UK: 'We will not rest until Yarl's Wood is shut' - Cheltenham feminists join protest against immigration detention centre
Gloucestershire Echo [9/8/15]:
Cheltenham feminist group Chelt Fems travelled in a protest convoy yesterday to join a national movement to end the detention of asylum seekers.
Movement for Justice, the organisers, had hundreds of people converge at Britain's most notorious detention centre, Yarl's Wood, in rural Bedfordshire.
The protest, which may be the largest ever held outside a British detention centre, was the second this year as pressure builds on the government to review their policy of detaining people who arrive in the UK to seek asylum.
Jo Bartosch, chairman of Chelt Fems, said: "Yarl's Wood is where some of the world's most vulnerable people are held in a faceless secure institution, behind two 20' fences topped with barbed wire.
"They have not been convicted of committing any crime, and yet their freedom depends upon convincing a bureaucrat in Croydon that they have been raped, tortured or persecuted.
"It seems those who have been born outside of Europe, often in countries where European nations have had a hand in stirring conflict, do not deserve compassion.
"It is as if they are not fully human. Yarl's Wood is a monument to state racism and stupidity."
Natalie Painter, Chelt Fems member added: "Research has shown 85 per cent of the women detained at Yarl's Wood have suffered rape or torture.
"They arrive in the UK seeking sanctuary, and yet their care is sold to the lowest bidder. Numerous reports and a recent documentary have exposed brutal conditions, endemic sexism and institutional racism within Yarl's Wood, run by the private company, Serco.
"We will not rest
until Yarl's Wood is shut for good."
... During the arrest raid, Abdullah suffered severe lacerations to his face and a broken jaw after he was mauled by a police dog. He was hit with over 20 bullets, and died at the scene. After the shooting, the lawsuit alleges, FBI agents sealed off the warehouse, preventing local law enforcement from entering the premises for at least an hour. The lawsuit further alleges that Abdullah was denied medical treatment, while the FBI K-9 that mauled him was airlifted to a local hospital to receive treatment for gunshot wounds. ... Killing of Detroit Imam in 2009 Described As “Nothing Less Than a Cover-Up” [The Intercept - 9/8/15]
"If you look at those raid cases, as soon as they are on the television, the news, that's when the Muslim women start to get attacked."
Nasrin Amin did not know Martin Place gunman Man Haron Monis but during December's deadly siege the Melbourne IT worker said she felt his actions personally.
"I was returning from work on the train — a lady started pushing me with her bag and she started yelling at me and telling me to go back to the Middle East. I didn't come from the Middle East," the petite and softly spoken mother of three said.
Ms Amin is originally from Bangladesh, but has been in Australia since 1991.
She was attacked twice around that time and admitted she was "shaken inside" and lived in fear.
She would sit next to the emergency button on the train just in case she was attacked again.
"Racism hurts", she told a 200-strong crowd at a forum on Islamophobia in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg on Sunday.
Ms Amin wears a black veil that covers half of her face. She organised the awareness forum in part because of her personal experience, and because of the stories she heard of other Muslim women who have been attacked.
Incidents included having their scarves pulled off them, and in one case, a woman had coffee thrown on her.
"From a victim's point of view, Islamophobia is racism," Ms Amin said.
"People can say Islam is not a race ... but from a victim's point of view this kind of abuse ... affects our lives, how we go on with our daily lives."
Melbourne's Muslim community is increasingly concerned about anti-Islamic sentiment.
The forum heard that for Muslims much of the national debate and several federal policies — including the war on terror, anti-terrorism legislation including a proposal to strip citizenship — seem to be directed against them, said Doctor Yassir Morsi from the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia.
"It's tied to the asylum seeker debates, tied to immigration debates, tied to what you might say is a sense of what it means to be Australian in a global world, so there's plenty of factors," he said.
He said scrutiny of Australian Muslims began in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001, but escalated in the media and in the political sphere.
"I can't really remember a week without there being story of something or other about Islam or Muslims and their threat," Dr Morsi said.
Ms Amin is also concerned about "the media and politicians' publicity of the highly publicised raid cases".
"If you look at those raid cases, as soon as they are on the television, the news, that's when the Muslim women start to get attacked."
