UNHCR braces for refugees fleeing Yemen by boat to Africa
UNHCR Media Release [10/4/15]:
The UN refugee agency said on Friday it is preparing to receive as many as 130,000 refugees who could flee by boat to Africa to escape the conflict in Yemen, even as it works to help hundreds of thousands of other refugees and Yemenis under threat inside the country.
"With 14 out of Yemen's 22 governorates affected by air strikes or armed conflict, UNHCR yesterday issued a position paper to governments calling on all countries to allow civilians fleeing Yemen access to their territories," said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Edwards told a news briefing that the historical flow of refugees from the Horn of Africa to Yemen – which has contributed almost all of the 250,000 refugees registered in Yemen – was now reversing. In the past 10 days, some 900 people have crossed the Gulf Aden to Djibouti, Somalia's Puntland and Somaliland.
"The refugees tell us many more people are trying to leave Yemen but are being prevented from doing so by fuel shortages and high fees charged by boat operators," Edwards said. "Ports are said to be closed and boats not allowed to depart."
UNHCR is making contingency plans to receive up 30,000 refugees over the next six months in Djibouti, which already hosts nearly 15,000 refugees. In Somaliland and Puntland, Somalia, UNHCR and its partners have started preparations to receive up to 100,000 people. Those escaping Yemen include both refugees who had originally fled from Africa to Yemen and Yemenis fleeing their own country.
"UNHCR is extremely concerned about the dangers for anyone trying to flee across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, where there are no search and rescue operations," Edwards said. "Last year, 246 lives were reported lost in sea crossings to Yemen."
Meanwhile, inside Yemen UNHCR operations are continuing where possible to assist the 250,000 refugees, 330,000 Yemenis displaced by previous violence, and the thousands more affected by violence in the last two weeks. The refugees are mainly Somalis, with some Eritreans, Ethiopians, Iraqis and Syrians.
The UN refugee agency called on all countries to suspend the forced return of people to Yemen.
Edwards said in Al Kharaz refugee camp in the south of Yemen, where humanitarian services continue for 18,000 Somali refugees already there, shelter and other aid is being provided to additional people who are fleeing fighting in urban areas.
"In urban areas many refugees are becoming increasingly vulnerable as fighting intensifies," Edwards said. He said people had lost their livelihoods, could not access services and in one incident known to the refugee agency six refugee families in Sana'a had seen their homes destroyed in air strikes.
"Many of the internally displaced are staying in schools and hospitals," Edwards said. "Others are with relatives or host families. Blankets, mattresses and other relief items are urgently needed. UNHCR has stocks in the south of Yemen for 30,000 people, although delivery to affected people is being hampered by blocked roads and poor security."
Ironically, even as refugees flee Yemen for Africa, UNHCR said hundreds of asylum seekers -- either unaware of the situation or already in the hands of people smugglers -- continued to arrive on the shores of Yemen. Edwards appealed for ships in the Gulf of Aden to come to the rescue of any boats carrying refugees – to or from Yemen -- that were in distress.
Pakistan's parliament on April 10 voted to stay out of the conflict in Yemen, rejecting Saudi demands for Islamabad to join its military coalition against Shiite Huthi rebels.
A unanimous resolution passed by a special session of parliament backed the government's commitment to protect Saudi Arabia's territory, which has so far not been threatened by the conflict.
But it said Pakistan should play a mediating role and not get involved in fighting in Yemen -- turning down longstanding ally Riyadh's request for troops, ships and warplanes. ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 10/4/15]
Nauru refugees arrested for protesting have case
... Meanwhile 11 refugees on Nauru who were expected to appear in court this week following their involvement in a protest in March have had their case adjourned for a second time.
Mr Rintoul says the case was adjourned on Wednesday after no legal representation showed up at court.
He says the first time the case was adjourned was because of confusion as to who was actually charged and how many defendants were supposed to be there.
Mr Rintoul says the refugees, who are out on bail, have not been told what they are charged with.
"The bail sheets actually do not indicate a charge. And even though 189 people got bail notices when they were released from prison there were only ten or eleven who actually got notices on their bail sheets to appear in court. So we are very interested to see what actual charges are laid against the people who have been required to appear.
Ian Rintoul says it is unlikely the case will ever proceed.
Manslaughter charge, Boondall
QPS Media [10/4/15]:
Police have charged a 28-year-old man following the death of a 55-year-old man at Boondall last night.
It will be alleged just before 10.30pm two men were involved in an altercation in the front yard of a residence on Muller Road.
A short time later, officers attended the address where a man was found unconscious.
Attempts were made to revive the man but he was pronounced deceased at the scene around 11pm.
A 28-year-old man has been charged with one count of manslaughter and will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
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 remanded in custody over murder of Kieran Pye at Carole Park industrial estate [ABC – 10/4/15]
About $2 million dollars' worth of insurance policies in Michael Martin's name were taken out before he was stabbed to death in his Murwillumbah home in June 2014, police will allege.
It comes as Mr Martin's daughter-in-law Candace Jodie Martin was extradited from Queensland to New South Wales, charged with conspiracy of murder and being an accessory to murder, before and after the fact. ... [Tweed Daily News - 10/4/15]
Man accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend may face jail [Daily Mercury - 10/4/15]
Evade police incident, Sunnybank Hills
QPS Media [10/4/15]:
A 21-year-old man from Kedron has been charged with a number of offences overnight.
It will be alleged at about 6.30pm yesterday the man entered a house on Pintail Crescent, Forest Lake, stealing a number of items inside before stealing a SUV (sport utility vehicle), and leaving the address.
Approximately two hours later, police conducting roadside breath tests on Beaudesert Road, Moorooka attempted to breath test the man. Police will allege the man drove towards police officers, causing them to jump to avoid being struck by the SUV.
