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Australian island considers Assange monument

Magnetic Island, the island off the coast of Queensland, Australia where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange lived as a child, is considering putting up a monument of the hometown boy:

Islanders are hosting a picnic at Picnic Bay on Sunday, to voice their support for the freedom of information fighter, the Townsville Bulletin reports.

They will also discuss plans to erect a monument to Mr Assange, to mark his childhood island home, and as a symbol of his battle for truth and justice.

Local activist David "Crusty" Herron, who in the past has floated the idea of Wikileaks-inspired public urinal in the past, believed a proper monument was still a good idea.

"He's an award-winning journalist, who has shown the little bloke that he can't be pushed around," he said.

Recent polls show that while Australians are split on their views of Assange, most support his legal case. The Ecuadorean government will likely soon announce a decision on whether to grant asylum to Assange, who is currently holed up at the country's embassy in London. 

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This week in South Korean island-related political stunts

It's been a week of high-profile political stunts surrounding the disputed volcanic islands that are known in Korea as Dokdo, in Japan as Takeshima, but will be referred to for the purposes of this post as the Liancourt Rocks. Last Friday, Lee Myung-bak -- gearing up for a presidential election in December -- became the first South Korean president to ever visit the rocks, prompting Tokyo to recall its ambassador from Seoul.

Then, things spilled over onto the football pitch when South Korea defeated Japan in Friday's bronze-medal match:

The International Olympic Committee is temporarily withholding a bronze medal from a South Korean football player who displayed a political sign after a win against Japan.

Midfielder Park Jong-woo brandished a banner referring to islands claimed by both South Korea and Japan.

The IOC barred him from taking part in Saturday's medal ceremony.

Now, a group of South Koreans are swimming to the Liancourts:

More than 40 South Koreans have begun a relay swim of more than 200km (124 miles) to islands also claimed by Japan amid a serious diplomatic row between the two neighbours.

The team of swimmers, led by South Korean singer Kim Jang-hoon, plan to reach the islands on Wednesday, which marks the anniversary of the country's liberation from Japan in 1945.

"Dokdo belongs to the Republic of Korea, so we will shout, 'Go for it with the Republic of Korea,'" Mr Kim told reporters before the swim began.

As if that wasn't enough:

In another apparent statement on the islands, South Korea has also revealed plans to name a group of spindle trees on the island as a national monument, Yonhap news agency reports.

There are only two permanent residents on the islands -- an elderly Korean fisherman and his wife -- but there are potential energy deposits in the area, not to mention national pride at stake. This week's gestures are actually fairly mild. In 2005, after a Japanese prefecture declared a "Takeshima day," a South Korean mother and son sliced off their fingers outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul to protest.

(The photo above is from a fashion show held on nearby Ulleung island to promote South Korean sovereignty over the Liancourts on Aug. 10.)

KIM MI-OCK/AFP/Getty Images