IN OUR new wrap this week, Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France, Australia and Malaysia’s refugee swap deal is finally done, and Amy Winehouse dies at 27. Elizabeth Yick and Myriam Robin report.
Australian Cadel Evans wins Tour de France
On Monday morning, Australian cyclist Cadel Evans emerged victorious as the overall winner of the 2011 Tour de France. At 34, most analysts of the sport had written off Evans as “too old” to win the physically taxing tour – a bicycle race which spans over three weeks and covers more than 3,000 kilometres in distance.
Evans, however, defied all odds to prove his critics wrong.
Battling the unusually narrow and windy course, as well as torrential rains, Evans remained largely unfazed. His philosophy had been to “start as fast as possible, finish as fast as possible. And hope that it is fast enough.” His composed sportsmanship, coupled with his dogged determination and quiet perseverance, finally earned the Australian that famous yellow jersey.
Having been named the Australian Cyclist of the Year on numerous occasions, Evans is now the first Australian to win the prestigious Tour de France title.
Answering his critics, the cyclist said, “why is there so much skepticism about this question of age?…I’m the oldest Tour de France winner since 1923. For me it’s not something I’m going to let bother me… it’s been a beautiful race.”
Australia and Malaysia sign on controversial refugee swap deal
The Gillard government has finally closed the refugee swap deal with Malaysian authorities, with Immigration Minster Chris Bowen signing off on a contract. Under the swap, Australia will be “exporting” 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia for processing, in return for 4,000 UN-assessed refugees over the next four years.
Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has voiced its disapproval of the deal, stating that refuges in Malaysia are “frequently caged in appalling conditions, exploited, and even caned”. The Human Rights Commission also stated that Australia is facing substantial risk in breaching its obligations under international treaties of civil rights, the rights of children, as well as Convention Against Torture.
A major concern is the issue of unaccompanied children, who will have no legal guardian if they are sent to Malaysia.
When questioned, Minister Bowen brushed aside these concerns, stating that the 800 refugees sent to Malaysia, including unaccompanied minors, will be provided with basic education and health care by the Australian government in the next four years at a cost of roughly $292 million. Minister Bowen has yet to confirm where in Australia the 4,000 processed refugees will be sent to.
Amy Winehouse found dead
British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse was found dead on July 23. A post-mortem carried out on the 25th was inconclusive as to her cause of death.
The 27-year old had two critically-acclaimed albums to her name. ‘Back to Black’, her 2006 release, won five Grammy awards. It dealt with her relationship to ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, as well as her problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Her distinctive voice and song-writing style has been credited for raising the popularity of soul music in the United Kingdom.