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  Nation World  


 

SOUTHERN CHINA’S FLOOD

DEATHS RISE

Fresh rains have lashed flood-hit southern China, as the death-toll across the 10 affected provinces rose to at least 200 people.
The government has ordered the setting up of a rescue and relief centre to coordinate the emergency response.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Jiangxi province in his second trip to flood-hit areas in a week.
At least 100 others are missing and an estimated 2.4 million people have been displaced by the disaster.
More than 15,000 soldiers have been deployed to aid rescue operations.
The disaster has led to power cuts, collapsed reservoirs and widespread damage to roads. Millions are without drinking water supplies.
But efforts have been hindered by fresh periods of rain and more rain is forecasted.
“Rain affects a person’s vision and it also creates difficulty for us when manoeuvring the rescue boat,” said one civilian worker, Zhou Fuyu.
As the situation worsened, Wen flew to the city of Fuzhou in Jiangxi province to meet and encourage rescue workers and visit victims.
China Central Television showed Wen wading through flooded waters wearing galoshes.
“You are not afraid of sacrifice and in 48 hours, managed to rescue 100,000 people without a single casualty... You have created a miracle in history,” Wen said to paramilitary troops.
In the Jiangxi city of Fengcheng, a 50,000 square mile area of mountainside threatened to slide off and devastate areas below, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Changkai dyke near Fuzhou meanwhile suffered a second breach on Wednesday.
Over previous days, State TV broadcast images have shown soldiers leading rescues from roof tops, submerged fields, overturned cars, and people wading through waist-high water as they tried to cross a flooded bridge.
The floods have cost an estimated 43bn yuan (about $6bn; £4bn) so far.
The ministry of civil affairs has said that a total of 365 people have been killed in floods this year across the nation, and 147 remain missing.
China’s rainy season began in May. (BBC NEWS)

 

US drone strike kills two militants in Pakistan

A US drone strike in Pakistan’s lawless northwest tribal belt, on the border with Afghanistan, killed two militants and wounded two others early on Saturday, security officials said.
The drone targeted a house in Mir Ali area, 30 kilometres (around 20 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, a security official and two intelligence officials told AFP.
North Waziristan is known as a hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
“It was a US drone strike. The drone fired one missile on a house and the house was completely destroyed,” an intelligence official in Miranshah said.
A second official in the same area confirmed the strike and the death of two militants.

Two other militants were injured, the officials said, but it was not immediately clear if any of the militants were high-value targets.
US forces have been waging a covert drone war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked commanders in Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountains outside direct government control.

The US military does not, as a rule, confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.
More than 900 people have been killed in over 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.
On June 1, Al-Qaeda said its number three leader and Osama bin Laden’s one-time treasurer Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had been killed, in what security officials said was an apparent drone strike in North Waziristan.

Washington has branded Pakistan’s northwestern tribal area a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and officials say it is home to Islamist extremists who plan attacks on US-led troops in Afghanistan and on cities abroad.

Waziristan came under renewed scrutiny when Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American charged over an attempted bombing in New York on May 1, allegedly told US interrogators he went there for bomb training.
The United States has been increasing pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist havens along the Afghan border.

Pakistani commanders have not ruled out an offensive in North Waziristan, but argue that gains in South Waziristan and the northwestern district of Swat need to be consolidated to prevent troops from being stretched too thinly. (AFP)

 

US warns NKorea not to ‘aggravate tensions’

The United States warned North Korea Friday to refrain from “actions that aggravate tensions,” amid concerns that Pyongyang may be preparing for a new round of missile tests.
A State Department spokesman said Washington was aware of a North Korean notification that it was declaring a 9-day “no sail” zone off its western coast, which in the past has signalled the onset of missile tests.
“North Korea should refrain from actions that aggravate tensions,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. “We would hate to see North Korea go through another round of missile launches.”
The South Korea Defence Ministry said it believed the notification was linked to regular North Korean artillery exercises, but was studying the possibility Pyongyang was preparing to test-fire short range missiles.
Tensions have been high since the sinking on March 26 of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, and an international investigation that concluded it was attacked by a North Korean submarine with a torpedo.
The latest US warning came on the anniversary of the start of the Korean War 60 years ago. Crowley would not comment on the specifics of the US concerns, saying it touched on intelligence matters. “We would encourage North Korea to avoid further provocative actions that increase tensions in the region,” he said. “Now is the time to take steps to improve relations with its neighbours and cease any provocative behaviour.” (AFP)

 

