‘We thought we’d never get out’: a refugee from Manus starts life in the US | Australia news

It is a hot and sticky 25C in Louisville, Kentucky, and the young man is dressed accordingly in a polo shirt, bermuda shorts, long white socks and shoes. Like a local, Abdull Grafar Ghulami refers to the city as “Luhvul” and points out that aside from thoroughbred horse racing and Kentucky whisky, Louisville’s claims to fame are as the home of Muhammad Ali and Colonel Sanders.

Ghulami, 24, is proudly driving an older model car. He smoothly navigates the sharp turns of the city’s overhead highway maze. The GPS tracker he consults is the only outward indication that he is not yet entirely at home in this city.

Ghulami had never heard of Louisville until nine months ago. It probably would never have been on the Afghani man’s radar except for his inclusion in the first group of refugees from Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island to be transferred to the US under a refugee swap deal with Australia. The Australian government negotiated with the Obama administration for the US to take up to 1,250 refugees detained by Australia on Manus Island and Nauru.

Ghulami was a computer science student when he fled Kabul because it was too dangerous to return home. The Taliban beheaded Hazara on the highway to his parent’s home in Maidan Wardak province, he says.

He arrived by boat on Christmas Island and was transferred to Manus on 10 September 2013. He was recognised as a refugee in 2014, but nothing changed: “2015, 2016, 2017 as a refugee but same place, same detention centre, same bed, same restrictions. I live the same as a non-refugee, as asylum seekers,” he says. “All of us were hopeless and helpless, we thought we’d never get out.” In the last year he fell into a “deep depression”.

‘At first I didn’t believe it’

Suddenly, last September, Ghulami was given a few days’ notice that he was among those going to the US. “At first, I didn’t believe it,” he says. The first airlift of refugees happened with such haste, they were given all the necessary vaccination pills at once, leaving him dizzy. On arrival, he says, “I was just like in shock and I didn’t know where I am, how I’m doing.”

When his regained his bearings, “I felt like I am just born now because after very long time in detention, I got my freedom so I feel very good. That was a great time for me”. A Pakistani refugee from Manus was also sent to Louisville. They were met at the airport by caseworkers from the Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a non-profit organisation.

“Before we even arrived, they already took an apartment for us,” Ghulami says. “They pre-arranged everything so we came directly to our own house and started living.”

The apartment was furnished with secondhand furniture, the fridge was stocked with food and they were given new clothes. Medicals were organised. They received US$350 a month for the first three months.

Six weeks into his relocation, Ghulami asked the Ministries’ employment section to help him find a job. A Swedish-owned company producing cooking oils took him on. Working five or six nights a week as a machine operator has enabled him to move from the apartment where he was first placed. “It was not in a good area,” he says.

For the first two years on Manus, Ghulami had attended English classes, but after that, he says, the detainees had no energy to study. One reminder he kept from Manus is a large dictionary he was given. He plans to study English again when he can afford to reduce his work hours. His caseworkers speak clearly and he can understand them, “but it is a little bit hard for me to understand local people”.

After four years of incessant heat on Manus, a severe winter that brought snow was a shock and another challenge. “Last winter I had a really hard time in here without a car. I went to work by bus and came home by bus.” A couple of times bus delays made him late for work and his pay was docked. He decided a car was a necessity and took on extra shifts. His caseworkers organised driving lessons.



Ghulami with the dictionary he was given on Manus to help him learn English. Photograph: Andra Jackson for the Guardian

Ghulami’s new apartment is in an older prefabricated two-storey row of flats in a leafy outer neighbourhood. It has carpets and a mismatch of furniture provided by the Ministries. There is no television. He shares with an Afghan migrant he met in Louisville. “We live very simply here,” he says apologetically.

‘I lost those years for nothing’

The years of being left in limbo on Manus have left an imprint. “That experience I think will always remain in the back of my mind. I can’t forget it even if I want, because we had a really hard time,” he says. No one in Louisville knows the Manus story, even the Refugee Ministries. They are shocked by his descriptions of his time there, he says.

For the first few months in America, he found it hard to leave Manus behind. “When I was asleep, I feel like I am still there because I was sleeping in this one bed for four years, the same thing repeatedly, repeatedly.” He sought help and was given sleeping tablets and antidepressants, but the insomnia that plagued him on Manus returns intermittently.

He still flinches and feels scared at sudden noise, a legacy of “the attacks from locals, from police, not one or two or three times but a lot of times”. He recounts seeing Australian guards taking away “trouble-makers” and beating them.

