Manus refugees calling for the UN were beaten and "arrested" last month for holding a peaceful hunger strike.
Their access to lawyers and adequate medical care is still not known, and was not raised in the Senate or House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The Australian political, media and human rights establishment is willing to let Manus refugees die.
There can be no other possible explanation for their blanket silence.
Yes we need to end mandatory detention - for ALL refugees. And YES. IT IS POSSIBLE TO WALK AND CHEW GUM AT THE SAME TIME - unless, of course, you're using refugees as political point scoring.
Children in detention – it has to end now [Greens Media Release – 11/2/15]:
The shocking Australian Human Rights Commission report into children in detention must be the turning point that ends the cruel practice of locking children in detention camps, the Australian Greens have said.
"This vile, institutionalised child abuse has to end," The Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"No longer can we turn a blind eye to the sexual, physical and psychological abuse that these policies of indefinite detention are inflicting on children.
"This isn't about political parties or a particular government, this about us in the Parliament doing what's right for vulnerable children. MPs must exercise their conscience and bring an end to the indefinite incarceration of children.
"The government has done its best to bury this report and discredit the commission and its president. We now know why.
"The Human Rights Commission is right. There needs to be a Royal Commission into the decades of abuse that have taken place in immigration detention.
"Under questioning in this inquiry, Labor and Liberal Immigration Ministers admitted that locking up children has no deterrence effect at all. There is no justification for subjecting children to the mental torture of being locked up in Australia or on Nauru.
"All of the children on Nauru and in mainland detention need to be released into the Australian community so that they can actually have a childhood.
"I'm moving in the Parliament to establish a genuine and independent guardian for unaccompanied refugee children. The horrors of this inquiry have shown that an independent legal guardian for all refugee children is well and truly overdue."
Lampedusa tragedy marks start of deadly 2015 [MOAS Media Release – 11/2/1/15]:
MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) rescued 3000 migrants in 2014 - The Mediterranean Sea is the deadliest border crossing in the world - With reduced presence in 2015 by the EU’s Frontex, MOAS predicts record deaths in 2015
This week’s tragedy off Lampedusa where 29 migrants are reported to have died of hypothermia after being rescued from an inflatable boat marks the beginning of a deadly 2015, MOAS has warned.
Migrant Offshore Aid Station is a private rescue foundation that assisted some 3,000 migrants in the summer of 2014 using a 40-metre vessel M.Y. Phoenix, two RHIBS and two Schiebel camcopters, as well as a crew of experienced rescuers and paramedics.
MOAS Director Brig. Ret’d. Martin Xuereb said: “This tragedy is a stark reminder of two crucial points. Firstly, migrant crossings are continuing through winter despite rough seas and dire weather conditions. Secondly, without Italy’s rescue mission Mare Nostrum, search and rescue in the Mediterranean is inadequate.
The restricted Frontex mission effectively takes the situation back to what it was in October 2013 when hundreds of migrants died preventable deaths. It is actually worse, because we are only now feeling the full impact of the displacement of people from Syria and other conflict zones.”
MOAS warned that the reduced search and rescue efforts by the EU and its member states effectively placed a bigger burden on the commercial, military and civilian boats which may be ill-equipped and unprepared to deal with search and rescue effectively.
“The most tragic element of this latest disaster is that the migrants died after they had been rescued, many from hypothermia due to being exposed on deck,” Brig. Xuereb added.
Brig. Xuereb also added that the migrant tragedy dispels the myth that would-be refugees are attracted by rescue vessels. This, he said, was a fictional narrative.
“Migrants are being pushed to leave their homes, not pulled towards Europe. They are getting onto boats in rough seas and freezing weather, knowing that the rescue missions have stopped. This is their last resort,” he said.
MOAS, which was founded by Italo-American couple Christopher and Regina Catrambone, is currently on a mission to raise funds to ensure a beefed up six-month presence in the Mediterranean this year to respond to the increase in refugees and the winding down of other rescue missions. Donations are being received on www.moas.eu/donate.
Last year, 3,419 men, women and children died while making the dangerous crossing to Europe in unseaworthy boats, mostly by drowning or dehydration.
To monitor the progress of the vessel and keep up to date with the latest news, follow MOAS on twitter @moas_eu and use the hashtag #MOAS to enter discussions about migration.
EU ‘burying heads in the sand’ as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy [Amnesty Media Release - 11/2/15]
Loss prevention officers, CCTV cameras "have assisted police greatly" - unfortunately the inequality goes unchecked.
Daily Mercury [11/2/15]:
Mackay police responded to a complaint of shop-stealing at a local supermarket situated in the central business district.
It is alleged that a 27-year-old female Nebo resident entered the supermarket in possession of a pram and has navigated the store placing numerous grocery items into a compartment at the back of the pram.
A loss prevention officer has observed the female pass through a cash register location without making payment for the numerous grocery items concealed in the pram.
The female was stopped by the loss prevention officer and police were contacted.
After police arrived and spoke to the female in possession of the pram, she was served with a notice to appear in the Mackay Magistrates Court on February 25 for the offence of stealing.
The close attention of staff, loss prevention officers (where applicable) and also the use of CCTV cameras both inside and in outside car park areas have assisted police greatly in investigating reported incidents of shop-stealing.
Cyclist hit by car in South Mackay
Daily Mercury [11/2/15]:
A 45-year-old cyclist has been transported to Mackay Base Hospital after being hit by a car.
QAS were called to the scene on the corner of Paradise and Milton Streets in South Mackay at 5.12am.
A QAS spokeswoman said the man was transported in a stable condition with leg injuries.
Toowoomba man airlifted to hospital after truck crash
A Toowoomba man aged in his 60s had to be airlifted to hospital after the ute he was driving collided with a truck on the western Darling Downs.
The Toowoomba RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter was called to airlift the man who sustained multiple injuries in the crash.