Justice vs ICC

(Al-Jazeera)
When was the ICC established?
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the treaty that established the ICC on June 17, 1998, and the court entered into force on June 1, 2002.
Why was it established?
The ICC was established in order to prosecute and punish individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The Preamble of the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Treaty that established the ICC, states that “…the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished…” It was passed by a 120-7 vote, with 21 countries abstaining.
Which countries voted against its creation and why?
Iraq, Israel, Libya, China, Qatar, the United States, and Yemen were the seven countries that voted against the Treaty establishing the ICC. Each country had its own reasons for voting against, but perhaps the most influential country opposed to it was the US. The US opposed the treaty for constitutional reasons, such as every US citizen’s right to a trial by peers, which the ICC would not account for, and also for future problems that may arise for the US as a result of its agreement with the Treaty.
What crimes does the ICC prosecute?
The Rome Statute grants the ICC jurisdiction to cover four groups of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The ICC has often been criticised of defining these crimes as too broad or vague.
What is the process through which a case must go through to be tried?
There are two ways of alerting the ICC to injustices being committed: The first being on the basis of referral from any State party in the United Nations Security Council, and the second being by “communications” or “complaints” by any private party. Since 2002, there have been three State referrals and approximately 8,733 communications from more than 140 countries. Neither referrals nor private communications automatically result in a case being filed. The case must first be researched and analysed by the prosecutor, to determine if there is a “reasonable basis to proceed”. If the prosecutor deems the complaint worthy of a full investigation, he or she submits the case to the Pre-Trial Chamber, and if from there a formal investigation may be launched. So far, only five official investigations have been launched (Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Darfur and Kenya), and only four have made it to trial (Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur).
What is the structure of the ICC?
The ICC is an independent institution and not part of the UN, although it does cooperate with the world organisation. The ICC is composed of four main parts: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry.
How is it funded?
The ICC is funded by contributions from State parties. Each State’s contribution is calculated on the country’s capacity to pay, which is a reflection of the State’s national income and population. The budget for the ICC in 2009 was approximately US$ 125 million.
What cases is it handling and what are the status of those cases?
1) Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (DRC)-01/04-01/06
Wanted for alleged responsibility in numerous war crimes, consisting of enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of 15 years of age into the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the contest of an international armed conflict from September 2002 to June 2003, and from June 2003 to August 2003.
2) Prosecutor v Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (DRC)- 01/04-01/07
Both Katanga and Chui are accused of numerous war crimes (using children under the age of 15 to take active part in hostilities, directing an attack against a civilian population such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities, wilful killings, destruction of property, pillaging, sexual slavery, and rape) as well as crimes against humanity (murder, rape, sexual slavery).
3) Prosecutor v Bosco Ntaganda (DRC)-01/04-02/06
Former alleged Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC) and former alleged Chief of Staff of the Congress National Pour la Defense du People (CNDP) armed group, active in North Kivu in the DRC.
4) Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (Central African Republic)-01/05-01/08
Wanted for two crimes against humanity (murder and rape), and three counts of war crime (murder, rape and pillaging)
5) Prosecutor v Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen (Uganda)-02/04-01/05
All wanted for alleged crimes done while leading Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
6) Prosecutor v Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (Darfur, Sudan)-02/05-01/07
Harun- wanted for crimes committed while Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan and Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs of Sudan.
Abd-Al-Rahman- wanted for crimes committed while being the alleged leader of the Militia/Janjaweed
7) Prosecutor v Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir (Darfur, Sudan)- 02/05-01/09
Wanted for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape) and two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population such as or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities and pillaging).
8) Prosecutor v Bahar Idriss Abu Garda (Darfur, Sudan)- 02/05-02/09
Wanted for three war crimes (violence to life in the form of murder, whether committed or attempted, intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission, pillaging)
Complaints/Communications:
Countries/parties with complaints received against them include, but aren’t limited, to: Afghanistan, Colombia, Gambia, Iraq, Italy, Kenya, South Africa, Israel, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Zimbabwe.
What criticisms are directed at the ICC?

There have been many criticisms of the ICC, but the main three are its tendency to exacerbate current conflicts, its supposed unfair treatment of those on defence, and its history of being unclear about the reasons for which it chooses its cases. The LRA’s Joseph Kony, currently on trial for war crimes, stated he would agree to a peace deal if the ICC agrees to drop indictments against him and other LRA leaders. The ICC’s refusal to do so has caused the violence to continue in Uganda. In terms of unfair treatment of the defence, current complaints from Lubanga’s defence team include smaller budgets than the Prosecutor, slow arrival of evidence and witness statements, and that documents have often times been impossible to read due to heavy redacting the ICC.
What have been the most significant challenges encountered by the ICC?
One of the most major challenges that has faced the ICC is the lack of support given by influential countries such as the US and China. Other major challenges include its reliance on foreign cooperation and compliancy. For example, the ICC is dependent on countries to extradite individuals suspected of war crimes, in order for an adequate and fair trial.