In February 2014, the slightly built Ghulami was with a group of detainees who sought refuge in the corner of a compound as police and locals burst in and started savagely beating detainees, resulting in the death of Reza Barati. “A lot of firing of gunshots happened. A lot of people were injured and one Iranian guy died,” Ghulami says.

Even now, he says, he jumps when he hears shouting, fearing something terrible is about to engulf him. “I am scared always, all the time.”

How does he feel about the Australian government? “I don’t have any feeling about them. I am trying to forget them,” he says in a rising voice. “They are treating people unfairly. They are using people like a human wall to stop the boats. They are doing the same as people smugglers.

“I feel very bad that I lost those years for nothing.”

The land of opportunity

The Pakistani refugee who arrived in Louisville with Ghulami went his own way. “It was hard at first because I didn’t have anyone to show me what to do, what not to do, from my own community I mean, just the agency and the little bit of English that I know.”

He can speak his own language with a young student he met, also an ethnic Hazara from Afghanistan, who lives nearby with his family. Communications with his own family in Afghanistan are difficult, but he can speak to them by phone and for them, he says, the most important consideration is that he is safe. He also has phone contact with other Afghan refugees from Manus who have since been resettled in the US.

He says he is “happy to have a normal life”. He hopes to resume his computer studies and looks forward with optimism in the US, “the land of opportunity to do what you like”.

A tangible benefit of his new life is being able to cook and eat when he wants to. “It is a big pleasure,” he says. On Manus, meal times were fixed, and in any case, the food was mostly undercooked rice and overcooked meat. “Sometime when I am cooking, I get memories … the food was tasteless, it was just to feed people.” Now, he says, eating “completely belongs to me”.

“No one can interfere with my life.’’

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Brexit row: GCHQ chief stresses UK’s role in foiling European terror plots | Politics

Britain supplied key information to help break up terrorist operations in four European countries in the last year, one of its intelligence chiefs revealed on Tuesday, as the UK upped the ante in the growing row over post-Brexit security.

The director of the surveillance agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, speaking on a visit to Nato headquarters, also stressed other European countries had benefited from classified intelligence shared by the UK on cyber-threats.

His comments can be seen as a direct riposte to EU chiefs threatening to exclude Britain from access to EU security databases and from Galileo, an alternative surveillance system to GPS, which was built for the US military.

It is unprecedented for a UK intelligence chief, especially one from GCHQ who until recently were seldom seen or heard in public, to intervene in a diplomatic negotiation in such a way.

Only hours earlier, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, in a speech in Vienna, warned that after the UK left the union it would not be involved in the European arrest warrant or the decision-making boards of Europol, or have access to EU databases. after Brexit .

At the end of discussions at Nato headquarters, Fleming told reporters: “This visit comes at a pivotal time of course as the UK leaves the EU and as we agree a treaty on security to ensure that the UK and EU member states continue to work together to keep us all secure in the future.”

He insisted that after Brexit, the UK would continue to work with EU and EU member states, saying: “We have excellent relationships with intelligence and security agencies across the continent.”

In a departure from past GCHQ policy of never discussing operational material, he made a point of how much other European countries had benefited from access to UK intelligence. “For example, we’ve played a critical role in the disruption of terrorist operations in at least four European countries in the past year. Those relationships, and our ability to work together, save lives. That will continue after Brexit, for the benefit of the UK and our partners across Europe.”

When Theresa May placed security on the table at the start of Brexit negotiations in May last year, she alarmed the heads of UK intelligence, who saw her the next day to secure a promise security would not be used as a bargaining counter. Fleming’s intervention may reflect dismay that EU chiefs such as Barnier have opted to turn it into one.

The UK shares intelligence bilaterally with France, Germany and other countries. That relationship is valued in Europe partly because GCHQ is one of the biggest surveillance agencies in the world but mainly because it is so closely intertwined with the US National Security Agency. The other two UK intelligence services, MI6 and MI5, also help counterparts elsewhere in Europe, and benefit in return.

These bilateral relationships will survive. The debate is over the UK’s continued access to specific European institutional intelligence-sharing, much of it police-related.

Fleming held discussions with the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, the British European commissioner, Sir Julian King, and 29 ambassadors to Nato.

In his remarks to journalists, Fleming stressed the importance of GCHQ as a global leader on cybersecurity, including its shopwindow, the National Cyber Security Centre.

“We’ve worked with our European colleagues to share understanding of how to protect our democratic elections. And we’ve unmasked aggressive behaviour in cyberspace to better help businesses and citizens protect themselves. For example by joining with others to attribute NotPetya to Russia,” Fleming said.

