Gold Coast Waterways Authority checks if the people are paying attention and still care about retaining public ownership of The Spit
The [Gold Coast] Waterways Authority is drawing up a Masterplan.
CEO Hal Morris said eventually the plan would be open for public comment. [The people should be asked for their input BEFORE the Masterplan is drawn up.]
Ideas include the redevelopment of the KIOSK, which was built in the late 80’s, “there’ve been suggestions that that needs to have a bit of a facelift”. [WHO suggests this?]
Mr Morris said they are currently “putting in a new toilet block, which is not very exciting, but is important for the functionality of the whole thing”. [Good. When are you going to stop people tearing up the western side in their 4wds?]
“We need to understand though what do we want to do with this open space right at the mouth of the Gold Coast waterway”. [And you can count on the local media to amplify this newly minted narrow parameter of discussion, when locals just want to retain their precious public space.]
“What we’re doing is really trying to understand together with the community groups and the volunteer groups that all have a role in that particular area, what the future looks like” Mr Morris said. [BULLSHIT. HANDS OFF THE SPIT.]
He added that groups they are speaking to include “Save Our Spit and Save Our Broadwater and Friends of Federation Walk, Gecko, Volunteer Marine Rescue and Coastguard and the list goes on”. [These groups DO NOT represent all Gold Coast residents who want The Spit to remain in public hands.]
A big development is that the Seaway Tower which houses the volunteers that keep an eye on our boaties leaving and re-entering the Seaway could be [re]located.
Recently some of the older volunteer Radio operators complained that they could no longer walk up all of the stairs. [What a crock.]
One idea being considered is shifting the volunteers to a spot above the re-developed kiosk.
Fatal traffic crash, Mackay
QPS Media [9/7/15]:
Police are currently at the scene of a fatal traffic crash on the Bruce Highway, Mount Ossa, north of Mackay.
Initial investigations suggest around 5pm a vehicle was travelling south along the Bruce Highway when it left the road and rolled.
A 45-year-old man was pronounced deceased at the scene.
A female passenger and 8-month-old baby have been transported to Mackay Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating and are appealing for any witness to the crash to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
Two men are in hospital with serious injuries after a head-on crash between a car and a truck in the state's Pilbara region on Wednesday. ... [WA Today - 9/7/15]
A man is dead after the car in which he was a passenger lost control while overtaking a log truck on a northwest Tasmanian highway, speared into an oil tanker and then slammed into an oncoming four-wheel drive. ... [Nine MSN - 9/7/15]
Teenage girl injured in hit and run on Hindmarsh Drive, Phillip [Canberra Times - 9/7/15]
Elderly woman’s foot run over by car, Robina [MYGC - 9/7/15]
Armed robbery, Morayfield
QPS Media [9/7/15]:
Police are investigating after a convenience store was robbed at Morayfield early this morning.
Around 1.50am a man entered the Morayfield Road business, produced two knives and threatened the attendant demanding cash.
The attendant complied and the man left the store with a quantity of cash.
The male attendant was not physically harmed.
The man is described as Caucasian in appearance, approximately 170cm tall, wearing a dark hooded jumper, white shirt, green shorts and white shoes.
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.
Armed robbery, Forest Lake
QPS Media [9/7/15]:
Police are investigating after a bottle shop was robbed at Forest Lake this evening.
Initial inquiries indicate that at 7.08pm a man entered the Joseph Banks Avenue store and threatened staff with a knife.
Staff complied with the man’s demands and the man left the business with a sum of money.
The man is described as 180cm tall and Pacific Islander in appearance.
Police are asking anyone with any information that can assist their investigations to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Robbery, Mount Warren Park
QPS Media [9/7/15]:
Police are investigating following the theft of a vehicle at Mount Warren Park this afternoon.
Just after 3.45pm, a 24-year-old man was sitting in a vehicle parked at a shopping centre on Mount Warren Boulevard when he was approached by another man and threatened with a knife.
The man then made demands for the 24-year-old to exit the vehicle.
The 24-year-old man complied with the demands and the other man entered the driver’s seat of the vehicle and drove off.
The 24-year-old man was not physically injured during the incident.
The vehicle is a black Kia Rio sedan, Queensland registration number 096VBQ.
The man is described as Caucasian with stubble around his mouth.
He was wearing a dark coloured hoodie jumper and brown track pants.
Police are urging anyone who sees the vehicle or has any information about the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Retired military personnel and public servants around Australia were left in financial limbo on Thursday after the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation failed to pay their pensions.
Panicked pensioners tried in vain to call ComSuper from Wednesday evening trying to find out what had happened to their money, but the phones were not answered and the agency's website crashed.
It is unclear how many of the hundreds of thousands of Australians who rely on government super payments have been affected, with ComSuper failing to answer the question on Thursday. ... [Canberra Times - 9/7/15]
Firefighters to investigate cause of blaze that destroyed Townsville Laundries overnight
Firefighters will this morning attempt to enter a partially collapsed Townsville business that was destroyed by a blaze overnight to investigate the fire's cause.
Emergency services were called to Townsville Laundries on Woolcock Street after a passerby noticed flames shortly after staff went home on Wednesday night.
Five crews fought for several hours to contain the fire, which was being fuelled by chemicals inside the building.
Part of the structure has collapsed and flames have partially damaged a neighbouring business.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services last night warned residents about potentially dangerous toxic fumes, but a spokeswoman later said they had been deemed safe.
Fire investigators have been called to determine the cause.
Man in standoff with heavily armed police had been there to babysit: court hears [Canberra Times – 8/7/15]
Nick "The Knife" Forbes was refused bail on Thursday over allegations he masterminded a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking ring on the Gold Coast. ... [Yahoo - 9/7/15]
Police chaplain charged with sex offences
Nine MSN [9/7/15]:
A priest and part-time police chaplain has been charged for alleged historical child sex offences in the NSW Northern Rivers region.
The Catholic priest was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with nine offences, which are alleged to have taken place in the 1980s.
He was refused bail and will appear at Kempsey Local Court on Friday.
Phil Rudd sentenced to house detention
Phil Rudd, a drummer with rock group AC/DC, has been sentenced in New Zealand to eight months in house detention for drug possession and making threats to kill.
Australian-born Rudd, 61, had originally denied the charges but changed his plea in April.
He threatened to "take out" a former employee, the Tauranga court heard.
When police went to question him over the threats they found a stash of marijuana and methamphetamine.
His sentence will be served at his beachfront home in Tauranga, with Judge Thomas Ingram warning he would be face jail if he breached the conditions, New Zealand media reported.
He had faced a jail term of up to seven years for the threat charges.
Arriving at court, Rudd made no comment to reporters but thanked fans for their support.
The court had heard how Rudd had fired several employees after the failure of his solo album, Head Job, in August last year.
Then in September, he telephoned an associate in Australia saying he wanted one of those former employees "taken care of", said court documents.
In another call he offered the associate "NZ$200,000, ($135,000; £88,000) a motorbike, one of his cars or a house", which the man believed would be in exchange for carrying out the request.
Rudd also called the victim of the threat, saying: "I'm going to come over and kill you."
The drugs were found when police raided his home on 6 November.
Rudd was originally charged with attempting to procure a murder, but that charge was dropped, as was a charge that he also threatened the victim's daughter.
Rudd's lawyer had said the threats were "just an angry phone call" and that a drug conviction would have serious final consequences for the drummer, meaning he could not travel to some countries to perform.