 

Royal altar walk stirs controversy

(Al-Jazeera) After eight years of media scrutiny and gossip, the Swedish Crown Princess finally got her prince.
Victoria’s decision to marry Daniel Westling, her former fitness trainer, was controversial in itself.
The future queen fell in love with a commoner from a small town, and rumour has it that her father, King Carl Gustaf XVI, initially opposed the marriage, because Westling was not “good enough”.
But as the engagement was announced and preparations for the June 19 wedding finally went ahead, it was the planned layout of the wedding ceremony that caused a media storm.
Victoria asked to be escorted to the altar by her father, contradicting the Swedish tradition of couples entering the church together.
In a country that prides itself as being one of the absolute front runners in the field of gender equality, the move was interpreted as much more than a ceremonial act.
‘Altargate’
Critics referred to the Anglo-Saxon practise as “sexist” and a “backlash for feminism”, and the row, dubbed Altargate, started.
“The old Swedish tradition, when a couple goes in together, has an important meaning,” Annika Borg, an outspoken priest of the Church of Sweden, wrote in the daily Dagens Nyheter.
“The woman [has the legal right] to make her own decisions and stands beside her future husband of her own free will.
“Bride handover has its roots in a completely different mindset. It’s about a woman’s [right of self-determination] being left over from her father to the man.”
The Royal Court defended Victoria’s decision, saying the royal ceremony should not be seen as an ordinary wedding.
“It’s the wish of the Crown Princess,” Nina Eldh, a spokeswoman, told reporters.
“It’s not a father who gives away the daughter to another man. It is the King of Sweden leading the heir to the nation’s throne to the altar – and to the man who has been accepted.”
Nine bishops wrote a letter to the bridal couple, asking them to change their mind.
Helle Klein, an editorial writer for the tabloid Aftonbladet, urged the Archbishop to intervene.
“Bride handover builds on an attitude towards women, which takes us several centuries back. As a role model, the Crown Princess should consider this,” she wrote.
“Archbishop Anders Wejryd must prevent that the Hollywood idea of the wedding becomes the expression of the Swedish Church. Say ‘No’, for the sake of the women, the church and the Swedish culture!”
‘New phenomenon’
Wejryd said he had advised the couple to walk down the aisle together, but said it was up to the couple to decide what they wanted to do.
“Being given away is a new phenomenon, which occasionally occurs in the Church of Sweden. I usually advise against it, as our marriage ceremony is so clear on the subject of the spouse’s equality,” he said in a statement.
When Victoria’s parents, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married in 1976, they followed Swedish tradition and walked together.
As some bloggers pointed out, the situation would have been very different, had it not been for the decision taken three years after Victoria was born - to make the Act of Succession gender-neutral.
In 1980, Sweden became the first country to allow the throne to be passed to the first-born child, whether male or female.
This meant that her younger brother, Carl Philip, was snubbed of his Crown Prince title just seven months after he was born.
As the debate dragged on in media and on blogs, the King told the tabloid Aftonbladet, that it was an “unnecessarily long debate”.
But a week before the wedding, the Royal Court finally announced a compromise, citing the design of the church as the decisive factor - Victoria and her groom would meet halfway to the altar.
And on Saturday, in front of about 1,000 guests, including royalties from around the world, the current head of State led his daughter to the steps to the altar, where she met Westling.
The couple then proceeded together up the stairs and to the altar, where they both said “Yes”.

 

UN says situation in Kyrgyzstan improving

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Friday that the situation in Kyrgyzstan was improving.
It said the situation in Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan has improved with many small shops and banks opening up, traffic in circulation and farmers from neighbouring provinces bringing in products.
However, food, shelter, non-food items and hygiene kits remain important needs, it said.
It is still tense and humanitarian workers are finding it difficult to reach all of those in need due to security concerns, OCHA noted.
A high-level UN delegation visited Osh on Thursday and met with the local authorities, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies.
OCHA said that in Osh, the interim government had registered a total of 2,200 tonnes of humanitarian relief, in addition to relief items that had not been registered by the authorities.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that amid the mass returns from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan, its field officers had been visiting groups of returning refugees and displaced people near Osh and Jalalabad.
According to the Kyrgyz authorities, 70,000 refugees have returned so far.
UNHCR said that both refugees and internally displaced persons had expressed mixed feelings about going back; although they wanted to be reunited with their families, many were worried for their safety and about going back to destroyed, damaged or looted homes. (Xinhua)

