Dethroned beauty queen demands apology before returning crown

May Myat Noe, 16, was training to become a K-pop star in South Korea after winning the Seoul-based Miss Asia Pacific World beauty pageant in May.


But last week the organisers stripped her of the title for alleged dishonesty, accusing her of absconding with the crown and the $10,000 implants, which they say they funded to enhance her budding singing career.

On Tuesday the beauty queen hit back and demanded an apology from the organisers.

“It is natural for me to feel that an apology should be demanded to rectify the damage they have done to the integrity of my country,” she told a packed press conference in Yangon.

“I will return the crown only when they apologise to Myanmar, for the dignity of our country.”

May Myat Noe also denied accepting free breast implants.

“I was put under duress to undergo head-to-toe cosmetic surgery which I refused… I didn’t have breast implants, but I don’t want to go into details, to preserve my dignity,” she said.

Her comments appear to have deepened the acrimony between pageant organisers and their former queen.

Young Choi, founder of Miss Asia Pacific World, told AFP the organisers had photographic evidence of the breast implant operation and that they would consider legal action against May Myat Noe.

“She has been lying. She also lied at today’s news conference. She must return the crown,” he said, declining to give the cost of the tiara but explaining it was made over several weeks by ten specialists.

“It’s not for us but for her to apologise. She has been hurting our image and credibility,” he said in Seoul.

Choi said his organisation hoped to handle the sensitive matter “quietly in consideration of relations between South Korea and Myanmar” but was ready to consider a lawsuit “if she refuses to cooperate.”

Myanmar women are eyeing success in international beauty pageants as the country opens up after decades of military rule.

Despite undergoing sweeping political and social reforms, Myanmar remains a deeply conservative nation.

But new fashions and overseas products are creeping into the once cloistered nation, supported by a proliferation of magazines for young consumers and an increasingly vibrant pop culture.

Last year a US-educated business graduate was selected as the first Miss Universe contestant to represent Myanmar in more than 50 years.

May Myat Noe is the latest in a growing list of beauty queens from Southeast Asia to run into trouble.

In June Thailand’s contender for the Miss Universe pageant relinquished her crown after she allegedly called for supporters of the ousted government to be “executed”, sparking a barrage of online criticism.

Why men should change their last name when they get married

More than 50 per cent of Americans think the woman should be legally required to take her husband’s name in heterosexual marriages.


The reason typically given is that having the same name increases a sense of family identity.

Making it into a legal requirement would be bizarre, but I agree such identity is important and sharing a name helps in its creation. Even on its own, marriage is, among other things, a way of tying yourself to the mast: deliberately making public declarations, taking vows, and arduously organizing an unnecessarily expensive party, all in order to increase your investment in each other, and make it more difficult to end the relationship during future difficult phases. Having the same name is one more way of making public and concrete your intention to stay together for the long haul.

But why should that mean that the woman takes the man’s name in heterosexual marriages?  Why should the man not take the woman’s name or, as my fiancée and I have chosen to do, both choose a new name? (We’ve gone with “MacAskill”, her maternal grandmother’s maiden name. When I tell people I’m changing my name, I’ve met raised eyebrows, confusion, or aggressive questioning. No one’s batted an eyelid when she’s told others the same.)

As with so many gender-biased traditions, this one has pretty disturbing roots. The legal concept of coverture came from England and caught on in 19th century America: the idea was that a woman, upon marriage, becomes the property of her husband. She had no right to vote or take out a bank account because she could rely on her owner to do that for her. And, of course, she couldn’t be raped by her husband—because she was essentially her husband’s property, and he was free to do with her what he wished.

We’ve made progress on these issues (though some remarkably late). But the tradition of taking the man’s name remains and, given its background, it seems to me it’s simply bad taste to carry on with it, in the same way that it would be bad taste to put on a minstrel show, no matter how pure the intentions.

You might say that we need some rule, and that taking the man’s name is as good as any other. But is this true? Why not go with whichever name sounds better? Or which name is associated with the coolest people? (MacAskill clearly beats my birth surname “Crouch” on both counts, having a better ring and being the name of both Giant MacAskill—a forebear of my fiancée’s who has a claim to be the world’s strongest ever man—and Danny MacAskill, a trial-biking legend who, also being descended from Giant MacAskill, must be a very distant cousin.)  Or any other choice made by both parties.