She hopes forums like the one on Sunday will generate better understanding.
"I'm not a scary person. I'm very friendly and if you have any questions, come to this type of event, ask the question and learn that we are just normal people like you," Ms Amin said.
"There's nothing to be scared of, we can be friends."
Buffalo’s ISIS supporting terrorist and its Klan supporting terrorist [Empty Wheel - 7/8/15]
Death investigation, Cape Moreton
QPS Media [9/8/15]:
Police will prepare a report for the Coroner following the death of a 57-year-old Beachmere man in waters off Cape Moreton this morning.
Initial investigations indicate the man, along with a 24-year-old Beachmere man and a 30-year-old Yarraman man, were on a vessel believed to have overturned about 7am this morning about 11 nautical miles north-northeast off Cape Moreton.
A rescue helicopter winched the men from the water for airlift to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
The two other men were treated for hypothermia and fatigue.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Sydney woman drowns after being hit by wave while posing for photo [Nine MSN - 9/8/15]
Woman shoots partner in the back at Bungendore home: police [Canberra Times – 9/8/15]
Man charged after car ran off road and hit two teenagers in Adelaide Hills [ABC – 9/8/15]
Police are urging motorists to avoid the Bruce Highway near Bundaberg in south-east Queensland following a double fatal head-on road crash.
Police said the traffic was banked up for kilometres after a semi trailer collided with a car about 40km north of Gin Gin.
It is understood one person in the semi trailer and one in the car died. ... [ABC - 9/8/15]
Queensland fire crews battle two large grassfires
Fifteen fire crews are battling to contain two large grassfires burning in a central Queensland town.
Heavy machinery is being used to construct containment lines for the fires burning near Razorback and Nine Mile Creek at Mount Morgan, near Rockhampton.
A large smoke haze is impacting nearby residents, but there is no threat to homes.
A forest fire has forced the emergency services to evacuate 1,400 people from Acebo and Perales del Puerto, both of which are located in the Sierra de Gata mountains, in the Spanish region of Extremadura. A number of campsites also had to be cleared due to the blaze. ... [El Pais - 7/8/15]
Large blaze destroys abandoned building in Surfers Paradise
Fire investigators will examine the scene of a large blaze that has destroyed an abandoned building on the Gold Coast overnight.
Police closed the northbound lanes of the Gold Coast Highway at Surfers Paradise after the fire tore through the old Oak building on Remembrance Drive just after 2:00am
Police said the building was structurally unsafe.
One northbound lane has since reopened.
Meanwhile, a woman has been taken to hospital with minor burns on her hands and arms after an overnight house fire at Ipswich, west of Brisbane.
Ambulance officers said the four occupants of the Thomas Street house at Saddlers Crossing managed to get out of the building when fire broke out just after 2:00am.
Did you say public transport? Redcliffe stadium gets $4m in federal funding
A sports stadium in southeast Queensland has been gifted $4 million in federal funding for a major upgrade.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the project at Redcliffe oval will create 200 construction jobs and 150 ongoing positions.
"It will be an important hub for sport and for everything that goes with sport in our country," Mr Abbott said at the Redcliffe Dolphins Rugby Leagues Club Family Day.
The local council and the club have each committed $3 million to the project.
Typhoon lashes China's east coast, eight dead: media
A typhoon battered China's east coast on Sunday, killing eight people and forcing authorities to cancel hundreds of flights and evacuate more than 163,000 people.
Typhoon Soudelor killed six people in Taiwan earlier on the weekend then moved across the Taiwan Strait and slammed into the mainland's Fujian province late on Saturday.
It churned towards the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi on Sunday, the Xinhua state news agency said. The Tropical Storm Risk website downgraded Soudelor to a tropical storm as it moved inland.
Eight people were killed in Hangzhou city, CCTV state television reported, as heavy rain and wind toppled trees and triggered flash floods and mudslides.
Television showed partially submerged vehicles abandoned on flooded roads as soldiers waded through water, searching for victims.
More than 163,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Fujian and more than two million households suffered power outages, Xinhua said. More than 530 flights were canceled and 190 high-speed trains were suspended.
