One word. Will Aborigines accept it?

It’s finally here; the day most Aboriginal Australians – especially those of the so-called Stolen Generations – have been waiting for for decades. The Australian government under its new administration led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has finally offered a formal apology to the Aborigine community for policies practiced by past administrations that effectively discriminated against and marginalised the Aborigines.

Under previous prime minister John Howard, who according to the BBC some polls say was backed by 30% of Australians, the administration refused to apologise. However, Mr Howard’s successor as the leader of the Coalition, Mr Brendan Nelson, has broken with tradition and welcomes Mr Rudd’s apology.

But is this enough? Some people still don’t want an apology to have been made – on the BBC’s “Have Your Say” forum, Paul from Australia asks why an apology was made. “Why can’t we move forward, instead of living in the past?”

And even within the Aboriginal community, although the apology has been widely welcomed and seen as far too overdue, some are refusing to accept it without any form of compensation package. The BBC quotes Mr Noel Pearson, an Aboriginal leader, as saying that while his people will get the words, “the whitefellas keep the money”.

With people still opposing an apology, there may never truly be a final settlement over this. If there is, it probably won’t come any time soon.

February 7, 2008 – review

It’s the Lunar New Year holiday so these few days will see updates few and far between.

Here’s my pick of today’s top stories.

BBC: OSCE to boycott Russian elections
Sure-fire way of making relations between Brussels and Moscow worse.

BBC: Chad to pardon French kidnappers
One wonders if this is linked to France’s help in repelling rebel forces from N’Djamena over the past week.

BBC: Capello wins opener
Italian-born new England coach Fabio Capello’s first match in charge of England ends in a 2-1 win over Switzerland.

BBC: Australia releases whaling photos
Japan really has to explain this. They cannot be allowed to get away with this.

CNN: Pakistani police arrest 2 suspects in Bhutto assassination
First step towards solving the mystery.

Weather updates

First post about weather on this blog.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Gene continues its trek through the South Pacific islands of Fiji and Vanuatu. Having already killed at least six people in Fiji, Gene continues to threaten the eastern Vanuatu and New Caledonia islands. It is now forecast to weaken, however.

Meanwhile, in China, record snowfall has cost the government in Beijing at least 54 billion RMB (US$7.5 billion) and killed 60 people. China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom was on the BBC World Service’s Newshour earlier today, and gave a figure of around 2,500 trains currently out-of-service for one reason or other. This is not good news leading up to Thursday’s Lunar New Year festivities, and one only hopes for the millions of people affected that the weather will clear up soon. Not if the weather bureaus are to be believed, though…