DIBP forcibly transferring 65 #asylumseekers from #villawood tmorrow & thurs. Disgusting attempt to hide the state's crimes in the desert.

"tweeted" by @STOB4Refugees - Students 4 Refugees [11/11/14]

Yongah Hills IDC, Northam WA

Image: @Jimmyhyan [5/4/14]

Australia’s immigration detention centres have been substantially propping up the finances of UK outsourcing company Serco, which is facing increased losses from other contracts it holds. ... [Guardian - 11/11/14]

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to visit Cambodia

Sydney Morning Herald [11/11/14]:

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has vowed to get to the bottom of Australia's deal to resettle in Cambodia those found to be refugees on Nauru during a visit to the South-East Asian nation next week.

Senator Hanson-Young will spend the week in Cambodia on a "fact-finding mission" that will include visits to a children's prison and meetings with refugees living in the slums of Phnom Penh.

"I'm going to see what's actually happening, on the ground, and find out what conditions the refugees that we dump there will face," Senator Hanson-Young told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

The trip will coincide with a separate visit by the former chief justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson, who chairs an organisation set up to advance children's rights in Cambodia.

Senator Hanson-Young will meet Cambodia's opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who strongly objects to the refugee transfer deal, as well as non-government organisations including the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced the agreement in September, saying it would "start off small" and build up over time. Under the deal, Australia will pay Cambodia $40 million over four years.

"Australia's cruelty towards refugees is bringing international shame on our country, and now the government is trying to spread that to Cambodia," Senator Hanson-Young said.

"I'll be visiting slums outside of Phnom Penh, a children's prison in regional Cambodia and seeing the reality of life on the streets that awaits the young women and girls we send there.

"Scott Morrison wants the truth of this deal out of sight and out of mind, but the Australian people have a right to know what is being done in their names. He has signed the Australian taxpayer up to an open-ended deal with one of the most corrupt regimes on Earth and that needs to be exposed."

While Mr Nicholson strongly opposes the refugee deal, his visit will focus on promoting the work of Children's Rights International, a organisation committed to improving protections of children in the Cambodian legal system.

Turkish refugee camps provide proper living conditions, report claims

Daily Sabah [10/11/14]:

Nearly 230,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey are living in proper conditions in camps, a parliamentary report said on Monday.

The parliament commission's report covered the number of Syrian refugees, who have entered Turkey in September and October 2014, the number of wounded in Kobani treated in Turkey and the amount of humanitarian aid delivered to the Syrian town. There are 1.627 million refugees hosted in the country, the report said.

At least 190,000 refugees from Syria's Kurdish-populated town of Kobani have fled to Turkey, the report said.

According to the report, conducted by the committee between October 23 and 24, 857 people wounded in Kobani were treated in Turkey and 820 trucks containing humanitarian aid were sent to the town.

There are 223,996 refugees sheltered in refugee camps, the report said.

There are currently five refugee camps in Hatay, four each in Sanliurfa and Gaziantep, two in Kilis and two in Mardin, and one in Kahramanmaras, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Adana and Malatya.

At least 324,738 Syrians have returned to their country, the report stated.

The Nusaybin refugee camp in southeastern Mardin, which can host up to 13,500 refugees, still has room for Syrians and Iraqis who seek shelter, according to the report.

When they arrive at the camp, the refugees go through a health checkup, are given identification cards and given places in mobile homes.

Security outside of the camp is provided by the Gendarmerie General Command, while a private security company provides protection inside the camp.

Refugees are given money from the World Food Program, and Turkey's Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency to buy food from markets inside the camp.

Schools are also provided in the camps, Turkish and Syrian volunteer teachers give lessons in both Turkish and Arabic in primary, junior high and high school.

The refugee camps, for which 97 percent of building costs were covered by Turkey, and their residents were in good condition and refugees' needs were met with, the report said.

Syria has been gripped by almost constant fighting since the regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict which has spiraled into a civil war.

At least 100,000 deaths have been counted in the Syrian civil war since July 2013. The UN has stopped updating the death toll for the country due to difficulties in verifying casualties.

UN chief sets up Gaza war inquiry

Al Jazeera [11/11/14]:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters during the Gaza war.

The inquiry led by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert will "review and investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday.

It will focus on incidents from July 8 to August 26, he added.

The UN spokesman emphasized that Ban "expects that the board will enjoy the full cooperation of all parties concerned."

Ban toured the site of damaged UN shelters during his visit last month and declared that the destruction from the war was "beyond description."

At least five UN facilities were hit during the conflict, killing scores of Palestinians including children, according to the UN refugee agency UNRWA.

Israel maintained that Hamas fighters were using the schools to store weapons and denied it had deliberately targeted the facilities, which were being used as shelters by Palestinian civilians during the 50-day war.

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, mainly civilians, in the 50 days of fighting that began July 8, according to UN and Palestinian estimates.

Seventy-two people were killed on the Israeli side.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed and at least 223 Gaza schools, either run by the UN refugee agency or the Hamas government, were hit in the fighting.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva separately has set up a commission of inquiry into the Gaza offensive, led by Canadian lawyer William Schabas.

