MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A former teacher extradited from Israel after a six-year legal battle has appeared in an Australian court to face charges of sexually abusing several students at a Jewish school in Melbourne. Malka Leifer appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court by video link from a police station where she is in COVID-19 quarantine. Wearing a headscarf, she sat with her head in her hands during the 20-minute hearing where the 74 charges against her were read in court for the first time. She did not respond when the judge asked if she could see and hear the proceedings. She previously has maintained her innocence against accusations of sexually abusing several former students at a Jewish school in Melbourne. She did not apply for bail.
President Joe Biden’s repeal of the Trump administration’s travel ban for several Muslim-majority nations brought a sigh of relief from those affected. But amid the celebrations are tales of dreams broken, families separated, savings used up and milestones missed, from births to graduations. There’s also uncertainty about the future: questions about backlogs, fees and travel restrictions due to the pandemic. Advocates for immigration and the rights of Muslims in the U.S. hail Biden’s decision, but also point to the work ahead to get lives back on track and roll back the ban’s legacy. Says one Yemeni man: “Making it to America is a big dream.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Relatives and supporters of an American contractor who was abducted a year ago in Afghanistan and is believed to be in the custody of a Taliban-linked militant group are pressing the new Biden administration to bring him home. They also want to condition future peace talks or troop withdrawals on his release from captivity. Navy veteran Mark Frerichs vanished on Jan. 31, 2020. U.S. officials believe he is in the custody of the Haqqani network. The Taliban have not publicly acknowledged holding him. It’s unclear to what extent, if at all, Frerichs’ fate will be complicated by the declining American military presence in Afghanistan committed to by the Trump administration.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Fiji has deported the leader of the University of the South Pacific and his wife in a move that threatens to tear apart regional relationships. Vice-Chancellor Pal Ahluwalia says about 15 government agents surrounded their house at night and gave them minutes to pack before they were hastily deported to Australia. Ahluwalia says he’s been uncovering corruption at the university, but other administrators say there have been management lapses under his leadership. Fiji’s government has only cited violations of an immigration law that says foreigners cannot breach the peace and good government of Fiji. The University of the South Pacific is jointly owned by 12 countries and serves 28,000 students over a geographic area three times the size of Europe.