“Over the last 12 months we will have shared classified cyber-threat intelligence with the majority of Nato member states and of course with Nato headquarters itself.”

He also dangled the prospect of sharing GCHQ’s cyber offensive capabilities. GCHQ has sophisticated cyber-offensive capabilities that could be used to disrupt hostile states, international criminal gangs and terrorist groups, such as Islamic State, which the government refers to as Daesh.

“The UK government has made it clear that we’re ready to bring out offensive cyber capabilities to bear – such as those we’ve used so effectively against Daesh – for the benefit of our allies,” Fleming said.

With data-sharing one of the major areas potentially at risk from a UK-EU rift, the GCHQ director made a case for its continuation post-Brexit. No country can defend itself alone against increasingly complex global threats which “require a pooling of resource, expertise and, critically, data so that we can investigate and disrupt our adversaries”, Fleming said.

Barnier warned May that “trust does not fall from the sky”, in response to Britain’s attempt to maintain access to the EU’s security databases while leaving the institutions that provide checks and balances to prevent their misuse.

Barnier outlined some areas of future cooperation, including information exchange and involvement in Europol analytical exercises on live cases, but he insisted the status quo could not outlive the UK’s membership of the EU.

If the UK was no longer held accountable by EU institutions, including the European court of justice, it could not benefit from the bloc’s security arrangements, he said.

“This cooperation is both unique and unprecedented,” Barnier said. “And it is made possible by the trust between member states. This trust does not fall from the sky. There is no magic wand …

“This trust is founded on an ‘ecosystem’ based on common rules and safeguards, shared decisions, joint supervision and implementation and a common court of justice. If you leave this ‘ecosystem’, you lose the benefits of this cooperation. You are a third country because you have decided to be so. And you need to build a new relationship.

“The UK has decided to leave the EU, its institutions, structures and safeguards. It will be a third country outside Schengen and outside the EU’s legal order. This is a fact. Facts have consequences.”

Barnier repeated his claim that some in the UK were seeking to blame the EU for the British government’s choices.

“Once again, we will not be drawn into this blame game. It would mean wasting time we don’t have. In this field of internal security, it is particularly hard to speak about what will no longer be possible. But we have, I have, to speak the truth.”

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the EU said: “Keeping citizens in the UK and EU safe is an absolute priority…. We are proposing an internal security treaty to deliver this. We recognise we will be a third country, but we start from a unique position of complete alignment.

“Any drop in the breadth and quality of cooperation would have a direct impact on public safety and on our collective ability to deliver justice across Europe. Clearly this remains a matter for negotiation.”

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World Cup 2018: Russia v Egypt – live! | Football

Russia: Akinfeev; Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Gazinskiy, Zobnin; Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev; Dzuba

Subs: Semenov, Kuzyaev, Smolov, Lunev, Kudryashov, Granat, Al Miranchuk, An Miranchuk, Gabulov, Erokhin, Smolnikov

Egypt: El Shenawy; Fathi, Hegazi, Gabr, Shafy; Elneny, Hamed; Salah, El-Said, Trezeguet; Mohsen

Subs: El Hadary, Ekramy, Samir, Ashraf, Morsy, Gaber, Elmohamady, El-Wensh, Shikabala, Warda, Kahraba, Sobhi

Referee: E Caceres (Paraguay)

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Andy Murray v Nick Kyrgios goes to final set, Djokovic advances: Queen’s – live! | Sport

























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Kyrgios wins second set 7-6!

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Murray wins first set 6-2!

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Djokovic beats Millman 6-2, 6-1!

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No, Soldier Kidd Did NOT Tweet That He Shot & Killed XXXTentacion

“Did Soldier Kidd tweet that he shot and killed XXXTentacion?” is a question that many fans of the slain rapper are asking after a screenshot of tweet surfaced from an account purporting to be Soldier Kidd yesterday.

Social media has been filled with rumors that South Florida rappers Soldier Kidd and Soldier Jojo were responsible for XXXTentacion’s shooting death, but both have denied having any involvement.

Now internet sleuths have reportedly uncovered tweets that many believe were sent out by Soldier Kidd on a now-deleted Twitter account with the username @SniperGangRed.

“Bruh I really just shot XXXtentacion… I’m finna go viral,” read one tweet. An earlier post shows a man pointing a gun at the camera.

However, there is no evidence that the account ever belonged to Soldier Kidd, as he has his own active Twitter account with the handle @soldier_kidd. The @SniperGangRed account, in fact, belonged to someone who doesn’t even live in Florida. Check out a screenshot of the tweets below:

In one tweet, @SniperGangRed says along with a photo of himself with blunts in his mouth, “Finna smoke these blunts like I smoked X … goodnight twitter.”