First polls show new Australia PM ahead

The shadowy deposing of Australian leader Kevin Rudd by his female deputy appears to be paying off, with the first polls suggesting Julia Gillard would win the election with a commanding lead.
Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister Thursday after disposing of Rudd in a bloodless party-room coup prompted by his massive slump in public opinion polls ahead of elections expected this year.
A Nielsen poll published Saturday showed a 14-point jump in the ruling Labour Party’s primary vote to 47 percent under Gillard, compared with 42 percent for the conservative opposition.
With preference votes from the left-wing Greens party, the Labour party would storm to power with 55 percent of votes to the opposition’s 45 percent, Nielsen said.
Gillard’s rating as preferred prime minister was a commanding 55 percent to rival Tony Abbott’s 34 percent, a six-percentage-point bump on Rudd’s final polling. Voters preferred Gillard by 44 percent to Rudd’s 36 percent.
Labour’s primary and two-party preferred vote both polled higher than before the 2007 election which Rudd won by a landslide, and Labour stood to gain 11 more seats if the polls translated into votes on election day, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
A second poll, conducted by Galaxy and published by the Daily Telegraph, also showed a boost in Labour’s fortunes under Gillard, with 58 percent preferring her as prime minister to Abbott’s 32 percent. Labour’s primary vote grew four percentage points to 41 percent versus the opposition’s 42 percent, but on Greens preferences the ruling party held 52 percent of the vote to the conservatives’ 48 percent.
More people thought the change of leadership was a bad decision (48 percent) than a good one (45 percent), but the sentiment was reversed among Labour voters, with 52 percent approving of the move and 41 percent against it. Most polled (59 percent) thought Gillard should delay the election rather than calling it as soon as possible (36 percent) and a majority (67 percent) said she shared responsibility with Rudd for Labour’s decisions to date.
The Daily Telegraph tipped an election for either October 23 or 30, with the earliest likely dates August 21 or 28. The latest it can be held is April 16, 2011.
Polling by McCrindle Research published in The Australian newspaper also showed Labor leading the opposition, 54 percent to 46 percent on Greens preferences, and Gillard as preferred leader 64.8 percent to Abbott’s 35.2 percent.
(AFP)

Euro is a ‘credible, solid’ currency : Lagarde

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde Friday called the euro “a credible, solid” currency and expressed confidence that troubled eurozone member Greece will be able to cut its public debt.
Asked in an interview with the BBC whether the European currency faced a threat to its continued existence, Lagarde said: “I know that that’s some sort of an existential dream of some economists.
“They’re very pleased to drive those sorts of dark scenarios and my position is I don’t want to drive those dark scenarios.
“What I’m focussed on is what is going to work so that the eurozone stays together, supports the euro together, because the euro is a credible, solid and good currency for all of us and it’s our public good,” she added.
She dismissed as “just a lot of rubbish” speculation about Greece’s ability to repay its debts within the next 18 months.
“The plan that we’ve put together for Greece is a five-year plan, with a three-year grace period when they pay back nothing and then there are 24 monthly installments over the next two years,” Lagarde said
“So let’s not mess around with 18 months,” she said, adding that Greece was “currently delivering against its commitments”.
Greece has adopted austerity cuts to secure a 110-billion-euro (135-billion-dollar) bailout loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and save itself from default. It is struggling to reduce a debt of nearly 300 billion euros while mired in a deepening recession.
Lagarde also said there was “no difference, no crack” between France and Germany over how to deal with the financial crisis.
“We’re both driven by the two-fold objective to maintain growth and of cutting deficit and debts, and this is our joint commitment,” she said.
Asked whether Germany was doing enough in the crisis, she said, “Germany is doing everything it can at the moment.
“We can all do more and some can do more in cutting deficits and debts, some can do a little bit more in spending and consuming,” she added. (AFP)

 News in brief

British PM warns against ‘destruction’ of BP
British Prime Minister David Cameron warned against “the destruction” of BP as its shares plummeted close to a 14-year low amid the battle against the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The new British leader, who will hold his first bilateral talks Saturday with US President Barack Obama, said it was important for transparency over the British company’s liability in the catastrophe.
“I think it is also in all our long-term interests that there is some clarity, some finality, to all of this, so that we don’t at the same time see the destruction of a company that is important for all our interests,” he told Canadian broadcaster CBC. (AFP)