The driver of the truck walked to the ambulance at the scene, bloodied but not seriously harmed.
The crash occurred in a 100kmh zone.
The Toowoomba man was flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in a stable condition.
Worker dies at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine
Mining Australia [10/2/15]:
A rock fall at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine site in South Australia has claimed the life of a 47-year-old man.
South Australian Police said they were called to the site at 6:30am this morning following reports of a rock fall at the underground mine.
The worker from Tumby Bay died at the scene.
Safe Work SA have been advised and police will be preparing a report for the State Coroner.
It is understood BHP Billiton has stood down most employees and contractors at the mine as an investigation into the incident gets underway.
“The next of kin and family have been informed and we are working closely with the authorities on the matter,” a company spokesman said.
“We extend our deepest condolences and support to our colleague’s family and friends, as well as our other employees and contractors at this difficult time.”
BHP Billiton clarifies redundancies at Olympic Dam mine; says potential for staff to be redeployed [ABC - 11/2/15]
The federal building industry regulator is warning Brisbane construction workers they could face hefty fines if they go ahead with strike action on Thursday.
Fairfax Media understands the strikes are planned for first thing Thursday morning in the CBD but it's not clear how many sites could be affected or how many workers could be striking. ... [Brisbane Times - 11/2/15]
Queensland principal failed to deal with pedophile, report
A Queensland principal failed to appropriately deal with a pedophile teacher who sexually abused 13 schoolgirls, a report has found.
Terence Hayes didn't report two allegations of sexual abuse against teacher Gerard Byrnes in 2007, despite having clear instructions to do so in the Catholic school's child protection kit.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse report said the steps the Toowoomba principal took to monitor Byrnes "were inadequate and inappropriate".
Despite the allegations against him, Mr Hayes allowed Byrnes to continue in his role as child protection officer for more than six months.
Byrnes retired from the position in June 2008, but Mr Hayes also allowed him to be re-hired as a relief teacher at the same school in July 2008.
"Mr Hayes sought and enabled the re-appointment of Mr Byrnes as a relief teacher knowing of the allegations of child sexual abuse against Mr Byrnes," the report said.
Byrnes was eventually arrested over the sexual abuse in November 2008.
The former bishop of Toowoomba, Bill Morris, learned of the abuse at that time.
The commission found Bishop Morris responded appropriately to Byrnes's arrest by commissioning an independent investigation, appointing an independent mediator to assess and advise on reparations and establish a Child Abuse Response Team to advise on improvements to child protection.
In 2010, Byrnes was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, including a non-parole period of eight years, after pleading guilty to 44 child sexual abuse offences against 13 girls who were aged between eight and 10 years.
Mr Hayes was tried in 2009 for failing to report the abuse to authorities, but found not guilty because he had told his superiors at the Catholic Education Office.
He no longer works at the Toowoomba school concerned but had since taken a job as a grade seven teacher at another Catholic school, north of Brisbane.
Cardinal George Pell failed to act in a Christian way when he agreed to vigorously deny a man's claims of sexual abuse as a child in order to discourage other victims from taking legal action, a report has found. ... [Yahoo - 11/2/15]
'Wanted outlaw bikie', hands himself in at Brisbane airport [ABC - 11/2/15]
Stolen funeral vehicle, Gordonvale
QPS Media [11/2/15]:
An investigation is underway into the theft of a funeral service vehicle yesterday.
The vehicle was parked at a Maher Road funeral home at and was being prepared for work duties shortly before 9:00am when the owner walked back inside his business to retrieve an item he’d forgotten. Whilst he was away from the vehicle, it is believed that two males approached and drove off in the station wagon.
It was subsequently reported as being seen driven erratically on the Lyons Street area at Portsmith, however was unable to be located. The car was located dumped in McIllwraith Street at Manoora a short time later.
It was scientifically examined and has since been returned to the owner. The two offenders are described as being males of indigenous appearance.
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.
Chapel Hill shooting: Three young Muslims gunned down in North Carolina family home
A family of three young Muslims have been shot dead in their home in a quiet neighbourhood of North Carolina in the US.
Police have named the victims as 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
Officers were called to reports of gunshots at 5.11pm at an apartment block largely housing academics and young professionals on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill.
The victims were found shot dead at the scene, while some residents described not even being aware there was an incident until police arrived.
A 46-year-old man, named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder.
The shooting has been met with an outpouring of anger on social media, where people posting new pictures of the victims studying and playing basketball claimed they had been “murdered execution style”.
A 46-year-old man, named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder
Some compared the incident to the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, and others called on Barack Obama and senior religious figures to condemn the attacks.
An American football and basketball fan, Mr Barakat was believed to be a dental student at the University of North Carolina and volunteered with a charity providing emergency dental care to children in Palestine.
He regularly posted on Twitter, and wrote in January: “It's so freaking sad to hear people saying we should ‘kill Jews’ or ‘kill Palestinians’. As if that's going to solve anything.”
The three victims were recently pictured together at the graduation of his sister-in-law, Razan, who ran a blog showing her interest in photography and art.
She had started a degree at North Carolina State University last summer, studying Architecture and Environmental Design, and her Twitter biography read: “I like buildings and other stuff.”
A community Facebook page set up in the memory of the three victims, called “Our Three Winners”, thanked people for their support and said it would carry “official announcements”.
While it was not immediately clear if it was set up by the family, it carried news that funeral arrangements would follow pending an update from the medical examiner.
“It sorrows us all to see what has happened here today,” another statement read. “Please rely on each other and remember these beautiful souls in your happy thoughts. Their faith meant a lot to them, and it is in fact what helps us all feel at peace with the tragedy of their murder.”
Last night, police were forced to turn away people claiming to be family members at the scene of the crime, saying that they would not be able to confirm any more details until Wednesday.
