Iran allocates $150K US payments to families of Ukraine crash victims

Iran’s cabinet has created a compensation fund to pay families of the 176 victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane that was shot down by Iranian forces outside Tehran last January, the president announced Wednesday.

Iran will pay $150,000 US for each victim, state TV reported without giving a timeline. The announcement comes as the families of victims prepare to mark the anniversary of the Jan. 8 crash, and diplomats from nations that lost citizens push Iran for more co-operation on the investigation and compensation issues.

Those killed include dozens of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and many others with ties to Canadian universities.

Canada’s foreign affairs minister said in a statement that “Canada and the other members of the International Coordination and Response Group (CG) are taking a co-ordinated approach to obtaining reparations from Iran, which includes not only compensation for the families but also an accounting of the events that led to the tragic result.”WA

François-Philippe Champagne went on to say that no negotiations or meetings between Iran and the other countries have been held and that “no formal offers have been made by Iran to the CG countries.”

WATCH | Iran says it will pay families of victims of Flight 752:

Iran’s president says $150,000 US will be paid for each victim on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which was shot down nearly a year ago. But some families in Canada, still pushing for justice, say they won’t accept the compensation. 2:02

For days, Iran denied that its military was responsible for the downing of the plane. But with extensive evidence emerging from Western intelligence reports and international pressure building, Iran admitted that its military had mistakenly fired at the Ukrainian jetliner at a moment of heightened tension between Iran and the United States.

Hostilities had reached a fever pitch the week before over an American drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, raising fears of further violence in the region.

Iran blames ‘human error’

Western intelligence officials and analysts believe Iran shot down the aircraft with a Russian-made Tor system, known to NATO as the SA-15.

Tehran blamed “human error” for the shoot-down, saying in a report released over the summer that those manning a misaligned surface-to-air missile battery wrongly identified the civilian flight as a threat and opened fire twice without getting approval from ranking officials.

Canadian authorities say Iran has not disclosed all relevant evidence or provided satisfactory answers to a number of lingering questions.

This includes the identities of those responsible, the exact chain of events that led the Revolutionary Guard to open fire and the circumstances around the decision to leave Iranian airspace open to civilian traffic the same night that Iran launched a barrage of ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq.

The plane, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukraine International Airlines bound for the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians, 17 Swedes, 11 Ukrainians, four Afghans and four British citizens, according to officials. The route was popular with those travelling onward to Canada.

Iran sends mixed messages on compensation

For months, the governments of the five other affected countries have demanded that Tehran accept “full responsibility” for the crash and pay compensation to the victims’ families in line with international agreements.

Iran, for its part, has sent mixed messages on the matter of compensation.

In October, Gholamreza Soleimani — the head of the country’s main insurance agency — said Iran would refuse to pay awards because the jet was “insured by European companies.”

But other Iranian officials have promised to negotiate compensation with the five countries.

“A mistake has been made by us but the base of the compensation should be decided,” Mohsen Baharvand, deputy to the foreign minister, said in September. “We have told our Ukrainian colleagues that international regulations are our basis.”

Victims families push for court action

The spokesperson for an association of victims’ families in Canada seeking justice said the Canadian government should take court action against Iran.

“What Iran is doing is humiliating and insulting to the families,” said Hamed Esmaeilion, who lost his nine-year-old daughter, Reera, and wife, Parisa, on the flight.

“We need to know the truth and we need to see the criminals in an impartial independent court like [the United Nations] International Court of Justice,” he said.  “We are done with Iran’s actions.

“Now it is our government’s turn to act and react. To take the investigation from them and take them to the court.”

Champagne made no mention of court action in his statement but said the Canadian government “will continue to fight for justice and accountability every step of the way.”

The association released a statement last week demanding an independent and transparent investigation into the crash.

“The families are vigilant and will not sign any document,” the statement read. “The murderer cannot play the role of mourner.”

Source link

MSF $150k Supports Tas Youth

A program to engage disadvantaged and at-risk young people in the Bridgewater/Gagebrook area is a recipient of major support in this year’s round of MyState Foundation (MSF) grants.

MSF is providing grants to 17 community organisations who will receive a total of more than $150,000, with an emphasis on assisting disadvantaged and vulnerable young Tasmanians.

The Bridgewater Police & Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) grant will assist in funding a ‘Back to Life Sports Program’ providing equipment and specialist sports coaching for small groups, fitness activities and personalised training.

The funding will provide equipment that enables existing PCYC specialised personnel to rapidly engage an existing client base while using available facilities at Bridgewater. The grant will enable the refurbishment of the current gym space and the purchase of equipment needed for engagement activities.

The Bridgewater PCYC supports some 2,000 young people each year, many of whom are identified as disengaged or at risk. The ‘Back to Life Sports Program’ aims to re-engage with local youth and give participants personal growth and development opportunities, combined with improved schooling/vocational outcomes.

Bob Gordon (centre) with the program group at the Bridgewater PCYC.