In general, we are happy with the idea of molding our self-image in a whole number of ways, including how we dress, look, and talk. And having the right name is a big deal—affecting expected grades, likeability, success at job applications, and likelihood of having your Facebook friend request accepted. So why the double standard when it comes to marriage?

This article was originally published on Quartz. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.


What’s wrong with checking out stolen nude photos of celebrities

It is not difficult to look at naked women on the Internet.


There are, after all, a lot of men and women who post nude photos of themselves online hoping for pageviews, extra income, or just exhibitionist titillation. So with the news over the weekend of “leaked” nude photos of various celebrities, can we please all agree not to search these pictures out? If we want to look at nude people, let’s restrict ourselves to photos of people who actually want us to see them nude. It’s not like there’s a lack of them to choose from.

Because, look: When people seek out stolen images like the ones just released of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities, those people are violating these women in much the same way that the person who stole the pictures did.

There’s a reason why the public tends to revel in hacked or stolen nude pictures. It’s because they were taken without consent. Because the women in them (and it’s almost always women who are humiliated this way) did not want those shots to be shared.

If Jennifer Lawrence was to pose naked on the cover of Playboy, for example, I’m sure it would be a best-selling issue. But it wouldn’t have the same scandalous, viral appeal as private images stolen from her phone. Because if she shared nude images consensually, then people wouldn’t get to revel in her humiliation. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? To take a female celebrity down a notch? (We have a term for when this is done to non-celebrity women:“revenge porn.”)

There is an obsessive tendency in American culture with elevating women—young, beautiful women, especially—to celebrity status just to bask in their eventual fall. There’s also a tendency in American culture, meanwhile, to shame women for their sexuality. So I would not be surprised in the days ahead to see arguments as to why this is somehow the fault of the celebrities whose phones were hacked—that these women took the pictures, that they were posing, that generating publicity is part of their job.

But victim-blaming is just that, no matter how famous the victim is. We live in a culture with a peculiar relationship to female celebrity. In much the same way that misogyny tells men that women are there for male consumption, the public and media tell us that famous women are public property. It’s why models and pageant queens are expected to smile graciously and respond to horny teen boys asking them to prom, or why they’re called uptight bitches if they don’t smile for every camera shoved in their face. The underlying premise is that these women have consented to being there for public entertainment—whether they like it or not.

The fact that photos have been shared already is beside the point and a weak justification for violating someone’s privacy and sense of safety. Even if we’re not the people who stole the pictures, and even if we’re not publishing them on blogs or tweeting them out, looking at naked photos of someone who doesn’t want us to goes beyond voyeurism; it’s abuse.

This article was originally published on The Atlantic. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.


NFL suspends and fines Colts owner

The NFL suspended Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for the first six games of the season and fined him $US500,000 ($A540,000) for violating its personal conduct policy.


The NFL came down hard on Tuesday just hours after Irsay pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from an embarrassing March traffic stop.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Irsay was barred from team facilities, practices and games and cannot represent the Colts and NFL meetings or events. The fine was the maximum allowed under league rules.

“I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players,” Goodell told Irsay in a letter released publicly by the NFL.

“We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard.”

The 55-year-old Irsay pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated and acknowledged during his appearance before a Hamilton County judge that he was under the influence of the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone when he was arrested on March 16 near his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

Irsay did not comment outside the courtroom, but he apologised to Colts fans in a prepared statement.

“In retrospect, I now know that the incident opened my eyes to issues in my life that needed addressing and helped put me on the path to regain my health,” he said.

“I truly hope and pray that my episode will help in some small measure to diminish the stigma surrounding our country’s terrible and deadly problem of addiction. It is a disease.”

Irsay’s case was closely watched around the NFL – not least among players – because there are few examples of the league punishing an owner like Irsay.

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was suspended for 30 days and fined $US100,000 ($A108,000) in 2010 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following his guilty plea to driving while impaired.

A player with a first-offence misdemeanor DUI would not be suspended and would be fined no more than $US50,000 ($A54,000) under terms of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Police said an officer spotted Irsay driving slowly, stopping in the roadway and failing to use a turn signal.

Officers said he had trouble reciting the alphabet and failed field sobriety tests. Various prescription drugs were found in his vehicle, along with more than $US29,000 ($A31,000) in cash.

Irsay acknowledged in 2002 that he became dependent on painkillers after years of orthopedic operations but said he had overcome the problem.

He will be on probation for a year and is prohibited from drinking or possessing alcohol during that time. He must submit to drug testing during his probation and successfully complete a substance abuse rehabilitation program. Less than 48 hours after his arrest, the Colts said Irsay entered a treatment facility.

Irsay’s driver’s license also was suspended for one year by Judge J. Richard Campbell. Less than 48 hours after his March arrest, the Colts said Irsay entered a treatment facility. He resumed his duties with the Colts at the NFL draft in May.

Irsay became the Colts owner in 1997 after the death of his father, Robert Irsay, and a lengthy legal battle with his father’s second wife. Forbes magazine has estimated Irsay’s net worth at $US1.6 billion ($A1.73 billion).

Contador takes Tour of Spain lead

Two-time Tour of Spain winner Alberto Contador has taken the overall lead in this year’s edition as German Tony Martin won the 10th stage, a 36.


7-kilometre time-trial.

Contador, 31 and who finished fourth, 39 seconds slower than triple time-trial world champion Martin, replaced Colombian rider Nairo Quintana in the overall leader’s red jersey.

For Contador it represents quite a comeback after, like Chris Froome, he failed to finish the Tour de France because of injury, in his case a broken tibia.

“Nobody could have imagined that I would be in red today, it is an enormous surprise,” the Tinkoff team leader told Spanish TV station TVE.

“As a result of that I really believe I can win.”

Quintana, who took a three-second lead on Sunday, came to grief when he fell after a dozen kilometres, as he was bending down to fiddle with his right shoe, and lost more than three minutes to Contador.

Quintana, bidding for a second Grand Tour win this season having won the Tour of Italy, limited the damage somewhat in the remainder of the stage and lies in 11th spot.

“It seems at first sight that I have only grazes,” said Quintana on crossing the line.

“We will see tomorrow how I feel. My objective in this Tour after all is to help Alejandro Valverde and we will see in the mountains if I can do something for him.”

Contador, winner of the Vuelta in 2008 and 2012, extended his lead over all his major rivals for overall victory as he was 21sec faster than compatriot Valverde and 53sec quicker than Britain’s 2013 Tour de France winner Froome, who failed to fire even though on paper he was the best of the time-triallists amongst the race favourites.

Meanwhile, Cadel Evans was the highest finishing Australian in the stage, coming in sixth, 49sec behind Martin.

Adam Hansen is the highest Australian in the general classification, in 42nd, 22.15 behind Contador.

Unclear if US strike killed Shebab leader

US forces have carried out air strikes against senior members of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels, with casualties reported but uncertainty over the fate of the group’s leader.


The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that an “operation” was carried out the previous day against the hardline militia, and that it was “assessing the results”.

“The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior Al-Shebab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr,” said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.

Abu-Zubayr is the often-used name for Shebab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives.

If confirmed, Godane’s death would be a major blow for the Shebab – although Somali officials said late Tuesday they were still trying to establish who was killed.

“The Shebab suffered big casualties during the attack. We can’t give further details until we get additional information on the exact number of casualties, but what I know is that the target was the leadership,” government spokesman Ridwan Haji Abdiweli told reporters.

Washington has carried out a series of drone missile strikes in the past, including attacks reportedly targeting Godane.

“We are assessing the results of the operation,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

The Shebab refused to be drawn on speculation that Godane had been killed.

“Let the Americans say that they have killed Shebab’s leader,” a senior Shebab official said.

“So far the Americans just gave us rumours.”

The air strike comes days after African Union (AU) troops and government forces launched “Operation Indian Ocean”, a major offensive aimed at seizing key ports from the Islamist rebels and cutting off one of their key sources of revenue – multi-million dollar exports of charcoal.

“They were meeting to discuss the current offensive in the region,” Nur said.

“There were casualties inflicted on the militants.”

Nur said the strike hit a Shebab hideout used as a training camp for suicide bombers a in remote village of the Lower Shabelle region, south of the capital Mogadishu and seat of Somalia’s internationally-backed but fragile government.

