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Australian families of IS fighters have been repatriated from Syria

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Four women and 13 children have touched down in Australia after fleeing war-torn Syria

The families of those who travelled to fight for Islamic State have been repatriated to Australia.

Around 60 Australians are believed to have landed in New South Wales, after spending years in Syrian detention camps.

The women and children are related to either dead or jailed Islamic State militants.

They had been living in the al-Hol and Roj detention centres in Syria, which the United Nations had previously described as having torturous conditions.

The women reportedly agreed to terrorism control mechanisms upon their return to Australia.

It follows criticism from Australia’s Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, who said the scheme was “inexcusable”.

“I am concerned about what will be put in place to make sure that these women and children are not in a position that they will cause any risk at all to Australian people,” she said.

The United Nations believes over 300,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict since 2011. This figure equates to around 1.5 per cent of Syria’s pre-war population.

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the repatriation mission followed strict protocols but he did not provide any additional information.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the government had considered a “security, community and welfare factors”, before any decisions were made.

“The decision to repatriate these women and their children was informed by individual assessments following detailed work by national security agencies.”

CLARE O’NEIL, AUSTRALIA’s HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER

The U.S, Italy, and the Netherlands are among other nations who have offered similar programs.

Australia had previously repatriated its citizens from Syria in 2019 under then Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Sophie McNeill from Human Rights Watch welcomed the government’s decision.

“For years, the Australian government had abandoned its nationals to horrific conditions in locked camps in northeast Syria where they were at risk to life and limb and lacked sufficient food, clean water, medical care and education,”

SOPHIE MCNEILL, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Human Rights Watch said the Australian Government should also provide rehabilitation for all returnees, and bring home other Australians in similar conditions.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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World

Texas man breaks ice off trampoline net

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Texas cold snap sees temperatures plummet

 
How’s this for cold?

Twitter user Brett Hillier has shared a video from his property in Texas, showing ice on the net of his trampoline cracking.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been blanketed with snow, with hazardous conditions expected to continue until at least Thursday.

Authorities have responded to hundreds of accident-related calls, with the ice storm wreaking havoc on roads.

The freezing conditions are making making roads slick, sending cars sliding as residents are told to stay home.

Schools across Mississippi and Tennessee have also been shut. #trending #featured

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World

Kamala Harris demands Congress pass George Floyd Act

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U.S. vice President Kamala Harris has implored Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act

While at the funeral of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten and died at the hands of five Memphis police officers – Harris implored for the right thing to be done.

“As vice-president of the United States, we demand that Congress pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. Joe Biden will sign it,” Harris made the call to action while at the congregation in Memphis.

The Memphis Police Department fired five of the officers involved in the attack, who also are Black.

Prosecutors then charged them last week with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression.

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Business

Meta stocks soar in ‘Year of Efficiency’

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Meta Platforms has announced a better-than-expected sales quarter, as well as a USD$40 billion stock buyback.

The parent of Instagram and Facebook cut its cost outlook for 2023 by $5 billion, and projected first-quarter sales that could beat Wall Street estimates.

Meta stock surged nearly 19% in after-hours trade.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg described the focus on efficiency as part of the natural evolution of the company, calling it a “phase change” for an organisation that once lived by the motto “move fast and break things.”

“We just grew so quickly for like the first 18 years,” Zuckerberg said in a conference call. “It’s very hard to really crank on efficiency while you’re growing that quickly. I just think we’re in a different environment now.”

The cost cuts reflect Meta’s updated plans for lower data centre construction expenses this year.

In November, the company cut more than 11,000 jobs in response, a precursor to the tens of thousands of layoffs in the tech industry that followed.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we are focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organisation,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.

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