Kristen Boling, a UNC student who lives in the building where the shooting took place, told the Daily Tarheel she had been home since 3.45pm but didn’t see or hear anything until police arrived.
“It was a regular day when I got off the bus,” she said. “Now it’s chaos and confusion and they’re not telling us what’s going on..”
Another resident, Bethany Boring, said: “It’s a really quiet community, a lot of graduate students, professionals and families. I thought it was pretty safe.”
The University reportedly put out an alert message to students last night saying that counselling services had been made available. “We know many of you may be feeling unsettled by this news,” it said.
Obama pays tribute to Palestine solidarity activist killed in Islamic
State captivity [Electronic Intifada - 10/2/15]:
... “Kayla dedicated her life to helping others in need at home and around the world,” Obama said in a statement releated by the White House.
“In Prescott, Arizona, she volunteered at a women’s shelter and worked at an HIV/AIDS clinic. She worked with humanitarian organizations in India, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, compelled by her desire to serve others,” Obama notes.
Yesterday, more information emerged of Mueller’s activities in the occupied West Bank in August-September 2010.
In a post paying tribute to her, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) revealed that Mueller had “worked with Palestinians nonviolently resisting the confiscation and demolitions of their homes and lands” by Israeli occupation forces.
In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, she stayed with the al-Kurd family to try to prevent the takeover of their home by Israeli settlers.
A 13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months earlier that he lived in constant fear of the “death machines” in the sky that had already killed his father and brother. ... [Guardian - 10/2/15]
Is Your Child a Terrorist? U.S. Government Questionnaire Rates Families at Risk for Extremism [The Intercept - 9/2/15]:
Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? That’s the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked For Official Use Only and obtained by The Intercept.
The document–and the rating system–is part of a wider strategy for Countering Violent Extremism, which calls for local community and religious leaders to work together with law enforcement and other government agencies. The White House has made this approach a centerpiece of its response to terrorist attacks around the world and in the wake of the Paris attacks, announced plans to host an international summit on Countering Violent Extremism on February 18th.
The rating system, part of a 36-page document dated May 2014 and titled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts,” suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as: “Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,” “Talk of Harming Self or Others,” and “Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity).”
The ranking system is supposed to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.
Police don't shoot man after 42-hour Launceston siege
A man who was at the centre of a 42-hour siege in Launceston has been charged by police.
The 35-year-old man was taken into custody about 3:00am by officers from the Special Operations Group at a house in Cedar Street.
He had refused to leave the house after releasing a woman and two children several hours after the siege began on Monday morning.
Police said a loaded 22-calibre revolver was found in the house.
The man is facing a range of charges, including breaching a family violence order, resisting police, as well as drug and firearm offences.
Police allege he threatened officers with shards of broken glass when they forced their way into the house.
He will appear in court tomorrow.
Cedar Streets residents have been allowed to return to their homes.
About 35 officers and an armoured response vehicle were involved in the operation.
Fiji officers charged with manslaughter, rape
Eight Fiji police officers and a soldier have been charged with manslaughter and rape in relation to the death of Vilikesa Soko, who died in police custody last year.
30-year-old Mr Soko was arrested in connection to a robbery in Nadi in August, and died at Lautoka Hospital after being beaten while in police custody.
The director of public prosecutions, Christopher Pryde has jointly charged nine people - Manasa Talala, Seruvi Caqusau, Kelevi Sewatu, Penaia Drauna, Filise Vere, Viliame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu, Pita Matairavula and Senitiki Natakasavu- with manslaughter and rape.
The same officers have also been charged with assault causing bodily harm to Senijieli Boila, who was also beaten while in police custody.
The DPP says two of the officers - Manasa Talala and Viliame Vereivalu - have also been charged with perverting the course of justice by instructing other police officers to make false statements during the investigation.
Mr Pryde says the police are to be commended for conducting a professional and thorough investigation.
He says the case reinforces the commitment of the state to bring to justice any person who thinks their position places them above the law.
Akai Gurley death: Policeman charged over fatal shooting
A police officer has been charged over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in a block of flats in New York City, according to a lawyer in the case.
Scott Rynecki told the Associated Press that Officer Peter Liang had been charged by a grand jury in the death of Akai Gurley, a black 28-year-old.
When grand juries declined to charge officers over the deaths of other black men, there were nationwide protests.
After Mr Gurley's death in November, police said it was an accident.
Mr Rynecki is the lawyer for Mr Gurley's partner.
Gurley was killed on a council estate called Pink Houses The fatal shooting happened on a council estate called Pink Houses
She and Mr Gurley opened the door into the dark stairwell when the police officer was patrolling the flats on 20 November.
Police say Mr Liang fired without a word and apparently by accident.
There has been no official announcement about the grand jury's decision.
Unnamed officials involved in the case told US media on Tuesday there would be charges but it is not clear what they will be.
Patrick Lynch, head of Mr Liang's police union, said he deserves due process.
"The fact that he was assigned to patrol one of the most dangerous housing projects in New York City must be considered among the circumstances of this tragic accident," he said.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said: "It has been reported that a Brooklyn grand jury has acted in this case.
"No matter the specific charges, this case is an unspeakable tragedy for the Gurley family. We urge everyone to respect the judicial process as it unfolds."
Cockpit union announces pilots' strike on Germanwings
Deutsche Welle [10/2/15]:
Cockpit announced on Tuesday evening that its members working for Germanwings would down tools on Thursday and Friday, the latest pilots' strike in a months-long dispute between flagship carrier Lufthansa and the trade union.
All Germanwings flights departing from German airports during the 48-hour period would be affected, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said, adding that its most recent attempts to mediate had failed earlier this week.
"With this, Lufthansa again documents its lack of willingness to strike a deal, causing further strikes," VC spokesman Jörg Handwerg said. Tuesday's statement on the Cockpit website also claimed that Lufthansa's latest proposals planned for "a clear deterioration, or even abolition, of transitional support for young pilots," calling this "unacceptable for VC."
One key area of disagreement in the labor dispute is the terms of retirement for Lufthansa pilots, with the carrier seeking to increase the age at which pilots qualify to take early retirement. The union has also balked at future plans to provide no early retirement option for newly-hired pilots.
Lufthansa's main airline faced a string of similar strikes in 2014, peaking with two walkouts in the space of a week last December. Back in October, the airline claimed that the 2014 strikes to date had cost it roughly 160 million euros ($181 million). A trade union for pilots and flight engineers, Cockpit has roughly 9,300 members.
The influence of Cockpit, and train drivers' union GDL, in a series of pulic-transport-related strikes in Germany last year has prompted the government in Berlin to seek new legislation limiting the powers of smaller, niche trade unions. A draft bill, seeking to make deals struck with larger unions applicable to all employees, is due for parliamentary debate this year.
Germanwings, and regional budget airline Eurowings, have become key arrows in the Lufthansa quiver as the airline seeks to manage competition from European low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet, and from Gulf operators like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar on lucrative long-haul routes.
In a separate strike on Monday run by trade union Verdi, security
staff at airports in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Hanover downed tools as part of a
pay dispute. Hamburg's airport was temporarily forced to shut its terminal
building to combat overcrowding.
PNG: Former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has called on the Government to table in Parliament full and comprehensive reports, audits and financial positions of all State-owned enterprises. ... [The National - 11/2/15]
PNG: Pilots take cut in salary [The National - 10/2/15]
Megaupload accused faces charges in US
The US lawyer for Kim Dotcom says he is worried the authorities are taking advantage of an Estonian man facing charges over now-defunct website Megaupload.
Seven men, including Mr Dotcom, were originally indicted three years ago over piracy and copyright issues in the Megaupload case.
Andrus Nomm, who had previously been in New Zealand, is the first to be brought to the United States to face charges.
The Detroit News reported Mr Nomm was initially arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 and had been fighting extradition.
The newspaper said he was arrested in the US state of Virginia on Monday (local time).
Mr Dotcom's lawyer Ira Rothken said the US authorities may have taken advantage of Mr Nomm's financial situation and health condition to get him into the country.
"The last thing we knew was that the Netherlands' courts were trailing and waiting for the New Zealand courts to rule on extradition and nothing was urgent or imminent.
"But he did have a weak financial situation, he did have some healthcare issues, and we're just deeply concerned the US is taking advantage of him."
Mr Dotcom, who founded Megaupload, has been fighting extradition from New Zealand since 2012.
"Not enough films deal with healing, most films deal with wounding. And it's time to take on this subject of how you forgive and how you forgive yourself because it is not time that heals, that's a lie, you have to do something."
Wim Wenders says not enough films are about healing, so for his "Every Thing Will Be Fine" at the Berlin film festival he got James Franco to play a writer who runs over a child and has to deal with the emotional trauma.
The veteran German director of "Paris, Texas" said he filmed his latest muted and somber film in 3D because it allowed him visually to explore the depths of his characters, including Franco as the successful novelist Tomas, who accidentally kills a boy whose sled careens into the street.
"Truly the issue of death was not for me the governing theme of the film. The opposite. For me, the main subject of the film was healing and how to deal with it," Wenders, 69, told a news conference on Tuesday.
"Not enough films deal with healing, most films deal with wounding. And it's time to take on this subject of how you forgive and how you forgive yourself because it is not time that heals, that's a lie, you have to do something."
Franco, appearing in three films at the festival, said it had not been a challenge to switch gears after starring in Seth Rogen's comedy "The Interview", that incurred the wrath of North Korea because it is about a plot to kill its leader Kim Jong-un.
"I did this movie at least six months after we finished filming 'The Interview'," he said.
"I like to bring myself to the movie rather than have the movie or the character bring itself to me, meaning I want to fit the tone of the film. I want to help the director achieve his or her vision," Franco said.
Another of Franco's festival films is also by a German director, Werner Herzog, whose "Queen of the Desert" stars Nicole Kidman as the British female "Lawrence of Arabia" spy and diplomat Gertrude Bell in the early 19th century.
Franco said he thought Herzog, who has a reputation as a demanding director, was in a mellow mood making his first feature centered on a female character.
"Werner's still kind of in there, he makes a point of clacking the slate and he's just always there ... Wim is connected in his own way to the same degree, but it comes off as a little more gentle," Franco said.
Wenders's film also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as the mother of the dead boy and Robert Naylor as the boy's grown-up brother.
Allseas has confirmed it will rename the Pieter Schelte following widespread protest - why is not possible for the Australian media to see history reflected in contemporary circumstances?
By not holding politicians, corporations and the IOM to account re Manus - they are literally getting away with murder.
Maritime Journal [10/2/15]:
Allseas Group, vessel operator of the ‘Pieter Schelte’ has confirmed to Maritime Journal it will be renaming the vessel following widespread protest.
The 328m Pieter Schelte was originally named in honour of Pieter Schelte Heerema, the Dutch father of Edward Heerama, founder and president of Allseas.
But just recently, it has drawn criticism from Jewish groups in both the Netherlands and the UK who have said it serves as a grim reminder of Schelte Heerema’s role as an officer in the Waffen SS and his subsequent war crimes conviction.
The ship, which will now be renamed Pioneering Spirit, is well known for being instrumental in pioneering oil exploration in the North Sea.
It will also be used in the dismantling of Royal Dutch Shell’s Brent Delta platform.
Why haven't the Greens moved to grant media access to immigration detention centres as they promised they would? Have they done a deal with the ALP not to?
Taxpayers would like to know what the IOM and profit seeking corporations are doing with the millions of dollars they receive from the Australian government.
Where is the refugees' right of reply (without being filtered via ALP "advocate" stooges) to IOM accusations? ---> IOM denies preying on Manus asylum seekers [10/2/15]
Do refugees who were beaten for holding a peaceful hunger strike and calling for the UN have access to medical care, or are they being neglected until they die in the camp, or go home to die?
Are refugees still being held without charge in Bomana "death row" prison and in solitary confinement?
Do these refugees have access to lawyers?
What is happening with the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee's Interim and final reports into last February's attacks on Manus Island - tabled in the Senate on Monday [9/2/15]?
Why have Senators not raised and/or debated the report recommendations yet? Why is Senator Penny Wright - who was the chair of this inquiry - silent?
Why is the scant journalism about Australia's South Pacific refugee gulag archipelago, and regional involvement in Middle Eastern wars, only evident in New Zealand media?
Iraq's Foreign Minister to visit NZ [RNZI - 11/2/15]:
Iraq's Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Ja'afari will be in New Zealand for a one day visit on Friday.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully is welcoming the upcoming visit, saying international attention is currently on Iraq and its new government.
He said New Zealand was currently considering options for sending training troops to Iraq and this visit was an opportunity to gain the Iraqi government's perspective on how this country could best assist.
"Any capacity building role for the New Zealand military in Iraq will be dependent on an invitation from the Iraqi Government.
"The discussions with Foreign Minister al-Ja'afari this Friday are an important step in determining whether there is a role for us to play in support of the Iraqi defence forces," Mr McCully said.
Dr al-Ja'afari will meet with Prime Minister John Key, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Mr McCully.
Mr Brownlee has announced the Defence Force is ready to start specific contingency training at Linton and Waiouru.
Mr Brownlee said the training would cover areas such as force protection, cultural awareness and skills relevant to a possible deployment.
Defence would not define what that means, for reasons of operational security.
In November New Zealand sent 10 military planners to Iraq to determine what the country could contribute to the Iraqi defence force in their fight against ISIL.
Prime Minister John Key said the Cabinet would make a decision about any possible deployment by the end of the month at the earliest.
The United States is leading an international coalition against Islamic State, whose fighters have killed thousands of people while seizing swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
We're looking at you Greens, union moomin and blow in "activists" if ALP manage to sell what remains of Queensland assets, retains anti rights laws, ramps up fracking and gives the kiss of death to the Great Barrier Reef
Imagine what could have been accomplished if the Greens, union movement and so called environmentalists had advocated to send the fascist major parties a message by utilising optional prefential voting and voting for neither the ALP or LNP.
Imagine what could have been accomplished if the Greens and union movement had put their resources and efforts behind getting their own candidates elected rather than ALP scumbags.
"Put the LNP last" was a vote for the ALP i.e. retain the status quo - if not worse.
... After a decade in which the number of voters showing preferences has declined consistently, in 2015 the trend has reversed.
While the LNP continued to recommend 'just vote 1', both labor and the Greens moved back to recommending lists of preferences in every seats, and the union movement ran a strong 'Put the LNP last' campaign. It looks like those preferences recommendations, and the decisions of voters themselves to number more squares, have been the difference between Labor winning the 2015 election and the LNP being returned.
The Victorian Government may be forced to release the contracts for the East West Link, under a motion carried in the Upper House. ... [ABC - 11/2/15]
Tsipras, Syriza clear Greek confidence vote ahead of debt talks
Deutsche Welle [11/2/15]:
Prime Minsiter Alexis Tsipras' government in Athens has cleared a vote of confidence, a day before Syriza presents its financial plans in Brussels.
In parliament, Tsipras had strong words for Germany's finance minister.
Greece's coalition government led by the left-leaning Syriza group won Tuesday's late-night confidence vote by 162 to 137.
This result strongly suggested that the voting went along party lines. Syriza holds 149 seats in the Hellenic Parliament, while right-wing coalition allies Independent Greeks have another 13, making 162.
Given Syriza's clear victory at the polls on January 25, the outcome of Tuesday's vote was not in serious doubt.
Speaking to parliament ahead of the ballot, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told lawmakers that his government would not request an extension to its existing "bailout" agreement with the EU, despite pressure from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.
"I want to repeat today, no matter how much Schäuble asks it, we are not going to ask to extend the bailout," Tsipras said, saying that Greece "cannot return to an age of bailouts and suppression."
Earlier on Tuesday, Schäuble seemed to reject talk of Greece renegotiating the terms of its emergency loans from eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund.
"We're not negotiating a new program. We already have a program," Schäuble said. When asked about the prospect of Greece failing to reach an interim deal with its inernational creditors, the veteran Christian Democrat said: "Fine. We never imposed that on anyone. Not a problem at all. But then it's over."
Schäuble's new opposite number in Athens, Yanis Varoufakis, is to propose his own plans to manage Greek liabilities to European officials in Brussels on Wednesday. Eurozone finance ministers, Schäuble included, will be on hand.
On Tuesday, Greece's new foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, visited Berlin for talks with his opposite number Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Andrew Wilkie asks the Prime Minister why the Government is targeting GPs when in fact they are saving money for taxpayers, and when the Medicare blow-out lies elsewhere. [VIDEO - House of Representatives - 11/2/15]
Tragic news from Indonesia: A Hazara asylum seeker namely Ali Muhammad has been reported to have committed suicide in a detention centre in Surabaya (Indonesia) ... [Hazara Asylum Seekers - 10/2/15]
Australian vessel gifted to Malaysia [Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Media Release - 10/2/15]:
Australia has reaffirmed its strong relationship with Malaysia today at a flag transfer ceremony marking the transfer of Australian Customs and Border Protection Vessel (ACV) Arnhem Bay to its Malaysian counterpart agency.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, said he was pleased to reaffirm Australia's close regional cooperation with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and joint efforts to combat people smuggling and transnational crime on the high seas.
