World Newsbits for September 11, 2013
Brasilia, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s president has signed into law a measure that reserves 75 percent of new oil royalties from a massive offshore find for education. The bill signed by President Dilma Rousseff on Monday also earmarks 25 percent of royalties from the so-called “pre-salt’’ finds for improving health care.
The oil reserve off Brazil’s southeastern coast could contain up to 100 billion barrels of oil, making it the biggest find in the Western Hemisphere in decades. The government estimates the total earmarked for education and health care could add up to $49 billion during the next decade. The measure had been stuck in Congress, but it gained new impetus after widespread anti-government protests in June. They called for quick improvements to Brazil’s public services, including schools and hospitals.
Sydney (AP) — Two foreign journalists on assignment for The New York Times Magazine arrived on a remote Australian island in the Indian Ocean after traveling on board a boat with dozens of asylum seekers, officials said. The American and Dutch journalists, identified by The New York Times as Luke Mogelson and Joel van Houdt, walked off the boat Monday morning after it landed on Christmas Island, where Australia operates a detention camp for asylum seekers, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said. Both had valid visas and were cleared by immigration officials on arrival. The two are frequent contributors to The New York Times Magazine, the Times said in an emailed statement. “We were glad to receive the news that they and the other 57 people on the boat are safe,’’ the statement said. “Luke and Joel did take safety precautions, and they both had legal visas to enter Australia.’’ Christmas Island, located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, is a popular destination for asylum seekers who crowd into rickety boats in Indonesia and pay smugglers to take them to Australia. Hundreds have died while attempting the journey in recent years. Australia has been grappling with the best way to discourage such risky journeys, and recently announced it would no longer accept asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Verified refugees will instead be resettled in Papua New Guinea or the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru.