Human suffering, moral blankness and the ties of sentiment:  UN High Commissoner for Human Rights speech [8/6/15]:



... Some weeks ago, with my thoughts wrapped around the Mediterranean boat-people, I left my apartment in Geneva and took a drive.  This crisis, along with that of the Rohingyas in South East Asia, has thrown the world into widespread dismay. People like us, but infinitely more desperate, whole families, share their suffering involuntarily with us, courtesy of our flat screens and iPads, as they drift over, or sink into, massive blue cemeteries.  And so on a temperamental Spring day, I drove to a lovely spot on the southern bank of Lake Geneva.  My destination was the Hotel Royal in Evian-les-Bains.  It was there, in July 1938, that 31 nations met for a shameful discussion that has been virtually airbrushed from our memory. ...





Major questions remain unanswered in FBI and Boston police killing of alleged ISIS beheading plotter



What we have here is a black Muslim man killed while walking to work, followed by dubious and evidence-free inflammatory claims from the FBI and its media that are designed to make you want to simply dismiss Rahim as an Evil ISIS Operative who deserved to die, all without asking any questions.



The Intercept [10/6/15]:


... Speaking of social media, here is what Rahim wrote on his Facebook account, datelined November 27, 2012, in Boston:

Damn FBI calling my phone! They just want any opportunity to drag a Muslim into some DRAMA … He wanted to meet up with me and “Talk.” HA! I said about WHAT? He said “Sir, we have some allegations regarding you …” I said “REALLY?” What ALLEGATIONS? He said “Well sir, thats what I wanted to meet up with you about. I came by your house a few times, but kept missing you.” I said, “If you want to summon me, you summon that COURT ORDER if your allegations you claiming are true, otherwise, BEAT IT” and then I hung up … funny, I was just telling my brother I heard some clicking noises on my phone. Every Muslim needs to treat these government cronies the same way I did, because if you let them get close, trust me, they’ll have you making statements about things that could get you jail-time, that in fact, you were preaching AGAINST i.e. violence and terrorism. Try again, monkey-boys …

So he was not only wary of being set up by the FBI, but specifically said he was “preaching AGAINST violence and terrorism.” As AP noted, on social media Rahim “spoke out against the kind of violence Islamic State extremists are fomenting across the Middle East,” and “posted no bloody pictures and made none of the violent calls to arms many supporters of armed extremist groups espouse on social media.” Moreover: “killing people is anti-Islamic, Rahim wrote, arguing a key tenet of the faith is ‘we do not fight evil with that which causes a greater evil.’” That is the exact opposite of the social media profile of some sort of ISIS-inspired terrorist, and is the exact opposite of how Rahim was repeatedly depicted during two weeks of media sensationalism based on FBI claims.

(6) The monitored telephone calls cited by the FBI as proof of Rahim’s plot are, at best, ambiguous. They quote Rahim as telling Wright: “Yeah, I’m going to be on vacation right here in Massachusetts,” about which the FBI affidavit says: “Based upon my training, experience, and involvement in this case, I believe that ‘going on vacation,’ a phrase used repeatedly in conversations between WRIGHT and RAHIM, refers to committing violent jihad.”



Warnings 2015 breaking point for tuna

RNZI [11/6/15]:

Scientists are warning stakeholders in the Pacific tuna fishery that they could lose the resource altogether if they do not crack down on overfishing and tighten conservation management measures.

The call comes after the Pacific Island and distant-water fishing nations failed to agree in last December's meeting of the Tuna Commission on conservation measures to protect endangered species such as big eye tuna.

The executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Feleti Teo, says all parties are well aware of the danger to the fishery, and his office is working hard to broker an agreement.

"The message that is coming out to fisheries managers is that actions need to be taken and we are pursuing all avenues in getting the Tuna Commission members ready and prepared to make a deal by the end of this year."

Mr Teo acknowledges that the Tuna Commission's preference for doing things by consensus may not be enough this time and that proposed measures may have to be put to a vote.





Unlawful Wounding, Waterford West




QPS Media [11/6/15]:



Detectives are investigating an unlawful wounding which occurred in Waterford West this evening.

Around 6.45pm police were called to a residence on Mark Lane following reports that a woman had been stabbed.

Upon arrival police located a 30-year-old woman inside the residence with a wound to her abdomen.

She was transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital for treatment.

A crime scene has been established and investigations are continuing.

 Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.



Blood cancers top deadly illness list on the Darling Downs

Chronicle [11/6/15]:

Blood cancer is claiming the lives of more people on the Darling Downs than breast or skin cancer, new statistics have revealed.

The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland said the surprising figures revealed 57 people from the Darling Downs died from blood cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma in 2013 while 28 died from breast cancer and 19 from melanoma.

In an effort to raise more awareness of blood cancers, the Leukaemia Foundation created temporary landmarks in Toowoomba yesterday in the form of human signs, with the hash tag 31 Aussies.

Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland spokeswoman Emma Quade said that with the help of Leuky the bear, the aim was to get people's attention.

"We wanted to raise awareness of the 31 Australians that are diagnosed with a blood cancer each day, that is six Queenslanders a day," she said.

"That is expected to increase unless we can get better treatments.

"It can strike anyone, any age, any gender, any time."

CEO Bill Petch said although more children were surviving the cancer, many people did not realise that four in 10 Australian adults diagnosed would lose their life.

"We simply cannot afford to let the rates of diagnosis and mortality continues to increase," he said.

Blood cancers are the third biggest cause of cancer death in Australia, behind only lung and bowel cancer.