Officers from the MMEA and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) attended the flag transfer ceremony in Cairns this morning.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will comply with a High Court order to grant a permanent protection visa to a Pakistani refugee. ... [ABC - 11/2/15]
North Queensland floods 'a natural disaster'
The worst flooding to hit parts of north Queensland in almost 50 years could soon be declared a natural disaster as the damage bill runs into the millions.
The town of Malanda, inland from Cairns, was the worst hit when torrential rain battered areas between Cape Tribulation, north of Cairns, and Cardwell last weekend.
About 20 families living between Malanda and nearby Milla Milla remain stranded on Wednesday after the only access bridge to the area was washed out.
Some areas in the far north received between 400-700mm of rain - more than the monthly average for February - in just three days.
More than 500mm was recorded at Malanda where rivers swelled, inundating homes and businesses, and wiping out sections of roads.
Rosa Lee Long, the mayor of the Tablelands Regional Council which takes in Malanda, says the cost just to repair infrastructure such as roads and bridge will be high.
"It will be in the millions but we haven't got a final estimate yet," she told AAP on Wednesday.
"And that isn't taking into account the cost to repair the unknown number of homes and businesses inundated by flood waters."
Ms Long said work was being carried out to repair a bridge between Malanda and Milla Milla so residents could get out but this could take another two days.
"One farmer has had to pour his milk down the drain because the milk tanker can't get in," she said.
The mayor has spoken to caretaker community recovery and resilience minister David Crisafulli about declaring the flood a natural disaster to enable to the council to access government funds to help with repairs.
Residents are preparing for more major flooding later this week with torrential rain expected to hit the region from Thursday until early next week.
Two pilots killed in crash of two planes near Townsville in north Queensland
Two pilots are dead following a crash involving two ultralight planes in north Queensland, police say.
The planes, each with one experienced pilot on board, disappeared on a scenic flight from Woodstock, south of Townsville, yesterday.
Plane wreckage has been found and emergency crews are at the scene.
The planes, which were not carrying any passengers, set off together from Donnington Airpark south of Townsville at 11:00am on Tuesday.
They were reported missing last night after failing to return from a one-hour scenic flight from nearby Woodstock.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said an initial search overnight failed to find the pair, and a plane and chopper resumed the mission at first light.
The search focused on areas around the airpark, and also near the Reid and Haughton rivers and Majors Creek, and covered 840 square kilometres.
One of the missing airmen was a Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot.
Donnington Airpark owner Ray Smith said both men were experienced pilots and one had 30,000 hours' experience.
"It's totally out of context with what I know of them - they're not raw amateurs at the game," he said.
Police Acting Inspector Janelle Poole said the pair had planned to fly over Reid and Haughton rivers and Majors Creek.
"We are asking anybody in that area - any property owners if they saw anything, heard anything that didn't sound right to please give us a call," he said.
Boy fights for life after being hit by car while riding bike in Melbourne
Nine MSN [11/2/15]:
A young boy is fighting for his life after being hit by a car in Melbourne's northeast yesterday.
The nine-year-old boy was riding his bike on Plenty River Drive in Greensborough yesterday when he was struck by a car and knocked onto the road at about 8pm.
He was airlifted to the Royal Children's Hospital where last night he was in a critical condition.
The driver of the car, a 22-year-old man, is in custody and assisting police with their inquiries.
Yeppoon father jailed after raping teenage daughter
Morning Bulletin [11/2/15]:
A Yeppoon father was sentenced to eight years jail for supplying marijuana to his 14-year-old daughter and raping her in 2012.
The 38-year-old man appeared in Rockhampton District Court yesterday where he faced one charge of supplying dangerous drugs to a minor and two charges of rape.
The man was sentenced to serve eight years in prison and will be eligible for parole in February 2018.
Two men to face court after counter-terrorism raid, Sydney
Sydney Morning Herald [11/2/15]:
Two men have been arrested after a raid by counter-terrorism police in Sydney.
The men are due to appear in Fairfield Local Court on Wednesday.
A NSW Police spokeswoman would only say that the two men were assisting police.
She would not confirm reports that the men were found with hunting knives and a flag, amid suspicions of a "beheading plot".
Deputy NSW Police Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan will address the media following the raid by the Joint Counter Terrorism Taskforce.
Sword removed in counter-terrorism raids a common plastic decoration, owner reveals [Sydney Morning Herald - 7/10/14]:
It was one of the most frightening, powerful images to emerge from counter-terrorism raids across Sydney last month.
As one man was charged with conspiring to behead a random person in Sydney's CBD, police removed a sword in an evidence bag from a Marsfield home.
But the owner of the menacing item has revealed that it is actually a plastic decoration common in almost every Shiite Muslim household.
In the article "Sword taken from duplex", News Corp's Courier-Mail directly linked the object with the threat of beheadings:
"More than 1m long, the sword was carried from the home in a federal police evidence bag (right). Police believe its owner was one of at least 15 men plotting to kidnap an Australian from the streets and decapitate them." ...
WA's much-hyped anti-bikie laws could be radically overhauled or replaced with even tougher legislation designed to make it easier for police to put criminal gangs out of business.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin has confirmed he is reviewing Queensland's controversial bikie laws - regarded as the toughest in the country - to see whether any "worthwhile amendments" could be made to WA's legislation.
The WA laws are yet to be used almost 18 months after they were introduced. ... [West Australian - 11/2/15]
Clive Palmer against University fees in the House of Representatives 11-02-2015 [VIDEO]
NSW public schools will not be badged as independent and principals will retain the same power over staffing and budgets under a $23 million deal between the state and federal governments. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 11/2/15]
Education Minister Christopher Pyne needs to admit the failure of his Independent Public Schools policy and shift his focus to equity and properly funding disadvantaged schools, the AEU said today. ... [SSTUWA - 10/2/15]
Charter Schools Do No Better Than Other Public Schools [Save Our Schools – 15/7/13]
Labor Party unites against Jon Stanhope [Canberra Times – 10/2/15]:
... Mr Stanhope put a motion to his Labor sub-branch last week, calling on the party to sever its reliance on gambling money by selling the Labor Club Group, which is a big owner of poker machines in Canberra.