Approximately three hours later, police observed and attempted to stop the vehicle on Stones Road at Parkinson. The vehicle allegedly evaded police.
Polair assisted and coordinated various police units and stingers were successfully deployed, resulting in the arrest of the driver a short time later.
The man has been charged with one count each of burglary, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, driving a vehicle without a licence, receiving tainted property, failing to dispose of a syringe.
Further charges are expected to be laid concerning the overnight occurrences and a number of unrelated offences.
He is due to appear in the Richlands Magistrates Court today.
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.
Burnie Caterpillar mine to lose 280 jobs
About 280 jobs from Caterpillar Underground Mining in Burnie will be axed.
The news has come during a staff briefing on Friday afternoon at the Marist College campus in Burnie.
Not all of the operations will go, with about 120 jobs to remain.
It's expected engineering, product support and other supporting roles will remain in Burnie.
North-West mining magnate Dale Elphinstone's Elphinstone group is in talks to develop other business activities which may take on some of the displaced workers.
In a statement released by Caterpillar on Friday it says it is transitioning its production of underground hard rock vehicles from Burnie to Rayong in Thailand.
The company said it would consolidate the productiong of those vehicles into one global position.
``We recognise that this decision will be difficult for our employees and their families,'' Denise Johnson, vice president with responsibility for handling the Material Handling and Underground Division at Caterpillar, said.
``We value and appreciate our Burnie employees for their hard work, dedication and strong commitment to quality over the past 20 years that Caterpillar has operated this facility.
``The decision to consolidate hard rock vehicle manufacturing is driver by competitive pressure to improve our cost structure and align Caterpillar's global capacity with demand.''
Elphinstone Group Executive Chairman Dale Elphinstone said his company ``looked forward to working with Caterpillar
and believe the activities we have planned for Burnie facilities have the potential to provide continued economic benefits for the region as they have for the past 40 years''.
Caterpillar said the transfer will begin in the second quarter of 2015 with the possibility of Elphinstone assuming responsibility for the remaining operations by the end of the calendar year.
Under boycott pressure, Veolia dumps most Israel businesses [Electronic Intifada - 8/4/15]
Atlas Iron suspends operations in WA's Pilbara [ABC - 10/4/15]
Beaurepaires in Emerald was engulfed in flames on Wednesday night, with black smoke and the smell of burning rubber filling the cool night air. ... [CQ News - 10/4/15]
Former union boss Michael Williamson can't explain the missing millions [Sydney Morning Herald – 10/4/15]
Geelong College principal Andrew Barr resigns over porn scandal [Brisbane Times – 10/4/15]
Truck rolls over in three vehicle crash on Capricorn Highway
Morning Bulletin [10/4/15]:
Two trucks and a 4WD were involved in a crash on the Capricorn Highway this morning.
Emergency services are at the scene where one truck has rolled over as a result of the crash.
Three people are being treated by the Queensland Ambulance Service.
A nurse had a blood alcohol concentration more than five times the limit for driving when she arrived for work, the Bundaberg Magistrates Court was told.
Joanne Elizabeth Chambers pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting or obstructing a police officer while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance and to driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Police prosecutor Barry Stevens told the court police were called to the Friendly Society Private Hospital at 9.20am on March 2. ... [News Mail - 10/4/15]
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre chair quits suddenly after private beds dispute [ABC - 10/4/15]
Emerald hospital's top doctor quits
CQ News [9/4/15]
Emerald Hospital's most senior doctor has quit amid rumours of a toxic workplace culture, overtime bans, pay cuts and increasingly shaky morale.
Well-liked and respected by his colleagues, clinical director Dr Ian Housego resigned last Thursday and abruptly cut ties with the hospital earlier this week.
Medical Services Rockhampton and Rural executive director Dr David Cooper returned to Emerald to fill the void.
While Dr Cooper would not be drawn on the alleged $4000 cuts to contracted doctors' wages or 40-hour weeks being enforced, he said some "clinically required" overtime could be approved.
Nurses were believed to be on monthly contracts while condoned cost blow-outs continued with patient medical air transfers to Rockhampton and Brisbane where there was "patient safety in mind".
"We are committed to a strong and vibrant Emerald Hospital," Dr Cooper said. "Since January, a new management structure has been put in place following an internal review.
"This new structure will further enable us to continue to work to support staff and look at every aspect of Emerald Hospital to ensure we provide the best possible environment for both our staff and our patients."
Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar was one member of a governance steering group formed by the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service to ensure sustainable services at the hospital.
"I am keeping a very close eye on things and making sure our health services remain at the standard they were for the last three years," Mr Millar said.
"In that time there have been some hard-fought wins and we need to ensure those wins are not eroded.
"Like many in the community, I am very aware of some issues that are happening… they have been raised with me by a variety of people.
"We need to make sure we have a plan in place for our supervising doctors," Mr Millar said.
Dr Cooper said he would stay on to provide supervisory coverage for junior doctors while the recruitment process was under way to replace Dr Housego.
"We (will) work towards an interim coverage plan and a longer-term plan," he said.
"We are working closely with local general practitioners and have established the governance group.
"We are involving local MP Lachlan Millar in this process to ensure the needs and expectations of the community are represented."
Dr Cooper allayed any fears about disruptions to maternity services at the hospital.
"We are committed to continuing to support the maternity service at the hospital."
Dr Cooper said the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service was committed to continuing medical services at Blackwater Hospital, despite 24/7 emergency care offered by North Blackwater General Practice.
Principal Dr Manu Nithianantha said the practice was fully accredited.