More Australians are developing dementia at a young age and thousands of them could be left worse off in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, according to a leading national support group. … [Canberra Times – 11/6/15]








The Gladstone Port Corporation has issued a Development Application clearing the way for construction to start on the proposed $70 million Knauf Plasterboard manufacturing plant at the Port of Bundaberg.

Bundaberg Regional Council recently received advice of the approval notice granted by Gladstone Port Corporation which, as operator of the State owned land, undertook the application assessment.  ... [News Mail - 11/6/15]






… A truck has overturned on the Warrego Hwy 2km west of the Gatton-Esk Rd overpass this morning. … [Chronicle – 11/6/15]


Drivers walk away after trucks, trailers roll on remote WA highway [WA Today – 11/6/15]



... Cameron Templeton, 42, was sentenced to four years' jail, eligible for parole in a year, in the Brisbane District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to two charges of extortion and two of making threats.

The court heard the former patched Black Uhlans member used his gang status to reinforce threats of violence against his ex-partner's family to gain more time with his daughter, and pocket $20,000. ... [Yahoo - 11/6/15]




WA Parliament clerk to stand trial


West Australian  [11/6/15]:

The deputy clerk of the Legislative Council Nigel Lake will stand trial over allegations he was found by police possessing a baseball bat and a disguise.

Mr Lake pleaded not guilty in Perth Magistrate’s Court to possessing a weapon with intent to cause fear, possessing a disguise and unlawful use of a tracking device.

The 49-year-old is alleged to have been in possession of a baseball bat and balaclava when he was arrested in City Beach in February.

Police allege he was wearing latex gloves, a black hoodie, black tracksuit pants and black shoes at the time.

Mr Lake, who was suspended from his $166,000-a-year job after his arrest, did not comment outside court.

His bail was renewed ahead of his next court appearance in August.

West Australian [11/6/15]:

A man jailed for the murder of Melbourne sex worker Johanna "Jazzy O" Martin says his trial was unfair because it failed to consider some of the phone calls recorded while he was in custody.

Steve Constantinou was in 2013 sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for murdering the 65-year-old, robbing her of jewellery and dumping her body in bushes.

The 50-year-old, who claimed Ms Martin died during an erotic asphyxiation fantasy gone wrong, was in the Victorian Court of Appeal on Thursday where his legal team argued there had been a miscarriage of justice because some recorded calls were left out of his trial.


Teenagers charged with child sex offences, Cairns

QPS Media [11/6/15]:

Four Cairns teenagers have been charged with child sex offences following a series of assaults against young girls, including some filmed on a phone.

Police allege the teenagers, aged between 14 and 18, committed the offences over recent weeks at a public park and a number of Cairns addresses.

The assaults involved girls under the age of 16 and some were filmed on a mobile phone, police say.

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with two counts each of rape and indecent treatment of a child under 16 years, as well as one count each of deprivation of liberty and possession of child exploitation material.

He's expected to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Thursday.

An 18-year-old will face court in late June on three counts of unlawful carnal knowledge and one count each of possession of child exploitation material, involving a child in making child exploitation material, and possession of a dangerous drug.

A 14-year-old and 16-year-old were each charged with two counts each of rape and common assault, as well as one count each of indecent treatment of a child and deprivation of liberty.

They'll be dealt with under the provisions of The Youth Justice Act 1992.




Sex offender to stay in jail indefinitely [Yahoo – 11/6/15]







A Victorian union official has appeared in court over allegations he bashed a 66-year-old man after tensions boiled over at a rally for supporters of a far-right Greek party.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union official Joseph Myles was detained at Sydney Airport after returning from an overseas holiday last weekend on a warrant for charges of serious assault, affray and entering a premises with intent.

It's alleged Myles, in his mid-30s, punched the man to the ground and continued to attack him as he lay on the floor at a Woolloongabba hotel on May 2, 2014.

Earlier unionists had clashed with protesters at a South Brisbane demonstration organised by supporters of Greek far-right political party Golden Dawn. ... [Yahoo - 11/6/15]



Dickensian armed robbery charges, police pursuit crash, Sunshine Coast [QPS Media – 11/6/15]






Stealing charges, Morayfield [QPS Media -11/6/15]






Serious assault, Maryborough [QPS Media - 11/6/15]






Assault charges, Margate [QPS Media - 11/6/15]






Unlawful wounding charge, Bowen [QPS Media - 10/6/15]








... Receipts and emails revealed by Fairfax Media show Mr Shorten oversaw a deal under which Winslow Constructors Pty Ltd paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over a decade to fund the union dues of its own employees. ... [Canberra Times - 11/6/15]


Chilean Students, Teachers Join Forces against Education Plan

Latin American Herald Tribune [11/6/15]:


Some 200,000 students and teachers were on the streets of Santiago and other Chilean cities on Wednesday to protest the government’s proposed education reform, organizers said.

The marches in Santiago, the nearby coastal city of Valparaiso and Concepcion, the metropolis of southern Chile, were an initiative of the Confech confederation of university students, with support from groups representing high school students.

The students were joined by teachers, who have been on strike for more than a week to press demands for shorter hours, higher pay and changes to a bill currently before Congress that would require new teachers to pass exams in different knowledge areas.

At the conclusion of the demonstration in the capital, Confech spokesperson Valentina Saavedra said lawmakers and the government need to look at the students’ own draft proposal for educational reform.