Judge Thomas Ingram dismissed this, though accepted that Rudd had reconciled with the victim and paid compensation.
Rudd is not currently a member of AC/DC, one of the world's biggest rock bands, and has not been invited to join them on their tour of New Zealand and Australia later this year.
Phil Rudd to appeal home detention sentence [RNZI - 9/7/15]
State of disaster declared at Solomons mine
A state of disaster has been declared at the tailings dam of the closed Gold Ridge gold mine in Solomon Islands as unseasonal rains continue to fill the dam to dangerously high levels.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Disaster Management has confirmed the state of disaster, saying it has been activated because of the threat to communities downstream.
Melchior Mataki says the declaration allows the National Disaster Council to invoke appropriate measures to start a limited controlled discharge of untreated water from the tailings dam.
The gold mine was sold off in April this year to local landowners by its former Australian owners St Barbara for the nominal amount a year after flash flooding forced the mine's closure.
During this period repeated attempts by St Barbara to effect a controlled release of untreated water were opposed by the government and local communities who insisted water should be treated before release.
The tailings dam contains toxic sediments including high concentrations of cyanide and arsenic which could be released in the event of a dam breach.
Argentina: Supreme Court allows death with dignity
Buenos Aires Herald [8/7/15]:
In a historic ruling, the Supreme Court upheld yesterday “the right of every patient to choose a dignified death,” drawing a sharp distinction between halting treatment and euthanasia.
Justices confirmed a lower court’s decision to allow the end of extraordinary measures to preserve the life of a person, who had remained in a persistent vegetative state since 1995.
Yesterday’s decision breaks new ground, since patients in previous situations, in which the judiciary authorized the termination of medical treatment, had to have set down in writing their wishes not to be kept alive artificially.
Under the 2012 Patients’ Rights Law, physicians and hospitals are bound to respect written instructions to that effect.
The patient “lacks consciousness of the surrounding environment, the capacity for communication, understanding or expression through any language, and does not present any evidence of residual cognitive capacity,” the Supreme Court said in its 34-page ruling.
Justices Ricardo Lorenzetti, Elena Highton de Nolasco and Juan Carlos Maqueda pointed to affidavits from the siblings of M.A.D. that he told them he did not want to be kept alive if he should fall into an irreversible coma.
The country’s top tribunal concluded that the Patients’ Rights Law allows doctors and hospitals to accept such statements from family members when the patient cannot speak for himself.
“The request to end life support does not signify a euthanasic practice banned by law, but instead constitutes a therapeutic abstention that is permitted,” the country’s highest tribunal declared.
Justice Carlos Fayt did not sign the resolution, though he took part in the discussion and did not agree with the rest of his colleagues. Court sources explained to the Herald that the magistrate — reportedly at odds with the measure — did not want to issue a minority vote.
Last year, Fayt requested that other tests on M.A.D be conducted, which delayed the ruling.
Justices took into account the “Lambert and Others v France,” a landmark decision to end the life of Vincent Lambert, who has been in vegetative state for six years. The ruling was issued last month by the European Court of Human Rights.
Court sources yesterday noted that no other Latin American court has analyzed this matter.
“People are sick and tired of a government that is destroying our democracy by intimidating experts into silence so the politically connected and the powerful can fill that information vacuum,”
National Post [8/7/15]:
Paul Watson, who won a Pulitzer prize in 1994, has quit the Toronto Star over that paper’s “refusal to publish a story of significant public interest” — an allegation the paper denies.
“Let me publicly deny this extremely odd idea,” Star publisher John Cruickshank wrote in a memo to staff on Wednesday of an alleged conspiracy to “constrain (Watson’s) reporting.”
“There is no truth whatever to the suggestion. Suppressing stories of significant public interest is something the Star has never done and will never do.”
Watson announced his resignation on his blog Tuesday.
“Resigning is the only way I can resume that reporting, complete the work and fulfill my responsibilities as a journalist,” Watson wrote.
The article Watson says he couldn’t publish at the Star centres on the search for the lost ships of the 1845 Franklin expedition, an initiative led by Parks Canada that had significant input and personal investment by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The discovery of one of the Franklin ships, the HMS Erebus, was announced by the prime minister in September of 2014.
Watson says experts and civil servants who worked on the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition that found the wreck of the Erebus are outraged at what they see as “distorted and inaccurate accounts” of that discovery, which allegedly originated with a person close to the Prime Minister’s Office who also has influence within the Star.
Watson’s says his efforts to report on that person’s influence were stymied, and that editors put him under “a six-week reporting ban” he only broke free of upon his resignation.
“People are sick and tired of a government that is destroying our democracy by intimidating experts into silence so the politically connected and the powerful can fill that information vacuum,” Watson said in an interview posted on the Canadaland website on Wednesday.
“You might have thought this was a simple feel-good story, an effort to answer a mystery the world has been following for the last 170 years. But you’d be shocked at how much political sleaze that can generate,” Watson added.
Watson has promised more updates on his personal website and on his Facebook page. The Star’s website, which boasts of Watson as “Canada’s only Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist,” still lists him as staff as of Wednesday afternoon.
Toronto Star spokesperson Bob Hepburn said the company regretted Watson’s resignation but would not comment on personnel matters, including the alleged reporting ban. He also insisted the paper has never shied away from public interest stories, pointing to the paper’s stories on Rob Ford and Jian Ghomeshi as examples of the its commitment to hard-hitting journalism.
“We don’t suppress stories,” he said. “We haven’t done that in the past and we’re not doing that now.”
Watson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography for a grisly photo of a dead U.S. soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu during the civil war in Somalia.
He originally joined the Star in 1985 and covered foreign conflicts including in Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
After leaving in 1998, he rejoined the Toronto daily from the Los Angeles Times in 2009 and has devoted most of his energies to reporting on Canada’s arctic.
War games send wrong message: Ludlam
A joint military exercise with the US in central Queensland should be canned as it harms Australia's independence and sends the wrong message to our neighbours, a Greens senator says.
Acting Greens leader Scott Ludlam says the exercise, involving 30,000 Australian and US defence personnel, is about "expeditionary wars and invasions" and has backed peace activists' trespassing on to the training site at Shoalwater Bay.
"Most people join the ADF expecting that they're there for the defence of Australian territory," he said outside a peace conference in Brisbane on Thursday.
"That's not what they are training for - it's about landing on beaches and invading other people's countries.
"I don't think we should be preparing for a war with China."
The biennial operation - called "Exercise Talisman Sabre" - trains both country's forces in "high-end" war fighting, according to the Department of Defence.
For the first time, Japanese defence force personnel are participating, which some believe could flare up regional tensions.
Professor Richard Tanter, of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, said the "war games" exercise, which is being held simultaneously at a site near Darwin, wasn't in Australia's best security interests.
"These war games I think are an unwelcome increase in our integration not only with the United States but with Japan, where Japan has the most nationalist government that country has had since 1945," he said.
Senator Ludlam said such allegiances sent a message to neighbouring countries to "arm up".
"I don't think we should be participating in that kind of provocation," he said.
Activists have already trespassed on the Shoalwater Bay training area as a direct objection to the Australian-US military alliance.
Three Christian activists were arrested at the site on Wednesday and more activists are planning to campaign on the site later this week.
Senator Ludlam backed the activists' actions, despite the risk of them walking into gunfire.
"I think it is dangerous ... you're walking into an area where live firing is under way," he said.
"That's how seriously people take these issues, so good on them."