"Essentially the need for this was the reduced staffing at the hospital and an increased period of doctor fatigue, and demand on us by our patients and the industry," Dr Manu said.
Possible forced redundancies at Rockhampton Hospital were exposed by the Together Union this week.
In a statement, the CQHHS said a range of cost-saving strategies, including placing more controls on overtime and the need for better management of fatigue leave were being implemented.
Dr Housego declined to comment.
Primary Health Network announcement imminent
The Assistant Minister for Health says the operational detail of the new Primary Health Networks will be announced 'shortly'.
Primary Health Networks are replacing Medicare Locals from July 1, with the New England, Hunter and Central Coast Medicare Local areas combined to make one Primary Health Network.
The Chief Executive of the New England Medicare Local, Graeme Kershaw, was expecting the announcement of the successful applicant to be made by the end of March.
The three Medicare Locals have submitted a consortium bid to run the Primary Health Network.
Senator Fiona Nash said an announcement on the PHN's is imminent.
"I do understand that people have concerns around certainty, but moving towards the PHN's is going to better address making sure we get services to the areas of need, where those services don't exist," she sai
"There will still be very much that opportunity for local input and local collaboration."
Primary Health Networks will improve on flaws in the Medicare Local system, according to the Federal Government.
"The way it will operate will be announced shortly, but I think it's really important that we recognise some Medicare Locals were doing well, and some were not," Senator Nash said.
"This system will make sure that we get those services to the areas of need, so we haven't got duplication, and we get those services out in rural and regional communities where we need them."
Health workers on front line in fight against drugs shocked by $200m funding cut [ABC – 30/3/15]
Queensland's biggest PM2.5 emitter BP Refinery at Pinkenba
Brisbane Times [10/4/15]:
The Brisbane Airport Corporation has accidently listed itself as one of Queensland's worst polluters, telling the federal government it was producing extraordinary levels of dangerous toxins.
In an embarrassing miscalculation, the airport told the government it pumped out nearly 400,000 kilograms of dangerous PM2.5 toxins during 2013/14. This was more than the combined southeast Queensland mining industry.
The reported output of Total Volatile Organic Compounds - mostly made up from cars which use unleaded petrol - was overestimated by about 35,000 per cent.
Airport staff actually believe their pollution levels are dropping due to an initiative to deploy two electric fleet cars and switching other vehicles from petrol to diesel. They also believe they don't produce any PM2.5 toxins whatsoever.
Fairfax Media understands airport senior managers will contact the Department of Environment to try and the change pollution data submitted to the National Pollutant Inventory.
The miscalculated data was posted on the department's website.
With the airport's mistake taken into account, southeast Queensland's biggest PM2.5 emitter was the BP Refinery at Pinkenba, according to self-reported data submitted to the NPI.
They were followed by the Shell Refinery at Lytton, the Enterprise Mine at North Stradbroke Island and the Amcor Cartonboard in Petrie.
Across the country, emissions of the dangerous fine-particle pollution PM2.5 from the coal industry increased by 52 per cent in the five years to 2013/14.
Seven of the ten highest emitters were from Queensland.
Levels of radon, a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, have been rising measurably in Pennsylvania since the controversial practice of fracking started there, researchers reported Thursday.
The study cannot directly link fracking with the raised radon levels. But whatever is going on, residents need to be aware of the rising levels of the gas and take action to get it out of their homes, the researchers say.
Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., killing an estimated 21,000 people a year. The odorless, invisible gas is produced naturally from many types of rocks, and many people who have bought or sold a home will be familiar with the radon test on the basement or ground floor. ... [NBC - 9/4/15]
Australian media ignore Aboriginal plight
A Māori rights movement in Adelaide - Iwi n Aus - is accusing mainstream media in Australia of ignoring the plight of remote Aboriginal communities.
The Western Australian state government's plans to shut down remote rural communities have sparked outrage from the Noongar community and tāngata whenua rights supporters.
The state government said it only has limited funds to sustain those indigenous communities.
The leader of Iwi n Aus, Erina Morunga, said mainstream media continued to overlook the Noongar people's concerns.
"So they tend to not tell the story of what's going on in Australian [rural indigenous settlements]," Mrs Morunga said. "I've been watching the media from back home in New Zealand and I notice that our people are telling the story a lot more than what the media over here are telling.
"So, it kind of indicates that there are (is) definitely a relationship between the media and the politics that goes on here."
Ms Morunga said in the meantime, Australian media were more focused on suspected Aboriginal family and alcohol abuse, as opposed to the grievances caused by the planned closures of remote communities.
@KieranBennett: Appropriate skepticism at the #recognise farc! #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA #noforcedclosures
@jimrhiz: #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA rally about to start at Belmore Park, Sydney. Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities!
@natwasley: Dancers Opening #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA rally in Sydney
@troupietrakka: Daria doing a little fan spotting herself #sosblakaustralia #sydney #redfern #stoptheforcedclosures #alwayswasalwayswillbeaboriginalland
Beautiful banner in #melbourne #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA
Image: @esshg3 [10/4/15]
@lindagale: Melbourne turns out in big numbers again to stand against closing remote Aboriginal communities ...
@lindagale: Heading up Elizabeth Street ...
@ahmedyussuf10: Police presence building here at Flinders St. ...
"I will kill you": Torture and government sanctioned rape and pedophilia in Australia's refugee concentration camps
An asylum seeker who reported being sexually assaulted on Nauru says those who have made allegations of assaults have faced threats of harm from the alleged perpetrators.
Shirin’s allegations were reported in Philip Moss’s review into sexual assault at the detention centre and appeared in that review into the centre in a heavily redacted form.