Chilean students began taking to the streets in massive numbers four years ago to demand the overhaul of a school system still suffering from the legacy of the 1973-1990 dictatorship of the late Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Under Pinochet, public education was neglected and for-profit schools mushroomed, a trend that continued after democracy was restored, even during the 1990-2010 tenure of the center-left Concertacion coalition.

The center-left returned to power last year with the election of Michelle Bachelet for a second term as president.

But student organizations have rejected her proposed reforms as too timid.




 First baby- deported to Nauru to flies no water no aircon in hot vinyl tent- 5 guards watching- no room at our inn 



Image: @pamelacurr - Refugee rights, detention rights advocate [10/6/15]




Indonesia is investigating claims that Australia paid people smugglers to turn their boat back to Indonesian waters in a development which, if proved, it would consider “very concerning”. ... [Guardian - 11/6/15]





Two Indonesian agriculture companies have formed a joint venture with Brisbane-based livestock exporter Australian Rural Export, or Austrex, for a $10 million end-to-end meat processing company in South Sulawesi. ... [Jakarta Globe -11/6/15]




US federally funded research and development center MITRE has signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesian state-owned air navigation management company Airnav Indonesia and airport operator Angkasa Pura II to cooperate on technical aviation support. ... [Jakarta Globe - 10/6/15]





What is Human Trafficking? [UN Office on Drugs and Crime]:



Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs ...




China Post [9/6/15]:

 Taiwan and Nauru sealed a memorandum of understanding Monday to cooperate on immigration and the prevention of human trafficking.

The MOU was signed by Taiwan Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen and Nauru Justice Minister David Adeang on behalf of their respective governments.

Chen said human trafficking is a serious crime infringing on human rights that cannot be effectively stopped through unilateral efforts, and Taiwan is therefore actively seeking cooperation with other countries to jointly attack human trafficking.

Taiwan has been listed as a Tier 1 country in the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report for five consecutive years — the only Asian country other than South Korea to have received the U.S.'s highest rating over that period of time, Chen noted.

Nauru is the 14th country to sign a human trafficking prevention MOU with Taiwan. Other countries include Mongolia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Paraguay, the United States and Japan.




PNG police fire shots in air as Mt Hagen residents protest ID launch


The National [11/6/15]:


Police fired shots in the air to quell protesters in Mt Hagen who hurled abuse and empty bottles at a cabinet minister, governor and MP during a national identification programme launching.

Stones, bottles and other missiles were hurled towards the stage where guests including National Planning Minister Charles Abel, Western Highlands Governor Paias Wingti and Mul-Baiyer MP Koi Trappe were seated.

Abel and Wingti condemned the protest and urged the people to embrace the programme which was designed to benefit every Papua New Guinean – young and old, male and female, poor and rich.

“This is just a supportive programme of the Government to get accurate information, know where people live in order for us to understand clearly before making our plans,” Abel said.

Armed mobile squad members and Hagen police quickly moved towards the stage to protect the guests, and fired warning shots to disperse the protestors standing about 20 meters away.

Abel told the crowd to stop believing people spreading “evil” rumours about the programme.

“My grandfather introduced the Bible to Alotau in 1908.

“I will not do something to destroy what my grandfather did. My people will not be happy with me,” he said.

He said the NID programme would strengthen State programmes which many countries such as India and Malaysia were already using.

Abel urged the people to register and get their identification cards, saying they must trust the Government for what it was doing for them.

The programme was first launched in Southern Highlands by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and should reach all provinces before the 2017 general election.







United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria




Reuters [10/6/15]:



U.S. and allied forces targeted Islamic State militants in Iraq with 16 air strikes since Tuesday, the U.S. military said, including five near Baiji, site of the country's biggest oil refinery.

The strikes near Baiji hit four Islamic State tactical units, destroyed three vehicles, a building and an improvised explosive device (IED), the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Wednesday.

Other air strikes in Iraq hit near Tal Afar, Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdadi, Sinjar and Makhmur, it said.

In Syria, three air strikes targeted the militant group at its stronghold of Raqqa and forces launched one air strike each near al Hasaka and Dayr Az Zawr, where an Islamic State crude oil collection point was hit, the task force said.



Remains of almost 600 exhumed at Iraq massacre site [Naharnet – 10/6/15] [10/6/15]:



On Wednesday, a source within the police force revealed, that a car bomb blast has killed six people and injured 18 others in northern Baghdad.

The source told, “This afternoon, a booby-trapped car has exploded in the area of al-Shula in northern Baghdad,” noting that, “The bomb blast resulted in killing six persons and wounding 18 others, in addition to burning ten vehicles that were parked in the area.”

“Security forces cordoned off the area of the incident, while ambulances transferred the injured to a near hospital and the dead to the Forensic Medicine Authority,” the source added.






Turkey: More than 6,000 Syrians fled conflict near border in one week [Albawaba - 10/6/15]







At least 43 killed in Yemen clashes as parties prepare for talks [Reuters - 10/6/15]







US drone strike kills three in Yemen [Al Arabiya - 10/6/15]








Al-Qaida-linked militants in eastern Libya declared holy war — or jihad — on the local Islamic State affiliate after one of their senior leaders was killed Wednesday by masked gunmen, which set off clashes between the rival groups that left 11 people dead on both sides, including a top militant commander.  ... [Yahoo - 10/6/15]






The security situation in Darfur is a very serious one, marked by a “deeply concerning” increase in violent attacks by armed assailants against United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel, the Assistant Secretary-General for UN peacekeeping operations told the Security Council today. ... [Media Release - 10/6/15]







The U.S. State Department has approved a deal to sell six military aircraft to Lebanon, along with other military hardware and support equipment as part of a proposed $462 million arms deal.  ... [Daily Star - 11/6/15]






Israeli forces shot dead a young Palestinian man in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank early Wednesday morning, Palestinian security officials say. ... [Maan - 10/6/15]





Israel bars Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem hospital [Middle East Online - 10/6/15]






Suicide bomber targets ancient temple in Egypt's Luxor  [Al Jazeera - 10/6/15]






Nigeria: 15 dead, as Boko Haram attacks Borno village [All Africa - 9/6/15]




Bomb tears through Pajhwok bureau office

Pajhwok [10/6/15]:


A magnetic bomb attached to Pajhwok Afghan News bureau office’s entrance gate went off in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday night, destroying the office equipment.