MSF Chairman, Bob Gordon said the Bridgewater PCYC grant was a prime example of the benefits of providing financial assistance to community organisations, particularly at this time.

“As a result of the impact of COVID-19, many not-for-profits have struggled, with both donations and volunteers taking a massive hit, as well as an increasing need for support services, food relief, domestic assistance and the like,” he said.

He believed that this round of grant funding has come at a time where there is ‘a real and immediate need’ within the community.

Bridgewater PCYC Manager Justin Abrahams said the grant had come at exactly the right time and would greatly assist in the re-engagement of young people who had seen their sporting activities curtailed by the COVID-19 restrictions.

Back to Life Sports will build on the club’s existing complement of skilled instructors, personal trainers and coaches as Bridgewater PCYC resumes normal activities,” he said.

The program will operate over 40 weeks, predominantly during school terms and work in conjunction with partnership programs to ensure longer term beneficial outcomes for the local community.

“This program is extremely important in our community and it would not have been possible without the support of MSF,” Abrahams said.

Grant Details
RecipientAmountName of programProgram details/funding purpose
Bridgewater PCYC$10,000.00Back to Life – SportsThe Back to Life- Sports Program targets youths ordinarily identified as disengaged and at risk, providing equipment and specialised coaching who are expected to demonstrate an increased level of need and risk.
The Smith Family$10,000.00Learning for LifeThe Learning for Life Program provides emotional, practical and financial support to help disadvantaged children and young people with their education.
CatholicCare Tasmania$9,140.00Inspire@HOMEInspire@Home is a literacy and numeracy program which caters to young people who are living in OOHC (out-of-home care) through TRC (Therapeutic Residential Care) and SCP (Special Care Package), crisis accommodation through AK, and semi-supported living through the InspirePods.
The Shepherd Centre – for Deaf Children$10,000.00A Listening EarThe program will provide specialist telehealth support for deaf children and their families in Tasmania.
Riding for the Disabled Inc St Helens$5,000.00Relocation of CentreThe grant funding will allow RDA St Helens to relocate to a suitable venue to continue their programs which have a major impact on improving the quality of life for many at-risk youth.
Camp Quality Limited$9,000.00Weekend Family CampsThe funding will allow the delivery of two family camps in Tasmania, providing young participants with a vital break from their cancer treatments.
ParaQuad Association of Tasmania$8,690.00Powerchair Sports ProgramThe Powerchair Sports Program allows young people using electric wheelchairs to participate in a sporting activity which is competitive, rewarding and safe.
Brave Foundation$10,000.00Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teens Program (SEPT)The SEPT program allows young expecting and parenting teens the opportunity to continue their education throughout pregnancy and parenting and return to education or workforce participation.
St Vincent de Paul Tasmania$10,000.00Youth HubThe Youth Hub program will aim to build life skills, develop personal growth and financial literacy for disengaged and disadvantaged young people.
Redkite$9,090.91Cancer Journey ProgramRedkite’s Cancer Journey Program will ensure youth (0-18 years) and their families receive emotional and practical support to manage the consequences of cancer and its ongoing effects, from hospital to home.
Variety The Children’s Charity Tent 78 Tasmania Inc$10,000.00Creative Arts ProgramVariety Creative Arts Program provides children a developmentally appropriate means for self-expression and will enable children to process their experiences in ways which facilitate positive change.
Canteen$9,090.91ExploreThe EXPLORE program connects young people with similar experiences and develops their foundational emotional competence to equip them with the skills needed to face the challenges of life and their cancer experiences.
Fight Cancer Foundation Limited$2,868.14Supporting Babies, Children & Young PeopleJohn Opie House supports families from around Tasmania who must relocate to Hobart for medical treatment.
Dooloomai Youth Project inc$10,000.00North West Schools ProgramThe Bush Adventure Therapy program offers participants the opportunity to explore their identities, relationships, skills and behaviours through adventurous activities, group relationships and time in the natural environment.
Young Life Australia$10,000.00Youth FlareThe Youth Flare program will provide a safe, vibrant and fun place for young people to gather for a meal, games and activities, and engage in weekly presentations addressing key issues that young people face today.
Cystic Fibrosis$10,000.00CF Breathe EasyThe program’s goal is to ensure Tasmanians living with CF have access to vital, required medical equipment to support their quality of life.
Kingston Beach Surf Life Saving Club$8,786.36Lifesavers without Limits – CALD Aquatic Safety & Development ProgramThe program targets newly arrived migrant youth aged between 16-25 years & provides them with skills such as identifying hazards when in and around the water & emergency procedures to enable them to participate safely in aquatic activities.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent=”no” parentcategory=”writers” show = “category” hyperlink=”yes”]

Source link

Victoria’s coronavirus blitz tests 150k people as protesters arrested for breaching restrictions

Police in Melbourne have arrested 10 people at a protest against the coronavirus restrictions in Victoria after another 10 cases were recorded overnight.

More than 150,000 Victorians have been tested for COVID-19 as part of a two-week testing blitz, which authorities will use to inform how restrictions will be lifted in the state.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said 20 cases were detected as part of the testing drive who were not linked to other known cases, many of whom were asymptomatic.