In Taiwan, the rain and wind eased on Sunday although the Central Weather Bureau warned that conditions remained unstable as crews began clearing fallen trees, mud flows and other debris from blocked roads.
The storm killed six people on Taiwan with four missing and nearly 400 injured, authorities said.
Typhoons are common at this time of year in the South China Sea and Pacific, picking up strength from warm waters but losing it over land.
Greek government says discussing draft of third bailout deal
Greek government officials discussed a draft of the country's third bailout agreement drawn up on the basis of discussions with EU/IMF lenders, a government official said on Saturday, boosting hopes a deal could be wrapped up in days.
Athens is racing to wrap up the bailout agreement of as much as 86 billion euros ($94.35 billion) by as early as Tuesday in a bid to get the first disbursement of aid by Aug. 20, when it faces a debt payment to the European Central Bank.
Officials from European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders met Greece's finance and economy ministers in Athens on Saturday, the day after EU finance officials held a teleconference and noted progress in the talks.
The talks on Saturday focused on the so-called "prior actions" Greece must legislate to qualify for loans, and the two sides reached agreement on the issue, a senior government official said without giving details.
Talks will continue on Sunday to discuss more contentious issues, the official said.
"The agreement will be concluded comfortably before Aug.18," the official said.
Greece narrowly dodged a euro zone exit last month after months of acrimonious negotiations that culminated with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras clinching a deal tied to stringent austerity and reform terms to avoid economic collapse.
Since then negotiations on the agreement itself - which will spell out details of the reforms and funds to be disbursed - have proceeded remarkably smoothly, with the lenders praising Greece for its cooperation.
The view of EU officials on Friday's conference call was that talks are proceeding well and may be completed over the weekend, one source familiar with the matter said.
If a draft memorandum of understanding and an updated debt sustainability analysis are ready as planned on Tuesday, the Greek government and parliament would be expected to approve them by Thursday.
This would open the way for euro zone finance ministers to meet or hold a teleconference on Friday to endorse the up to 86 billion euro three-year loan program for Athens.
Greece would be expected to enact another package of reform legislation before Aug. 20, in parallel with national ratification procedures to receive a first aid payment in time to meet the ECB payment.
Scotland is to ban the growing of genetically modified crops, the country's rural affairs secretary has announced.
Richard Lochhead said the Scottish government was not prepared to "gamble" with the future of the country's £14bn food and drink sector.
He is to request that Scotland be excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops. ... [BBC - 9/8/15]
Argentine President makes pension raise official [teleSUR - 6/8/15]
Egypt officials: Factory fire north of Cairo kills 5 people
Daily Star [8/8/15]:
Egyptian security and health officials say a fire at a factory north of Cairo has killed five workers and injured four.
Officials say the fire at the starch and glucose factory in the Shubra al-Kheima district north of Cairo happened when a boiler exploded.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists, say they were able to control the fire before it spread.
Less than two weeks ago, a fire at a furniture factory east of Cairo killed 25 people and injured 22.
Egyptian state-run media said that factory had not obtained a government safety certification.
New Zealand: Vigil to protest workplace safety changes
The family of a forestry worker killed on the job is holding a vigil in Tokoroa to protest against proposed changes to workplace safety law.
Charles Finlay was killed when struck by a log in 2013 while working for M and A Cross, who last week pleaded guilty to breaches under the Health and Safety Ac
297 white crosses representing each life lost at work since the Pike River tragedy have been erected near Lake Moananui in Tokoroa.
Mr Finlay's widow, Maryanne Butler-Finlay, feared her husband's employer would not have been liable under the Health and Safety Reform Bill currently before Parliament.
"If they water it down, it's going to be detrimental to all New Zealanders that are working, especially in small business. It just doesn't make sense - it doesn't need to happen.
"People don't need to feel how me and my children feel - it's just devastating. You'll never be able to recover from a workplace death."
The controversial bill is expected to have its third and final reading in Parliament this week.
Unions said it would make it harder to prosecute companies, but the Government said it would make workplaces safer.
Dame Meg Taylor backpedalled on Nauru, will she do the same re West Papua?
PNG Loop [9/8/15]:
Increased regional awareness of alleged violence and human rights violations in West Papua has convinced the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism (SSCR).