The account has since been deleted from Twitter, but before @nSniperGangRed took it offline, he tweeted that he wasn’t Soldier Kidd and posted a photo of himself for proof. You can see the cached version of those tweets for yourself here.

Apparently, whoever was running the @SniperGangRed page was just a so-called “clout chaser,” or, in other words, someone trying to get famous off an actual famous person’s name. He (or someone else) has since started posting on another account under the name @SniperGangRedd, which only has one tweet (below) but has been active since April 2013. The account’s bio has the URL “just-for-clout.com” and the location says “Deerfield Beach, Florida.”

Unsurprisingly, that hasn’t stopped folks from accusing Soldier Kidd of posting the tweets, saying that the @SniperGangRed is a dummy account for Soldier Kidd, who is using fake photos of someone else. I’m not entirely sure why someone would “joke” about murdering someone, but we do live in a strange world.

After XXXTentacion was officially pronounced dead, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office released a description of the suspects and the shooting, which read in part: “At least one of the suspects fired a gun striking [XXXTentacion]. Both of the suspects fled in a dark-colored SUV. Investigators say it appears to be a possible robbery.”

According to The Blast, police say the suspects were “two black males, both wearing purple hoodies with long sleeves” and “the shooter allegedly wore a red mask.”

Soldier Kidd and Soldier JoJo posted a number of photos and videos on social media on Monday, some of which included a red mask seemingly matching police’s description of the mask XXXTentacion’s shooter(s) wore.

Also, a “Boomerang” photo posted on Soldier Kidd’s Instagram story showed that he had picked up food from Hook Fish and Chicken, a popular restaurant in Deerfield Beach, about three miles (a 7-minute drive, according to Google Maps) from RIVA Motorsports, where XXXTentacion was gunned down. The timestamp on the post just so happened to be just one hour before XXXTentacion was shot.

After the murder allegations started gaining traction on social media, Soldier Kidd went on Instagram Live (above) to clear his name and also posted a video (below) to his account saying that he had nothing to do with XXXTentacion’s death and that he didn’t even know the rapper.

So far, investigators into XXXTentacion’s shooting death have no clear motive and no arrests have been made.

Police have asked anyone with information to contact homicide detectives Walt Foster or John Curcio at 954-321-4210 or you can call Crime Stoppers with tips anonymously at 954-493-TIPS. Police have also said they’re offering a $3,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

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World Cup 2018: Poland v Senegal – live! | Football

Poland: Szczesny, Piszczek, Pazdan, Cionek, Rybus, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Blaszczykowski, Milik, Grosicki, Lewandowski.

Subs: Fabianski, Jedrzejczyk, Bednarek, Goralski, Linetty, Teodorczyk, Glik, Peszko, Bereszynski, Kurzawa, Kownacki, Bialkowski.

Senegal: Khadim N’Diaye, Wague, Sane, Koulibaly, Sabaly, Sarr, Alfred N’Diaye, Gueye, Niang, Mane, Diouf.

Subs: Diallo, Mbengue, Mbodji, Sow, Kouyate, N’Doye, Konate, Sakho, Ndiaye, Balde, Gassama, Gomis.

Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)

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Thandie Newton had ‘swallow of resentment’ over male co-stars’ pay | Culture

Thandie Newton has said she had to “have a big swallow of resentment” when she found out how much more her male co-stars earned on shows such as HBO’s Westworld.

The actor, who also appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story, said recent campaigns around gender equality in the TV and film industries were starting to make a difference.

“As a result of the #TimesUp campaign, HBO for the first time has made women and men in lead role positions [equally paid],” she said. “I’m one of the actresses that benefited.”

She said she was shocked by the pay rise received as a result.

“When I first discovered how much they were offering it made me realise ‘oh my God, men have been paid so much more’. I had to have a big swallow of resentment. I gave it half an hour and then felt grateful. Every year I go into a new production or a new season of Westworld and I don’t think to ask for more, I just feel so grateful to be working. But we need to expect more for ourselves.”

This year it was revealed the producers of Netflix’s The Crown paid more money to the actor Matt Smith for his supporting role as the Duke of Edinburgh than to his co-star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II. The subsequent outcry led many companies to change their policies.

Speaking to an audience at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Newton urged women to stand up and demand equal pay. “We need pressure, we need to disrupt, it’s part of change and growth,” she said.

The actor, whose mother is from Zimbabwe, said she often felt like an outsider while growing up as mixed-race child in Cornwall and said she was using her influence to make the film industry a more welcoming place.