It is the first time Shirin – who is an asylum seeker from Iran – has spoken out about the allegations she made outside of the Moss review. She said she has decided to speak out to encourage other asylum seekers to come forward, but asked that her real name not be used.
She was recently moved to a mainland detention centre in Australia after suffering serious neck injuries from carrying tanks of water around the camp. The allegation she reported involved an IHMS nurse who she said assaulted her.
“The major problem is the safety of the people. There is no security for the people, especially for the babies and single mums,” she said.
In another instance, she said a female asylum seeker who had allegedly been assaulted feared being released into the community because the man who allegedly assaulted her made threats against her.
“That man is living in the community and he said, ‘I will kill you if you come outside the camps.’ ”
Sexual abuse and torture of disabled people rampant, Senate Inquiry hears [WA Today – 10/4/15]:
Horrific examples of sexual abuse and torture of disabled people are "rampant in institutions and homes in Australia", a senate inquiry has heard.
In one example, the inquiry heard how a worker at the Yooralla group home in Victoria, Vinod Johnny Kumar, allegedly inserted a pager into a profoundly disabled woman's vagina and then rang it.
"Yooralla's staff were complicit in allowing this violence and abuse to occur by not taking action and listening to residents when they reported it," one speaker said.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert called for the senate inquiry following a joint investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC which exposed the Victorian disability services organisation, Yooralla, employing staff who had previously preyed on disabled clients.
But the 'inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings' heard the abuse of disabled people is not limited to Victoria, with similar instances occurring across Australia.
It other disturbing allegations, it was heard how a 17-year-old boy had his fingernails removed at Peat Island Hospital in New South Wales, a 12-year-old West Australian girl returned home from a holiday programme with "a cut so deep to her vagina that she required eight stiches and several days in hospital" and the story of another child who was placed in a bin bag before she died.
Dressed in black clothes with black veils covering their hair and faces, the Bolshy Divas, a group of women who use "humour, art and passion" to confront issues which affect people with disabilities, spoke on behalf of those that have suffered.
The Bolshy Divas spoke of a pattern of neglect and abuse of disabled people at the hands of authorities.
"We bear witness for the unnamed woman in a Queensland prison whose case was to be heard in a court which required a drive of several hours over a winding mountain road," one of the divas said.
"The transport provided for her was a ute.
"And her wheelchair, with her in it unrestrained, was tied into the back.
"As a result of the ride she was flung about, fell out of the wheelchair and vomited.
"The response from police was 'why did you fucking do that? Clean it up'.
"We bear witness for these people and the thousands of abused men, women and children who are failed by under-resourced, inaccessible and inefficient police systems."
The inquiry continues.
Another police pursuit ends in crash, hospitalisation [WA Today – 10/4/15]
Up to one-third of all family violence victims that come into contact with Canberra Hospital are women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, according to the head of social services.
While the hospital does not collect detailed data on family violence cases, social work manager Madeline Clark said on average about 20 patients a month were being identified as suffering from family violence on some level, with about one-third of those being pregnant or women who have recently given birth. While there have been some male family violence victims identified over the years, the overwhelming majority were women. ... [Canberra Times - 9/4/15]
Spain: Judge upholds W. Sahara genocide charges against Moroccan officials
Daily Star [9/4/15]:
A Spanish judge Thursday upheld genocide charges against 11 Moroccan ex-officials accused of atrocities in Western Sahara, a court ruling showed - a penultimate step towards a possible trial.
Judge Pablo Ruz upheld accusations against the 11 ex-security officials and governors of ethnically motivated torture, killings and detentions in the former Spanish colony between 1975 and 1991, the ruling said.
Spain's Royal Academy of history will recognize the Franco regime as a dictatorship after years of campaigning by relatives of his victims. … [The Local – 7/4/15]
"What is the point where one asks: 'I can no longer play a part in this; it cannot agree with my conscience?'"
Film revisits little-known Hitler assassination attempt [Deutsche Welle - 9/4/15]:
A new German film sheds fresh light on Georg Elser's assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, with its creators drawing comparisons with contemporary global events, including the war in the Ukraine and Edward Snowden.
Good films about historical events usually tell two stories: They explain the actual event and, on a second level, help contextualize the present. "Elser," which was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel and premiered at the Berlinale film festival earlier this year, does just that.
"Elser" looks back on the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in Munich in November 1939. However, at the same time, the film was written and directed to appeal to and be of relevance to audiences today, drawing on many familiar themes in today's political climate - such as courage and the desire to take a stand against bigger forces.
"Today the boundary between freedom fighters and terrorists threatens to become increasingly blurred," says Fred Breinersdorfer, who co-wrote the screenplay for "Elser" with his daughter Léonie-Claire. "The events in the Ukraine and the Arab countries are brutal proof that we absolutely need a values compass that allows us this distinction."
Breinersdorfer sees a connection between the historical events underpinning "Elser" and contemporary international events.
Georg Elser, a craftsman from Germany's southern Swabian region, was a libertarian individualist who felt he could no longer sit idle and watch the ongoing madness in late-1930s Nazi Germany.
However, Elser was not connected to any of the political parties and opposition movements rallying against Hitler. Instead, his was a deeply personal rebellion, which gradually manifested in a decision to take action. The craftsman and talented inventor built a bomb which he hid under the lectern in the Munich Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, where Adolf Hitler was scheduled to give a speech on November 8.
The bomb detonated 13 minutes after Hitler had left the hall. Eight people were killed and the "Führer" escaped with his life. Had Elser succeeded, the politically motivated attack could have changed the course of world history.
However, Georg Elser was soon after arrested, interrogated and tortured. Years later, just before the war ended, he was executed by the Nazis. And, it was clear at the time that Elser was the bomber, the Nazi leaders refused to admit that he could be a lone assassin.