The blast that took place at about 8pm damaged tables, chairs, computers, video cameras and other equipment in the office situated in the Ghalji Plaza in Jalalabad, Pajhwok cameraman, Babrak Amirzada, said.

Pajhwok correspondent in Nangarhar, Zeerak Fahim, said two guests of a reporter with the Voice of America Radio station situated next to the Pajhwok bureau were wounded in the blast.

Another two persons, who owned a garments shop in the plaza, were also wounded, Fahim said.

The plaza secretary, Noor Gul Khogyani, said the watchman could not search everyone entering the plaza because a large number of people daily visited the building.

The governor’s spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, confirmed the blast that he said injured one person.

Pajhwok Afghan News editor-in-chief Danish Karokhel said his organisation had no connections with a particular party to the conflict and impartially performed its journalistic duty.

Danish urged all parties to the conflict not to create hurdles for or target independent media outlets working to inform people about realities.

He said the warring parties should respect the freedom of expression and let media organisation do their job of highlighting people’s problems.

Danish Karokhel urged the government to pay increased attention to the security of media offices and journalists in provinces.

“We are committed to serving the masses and such threats would not deter our resolve.”

The blast in front of Pajhwok bureau takes place the day the death anniversary of its slain reporter Abdul Samad Rohani was observed in southern Helmand province.

Rohani was abducted on June 7, 2008 and was found murdered the following day.

Pajhwok has lost its two other reporters to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.





The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies. ...








Constitutional questions grow over Abe's military plans [Japan Today – 11/6/15]:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to the U.S. to increase Japan’s military contribution internationally is facing more questions about potential conflicts with the nation’s pacifist Constitution.

Opposition lawmakers demanded answers from key Cabinet members at a hearing Wednesday, after three prominent constitution experts — including one chosen by Abe’s ruling party — unanimously told a parliamentary committee last week that legislation allowing Japanese troops to defend foreign militaries would violate the war-renouncing Article 9 of Japan’s postwar constitution.

The development energized the opposition, adding to unease within the ruling party as public opinion polls show both opposition to Abe’s security legislation and confusion about why it’s needed.

It also raises questions about how far Japan can expand its military activities under its U.S.-drafted constitution, and whether it should be revised.

Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner Komei party still hope to pass the legislation by the end of the summer as Abe has promised to Washington, but they acknowledged that extending the current lawmaking session beyond June 24 is imminent.

“Obviously you drafted the legislation by manipulating the constitution to achieve your goals,” Kiyomi Tsujimoto, a member of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, told the lower house committee. She and other opponents demand the legislation be withdrawn, alleging Abe’s Cabinet stretched the interpretation of Article 9 too far to allow Japan’s military’s role beyond its constitutional limits.

The Cabinet reinterpreted the constitution last year to allow Japan to defend American troops or allies, outside Japan and its vicinity, a major change to its current policy.

The bills would remove geographic restrictions on where the military can operate, while allowing Japan to defend its allies, not just itself. The legislation would also enhance the U.S.-Japan security alliance, but Abe has denied opponents’ fears that it would increase the chance of Japan being drawn into a U.S.-led war. Instead, he said, the legislation would increase deterrence.

Defense Secretary Gen Nakatani defended the legislation as constitutional but said the security environment surrounding Japan has changed and its self-defense-only principle is insufficient.

Masataka Komura, head of LDP’s national security panel, said reinterpreting the war-renouncing article of the constitution was the only practical way for Japan to maintain peace and stability. He said most experts called Japan’s Self-Defense Force unconstitutional when it was founded 60 years ago. The ruling LDP has long hoped to revise the constitution which it calls U.S.-imposed and outdated, but hurdles are high and lack public support.

Abe also focuses on Japan’s possible security contribution to the U.S. in the disputed South China Sea. Nakatani also stressed the need to protect Japanese tankers bringing oil from the Middle East to the resource-poor country.

Critics say what constitutes the right to use “collective self-defense” or when troops could be sent on a peace mission overseas is too vague.

At a lower house constitution panel last Thursday, Yasuo Hasebe, one of Japan’s most respected constitution expert at Waseda University invited by Abe’s party, says the legislation deviates from past government positions and requires a formal revision of the constitution. Two other experts invited by the opposition said officials’ portrayal of new missions as risk-free, non-combative activity was misleading.

More than 200 constitution experts in Japan have joined a statement calling the legislation unconstitutional and demanding the Abe government scrap it. Japan’s Bar Association issued a similar statement Wednesday.


Sea Shepherd to pay $2.55 million to Japan whalers [Japan Today – 11/6/15]






The Man He Killed

by Thomas Hardy

"Had he and I but met

By some old ancient inn,

We should have sat us down to wet

Right many a nipperkin!



