Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao and a music company have settled a US lawsuit over allegations he broke a promise to record songs for the the firm, court papers show.
Australia probes people-smuggling ring
An investigation by ABC Television claimed an Iraqi-born people-smuggler known as Captain Emad had travelled to Australia from Indonesia on a refugee boat in January 2010 under a false name and was granted asylum.
Emad was described as the "head of the smugglers, the head of the snake" by an informant who linked him to a powerful Indonesian ring behind two ill-fated boats which sank before reaching Australia, killing almost 150 people.
He was sent as part of a plan to expand the ring's operations in Australia, along with "at least" another six agents on board his ship who were also granted refugee status, according to the programme which aired on Monday night.
Emad was now living in and operating from the nation's capital and the wife of one agent was also reported to be working within the government's immigration department.
Opposition lawmakers condemned the revelations as a "catastrophic" failing by Australia's intelligence agencies and an "extraordinary indictment" on the government's border security capabilities.
Tantowi Yahya, a member of the Indonesian parliament's foreign affairs commission, expressed disappointment, describing people-smuggling as a serious crime whose victims were often "young innocent children".
"It's ironic that Australia asks Indonesia repeatedly for help to eliminate people-smuggling networks and yet grants asylum to the perpetrators," Yahya told AFP.
"Australia should revoke their asylum status and visas. That's the only right way."
Though they come in relatively small numbers by global standards, the issue of asylum-seekers is a political hot potato that dominated Australian national elections in 2010 due to a record number of boat arrivals from Asia.
A fresh boat carrying 49 people was intercepted off northern Australia Tuesday, taking to 50 the number of vessels to arrive this year, carrying almost 3,800 asylum-seekers -- on track to rival the 2010 record of 6,555.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said Australian police had "very considerable" investigations into smuggling activities locally and abroad, and denied the allegations undermined confidence in the system.
Police said 14 people-smugglers had been arrested and charged in recent years, with four Australian-based suspects caught as recently as March, confirming it had been aware of the programme's claims ahead of broadcast.
They refused to confirm whether Emad or his colleagues were among those being investigated.
Bowen said "all steps" would be taken to ascertain whether a smuggler's wife was working in his department and that officials would examine whether the visas of any other person needed reviewing.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the case showed the importance of a regional solution such as Canberra's so-called "people swap" with Kuala Lumpur.
That deal, under which Australia would accept 4,000 registered refugees from Malaysia in exchange for 800 boatpeople held in Australia, was struck down by the High Court and amendments allowing it to go ahead were blocked by the opposition.
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