The film by Oliver Hirschbiegel recreates the torturous interrogations, showing how steadfast Georg Elser remained in maintaining the truth that he acted alone. However, the Nazis refused to accept that a single perpetrator could have committed such an act - one that almost managed to kill Adolf Hitler.
Between these stirring scenes, the film cuts back to Swabia and Georg Elser's home, revealing the slow conversion to Nazi ideology in the German provinces - with most citizens eventually bewitched by the Nazi hyperbole. The few citizens who openly defied the Nazis were shipped off to concentration camps.
Best known for his film "The Downfall" about the final days of Adolf Hitler - which enjoyed worldwide success and an Oscar nomination - what compelled Oliver Hirschbiegel to Elser's story?
"His clairvoyance," the director says. "Elser is not a politically organized person, but simply a free spirit who believes in individuality and self-determination." At the time, Elser "felt a force which he sees as destructive - a system that was all controlling and believed in the use of violence and the suppression of any individuality or creativity."
There have previously been two film versions of the Georg Elser story: a TV adaptation in the 1960s and a 1989 film starring Klaus-Maria Brandauer. So why the need for a third? Hirschbiegel believes that neither represented the genuine story and setting, and that the Brandauer film fell to the trappings of a Hollywood-esque suspense movie. He says his film is more interested in "the high intensity of the psychology that is created, in the situation affecting an entire nation."
The audience only witnesses the failed assassination attempt and the arrest of Elser at the film's beginning. What follows are flashbacks which try to answer the questions about how Germany came to be spellbound by the Nazis. And - during the interrogation scenes - we witness the pure despair amongst the Nazis that one person could have single handedly brought them down.
Hirschbiegel says that there have long been many conspiracy theories about the assassination attempt: "It has been claimed that Elser was a stooge of enemy intelligence service, a traitor to his own people. Or he had been commissioned by the Nazis to attack so Hitler could be celebrated as immortal."
These theories have stubbornly persisted in different variations and only been conclusively refuted in recent years. "That an obscure craftsman from Swabia recognizes by himself what is happening in Germany - and does something about it. That is shameful," Hirschbiegel says of Elser's individual bravery. The guilt of the Nazi era "triggered a reflex to sweep this story under the table."
Hirschbiegel and his screenwriters want to show the story for what it is, without the trappings of overzealous cinematic techniques. "Elser" is not a documentary or academic film, but a solid and technically well constructed piece of cinema about a remarkable episode of German resistance against the Nazis.
So where is the connection between "Elser" and Edward Snowden? What relevance does a film about a lone would-be Hitler assassin have today? The ultimate answer lies in the concept of "moral courage," Hirschbiegel says. "What is the point where one asks: 'I can no longer play a part in this; it cannot agree with my conscience?'"
Naturally, Hirschbiegel does not want to compare Nazi Germany with the United States today. However, he was drawn to the experience of Edward Snowden during the making of the film.
"[Snowden] has witnessed over the years what can happen in a
supposedly democratic system, and it troubled him so he pulled out of it and
forwarded information on to the public knowing that his life as he knew it would
once and for all be over. With regards to his inner urges, Snowden, this highly
intelligent and sophisticated man, is very akin to Elser.
Venezuela Reaches 10 Million Signature Mark Against US Decree
On Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro along with his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales received the 10 million signatures against U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order labelling the country as a “security treat.”
Following the issuance of the decree, Maduro launched a campaign seeking 10 Million signatures from Venezuelans demanding the decree be repealed, saying he would present them to the U.S. president at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
Speaking to thousands who marched to the Palace of Miraflores in Caracas, Maduro stated that Obama, who earlier in the day told a press conference that Venezuela was not considered a “threat” by the U.S., had changed his mind. The Venezuelan leader nonetheless still praised the Venezuelan people for the level of mobilization against the U.S. move.
“All my respect for this great unity, in such a short time period, receiving over 10 million signatures, this is proper unity, this is the anti-imperialist people,” said the president.
Maduro also pointed to the support received from the Union of the South American Nations (UNASUR), the Movement of Non Aligned Countries, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC), as well as the G77+ China, as proof that Venezuela was not isolated.
Morales also addressed the crowd, saying that the U.S. aggression was not only directed against Venezuela “but also against Bolivia and all Latin America.”
The Bolivian president, who is set to travel with Maduro to the Summit of the Americas, added that Washington is attempting to divide the region, “because they want to steal from us and sack our natural resources ... We cannot forget how they use to subdue us with military dictatorships and neoliberal policies.”
Electoral authorities in Venezuela have confirmed the authenticity of the signatures, with a margin of error of 1.3 percent.
Obama concerned China uses size to bully others in region [Channel News Asia - 10/4/15]
Some good news for Greece (and some not so good for Germany)
Greece confirmed Thursday that it is indeed paying a €450 million ($484 million) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund as scheduled, Reuters reported a government official as saying.
That news buys Athens a bit of breathing space as it tries to persuade its Eurozone creditors to soften the terms for unlocking the remaining €7.2 billion in its bailout program: local stock and bond markets both put in a healthy bounce Thursday morning in Europe.
However, the two sides are still far from resolving the bailout stand-off. A list of proposed alternative reforms sent by Greece last week is still under discussion by skeptical Eurozone officials. Reuters said Athens appealed for liquidity support at a meeting of deputy finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday night but was told there must first be progress on the stalled list of measures to make public finances sustainable.
“From the Greek side there was a strong statement that liquidity is getting really bad and there was an appeal to release some type of liquidity support before the euro zone finance ministers’ meeting on April 24,” a euro zone aide said.
