World

World Headlines: Indonesia-Australia Spying Feud Deepens

NPR | Nov. 20, 2013 5:19 a.m.

Contributed By:

Krishnadev Calamur

Reports say Australia spied on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On Monday, Indonesia said it was downgrading relations with Australia.

Reports say Australia spied on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On Monday, Indonesia said it was downgrading relations with Australia.

Reuters /Landov, Beawiharta

Indonesia, Jakarta Post

Indonesia says it has scaled down its diplomatic relations and its level of cooperation with Australia in the wake of reports that Australia’s security services spied on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other top officials.

“We have downgraded the level of relations between Indonesia and Australia,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said. “Like a faucet, it is turned down.”

Yudhoyono met with Natalegawa, Alui Joelianto, Indonesia’s envoy to Australia, who was recalled from Canberra, as well as intelligence chief Norman Marciano, to discuss the revelation published by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Britain’s Guardian newspaper that Australia had targeted the phone lines of Yudhoyono and others.

The reporting was based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency who has taken refuge in Russia.

Marciano said before the meeting that his Australian counterparts had assured him that the wiretapping had stopped and won’t resume.

At a news conference after the meeting, Yudhoyono said he expected a formal explanation from Australia.

“I asked for temporary termination of cooperation on intelligence exchanges and information sharing,” he said. “I also asked for the termination of joint exercises between Indonesia and Australia, either for army, navy, air force or a combination.”

United Kingdom, Press Association

Northern Ireland’s attorney general says there should be no more criminal prosecutions in killings related to the Troubles, the terms used to describe the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland.

“More than 15 years have passed since the Belfast agreement, there have been very few prosecutions, and every competent criminal lawyer will tell you the prospects of conviction diminish, perhaps exponentially, with each passing year, so we are in a position now where I think we have to take stock,” John Larkin said.

He also said he backed stopping further investigations into the acts committed during the conflict.

Larkin made his proposals to Richard Haass, the former U.S. diplomat, who is trying to reach a political consensus in Northern Ireland on still-unresolved issues.

Venezuela, Globovision

The National Assembly has approved a measure to allow President Nicolas Maduro to rule by decree for the next 12 months.

The move essentially means that Maduro, the successor and protégé of late President Hugo Chavez, can govern without consulting Congress.

Opposition lawmakers derided the move.

“What does Maduro needs more powers for?” opposition lawmaker Andres Velasquez said.

The move comes as Venezuela is battling an economic crisis that includes food shortages, high inflation and power cuts. Earlier this month, Maduro seized an electronics chain, saying the move would “protect the middle class.” He said his government would reprice the goods to make them fair.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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