His motion was defeated 16 votes to seven, with one abstention, at the Mount Rogers sub-branch. Two sitting Assembly members, Mary Porter and Chris Bourke, attended the meeting, but neither would discuss their reasons for attending, nor their views about whether the clubs should be sold.
Ms Porter's husband Ian De Landelles, who with Ms Porter is a member of the party's right, confirmed he had spoken against Mr Stanhope's move to sell the clubs.
Mr Bourke said he would not discuss internal party matters, but he wouldn't explain why he viewed the ownership of the Labor clubs as a purely internal matter.
The Canberra Times asked each of the sitting Assembly Labor members and the three federal members, Ms Lundy, Gai Brodtmann and Andrew Leigh, for their views. The response was uniform: the sale of the Labor clubs was a matter for the board and the members.
Greetings from Australia, hanging with my furry friends on my way to work with the Great Barrier Reef foundation.
National treasures to look after.
The lovely Erin Brockovich meeting our little man, Chris!
Return to the Wild, Inc. [11/2/15]
Erin Brockovich's experience draws Oakey crowd [Chronicle - 11/2/15]:
Legal ambassador Erin Brockovich has addressed a large crowd keen to see how her experiences could be applied to managing Oakey underground water contamination.
Ms Brockovich represented Shine Lawyers during a public meeting at the Oakey RSL Club on Monday night.
Shine Lawyers partner Peter Shannon said at least 100 people including Department of Defence representatives attended the event.
Mr Shannon, who is representing the interests of a group of affected residents, said Ms Brockovich spoke about her experiences in America.
Some of those experiences were the subject of a Hollywood movie named after her.
"She spoke generally about the importance of addressing these sorts of issues in a collaborative fashion," Mr Shannon said.
He said the next few months would be a critical time in remedying the effects of firefighting chemicals which leaked into the underground water supply from the Oakey Army Aviation Centre.
"There is nobody out there who is going to wave a wand and say 'here, your problem is fixed'."
He said affected residents needed to work out if they would be representing themselves in any possible claims against the Department of Defence or getting someone else to do it.
Limitations on the amount of time in which a case could be brought were his concern.
"We suspect that time is still alive, but it could be running."
A Department of Defence spokeswoman said 99 bores from 85 properties outside the army base had been tested.
"Defence has no information to indicate that residents' health may be adversely affected," she said.
The department reiterated its advice to residents not to drink water from contaminated bores.
Darling Downs solar farm receives Toowoomba Regional Council approval [Chronicle – 11/2/15]
Update 5: murder charge, Logan
QPS Media [11/2/15]:
Logan detectives investigating the death of a 27-year-old man at Logan yesterday have this morning charged a 34-year-old Woodridge man with one count of murder.
The man, who was arrested at Beaudesert shortly after midnight, is due to appear before the Beenleigh Magistrates Court this morning.
Investigations are continuing.
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.
Update 6 – Second vehicle of interest located, Logan [QPS Media - 11/2/15]
Townsville police investigating the alleged assault and robbery of a taxi driver at Aitkenvale last night have charged two teenagers with armed robbery in company using personal violence and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. ... [QPS Media - 11/2/15]
Light rail tram slams into P-plate driver at Southport
There has been another crash between a tram and a car on the Gold Coast, this time at a busy Southport intersection.
It’s understood the tram came to grief with a maroon Mazda where Nerang St meets with High St about 1.20pm.
The front of the Mazda was ripped off, but the tram reportedly continued on its journey after stopping for only a short time.
Police were on scene on the corner of High and Nerang Streets speaking with the young male P-plate driver and G:link staff.
Fortunately, there were no injuries and the accident did not cause any major traffic issues.
[Unfortunately the screeching noise pollution along the track - especially outside Centrepoint Arcade, Surfers Paradise Boulevade - has still not been remedied.]
Cable fault leaves thousands without power, Burleigh Waters
More than 2000 homes and business have lost power on the Gold Coast.
Energex says the blackout was caused by an underground cable fault at Burleigh Waters.
As a result, 2151 customers have lost power across the suburb.
Crews have been deployed to repair the issue and restore power.
... Never let anyone imprison your voice inside anything, not even time. Kaveh - The Unlikely Poet - Political Prisoner - Spoken Word
High Court orders Immigration Minister grant Pakistani man protection visa [ABC – 11/2/15]
Letter sent to Peter Dutton and Luke Hartsuyker on conditions in Nauru Detention Centre [Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts - 11/2/15]
An Australian's Response to Russell Brand on Refugees [VIDEO - 9/2/15]
Open Letter to Russell Brand on Refugees [Australians Overseas For Refugees - 9/2/15]
... It turns out Australians and their friends in New York weren’t the only ones protesting outside of Australia, or the only ones ready to.
The protest you saw in London is one of a wave of international demonstrations held in New York, Cambridge, Leeds, Brussells, Berlin, San Francisco, Boston, Santiago (Chile) and The Hague. With more planned.
We are now are active in 16 cities across four continents. We are Australians and Allies Overseas Against Mandatory Detention.
Russell, there is a media blackout in Australia, not only in our Australian detention Centres, but on mainstream media where whatever happens in the detention centres, is justified based on the bizarre idea that we somehow stop asylum seekers drowning at sea by punishing those that do make it to our shores, thus deterring future refugees.
But the boats haven’t stopped, and nor should they be, because human rights abuses elsewhere hasn’t stopped and they have a right to seek asylum. ...
UNHCR urges beefed up search and rescue capacity as at least 29 die off Italy [Media Release – 10/2/15]:
The UN refugee agency on Tuesday mourned the first major maritime loss of life this year off the coast of Italy, and called on the European Union to beef up search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean Sea.