Palestinian dead, 2 injured in Gaza tanker truck explosion [Maan - 11/11/14]

Palestinian activist guilty in US immigration case [Al Arabiya - 11/11/14]

South Korea ferry captain jailed for 36 years, acquitted of murder

Channel News Asia [11/11/14]:

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank in April with the loss of more than 300 lives was jailed for 36 years on Tuesday, but acquitted of murdering those who died in the disaster.

In a ruling that followed five months of dramatic, often painful testimony, a three-judge court said prosecutors, who had demanded the death penalty, failed to prove Captain Lee Jun-seok, 69, had acted with an intention to kill.

However, he was convicted of gross negligence and dereliction of duty, including abandoning his vessel while hundreds of passengers - most of them schoolchildren - remained trapped on board.

Victims' relatives who were present in the courtroom in the southern city of Gwangju, reacted furiously to the murder acquittal.

"Where is the justice?" one woman shouted at the judges, while others wept openly.

"It's not fair. What about the lives of our children? They (the defendants) deserve worse than death," screamed another.

Three other senior crew members, who had also faced homicide charges, were sentenced to jail terms of between 15 and 30 years.

"We find it hard to conclude that the defendants were aware that all of the victims would die because of their actions and they had an intention to kill them," Judge Lim Joung-youb said in announcing the verdict.

"Therefore the murder charges are not accepted." However, Lim stressed that had Lee and his crew acted properly as soon as the Sewol ran into trouble, then many lives might have been saved.

Lee and his crew were vilified in the wake of the Apr 16 disaster and, with emotions running sky high across the country over the loss of so many young lives, some legal experts had raised doubts over whether they would receive a fair trial.

...

Ebola: reported denial of medical care on ships from West Africa draws UN concern

UN Media Release [10/11/14]:

United Nations and other leading international transport, trade and tourism organizations today expressed concern about the report denial of medical care for ill seafarers on board ships that had previously called at ports in Ebola-affected countries.

In a statement, the Travel and Transport Task Force called for international cooperation of governments and the transport sector in following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola, convened by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, WHO released the results of an investigation that have clarified the early exposure history of Mali’s first Ebola case a 2-year-old girl from Guinea who died of the disease after crossing into neighbouring Mali.

“The Guinea history reveals many difficult challenges faced by ministries of health, local health officials, WHO and other partners in the Ebola response,” said the agency.

For example, WHO noted that its data strongly suggest that Ebola care in private health facilities carries a higher risk of infection. In Kenema, Sierra Leone, for example, 87 per cent of new infections among health care workers have been acquired in privately-run non-Ebola clinics.

The report also noted a pattern of returning home to a native village to die and that “such frequent travels by symptomatic Ebola patients, often via public transportation and over long distances, unquestionably create multiple opportunities for high-risk exposures – en route and also when the patient reaches his home and is greeted by family and friends.”

The WHO report concluded that with persistent and thorough contact tracing, isolation and monitoring in place, “confidence is growing that no further spread within Mali followed exposure” to the child from Guinea.

In its statement, thee Travel and Transport Force – set up in August 2014 to support global efforts to contain the spread of Ebola and provide a coordinated international response for the travel, trade and tourism sector – said it also stood firmly with WHO against general bans on travel and trade, as well as restrictions that include general quarantine of travellers from Ebola-affected countries.

“Such measures can create a false impression of control and may have a detrimental impact on the number of health care workers volunteering to assist Ebola control or prevention efforts in the affected countries,” the statement said, adding that they “may also adversely reduce essential trade, including supplies of food, fuel and medical equipment to the affected countries, contributing to their humanitarian and economic hardship.”

“The best protective measures for non-affected countries,” the Task Force statement said, “are adequate levels of preparedness, including heightened surveillance to detect and diagnose cases early and well prepared staff and operational planning to ensure that suspect cases of Ebola are managed safely and in ways to minimize further spread.”

The Task Force members include WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Airports Council International (ACI), International Air Transport Association (IATA), World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The Task Force said noted it is concerned about reports of denial of medical care for ill seafarers on board ships that had previously called at ports in the Ebola-affected region.

And according to the statement, the Task Force is working on recommendations to including guidance on exit screening for affected countries, a set of considerations and steps for planning screening at points of entry for countries that wish to introduce this as part of their preparedness plan, as well as the best way to inform the aviation and maritime sectors on procedures for caring safely for travellers who are suspected to be infected with Ebola on board an aircraft or ship, or at arrival points.

Meanwhile, UNICEF today tweeted that children orphaned by Ebola in Sierra Leone face a situation “worse than war” and many children whose parents have died of the disease must fend for themselves and cope with the grief on their own.

Queensland Police protect world leaders from free speech

SBS [11/11/14]:

Two dummy security cameras found inside the G20 security zone in Brisbane lay undiscovered for at least three days.

The cameras were reportedly designed to project anti-G20 slogans during the summit.

In the first security breach of the summit, the devices were found in South Brisbane, although their exact location wasn't revealed.

