Australia and Oceania

New Zealand orders top-level inquiry into mosque massacres

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday ordered an independent judicial inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks, asking whether police and intelligence services could have prevented the March 15 attack. Ardern said a royal commission — the most powerful judicial probe available under New Zealand law — was needed to find out how a single gunman was able to kill 50 people in an attack that shocked the world. […]

NZ to hold national remembrance for Christchurch next Friday

New Zealand will hold a national remembrance service on March 29 for the victims of the Christchurch mosque massacre and their families, the prime minister’s office announced on Sunday. The interfaith service will take place in Christchurch two weeks after an Australian white supremacist shot and killed 50 Muslims who had arrived for Friday prayers at two mosques in the city on March 15. “The national remembrance service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians (Christchurch-area residents), […]

Emotional Muslims return to Christchurch mosque as NZ works to move on

  by Chris Foley / Glenda Kwek Agence France Presse CHRISTCHURCH,New Zealand (AFP) — Muslims held emotional prayers inside Christchurch’s main mosque on Saturday for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there, as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy. The Al Noor mosque had been taken over by police for investigations and security reasons after alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant gunned down Muslims gathered there and at a smaller […]

Wrong victim named in initial NZ gunman charge document: police

New Zealand police on Thursday admitted that the person they originally charged suspected mosques gunman Brenton Tarrant with murdering is actually still alive. “An error was made in the charging document prepared for the first court appearance of the man charged with murder in relation to the Christchurch terror attacks,” a police spokesman told AFP. “The error saw an incorrect victim name included in the charging document.” Tarrant appeared in court Saturday on the first […]

New Zealand bans assault weapons, triggering similar calls in US

  by Yelim Lee Agence France Presse WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand imposed an immediate ban on assault weapons on Thursday, taking swift action in response to the Christchurch massacre and triggering renewed calls from leading American politicians for curbs in the United States. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said assault rifles and military-style semi-automatic weapons would be banned with immediate effect, making good on a pledge to ensure that nothing like last week’s […]

All 50 victims of Christchurch attack identified: police

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand police on Thursday said that all 50 victims of last week’s terror attack in Christchurch had now been identified, allowing burials to take place. “I can say that as of a few minutes ago the identification process and to all 50 victims have been completed and all of the next of kin have been advised,” said Commissioner Mike Bush. “That is a landmark for this process.” © Agence […]

New Zealand bans sale of assault, semi-automatic rifles: PM Ardern

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday an immediate ban on the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatics in response to the Christchurch terror attack that killed 50 people. “I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles,” Ardern said, while announcing interim measures that will stop a rush of purchases before legislation on the measures takes effect. She added that […]

Syrian refugee father and son laid to rest as New Zealand burials start

  by Glenda KWEK / Daniel DE CARTERET Agence France Presse CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFP) — A Syrian refugee and his son who fled the chaos of their homeland only to meet tragedy in New Zealand were buried on Wednesday in the first funerals of those killed in the mosque massacres. Hundreds of mostly Muslim mourners gathered at a cemetery in the southern city of Christchurch to lay to rest Khalid Mustafa and his 15-year-old […]

Australian priest charged with sex abuse of boy: police

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australian police said on Wednesday they had charged a Catholic priest with indecent assault of a 15-year-old boy more than two decades ago, the latest member of the clergy caught in the church’s global sex-abuse scandal. The announcement comes a week after disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell was sentenced in Melbourne to six years in prison for the sexual abuse of two choirboys. Police said the 61-year-old man, whose identity was […]

New Zealand PM urges global action on social media perils

  CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday called for a global response to the dangers of social media as the Muslim community began burying their dead five days after the twin-mosques massacre. A white supremacist gunman streamed his 17 minutes of carnage in which he is accused of killing 50 Muslim worshippers during their Friday prayers. Facebook said the livestream from Christchurch was viewed fewer than 200 times […]

New Zealand PM Ardern vows mosque killer will face ‘full force of law’

  by Chris Foley Agence France Presse CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed Tuesday never to utter the name of the twin-mosque gunman as she opened a sombre session of parliament with an evocative “as-salaam alaikum” message of peace to Muslims. “He will face the full force of the law in New Zealand,” Ardern pledged to grieving Kiwis, while promising that she would deprive the man, an avowed white […]

New Zealand’s Ardern vows never to speak killer’s name

by Chris Foley CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed Tuesday never to utter the name of the twin-mosque gunman as she opened a sombre session of parliament with an evocative “as salaam alaikum” message of peace to Muslims. “He will face the full force of the law in New Zealand,” Ardern promised grieving Kiwis, while promising that she would deprive the man who slaughtered 50 people in Christchurch of […]