On Saturday, the AU mission in Somalia, AMISOM, said it had captured the town of Bulomarer, some 160 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu.

The town was the scene of an attempted raid by French commandos in January 2013 to free an intelligence agent being held hostage.

The bid failed and resulted in the death of two members of the French special forces as well as the hostage.

AMISOM and Somali government troops were also seen on roads towards Barawe, the last major port held by the hardline Islamists,.

As the offensive gathers pace, authorities in Mogadishu said they were willing to give “misled” Shebab members one last chance to surrender.

“They can surrender within 45 days, but anyone who stands against that offer will be recognised as a criminal and brought to justice,” Somalia’s minister for national security, Khalif Ahmed Ereg, told reporters.

Godane, 37, who reportedly trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban, took over the leadership of the Shebab in 2008 after then chief Adan Hashi Ayro was killed by a US missile strike.

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has recognised Godane as the head of the “mujahedeen” in East Africa, although letters released after Osama bin Laden’s death show the late Saudi Islamist leader had lower regard for the Somali’s abilities.

He is included in a third category of men on whom information warrants a $US7 million ($A7.57 million) reward from the US, alongside Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader, but under the Taliban’s Mullah Omar, for whom a tip is worth up to $US10 million, and Zawahiri, who fetches $US25 million.

Celebrity photo hack: Blame Apple for its disregard for user security

In the wake of the theft of the private data and photos of dozens of celebrities, there is at least one major culprit.


Not the alleged leakers, though obviously they’re to blame, but the company that has most prominently overstated its security in the first place: Apple.

Apple is currently delighted that people are talking about how you shouldn’t take naked photos of yourself in the first place, but make no mistake: Apple has been provably irresponsible with users’ security. It is currently unclear how the naked photos were gathered—most likely through a number of different methods and different servers over a period of months if not years.

What is clear is that Apple has had a known security vulnerability in its iCloud service for months and has been careless about protecting its users. Apple patched this vulnerability shortly after the leak, so even if we’re not sure of exactly how the photos got hacked, evidently Apple thinks it might have had something to do with it. Whether or not this particular vulnerability was used to gather some of the photos—Apple is not commenting, as usual, but the ubiquity and popularity of Apple’s products certainly points to the iCloud of being a likely source—its existence is reason enough for users to be deeply upset at their beloved company for not taking security seriously enough. Here are five reasons why you should not trust Apple with your nude photos or, really, with any of your data.

1. The vulnerability is Security 101 stuff.

Up until Monday, Apple had a significant and known brute-force vulnerability in its Find My iPhone service, where you type in your Apple ID and password on your computer in order to locate your iPhone on a map. Most services that use passwords, from Facebook to Google to banks, will lock your account or at least throttle logon attempts after a certain number of failed access tries to prevent a person who is not you from making endless guesses at common passwords.

Apple itself will do this in most places—but not through its Find My iPhone service, where hackers are allowed unlimited attempts at guessing passwords. You can endlessly try password after password as quick as you like. Once a correct Apple ID password is confirmed through Find My iPhone, a hacker then has access to your iCloud account.  So a hacker could simply run an automated tool and knock on the door enough times with password guesses until he broke through. Even a decent password, like “[email protected]!” would still be vulnerable to this sort of attack. The Find My iPhone vulnerability doesn’t really rise to the level of a bug, since limiting brute-force attacks is part of the basic security design of any system—or should be.

2. The vulnerability was publicly known since May.

A Russian security group called HackApp released iBrute, a proof-of-concept tool to exploit this vulnerability, on Aug. 30. But don’t blame them, because the celebrity hacking probably took place quite a while before that. The Register publicized the lack of any sort of limit on iCloud logon attempts in May, and Apple did nothing about it, giving hackers plenty of time to bash away at accounts. Even after iBrute was publicly released, Apple didn’t patch the vulnerability until Sept. 1 and did nothing to secure accounts in the meantime. I cannot fathom how the company left this one out in the wild for months, and I suspect it will cost someone at Apple his or her job.