"They are described as having the capability to project images and do not present any community safety concerns," a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Areas of South Brisbane will become the focus of a complex security operation in coming days when G20 events are held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC).

The devices were installed before security was ramped up and were found after more officers were on the beat, police said.

Under the G20 legislation, a central declared security area came into effect in Brisbane from November 8, however, a tougher restricted area around the BCEC was activated earlier, on November 1.

The devices were installed some time before November 8, police believe.

Plans to pass around a giant joint at the G20 in Brisbane have been nipped in the bud by security officials. ... [Yahoo - 11/11/14]

NSW police lose bid to stop charges over Roberto Curti's death

ABC [11/11/14]:

Four Sydney police officers charged over the Taser death of a Brazilian student have lost a bid to have the case dropped.

Roberto Curti, 21, died in March 2012 after being chased through the city by 11 officers, held on the ground, repeatedly tasered and sprayed with capsicum spray.

He had stolen a packet of biscuits from a convenience store and behaved erratically after using LSD.

Eric Lim, Damien Ralph, Scott Edmondson and Daniel Barling, who pleaded not guilty to assault, tried to have a permanent stay put on the matter to stop it proceeding.

However, magistrate Mark Buncombe today ruled that the trial could go ahead.

The four men had argued some of the case against them was based on evidence that could not be used against them.

They argued they had been threatened with disciplinary action if they did not answer questions during "directed" or informal interviews.

Their lawyer, Bret Walker SC, previously told the Downing Centre Local Court the charges were partly based on evidence given under immunity at an inquest.

Prosecutors had argued the case could go ahead after a review of the brief of evidence.

Magistrate Buncombe said a local court could put a permanent stay on cases if it was appropriate to do so, and if there was no other way for the accused to get a fair trial.

However, he said the trial could go ahead, and there was no evidence the officers were suspected of a crime when they were compelled to give evidence.

The officers' legal team has indicated an appeal is likely.

The men were charged in December after Coroner Mary Jerram found the officers' actions constituted an abuse of police power and strongly recommended disciplinary action be taken against them.

The Police Integrity Commission also recommended the men be charged.

A trial date has not been set.

Parents of US Teenager Killed by Police to Testify Before UN Committee in Geneva

All About Geneva [11/11/14]:

The parents of the African-American teenager shot eight times by police in the US state of Missouri sparking riots and civil unrest, are in Geneva where they will testify before the UN’s Committee against Torture.

The Committee is a “body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

Brown’s death back in August and its aftermath of violent confrontations between residents and police, brought the matter of police brutality and racial profiling in the US back in the spotlight.

The victim’s parents are now leading a campaign against poor police treatment of African-Americans, which has brought them to the 53rd Session of the Committee in Geneva.

The US Human Rights Network will present a report on the matter co-authored by Saint Louis University Professor Justin Hansford, during the periodic review of the US as a party to the treaty, on 12 and 13 November.

According to a statement given by Professor Hansford to KSDK TV, presenting such report in Geneva makes sense as their “long-term goal is to create a global movement against racial profiling and police brutality.”

On his Twitter account, the family attorney Daryl Parks posted photos of Brown’s parents and other members of the delegation attending Tuesday’s session at the UN.If interested, follow the case starting 12 November through a live webcast of the session.

Tasmania sports club proposes judo match between Putin, Abbott

ITAR-TASS [29/10/14]:

A Tasmanian judo club has asked Vladimir Putin to accept an honorary membership and proposed holding a fundraising judo fight between the Russian leader and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, a local senator said on Wednesday.

Senator Jacqui Lambie said she had handed over the Ulverstone Judo Club's invitation and T-shirt to Russian ambassador in Australia Vladimir Morozov.

The senator said that if a fight was held, the club would stake on Putin, a judo black belt.

According to Lambie, a judo event between Putin and Abbot will be "great for international relations."

She said she admires Putin's work as he is serving the interests of Russian people.

On October 13, Abbott vowed to “shirtfront” Putin over the MH17 crash in Ukraine if the Russian president arrives at the G20 Leader's summit in Brisbane scheduled for November 15-16

Ambulance flipped on Gold Coast

Brisbane Times [11/11/14]:

A Queensland Ambulance driver was briefly trapped in his vehicle after it was involved in a collision at a Gold Coast intersection on Tuesday.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the ambulance vehicle was involved in an accident about 4.30pm at the intersection of Olsen Avenue and Central Street, where the suburbs of Labrador and Arundel meet.

The spokesman said the driver was trapped in the flipped vehicle for a "brief period of time" before he was released.

There were only minor injuries, the QPS spokesman said.

Film sends first boat people back to sea

Tweed Daily News [7/11/14]:

When award winning Uki illustrator Matt Ottley read John Marsden's Home and Away he instantly knew he would collaborate with the popular Australian author to bring the book to life.

The story involves a role reversal in which war breaks out in Australia and a family is forced to escape by boat.

Those members of the family who survive the journey reach a land where there's "heaps of space," but are told that there's "no room" for them, and that they are "illegal immigrants not genuine refugees".