Australia's Bishops reiterate calls for justice for refugees and asylum seekers
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese [9/7/15]:
The Australian Catholic Bishops will mark Social Justice Sunday in September this year with a call to all Australians to think again about our national response to asylum seekers, especially those who arrive by sea.
"In this year's Social Justice Statement is inspired by the example of Pope Francis on his 2013 visit to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, where he met the survivors of a refugee tragedy and mourned and prayed for those who died," says Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Archbishop Hart says that Pope Francis' example inspired Australia's Bishops to ask how they could show leadership both here and overseas by forging a humane response to the challenge of refugees,
Released annually on Social Justice Sunday, which falls on 27 September this year, the Bishops Social Justice Statement provides an invaluable insight into Catholic social teaching with a strong focus on the common good.
Over the past 26 years Australia's Bishops have explored important issues such as poverty, economic justice, inclusion, environmental integrity, revealing an ongoing and abiding concern for society's most vulnerable, disadvantaged and those struggling on the margins.
Last year's Social Justice Statement entitled "A Crown for Australia: Striving for the Best in this Sporting Nation," which celebrated the gifts sport can bring to us both as individuals and as a society, but which also challenged us to look at sport's darker side including violence both on and off the field, the abuse of alcohol and drugs by fans as well as some players, racist slurs and at times along with the ugly bigotry from the stands as well as from some players, the frequent abuse and exploitation of women.
Now the Bishops have turned their attention to asylum seekers and refugees and in particular to those who embark on a risky voyage across the ocean in a bid to find safety and a new life.
The Statement's title: "For Those Who've Come Across the Seas: Justice for Refugees and Asylum Seekers" is taken from the words in Australia's National Anthem and is intended to remind Australians of how our nation has aspired to be a place of welcome and inclusion.
In their Statement, the Bishops show deep concern that both sides of Australian politics "have felt the need to introduce such cruel and self defeating policies as offshore processing and indefinite detention.
Reminding us of the nearly 60 million people around the world who are displaced from their homes, with war and violence devastating countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the Bishops asks us as Australians to re-examine our responses to refugees and asylum seekers, and to show understanding and compassion.
Contrary to claims by some politicians, seeking asylum and safety from persecution and torture is not illegal.
Asylum seekers are not "illegals".
People arriving by boat without a visa are considered not legally authorised and are entitled to seek asylum but it is not a criminal offence nor as is frequently asserted by politicians, is there a "queue."
In nations such as Afghanistan or Iraq there is no Australian consulate to whom applications for visa can be made.
For ethnic or religious minorities at risk of persecuted and killed, such as the Hazara of Aghanistan or the beleaguered Rohingya minority of Myanmar, flight by boat is often the only option.
Under the 1951 UN Convention for Refugees to which Australia is a signatory, and also helped write, not only are states who are signatory to the Convention legally bound to offer those seeking asylum protection until their claims can be investigated, along with the possibility of resettlement.
The Convention contains a Non-refoulement clause in which signatory states, which include Australia, agree not to return asylum seekers at risk and in danger of persecution or torture in their homeland.
"The Bishops Social Justice Statement addresses the divisive national debate over asylum seekers and reminds all Australians of the need to welcome and comfort those who have fled here from terror and danger, and to live out the example of Jesus who never turned his back on those who were lost or suffering," Archbishop Hart says.
Orders for this year's Social Justice Statement are already being taken together with resources which will be available to download free of charge before Social Justice Sunday on 27 September.
In addition to this year's Social Justice Statement by Australia's Catholic Bishops, a collection of the Bishops' Catholic social teachings from 1988-2013 are also available in book form and provide an important resource for schools, universities, parishes, diocesan groups and individuals interested in learning more about Catholic social doctrine.
Under the title "Building Bridges: Collected Social Justice Statements 1988-2013" the volume covers a range of major issues that have confronted our region as well as the rest of the world over a period of 25 years.
To purchase Building Bridges, the collected statements of Australia's Catholic Bishops in book form or to put in an advance order for this year's Social Justice Statement urging Justice for Refugees and Asylum Seekers see www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au or call 02 8306 3499
Thanks for the refugee death camp! Australia's protected, unaccountable High Commissioner to PNG concludes 2 year stint
PNG Loop [9/7/15]:
Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes is leaving after completing two years duty in Papua New Guinea with the thanks of the Government for her contribution to development in our nation.
High Commissioner Stokes will complete her posting this month following a period during which Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said he had seen Australia and Papua New Guinea successfully manage a number of important issues in the bilateral relationship.
“Australia is Papua New Guinea’s largest trading partner and the biggest investor in our nation,” PM O’Neill said.
“There are also a number of important bilateral and regional policy issues that have required careful management in the best interests of both countries.
“Working together our two countries have been able to stop people smuggling from Indonesia to Australia.
“Australia has also continued to engage meaningfully with Papua New Guinea particularly in the areas of healthcare and education and I thank High Commissioner Stokes for her support in these areas.
“As Papua New Guinea prepares to host APEC in 2018 our security cooperation with Australia continues to expand.
“Papua New Guinea appreciates this engagement that will help to ensure a safe and successful APEC year when we welcome world leaders to our shores.”
PM O’Neill said engagement between Papua New Guinea and Australia was at times robust but always warm as two countries that maintain similar interest in stability and prosperity in the region.
“Through our engagement directly with Australia, and through multilateral forums that include the Pacific Islands Forum and APEC, we seek to find common ground to advance our shared interests.
“I thank High Commissioner Stokes for her contribution to development in our nation, and wish her every success as she returns to Canberra.”
Prime Minister O’Neill received the courtesy call from High Commissioner Stokes on Tuesday, 7 July.
The husband to Australia's former ambassador to Spain has been cleared of the primary and most serious charges in his child abuse trial. … [Canberra Times – 9/7/15]
NZ flogs Nauru with a wet lettuce leaf while Australia pretends it doesn't run a refugee pedo torture exile camp
IB Times [9/7/15]:
As part of its focus on addressing the problems of small countries, New Zealand has turned attention to Nauru’s problems, during the month long presidency of the United Nations Security Council. Nauru is a small Pacific island country. There had been disturbing reports of political curbs and oppression in that tiny country.
Prime Minister John Key has mentioned that the situation in Nauru is worrying and pledged to raise the "serious" concerns with the government there about the alleged clampdown on basic freedoms.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully too put Nauru on priority at a gathering of top Pacific Islands Forum diplomats in Sydney, recently. [The forum is being held in Sydney over the next two days.]
“New Zealand is taking the reports coming out of Nauru very seriously and this meeting is an opportunity to pass on our concerns," he said in a statement.
New Zealand is one of the major aid donors to Nauru's justice sector and McCully promised that he would take up the matter with the island's President Baron Waqa. Naiuru is a tiny nation of 10,000 residents. It has introduced laws carrying heavy jail terms for political protesters and restricted access to Internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Both United Nations and the U.S. State Department have called up Nauru to restore liberty saying they are essential for a democracy.
But Nauru government is rejecting criticism calling it as “misinformed campaign” as similar laws are already there in many other countries. It said Internet curbs were enforced for restricting pornography. In the recent past, many opposition politicians were arrested for protesting outside parliament, which the government called as “violent riot” and slapped criminal charges on them. The opposition is hamstrung as five of its seven members were suspended from parliament in 2014 for criticising the government in international media.
