation and it being given to the media — the two things don’t add up,” he said.

“One of the issues here has been a lack of transparency.”

Doctored document saga

Mr Taylor quoted a figure of $15 million in travel costs in a letter to Cr Moore at the end of September, where he argued cutting down on “unnecessary air travel” would provide a “real opportunity for your council to make a meaningful contribution to reducing Australia’s emissions”.

But that figure was based on a doctored City of Sydney Council document.

Mr Taylor has said that neither he nor his staff altered the document, and claimed there is evidence multiple versions existed on the council website.

He sent a letter to Cr Moore apologising “unreservedly” for relying on figures in media commentary without clarifying them.

But he has subsequently declined to elaborate how he came to use the false numbers.

“Look, I’ve been very clear about this — I don’t have anything more to add and I’m not going to be distracted from my job which is to ensure that Australians get the affordable, reliable energy they deserve,” he said in November.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news




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