"But ranged as infantry,

And staring face to face,

I shot at him as he at me,

And killed him in his place.



"I shot him dead because —

Because he was my foe,

Just so: my foe of course he was;

That's clear enough; although



"He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,

Off-hand like — just as I —

Was out of work — had sold his traps —

No other reason why.



"Yes; quaint and curious war is!

You shoot a fellow down

You'd treat if met where any bar is,

Or help to half-a-crown."


Ex-NotW deputy editor 'congratulated journalist for Daniel Craig phone hack'

Guardian [11/6/15]:

The former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis congratulated a journalist for hacking a voicemail left by Sienna Miller for fellow actor Daniel Craig which led to the publication of a story that Miller was cheating on her then boyfriend Jude Law, a court has heard.

Dan Evans played a recording of the voicemail in the open-plan newsroom of the now defunct Sunday paper, an Old Bailey jury was told on Wednesday, in which Miller said: “Hi, it’s me, I can’t speak, I’m at the Groucho with Jude. I love you.”

Evans said he may have played it “two or three times” in front of the editor, Andy Coulson, and his “recollection is that Mr Wallis was there”. He said: “I had the impression they knew fully what I was going to play.”

He claimed Coulson “expressed satisfaction”, while “Neil took me by my elbow and said: ‘You’re a company man now, Dan.’” Evans said he took that to mean they “were now bound by a secret”.

He claimed Coulson wanted to “sanitise the origin” of the tape, and that he was instructed to make a recording of it and “stick it in a Jiffy bag and have it delivered to the front desk and we can say it was dropped in anonymously”.

The reason, Evans said, was “abundantly obvious to everyone”, which he told the court was so that the original recording could not be traced to a News of the World employee.






@MSF_Sea [10/6/15]:   Pictures of today's rescue aboard the #Phoenix. 77 passengers, including 38 from Somalia, safely on board ...




‏@MSF_Sea:   They wouldn’t let me out of the army, even after I became pregnant and gave birth to my daughter. ...





AFP travel to Rote to get their money back since Australia's refoulement and disappearing of 65 refugees has become an international incident?




Imaginary Australian opposition parties call for a humane, orderly and legal process for refugees.




Sydney Morning Herald [11/6/15]:


Three Australian Federal Police officers will visit the Indonesian island of Rote where six crew members are being detained on people smuggling charges, according to Indonesian police.

A boat with 65 people from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar seeking asylum in New Zealand was intercepted by Australian authorities last month and sent back to Indonesia.

The police chief from the Indonesian island of Rote, where the asylum seekers swum ashore after their boat hit rocks, said the six crew had told him Australian authorities had paid them US$5000 each, as reported by Fairfax Media yesterday.

In Canberra, the Greens and Labor parties have demanded more information about the payments, saying the immigration department was "cloaked in secrecy" and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton needed to adequately respond to the allegations.

The crew members are now being detained on the island while their people smuggling charges are being processed.

Ronaldzi Agus, a spokesman for the East Nusa Tenggara provincial police office, told Fairfax Media that three AFP officers from Denpasar would visit Rote on Thursday.

Mr Agus said AFP officers regularly visited nearby Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, to share information on people smuggling.

Asked if the visit to Rote was related to the arrest of the six crew members on people smuggling charges, Mr Agus said: "it looks like that".

Mr Agus said he did not know whether the AFP would investigate the claims the crew were paid by Australian authorities.

"I don't have that information," Mr Agus said.

"From what I know, Australian customs officers would not do that."

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the allegations were "extremely worrying".

"[This is] effectively putting Australia in the people smuggling business," he said.

"We have a cloak of secrecy when it comes to the issue of refugees. And the reason that the secrecy has to be maintained is that the policy is morally reprehensible."

Labor's Immigration Spokesman Richard Marles said Immigration Minister Peter Dutton owed the Australian public an explanation, saying it was another example of the government's "woeful track record when it comes to transparency".

"We have seen this report and note the Government has denied it," he said.

"Rather than provide a one word response, Mr Dutton owes it to Australians to offer a proper explanation of what exactly has taken place in this operation."

A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton said: "We have nothing further to add."

An AFP spokesman said: "The Australian Federal Police works cooperatively with the Indonesian National Police on a range of transnational crime issues, including people smuggling."





Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday defended his decision to send Australia's ambassador back to Jakarta, following a six-week absence in protest at the execution of two drug smugglers.  ... [Jakarta Post - 10/6/15]





And the 2,000 refugees the UNHCR said were still stranded at sea?



 Have they been rescued?



Bangkok Post [10/6/15]:


A two-week mission by the navy to provide humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees is due to end Wednesday, officials confirmed.

The amphibious assault vessel HTMS Angthong, currently serving as a command and control ship in the Andaman sea, will end her mission unless given new orders, navy spokesman Benjamaporn Wongnakornsawang said.

The Angthong was deployed two weeks ago to help Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar, who were trying to make their way by boat to Indonesia and Malaysia, often with Thailand as a transit point.

The plight of Rohingya migrants had been the focus of international attention at the time, with several thousand adrift at sea in crammed boats with limited supplies.

Over 5,600 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have landed in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand since the crisis began over a month ago, according to Chris Lewa of the Arakan project, which campaigns on behalf of the Rohingya.

Malaysia and Indonesia agreed last month to give the refugees temporary asylum.

The Rohingya say they suffer discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Tens of thousands have fled since an outbreak of ethnic violence 2012.