The New Zealand Law Society said Nauru situation is "fast becoming intolerable. This cannot continue. Nauru has to restore human rights," said Law Society convenor Austin Forbes. Nauru is 2,800 kilometres northeast of Australia and is the smallest island country in the world, with an area of just 21 square kilometres. It was a major phosphate producer and home to Australian-run asylum-seeker detention camp, which is its major income now. Since 2013 Australia has been sending all asylum-seekers, arriving by boat into detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. It has denied resettlement in Australia despite outcry from rights groups.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key reiterated that New Zealand will use its UN Security Council presidency in July to highlight the core issues it raised during the campaign for Security Council seat. "A particular focus will be the peace and security challenges confronting Small Island Developing States, including our Pacific neighbours," the PM said. Foreign Minister Murray McCully will be in the chair in New York.
Australian Border Force: Punishing the vulnerable and protecting the perpetrators
Immigration officers have detained 12 people, found to be working illegally in Bundaberg's horticultural industry, ahead of their removal from Australia.
The Australian Border Force raided six separate properties in Bundaberg yesterday and on Tuesday.
Nine Malaysian workers, a Taiwanese man and two people from Hong Kong were arrested.
The Department of Immigration said some of the group were working in breach of their visa conditions, while others had overstayed their visas.
In a statement to the ABC, Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said the compliance operation was an "excellent" start for Australian Border Force, which formed on July 1.
Cats, dogs found dumped in southest Queensland bushland
About 40 cats and seven puppies have been found dumped in southeast Queensland bushland in the past five days, the RSPCA says.
The animal welfare group says the cats - most suffering cat flu and two dead - were found near Woodford northwest of Brisbane and the puppies, one of which had died, were found by a slashing contractor near Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast.
"It's not only sad, it's unbelievably callous and irresponsible," RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said.
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!
The Queensland Government will be legally accountable for any death in custody at Borallon Correctional Centre, prison advocacy group Sisters Inside says.
Lawyer and founder Debbie Kilroy said she was blindsided when the Government announced the prison would reopen.
"I'm in a state of shock that a prison with actual hanging points is going to be reopened and that's not going to be addressed," Ms Kilroy said.
Corrective Services Minister Jo-Ann Miller announced the reopening yesterday to help ease critical jail overcrowding across the state.
The government said more than 1,400 prisoners were currently sharing cells.
Ms Kilroy said the Government should not be reopening the prison.
"Vulnerable young men between the ages of 18 and 25 are going to be put in this prison, a so-called training prison with hanging cells," she said.
"The Minister for Corrective Services has said that they won't be placing vulnerable men into that prison.
"Anyone who goes into a prison is vulnerable.
"We are going to have deaths in custody, probably another Aboriginal death in custody.
"Because the state knows the hanging points are there and if those hanging points are used for the next death in custody in Borallon, the Government will be held legally accountable."
Hanging points describe any fitting or structure that prisoners can use to tie something to.
Ms Kilroy said the majority of the 339 recommendations from the 1987 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody have not been implemented.
"Recommendations were about removing hanging points in prisons," she said.
"Hanging points are still in prison cells and have not been addressed by successive governments.
"This has to stop, considering we have such a high rate of deaths in custody."
Ms Kilroy said the prison has never been modified and the government is aware the hanging points have not been addressed.
"We call on the minister and the Premier [Annastacia Palaszczuk] to actually step in now before it's too late and someone dies," Ms Kilroy said.
"I fear for anyone that's going to go and work in this prison, when it's on the public record from corrective services and the minister that there's hanging points.
"As soon as there is a death in that prison and there will be with those hanging points, staff can be made for the negligence of knowing that ... and not addressing those issues."
Ipswich police communications centre to stay until there is more consultation, Premier says [ABC - 9/7/15]
Microsoft to cut thousands of jobs [Deutsche Welle – 8/7/15]
TPP ministerial meeting set for July 28-31 in Hawaii
Japan Today [9/7/15]:
The United States will host a meeting of trade ministers from a proposed Asia-Pacific trade bloc at the end of July, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.
Ministers from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP will meet in Maui, Hawaii, from July 28 to 31, the USTR’s office said in a statement.
The meeting is likely to mark the final stage in the TPP negotiations, a massive trade pact covering 40% of the world’s economy.
The trade deal extending from Canada to New Zealand would potentially raise annual global economic output by nearly $300 billion.
US spy agency tapped German chancellery for decades: WikiLeaks [Reuters - 8/7/15]
Saudi warplanes target Yemeni soldiers defecting to Houthis [Press TV - 8/7/15]
A US aircraft carrier in the Gulf hosted one of Saudi Arabia's most powerful figures, official media said on Wednesday, as regional concerns mount over alleged interference by Iran.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defence minister, boarded the USS Theodore Roosevelt which is operating in Gulf waters, the Saudi Press Agency said.
"The visit comes in response to an invitation by the US Department of Defense," it said, adding that Salman was briefed on the carrier's weapons and operations. ... [Ahram - 8/7/15]
Lockheed, Textron final suitors for Sikorsky Aircraft – sources [Reuters – 8/7/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [8/7/15]:
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, which took place July 7, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL vehicles, two ISIL bunkers and five ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Raqqah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Tal Abyad, five airstrikes struck five ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position and two ISIL structures.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Fallujah, one airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit, destroying two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL mortar.
-- Near Haditha, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL front end loader.
-- Near Kirkuk, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Mosul, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Ramadi, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, and two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL light machine guns, four ISIL heavy machine guns, three ISIL vehicles, 11 ISIL buildings, an ISIL anti-aircraft weapon, an ISIL vehicle bomb and an ISIL command and control node.
-- Near Tal Afar, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL light machine gun three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL bunker.
More than four million Syrians have now fled war and persecution [UNHCR Media Release - 9/7/15]
Uncle Sam wants refugees to stay where they are and accept their fate: 328 detained, charged after trying to enter Libya [Daily News Egypt – 8/7/15]
On the one-year anniversary of Israel’s attack on Gaza: an interview with Max Blumenthal, Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept – 8/7/15]:
One year ago today, Israel invaded, bombed and shelled Gaza, and continued to do that for the next seven weeks. According to the U.N., at least 2,104 Gazans were killed — 1,462 of whom (69 percent) were civilians, including 495 children. A total of 6 Israeli civilians, and 66 soldiers, were killed. The shockingly high civilian death rate in Gaza included the now-iconic imagery of four young boys from the same family being killed by Israeli warships while they played on a beach in front of a hotel filled with foreign journalists.
Months after the attack concluded, U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon visited Gaza and labeled the destruction “beyond description,” far worse than prior Israeli attacks. At least 17,000 homes “were obliterated or severely damaged during the conflict,” and it will take two decades to rebuild them; that means that “nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes.”
On countless occasions, entire large families of Gazans were instantly extinguished by Israeli violence. Because the population of Gaza is so young — 43 percent are under the age of 15, while 64 percent are under the age of 24 — the majority of its residents know little beyond extreme suffering, carnage, violence and war.
As harrowing as that data is, it tells only a small part of the story. Statistics like these have an abstract property to them: cold and clinical. Viewing the devastation of Gaza through their lens can have a distancing effect. They erase the most affecting facts: the stories of human suffering and devastation caused by this attack, the sadism and savagery that drove it.
That is what makes Max Blumenthal’s new book about this Israeli attack so compelling, so necessary. Entitled The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, it humanizes this event like nothing else I’ve read.
