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Bill Bennett retrospective in Mumbai

© Neena Bhandari, Mid Day

ImageSYDNEY: The first Australian Film Festival of India (AFFI) 2011 kicks off in Mumbai on March 23 with a special retrospective of acclaimed director and producer Bill Bennet and some of the best features including award winning Samson and Delilah, Red Hill and Bran Nue Dae, each providing a unique viewpoint of indigenous Australia.

“We are looking at distributing Australian films through social networking sites to a whole new audience of vibrant, interested, international and well connected Indian audience”, Festival co-director and film entrepreneur, Peter Castaldi, told Midday.

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Itís Not Just About More, But Better, Aid

© Neena Bhandari, Inter Press Service

ImageSYDNEY, Aug 19, 2010 (IPS) - Australia’s foreign aid budget is likely to double by 2015, but civil society groups say this is far from enough if it is to keep to its "fair share" of commitments to poorer countries.

In fact, they would like the government – including a new one that may come after the Aug. 21 polls – to commit not only to meeting the yardstick of aid funds reaching 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) but to having better- quality official development assistance.

The 72-member Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), an independent association of Australian non-profit aid organisations, is spearheading calls for political parties to commit Australia to playing its full part in helping poorer countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of development targets from maternal mortality to education that the world’s governments pledged to meet by 2015.

Given present trends, Australia’s aid budget is expected to double from the current 4.35 billion Australian dollars (3.9 billion U.S. dollars) to between eight to nine billion Australian dollars (7.2 to 8 billion U.S. dollars) in the next five years.

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