It has recommend that it becomes one of the five priority issues to be the agenda of the Pacific Forum Leaders when they meet in Papua New Guinea next month.
The recommendation will go before the Forum Officials Committee (FOC) for a final endorsement, when it meets in Suva next week.
SSCR documents obtained by PACNEWS reveal the Sub-Committee decided to act after an ‘increasing groundswell of support in the region for the people of West Papua, reflected in part by the media, particularly social media.’
In addition, the Sub-Committee received three strong submissions from various interest groups around the region advocating the peaceful resolution of the struggles of the people of West Papua.
In recommending the Sub-Committee’s suggestion for the agenda issues, Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor said since the Leader’s statement in 2006, ‘proponents suggest that the human rights situation has deteriorated.’
“The Sub-Committee acknowledged the Forum’s history and regional role in assisting territories achieve self-determination, said Dame Meg.
The 2006 Forum Leaders expressed concerns about reports of violence in Papua and urged Indonesian authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of serious crimes in the Province of Papua.
Pacific Forum Leaders will be asked to consider the situation in West Papua and publicly express their concerns over human rights and to resolve difference between all parties by peaceful means.
In June this year, the Melanesian Spearhead Group admitted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as an observer member while Indonesia was granted associate membership.
From submissions made to the Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism, three possible actions were recommended. These include a fact finding ministerial group from the Pacific Islands Forum to West Papua, include West Papua on the UN Decolonisation List and impose sanctions against Indonesian companies and government enterprises found to be committing human rights abuses.
However, the Sub Committee recommends that Leaders consider additional alternative options – ‘to seek political dialogue with Indonesia, through the Post Forum Dialogue process to discuss human rights situation in West Papua, seek to engage at the ministerial level through the Forum Foreign Ministers and direct the Forum Secretariat to maintain a watching brief and submit a report to the next Leaders meeting.’
“Addressing the issue of West Papua issue has the potential to create tension amongst Forum members and with Indonesia given the bilateral relations members have with Indonesia and its status as a Post Forum Dialogue Partner, acknowledges the SSCR report.
The decision on whether the issue will be taken up to the Leaders in Port Moresby next month will be determined by the Forum Officials Committee.
700 people evicted after police bulldoze their houses at Four Mile [PNG Loop - 9/8/15]
East Timor resistance leader killed in "security
An East Timor former guerrilla leader has been killed in a clash with police and troops, the government said Sunday, August 9, urging calm in the half-island nation.
Mauk Moruk died Saturday, August 8, after a joint police and military operation in the town of Fatulia in Harare province, a government spokesman said in a statement.
"Every effort was made during the operation to avoid this outcome," it said.
"Regrettably the Joint Operation... was unable to avoid... confrontation in the area of Fatulia resulting in an exchange of gunfire."
The spokesman added that there were "two other fatalities and a number of injuries" but did not identify them.
"The Government urges all citizens to remain calm".
Moruk had often challenged independence hero Xanana Gusmao – who had been both president and premier during the first decade of East Timor's independence – over ways to tackle poverty.
Gusmao stepped down as prime minister this year, but has stayed on as a minister in the new government to try to ensure a smooth transition.
The government said in a statement in May that the joint operation began in March following attacks on police, including a March 8 attack on a police compound by a group equipped with firearms and explosives which left four security personnel injured.
It described Moruk's group as illegal and said the joint operation was to "prevent and suppress criminal actions from illegal groups".
A significant number of the group's members had surrendered, the statement said.
East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a long and bloody struggle against occupation.
The young democracy has suffered bouts of unrest in the past, although recent years have been largely peaceful – allowing UN peacekeepers finally to leave the country in 2012.
This award-winning docudrama depicts the last widescale massacre of Indigenous Australians by white settlers.
In 1928, Coniston Station in Central Australia was the scene of a gruesome crime that many elders remember to this day.
Dramatic reenactments are overlaid with heartbreaking interviews with Coniston locals. [Watch on Canberra Times]
Rashid Dabak’s tin shack, which was torn down on Wednesday morning in the Jordan Valley village of Aqaba, was the 260th Palestinian structure that Israel has demolished in the West Bank since the beginning of the year. ... [Haaretz - 8/8/15]
"We entered Gaza…with an insane amount of firepower." [Byline - 6/8/15]:
... The last testimony (#111) in the Breaking the Silence collection provides insight into the society that nurtured this Vandal-like army.
“You leave the [Gaza Strip] and the most obvious question is, ‘Did you kill anybody?’,” an IDF infantry sergeant rued.
“Even if you meet the most leftwing girl in the world, eventually she’ll start thinking, ‘Did you ever kill somebody, or not?’ And what can you do about it?
Most people in our society consider that to be a badge of honor. So everyone wants to come out of there with that feeling of satisfaction.”
The FBI has been asked to help investigate a white police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager suspected of driving a vehicle through the window of a car dealership in Arlington, Texas, the city's police chief said on Saturday.
The shooting death early on Friday of 19-year-old college football player Christian Taylor came two days before the one-year anniversary of the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in an encounter with a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, that ignited protests in many U.S. cities. ... [Reuters - 9/8/15]
29 leading US nuclear scientists praise 'unprecedented' Iran deal [Haaretz - 8/8/15]
Nagasaki peace declaration on 70th anniversary of atomic bombing
Peace Declaration issued on Aug. 9, 2015, by Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue [Mainichi]:
... I address President Obama, heads of state, including the heads of the nuclear weapon states, and all the people of the world. Please come to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and see for yourself exactly what happened under those mushroom clouds 70 years ago. Please understand and accept the message of the hibakusha, who are still doing their best to pass on their experiences, not simply as "victims," but as "members of the human race."
I appeal to the Government of Japan.
Please explore national security measures which do not rely on nuclear deterrence. The establishment of a "Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NEA-NWFZ)," as advocated by researchers in America, Japan, Korea, China, and many other countries, would make this possible. Fix your sights on the future, and please consider a conversion from a "nuclear umbrella" to a "non-nuclear umbrella." ...
Nagasaki marks 70th anniversary of atomic bombing [Japan Today - 9/8/15]
Thousands of Kurds in Germany march against Turkish air strikes
Several thousand people marched Saturday through the western German city of Cologne in protest at continued Turkish air strikes against Kurdish separatists.
Some 5,000 people demonstrators gathered in the centre of the city, police said, with organisers hoping that more of the region's substantial Kurdish and Turkish populations more would join them later.
Another much smaller protest was held in Brussels.
The rallies were called by an alliance of pro-Kurdish groups to say "No to the war", after the two weeks of Turkish air raids on Kurdish separatist targets, mostly in northern Iraq.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has struck back killing at least 20 members of the Turkish security forces.
March organiser Zubeyir Aydar of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) -- which Ankara claims is the PKK's political wing -- accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of breaking a truce with separatists which had held since 2013.
German Foreign Frank-Walter Steinmeier meanwhile told the Rheinische Post daily Saturday that it "would be regrettable that Turkey's national peace process should go to the wall because of regional conflicts in the Middle East."
Turkey's main Kurdish political leader Selahattin Demirtas accused Ankara on Thursday of using air strikes against the Islamic State group as a cover to hit the PKK and to weaken his Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP), which made major gains in parliamentary elections in June.
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [8/8/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber, attack, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, six airstrikes struck one large and one small ISIL tactical unit and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL bunkers, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL building, an ISIL motorcycle and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Aleppo, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL front end loader.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL crane.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the Iraqi government:
-- Near Baghdadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL vehicles and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage.
-- Near Habbaniyah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Haditha, three airstrikes struck one large and two small ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL building and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Mosul, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL roadside bomb.
-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.
Rocket fire from rebel-held areas around the Syrian capital killed five people and wounded 37 on Saturday, state news agency SANA reported.
"Five dead and 37 wounded in a terrorist rocket attack on Baghdad Street and Ath-Thawra Street in Damascus and on the city's Bab Touma area," the agency said. ... [Yahoo - 8/8/15]
Pentagon prepares for century of climate emergencies and oil wars [ICH/Middle East Eye - 8/8/15]
To defend Iran deal, Obama boasts that he’s bombed seven countries [The Intercept - 6/8/15]
Another terrifying glimpse into the mind of an American exceptionalist [VIDEO - Al Jazeera - 29/7/15]:
In this Head to Head special from Washington DC, Mehdi Hasan challenges retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, on the rise of ISIL, the War on Terror, torture, and how to deal with Iran.
Flynn was the former head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a commander of J-SOC, the ghost military unit whose squads hunted Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan all the way to Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
With no panel or audience, we ask him whether the US is to blame for creating ISIL and whether the War on Terror has become a crusade. We also discuss torture in US bases and why he is opposed to a deal with Iran.
Saudi airstrike kills 3 in Yemen’s Sa’ada [Press TV - 8/8/15]
Saudi-backed forces take strategic city in Yemen, Emirati troops killed [Reuters – 8/8/15]
Saudi Arabia said Saturday that the suicide bomber who detonated an explosives-packed vest in a mosque inside a police headquarters, killing 15 people, was one of its own citizens. ... [Daily Star - 8/8/15]
Picture of the day: A girl holds on to her small sheep in war-torn Yemen [Ahram - 8/8/15]
Afghanistan: 22 killed in Kunduz suicide car bomb [TOLO News - 9/8/15]
30 killed in drone strike, clashes in Nangarhar [Khaama - 9/8/15]
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) urged anti-government elements, including the Taliban, to cease the use of complex and suicide attacks in civilian-populated areas.
A statement released by the UNAMA said that three attacks by anti-government elements in Kabul on August 7 caused at least 355 civilian casualties--- 42 deaths and 313 injured--- the highest number of civilians killed and injured in one day since UNAMA began systematically recording civilian casualties in 2009. ... [Pajhwok - 8/8/15]
A Rwandan soldier serving with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic shot dead four Rwandan troops and wounded eight others on Saturday, before himself being shot dead, according to the Rwandan Defence Ministry. ... [Reuters - 8/8/15]
At least 12 dead as Mali siege ends, some UN workers freed [Reuters – 8/8/15]
Israeli settlers on Saturday morning attacked a Palestinian home with firebombs and rocks in the West Bank village of Duma, little more than a week after an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler and his father were killed in a deadly attack in the same village. ... [Maan - 8/8/15]
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian teen near Gaza border [Maan - 8/8/15]
Ukrainian forces continue shelling Gorlovka
Sputnik News [8/8/15]:
Ukrainian forces launched another artillery attack on the city of Gorlovka in Ukraine’s southeast, the representative of the city administration told RIA Novosti Saturday.
"The shelling started at four o'clock in the morning (01:00 GMT), and lasted about 40 minutes. Parts of the village Rumyantsevo were hit, private parts. According to preliminary information, there are destruction and fire. Information about the victims are to be confirmed," the representative said.
On August 1, seven people were killed and 19 others were injured in Gorlovka amid continuing shelling by Ukrainian forces.
On July 31, the Gorlovka mayoral office said that at least 164 people, including 16 children, in the city have died in shelling conducted by Ukrainian forces in the past half a year. About 500 others were injured in the same period.
Violence in Ukraine’s southeast continues despite the February ceasefire agreement signed by representatives of Kiev and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.
Both Kiev and DPR and LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic) have repeatedly accused each other of ceasefire violations.
According to UN estimates, fighting in eastern Ukraine, which started in mid-April 2014, has killed over 6,500 people.
US pledges $68mn NATO investment into Estonian military bases [RT – 8/8/15]
A solemn ceremony has been held in Brisbane to honour the traditional colours of the first battalion to go ashore at Gallipoli.
The silk colours of the 9th Battalion were commemorated at St John's Anglican Cathedral on Saturday.
They'll be laid up next to their previous insignia, which has been hanging and decaying in the church since 1967. ... [Nine MSN - 8/8/15]
How many refugees attempting the Indian Ocean crossing has Australia refouled in the past 48 hours?
How many refugees have been incarcerated, tortured, deported to danger and/or died as a result of Australia's murderous policies in the past 48 hours?
@MSF_Sea [8/8/15]: The #Dignity1 has taken on a transfer of people, including this baby, rescued by another boat and now heads to #Italy
EURO News [8/8/15]:
Around eight-hundred migrants have been brought to the Italian port of Reggio Calabria.
They were picked up from boats in the Mediterranean during several operations.
Several women and many children were among the migrants, who are mainly from Africa and Syria.
They were checked by medical workers as they disembarked a Norwegian rescue vessel.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ statement following the conclusion of the government meeting on the management of issues related to the refugee flows [8/8/15]
Tourists and refugees cross paths in the Mediterranean [Spiegel - 7/8/15]:
... She is grateful for the tourists' handouts, says Fidan, but there have been days when she and her family were so hungry they could have eaten grass, while the vacationers were slurping down oysters. She doesn't like the way the tourists look at her, or their pity and constant questions about why she is here.
When asked, Fidan always responds with one word: "Bombs."
She doesn't tell the tourists that she was actually happy in Aleppo, and that it was an ordinary afternoon when her life changed forever.
She doesn't say that she was in the kitchen cooking when the bombs struck her friend's house next door, ripping off the arms and legs of her children.
That was the day Fidan, her husband and their four children left home.
via @SubotaiBaatur [7/8/15]: A banker, a worker and an asylum seeker are sitting at a table with 20 cookies. The banker takes 19 cookies and warns the worker: "Watch out the asylum seeker is going to take your cookie away!"
Pope says rejecting refugees is an act of war
The rejection of migrants fleeing violence and hunger is an act of war, Pope Francis told youth Friday.
Francis told members of the Eucharistic Youth Movement that when migrants are forced to flee from country to country, with no one giving them shelter, "this is an unresolved conflict, and this is war, this is violence, it's called murder".
The pope urged members of the youth movement to remember the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh, calling them "our brothers".
In recent weeks, Rohingya migrants - most of whom are Muslim - have been refused sanctuary in Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
The pope said it was a crime that the Rohingya "have been driven from one country to another and another"." "In this world there are so many wars," said Francis. "We are in a war, I repeatedly say that this is a third world war...
"But we are at war. And this is negative. But there are signs of hope and there are signs of joy".
Francis has frequently spoken out about the importance of welcoming and assisting migrants, which have been flooding into Europe to escape wars in the Middle East and Africa.
One of the pope's first trips after he was elected in March 2013 was to visit the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, the first European shore reached by countless migrants.
"The world has so many bad things, we are at war," concluded Francis.
"But there are also many beautiful things and so many good things and many saints hidden in the people of God. God is present".
As the pope spoke, two operations coordinated by the Italian coast guard off the coast of Libya rescued some 240 people.
But only days earlier, while some 400 migrants were rescued another 200 were presumed dead after a boat overturned. The bodies of 26 children were recovered.
The pope also urged the young people to have courage in facing tensions and conflicts that he said are part of life, and reminded them that they "cannot retire at 20".
Northern League Leader Matteo Salvini on Friday challenged Francis's call to care for migrants.
In a Facebook post, Salvini, whose party is opposed to undocumented migrants, disagreed with the pope's words.
"Rejecting illegal immigrants is crime?," wrote Salvini on the social media website.
"No, it's a duty. Am I wrong?" added Salvini.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has joked that stress is slowing him down after crossing the finish line of Sydney's City to Surf fun run. ... [Yahoo - 9/8/15]
How is the money used and why are they silent about Australia's refugee policy? ----> @UNrefugees - Australia for UNHCR: Our supporter Bernie has raised more than $4,000 to help refugees today at the #city2surf ! #teamUNHCR
Movement restrictions create food shortages in Kullung [Burma Times - 9/8/15]
Disparate aid for Rohingyas [Burma Times - 8/8/15]:
... In the first days of the floods, the security forces and government officials while aiding the Buddhist populace and bringing much needed relief goods totally ignored the Rohingya populace.
In Kyauktaw, Rohingyas were turned out of shelters while in Akyab, a hostile Rakhine populace warned Rohingyas fleeing floods to go back to their neighbourhoods or face dire consequences.
Such threats have abated as many NGOs and humanitarian organisations have arrived in Arakan over the last few days.
It is unlikely that either the government or the Rakhine nationalists will commit violence in full view of the humanitarian organisations. But even here politics is being played out, according to local Rohingyas.