Blumenthal spent weeks on the ground in Gaza in the middle of the war (during a five-day ceasefire) and after it concluded. The book is filled with very well-documented history, facts and statistics relevant to what the Israeli military calls Operation Protective Edge. And all of those are both interesting and important. But his interviews with individuals in Gaza about their lives and what they witnessed will reshape how you think about all of this even if, as was the case for me, you followed the events closely while they unfolded.
The unbridled Israeli brutality that drove this attack, combined with the unprecedented ability of Palestinians to document what was happening to them through use of the Internet, significantly changed the way Israel is perceived around the world. This attack will prove to be historically important for how the world regards Israel, and Blumethal’s book is indispensable for understanding what happened here.
Even in the world of the Israel/Palestine debate — where smear campaigns and vicious ad hominem attacks are routine — Blumenthal is the target of some of the most scurrilous attacks you’ll ever see. In part that’s because he’s an unlikely candidate to have become one of the most vocal Jewish critics of Israel: the son of a Washington insider closely associated with the Clintons. In part it’s because he’s an unflinching and fearless critic, avoiding euphemisms and niceties when, by design, they obscure the truth. In part it’s because he has in the past sometimes opted for polarizing rhetoric and provocative, illuminating tactics.
But this book will likely surprise even those who have followed Blumenthal’s work and are sympathetic to his worldview. The 51 Day War is remarkably free of polemic, even as it retains its passion. It seems clear, at least to me, that Blumenthal was so moved by what he heard and saw in Gaza that he knew nothing would be more effective and revealing than just letting those stories speak for themselves. So he largely gets out of the way and simply serves as a vessel for the voices of those who are so rarely heard from in the Western world: those who live under Israeli brutality in Gaza.
I spoke with him for roughly 40 minutes about his book, as well as his own odyssey that has led him to devote himself to this topic with such singular devotion. Whatever your views on Israel and Gaza, Blumenthal is articulate, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable, and has done extensive, real reporting to write this book. He’s very worth listening to, and the book is highly worth the read. Our discussion can be heard on the player below, and a transcript is provided here.
Amid stalled reconstruction, UN official says 'root causes' of Gaza crisis still unresolved [Media Release – 8/7/15]
As the United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a resolution that some of its permanent members called “vital” and others called “divisive,” senior UN officials stressed that the horror of the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica continued to haunt the Organization 20 years after thousands of ethnic Bosnian Muslim men and boys were slaughtered during a week of preventable brutality. ... [UN Media Release - 8/7/15]
Like a dog returning to eat its own vomit, they always return to the scene of the crime. [Ahram - 9/7/15]:
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation to Bosnia on Saturday at the commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide that happened 20 years ago, the White House said on Wednesday.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will also be part of the bipartisan 10-member delegation, along with Senators Roger Wicker and Jeanne Shaheen, and Representatives Eliot Engel and Peter King, the White House said.
Afghanistan: 43 killed in latest drone strikes in Nangarhar province [Khaama - 8/7/15]
Twin suicide attacks, gun battle rocks Paktia province [Khaama - 8/7/15]
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Representative in Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom have welcomed direct talks held between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives in Islamabad, Pakistan – urging both parties to move towards reconciliation and peace.
In a statement issued today by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban welcomed the direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives, which were held yesterday in Pakistan. ... [Media Release - 8/7/15]
The Lebanese Cabinet is set for a heated confrontation Thursday over
security appointments and the decision-making mechanism of the executive branch
unless a last-minute deal is reached to avert a seemingly inevitable showdown.
Star - 9/7/15]
From Jemaah Islamiyah to ISIS: Sidney Jones brings the fear. Why is this rubbish on The Intercept [8/7/15]?:
Pro-ISIS Airline Pilots Tracked by Law Enforcement in Southeast Asia
“It makes a lot of sense that the Australians would be extremely nervous,” said Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.
Jones, whose organization has tracked the recruitment of Indonesian foreign fighters by ISIS, says there appears to have been a sharp increase in the number of Indonesians fighting with ISIS in the last few months.
If so called “terrorism experts” focussed their energy on the warmongering, racism and religious extremism in their own countries we might have a chance at world peace!
Indonesia expels “terror expert” [Taipei Times -3/6/04]
US Muslims raise $30,000 to help repair black Christian churches destroyed by fire [Belfast Telegraph - 8/7/15]
Digicel complicit in Nauru tyranny by shutting down Facebook (for 2 months now). Does PR stunt on Manus Island. [PNG Loop - 9/7/15]:
The Digicel Play stand alone TV dish on display at NBC beach at Lorengau caught the attention of a steady stream of people.
The people were intrigued with a technology designed for a rural setting, powered by solar energy.
An elementary school teacher from Lengkau village, Mr Joel Lawrence, said he is going to get one soon.
"I am suprised, it’s cheap. TV dishes used to cost several thousands. We waste money on useless things so I might as well buy one. I never really understood the advertisement until now," he said.
The reseller doing the display, Mr Kiapin Chapau said Manus had a lot of problems with EMTV so this would be the panacea.
Haiti urges global intervention in Dominican migration crisis [teleSUR – 8/7/15]
Dominican Republic’s "Ethnic Purging": Edwidge Danticat on mass deportation of Haitian amilies [Democracy Now – 17/6/15]:
… AMY GOODMAN: What are you calling for? I mean, you’ve joined together with other writers in fiercely condemning what is happening. What do you think needs to happen now?
EDWIDGE DANTICAT [Haitian-American novelist]: I think what needs to happen now is, first of all, awareness. I thank you for covering it, because the general U.S. media, in general, has been very silent about it. And so, for people to really inform themselves about what’s happening, to write to your congresspeople. And also, we are subsidizing, as Americans, the sugar industry in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic gets the largest ration of sugar subsidies, and [inaudible] to the U.S. So, you are—we are all implicated in this. So, make sure that this—that your voice is heard. Make sure you call your congresspeople, because lives depend on it.
United States pats Malaysia on the head for pushing back Rohingya refugees [Reuters - 8/7/15]:
The United States is upgrading Malaysia from the lowest tier on its list of worst human trafficking centers, U.S. sources said on Wednesday, a move that could smooth the way for an ambitious U.S.-led free-trade deal with the Southeast Asian nation and 11 other countries.
The upgrade to so-called "Tier 2 Watch List" status removes a potential barrier to President Barack Obama's signature global trade deal.
A provision in a related trade bill passed by Congress last month barred from fast-tracked trade deals Malaysia and other countries that earn the worst U.S. human trafficking ranking in the eyes of the U.S. State Department.
The upgrade follows international scrutiny and outcry over Malaysian efforts to combat human trafficking after the discovery this year of scores of graves in people-smuggling camps near its northern border with Thailand.
Just go Bill. Let another war mongering, refugee hating, red baiting US stooge lead the unreformable ALP [Canberra Times - 9/7/15]
Greek PM Tsipras Speech at the European Parliament I + II [Keep Talking Greece - 8/7/15]:
Below are the two speeches at the Plenary Session of the European Parliament on July 8th 201. The first text is Tsipras’ opening speech and the second after several MEPs took the floor launching an unprecedented attack against the Greek Prime Minister.
The proposal that we are submitting to our partners includes:
– credible reforms, based on, as I said earlier, the fair distribution of the burdens, and with the least possible recessionary effect.
– a request for adequate coverage of the country’s medium-term financing needs, with a strong and front-loaded growth program; if we do not focus on a growth agenda, then we will never see an end to the crisis. Our first objective must be to combat unemployment and encourage entrepreneurship,
-and of course, the request for an immediate commitment to begin a sincere dialogue, a meaningful discussion to address the problem of the public debt’s sustainability.