"The story was originally written by John as a response to Tampa, a Norwegian freighter which was refused entry into Australian waters (after rescuing 438 people), and the children overboard affair, which was an equally awful incident," Mr Ottley said.

"It hit me in the sternum and left me feeling wounded, and I just knew I had to work with John on it."

To illustrate the story, Mr Ottley, whose book Requiem for a Beast was awarded CBCA Picture Book of the Year in 2008, interviewed a psychologist who worked at the Woomera Detention Centre.

"I must stress that this is not a children's book because of its subject matter it's a pretty grim story," Mr Ottley said.

About 6000 copies of Home and Away were originally printed in 2008, and it has recently been re-printed a further 2000 copies.

The re-issued copy will be accompanied with a 90 minute Home and Away DVD, produced by Mr Ottley, in collaboration with 16-year-old Kingscliff student Kyle Green who narrates the story, and 17-year-old Murwillumbah singer Nina Baumer who sings lines in the book, accompanied by a symphony orchestra.

"Australia was criticised by the UN as having the worst human rights record of any developed nation in its treatment of asylum seekers (after Tampa) and one reason that I produced this DVD, and am really pushing the relaunch of the book, is that I fear that Australia has politically descended back into that territory of treating asylum seekers as illegal immigrants and as a threat to the sovereign borders of Australia," Mr Ottley said.

Home and Away
Book launch and New Land, New Life film
Thursday November 13, The Regent Cinema, Murwillumbah
Child $5, Adult $15, Family $30

Manus asylum seekers petition Palmer

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [11/11/14]:

More than 100 asylum seekers on Manus Island have sent Clive Palmer a hand-written letter appealing for him not to exclude them from any deal struck between the government and the Palmer United Party.

The letter was prompted by the fact that the Palmer United Party was willing to support the government’s proposed “Asylum Seekers Legacy Bill” that would see asylum seekers who arrived after 19 July 2013, but who have not been sent to Manus Island or Nauru, processed and allowed to resettle in Australia, in return for the legislation re-instating temporary protection visas.

The letter appeals to Palmer not to ignore the fate of those on Manus, who arrived on the same boats as those on Christmas Island, but who were arbitrarily selected and sent to Manus Island.

...

PUP registration approved in Queensland: Palmer

Yahoo [11/11/14]:

Federal MP Clive Palmer says the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) has confirmed the registration of his party in the lead-up to next year's state election.

The Palmer United Party (PUP) leader hit back at reports suggesting he did not have the 500 members required to be a legitimate party and had registered people without their knowledge.

Mr Palmer says the ECQ had advised the party it had "overwhelmingly" exceeded its membership requirements.

"We're pleased the ECQ has confirmed the Palmer United Party has easily met its requirement of having 500 party members as we have thousands of members in Queensland," he said in a statement.

Comment from ECQ has been sought.

Goss no "reformer" and certainly NOT "Queensland's Gough"

Blacks condemn Goss on textbook [Green Left Weekly - 16/2/1994]:

Aboriginal organisations have slammed Queensland Premier Wayne Goss's decision to order the rewriting of a draft year 5 social studies source book.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Consultative Committee chairperson Bonnie Robertson said on February 9 that the move went against the principles of the National Reconciliation and Schooling Strategy.

"How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples trust the government if it continually vetoes any attempt to share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives with all Australians?" she said.

Goss stepped into the controversy over the new source book by saying he objected to the book recommending that "invasion" was an acceptable term for students but that "settlement" was not when referring to Australia's European occupation.

The source book, which is on trial statewide, also suggests teachers not use the words "explorer", "pioneer" and "discoverer."

Continuing his campaign against so-called "political correctness", Goss said the need to explain Australian history honestly and fairly did not mean "that we have to reinvent the language".

Earlier, in an Australia Day speech, Goss called on Australians to reject "politically correct" language and behaviour as a fad generated by minority interest groups.

Queensland Teachers Union president Ian Mackie said on February 8 that the teachers' source book did not need revision.

"The debate on its 'political correctness' has been displaced it's actually historical correctness."

The Democratic Socialist candidate for the Brisbane City Council seat of Dutton Park, Ana Kailis, condemned the premier for authorising Orwellian "Newspeak" in the decision to rewrite the book.

"We now have direct government control of the content of education textbooks", she said. At a time when Australians are struggling to come to terms with the truth about our nation's founding and the forcible destruction of Aboriginal society, Goss steps in to back up the historical lie that white settlement just peacefully 'happened'.

"It seems Orwell's nineteen eighty-four is just 10 years late in Queensland."

You little Beattie, John Passant [8/8/13]:

... Here’s part of what Tom Bramble wrote in Socialist Alternative about that loss last year and the nature of Peter Beattie’s politics:

The governments of Wayne Goss and Peter Beattie were more ruthless public sector economic managers than their corrupt National Party predecessors. It was as Goss’s Chief of Staff that Kevin Rudd won the name “Dr Death” from the public sector unions. Pay was cut in the public sector and round after round of “restructuring” saw workers repeatedly shafted.

Beattie boosted public infrastructure for business but the Queensland welfare system continued to lag behind the southern states – Queensland continued to suffer amongst the worst social, educational and health indicators in the country.

While promising to clean up the corruption and dirty deals done behind closed doors of the Joh era, Labor governments relentlessly pursued whistle-blowers and made a mockery of their Freedom of Information legislation.

Some of Joh’s white shoe brigade might have been shown the door when Goss won office but the Beattie government spent tens of millions of dollars of public money to lure companies, such as Citicorp and Virgin Blue, to Queensland, in “commercial-in-confidence” deals. Beattie also sold off the TAB and the port of Gladstone to the private sector in spite of union opposition.

...

Grab a pitchfork: President Flim-Flam Leads Dems to Midterm Massacre, Mike Whitney [Counterpunch - 7/11/14]

Brisbane launch Citizens Media Centre for G20 alternative news

Indymedia [11/11/14]:

Press Conference: Tues Nov 11, 2014. 12:30 pm

Wandering Cooks, Corner of Fish Lane & Cordelia St, South Brisbane

As world economic leaders prepare to gather in Brisbane, local and international community representatives are converging on the city to voice their concerns about the issues the G20 addresses – or fails to address.

Community activists, media makers and local entrepreneurs are uniting to provide the community with a free access media and networking space to ensure that alternative perspectives on the G20 can be heard.

From November 12-16, Wandering Cooks (at the corner of Cordelia St and Fish Lane, South Brisbane) will serve as a venue for community gatherings, creative events and media production.

Free wifi, computers and tech support will be available for “citizen journalists” to produce their reports on G20 activities and action.

Speakers present at the launch will include representatives from Wandering Cooks, Refugee Action Collective, global network -Our World Is Not For Sale, BrisCAN-G20 and Friends of the Earth.

All share a concern to provide an issues-focused and community generated narrative to the G20 Leaders Summit.

Media makers are invited to attend the space to communicate with locals involved in community responses to the G20.

Wandering Cooks will also host a series of talks on food politics, and civil society discussions on strategies and change making as part of the Peoples’ Summit.

The full Peoples’ Summit program is available here:

http://briscan.net.au/program/

#Genocidal20 LEAVE OUR LANDS ALONE! March through Brisbane for Country.

Image: @kellyymackenzie [11/11/14]

"Free Trade" threatens custom land in the Pacific

PNG Facts [10/11/14]:

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) have launched a briefing paper today outlining the many complex and dangerous ways that free trade agreements can impact and undermine custom land systems in the Pacific Islands.

“Custom land is so central to life in the Pacific Islands that its importance cannot be overstated. Yet through the eyes of free trade agreements it is seen as a barrier to investment, something that needs to be challenged,” commented PANG Campaigner Adam Wolfenden.

The briefing paper outlines many of the common questions about free trade and what it means for custom land in the Pacific Islands.

“Previous attempts to privatise land in the Pacific have been met with a strong refusal by Islanders. What we're seeing now is free trade advocates using these agreements to secure control over the usage of the land, which can in effect mean that custom decisions about land use are undermined” added Mr Wolfenden.

“We're seeing this in Vanuatu where its Trade in Services commitments at the World Trade Organization (WTO) mean the government's ability to specifically support and nurture land use for Indigenous enterprise, such as local burree owners or other tourist accommodation, can only happen if it gives the same support to foreign investors” continued Mr Wolfenden.

The briefing paper explains the way that free trade undervalues local foods, determines land use, how foreign investment acts as land-grabbing, and how for some Pacific Island Countries foreign corporations can sue the governments in international arbitration.

“Free Trade Agreements result in governments making binding commitments on their ability to regulate services and investment. Often there are unintentional consequences that come from such commitments resulting in unexpected restrictions being made on how land use is determined,” stated Mr Wolfenden.

“The push for the Pacific Islands to become integrated into the global economy is a push to ask the Pacific to turn its back on the systems and cultural practices that have supported them for generations. These are the systems that work for the Pacific and reflect its reality, not some theoretical idea of what should work best,” concluded Mr Wolfenden.

Luxury Mexico resort the Fairmont Pierre Marques site for G20 gas talkfest at $45,000 [Brisbane Times - 10/11/14]

Barack the Bloody says momentum building on secretive trans-Pacific trade deal [Reuters - 10/11/14]

Ipswich: Construction worker falls 10 metres from scaffolding

Brisbane Times [10/11/14]:

A man has been rushed to hospital after falling 10 metres from scaffolding at a construction site.

The construction worker fell from the scaffolding on Limestone Street, Ipswich, shortly before 10am.

He was taken by ambulance to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with a leg injury, a Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said.

It is understood Workplace Health and Safety will investigate the circumstances surrounding the man's fall.

Indonesia: Thousands of Workers Rally Against Low Wage, Fuel Price Hike [Jakarta Globe - 10/11/14]

Four-wheel-drive crashes into Gold Coast house

Brisbane Times [10/11/14]:

A Gold Coast woman had an unwelcome house guest on Monday morning when a four-wheel-drive towing a trailer crashed through her front door.

It is believed the 4WD, attached to a James' Home Services trailer, was parked on Texas Court at Oxenford when it rolled into the front of a house shortly after 9am.

The vehicle crashed through a pillar before smashing into the front door.

Firefighters were called to the scene to assess the stability of the front of the house.

"It's feared the front of the house might collapse," a police spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said it appeared the 4WD had rolled from the road into the woman's house, much to the surprise of the homeowner and the owner of the vehicle.

"The driver is at the scene assisting police," she said.

Investigations are continuing.

Toddler dies in forklift accident in the Lockyer Valley

Chronicle [9/11/14]:

A toddler has died from injuries sustained after being hit by a forklift on a property near Forest Hill on Saturday afternoon.

The two-year-old was at the property on Forest Hill-Fernvale Rd at Lynford when tragically run over by the forklift about 5pm.

Police and Workplace Health and Safety will investigate the incident.

The toddler's name has not yet been released.

Whale carcass drifting off Perth coast to be towed

WA Today [10/11/14]:

A humpback whale carcass is being towed away from the Perth coast after attracting several sharks.

Department of Fisheries spokesman Phil Shaw said sharks were feeding from the dead humpback whale, measuring more than 10 metres in length.

It was first spotted by the crew of a vessel returning from Rottnest just before 10am on Monday when it was five nautical miles off the coast.

The carcass will probably be towed out about 20 miles, depending on swell conditions and available light.

It may break up and drift back towards the coast, Fisheries warned.

Mr Shaw said it was possible the whale carcass would continue to attract sharks.

People are being told to adhere to any beach closures, report shark sightings to Water Police and regularly check the Surf Life Saving Twitter account.

...

Australia's environment is 'going backwards', green alliance says [WA Today - 10/11/14]:

Almost half of Australia's terrestrial ecosystems are threatened, 85 per cent of its rivers have been modified and twice as many Australians die from air pollution annually than road accidents, according to a report on the state of the country's environment.

"Every indicator is basically going backwards," said Kelly O'Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, one of 42 environment groups behind The Australia We Love report.

"People love the Great Barrier Reef, the river they go for camping, or the beach - they don't understand the pressures they are under," Ms O'Shanassy said. "They are gradually dying."

...

Air Niugini pioneer Ralph Conley, 96, dies

PNG Loop [10/11/14]:

Air Niugini staff are mourning the death of its pioneer chief executive officer, Ralph Conley who passed away in Brisbane, Australia over the weekend.

Mr Conley joined Air Niugini from Trans Australia Airlines(TAA) in 1973 as the pioneer general manager.

The position is now known as chief executive officer.

Air Niugini chief executive officer Simon Foo passed on the airline’s sincere condolences to the family, friends and associates of the late Mr Conley.

He said, “As the pioneer CEO, the late Mr Conley had contributed immensely towards the initial formation and operation of Air Niugini in the early years where there was hardly any road link and people were more reliant on aircraft than any other means of transport.”

Mr Conley was among those who witnessed the inaugural scheduled Air Niugini services on 1st November 1973 when a Fokker F27 Friendship lifted off from Jacksons Airport in Port Moresby on flight to Rabaul via Lae and Kieta.

His last visit to Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea was in November 2011, where he received a Logohu Award. He was recognised by the government for his efforts towards the early development of Papua New Guinea when he was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Star of Melanesia(CSM).

From Australia, the late Mr Conley is survived by his wife of 73 years, Sheila and two children, Paul and Janis. Mr Conley was 96.

Catalonia vote: 80% back independence - officials

BBC [10/11/14]:

An informal vote on independence for Catalonia has shown more than 80% in favour, officials say.

The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain's constitutional court ruled out holding a formal referendum in the autonomous north-eastern region.

More than two million people out of an estimated 5.4 million eligible voters took part in the ballot.

Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the poll "a great success" that should pave the way for a formal referendum.

"We have earned the right to a referendum," he told cheering supporters.

"Once again Catalonia has shown that it wants to rule itself."

He added: "I ask the people in the world, I ask the media and I also ask the democratic governments in the world to help the Catalan people decide its political future."

...

 

“Comrade, I did not want to kill you. . . . But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response. . . . I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony—Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”

Erich Maria Remarque, 'All Quiet on the Western Front' [1929]

 

A veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes in the USA, with over 30% of veterans having considered suicide. [TELESur - 5/11/14]

United States continues bombing Iraq and Syria

Reuters [10/11/14]:

The United States and its allies launched a barrage of attacks against Islamic State over the weekend, conducting 23 air strikes in Syria and 18 in Iraq against the militant group since Friday, U.S. Central Command said.

In a statement, U.S. Central Command said the strikes in Syria included 13 aimed near the key border down of Kobani and 10 hit near Dayr Az Zawr.

In Iraq, seven strikes hit near Baiji while others hit in or near Falluja, Mosul, al-Qaim, Haditha, Ramadi and Rutba, according to the statement.

UK uses reaper drones in Iraq [Naharnet -11/11/14]

@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [11/11/14]

Anbar: 160 American military experts and weapons ,equipments and Abatchi planes have arrived Aien Al-Asad Base in Baghdadi coming from Kuwait .......

Baghdad: Agencies: A person was killed and 6 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded at Amal Sha'abi Street in Amiriyah..........

Baghdad: Agencies: 13 persons were killed and wounded as a roadside bomb exploded in Abu Dsheer hay in Doura.......

The Iraqi government has said no to Australian troops, but don't let that stop the war mongering political and media establishment's weaselly lies. [ABC - 10/11/14]:

Australian special forces are moving into Iraq to advise the country's military in its fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.

...

Notice how quickly "committed" becomes "moving into".

Sydney Morning Herald [11/11/14]:

... "As we are setting that up, I am having conversations with Australia and other coalition partners that are already committed to putting trainers in to see how they can supplement and work with us in this overall effort," he [Barack Obama] said.

...

Iraq will not sign the legal agreement because they insist Australian troops must be subject to Iraqi law.

Guardian [11/11/14]:

Troops have been waiting in United Arab Emirates for legal agreement before being deployed to advise and assist Iraqi security forces. ...

The latest nuclear talks in Oman between Iran and Western powers ended on Monday without any progress, a senior Iranian negotiator said. ... [Naharnet - 11/11/14]

Afghanistan: 3 civilians wounded in Kabul blast

Pajhwok [10/11/14]:

Three civilians were wounded as a result of a bomb explosion in the 5th police district of Kabul City on Monday, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said.

MoI deputy spokesman Najibullah Danish told Pajhwok Afghan News the blast took place near Burhanuddin Rabbani University.

The bomb had been planted beneath a tree.

Danish had no idea about the target of the bomb attack. Eyewitnesses put at four the number of civilians wounded in the blast.

No group has so far come forward to claim credit for the incident.

Suicide bomber "disguised in police uniform" attacks police headquarter in Logar [Khaama - 10/11/14]

At least 35 killed in Nigerian school assembly blast

Reuters [10/11/14]:

At least 35 people, most of them students, were killed when a bomb ripped through a school assembly in Nigeria's northeastern town of Potiskum on Monday, a hospital official said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Yobe State, a territory that has been hit by Sunni Muslim Boko Haram rebels during a five-year insurgency seen as the main security threat to Africa's leading oil producer.

Mariam Ibrahim, a teacher at the Government Science Secondary School (GSS) in Potiskum told Reuters the bomb went off as she was arriving and students were having their usual morning briefing.

Potiskum resident Aliyu Abubakar said he heard the explosion when he was dropping off his two sons at a nearby Islamic college. "One of my sons fell down, I came out dragged him in and we drove off back home," he said.

...

Potiskum General Hospital's accident and emergency ward had received 35 bodies, an official there told Reuters.

"There are some (others) that are critically injured and I am sure the death toll will rise," another teacher said, asking to remain anonymous.

Turkish Navy authorized over oil crisis with Greek Cyprus

Hurriyet Daily News [9/11/14]:

The Turkish Navy has been authorized by the government for the full implementation of recently amended rules of engagement in the eastern Mediterranean in the face of growing tension between littoral countries, including Turkey, Greek Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over oil and natural gas drilling projects.

“The Prime Ministry handed over the rules of engagement to the Chief of General Staff and the Chief of Staff handed them over to the Naval Forces Command. We will act in line with these rules of engagement in the event we face a situation over this issue,” Adm. Bülent Bostanoglu, the naval forces commander, told reporters Nov. 9 in Mugla as he participated in the Blue Whale-2014 naval exercise.

“Our naval forces elements will continue their mission of situational awareness in the region.”

Bostanoglu’s statement came after a question on which rules of engagement the Turkish Navy would follow if Turkish vessels confront Greek or Israeli warships in the eastern Mediterranean.

Tension between Turkey and the Greek Cyprus-Greece duo has increased recently after the Greek Cypriot government issued licenses for oil and natural gas exploration in its claimed economic exclusive zones in the eastern Mediterranean.

...

Ministers "check out" war games in Shoalwater Bay

Morning Bulletin [10/11/14]:

Australian and Singapore ministers checked out the military exercise at Shoalwater Bay on Saturday.

The Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, met with Singaporean Second Minister for Defence, Mr Chan Chun Sing, to observe Singaporean unilateral training Exercise Wallaby and its bilateral component, Exercise Trident, at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

Defence Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and his Singaporean counterpart, Lieutenant General Ng Chee Meng, also took part in the visit.

Exercise Wallaby is Singapore's major annual unilateral training activity in Australia and involves up to 5,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel.

"Australia understands how important Singaporean unilateral training in Australia is for the preparedness of the Singapore Armed Forces," Mr Robert said.

"We are pleased to support Singaporean training such as in Exercise Wallaby and at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia and at the Army Aviation Centre Oakey in Queensland."

Ministers arrived at the exercise by helicopter, which landed on the Republic of Singapore Navy's Landing Ship RSS Persistence. The ship is at Shoalwater Bay to participate in the exercise.

Exercise Trident includes Australian Defence Force and Singaporean Armed Forces working together in an amphibious exercise based on a conventional operations scenario.