At least 29 people lost their lives Monday in the latest Mediterranean tragedy off Italy's Lampedusa Island, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva.
"UNHCR is both deeply saddened by this news, and concerned about the manner of the deaths – all but seven of which appear to have occurred on board the rescue vessel, with people dying of hypothermia," he said.
"While we applaud all involved in the rescue effort – which took place in high seas and poor weather conditions and resulted in 106 lives being saved – this is an example of why it was felt important in October 2013, following tragedies that occurred then, to underline the need for a much more effective and improved rescue capacity in the Mediterranean to cope with the scale of the problem," he added.
Edwards said that the number of refugees and migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean on smugglers' boats in the first few weeks of this year was "significantly higher" compared to the same period last year.
In January alone, 3,528 arrivals were reported in Italy, compared to 2,171 in January last year. Including the lives lost yesterday, 50 deaths have been recorded compared to 12 by this point last year.
"Additionally worrying is that, with yesterday's incident, there are indications that more people were attempting to reach Italy last night. As well as the dinghy carrying over 100 people, nine other people were recovered from two other near-empty dinghies [off Libya]. The fate of the others believed to have been aboard these boats is not known," Edwards said.
More than 218,000 people crossed the Mediterranean by irregular routes last year while about 3,500 lost their lives in the attempt – a number that would have been higher if not for Italy's Mare Nostrum rescue operation, which ended last year. Europe's current Triton operation has a different focus and is no replacement for proper search and rescue capacity.
Edwards reiterated UNHCR's call for the European Union to ensure this capacity and to provide Italy with proper support to deal with people making irregular crossings of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean has gone from being a so-called mixed migration route, to being a major route for refugees fleeing war.
In January, Syrians were the largest single population group among people arriving in Italy – accounting for around 22 per cent of the total. People from other refugee-producing countries were also prominent among the remaining numbers who undertook this journey.
Violence in northern Nigeria sparks major new exodus into Niger border region, UN warns [Media Release - 10/2/15]
The United Nations stabilization mission in the crisis-gripped Central African Republic (CAR) announced today that it has retaken public buildings in Bria, illegally occupied by ex-Séléka rebels.
UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters in New York that the operation, conducted with the support of French forces, took place after the repeated refusal of the armed groups to peacefully evacuate the premises, and aimed at ending the existence of a parallel administration. ... [UN Media Release - 10/2/15]
... The White House issued a statement on Tuesday confirming the death of Kayla Mueller, who had been reported killed in an air strike against ISIL positions carried out by the Jordanian military on Friday. ... [Al Jazeera - 10/2/15]
US closes Yemen embassy and orders ambassador to leave [Al Jazeera - 10/2/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
On Feb. 9, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using attack aircraft to conduct an airstrike.
Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted 11 airstrikes in Iraq, using fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists. All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Feb. 9, and 8 a.m., Feb. 10, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
* Near Dayr az Zawr, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle.
* Near Al Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL weapons storage facility.
* Near Al Qaim, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
* Near Ar Rutbah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
* Near Bayji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker and neutralized an ISIL VBIED.
* Near Kirkuk, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL earth mover, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL armored vehicle and an ISIL building.
* Near Makhmur, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL bulldozer and two ISIL fighting positions.
* Near Tal Afar, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL shipping container, an ISIL tractor trailer, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL checkpoint.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
@IraqiSMCEn Iraqi Spring Media Center [10/2/15]:
Babel: Dozens od persons have been killed and wounded as a parked car bomb has exploded near public market in Haswa nahiya north of Babel........
Baghdad: Agencies: A car bomb has exploded in Mahmoudiya south of Baghdad resulted in killing and wounding of persons..........
Palestine Embassy opens in Sweden [Daily Star - 11/2/15]
Redfern Police deny 11th anniversary march for the family of TJ Hickey [ISJA Media Release 11/2/15]
Redfern's The Block protesters hold firm but group likely to face eviction from Pemulwuy Project site [ABC - 10/2/15]
Aboriginal Tent Embassy [VIDEO - 9/10/15]
Aboriginal Tent Embassy [VIDEO - 9/10/15]
They Came For The Abbott Spill, And Missed The Only Real Story In Town [New Matilda - 9/2/15]:
... As the protestors drowned out Channel Nine’s coverage, the crew took a break to discuss how they would handle it.
A short while later, Stefanovic stepped off the stage and approached them. “I’m not going to bullshit you,” he said. “All I’m saying is at the moment we are concentrating on the leadership spill… I’m happy to talk to you after… I’m off at 11 and I’m happy to talk to you.”
After 11, Stefanovic was nowhere to be seen.
Around 1 pm, as the talking heads left, a concerned Mel Doyle from Channel Seven approached the rally to make a deal with protestors, as she readied herself to take over the afternoon coverage. According to Doyle, not only was she going to discuss the leadership spill, but also the victims of the Sydney siege, as if that shouldn’t be interrupted by Aboriginal protestors who only want to discuss sovereignty and stolen children.
She offered a compromise – if protestors were quiet, Channel Seven would run a story on the issues raised by the rally. The rally agreed. Doyle left, and then a short while later, workers began taking down the stage.
New Matilda did not hear of whether Channel Seven planned to run the story.
But if the media had stuck around, and bothered to cover the real story, which was only two metres behind them, they would have heard from the strong Aboriginal women who are trying to wrangle back control of their future, and the future of their children.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion has made a long-term commitment to Grandmothers Against Removals. Mr Scullion was presented with a list of demands in Canberra today, which he agreed to progress in Federal Parliament. A national restoration scheme to remove Indigenous children from out of home care was also tabled by Freedom Movement campaigners during an organised "sit in" this morning. ... [NITV - VIDEO - 9/2/15]
11 February 2015