There can be no taboo issues between us. We need to face reality and look for solutions to this reality, regardless of how difficult these solutions may be.
There is also a refugee crisis in Greece [Keep Talking Greece - 8/7/15]
@moas_eu [8/7/15]: BREAKING:We have just rescued 267 people from a wooden boat: 209 men 30 #women and 28 #children @moas_eu @MSF_Sea #RefugeeCrisis #migration
... Not that Andreotis blames the refugees. “They’re hunted by their government and they’re running everywhere from horrible things,” he says, hauling the last bits of dinghy up from the beach. And he says that lots of local people – some of whom are themselves descendants of migrants who left Turkey in 1922 – agree with him. When he recently went into the centre of town with a megaphone and called for donations for the migrants, “within 10 minutes there were four cars of supplies”. ... [Guardian - 9/7/15]
Rohingya woman remembers Aceh fisherman who saved her [Daily Sabah - 2/6/15]
World Bulletin [30/6/15]:
An Indonesian community deeply affected by the Southeast Asian boat people crisis has petitioned the government to take more action in solving the problems faced by Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya community.
At a press conference to launch its plea Monday, the Coalition for Caring for Rohingya urged the government to act decisively against Myanmar's government, which it said had played a key role in the humanitarian crisis faced by Muslim ethnic group today.
ALP and LNP vote against Greens Senate motion to save Rohingya [Senate Hansard - 24/6/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:39): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses concern at the disturbing reports aired on the Four Corners television program on 22 June 2015;
(i) that only 412 Rohingyans have been resettled in Australia through Australia's humanitarian program since 2008, and
(ii) the Government's recent refusal to provide assistance or resettlement for Rohingyans currently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and stranded at sea off these three countries; and
(c) urges the Government to:
(i) contribute to the search and rescue mission for thousands of migrants, including Rohingyans, currently stranded at sea,
(ii) resettle some of the Rohingyan migrants rescued by Indonesia and Malaysia, and
(iii) resettle an increased number of Rohingyans in the 2015 humanitarian program, increasing the number of the program if necessary.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided [15:39]
(The President—Senator Parry)
Ayes ...................... 13
Noes ...................... 33
Majority ................. 20
Di Natale, R
Siewert, R (teller)
McEwen, A (teller)
... Nations stating the Rohingya is not their problem are violating international law, especially if they are signatories to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Those who are not signatories, however, still have a legal obligation under customary international law to prevent the return of people at risk of serious rights abuses. Saying “no” to asylum seekers does nothing to address the dangers, which force people to flee and demeans the power of international law.
As long as persecution continues, people will continue to seek asylum. The real crisis is not people smuggling or human trafficking. What we actually have now is a humanitarian crisis, and as various nations continue to violate their international obligations or refuse to co-operate for domestic political gains, more will continue to die at sea.
Of course, the root problem is state sanctioned persecution and discrimination in Burma. The Rohingya is a distinct Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma who are not afforded any basic rights or citizenship status. This needs to be addressed in order to control the Rohingya from leaving, although this is a long-term strategy.
The short-term strategy is for nations to step up and provide humanitarian aid and temporary refuge to the Rohingya asylum seekers while their cases are being processed. Much like what the Philippines did when thousands of Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived their shores in the 1970s in areas such as Bataan and Palawan, and very much like what Malaysia did when my parents ventured on their harrowing and long journey to a better life before being granted asylum in Australia.
As I write this article, I question where my parents would be today if they were not resettled. Where would I be today if my parents’ boat had been pushed back to the nation that persecuted them? Where would many former Vietnamese asylum seekers be if sovereignty was the main priority?
Peace activists arrested for trespassing, Shoalwater Bay
Three peace activist ‘pilgrims’, Simon Moyle, Greg Rolles and Simon Reeves arrested for entering Talisman Sabre yesterday, refused bail conditions yesterday will appear at Rockhampton Court this morning. ... [Peace Convergence - 9/7/15]
QPS Media [8/7/15]:
Police have arrested three men in relation to an incident at the Australian Defence Force’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area this morning.
Around 9am police were advised by ADF Military Police that they had found three men trespassing in the area.
The men were detained by the military police and have been handed over to local police.
The three men aged 33, 34 and 38 have been transported to Rockhampton Police Station and are currently assisting police with their enquiries.
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.
Man charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle, Ipswich
QPS Media [8/7/15]:
Police have charged an 18-year-old Augustine Heights man after an incident in Ipswich yesterday where an officer was injured.
It will be alleged around 12.30pm officers were conducting foot patrols when they noticed a vehicle bearing incorrect registration plates on Bell Street.
When an officer approached the vehicle and spoke with the driver, he allegedly reversed and sharply accelerated, forcing the officer to take evasive action.
The vehicle’s door pillar struck the male officer on the wrist before the vehicle allegedly drove through a red light on Bell Street.
The 52-year-old officer sustained minor injuries.
Following investigations, police last night charged an 18-year-old man with one count each of dangerous operation of a vehicle, unlicensed driving, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving an uninsured vehicle and using an incorrect registration plate.
He is due to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on August 3.
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.
Obstruct police charges, Bray Park [QPS Media - 9/7/15]
Man charged over SA policeman's assault [Nine MSN - 8/7/15]
Police officers protest closing of Brisbane communications centre [Nine MSN - 8/7/15]
Serious traffic incident, Dundowran
QPS Media [9/7/15]:
Police are investigating following a serious traffic incident in Dundowran early this morning.
Preliminary information suggests around 1.45am, a 17-year-old man was struck by two vehicles on Pialba Burrum Heads Road leaving him seriously injured.
Emergency services attended the scene and the man was transported to Hervey Bay Hospital with life threatening injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Fatal traffic incident, Kingaroy
QPS Media [7/7/15]:
Police are investigating an incident in Kingaroy this morning where a 22-year-old man died as a result of injuries received after he was hit by a car.
Initial investigations suggest that just after 2am there was an altercation in a park on Baron Street between a number of people. Two of those involved then got into a vehicle parked in Gladys Street.
As the vehicle attempted to drive away it struck the 22-year-old man.
A crime scene was declared and police commenced investigations.
There is no further information available at this stage.
Investigations are continuing.
Man trapped in his truck after crash in Bungendore
Canberra Times [8/7/15]:
The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter has flown a man who had been trapped in his vehicle after a two truck crash in Bugendore to Canberra Hospital.
An Snowy Hydro SouthCare spokeswoman said the man sustained leg injuries and was received by the hospital at 9.10am.
ACT Health confirmed the patient's condition was stable.
NSW Ambulance crews responded to the crash on Forster Street shortly after 7.30am on Wednesday.
Teams rescued a male patient, thought to be in his fifties, who was trapped in one of the vehicles.
"The patient was released from the vehicle about 8.20am," a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said.
Federal Highway closed southbound after semi-trailer fire [Canberra Times - 8/7/15]
Driver seriously injuired, truck blocks highway near Woodburn [Tweed Shire Echo - 8/7/15]
Robbery with violence, Inala
QPS Media [9/7/15]:
Police are investigating after an elderly man was assaulted and his vehicle stolen at Inala last night.
Initial investigations indicate the 73-year-old man was waiting in a shopping centre carpark off Kittyhawk Avenue to collect some family members around 9pm.