“It’s so important that I walk on to a set and see others like me,” she said. “If I walk on to a set and don’t see representation of a world that I live in, then I will make a change and I will talk to producers and say: ‘No, no, no.’ It’s not just about the people you see in front of the camera. I use my authority to do that. It’s a positive and the results are astounding.”

An inclusion rider is a clause that an actor can insist be inserted in their contract that requires cast and crew on a film to meet a certain level of diversity. It was first suggested by academic Stacy Smith as a way to overcome entrenched employment practices in the film industry. The concept entered the public arena when Frances McDormand mentioned the phrase during her acceptance speech at the 2018 Oscars, for the best actress award for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Newton was speaking alongside the British Vogue editor, Edward Enninful, who said he was committed to making his magazine more diverse, following accusations the publication had been run by a “posh cabal” under his predecessor Alexandra Shulman.

“Previously to work at a place like Vogue you have to have a certain kind of background,” he said, adding the magazine had gone from “strength to strength” since broadening its hiring process to target candidates from “inner cities”.

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England v Australia: third one-day international – live! | Sport

















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World Cup 2018: Colombia v Japan – live! | Football

Colombia: Ospina, Arias, Davinson Sanchez, Murillo, Mojica, Cuadrado, Carlos Sanchez, Lerma, Izquierdo, Quintero, Falcao.
Subs: Vargas, Cuadrado, Zapata, Barrios, Bacca, Aguilar, Rodriguez, Mina, Muriel, Uribe, Diaz, Borja.

Japan: Kawashima, Hiroki Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo, Haraguchi, Hasebe, Shibasaki, Inui, Kagawa, Osako.
Subs: Higashiguchi, Nakamura, Ueda, Honda, Endo, Okazaki, Usami, Muto, Yamaguchi, Oshima, Makino, Gotoku Sakai.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

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Shearer v Schama: ex-England striker refuses football lesson from historian | Football

In a clash nobody expected the World Cup to throw up, Alan Shearer locked horns on social media with historian Simon Schama on Monday night over England’s performance against Tunisia.

“You do know that I have played in these games right?” was Shearer’s ultimate put-down after Schama had started explaining to him about England’s need for patience.

Alan Shearer
(@alanshearer)

You do know that I have played in these games right? https://t.co/dyzvsH9Olp


June 18, 2018

“Everyone going on about how England should just enjoy the football and play loose massively underestimates the inevitable stomach-knotting teeth-gritting nervy wrench of the first game,” Schama had messaged Shearer, after the historian appeared to get frustrated with the way that BBC pundits were criticising England’s performance.

Shearer scored 30 goals in 63 caps for England, and captained the team 34 times. He captained England at the 1998 World Cup, netting twice in England’s four matches.

Schama was probably on safer ground when he observed that the pre-match flag display was rather more reminiscent of the era of the crusades than perhaps the organisers had intended.

Simon Schama
(@simon_schama)

blimey – prob not intended as such but vast cross vs crescent on Volgograd stadium pitch a bit um medieval


June 18, 2018



Tunisia and England flags before the match in Volgograd displaying the Islamic crescent and the Christian cross. Photograph: Dave Shopland/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock

After the exchange between the striker and the historian, plenty of fans were asking Alan Shearer to air his views on tropics such as the French Revolution, and one wit asked Schama if he had been nervous before his own international England debut.

Shearer wasn’t the only member of the BBC’s presentation team for England’s game to get into a social media spat. Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan have been involved in a continuation of their regular feud, after Morgan’s judgement on the team’s performance.

Responding to people who had been critical of England Lineker had tweeted: “Never ceases to amaze me how easy some folk think World Cup football is. Have you watched all the so called big teams? It ain’t that easy, especially against tough defensive opposition. I suppose those that are so critical haven’t been there, though.”

Taking issue with Lineker’s description of the performance as “excellent”, Morgan offered his own: “I prefer a more honest critique: good first half, poor second half, lucky win. And may I remind you that we’ve both won the same number of international football tournaments.”

Lineker, who referred to Morgan as “tubs” during the exchange, pointed to the fact he had won the most World Cup Golden Boots out of the pair.

Morgan continued to tweet at Lineker while presenting Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, also posting a video addressed to Lineker of Morgan chatting to Geoff Hurst, who the former newspaper editor described as “a proper striker”.

Lineker’s exuberance for the England performance was summed up perfectly in the tweet he sent when Kane netted the 90th-minute winner.

Gary Lineker
(@GaryLineker)

Get in you fucking beauty. Harry the great.


June 18, 2018

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