Any hopes that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras might have had about Russia plugging the gap in the country’s finances were dashed Thursday when a trip to Russia’s Vladimir Putin ended without anything concrete to show. Putin said there had been “no request for aid” from the Greek side and also refused to exempt Greece from Russia’s ban on E.U. fruit and vegetable imports
However, Tsipras had some rare encouragement from the home front Thursday, as new data showed that the economy was performing better than expected. Industrial production in February was up 1.9% from a year earlier, way better than the 2.1% decline expected. And the unemployment rate also ticked down, albeit only to 25.7% of the workforce from 25.9% in January.
Leading the recovery has been the key tourism sector, which said on Wednesday that international arrivals in the first quarter were up 29% from a year earlier at 810,000.
Ironically, that coincided with some surprisingly downbeat news out of Germany, whose economy has been motoring in recent months. Industrial output rose by only 0.2% in February after a drop of 0.4% on January (the January figure was sharply revised downward from initial estimates). That followed a similarly disappointing set of data on new orders to the key manufacturing sector on Wednesday. They’re now down 1.3% on the year.
Spain: New Poll Predicts PP Will Lose Majority In Madrid
The Spain Report [4/4/15]
A new Sigma Dos poll for Spanish daily El Mundo forecasts the Popular Party [PP] will hold on to power in Madrid but at the loss if its absolute majority,
In the regional elections, the poll awards 32.8% to the Popular Party, 20.7% to the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), 19.2% to Podemos and 16.6% to Ciudadanos.
In the local elections, Sigma Dos gives 34.5% to the PP, 21.2% to Ahora Madrid (the Podemos municipal brand in the Spanish capital), 18.7% to the PSOE and 15.1% to Ciudadanos.
Union, Progress & Democracy would lose its five councillors and eight members of the regional parliament.
Rupert Murdoch's Courier-Mail tries to distance itself from Gavin King's smear campaigns?
A Cairns man intent on digging dirt on a Queensland MP has received a terse reply after an epic email fail.
The man, identified only as Karl, wanted help to dig up information about the new Labor MP for Cairns Rob Pyne, The Courier-Mail reports.
But the email was sent to Mr Pyne himself, rather than its tended recipient, the former Liberal National Party Member for Cairns [and before that, former editor of Murdoch's Cairns Post] Gavin King.
The man's plan came unstuck when he emailed the Cairns electorate office.
"Dear Gavin, I've tried to find out more about Rob Pyne's diving incident in 1991," the man wrote.
"But too many files became updated in January 2015 ... Could you please help me?"
The reply was short and sharp.
"Dear Karl, thank you for emailing my office," Mr Pyne wrote back.
"If you require any information regarding my accident or even drink-driving offences, please have the integrity to contact me directly. Warmest Regards, Rob."
Mr Pyne admitted to a drink driving offence 25 years ago, after calls for all Labor MPs to be up front about their pasts in the wake of the controversy surrounding former Labor MP Billy Gordon.
At 92, Liz Smith Reveals How Rupert Murdoch Fired Her, What It Felt Like to Be Outed [Hollywood Reporter - 8/4/115]:
… You were 86 years old when Rupert Murdoch let you go from the New York Post. Were you surprised by that?
I was more shocked than anyone. I thought I was indispensable. Looking back, I just wasn't what the powers that be wanted. And I don't think it had anything to do with Murdoch himself. He liked me well enough and I had been nice to his family when they were virtually unknown here. I went to see him after they fired me and I asked for my job back. He was very sweet and complimentary and finally he said, "Well, you know, it's an editorial thing, Liz. I can't interfere with the Post's editors." I burst out laughing. I said, "Of course you can!" And then he started laughing, too. But then he said he was sorry and kissed me on the cheek, and that was that. But the whole thing hurt my feelings and my stature as a columnist. I've had to struggle to make an adequate living since then.
You expected more loyalty from him.
No. He didn't owe me loyalty. You've got to remember I had worked for the Daily News for 15 years. I was the enemy at the Post, so I was never completely accepted. But if I've learned anything, it's that you can't depend on anything. The world can change in a minute. ...
News Corp blasts Netflix and Google over GST [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/4/15]
Rupert Murdoch Beats Lawsuit Over News Corp. Shareholder Rights [Hollywood Reporter – 7/4/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., April 8, and 8 a.m., April 9, local time.
In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted seven airstrikes, using bomber, fighter and attack aircraft.
Separately in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted 12 airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
"Our coalition capability to degrade ISIL continues to grow, with the first airstrikes conducted by Canada in Syria,” said Combined Joint Task Force Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley.
"It is the collective efforts of all nations and the power of the coalition that foreshadows the defeat of ISIL and the threat they pose."
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
o Near Al Hasakah, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, two ISIL vehicles and destroyed five ISIL vehicles and an ISIL tank.
o Near Ar Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL military garrison.
o Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
o Near Bayji, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL tunnel system and destroyed an ISIL vehicle in the surrounding areas.
o Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar tube, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.
o Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed three ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL buildings, two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL armored vehicle.
o Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL excavator and an ISIL fighting position.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
Sweden announces intention to join international coalition in Iraq [IraqiNews.com - 10/4/15]
Canadian Armed Forces conduct their first airstrike in Syria [Centcom - 9/4/15]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center - 9/4/15]: Iraq after occupation.. The twelfth anniversary of Baghdad occupation ...
The head of the tribal leaders in Anbar Council, Naim Gaood announced on Thursday, that the ISIS organization elements have executed 300 people from Anbar western the province.
Gaood said in press statements, “The ISIS group militants executed 300 security elements and civilians in Qaim district west of Anbar.”
“The executed belonged to the tribes of Karbala, Salman and Albu Mahal, but most of them were from Albu Mahal,” he added, noting that, “ISIS militants executed civilians accused of collaborating with the Iraqi security forces.”