One of the favoured trick of the administration is to direct the aid givers to areas where there is a majority Rakhine populace saying these are the worst affected zones. This is not too difficult as the townships most affected by floods e.g. Akyab, Kyauktaw and Mrauk U have a majority Rakhine populace.
But as Rohingyas have been living under unfavourable circumstances for many years, some of their affected communities are more vulnerable. Many live in remote areas where it is easy for the authorities to confine them. Under such a scenario, they continue to be the worst sufferers.
The UN has pledged $9m in aid to step up the response to devastating flooding in Myanmar.
Nearly 90 people have died and four states have been declared disaster zones affecting at least 330,000 residents.
Over a million acres of rice fields have been flooded and crops destroyed on more than 150,000 acres, the agriculture ministry said.
Flood waters are beginning to recede in western Rakhine state, and people are going home to take stock of the damage.
In the village of Than Ta Yar, residents have returned home, and have received rations of rice, cooking oil and bottled water from local organisations.
But residents said they do not know when the next aid package will arrive. Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reports from Minbya Township in Rakhine State, one of the worst affected areas. [VIDEO - Al Jazeera - 8/8/15]
Up to 1.5 million Roma Gypsies were rounded up and killed by the Nazis, a genocide known as the “Porajmos” in their language. ... [Mint Press - 5/8/15]
Lawyer: Palestinian hunger striker to be force fed
Israeli authorities have declared their intention to force feed a hunger-striking Palestinian, his lawyer said Saturday.
If carried out it would be the first case since the adoption last month of a new law permitting the practice.
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday that alleged Islamic Jihad activist Mohammed Allaan, held without charge since November, was "at immediate risk" of death after fasting for 50 days.
Allaan's attorney Jamil al-Khatib told Agence France Presse Israeli judicial officials "informed me of the intention to proceed with the force feeding of Mr. Allaan."
"I have informed him of this but it does not alter his intention to continue his strike," Khatib said, adding that his client had actually been refusing food for 55 days by Saturday.
He added that Allaan was placed in intensive hospital care when his body became unable to absorb drinking water.
Palestinian health minister warned Saturday that the force feeding procedure itself would endanger Allaan's life.
Allaan, himself a lawyer, is being held under a procedure allowing indefinite internment without charge.
Palestinians in Israeli prisons regularly go on hunger strike in protest at conditions, particularly those who, like him, are held in what Israel calls administrative detention.
On July 30, parliament approved a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike facing death to be force fed, sparking criticism from rights groups and doctors.
While the new law does not specifically mention Palestinians, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who sponsored the legislation, said last week it was necessary since "hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel."
Last month, Israel freed Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan after a 56-day hunger strike that brought him near death.
US tried to woo Ecuador indigenous leaders: WikiLeaks [teleSUR – 7/8/15]
The Murdoch Press are lying racists
21 myths you might believe about Aboriginal Australia [Creative Spirits - 7/8/15]:
Myth 17: A lot of Aboriginal people drink alcohol
This myth is based on the high visibility of Aboriginal drinkers. But it is false.
Let the statistics do the talking: Across all age groups in the ‘low risk’ group fewer Aboriginal people drink alcohol than non-Aboriginal people.
On average, 55% of the non-Indigenous people drink at low risk while only 36% Aboriginal people do.
In the ‘risky’ group proportions are about equal between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
This is also true for the ‘high risk’ group, except for people between 35 to 54 years of age.
Here, almost twice as many Aboriginal people drink alcohol. 29% of Aboriginal Australians did not drink alcohol in the previous 12 months, almost double the rate of non-Aboriginal Australians.
In fact, Aboriginal people are 1.4 times more likely to abstain from alcohol than non-Aboriginal people.
More than 43% of 16- to 17-year-old Australians drink to “get drunk”. 36% of adults in New South Wales do the same.
And 20% of them admit they can’t stop drinking once they started. No wonder that 80% of Australians believe the nation has a drinking problem.
Truth: Australia as a nation has a drinking problem. Fewer Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal people drink alcohol.
How the Murdoch press keeps Australia's dirty secret [John Pilger - 12/5/11]
9 August 2015