Spare a thought for refugees in your own region Cate Blanchett? --->  Cate Blanchett travelled with UNHCR to Lebanon, where she met Ahmad, a Syrian refugee who was celebrating his 14th birthday. ... [VIDEO - 7/6/15]





The Sydney Federal Electorate Council invites you to attend our special dinner in memory of Margaret Whitlam hosted by Tanya Plibersek MP.

Dedicated to Margaret in 2012, the dinner is a way to celebrate a long tradition of strong Labor women and the largest fundraising event for Sydney Labor.

In 2015 we remember Gough and Margaret’s commitment to contributing to, and advocating for, our artistic and cultural heritage.

We are excited to welcome Cate Blanchett as our guest of honour.  ...  [Tanya Plibersek website]





“I have nowhere to go,” said Nazrul, who was born in Bangladesh with Rohingya ethnicity.



Demolition of Rohingya settlements begins [Gulf-Times - 11/6/15]:



Bangladesh has started demolishing illegal Rohingya settlements in forests surrounding the southeastern tourist city of Cox’s Bazar, officials said yesterday.

“We began the drive on June 4 when we demolished 51 dwellings illegally set up by Rohingyas and would continue the eviction and demolition of illegal structures scattered in the forest,” Cox’s Bazar south forest division chief Ali Kabir told newsmen.

The forest department officials said they had conducted the drive at Madhuchhara in Ukhia sub-district on the recommendation of an intelligence agency.

More than 400 personnel from police, Rapid Action Battalion, Border Guard Bangladesh and district administration joined the drive to demolish settlements built reportedly by non-government organisation - Muslim Aid - for Rohingyas, said the officials.

Ali Kabir said, “We do not want to let the people know where and when the next drive will be conducted but it will be conducted with the help of other agencies.”

Mohammad Obaidur Rahman, country director of Muslim Aid UK in Bangladesh, however, said that they had not built any settlements in Madhuchhara area and they had stopped all activities in Cox’s Bazar district since January this year.

The Rohingyas, however, said they got the shelters in Madhuchhara Lambasiya with assistance of Rajapalong union council chairman Jahangir Kabir Chowdhury.

Nazrul Islam, a Rohingya day labourer, said he had lived in the settlement for two months but the sudden drive left him homeless.

“I have nowhere to go,” said Nazrul, who was born in Bangladesh with Rohingya ethnicity.

After being evicted, he has taken shelter at a relative’s house in Kutupalang.

Locals said the chairman verified the list of Rohingyas and allowed them to be settled there.

But, Jahangir Kabir, also a ruling Awami League leader, denied his involvement in setting up the settlement.

He also said, “I have no idea about the eviction.’

According to the forest department, more than 5,000 hectares out of 44 thousand hectares forest land are currently occupied by different quarters.

Of the 5,000 hectares of occupied land, some 2,700 hectares have been occupied allegedly by the stateless 2,325 Rohingya families, who are not documented by Bangladesh officially, according the forest department. Besides, two unregistered camps shelter 60,000 Rohingyas in Tekhnaf and Ukhia.

“We will try to demolish only the structures built illegally in the areas,” said the forest department official.

Ali Hossain, deputy commissioner, Cox’s Bazar, however, claimed he had no information of the demolition of any Rohingya settlements.

“Where did you get the information? You better verify your information,” he said when he was asked why the settlements were demolished without any arrangement for their rehabilitation.

Earlier, the government planned to relocate 32,713 of the documented Rohingyas, who have spent years in two refugee camps near the Myanmar border, to Hatiya island in the Bay of Bengal.

The United Nations refugee agency has been assisting the refugees in the camps since 1991. An estimated 100,000 Rohingyas are currently living in different locations in Ukhiya and Tekhnaf forests.

“We spotted a number of new settlements amid Rohingya influx,” Kabir said, adding that the forest lands were gradually being occupied.

Border Guard Bangladesh statistics showed that 737 Myanmar nationals were barred from crossing into Bangladesh in May alone.

The Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar regularly cross into Bangladesh.

A home ministry official said an intelligence agency had found that some Rohingyas had terror links which prompted a “large scale drive” against the settlements around Nayapara, Kutupalang in Ukhiya and Teknaf.

Another home ministry official said that a recent meeting between India and Bangladesh had discussed the issue of Rohingyas crossing into India as at least five Rohingya terror suspects were arrested by the Indian police recently.

“India had expressed concern over the Rohingya issue,” the official said.



The Plight of the Rohingya: The World Turns a Blind Eye [The International Post - 10/6/15]



St. Louis Post-Dispatch [1/6/15]:

American actor Matt Dillon put a rare star-powered spotlight on Myanmar's long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, visiting a hot, squalid camp for tens of thousands displaced by violence and a port that has served as one of the main launching pads for their exodus by sea.

It was "heartbreaking," he said after meeting a young man with a raw, open leg wound from a road accident and no means to treat it.

Mothers carrying babies with clear signs of malnutrition stood listlessly outside row after row of identical bamboo huts, toddlers playing nearby in the chalky white dust.

"No one should have to live like this, people are really suffering," said Dillon, wearing his trademark black T-shirt and jeans. "They are being strangled slowly, they have no hope for the future and nowhere to go."

Though Rohingya have been victims of state-sponsored discrimination for decades, conditions started deteriorating three years ago after the predominantly Buddhist country of 50 million began its bumpy transition from a half-century of dictatorship to democracy.