The President of Anbar Provincial Council, Sabah Krhot announced on Wednesday (April 8, 2015), the launch of military operations, named ‘Anbar’s Grand Operations’, to liberate all the cities and regions of the province,” while emphasized that more than 10 thousand tribal fighters would participated in these operations.
UN chief urges ‘concerted action to save lives, restore measure of humanity’ in besieged Yarmouk camp [Media Release – 9/4/15[
Palestinians back joint Yarmuk operation with Syria army: PLO [Ahram - 9/4/15]
Civilians in Yemen 'willfully abandoned to misery,' says Ban, urging immediate political solution to crisis [Media Release - 9/4/15]
Desperate Yemenis flee Saudi airstrikes by boat [9/4/15]
A Norwegian freelance journalist has been arrested in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and accused spying, media reports said on Thursday.
Raymond Lidal, 28, was detained in late March when he failed to show a journalist's visa while filming Saudi-led airstrikes against Huthi Shiite rebels who have seized the city, according to the Verdens Gang newspaper (VG). ... [Naharnet - 9/4/15]
Afghanistan: 10 civilians wounded in Khost explosion
A comparatively heavy explosion rocked Khost city this morning leaving ten civilians wounded.
Soon after the explosion security forces arrived and cordoned off the area.
General Faizullah Ghairat, provincial police chief of Khost province said that the explosive materials were placed on a bicycle which was parked in front of a medical store in Matun, provincial capital of Khost province.
He said that the store owner was among the ones wounded, adding that all casualties have been transferred to hospital.
The explosion was such heavy that shattered the windows of the nearby stores and buildings.
Ambulances were also seen transporting victims to the hospital.
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion but Ghairat said that the store owner has enemies.
Senior Taliban commander among 10 killed in Laghman [Khaama - 9/4/15]
1 US soldier killed, 8 wounded in Jalalabad insider attack [Khaama - 9/4/15]
Two soldiers, four insurgents killed in military operations [Khaama - 9/4/15]
Iran will only sign nuclear deal if sanctions lifted 'same day': Rouhani [Reuters – 9/4/15]
Seven Things You Didn’t Know the US and Its Allies Did to Iran [The Intercept - 7/4/15]
As Video Exposes Walter Scott Police Killing, Why Is the Man Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Death in Jail? [Democracy Now - 9/4/15]:
As a South Carolina police officer faces murder charges after his fatal shooting of unarmed Walter Scott was caught on video, we look at what happened to the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal chokehold on Staten Island.
While no police officers were indicted for Garner’s death, the man who filmed the attack, Ramsey Orta, is now locked up in jail after facing what he described as harassment by local police.
Orta was first arrested on an unrelated gun charge the day after the Staten Island coroner declared Garner’s death to be a homicide.
He was later arrested and jailed on a drug charge.
His mother, brother and wife have all been arrested too.
Supporters have accused the New York City Police Department of targeting Orta’s family for releasing the Garner video.
We are joined by Ramsey Orta’s aunt, Lisa Mercado, as well as Orta family attorneys, William Aronin and Ken Perry. ...
Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, found guilty [Medium – 8/4/15]
Secret Service supervisor suspended after sex assault accusation: Washington Post [Reuters – 8/4/15]
US deports El Salvador ex-general Casanova over abuses [BBC – 9/4/15]:
The US has deported a former general during El Salvador's civil war after a court ruled he was responsible for torture and killings while in command.
Eugenio Vides Casanova, 77, has lived in Florida since 1989 and was once regarded by the US as an ally.
He was taken into custody last month under a law designed to keep those accused of abuses in other countries from seeking refuge in the US.
But he will not face charges in El Salvador due to an amnesty law.
Eugenio Vides Casanova, once El Salvador's defence minister and head of the National Guard, arrived at the country's main airport with more than 100 other deportees, reports say.
He has been linked to the killing of four US churchwomen in 1980.
He argued against his deportation on the grounds his military tactics were backed by Washington at the time.
In a separate development, the US has begun extradition proceedings of another former Salvadoran military officer living in the US.
Inocente Orlando Montano Morales is facing charges in Spain over the killing of five Jesuit priests.
At least 70,000 people died in El Salvador's civil war from 1980-1992, fought between the country's right-wing military government and leftist rebels.
Argentina said Thursday it summoned the British ambassador over media reports that London spied on the South American country to block its efforts to win sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. … [Naharnet – 9/4/15]
Pakistan court says former CIA station chief will face charges over drone strike [Guardian - 8/4/15]:
The former head of the CIA in Pakistan should be tried for murder and waging war against the country, a high court judge ruled on Tuesday.
Criminal charges against Jonathan Banks, the former CIA station chief in Islamabad, were ordered in relation to a December 2009 attack by a US drone which reportedly killed at least three people.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad high court also ruled charges should be brought against John A Rizzo, formerly the top CIA lawyer who gave the legal green light for drone strikes.
Banks’s name was first dragged into the public domain in 2010 when a tribesman called Karim Khan began legal action against the supposedly undercover spy chief over an attack by an unmanned aircraft on his home in North Waziristan which he said killed his brother and son.
The extraordinary unmasking of a sitting station chief forced Banks to quit his post and leave the country.
Banks went on to become the head of the Iran operations divisions at the CIA’s headquarters and currently works in the US military’s intelligence wing.
US military plans to dredge CNMI reef for assault vehicles
The United States military says it plans to dredge 20 to 30 percent of Unai Chulu, a reef habitat off the Northern Marianas island of Tinian, so it can build a ramp for military assault vehicles.