“These are 20 cases that otherwise potentially would not have been identified in the community through regular screening,” she said.

“So I think that’s a positive result, that of the very significant number of swabs that have been collected … that to date we’ve only had about 20 cases that tested positive.

“We know how contagious this virus is and how easily it spreads.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined a three-step plan agreed upon by the National Cabinet to move to a “COVID-safe economy” by July.

Despite criticism from Federal Government MPs and the State Opposition, the Victorian Government has stuck with its original plan to reveal new rules on Monday, the day the current State of Emergency comes to an end.

Officials are using data from the massive statewide testing blitz to decide how and when to ease restrictions.

There were 10 new coronavirus cases diagnosed since Saturday, taking the state’s total to 1,487 cases.

One case is from the growing coronavirus cluster linked to the Cedar Meats Australia in Melbourne’s west, taking the total number of cases connected to the abattoir to 76.

One returned traveller in hotel quarantine tested positive for COVID-19, and eight cases are under investigation.

Victoria has recorded a double-digit increase in cases every day for the past week — including 22 cases announced on Monday — in part due to the Cedar Meats cluster.

New South Wales and Victoria have had the largest number of positive cases to date, which Ms Mikakos said was also a result of overseas travel.

“I think that’s reflective of the fact we are the two most populated states, also the states that receive the most overseas travellers,” she said.

‘Disappointing’ protesters gathered in defiance of physical-distancing rules

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Protesters converge on the Victorian Parliament to protest against the state’s social-distancing restrictions

Victoria Police arrested 10 people when a crowd of about 100 protesters ignored coronavirus physical-distancing restrictions to stage a demonstration on the steps of State Parliament.

There was a strong police presence, with protesters shouting “no lockdown” and carrying signs saying “fight for your freedom and rights”.

Some of the protesters were demonstrating against vaccinations and the 5G mobile network, both of which have taken hold in some conspiracy theory groups.

One person, who was arrested and released a short time later, told the ABC that police would be sending him a $1,652 fine in the post for breaching the restrictions.

Two organisers of the event were arrested and police used capsicum spray in the arrest of another person.

Three people will be charged with assaulting a police officer and another will be charged for allegedly throwing a bottle at police.

An officer was taken to hospital with what police believe was a rib injury.

Police officers wore blue surgical masks and issued a warning for members of the media to keep their distance while covering the event.

About 100 protesters with signs crowd together on the steps of Parliament.
About 100 protesters gathered on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in defiance of the social-distancing rules.(ABC News)

Once police started making arrests the crowd quickly dispersed, Victoria Police said in a statement.

Victoria Police said while it respected the public’s right to protest “the health and safety of every Victorian needs to be our number one priority at this time”.

“Police are continuing to investigate the events of today in order to identify other people who were in attendance,” the statement said.

“Once individuals are identified we will be issuing them with fines.”

The protesters’ gathering was “a direct contravention” of the Chief Health Officer’s current directives, police said.

Ms Mikakos said the families of the 18 Victorians who had lost their lives as a result of COVID-19, would be mourning their loss.

“That is incredibly disappointing that some individuals don’t understand that these restrictions have been put in place to keep them safe … the whole of Victoria safe,” she said.

Hospital staff member, McDonald’s worker test positive

One of the positive tests has been linked to a staff member at Kyabram Hospital, north-west of Melbourne.

A small number of staff are being tested and are in self-isolation for 14 days, Ms Mikakos said.

No patients or residents fit the criteria of being a close contact, she said.

A second employee of a McDonald’s restaurant at Fawkner has also tested positive.

A spokesperson said the store in Melbourne’s north was closed “out of an abundance of caution” to deep clean the premises.

Ms Mikakos said the first staff member had not been at work while they were infectious and the second tested positive after working one shift.

Food Standards Australia has said there is no evidence the virus can be transmitted through food or packaging.

‘The risk is always there’, Health Minister says

Ms Mikakos would not speculate on media reports that schools would reopen in two weeks’ time.

“We are analysing all the data,” she said.

“I’ve got nothing to share with you in relation to schools.”

Ms Mikakos said public health officials were still waiting for the final results of the tests and had been doing a lot of work on the preconditions necessary for easing restrictions.

“It’s about more testing, more tracing, it’s about how we respond to outbreaks,” she said.

Two women walking, holding takeaway drinks and wearing face masks.
Two women wear face masks in central Melbourne during the coronavirus pandemic, on May 6, 2020.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

“We’ll have more to share about those matters soon but a lot of work has been undertaken because we know we will continue to see outbreaks.

“Until we get to zero the risk is always there.”

The testing continued on Sunday and anyone with even mild symptoms could get tested at any of the drive-through sites across the state.

Ms Mikakos said it was important to keep testing and she was thankful that Victorians had embraced the blitz.

“Unless you go looking for cases, you won’t find them … unless you’re testing people, you won’t find cases,” she said.


Source link