Greece probes ‘terrorist’ bomb killing at ministry
Greece launched a hunt Friday to find how a parcel bomb that ripped through the police ministry, killing the minister’s own security chief, was smuggled into the heavily guarded building.
Police said it was too early to blame any specific group for the attack on Thursday evening that killed the close aide of Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis and damaged offices on the ministry’s seventh floor.
But serious questions have arisen regarding security at the building which is the heart of police operations in Greece and is supposed to be one of the country’s most heavily guarded sites.
The Greek national intelligence service (EYP) is also based there. (AFP)

Zimbabwe diamond talks in deadlock
Talks between members of the Kimberley Process diamond certification scheme were deadlocked Thursday over whether to allow Zimbabwe to resume trade in gems from its controversial Marange fields.
Delegates at a KP conference in Tel Aviv failed during an all-night session to reach consensus over whether to resume certification of the fields, which was withdrawn in November over claims of brutal abuse of workers by the army. (AFP)

New US Gulf oil drilling ban

(BBC News) US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said he will issue an order for a new moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, after a court blocked an earlier ban.
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the six-month moratorium put in place in the wake of April’s massive oil spill was too broad.
But suspending drilling “was and is the right decision”, Salazar said.
The White House had already said it would challenge the judge’s ruling.
The judge said the lengthy ban was “invalid” and could not be justified, as the negative impact on local businesses was simply too great.
“I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities,” Salazar said in a statement.
The explosion on April 20 at the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and caused the worst US oil spill in US history.
The government’s decision, in the immediate aftermath, to suspend deep water oil drilling in the region, brought operations to a standstill at 33 offshore rigs, with companies considering relocating their giant drilling rigs, the longer it went on.
The ban was challenged by the oil industry, when Louisiana-based Hornbeck Offshore Services filed a lawsuit. It was joined by more than a dozen other companies.
After hearing arguments in the case, Federal Judge Martin Feldman said: “The court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium.”
Feldman has been criticised in the US for his record of investing in oil companies.
But Salazer said: “We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP’s well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling.”
Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that the disaster would raise costs, delay new projects and bring a thorough review of offshore regulation.
“April’s sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the ongoing oil spill may... prove to be a supply-side game changer,” the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report.
 

Australia has first woman PM

(BBC News) Australia’s Julia Gillard has become the country’s first female prime minister, after Kevin Rudd stood aside from a party ballot.
Rudd took the step in the knowledge he would suffer an embarrassing defeat, correspondents say.
His successor said the government had been losing its way and she promised to make it strong for this year’s general election.
The Labour Party had suffered a sharp drop in support in opinion polls.
Ms Gillard, who was deputy prime minister before the challenge to Rudd, stood unopposed at a vote of the Labour Party’s 112 members of parliament at a meeting on Thursday (24) morning.
Finance minister Wayne Swan was elected the new deputy leader, also unopposed.
Ms Gillard was born in Barry Island in Wales, moving to Australia with her family at the age of four.
‘Losing its way’
Emerging from the party vote at Parliament House in Canberra, Ms Gillard told reporters: “I came to the view that a good government was losing its way.
“I believe too I have a responsibility to make sure at the next election that Labour is there at its strongest.”
On the issue of a planned super tax on mining, which had dogged Rudd, she said she wanted a consensus.
“We need to do more than consult, we need to negotiate... we need to end this uncertainty,” she said.
“Today, I am throwing open the government’s door to the mining industry and in return, I ask the mining industry to open its mind.”
She said the government would cancel paid advertising canvassing for the mining tax and in return, would ask the mining industry to call off its campaign.
On Rudd, she said: “He was the leader who saw us through the global financial crisis.
“He came within a breath of brokering an international agreement on climate change.”
For his part, Rudd said he would devote himself to helping Labour get re-elected.
“I have given it my absolute all, and in that spirit, I am proud of the achievements we have delivered to make this country fairer,” he said.
“I am proud of the fact we kept Australia out of the global economic recession.”
Fall from grace
Rudd had called a late-night news conference on Wednesday (23) to announce the ballot, after Ms Gillard said she would stand.
Rudd, who led Labour to a landslide election victory against the Liberal government in 2007, blamed “a number of factional leaders” within the party, for plotting against him.
Announcing he would stand in the leadership ballot, a defiant Rudd had said: “I was elected to do a job. I intend to continue doing that job. I believe there is a strong body of support for the continuation of my leadership.”
But the BBC’s Nick Bryant in Australia said that by Thursday (24) morning, Rudd could not even muster enough support to contend the ballot.
His popularity had plummeted, following setbacks on his mining tax plans and the shelving of an emissions trading scheme.
Our correspondent adds that Rudd has always been more popular with the public than with his colleagues - he is regarded as intellectually arrogant and aloof.
So, when his approval ratings started to slump, his critics within the Labour Party moved against him, Nick Bryant says.