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Australian agency uncovers new evidence in missing flight MH370

Australia's top science agency released a new report on Friday, saying it was certain that missing flight MH370 is "most likely" located just outside the original search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) said it was confident that the Malaysia Airlines jet is located in a 25,000 square kilometer (9,653 square mile) area in the Indian Ocean - the area the agency suggested last December.

CSIRO probed their theory by testing an actual flaperon - a two-meter wing part - that was identical to one discovered at La Reunion Island off of Madagascar in 2015. The part was later confirmed to have come from the missing airliner, but was outside the original search area.

The new tests involved cutting down the flaperon to match photographs of the wing part from MH370 and seeing how it responded to wind, waves and ocean currents.

"The arrival of MH370's flaperon at La Reunion in July 2015 now makes perfect sense," said CSIRO scientist David Griffin. He added that testing an actual flaperon "added an extra leval of assurance" to their earlier drift modeling findings.

"We cannot be absolutely certain, but that is where all the evidence we have points us, and this new work leaves us more confident in our findings," Griffin said.


Power to Indian women entrepreneurs


Jakarta election a turning point for Indonesia

"I honestly didn't know who to vote for," said Ivana Lee, a 32-year-old teacher in Jakarta who didn't cast a ballot. "One candidate is supported by Islamists. The other pushes the poor out. So I stayed home."

Lee has worked for years with Ciliwung Merdeka (Free Ciliwung), a community organization in the slums along Jakarta's Ciliwung River. The organization and 440 families were forced to relocate due to a water control project implemented under Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok.

"Many of us here are still waiting for the promised relocation housing," Lee said. "So they voted for Ahok's opponent."

That opponent is Anies Baswedan, the country's former education minister. With Private polls handing him a resounding victory in the election, he has been declared Jakarta's next governor . Official results are expected in May.

Jakarta election a turning point for Indonesia

Election winner Anies Baswedan

The relocation played a minor role in the campaign, as did Ahok's anticorruption efforts and successes on infrastructure, education and health.

Background and belief

Ahok's religion was a more dominant factor: As a Christian belonging to a Chinese minority, many Islamic organizations viewed him unfit to govern the capital of the largest Muslim country in the world .

"This election is a test of Indonesian pluralism's ability to stand up to the pressure from religious groups and populists," said Wimar Witoelar, a political analyst and campaign advisor to former President Abdurrahman Wahid, ahead of the election. Not only Jakarta, but all of "Indonesia is at a turning point."

The multiethnic state has in some ways been an model of religious tolerance . Yet since the beginning of democratization in 1998, radical Islamic groups have asserted increasing political influence. Provinces have enacted Sharia, or Islamic law, to the detriment of religious minorities. The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a radical Islamic group, carried out massive demonstrations in 2012 against Ahok for becoming the running mate to Joko Widodo in the Jakarta gubernatorial election. Widodo, known at Jokowi, went onto win. Ahok took over as governor when Jokowi was elected the country's president in 2014.

Jakarta election a turning point for Indonesia

Jakarta saw mass protests against its governor in 2016

Blasphemy accusations

Ahok is currently on trial for blasphemy. At an event in September, he cautioned voters not to be swayed by claims that the Koran prohibits voting for non-Muslims. The statement was twisted in social media, with FPI taking to the streets of Jakarta claiming Ahok had insulted the Islamic holy book.

Opponents seized on the opportunity to bring down a then-popular governor. Anies Baswedan, a former university rector and moderate intellectual, donned more traditional Muslim clothing and courted FPI's Habib Rizieq, who has been repeatedly cited for incitement and other offenses.

Jakarta election a turning point for Indonesia

Ahok is on trial for blasphemy

Baswedan had supported Jokowi's bid for president and was awarded the education ministry in return. He lost his job in 2016 amid accusations of corruption.

Jakarta's governor race can be viewed as a bellwether of sorts for the country's next presidential election in 2019. "Baswedan's victory is a risk for


Australia to add 'values' test to citizenship exam

Australia unveiled plans on Thursday to make its citizenship test more difficult. Not only will the new exam require a higher level of English competency, it will also judge whether or not an applicant has "Australian values."


Pakistan's Panama Papers ruling is a win for everyone

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can breathe a sigh of relief now. For the past few months, the premier was troubled by the Panama Leaks trial, which could have cost him his post.

Prior to the Supreme Court's Thursday ruling, there had been a huge media hype in the South Asian country, with many people, particularly supporters of the opposition leader Imran Khan, hopeful the judges would disqualify Sharif.

The Supreme Court issued a split decision - two judges in favor of PM's disqualification, while the remaining three ordered further investigation into the corruption scandal that has kept Pakistani politicians on their toes for the past year.

"A thorough investigation is required," said Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, announcing the highly-anticipated decision following a months-long trial.

"They (judges) have said what the PM already said in his letter - that a commission should be constituted to investigate the matter," Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

"We are ready for all kinds of investigation," Asif added. "It has been established today that any evidence or sacrifices given by our opponents in the Supreme Court were not enough. We have succeeded."


In April last year, the PM found himself in a precarious situation following the "revelations" made by the so-called Panama Papers. Leaked documents showed that three of the prime minister's children had links with offshore companies that owned properties in London.

Sharif and his family denied the allegations, but the local media and opposition parties, particularly  Imran Khan 's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, accused him of corruption and tax evasion.

"Nawaz Sharif should explain how his children made all this money," Khan said last year.

According to some legal experts, the papers are not necessarily evidence of corruption, as using offshore structures is entirely legal. But irrespective of its legality, the political repercussions of the scandal, dubbed "Panamagate" in Pakistan, were immense for Sharif.

Pakistan's Panama Papers ruling is a win for everyone

Opposition leader Imran Khan, a former cricket star, is likely to keep the pressure up on Sharif

A damaging verdict nonetheless

The opposition parties have accepted the court's decision but have asked the prime minister to resign on "moral grounds."

Veteran journalist and former editor of Pakistan's "Dawn" newspaper, Abbas Nasir, told DW the Supreme Court's judgment in the Panama Leaks case is "morally damaging" for Prime Minister Sharif.

"Not that the premier cares much about this kind of damage. In any civilized country, the head of government would have tendered his resignation in this situation," Nasir said.

Majid Siddiqui, a Karachi-based journalist, says the opposition's demand is "justified."

"The judicial commission cannot work independently if the premier remains in charge," Siddiqui told DW.

But Nasir is of the view that the judicial commission would work under the Supreme Court's supervision and would be reporting to the judges' bench that is hearing the case.

"The ruling Muslim League party is celebrating the verdict prematurely. The sword is still hanging over the prime minister's head. I also think that Imran Khan should stick to his stance,"