The visit also provided an opportunity to discuss the Australian and Singaporean Governments' desire to enhance the relationship, following the eighth Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC) meeting held on August 22, 2014.

"Developing closer cooperation with the Singapore Armed Forces contributes to a more capable defence force for Australia and enhanced security in the region," Mr Robert said.

Australia and Singapore have identified a number of opportunities to deepen the defence relationship, including the potential for enhanced access to training areas, closer departmental and military links, enhanced exercise and training programs, and further cooperation in counter terrorism, cyber security and defence science and technology.

The Fat Man And The War

'Magnet'

They sing of the pride of battle,
They sing of the dogs of war,
And the men that are slain like cattle
On African soil afar.

They sing of the gallant legions
Bearing the battle's brunt
Out in the torrid regions
Fighting the foe in front.

They sing of Mauser and Maxim,
And their doings across the foam,
But I hear none sing of The Fat man
Who sits at his ease at home.

And a fat little time is coming
When the turmoil has settled down,
And the dogs of war are silent
And the veldt is bare and brown.

When the sun has licked the blood up
And the brown earth hid the bones,
His miners will go out seeking
For gold and precious stones.

Nothing he knows of fighting;
He never was built that way;
But the game of war is exciting,
When the stakes worth more than the play.

Like a ghoul from the reeking shambles
He grubs out his filthy pelf,
Reaping a cursed harvest
Where he daren't have sown himself.

Now, this is one man's opinion,
And I think it is fair and right,
If he wants the land of the Dutchman,
Let him go like a man and fight.

If African mines have treasure,
And the Fat Man wants a bone,
Let him go by himself and find it,
Let him trek to the front alone!

Removal of Remaining Malaysian MH17 Boeing Wreckage May Start in Next 2 Weeks

RIA Novosti [10/11/14]:

The removal of the remaining wreckage of the fatal Malaysian MH17 Boeing that crashed in eastern Ukraine in July may start within the next two weeks, the deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said Monday.

“[The wreckage] removal is currently being prepared, and this is a technically difficult process that will take a week or two,” DPR Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said.

He added that removal of the wreckage would be done using trains.

On Thursday RIA Novosti reported that a group of Dutch experts began collecting wreckage from the site of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region. The experts were collecting small fragments of the plane and placing them in special containers.

On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk, killing all 298 people on board.

UN torture committee questions Australia about Manus and Nauru refugee concentration camps

Guardian [11/11/14]:

A United Nations hearing into Australia’s record as a signatory to its anti-torture convention has been dominated by concerns that asylum seekers are being sent to inhumane conditions in the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

The UN committee against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is in the process of assessing Australia’s record for the first time since 2008.

On Monday night in Geneva the committee sought further information on issues including Australia’s asylum-seeker policies, controversial counter-terrorism laws and the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in prisons.

Chairman Claudio Grossman, who heads a panel of 10 independent experts, raised concerns that conditions in offshore processing centres had been described by both Amnesty International and the UNHCR as “inhumane”.

“They are actually in a place surrounded by fences? And you need a guard to move from one place to the other?” Grossman asked, before requesting a copy of the guards’ training manual.

Grossman also questioned the Australian delegation on reports it takes 10 months for refugee claims to be processed on Nauru and two years in Papua New Guinea.

“That would produce tremendous anxiety in people,” he said. “I can’t imagine the number of people that are there and don’t know where they are or what is happening.”

Australia’s mandatory detention policy also went under the microscope.

“There is some kind of reaction every time we use the word mandatory. No discretion, everyone goes through,” Grossman said. “We’ve always said that children do not belong in detention centres. Are you considering changing this?”

The committee also asked for an update on allegations of child sex abuse in the Nauru detention centre.

Most questions from the 10 committee members during the two-hour hearing related to Australia’s immigration policies.

The Australian delegation, headed by its ambassador to the UN, John Quinn, will reply to the committee’s concerns early on Tuesday night, local time.

“You’ve given us a lot of homework to do,” Quinn said.

The UN committee is set to hand down its report card on 28 November.

Serco shares crash after latest profits warning [Guardian - 10/11/14]:

... The company also revealed that profits would have been flat between 2009-2013, were it not for its controversial contract running Australia’s migrant detention centres, including a facility on Christmas Island, condemned by Australia’s top human rights official for its filthy conditions and high levels of self-harm among inmates.

The profits downgrade follows a forensic examination of its books uncovered a raft of loss-making contracts.

Chief executive Rupert Soames embarked on a strategic review oafter taking over in June. The reviews “have encouraged much turning over of stones”, he said.

“These challenges, together with a less pronounced improvement in trading in our second half than we expected, have led us to a more cautious view of 2014 and 2015.”

Soames, a grandson of Winston Churchill, said the writedowns were only initial estimates until the review is completed by March 2015. “Whilst it is a bitter pill, it is better for all concerned that we swallow it now and establish a really solid foundation on which to build Serco’s future.”

The single biggest adjustment, of £150m, stems from a contract with the Australian navy to maintain its Armidale patrol boats, where costs have spiralled because of cracking and corrosion on the boats.

...

 

11 November 2014

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