Multilingual phone service to decrease social isolation among migrants and more zedlines

A local group in the Gold Coast has collaborated with Red Cross, to create a phone service in a bid to reduce migrants’ feelings of social isolation. (Image source: Max Pixel)

An extension of the Red Cross’ TeleCHAT, which checks on the welfare of elderly Australians, gives non-English speakers a chance to converse in their own language.

The program hopes to aid migrants who have moved to Australia and those who are struggling to connect in the community.

The Multicultural Communities Council’s, Troy Nicholls said the program, which will run Queensland-wide for the next 12 months under a government-funded trial, will link people into activities in their area.

State election poll update

Recent polls released by News Corp have pointed to a win for Labour’s Annastacia Palaszczuk in the upcoming state elections, to be held tomorrow.

Palaszczuk currently has a lead of 54% in the South-East region, and a lead of 52% statewide.

Premier Palaszczuk needs to win 47 seats to form a majority government.

Woolworths plans ‘dark stores’ to compete with overseas giants

Woolworths is planning to open a chain of ‘dark stores’ to pack and ship orders in competition with Amazon.

Amazon is set to launch in Australia today, after a ‘soft launch’ trial yesterday.

Woolworths Chairman Gordon Cairns said the ‘dark stores’ will be operational by late 2018, and won’t be open to customers.

Amazon has not yet confirmed the range of products and services it will offer in Australia, but runs a grocery delivery service in the US.

Journalist arrested on Manus Island

Journalist Behrouz Boochani has been detained, and later released, by Papua New Guinean forces on Manus Island yesterday, after a raid on the now-closed detention centre.

Boochani has only recently been awarded the Amnesty International Australian Media Award for his work in reporting on the conditions inside the Manus Island detention centre, continuing to provide updates on the state of the refugees left behind when the centre closed.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance said the arrest was an attack on press freedom.

Approximately 40 other men were arrested along with Boochani.

Passengers of missing Argentine submarine believed to be dead

The families of 44 sailors aboard a missing Argentine submarine have been told their family members are believed to be dead.

The reports come after Argentine naval officials said that a sound detected by US sensors during the search for the vessel three hours after the last communication was consistent with an explosion.

The submarine was last heard from on November 15 in the southern Atlantic Ocean when it was en route to Argentina.

Myanmar, Bangladesh sign deal to return Rohingya to Myanmar

Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a deal to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar after fleeing a recent army crackdown.

The two parties are still working on the details but have said displaced people could begin to return within two months.

Before returning to Myanmar, the refugees must write down their personal details on forms that will be given to the authorities.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee their homes in late August, a crisis that has been called ethnic cleansing by the UN and the US.