As he was sitting alone in his car he was approached by three men who spoke briefly to him before pulling the 73-year-old from the car to the ground.
The three men then punched and kicked the elderly man before driving off in his car.
The elderly man was left wandering the carpark in a dazed state before he was spotted by a group of teens who called triple zero for assistance.
The 73-year-old Inala man was taken to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital for treatment of facial injuries.
The stolen vehicle is described as a white, 2002 Nissan Pulsar bearing Queensland registration 564TPN.
The three men are described as being in their early to mid-twenties and of tanned complexion with dark brown hair.
Assault charge, Townsville
QPS Media [8/7/15]:
Police have charged a 29-year-old Picnic Bay man following the alleged assault of a taxi driver in Townsville overnight.
It will be alleged around 9.40pm three passengers were exiting a taxi at a drive-through bottle shop on Ross River Road at Mundingburra when one of the male passengers became abusive and confronted the driver.
A physical altercation ensued and the 28-year-old male driver was allegedly struck in the head several times. He sustained facial injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics.
A 29-year-old man is due to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court today charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.
Unlawful wounding charge, Kingston
QPS Media [8/7/15]:
Detectives from Logan Criminal Investigation Branch have charged a 26-year-old man following an alleged stabbing in Kingston this afternoon.
Police were called to a residence on Kingston Road around 1:15pm following reports a man had been stabbed.
Police located a 26-year-old man nearby and took him into custody a short time later.
A 36-year-old man from Kingston was transported to the Princess Alexandria Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
A 26-year-old Logan man has been charged with one count of unlawful wounding and is due to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on tomorrow morning.
'Ice dealer' charged with brutal attack leaving toddler in wheelchair for life [Sydney Morning Herald – 8/7/15]
Inquest hears mother doesn't know where battery which killed 4 year old girl came from [ABC - 8/7/15]
Terrorism charges against Sydney man upgraded, with conspiracy to murder charge added
A Sydney man accused of plotting a terrorist act in Australia has been refused bail on an upgraded charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Omarjan Azari, 22, is accused of funding Islamic State and plotting to commit a terrorist act during a series of phone calls with Australian jihadist Mohammad Ali Baryalei between May and September last year.
Baryalei was a senior militant with Islamic State in Syria until his death last October.
At the time, Azari was charged with making funds available to a terrorist group in the Middle East, and conspiracy to act in preparation for a terrorist attack.
But prosecutors told Sydney's Central Local Court on Wednesday that new charges had been laid against Azari on Monday.
In addition to the three funding charges, Azari now faces an upgraded terrorism charge - that of acting in preparation for a terrorist attack.
He has also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
During a bail application, Azari's lawyer Steven Boland argued his client should be released because the case against him is "pretty thin" and there is no evidence Azari was preparing an identifiable act of terrorism.
Mr Boland argued that the case against his client is "completely unformed", saying the crown's evidence "was pretty thin on the ground" and "lacked specificity".
"There's never been an overt act that's come into evidence ... that could support the charges," he said.
"The who, the when and the where of the allegations are not answered."
Mr Boland argued that people who were planning terrorist acts "go and buy weapons or stockpile chemicals".
"You don't pick up a phone, have a conversation and hang up and find yourself guilty of terrorism," he said.
But Magistrate Les Mabbutt denied Azari bail, saying it would be up to a jury to determine whether the phone call with Baryalei constituted an act of preparation.
His co-accused, Ali Al-Talebi, 25, is facing similar funding charges to Azari and his case was also briefly heard in court today.
Both Azari and Al-Talebi's cases will return to court next month.
Shotgun-wielding NT man granted bail [Nine MSN – 2/7/15]:
A man accused of using a sawn-off shotgun to menace people he believed were involved in a fatal shooting in the NT has been granted bail.
Alfred Walker, 40, was arrested at his home by police on Thursday and appeared before the Darwin Magistrates Court to face two counts of aggravated assault and going armed in public.
His lawyer Peter Maley said Walker would likely plead guilty.
But he will contest the charge of aggravated unlawful entry, which is shared jointly with Shane Mulhall.
Fabian Brock, 25, was shot in the head while sitting in a car on Saturday June 13, and later that night Walker and Mulhall went to a Palmerston home armed with a sawn-off shotgun to threaten the occupants.
Mr Maley said his client had been shot at twice that weekend by Rodney Kenyon, the man who has been charged with Mr Brock's murder.
He said Walker's behaviour was "stupid and unsophisticated".
"The movies have guns produced from violin cases, he produced it from a Coles shopping bag," Mr Maley told the court.
When questioned about how Walker had obtained a gun, he said: "There are more guns in the rural area than children."
His client had a decade-long gap in his criminal history and was a reformed family man, he said.
"I'm not a criminal any more," Walker told the court.
Although police had been looking for Walker publicly since June 16, Mr Maley said his client had not been on the run but was at his home, and was seen several times having drinks at well-known city pub, The Cav.
Relieving Magistrate Dick Wallace said this either indicated Walker was "thick as a brick" or resigned to being arrested.
Prosecutor Erin McAuley said there was a concern there would be further reprisals if bail was granted, and said Walker was at a risk of absconding given the possibility of a serious jail term.
Mr Wallace said he was "not enthusiastic about having him out on bail" but said there had been no other acts of retribution since Mr Brock's death.
He ruled there was no imminent risk of Walker re-offending and released him on $5000 bail along with the stipulation he was not to go near the four men he threatened or to leave the Darwin/Palmerston area.
Walker will reappear in court on July 16.
Ex-NRL player at 'rock bottom' before allegedly organising armed robbery
Former NRL player Anthony Fowler was at "rock bottom" before allegedly organising an armed robbery at a southeast Queensland hotel, a court has heard.
The 41-year-old former Gold Coast Seagulls and Australian Schoolboys forward appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged over the robbery at the Goodna hotel, west of Brisbane, in March.
Two men allegedly forced an employee to unlock the hotel's door at gunpoint and stole $20,000 from the safe.
Magistrate Tina Previtera refused Fowler bail because of concerns he would reoffend or interfere with witnesses.
She said while there was no evidence he was one of the two men responsible for the robbery, there was "very strong" evidence linking him to its organisation.
That included SMS and Facebook messages, between Fowler and another person, in which the hotel was named and Fowler said he was at "rock bottom" and would do whatever he had to.
"We need to do this ASAP. We need things to happen", Fowler is alleged to have texted an accomplice a week before the robbery.
The court heard the former rugby league player used to work at the Goodna hotel and is on a suspended sentence for assault occasioning bodily harm.
He also breached a domestic violence order four times within a short period in 2012 and was fined $1000 in 2014 for impersonating a police officer.
Fowler's NRL career was short-lived and included playing top grade for the Seagulls in 1994.
He went on to play and coach in the Ipswich competition in Queensland.
Fowler has been charged with robbery while armed in company, deprivation of liberty and serious assault and, according to his lawyer, intends to contest the charges.
"He's obviously devastated," lawyer Adam Magill said outside court.
"He denies all of the charges and all of the allegations."
More hatred and bigotry greenlighted by Australia's political and media establishment ----> A leading Ballarat Aboriginal organisation has been the target of a vicious, bigoted attack during a week of national recognition for Australia's Indigenous people. Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative chief executive Karen Heap was left reeling after she received an anonymous letter, unleashing a tirade of racial abuse on the first day of NAIDOC week. ... [Courier - 7/7/15]
Controversial unionist Kathy Jackson used dozens of cash cheques to withdraw about $250,000 over three years from her Victorian branch's operating funds, almost all of which was allegedly pocketed for her own personal use. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/7/15]
Six people treated for exposure to sodium butoxide chemical at Melbourne Airport freight storage facility
Six people have been treated by paramedics after being exposed to fumes from a chemical spill at a freight storage facility at Melbourne Airport.
Fire crews in special encapsulated suits worked to clean up the spill of the highly corrosive chemical, sodium butoxide.
It was released from a container in the storage facility on Mace Way.
The chemical and any other contaminated materials were placed in recovery drums.
Police had to track down one worker who went home with vomiting and the man was taken to Sunshine Hospital. He was treated at hospital and released.
About 28 firefighters were on the scene.
No flights have been affected.
Supreme Court shuts down fire risk accommodation
A Brisbane court has shut down a budget accommodation building after finding occupants would likely die if there was a fire.
The building, at Gatton, housed up to eight people at a time and was primarily used by transient workers and international tourists working in the horticulture industry.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services on Wednesday obtained a permanent injunction in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to shut down the business, after their inspection revealed it had no smoke alarms or emergency lighting, and insufficient fire escapes.
Giant Shenhua Watermark coal mine wins federal approval
Sydney Morning Herald [8/7/15]:
The $1.2 billion Shenhua Watermark coal mine has won federal government approval despite claims by the peak NSW farm group that the open-cut project would blow "a 35-square-kilometre hole" in some of Australia's most productive farmland.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he approved the project with "18 of the strictest conditions in Australian history which fully incorporate all advice" from an independent scientific committee.
The mine, owned by China's state-controlled Shenhua company, is expected to produce as much as 268 million tonnes of coal during its 30-year life.
"There will be no impact on the availability of water for agriculture," Mr Hunt said in a statement. "The conditions I have imposed limit water use to less than 0.09 per cent of available groundwater – that's less than 1/1000th of the resource and less than the amount of water from one agricultural bore."
The minister also said the mine would be restricted to the ridge country around Mount Watermark rather than the black-soil plains. Shenhua would have to stop work if any agricultural water supplies were affected and make good on any losses, he said.
However, Tim Duddy, a farmer whose land lies partly on the proposed site, said Mr Hunt failed to understand the difference between so-called consumptive water extracted by farmers and the potential for intercepting and disrupting groundwater supplies in the region.
"It's not the water that they're taking that's the problem," Mr Duddy said. "It's the water that they're harming."
The proposed mine, located about three kilometres west of the town of Breeza, is expected to destroy 789 hectares of an endangered ecological community, much of it box-gum woodland, and 148 hectares of other woods.
Tigerair cancels Melbourne to Mackay direct flights
Budget carrier Tigerair has announced it is cancelling its direct flights between Melbourne and Mackay, in north Queensland.
A review of its services found that despite efforts to increase passenger numbers, the flights are no longer sustainable due to a lack of demand.
The change will take effect from September.
The company has announced extra flights into the Whitsundays with the introduction of Sunday services between Proserpine and Sydney.
Tiger said the new service would add another 19,000 seats annually to the Whitsunday Coast Airport.
The Whitsunday Regional Council has welcomed the extra flights and said it was a boost for local tourism.
Fiji sugar mill targets $10m export
The sugar mill in Labasa is expected to export about $10million worth of sugar this year to markets in the US.
Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan said the mill had crushed about 77,000 tonnes of cane so far this season.
Out of this, Mr Khan said 8000 tonnes of raw sugar had been produced.
He said despite teething issues in the beginning of the season, the mill had settled down and operating well.
"We are expecting the first shipment out of Labasa later this month," Mr Khan said.
At the opening of the crushing season last month, Mr Khan said there may be three and a half loads of sugar this year from Labasa.
He said there was only one shipment last year which was at the end of the season.
"Since the storage capacity of the Malau bulk is 20,000 tonnes, and we intend to produce 70,000 tonnes of sugar this year.We may need three and a half shipments this year. We are looking at having the ships out fairly early so that we do not end up having a backlog of sugar."
He had also revealed operational costs of the mills around the country stood at $40,000 each on a daily basis.
Cook Islands high chiefs barred from entering parliament
The Cook Islands House of Ariki says the blocking of its annual meeting in the chambers of parliament was a shocking oversight.
Up to 24 high chiefs from various islands belong to the parliamentary body and provide feedback on policy issues such as permanent residence and preserving traditions.
But on the first day of their week long meeting yesterday the members were prevented from entering the debating chambers of parliament and were only able to begin after the Minister for the House of Ariki intervened.
The clerk of the House of Ariki, Tupuna Rakanui, will not reveal why the members were initally barred from the chambers but says it was most likely an administrative error.
"We are not sure whether the deputy clerk was ill-informed as to what transpired between the president of the House of Ariki and the Clerk of Parliament. What disappointed me was the whole proceeding was held back for I believe two hours and added to that is the fact that these are the parliament leaders of our nation, this is not the first time we've held a meeting in parliament, so I just can't understand."
Tupuna Rakanui says some events planned for later this week have been shifted out of the parliament chambers.
Serb paramilitary leader becomes first Australian to be extradited for war crimes [Telegraph - 8/7/15]
Guatemala's forensic authority declared on Tuesday that ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt is mentally unfit to be tried again on genocide charges, two years after a historic conviction of the former strongman was thrown out on a technicality.
The National Forensic Science Institute determined that due to cognitive deterioration the 89-year-old would not be able to defend himself against charges that he was responsible for the killings of nearly 2,000 indigenous Maya during a particularly brutal stretch of the country's 36-year civil war. ... [Reuters - 8/7/15]
Australian politician travels to Mediterranean to see UN refugee convention in action ---> @sarahinthesen8 - Senator Sarah Hanson-Young [8/7/15]: Yesterday I was in Malta meeting Chris and co from @moas_eu Saving lives with compassion. Inspirational stuff ----> The millionaire who rescues refugees at sea [Guardian - 8/7/15]
Australian media, human rights and academic establishment don't report this because it counters their lying "stop the boats" narrative. [Rappler - 8/7/15]:
The number of Rohingyas believed to be stranded off the coast of Southeast Asia has reached alarming proportions– UN estimate is around 2500– and this surge in number has caught the attention of the international community. The initial policy of destination countries Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, to turn away the Rohingyas back to the sea has led to the worsening of what humanitarian groups tag as a looming humanitarian crisis.
ASEAN could also provide humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons and refugees. In the case of the Rohingyas, ASEAN Member States should intensify their diplomatic efforts with Myanmar to allow the entry and coordination of humanitarian assistance. ASEAN should take charge in pooling humanitarian aid for the Rohingyas. Some arrangements could be made with external partners including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and other parties with regard to providing international humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas. This highlights that there is space for international humanitarian assistance. ...
When the Australian media bother to cover this regional humanitarian crisis, it only airs "reasonable" (and well funded) voices like this which spin refugee criminalisation (i.e. the intellectually dishonest: we must crack down on people smugglers/traffickers), and frame an ongoing genocide as a problem requiring a solution.
Our responsibility to rescue, provide aid and possibly resettle these people is never raised.
Is the persistent "people smuggler" talking point careless, ignorant or deliberate?
Kevin Rudd's vile band of people smugglers [Project Safecom Inc.]
A genuine alternative to the ALP and LNP fascist duopoly would be highighting that the major parties are CLEARLY beyond reform - not helping them perpetuate victim blaming messaging.
9 July 2015