3. Apple defaults users into the cloud.

Clouds are wispy and ephemeral, the very opposite of secure, so why would you want to store anything in them? No one particularly does: Cloud storage has been forced on users because it suits tech companies, not because it’s what’s best for consumers. But Apple makes it very hard not to store photos in its cloud, nude or otherwise. Camera Roll automatically backs up photos (all photos) to the cloud by default, and Apple makes it difficult for average users to change the default. It’s worked. And it’s too bad, because whatever you store on the cloud has far less legal and security protection than what’s on your own computer.

Even deleting photos from your phone doesn’t delete them from the cloud, as security expert Nik Cubrilovic pointed out on Twitter. (The American Civil Liberty Union’s Christopher Soghoian has wisely suggested a “private photo” feature that doesn’t upload certain photos to the cloud.) Defaulting to the cloud is like checking baggage on an airline: People might look through your stuff, and even steal it. And like the airlines, Apple’s liability is strictly limited by the extremely generous (to Apple) agreement you sign when you purchase any of its products.

The false sense of security Apple creates by offering two-factor authentication and then not enforcing it is appalling.

4. Apple does not encourage two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication, in which physical possession of a particular device (like a phone) is necessary to log in to an account, is one of the most common and effective supplements to the problematic security of regular passwords. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and many other services offer two-factor, though rarely by default. Still, as the Daily Dot writes, “For reasons that defy all logic, Apple makes it extraordinarily difficult to enable two-step verification,” making users wait three days just to turn it on. (In other words, if you had found out about the vulnerability on Aug. 30, you couldn’t have protected yourself until Sept. 2.) 

Apple barely publicizes its two-factor authentication and has not encouraged users to adopt it. Apple controls the default user experience for its products, and it has the responsibility for that default to be reasonably secure—which it currently is not.

5. Two-factor authentication wouldn’t have worked anyway.

Even if you were a celebrity who had enabled two-factor authentication, it wouldn’t have helped in this case because Apple doesn’t enforce two-factor authentication for iCloud logons even if you have it turned on as was reported by Ars Technica all the way back in May of 2013. Apple primarily uses two-factor to prevent credit card purchases, not to protect the privacy of your data. Though probably the least exploited loophole (due to the difficulty of using Apple’s two-factor in the first place), this is perhaps the most sheerly irresponsible security decision Apple has made. The false sense of security created by offering two-factor and then not enforcing it is appalling.

These are all problems Apple has known about for months, if not years, and did nothing to stop. Apple’s two-factor is still fundamentally broken, so even today Apple is still misrepresenting the security it can offer to its users. This is not to excuse any other services that may have been compromised, nor the hackers themselves. But whether or not any of these problems were directly responsible for the leak, Apple users, from Jennifer Lawrence to corporate executives to laptop musicians to you, should be out for blood, and other companies should use this as a lesson to double- and triple-check their own security stories. Apple will probably survive though. IPhones are so cool and pretty.

David Auerbach is a writer and software engineer based in New York. 

© Slate 2014


Djokovic, Murray renew rivalry in U.S. Open blockbuster

Sixteen years after they first met in a junior competition in France, the pair are set to lock horns for the 21st time as professionals, their sixth grand slam clash but at the earliest stage of the lot.


World number one Novak Djokovic will enter the match as the favourite, having reached the last eight without dropping a set, while Murray looked back on form in beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to make the quarter-finals.

Murray beat Djokovic in the 2012 U.S. Open final and in the 2013 Wimbledon final and despite his form, the Serb is well aware of how tough a match he faces.

“I think Andy also performs his best in the grand slams,” said Djokovic, who is 12-8 lifetime versus Murray. “In the big matches, as the tournament progresses, he’s still fit. He still plays very high quality tennis. That’s what I expect him to do.”

The pair are the only two men to have reached at least the quarter-finals of all four grand slams this year.

Murray said there were unlikely to be many surprises between the two but in his column with the New York Times, he said the weather could be significant, a reference, perhaps, to the 2012 final when he coped better with the wind than Djokovic.

“You can’t just have the same tactics every single time you play him,” said Murray. “There needs to be some adjustments depending on the surface and the conditions. We’ll see what those are Wednesday.”

