Recently in Australia & Oceana Category

Bloggers Have Their Say About John Howard’s Stay at Blair House

The Canberra Times of Australia told its readers January 8, 2009, that, “US bloggers are up in arms over former Australian Prime Minister John Howard "bumping" president-elect Barack Obama from an official government guest house in Washington,” the U.S. capital. See “US blogs bitter about Howard's Blair House bump.” The Times reported:

image Mr Howard will stay at Blair House the night before he receives the US [Presidential] Medal of Freedom from retiring President George W. Bush next week.

Mr Obama has been forced onto the Blair House waiting list until January 15 when he and his family will move in, five days before his inauguration as president.

The Obamas requested an early move-in at the 70,000-square-foot, 119-room mansion across the street from the White House, so their children could settle in to start school this week, The Washington Post reported.

But the incoming first family was told the residence had been booked out, so they took a suite at the nearby Hay-Adams Hotel.

The Times said, “President Bush has been the main target for criticism from bloggers to political sites.”

Question: Why couldn’t Mr. Howard stay at the Australian Embassy. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, another of Mr. Bush’s sidekicks in the invasion and occupation Iraq and another Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient designee, is staying at the British Embassy. He reportedly admitted that he didn’t want to be the one to bump Mr. Obama from Blair House.

Besides, as The Australian told its readers in its January 9, 2009, edition: “The Washington Post yesterday summed up the Blair House affair thus: "119 rooms, 70,000 square feet and one lucky Australian.” See “Fury as John Howard's end upsets Barack Obama's beginning.”  Also see “Blair House Mystery Solved: It's John Howard.”

Following is a list of worldwide newspaper articles on Mr. Howard’s stay at Blair House. What some bloggers are saying. What the U.S. media is saying.

Note: This post can also be found at The Blogging Journalist.

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Laisenia Qarase Thinks Fiji's President, Josefa Ilo, Backed Coup

The World Today, an Australia ABC Local Radio program "broadcast around Australia" at 12:10 p.m. daily, interviewed Fiji's ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, a few hours before he was overthrow in a the island's fourth coup d'état in less than 20 years. He thinks President Josefa Ilo gave the military the Ok to takeover the government.

To read his views, see "Qarase waits for army's next move."

Question: Will Australia or New Zealand oust the coup leaders? Only time will tell. A few mercenaries could do it.

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Fiji Experiences Fourth 'Coup d'état In Nearly 20 Years'

Nick Squires,  a Christian Science Monitor Correspondent in the Fiji Islands, notes in a report in the December 06, 2006, edition of The Monitor that, "Four coups d'état in nearly 20 years have spilled little blood on this archipelago {The Fiji Islands], whose thriving agricultural and tourism sectors makes it one of the South Pacific's wealthiest island nations."

"But even as Christian hymns and heartfelt prayers were offered outside the premier's home Tuesday [December 5, 2006], Fiji's elected leader, Laisenia Qarase, could do little to save himself from the same fate as his predecessors," Mr. Squires wrote from Suva, Fiji.

To read his dispatch, see "Fiji's business-as-usual coup d'état."

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New Zealand's Clark: Iraq Has Made World Less Safe From Terrorism

Mike Houlahan at the New Zealand Herald reported September 12, 2006 [New Zealand Time] that "Prime Minister Helen Clark has risked incurring the ire of the United States and Britain by saying the invasion of Iraq has made the world less safe from terrorism."

For more, please see "Clark claims Iraq invasion has made world less safe.

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Will Australia Sign ASEAN's Amity and Cooperation Treaty?

ABC News Online of Australia quotes Indonesia's ambassador to Australia, Imron Cotan, as saying acceptance of the Association of South East Asian Nations' Treaty of Amity and Cooperation will make it easier to invite Australia to the East Asia summit in December 2005. Will Prime Minister John Howard accept the treaty? It remains to be seen.

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New Zealand Decides to Sign Friendship Treaty With ASEAN

"New Zealand has decided in principle to sign a friendship treaty with South-east Asian nations, Prime Minister Helen Clark says," according to Stuff, a New Zealand publication. Stuff noted that, "signing the agreement - or announcing an intent to do so - is a criteria set by Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) governments to participate in an East Asian Summit" in December 2005. Read more here.

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