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Indigenous Tiwi women strive to improve their lot.

© Neena Bhandari, Women's Feature Service

ImageTiwi Islands (Australia): Lynette De Santis, 45, was surprised when in October last year, she became the first elected Mayor of the Tiwi Islands Shire Council comprising Bathurst and Melville Islands with a largely indigenous Aboriginal population of 1,495 and 434. She had conquered what had thus far been a male bastion.

It had become the norm that men would be chairperson, mayor or president so I was amazed when I was elected the first female Mayor. I have always stood up for the interests of my people and I suppose this resulted in my victory”, says De Santis, who was born and bred in Northern Territory’s capital Darwin and returned home to the islands in 1985.

Tiwi Islands, with an area of 8,320 sq km, lie 80km north of Darwin where the Arafura Sea meets the Timor Sea. The islands have been home to Indigenous Aboriginals for thousands of years and the Tiwis are culturally and linguistically distinct from Aboriginals of Arnhem Land on the mainland across the waters.

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Nostalgia and the night sky, courtesy Earth Hour

© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

ImageSwitching off lights for 60 minutes in a year on a perfect spring Saturday night in Sydney, when it was neither too hot nor too cold for comfort and most offices and businesses were closed anyway, one can't help but question the contribution of the Earth Hour to the cause of tackling climate change.

International Energy Agency 2005 estimates indicate that about 25 percent of the global population, totalling approximately 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity.

In most developing countries where power cuts are the norm, staying without electricity for an hour is routine. There is an 'Earth Hour' or rather 'Earth Hours' almost every day of the month and year.

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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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