Taking advantage of newfound freedoms of expression, radical monks started fanning deep-seated societal hatred for the religious minority. Hundreds have been killed by machete-wielding mobs and a quarter million others now live under apartheid-like conditions in camps or have fled by boat —hundreds of dehydrated, hungry Rohingya washing onto Southeast Asian shores in recent weeks.

As they become increasingly marginalized, several groups are warning that the building blocks of genocide are in place.

"I know that's a very touchy word to use. But there's a very ominous feeling here," said Dillon, one of the first celebrities to try to get a first-hand look at what life is like for Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine.

Denied citizenship, they are effectively stateless with almost no basic rights.

Dillon said he decided to come to Myanmar following a desperate, urgent appeal by Rohingya activist Thun Khin at a Refugees International fundraiser in Washington, D.C., just over a month ago. In Japan to promote his new television series, Wayward Pines, he decided it was a good time to make the trip.

"There are people working here, people who know a hell of a lot more about it than I do," Dillon said after hearing grumbling from some aid workers about what he hoped to achieve. "But listen, if I can use my voice to draw attention to something, where I see people suffering, I'll do that any day of the week. I'm happy to do that."

He spoke to two teenage boys who tried to flee by boat, only to find themselves in the hands of human traffickers, and was chased away by armed security guards when trying to snap pictures of the last standing Rohingya neighborhood in the state capital — a ghetto surrounded by tall walls topped by rolls of heavy barbed wire.

But what really choked him up were the camps: "It affected me more than I thought it would."

While there were clear signs humanitarian agencies are active — new latrines, well-placed hand pumps, concrete open sewers — he noted in contrast to camps he's visited in Sudan and the Congo, he didn't run into a single Western aid worker during his two-day visit.

Nor were NGO trucks rumbling through with medical equipment, food or other supplies — due primarily to severe restrictions placed on aid agencies by the government following pressure from Buddhist extremists.

"I've been to some places where the threats of violence seemed more imminent," he said.

"Here it's something else. It feels more like people are going to be left to wither away and die."



Myanmar denies India killed rebels inside its territory [Channel News Asia – 10//15]



New Zealand Supreme Court to hear climate refugee's appeal


RNZI [11/6/15]:

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal by a climate refugee seeking asylum in New Zealand, saying it has jurisdiction in this case.

Ioane Teitiota has been battling deportation to Kiribati since 2011, when he overstayed his visa.

He argued he faces indirect persecution from global warming in his home country.

In a decision released by the Supreme Court yesterday, it ordered Mr Teitiola to file and serve submissions in support of his application for leave to appeal by 26 June.

It said the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment must file and serve its submissions by 3 July.

The Supreme Court will then decide on a date for the hearing.


New Zealand has ruled out allowing the Cook Islands to become a member of the United Nations. ... [RNZI - 10/6/15]





Learning how to discover



'Power Systems:  Noam Chomsky - conversations with David Barsamian on global democratic uprisings and the new challenges to US empire' [Hamish Hamilton]:



Cambridge, Massachusetts (May 15, 2012)


... The battle over education has been going on for quite some time now.  The 1960s were a major period of agitation, activism, exploration, and they had a major civilizing effect on the society:  civil rights, women's rights, a whole range of things.  But for elites, it was a dangerous time because it had too much of a civilizing effect on the society.  People were questioning authority, wanting to know answers, not just accepting everything that was handed down.  There was an "excess of democracy."

Looking for answers - that's frightening.  There was an immediate backlash in the 1970s, and we're still living with the results.  All of this is well documented.  Two of the striking documents, which I think are very much worth reading, from opposite ends of the spectrum, are, on the Right, the Powell memorandum and, on what's called the Left, the Trilateral Commission report.

Lewis Powell was a corporate lobbyist for the tobacco industry who was very close to Nixon, who later appointed him to the Supreme Court.  In 1971, he wrote a memorandum to the Chamber of Commerce, the main business lobby.  It was supposed to be secret but it leaked.  It's quite interesting reading, not only for the content but also because of the style, which is pretty typical of business literature and of totalitarian culture in general.  It reads a little like NSC-68.  The whole society is crumbling, everything is being lost.  The universities are being taken over by followers of Herbert Marcuse.  The media and the government have been taken over by the Left.  Ralph Nader is destroying the private economy, and so on.  Businessmen are the most persecuted element in the society, but we don't have to accept it, Powell said.  We don't have to let these crazy people destroy everything.  We have the wealth.  We're the trustees of the universities.  We're the people who own the media.  We don't have to let all this happen.  We can get together and use our power to force things in the direction that we want - of course he used nice terms such as democracy and freedom.

It is such a grotesque caricature, you have to wonder what lunacy could allow people to think like this.  But it's normal.  Like a three-year-old who doesn't get his way, if you think you ought to own everything and you've lost anything, everything is gone.  That's very much the attitude of those who are accustomed to power and believe they have a right to power.

A the other end of the spectrum, you have the Trilateral Commission, The Crisis of Democracy, written by liberal internationalists, Carter administration liberals, basically.  They were concerned about what they called the failure of the "institutions which have played the major role in the indoctrination of the young."  The young are not being properly indoctrinated by the schools, the churches.  We can see that from the pressures for too much democracy.  And we have to do something about it.  It's not very different from Powell's memorandum.  It's a little more nuanced, but it's essentially the same idea.

Too much freedom, too much democracy, not enough indoctrination - how do you deal with that?  In the educational system, you move toward more control, more indoctrination, cutting back on the dangerous experiments with freedom an independence.  That's what we've seen.