Japan’s Kei Nishikori will be hoping to rebound from his marathon win in the previous round, which equalled the latest ever U.S. Open finish of 7:26 a.m. BST (0626 GMT), when he takes on third seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Women’s top seed Serena Williams plays Italy’s 11th seed Flavia Pennetta for a place in the semi-finals while Victoria Azarenka, the runner-up in each of the past two years, faces Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Misbah mea culpa after Sri Lanka disaster

Pakistan’s cricket captain Misbah-ul Haq has admitted his failure with the bat was a “big factor” in his team’s disastrous tour of Sri Lanka.


Pakistan were beaten 2-0 in the Tests and lost the three match one-day series 2-1 in August.

Veteran Misbah has held Pakistan’s frail batting order together since being appointed captain in 2010, and was the world’s leading scorer in one-day cricket last year with 1373 runs.

But age appeared to be catching up with the 40-year-old in Sri Lanka where he scratched out a total of just 67 runs over both Tests and the same in the three one-dayers.

“If I take pressure it won’t solve the problem, my contribution as a batsman was not there and it was a big factor,” he said on Tuesday.

“I should do more work on my basics and try to come back in form as soon as possible because when you play as a senior batsman in the team your contribution is very important.”

Newly appointed coach Waqar Younis and batting coach Grant Flower have come under fire since the losses but Misbah said it was too early to pronounce judgment.

“Whatever staff is with you, they try to help you and do the hard work with the players and work with the team, but sometimes when you come into such a situation where results don’t come, it needs some time… before the next series we have time to eradicate whatever weaknesses we have.”

Misbah and Younis met Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan on Tuesday to plan for their next two series against Australia and New Zealand – both in United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan plan to hold a training camp later this month to tune up for the series against Australia, which starts with a Twenty20 international in Dubai on October 5.

Asylum seekers fill jobs Australians refuse to do

Tamil asylum seekers have filled jobs in regional south-east Queensland that locals refuse to do, cleaning up garbage dumps and rubbish from roadsides.


The Western Downs, about 300 kilometres West of Brisbane, is prime agricultural land and experiencing a coal seam gas boom.

“We’ve very little unemployment across the Western Downs, we’re under three percent, that’s tremendous. We’ve a huge energy sector here, a very vibrant and prosperous agricultural sector,” said mayor Ray Brown.

Listen: Stefan Armbruster talks to workers at Western Downs.

The unemployment rate is less than half the national or Queensland levels but the downside is low-paid, low-skilled work is left undone.

The Tamils were paid above award wages for their clean-up efforts.

Critics said the jobs should go to locals not asylum seekers but mayor Ray Brown had a simple answer.

“The first reaction they offer is how come you don’t employ our own people, well I’m sorry but our own people aren’t prepared to do it, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

“We’ve tried through work for the dole, volunteer organisations, service groups, and community sports groups and pay them accordingly, but look this is a great outcome for our communities, they’ve seen what’s occurred here and they’re very happy too.”

Over the past months, four Tamil asylum seekers have regularly travelled to the Western Downs from Logan, south of Brisbane.

“I like to keep busy, I like to support myself, I like working and I don’t want to stay in my home, I like to keep busy,” said one, named Puchu.

He and fellow Tamils Mohan, Jenny and Raja were still waiting to hear if Australia would accept their refugee claims or send them back to Sri Lanka.

They arrived before August 2012, when the federal government removed work rights for bridging visas.

“These guys they’ll get up for you at 2 o’clock in the morning; they’ll get up for you at anytime during the day; they’re more than happy to help and don’t even want money for it sometimes,” said Trent Ker from the refugee settlement agency Access, which secured them the work.

“You explain to them that’s not what we are asking, we’re asking just asking you to come into work. They’re amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Environmental regulations required councils to keep dumps clean or face fines of up to $1 million.

Mayor Ray Brown met the four Tamils at the Moonie waste-transfer station to thank them for their efforts.

“It’s a great opportunity to catch up with you all and thank you because we’ve tried very hard over the years to get community groups to do this, and to me this is a win-win, while you get your paper work in order,” he told them.

Mr Ker said that was were the downside came in.

“The major challenge is not the language or them doing the job, the biggest challenge is when they get rejected by Immigration, that really touches my heart,” he said.

“You build these relationship with them and see what sort of people they are and Australia sends these people back. That’s the hardest thing for me, to see these people go through that. It’s just heartbreaking.”