The plan is detailed in the CNMI Joint Military Training Enviornmental Impact Statement, which was published by the military last weekend and is now open for public comment.
The reef is considered an essential habitat for fish to spawn, breed and grow, according to the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.
The Bureau says it will be expressing its concerns about the offshore construction, saying it plans to show how dredging such a large expanse of coral could have spillover effects for the CNMI.
PNG: Barrick Gold to compensate mine assault victims
A Canadian mining company has agreed to pay compensation to a group of women who were raped and assaulted by security guards at its gold mine in Papua New Guinea.
The compensation by Barrick Gold to the 11 women relate to allegations of brutal sexual violence, including gang rape and imprisonment, by guards and police at the Porgera mine.
137 women originally alleged violence, bust most accepted a compensation offer under a remedy framework set up by Barrick in 2012 after a Human Rights Watch report identified systematic violence.
The 11 compensated this week refused that initial offer, and paired with the NGO EarthRights International which threatened to take legal action in the United States.
In a joint statement, Barrick and EarthRights International say they have negotiated a settlement with the 11 women, bringing all outstanding claims to a close.''
... In the time that slavery and trading of shelterless people between corrupted governments has returned in the name of border protection. ...
Refugees on Nauru has made a video to apreciate Russell Brand for making video and his support for them. [5/4/15]
MSF and MOAS to launch Mediterranean search, rescue and medical aid operation
We cannot put an end to the wars and misery which force people to leave their home countries, but we do have a chance to reduce the number of deaths and provide critical assistance to the thousands of human beings who will cross the Mediterranean this summer.
Relief Web [9/4/15]:
The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and MOAS Migrant Offshore Aid Station announced today that they will launch a joint search, rescue and medical aid operation in the central Mediterranean between Africa and Europe.
The life-saving operation will run from May to October, when thousands of people are expected to risk their lives attempting to reach safe haven in Europe.
Last year was the deadliest on record for people crossing the Mediterranean; more than 3,400 people died trying to reach Europe. This year the death toll is predicted to be even higher, as even less assistance is available to boats in distress. The Italian navy’s search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was discontinued in November 2014 due to a lack of funding from European governments and has not been replaced
“Europe has turned its back on people fleeing some of the worst humanitarian crises of our time,” says Arjan Hehenkamp, MSF’s general director.
“The decision to close doors and build fences means that men, women and children are forced to risk their lives and take a desperate journey across the sea. Ignoring this situation will not make it go away. Europe has both the resources and the responsibility to prevent more deaths on its doorstep and must act in order to do so.”
Over the coming months, a joint MSF and MOAS team will be stationed in the central Mediterranean aboard the MY Phoenix, a 40-metre rescue ship. Equipped with high speed rigid hull inflatable boats and surveillance drones, and with a crew of 20, the MY Phoenix will provide lifesaving support to those in distress.
“Our motivation is simple,” says MOAS director Martin Xuereb. “No one deserves to die, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that those who feel compelled to undertake this treacherous sea crossing in makeshift vessels do not drown. When we launched our operations last year, we rescued 3,000 people in 60 days. We hope to be even more successful this year as we will operate for six months alongside MSF.”
An MSF medical team of two doctors and a nurse will be on board. They will be equipped to provide lifesaving emergency care as well as to treat dehydration, fuel burns, severe sunburn and hypothermia, which are expected to be some of the most pressing medical needs of people who may have already spent days at sea.
“We cannot put an end to the wars and misery which force people to leave their home countries, but we do have a chance to reduce the number of deaths and provide critical assistance to the thousands of human beings who will cross the Mediterranean this summer,” says Hehenkamp.
“European governments have chosen to prioritise surveillance and border protection over saving lives. Until there is a change in policy, Europe’s collective reluctance to provide safe alternatives for those wishing to reach our shores will continue to cost lives.”
German entrepreneur Jürgen Wagentrotz donates more than €180,000 to Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) [9/4/15]:
... A former East German who left his homeland and parents at a young age, Mr Wagentrotz knows what it is like to be a refugee and feels a personal connection to the hundreds of thousands refugees risking their lives to reach Europe.
Mr Wagentrotz, a Christian, said he took inspiration from the German author Siegfried Lenz who once wrote: “Those who do not act are by no means free of guilt. One does not keep one's purity by not taking sides.”
“I am sure that it pains God to see his children drowning and dying at sea. I’m very proud and grateful to be able to support MOAS and help save lives. I am sure this pleases God,” said Mr Wagentrotz. ...
Greece: An alarming increase in the number of refugees arriving at Greek islands and assistance is urgently needed [MSF Media Release – 9/4/15]
Australian Operation Sovereign Borders personnel told asylum seekers: Fuck your mothers ... fuck your family ...
ABC, Law Report [AUDIO - 22/7/14]:
Australia's tough stand on asylum seekers has stopped the people smuggling trade. But where does this leave asylum seekers in Indonesia?
Journalist Andrew Dodd, reporting for The Law Report, travelled to Java to find out.
He spoke to asylum seekers who make a number of claims, including verbal abuse by Australian boat crews who fished them out of the water.
The Australian government strongly deny these allegations.
Stop the boats asylum seeker policy 'morally corrupt and indefensible', former Navy officer says [ABC - 4/2/14]
In one case, a sailor's wife tried to warn the Navy her husband was an ice addict and yet he was sent to sea regardless, where he died of a drug and alcohol overdose.
Stuart Addison was the first of three close friends based at HMAS Stirling who hanged themselves between February 2012 and May 2013.
RSL Advocate, Brian O'Neill After twice attempting to kill himself, once at sea onboard HMAS Perth, Mr Addison hanged himself while on shore leave in Melbourne. ... [ABC - 7/4/15]
10 April 2015