A friend of mine who teaches sixth grade described to me once how she had taught her students about the American Revolution.  A couple of weeks before they got to that assignment, she started acting very harshly, issuing orders and commands, making the kids to do all kinds of things they didn't want to do.  They got pretty upset, and they wanted t do something about it.  They started to get together and protest.   By the time it got to the right point, she opened the lesson on the American Revolution.  She said, "Okay, now you can see why people rebel."  And they understood why you would.  That's the type of creative teaching that doesn't pass some standardardised test necessarily, but it allows children to learn.   That can be done at any level, from kindergarten to graduate school, in any subject - history, science, whatever it may be.

So those are two concepts.  And it's pretty clear which way the educational system is being pressed - and I think there's a reason why.  We've got to educate people to keep them from our throats, as Emerson put it a long time ago.  At the K-to-12 level, there is now an effort to destroy the public educational system.  That's essentially what charter schools are about.  They don't have any better outcomes.  They feed at the public trough, the public pays for them, but they're essentially out of the public system and under much more private control, essentially privatized.  It's destroying the ethic of the public education system.  They ethic of that system is solidarity.  You have a public education system because  you're supposed to care whether children you don't know and have nothing to do with have the opportunity to go to school.  That's social solidarity, but that's very dangerous - the opposite of atomization. ...




The ALP has no intention of repealing Queensland's draconian anti rights legislation




A journalist might question the sincerity of the government, given they voted for these laws.




Yahoo [11/6/15]:



Retired Queensland Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson will head the taskforce reviewing the state's controversial bikie laws, introduced by the previous LNP Newman government [and supported by the ALP].

The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act, introduced to crack down on bikie gangs, allows for harsher mandated sentences and reverses the expectation of bail if an offender is part of a criminal gang.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath on Thursday said the taskforce would work in tandem with the government's Commission of Inquiry as part of "a multi-faceted assault on organised crime" and report back by the end this year.





Soldier to return to Southport court on three rape charges



MYGC [11/6/15]:



A court has heard about a harrowing series of calls for help made while a woman was allegedly being raped by a soldier on the Gold Coast.

The 22-year-old alleged victim was out with friends in Surfers Paradise in June 2013 when she met Townsville-based gunner, Toby Shaw.

She caught a cab home with Shaw and it’s alleged he raped her outside her front door and again once they entered the home.

Shaw was charged with three counts of rape in relation to the incident and pleaded not guilty in the Southport District Court yesterday.

During yesterday’s trial, the victim’s friend spoke of phone calls he had received where he described hearing his friend yelling out “Get off me” and “What do you want from me?”.

The witness said he found messages from his friend that said “help” and “please”.

It’s alleged that after the incident Shaw sent a message on Facebook to say, “I’m so sorry, I never meant to hurt you”.

The court heard the victim was examined in hospital after the alleged incident and found to have red marks on her knuckles, a bruise behind the knee and scratches on her forearms.

The trial will continue in the Southport District Court today.





59yo man in hospital after being hit by bus in Gympie


ABC [11/6/15]:


A 59-year-old man has been taken to hospital after being hit by a bus in Gympie in southern Queensland.

The man suffered head injuries when he was struck by the bus on Musgrave Street about 3:30pm (AEST) yesterday.

He was taken to Gympie Hospital in a stable condition. Police are investigating.






Three in hospital after Currumbin crash


MYGC [11//15]:


Three people are in hospital after a bike accident in Currumbin Valley this morning.

It’s understood they were involved in a bike crash at the intersection of Currumbin Creek Road and Galleon Way around 8.00am this morning.

Queensland Ambulance says two men were taken to Tweed Heads Hospital in a stable condition.

A third male patient has been taken stable to Robina Hospital.

Their exact injuries are unknown.


Man given suspended jail sentence, fined for assaulting G Link guard

MYGC [10/6/15]:


A man who bashed a tram security guard after falling asleep on board the G has walked free today..

Joel Broughton pleaded guilty in the Southport Court this afternoon to charges of assault occasioning bodily harm and stealing.

The 26 year old dozed off on the tram in November last year and became aggressive when he was asked to leave at the University Hospital station..

Broughton then threw a roundhouse kicks and guard Mark Mason, knocking him to the ground and then circling him – throwing haymaker-style punches.

He continued to assault Mason and then stole his ID tag and ran away.

Broughton was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, to be suspended immediately for a period of 12 months.

He was also fined $300 for stealing the man’s ID.

Man in critical condition after shooting incident at Keysborough

ABC [10/6/15]:

A man in his 30s is in a critical condition after being shot in an incident at Keysborough, in Melbourne's south-east.

Emergency services received reports about the incident in Bloomfield Street about 5:45pm.

The man was taken to The Alfred hospital.

The area is cordoned off and police are investigating.




... There was a 16 per cent increase in the cancer death rate for Indigenous people between 1998 and 2012, whereas the rate for non-Indigenous people fell by 10 per cent, the report found.

The report also found an increase in the imprisonment rate of Indigenous people, which has now seen the gap in incarceration levels increase to 82 per cent.

Associate professor Ted Wilkes from Curtin University said that was a "significant embarrassment".

"Well, it's just saying that the Governments of the day aren't listening to the advice that Aboriginal leaders have been putting to forward," Professor Wilkes said.

"It appears the systems that are meant to look after us, are failing," he said.  ... [ABC - 10/6/15]






Analysis by Dr Deborah Gleeson (Australia) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex [WikiLeaks]







WikiLeaks' free trade documents reveal 'drastic' Australian concessions [Guardian - 17/10/14]





11 June 2015